Saturday, November 22, 2008

December 2008 Primary Sharing Time Helps and Ideas

GAK 201

December Theme: I love my Savior, Jesus Christ, and His restored gospel.
December Scripture: "And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies." 2 Nephi 25:26

Week 1 The prophets foretold Jesus Christ would come to earth.

* Have a nativity displayed. Tape a small scripture or question to each piece of the nativity regarding what the prophets prophesied of Jesus' birth. Let the children come up and pick a piece. You could also tape on some Christmas songs.

* Draw a large clock on the blackboard. At the top of the clock on the 12 hide a picture of Christ's birth- put a piece of paper over it with a ? mark. (GAK 201) Have 11 scriptures and questions based on what prophets have foretold about "the time" having to do when Jesus Christ would come to earth.

For example:
1.What is prophecy?
“For prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” 2 Peter 1:19–21
Put up a picture of a mouth

2. Who does God speak to us through?
"Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.” Amos 3:7
Put up a picture of Pres. Monson

3. Who did Nephi see after the Tree of Life?
Virgin Mary
Etc. Now work in questions and visuals having to do with Christ and His earthly birth

* Bring in a farmers almanac or a picture of it.
"Weather prediction has always been a major feature of the Farmers’ Almanac. The Almanac Publishing Company claims readers of the Farmers’ Almanac have attributed an 80 to 85 percent accuracy rate to the publication’s annual forecasts. Scientific studies of these claims have shown them to be false. On average the Almanac's predictions are no better than chance.
Predictions for each edition are made as far as two years in advance. The Farmers’ Almanac publishers are highly secretive about the method used to make its predictions, only stating publicly that it is a “top secret mathematical and astronomical formula, that relies on sunspot activity, tidal action, planetary position and many other factors.” The identity of the Farmers’ Almanac weather forecaster is also a secret. The Almanac’s forecaster is referred to by the pseudonym “Caleb Weatherbee.” (This info is courtesy Wikipedia)

Would it be nice to know the weather every single day? Why? We will never know what the weather will bring but we have something that is a lot more exact and 100% accurate... that is the messages of the prophets.

"There isn’t any other way in this world that we can know the mind and the will of the Lord as intelligently and assuredly as we can know it through the holy prophets."
LeGrand Richards, “Prophets and Prophecy,” Ensign, Nov 1975, 50

And from Adam, they have all testified of one thing. What is that one thing? Jesus Christ.
“And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” Acts 3:19–21

* Make a reverent music video of Samuel Tells of the Baby Jesus - #36 Children's Songbook. Divide the primary into different groups. Assign them lines in the song to draw pictures of. Play Christmas music while they work and make sure the children know to be softer than the music. Attach the pictures together with tape to make a rollerbox. Have the kids sing while you move it. On the bottom of the box you could put BYU TV. (Go blue!)

On that same thought pattern, you could assign different scriptures of prophets who foretold the coming of Christ and ask the groups to put together roller box pictures of the story and come up to tell it. So basically the materials you'll need are scriptures, crayons, plenty of paper, tape, some paper towel rolls and a cardboard box with a hole cut out in front... perhaps some paperclips too to hold the rolls on the side.

Week 2 The prophecies were fulfilled. Jesus Christ was born and the righteous rejoiced.
* Have 2 children come up. Ask one to be the sun and the other the earth. Ask them to show the primary what happens in space between these 2 things. (The earth child will walk in a circle around the sun) Read Helaman 12:15 "And thus, according to his word the earth goeth back, and it appeareth unto man that the sun standeth still; yea, and behold, this is so; for surely it is the earth that moveth and not the sun. "
Next have a child come up as a great lake. Ask them to show what happens during a drought. (They should crumble to the ground) Read Helaman 12: 16 And behold, also, if he say unto the waters of the great deep—Be thou dried up—it is done."
Have another child come up and ask them to stand by the light switch. Have them turn off the light and then show us the first thing God did that we see in the scriptures. (Turn on the light.)
Read Genesis 1:3 "And God said, Let there be light: and there was light."
What our Father and Elder Brother Jesus say is truth and will always come to pass. Alma 37:16 reads "...For God is powerful to the fulfilling of all his words." Prophets foretold of Jesus Christ being born and His birth happened as sure as there is light, as sure as we move around the sun, as sure as water dries up in the summer.
* Make a graph of Christmas hymns. Sing the songs and have children put up smiley faces for the number of times you can count the song referencing joy, happiness and rejoicing.
* Make a Samuel the Lamanite matching game. For example on one card you could have Samuel prophesied Helaman 13:6 "the Lord Jesus Christ, who surely shall come into the world, and shall suffer many things and shall be slain for his people. " - the matching card would then be a picture of the nativity.
On another card Samuel prophesied Helaman 13: 9 "And four hundred years shall not pass away before I will cause that they shall be smitten; yea, I will visit them with the sword and with famine and with pestilence." - the matching card could be a picture of Moroni burying the plates as he witnessed the destruction of his people.
Opinionated tid-bit: For the Junior primary about 6 matches (12 cards) is more than sufficient for a 15 minute period of time. Too many cards, too many choices and nothing gets matched! Also, I NEVER divide the primary into teams. (Disclaimer: I'm not saying it's wrong to do so!!! AGAIN Personal OPINION!!!) The reason I do not divide is because of that, it's a division and on principle I think being united is better than being divided. Working together as a primary to achieve a goal promotes unity and discourages unneeded competition in God's house. Just think about it. Mull it over.
Week 3 Jesus Christ restored His gospel through the Prophet Joseph Smith.
* Make a timeline of events that happened during the restoration. Have children draw out pictures (out of a bag) and properly sequence them on the chalkboard. I would start the events at the time Jesus Christ walked on earth, died and was resurrected. You could end with a current picture of the first presidency or a local temple. The following are events and dates found from Church History in the Fullness of Times Manuel (Religion 341 through 343):
34-100 AD Apostles lead New Testament church
60-70 Peter and Paul martyred
1620 Pilgrims arrive in Plymouth
Jan. 24 1796 Joseph Smith Sr. marries Lucy Mack
1812-13 7 year old Joseph Smith suffered complications from typhoid fever and was operated on
(He didn't use any alcohol to numb the pain)
Spring 1820 14 year old Joseph saw the Father and the Son in the sacred grove
Sept 21-22 1823 First appearances of Moroni to Joseph Smith
May 1829 John the baptist restored the Aaronic priesthood
May-June 1829 Peter, James and John restored the Melchizedek Priesthood
Fall 1829-Winter 1830 Book of Mormon Printed in Palmyra
1836 1st Temple dedicated Kirtland Ohio where priesthood keys were restored
1844 Joseph and Hyrum died martyrs in Carthage
* Have a picture of the Savior and Joseph Smith within a venn diagram on the board. Make sure the section for similarities in the middle is larger than the differences section. Ask the children to come up with as many similarities and differences as they can between Jesus and Joseph. Emphasize how Jesus is our Savior, we worship Heavenly Father and Him ONLY. But we highly reverence our beloved prophet Joseph because he helped bring back the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Ask the children what they know and can share about Joseph Smith. Have the children write thank you notes to Joseph Smith. Ask them to name specifics. ("Because he was nice" is not specific, ask "how was he nice", "He spent a lot of time translating the plates" Voila.) We obviously can't give these notes to Joseph Smith but the children can take them home and put them in a journal. Encourage the children to pray and take time that night to feel the spirit bear witness that Joseph Smith did indeed restore the gospel of Christ.

Monday, November 3, 2008

November 2008 Sharing Time Helps for Week 3

For weeks 1,2 and 4 scroll on down folks!
Week 3 Heavenly Father loves all His children.

Here are a couple Reader's Theatres I've written. But before, some tips for a smooth experience:
* choose your readers carefully!!!!, remember most Sunbeams can't read so don't get upset if you hand them the part and they're holding it upside down looking at you oddly
* Have plenty of scripts!! At least one for each part. Highlight the parts according to each script so it's easier for the children to follow and know when they're speaking.
* Give them a few minutes to look over their part, sing some songs while doing so.
* Bring in SIMPLE props or costumes. I was thinking round circles of paper with cotton balls glued on to make a little sheep hat? Just go easy, you want their attention focused on the message and doctrine of the play
* Have a script for yourself to follow to help prompt. Be familiar with it so you can direct the children in what they need to do, especially the non-speaking parts.
* Pace yourself. You only have 15ish minutes, don't try to squeeze too much in too little time.
* Ask the review questions after the play
* Some preventative preparation: Pray, pray, pray... and pray some more that it will go smoothly and that the spirit will be there (throughout the week before)
On a side note, all quoted items are from the scriptures, hymnbook, prophets themselves and referenced at the end. So what Joseph Smith says is what he's actually said before and same with President Monson.

Dear to the Heart of the Shepherd
By Sofia Lykes
Narrator 1 and 2
Sheep 1 and 2
Nonspeaking- 4 or 5 other sheep, 2 friends/neighbors, 1 person posed as mountain dividing shepherd from sheep??
Narrator 1: Dear to the heart of the Shepherd, Dear are the sheep of his fold; Dear is the love that he gives them, Dearer than silver or gold.

Shepherd: Hmmmmmmm…. Would I rather have a million dollars or my sheep? That’s easy!! My precious sheep. I love them so!!

Narrator 1: Dear to the heart of the Shepherd, Dear are his “other” lost sheep;Over the mountains he follows, Over the waters so deep.

Sheep 1: Baaaaa. What does dear to the heart mean? You keep saying it over and over and over? Baaaa.

Narrator 1: Dear to the heart means that the Shepherd loves his sheep very much.

Shepherd: I love them so much I’d follow them over the high mountains and deep waters.

Sheep 1: Baaaaa. Well, what if the mountain was steep and dangerous and the water freezing cold. Would you follow and search for me then?

Shepherd: Luke Chapter 15 verses 4 through 7 answers your question perfectly. Come closer little sheep and we will read it together.

Narrator 2: “What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.”

Narrator 1: And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.”

Sheep 2: Baaa. That’s really deep.

Shepherd: See, the Good Shepherd is seeking, Seeking the lambs that are lost,Bringing them in with rejoicing, Saved at such infinite cost.

Questions to ponder/ask: What infinite cost were we all bought with? What does this play teach us about God’s love for all His children? How can we be under-shepherds?
References: Dear to the Heart of the Children Hymn 221

Heavenly Father's Love Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
By Sofia Lykes

Narrator 1 and 2
Joseph Smith
President Monson
Non speaking-3 Mob members, Hyrum Smith, John Taylor, Willard Richards

Narrator 1: Sometimes I wish I could have lived in ancient Egypt. I wish I could have seen Moses part the red sea. Heavenly Father must have loved them a lot to make such a miracle happen.

Narrator 2: I know! That would have been awesome!

Joseph Smith: “Souls are as precious in the sight of God as they ever were.”

Narrator 1: But I’ve never had a huge miracle in my life before.

Narrator 2: Hey, Joseph Smith is right! Remember the scripture 1 Ne. 10: 18 “ For he (Heavenly Father) is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” We may not have walls of water around us, but we can see the miracle of God’s love around us!

President Monson: "I think one of the sweetest lessons taught by the Prophet, and yet one of the saddest, occurred close to the time of his death. He was required to leave his plan and vision of the Rocky Mountains and give himself up to face a court of supposed justice. These are his words:”

Joseph Smith: “I am going like a lamb to the slaughter; but I am calm as a summer's morning; I have a conscience void of offense towards God, and towards all men' (D&C 135:4).”

President Monson: “There was to be one great final lesson before his mortal life ended. He was incarcerated in Carthage Jail with his brother Hyrum, with John Taylor, and with Willard Richards. The angry mob stormed the jail; they came up the stairway, blasphemous in their cursing, heavily armed, and began to fire at will. Hyrum was hit and died. John Taylor took several balls of fire within his bosom. The Prophet Joseph, with his pistol in hand, was attempting to defend his life and that of his brethren, and yet he could tell from the pounding on the door that this mob would storm that door and would kill John Taylor and Willard Richards in an attempt to kill him.
And so his last great act here upon the earth was to leave the door and lead Willard Richards to safety, throw the gun on the floor, and go to the window, that they might see him, that the attention of this ruthless mob might be focused upon him rather than the others. Joseph Smith gave his life. Willard Richards was spared, and John Taylor recovered from his wounds.
Narrator 2: Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13). The Prophet Joseph Smith taught us love--by example.

Narrator 1: Joseph Smith knew the importance and truth of God’s love for each one of us.

President Monson: “With all the strength of my soul I testify that our Heavenly Father loves each one of us. He hears the prayers of humble hearts; He hears our cries for help. . . . His Son, our Savior and Redeemer, speaks to each of us today: 'Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him' (Revelation 3:20).
"Will we listen for that knock? Will we hear that voice? Will we open that door to the Lord, that we may receive the help He is so ready to provide? I pray that we will."
Questions to ponder/ask: If God loves us, why do bad things sometimes happen still? What has happened in my life to know Heavenly Father loves me?

Thomas S. Monson, "Mrs. Patton--the Story Continues," Ensign, Nov. 2007, 24
Thomas S. Monson, "By Example," New Era, Dec. 2005, 8
Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith P. 76-77

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Miscellaneous Finds on Gratitude

The church website has THE BEST resources!! In case you don't have the time, here are some links to stories, FHE's, Friend Articles on Gratitude.

31106, Family Home Evening Resource Book, Lesson Ideas, Gratitude, 192

"I am overwhelmed with feelings of thanksgiving. I feel so richly blessed of the Lord. I think no man has been blessed so richly as I have been blessed. I cannot understand it..." Gordon B. Hinkley
Want more, click here.

Elizabeth Ricks, “Two Little Words,” Friend, Nov 2007, 14–16
* Gratitude Journal Idea included

Pat Graham, “Sharing Time: Gratitude for God’s Creations,” Friend, Jul 1984, 37
* Pioneers who gave thanks

Margaret Lifferth, “Sharing Time: I Am Grateful for Many Things,” Friend, Dec 2005, 17
* When you scroll down, look at the Sharing Time Ideas 1 and 4, excellent!!

Elizabeth Ricks, “Sharing Time: Magnificent Promises,” Friend, Nov 2006, 14–16
* WOW! WOW! WOW! Thanks Sister Ricks!!

William Schlegl, “Thankfulness,” Friend, Nov 2008, 21
* A fun brain teaser for a primary newsletter.