Our study of the book of Acts has finally brought us to the stories of Paul. This particular passage is so rich in meaning that there are several different lessons that could be drawn from it. For our purposes, though, I decided to talk about the transformation of Saul and how God changed his heart. So, without further ado, I give you our lesson on the time when…
Hilarious that this kiddo spelled “Damascus” correctly, but not “Saul.” 🙂
Goal: Today we will learn that God can transform our hearts by removing our sin.
Key Scripture: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” – Acts 1:8, NIV
Here’s What You’ll Need
- Unpopped popcorn kernels
- A few popped popcorn kernels
- “Saul’s Surprise on the Road to Damascus” (Big book published by Group)
- DVD player
- “Spider Guts” video (published by Group)
- Comic strip templates
- Comic strip templates (Free download here)
Introduction: Ask, “Who would like some popcorn?” Give each child an unpopped popcorn kernel and prepare for a few groans. Ask, “What’s wrong?” Show the children the popped popcorn kernels and ask, “How does a kernel become a fluffy, tasty piece of popcorn?” (Allow for a few responses). Explain that today’s lesson will be about a man who starts off with a hard heart, like the popcorn kernels they are each holding, but later, Jesus changes his heart, just as a popcorn kernel changes when it’s heated up.
Lesson: Read the big book “Saul’s Surprise on the Road to Damascus” aloud to the children.
- After reading the first page, reiterate that Saul was like the unpopped kernels that they are holding.
- After reading the second page, place a drop of glue in each child’s palm. Have them spread the glue out into a thin layer on their palm. Tell them to hold their hand out to let the glue dry and explain that they’ll learn later why they have glue on their hands. (Note: This idea came from Mission Arlington.)
- After reading the fourth page, have the children peel the dried glue off their hands. Explain that this is like the scales that fell off of Saul’s eyes after Ananias prayed for him.
- After reading the fifth page, talk about how Saul, now Paul, was like a popped piece of popcorn. He was still a piece of popcorn, but he had been completely transformed from the inside out!
Explain that God forgave Paul for all the wrong things that he did and that was really hard for some of the Christians to accept. After all, Paul had done some terrible things to Christians before his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus. Watch the video “Spider Guts” (put out by Group Publishing) to illustrate this point.
Prayer Station: Explain that we all have done wrong things in our lives, but no matter what Jesus is willing to forgive us and to remove our sins. Hand each child a marble that has been covered in tin foil. Have each child hold the marble and thing of the wrong things they have done lately. Together, ask God for forgiveness and remove the foil from the marble as a sign that our sins have been removed. (Note: This prayer station was actually developed by a child! You can see the original post here on Flame: Creative Children’s Ministry.)
What Did You Learn? Provide the children with comic strip template pages and ask them to create a comic strip that retells the story of Saul on the road to Damascus. Review the story as necessary to refresh their memories.
Here are a few examples of what our kids came up with.
Game: If you have extra time, you can have your kids play this game. Even though it doesn’t entirely relate to the lesson objective, it’s still fun! Blindfold a volunteer and assign him/her the task of finding and collecting beanbags that have been scattered across the room. Talk about how difficult it must have been for Saul/Paul to be blind for a few days!
What to see what else we’ve done in the book of Acts? Check out these links!
- A Miraculous Catch (John 21:1-25)
- Jesus Ascends to Heaven (Acts 1:1-11)
- The Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-13)
- The Holy Spirit Can Live in Your Heart (Acts 2:1-13)
- There’s a System in Place (Acts 2:14-21)
- Go, Team Fillmore! (Acts 2:42-47)
- Peter and John Heal a Lame Man (Acts 3)
- Healing in the Name of Jesus (Acts 3)
- There is Power in the Name of Jesus! (Acts 4:1-22)
- Sharing in the Early Church (Acts 4:32-37)
- Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11)
- The Choosing of the Seven (Acts 6:1-7)
- The Stoning of Stephen (Acts 6:8-7:60)
- Philip and the Ethiopian Man (Acts 8:26-40)