Christ and Child by Carl Bloch 1873
Monthly Theme: Jesus Christ is Our Savior.
Monthly Scripture: "We have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world." 1 John 4:14
Week 1 I can gain a testimony of Jesus Christ.
* "In conferences we can receive the word of the Lord meant just for us.... On a computer, phone, or other electronic device, we can read, listen to, watch, and share the teachings of the prophets. Anytime, anywhere, we can enlarge our knowledge, strengthen our faith and testimony..." Elder Robert D. Hales Oct. 2013 General Conference "General Conference: Strengthening Faith and Testimony"
This quote was very recent. If we want to strengthen our faith and testimony of Jesus Christ, we should study the words of General Conference!! Divide into groups and give them stories to read from the talks in conference. You can give them highlighted portions of the talk. How do these words help us to believe in Jesus?
Some great stories include:
Brother Moses Mahlangu HERE (He wasn't able to attend church because of the laws of the country, but still listened by the windows outside. How did he strengthen his testimony in Jesus?)
Elder Dube HERE (He had to pull weeds with his mother and she told him to always look forward to what needs to be done. He also made a comparison with the Saints when they left Nauvoo. What does faith have to do with testimony of Jesus?)
Elder Neilson HERE (A little boy thinks the prophet has called on the phone! What has the prophet called us to do in life? How can we develop our testimony with missionary work?)
Thumb through the talks and pray for the spirit to guide you!
* HERE is a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful!!! article from lds.org by Mindy Raye Friedman. I especially like her section where she talks about a large fire comes from small kindling (she has a great picture too). Of course, you'd have to preface your lesson that WE NEVER PLAY WITH MATCHES!!!!!! As a visual though, you can bring in some small sticks and let the children add them to a pile (maybe ask some scouts about a good wood formation to start a fire!) As they add a stick they have to say something they can do to gain a testimony of Jesus. They can also add sticks by reading scriptures about testimony or singing a song as a primary about testimony. We want a bright burning testimony always in our hearts of The Savior, and it's the little things we do in life that will add to the flame!
And just for you teachers, a good reminder with this fire theme, ""Keep the fire of your testimony of the restored gospel and your witness of our redeemer burning so brightly that our children can warm their hands by the fire or your faith." Boyd K. Packer (Ensign, May 2003, pp. 84)
* "How does one gain what we call a testimony? The first step in gaining any kind of knowledge is to really desire to know. In the case of spiritual knowledge, the next step is to ask God in sincere prayer...
As we desire and seek, we should remember that acquiring a testimony is not a passive thing but a process in which we are expected to do something...
Another way to seek a testimony seems astonishing when compared with the methods of obtaining other knowledge. We gain or strengthen a testimony by bearing it...
A personal testimony is fundamental to our faith. Consequently, the things we must do to acquire, strengthen, and retain a testimony are vital to our spiritual life. In addition to those already stated, we need to partake of the sacrament each week (see D&C 59:9) to qualify for the precious promise that we will “always have his Spirit to be with [us]” D&C 20:77. Of course, that Spirit is the source of our testimonies." Elder Dallin H. Oaks Testimony May 2008 Ensign
This is a good visual to draw on the board. At the bottom we write a question mark, then we draw steps to Testimony of Jesus at the top. You'll need 5 steps. Use scripture stories or personal stories and ask the children to share any thoughts as you go over each step he mentioned: desire to know, pray, do something, bear testimony, partake of the sacrament each week.
Week 2 Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ I can repent and be forgiven of my sins.
* Everyone LOVES Matt and Mandy!! HERE is a great illustration of Mom doing wash. Read it to the children and show them the pictures. In the third box, you're going to have to briefly "expound" on when mom says, "When we're baptized our sins are washed away." This is absolutely true when a person is baptized after age 8. Before age 8, children DO NOT have sins that are washed away by baptism. After 8, because of baptism, their sins can be washed away! Click HERE for more information.
With that out of the way, continue on to the beautiful analogy of the Atonement being the only way possible to live life and do our wash!!
You could make a washing machine on a piece of paper with a cut out for children to insert a dirty shirt. Make a small whirring noise and shake the paper a little. Do you feel goofy doing this? Get over it, be a fun person! Smile! Hold a clean shirt up behind the washing machine and let the child reach in and get the clean paper shirt. Each time you do it repeat the weekly theme, "Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ I can repent and be forgiven of my sins!"
Do this about 10 times and have the children answer questions about The Atonement and repentance. Some questions could include:
Where did The Atonement take place? (The prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, and the final Sacrifice on the cross... have pictures!)
Why do you think Heavenly Father and Jesus went through with The Atonement?
What do we need to do to repent?
Will we be forgiven if we truly repent?
* Ben Davis was a brave little boy! His story, HERE, was featured in The Friend. You could share this with the children. Have a white paper snowman and let a couple children tear it a few times, maybe into 8 pieces. We ALL make mistakes!!The Atonement makes repentance possible. When we repent, we are forgiven.
The little boy couldn't give back the snowman, but he did what he could to make it right again. Have a small/mini candy bar (IF THE SPIRIT PROMPTS YOU THAT IT IS OK, and please be aware of allergies!!!! I don't believe in sugaring up kids, it just goes with his story. We're using the sense of taste to reinforce the teaching.) for each of the children. Invite them to come up and choose a piece of the torn snowman to give to you and answer a question about The Atonement or repentance. Tell them not to eat the candy bar until after a special song. After the 8 children have gotten a candy bar, sing Repentance (CS pg.98). Tell the children you're watching for good singing and reverent manners... then pass out the rest of the candy bars so every child can have one. Now they can eat and reverently throw out wrappers.
When everyone is back in their chairs, bear testimony of The Atonement, repentance, and forgiveness.
* This is a little visual I made taking examples from the Book of Mormon. Bad choices were made, but because of The Atonement and their willingness to repent, they were able to then make good choices and be forgiven. Have the children tell you what these choices were.
After looking in depth at these examples, going over the stories with the children, what does The Atonement mean for me? We all make mistakes. Is it better to stay away from sin so we don't make serious mistakes? Can anyone think of examples from the scriptures of people who didn't understand the Atonement and repent.... what happened to them?
Week 3 Jesus Christ was resurrected, and I will be too!
* HERE is a reader's theater I wrote for OLDER children.
* HERE is the Bible Video for Jesus is Resurrected.
* HERE is the scripture story of Jesus Resurrected. It has 12 parts/pictures. If you feel like the children in your primary do NOT know the story or need it reviewed, then you can cut up the 12 parts and put them in numbered envelopes under chairs. Have the children come up front and bring their part when their number is called.
* HERE is a visual children can make of the different witnesses of Christ when He was resurrected.
* This idea is from Sister Elizabeth Ricks (April 2007 Friend) "Display three shoe boxes, and ask the children to raise their hands if they like to try on new shoes. Explain that you want them to imagine trying on some other people’s shoes, but more important you want them to imagine what it would be like to actually be that person. One by one, take out a pair of shoes from each box. (You can also display pictures or drawings of shoes.) Show a pair of boots to represent the soldiers who guarded Jesus’s tomb. Use detail to tell the story in such a way that the children can imagine being there when Jesus Christ was laid in the tomb. Next, use a pair of sandals to tell the story of Mary Magdalene. Ask the children how it might have felt to have been at the garden tomb when the resurrected Savior appeared. Last, show a pair of shoes that children in your area commonly wear. Ask how it feels to be a member of the Church and to have the knowledge that you will be resurrected because of the Atonement and Resurrection of Jesus Christ."
Sing “Did Jesus Really Live Again?” (p. 64), and bear testimony that the Easter story is the most glorious story in the world. Testify that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that He died and was resurrected.
Recycled Ideas from previous posts:
* Have a picture of a sign "Dead End". What does this mean? Have a plastic toy bulldozer. How is Jesus Christ like a bulldozer? To some it may seem like when we die, there is no where else to go. But we know that there is more beyond the grave and Jesus has cleared the way because of His atonement and resurrection! Have the bulldozer run over the dead end sign!
* Have a teacher or another adult come to the front to help. Tie their hands together. What does that feel like? Can they do as many things with their hands tied? Mosiah 15:20 "But behold, the bands of death shall be broken, and the Son reigneth, and hath power over the dead; therefore, he bringeth to pass the resurrection of the dead." Cut the string. The teacher's hand is free now. How does that feel?
How does it feel to know that we aren't tied down to sickness, pain, and sorrow that comes from this earth life? Can you feel the spirit bearing truth, it's a peaceful happy feeling, that we are free! We will live again!!
Week 4 I can show respect for The Savior by being reverent.
* THIS is a must read in preparation for the week's topic. I'm going to highlight the part "What is my demeanor during a sports event?" and send it to my hubby. Sometimes he gets a little riled when it comes to his Seahawks. And can we all get an AMEN to , "Many problems with reverence can be defused with a well-prepared lesson in which the students participate."
* HERE is an article/activity from The Friend. They have a reverence jar that you could easily adapt to a sharing time. You'd be surprised, but sometimes simple things make a big impact and can be fun. They have a list of reverent things you can do to show respect. Cut those into strips and then make a list of about 10 things that are NOT reverent and cut those also into strips. Have children choose from a bag and decide whether it should go in the reverent jar... if it's not reverent, then it's not showing respect for Jesus! Have the child crumple up the paper and shoot it like a basketball into the garbage!
* "It is not enough to understand the gospel and value it. Reverence is an active, not a passive, feeling. It is not a mere “Shush!” It requires that we become thoughtfully and spiritually involved in our worship services, recognizing the importance of the Savior’s sacrifice in our behalf. " (Children Can Learn Reverence Ensign Feb. 1984 HERE)
Play a game of "SHUSH!!!!" Invite a primary friend to come up front to answer a question or read a scripture about reverence. Then have them turn around and cover their eyes. Tap 4 friends in the primary to stand up, one of the friends you tap hold your finger to your mouth. They are the friend that will go "SHUSH!!!". Then the one who is up front turns around and gets to guess who said, "SHUSH!!!" Have about 10-12 questions on reverence prepared.
Some questions could include:
Why is walking in the hallways of church, even on a weekday, important and showing respect for The Savior?
What are some ways you can show reverence during Family Home Evening?
What does it mean to be "spiritually involved in our worship services"?
How would you describe the reverent feeling you get at the temple?
Why is dressing modestly showing reverence?
Can you name someone in the scriptures who showed reverence?
* "The more one loves God, the deeper will be his reverence for Him." (President Romney Ensign Sept. 1982)
Have a bunch of paper hearts! A lot! A lot! A lot!! Let children have as many as they want to write down reasons why they love Jesus. Some examples could include: He died for me, He created fish, He healed people, He helps me, He gave me my family, He sacrificed.... Have a big bucket to put the hearts in.
Have green squares with paper clips. On these green squares you can have quotes, questions, scriptures or songs about reverence. When we love Jesus, we have reverence there too!! Love and reverence go hand in hand!! Invite a friend to fish out a reverence square and do what it says. Invite them to also choose a heart to read. Keep on repeating the quote, "The more one loves God, the deeper will be his reverence for Him." Sometimes leave out words and see if the children can fill in the blank!! For a fishing stick, just have a good magnet on the end of the string to pick up the paper clipped squares.
* Exodus 3:4-5 "And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.
And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground"
Have a picture of Moses and the burning bush. Have paper footprints scattered throughout the room. In this sacred occasion, Moses was standing on holy ground. We don't always stand on holy ground and we don't always have to take off our shoes to show reverence. But as we look at this example from the scriptures, we need to remember that when The Lord asks us to do something, we listen and show Him respect and love by being reverence.
On the paper footprints throughout the room you can have examples of people from the scriptures or stories of primary friends showing reverence!
For example: Enos knelt in prayer all day and all night. How does kneeling during prayer show reverence? Can someone tell me a little more about what he did?
Daniel refused to eat the King's meat and wine. He showed obedience. How does obedience help a person to be reverent? Later in life he refused to pray to other gods and was thrown into the lion's den. How does reverence protect us?
Suzy gave a great talk on faith last week. She showed reverence by being prepared and ready to teach by the spirit. She showed reverence by having a smiling face while she spoke- because reverence invites happiness!
Harold is always respectful of people's space. He doesn't poke others and keeps his feet to himself. More importantly, he is always listening and paying attention. You can tell he loves to learn about the gospel. Reverence is more than quietly sitting, it's thinking of Father above!!
If you do decide to do examples out of the primary children, PLEASE PREFACE and make it positive! Tell the children that you are going to highlight some great reverence you've seen in primary, but everyone needs to know how special EVERY PERSON in primary is!! If they aren't on the footstep, that's OK, come to me after primary and I'll tell you a time that was noticed when you were being reverent. We are so blessed to have such a wonderful primary with children who show love and respect for The Savior by being reverent!!