The Invitation by Jenedy Paige
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Monthly Theme: Principles ad Ordinances of the Gospel Lead Me to Jesus Christ.
Monthly Scripture: “We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost” Articles of Faith 1:4
Week 1 My faith in Jesus Christ is strengthened when I obey.
* We know what is right. We know the things we can do to show obedience and return to Heavenly Father. THIS is a story about a horse who was not obedient. It's a little sad what happens to him... warning!! Share the story with the primary children.
2 Nephi 2:27 "Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself."
Because the horse would not be obedient, what did he end up choosing?
Have 3 pictures of beautiful strong horses. On the chalkboard draw 3 lines horizontal with 15 notches vertical on each line for the horses to move according to a roll of the die. Which horse will be first?? Can we get them all to the finish by working as a team?? (Magnets work better than tape for moving!!)
Make about 20 index cards with scriptures, questions, and/or songs about faith and obedience. Let a child come up front, choose a card and answer the question. If they get it right, they can roll a die and choose a horse to move forward that many notches.
Have a handout for them to take home, fill out, and color. It can be a picture of a horse. On the bottom can be the words, I will show obedience this week by _____________________ and my faith will be strengthened! If you want to adapt this idea for Family Home Evening, HERE is a link on how to draw a horse.
* Have a small obstacle course. Bring in a blindfold. Have one child give directions for the other child to get through the course blindfolded.
Our faith is strengthened when we are obedient and listen to the word of God! We will make it as long as we listen and do what is right! You can rearrange the course a few times and repeat. Have some questions for the children to answer before you switch up the obstacle course. They could include:
What is faith?
What is faith?
Who are some examples of people who were obedient in the scriptures? What about some examples of people who were NOT obedient in the scriptures?
What are some things we can do to show obedience?
Can you share an example of a time in your life when you were blessed for listening and following the commandments?
Why is it important to have a strong faith?
* HERE is a great link from The Friend. It has 5 examples from The Book of Mormon of people who were obedient. Bring in some SIMPLE dress up costumes. Invite a few children up front to put on the clothes and stand reverently holding a sign with the name of the person they are dressed up as. You'll be giving some clues (Read the lettered clue from The Friend) and will call on a reverent friend to share who they think it is. How was the faith of that person from the scriptures strengthened by their obedience? How were they blessed?
You might have time for another round! Make up 3-4 more clues for some modern day examples of obedience and bring in dress up for those. Dress up could be as simple as a hat or a scarf with gloves!
* I really like THIS story from April 2002 General Conference. To paraphrase, a man and his family went out fishing in the ocean on a beautiful sunny day. Out of nowhere, an 8 foot tall wave crashed into the boat! Their uncle was slammed out of the boat. Fortunately, they were able to rescue him. But where did this wave come? It was a thing called a sneaker wave. 5 people had died that very same day because of that very same wave.
Elder Schultz says, "As we make our way through this life’s journey, we must continually be on guard and watch for those things which are deceptive and not what they appear to be. If we are not careful, the sneaker waves in life can be as deadly as those in the ocean.
One of the sneaky ploys of the adversary is to have us believe that unquestioning obedience to the principles and commandments of God is blind obedience. His goal is to have us believe that we should be following our own worldly ways and selfish ambitions. This he does by persuading us that “blindly” following the prophets and obeying the commandments is not thinking for ourselves. He teaches that it is not intelligent to do something just because we are told to do so by a living prophet or by prophets who speak to us from the scriptures.
Our unquestioning obedience to the Lord’s commandments is not blind obedience."
Have 3 spray bottles filled with water. Have all the primary children close their eyes. NO PEEKING!!! Choose 3 friends to spray a sneaker wave on another primary friend's HAND. Then have them come up front. Whoever was sprayed can stand up to answer a question about faith/obedience and guess who sprayed them. If they guess right, then they can be the next sneaker wave.
Bear testimony that there will be times in life when sneaker waves will come. If we are obedient and faithful, we will be safe!!
Week 2 I can repent.
* Invite 5 friends up front. They are going to choose an action to do for the person next to them to follow. They will say, "I can..... can you?" They will each have to repeat the action from the people in front of them, so the fifth person will be busy! After the 5th person adds their action, have the entire primary do all the actions together! (It's nice to get up and move around!!)
Some friends were able to do the actions, some maybe weren't. Some people can jump rope, some can't. Some people can build bridges, others can swim, even some others can run a mile in 6 minutes. One thing that EVERYONE 8 years old and older can do is REPENT!!!! If we're under 8 we can definitely practice for when we are older by saying sorry for our mistakes!!!
Play a few rounds of "I can.... can you?" You're looking for reverent friends who can come up front to help! Friends that are listening, participating, keeping hands to self, and not talking so that the spirit can be felt. In between each round have questions about the repentance process. What do we have to do to repent? For your final round, have a picture of Jesus Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane. Bear your personal witness of The Atonement.
* I always love the visual demonstration of putting a really old/dirty penny completely into a small cup of ketchup. After letting it sit for 5-10 minutes, you can take it out and wipe it off and it will be shiny and like new. Practice this though before you do it in primary!
I don't want any of the children to misunderstand this quote. Obedience is very important, but just doing good things would never be enough in life. The Atonement of Christ should be at the center of our lives. President Uchtdorf from our last general conference said, "Salvation cannot be bought with the currency of obedience; it is purchased by the blood of the Son of God. Thinking that we can trade our good works for salvation is like buying a plane ticket and then supposing we own the airline. Or thinking that after paying rent for our home, we now hold title to the entire planet earth." (The Gift of Grace)
We must repent!!! But repentance is only possible because of the love of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ for us!!!
* Have a child stand on one side of the room. Have a trash can all the way on the other side of the room. Can they toss a piece of trash into the garbage?
President Thomas S. Monson has taught, “One of God’s greatest gifts to us is the joy of trying again, for no failure ever need be final....
Who among us cannot remember moments of failure?
One such moment came to me as a young basketball player. The game was close—hotly contested—when the coach called me from the bench to run a key play. For some reason which I shall never understand, I took the pass and dribbled the ball right through the opposing team. I jumped high toward the basket; and, as the basketball left my fingertips, I came to the abrupt realization that I was shooting for the wrong basket. I offered the shortest prayer I have ever spoken: “Dear Father, don’t let that ball go in.” My prayer was answered, but my ordeal was just beginning. I heard a loud cheer erupt from the adoring fans: “We want Monson, we want Monson, we want Monson … OUT!” The coach obliged.” (The Will Within,” Ensign, May 1987)Let the friend try again a little closer until they make it! We can repent!!! When we make a mistake, it's not the end. We can try again!! Have each class come up with 3 True/False questions about repentance and write them down. Invite a primary friend to toss a piece of trash into the garbage, but first have them answer one of the true/false questions.
End with a final thought from President Monson's above mentioned talk, “Change for the better can come to all." Repentance is a gift from God. We don't ever need to think that if we make a mistake, that's it. Bear testimony that you know we can repent.
Week 3 When I am baptized I make a covenant with God.
* What is a covenant? Good insight HERE. (Bible Dictionary)
* "Baptism symbolizes our birth into the kingdom of God. It is a pivotal event in our eternal progress. Just as we cannot have mortal life without physical birth, so we cannot enter the kingdom of God except by being born of the water and of the Spirit (see John 3:5). Thus it is very important to thoroughly understand the covenant of baptism." (From Doctrines of the Gospel Student Manual)
Bring in a couple birthday presents, a birthday hat, a mini-piñata, a mini birthday cake, a balloon, a party favor bag.... (about 10 items) Make a nice little display on your front table of birthday things you can think of!
Say the following words, "You've had a birthday, shout hooray! When you were baptized, at age 8! Born of water and spirit too, you made a promise, it's true!" ( I AM NOT SUGGESTING IN ANY WAY TO HAVE YOUR PRIMARY CHANGE THE WORDS TO THE SONG AND SING IT. I'm merely trying to illustrate in a different way what the above quote talks about.)
Have questions, scriptures, and songs about baptism and the baptismal covenant on the different birthday items. Have a reverent child come up front and choose a birthday item and answer the question. Just as our birthdays are special days, our Baptismal day is one of extreme importance. It's the day we are born into the kingdom of God! End with singing, I Like My Birthdays (Children's Songbook pg. 104)
* See if you can gather about 7-8 pictures of people that were baptized in your ward when they were children, e.g. the bishop, the primary pianist. It will take some work and preparation beforehand! Ask them to briefly tell a little bit about what they remember from their baptism. Share that with the children, and have them guess who said it and what picture matches! Have other questions and scriptures prepared for children to answer/read before you give the next hint! Ask if a child who was recently baptized would be willing to share a little bit about their special day and a picture too!
* HERE is a great story from The Friend with a Covenant Keeper certificate! After you talk about baptism and the covenants associated with it, spend some time to make cards for anyone that may be mourning or need a lift!
Week 4 When I am confirmed I receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
* Share this quote from conference with the children, " Years ago I listened to a radio interview of a young doctor who worked in a hospital in the Navajo Nation. He told of an experience he had one night when an old Native American man with long braided hair came into the emergency room. The young doctor took his clipboard, approached the man, and said, “How can I help you?” The old man looked straight ahead and said nothing. The doctor, feeling somewhat impatient, tried again. “I cannot help you if you don’t speak to me,” he said. “Tell me why you have come to the hospital.”
The old man then looked at him and said, “Do you dance?” As the young doctor pondered the strange question, it occurred to him that perhaps his patient was a tribal medicine man who, according to ancient tribal customs, sought to heal the sick through song and dance rather than through prescribing medication.
“No,” said the doctor, “I don’t dance. Do you dance?” The old man nodded yes. Then the doctor asked, “Could you teach me to dance?”
The old man’s response has for many years caused me much reflection. “I can teach you to dance,” he said, “but you have to hear the music.”Sometimes in our homes, we successfully teach the dance steps but are not as successful in helping our family members to hear the music. And as the old medicine man well knew, it is hard to dance without music. Dancing without music is awkward and unfulfilling—even embarrassing. Have you ever tried it?
In section 8 of the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord taught Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, “Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart” (verse 2). We learn the dance steps with our minds, but we hear the music with our hearts. The dance steps of the gospel are the things we do; the music of the gospel is the joyful spiritual feeling that comes from the Holy Ghost." (From The Music of the Gospel by Elder Wilford Anderson)
Time to learn some dance moves!!! Have a paper bag with pieces of paper including simple dance steps you can teach or do WITHOUT MUSIC!!- grapevine, cha cha, waltz, animal dance move (e.g. how would an elephant dance?), disco, twist, freeze dance, moonwalking, Charleston, robot, running man, sprinkler.....
ONLY DO THIS ACTIVITY IF THE CHILDREN ARE ABLE TO CALM DOWN QUICKLY!!! If you have a really reverent group that can handle this and have fun great, if not, DON'T do it!! This could easily get out of control if you don't have good behavior management. With that said, it would be a great family home evening!!
In between choosing dance moves, have questions, scriptures, and songs about the Holy Ghost.
REPEAT OFTEN through the lesson "The dance steps of the gospel are the things we do; the music of the gospel is the joyful spiritual feeling that comes from the Holy Ghost."
* Bring in about 3 gifts that you have received in your life that are very special to you. Show the children and share the stories behind them. But there is one gift that is the most special you have been given. It's not a gift you can see. It is one that helps you daily and a gift that helps you feel peaceful and happy. Can the primary children guess what that gift is?
Invite the children to write down or draw a picture of a time they have felt the Holy Ghost. For little Sunbeams and CTR 4 children... have them draw a picture of happy people. The Holy Ghost can help us feel happy. Teachers can help them write a sentence about what their picture is.
Take all these papers and put into a box. Wrap or add a bow. Give it to the missionaries to share with a person they are teaching. We know that when we are confirmed, we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost!!!
Don't forget to talk about what it means to receive!! The Holy Ghost is never something that is forced on us, we must be willing to invite Him into our lives!
* HERE is a very simple matching game that children could do in small groups from The Liahona.
* Sometimes it's good to just get moving around. Have 4 stations in the room. At each station, invite a member to share a personal story of how the Holy Ghost has helped them. (You will need the Bishop's approval beforehand) Divide into groups and rotate stations every 2 1/2 minutes. Gather together and invite any children to share an experience of how the Holy Ghost has helped them, or some feelings they have felt because of the Holy Ghost. Bear testimony that when we are confirmed, we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.