Thursday, February 5, 2009



I have been sharing teaching ideas with children's ministers through my monthly Newsletters and on my 'Blog' sites since 2002. In these 'Special Blogs', I have grouped together some of my ideas into some of the major Biblical teaching areas. In this way it is hoped that readers will be able to go directly to a particular subject to view some ideas - object lessons, teaching tips, stories etc., or even to prepare a complete children's lesson (or lessons) on that subject.

Maurice Sweetsur
Email :

 Contents - All 'Special Blogs'.

1. Creation.
2. Christmas.
3. Easter.
4. The Bible.
5. Prayer.
6. Hearing from God.
7. The Ten Commandments.
8. John 3.16.
9. Teaching Memory verses.
10. Gospel Illusions.
11. Object Lessons (using natural laws).
12. Lessons involving balloons.
13. Lessons involving fire.

Other Blog sites from Maurice Sweetsur :-

Children's ministry -
All teaching material (All Newsletters) -
Object lessons / Illusions -
Bible lessons and Teaching tips -
Stories, skits and puppet plays -
Bible answers for kids -
Kidzone (Children's site) -
Kidzone - Archives. -

To find out more about my ministry to children, go to my main 'Blog' -

Introduction (Creation).

Creation or Evolution. Does it really matter what we believe?

Many Christians would answer "No" to that question, stating that all that really matters is whether we have put our trust in Christ and been 'born again'. Consequently they would argue that therefore it doesn't really matter what we teach our children about the origins of the Universe and life. In fact I have a Christian friend who refuses to teach on the subject of Creation, stating that it is too controversial.

I can sympathise with my friend's point of view because our children are being brought up in an 'evolutionised' society where it is usually accepted without question that higher life forms evolved from lower ones and that the earth is billions of years old. Therefore to teach children that God made the entire Universe, including all its different life forms, in the space of just six days only a few thousand years ago, is indeed likely to cause confusion in the minds of some.

I should make it clear that I am not talking about Godless evolution, which basically states that everything in the Universe made itself due to a series of chance random processes over billions of years. No, I am talking about theistic evolution, which is the belief that simple life forms did change and evolve into higher ones, but that God directed the process.

Many Christians do believe in theistic evolution, thinking that they have found a way to both keep their faith and accept the most popular 'scientific' views regarding our origins. They argue that God could have created us through a series of evolutionary processes. True, but the real question here is not how God created us, but rather how God said he created us. And a straightforward reading of the Bible tells us that God created each different 'kind' complete and perfect in the space of six days.

Some Christians regard the Biblical account of Creation and the subsequent fall of man as myths. But if the first part of the Bible never really happened, where then do the myths end and real history begin? If people put their own interpretations on the first part of the Bible, where do they stop? If Genesis cannot be trusted, and God didn't really make things as the Bible describes, how do we know for example that all the miracles the Bible talks about really happened? And what about the resurrection of Jesus? Perhaps his body didn't really rise from the dead? Maybe it was just a 'Spiritual' resurrection? Also, if the Bible is open to different interpretations, how do we know which one is the correct one? No. If we don't accept the entire Bible as God's infallible word, we are likely to end up doubting it all.

I believe it is important to teach our children about Biblical creation and the subsequent "fall of man", because the Gospel doesn't make much sense without it. We need to teach the bad news before we can teach the good news. If there was no original sin and rebellion against God, why do we need a Saviour?

I believe that the general decline in moral standards today can largely be attributed to the widespread teaching and acceptance of various forms of evolution. If we are taught that we are just highly evolved animals, it is hardly surprising that many end up acting like them.

If your pet dog gets old and sick, the best thing to do is get him 'put down'. So if your granny gets old and sick, why not put her down as well?

If a kitten is born deformed, the most humane thing to do would probably be to drown it. So what should we do with a human 'animal' that is born deformed?

If we all descended from the trees, some races have been 'human' longer than others, so aren't we justified in enslaving these 'lesser humans', or even eliminating them if they pose a threat to us?

Why do we need to wear clothes? Animals don't wear clothes, so why should we bother? (The answer of course is in Genesis - to cover up our shame. But if we reinterpret Genesis - - - - - ).

Why is homosexuality and same-sex marriage wrong? We have no reason for condemning such behaviour, if we don't believe a literal interpretation of Genesis.

If there is no Absolute Authority, and the Ten Commandments, for example, are only rules made up by men, why shouldn't we all make up our own personal rules, and live by them instead?

Thus, a society that believes in evolution is likely to allow euthanasia, abortion, racism, pornography, same-sex marriage and become increasingly lawless. A society that accepts the entire Bible as the 'Word of God' will know that every person is made in 'the image of God' and will treat them with the respect, caring and dignity that God demands.

For many years the Church has fought against such things as euthanasia, abortion, homosexuality etc. But, I believe they are fighting merely the symptoms of a sin-sick society. What we should be concentrating our efforts on is upholding the inerrancy, accuracy and integrity of the Bible. The Statement of Faith for most Christian denominations includes something like "We believe that the Bible in its entirety is the inspired and infallible Word of God." But so often many Christians compromise God's Word, and from their conversations it is obvious that they don't really believe it to have been given to us by the Creator, Himself. And if the 'world' thinks that we don't really believe parts of the Bible ourselves, why should they listen to us? If we don't believe it ourselves, how can we expect them to? They think we are just sharing our own opinions. And why should our opinions be any more valid than theirs? Some of the humanistic arguments put forward by Christians in trying, for example, to persuade youngsters to abstain from sex before marriage or not to co-habit, don't sound very convincing to me. No, I believe we will only be able to make real progress in our spiritual battles when we come to the place where we can say "That behaviour is wrong - because God's Word says so!" Period.

I recently read a very challenging book "Revolution in World Missions" by K. P. Yohannan, founder of 'Gospel for Asia'. Dr. Yohannan puts the case for "Preaching the Word" rather than sharing mainly a 'Social Gospel'. Concentrating on sharing the love of God by meeting the social needs of people has very limited success. He cites Thailand as an example. Christian missionaries have been active here for over 150 years. They have played a major role in the modernisation of the country, being largely responsible for its widespread literacy, first printing press, first university, first hospital, first doctor and almost every other benefit of education and science. Yet Christians still only make up about 2% of the population. Ultimately, what has been the value of these modern benefits, if most of the people still die without Christ?

First and foremost we are called to 'Preach the Gospel'. Some of you are probably thinking " I'm a teacher, not a Preacher." But the word 'Preach' simply means 'to make known'. And we can all make Christ known to the children in our classes. So I encourage you, when you teach a Bible account, do not simply teach it as a good story that the children can learn something from, but teach it also for what it is - the Word of God 'that cannot be broken', teach it in context, and teach it as real history.

It is easy to criticise the religious leaders of Jesus' day for their opposition to him, but at least they accepted the Scriptures as God's authoritative Word. In his discourses with these leaders, Jesus would often silence them by quoting scripture - "The scriptures say this, or the scriptures say that." The religious leaders couldn't argue with that because they all accepted the Word of God as absolute truth.

I long for the day when Society as a whole will once again accept God's Word as the final Authority for what we believe, and how we act. But it needs to begin with those who already profess a personal relationship with God.


Investigating the science behind Creationism.
Teaching tip - Our amazing earth.
Object Lesson - Teaching Creation using balloon modelling.
Teaching tip - Ideas on teaching about Creation.
Object Lesson - A memory feat.
The vastness of the universe.
Object Lesson - God can do things instantly.
Object Lesson - God's provision.
Letter to an atheist - A Birdbox and a tree.
Teaching tip - Creation and Evolution.
Creation or Evolution? - A comparison.
Teaching tip - Big bang or big mess?
What proof would satisfy?
Puppet play - "I don't believe in God."
Two popular questions.
1. Who made God?
2. Is there life elsewhere in the Universe?
After Eden.

Investigating the science behind Creationism

Here's the rub. Before I became a Christian I believed everything I was told about evolution. All those things were definite 'facts' because everyone I knew seemed to believe them. Even after becoming a Christian, I didn't think the 'New Earth Creationists' had a scientific left to stand on. I was wrong.

Evolution or creation? Old Earth or New Earth? To answer the questions I did what many people do in trying to fit what I read in the Bible into the evolutionary worldview I previously held.

For example, the 7 days of Creation weren't days at all, but some period of time that really meant millions of years. I had become a Theistic Evolutionist trying to fit the Bible into science which I used to believe was true.

As I grew in my awareness of God, I couldn't help but think if He said 'days' in the Bible and referred to morning and evening, then He probably meant days as we know them. The more I grew in my awareness of God, the more I doubted what I was previously told from an evolutionary view.

What really kicked off the search was a very simple view I held which was that if something 'appeared' to be designed, then it probably was. I was acutely aware that I might be trying to fit my Christian worldview into scientific data, but kept going back to let the scientific data speak for itself.

Then courtesy of a dear friend, Eric Hopley, my eyes were open to a chap called Dr Grady McMurtry. He is a very clever chap - an evolutionary specialist - but became a Christian at 27 which presented him with the same problem.

Rather than leave his brain behind and simply reiterate 'God did it', he stood up to the challenge with a determination and brain the size of a planet to look at the facts.

And here is what was revealed to me as if a light was turned on. We're told the Earth is old because it has to be if evolution is true. And we are told the Earth is old because all the evidence we hear tells us it is old.

So what is that evidence? Fossils? Rocks? Radiometric dating? Yes, all of them and several more. If any of these three are true, I would agree: the Earth is old and I still have the problem of fitting the Biblical account of creation into the scientific worldview.

When I started looking into these three, I was shocked to discover some massive problems with the assumptions of age. Age is really important. For a start, fossils have to happen quickly, else the life that is about to be fossilised decays naturally and won't produce a fossil. Therefore, fossils themselves are no indication of age.

Secondly, rocks and their strata that I assumed was evidence of millions of years, can easily be formed quickly. In fact, by examining their shape and line, they are far more likely to have been produced quickly than over millions of years.

Lastly radiometric dating which was conveniently difficult to understand in the beginning is easily proven to yield completely mad results in the lab.

Now even if someone like me who does not have a PhD in any of the above can understand very simply the obvious errors in the methods and 'facts' that we have been repeatedly told, why can't all Christians?

The simple answer is this: most Christians have left their brains behind and never engaged with the Scientists. Secondly, many who have engaged with the scientific worldview have unknowingly embraced a worldview which is contrary to the evidence in the Bible.

What was so exciting is the more I looked at the Bible, and then the scientific evidence, the more the Young Earth view seemed true. Fossils had to be created quickly, so therefore did the rocks around them.

A worldwide catastrophic flood that lead to the evidence we see seemed to be a much better explanation than the evolutionary one. And that is exactly what we see in the Bible.

Reading Romans 1:20-23: "For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities -his eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles".

Now this says to me that you don't need to have a massive brain to see that God created everything.  Nor is it difficult to see why 'wise' people go stupid to deny the existence of God.

When we look at 'Mr Evolution', Charles Darwin, one of the key reasons (encouragements, incentives) of publishing Origins was to deny the existence of a Divine Creator.

It removed God from the equation.

I can't help but feel that the motive for pursuing the evolutionary worldview is not so much about doing 'good science' but about doing science that removes God from the equation.

So I would say to anyone who is reading this and thinking I am a mad 'Young Earth Creationist' to forget the labels you want to give me and look at the evidence yourself.

And if right now you are steaming under the collar with rage because everything I have said undermines what you have accepted, here's three questions to take away and find out the answers yourself:

* What are the best conditions for fossils to be made?
* Can rock strata be created quickly?
* Is radiometric dating infallible?

So look into these, baring in mind the underlying worldview of the person who is presenting you with the 'facts'.

It is an interesting journey and I hope those who embark upon the discovery of the facts will not feel the conflict between believing in Genesis and the evidence there is out there.

T.T. - Our amazing earth.

God created the earth as it is for the benefit of His 'Special Creation' - us! We are to enjoy it and look after it (including everything that God has created on it, such as the animals) on His behalf.

God made the earth just right for us to live on. Even very small changes in the earth's conditions would make life, as we know it, impossible.

God's Creation is proof of the Work of a Creator!

God is very good

Consider the following nine facts - - - -

1. The earth is about 150 million kilometres from the sun. This is exactly the right distance to hold the temperature between 0 degrees C. and 40 degrees C. on most of the earth. This is the temperature needed to sustain most life. But if the earth were just 5% closer to the sun, not only would it be too hot for us, but the oceans would boil and the water would all evaporate. It has been calculated that even a 2 degree C. rise in the average surface temperature of the earth would be enough to melt the polar ice caps and cause devastating flooding). If the earth were only 5% further away from the sun, the oceans would freeze, making life in them and transport on them impossible.

2. The earth's orbit around the sun is nearly a perfect circle. If, as in the case of most other planets, the orbit were oval shaped (like an egg), the earth would be blazing hot as it approached the sun, and deathly cold as it moved away from it.

3. The earth rotates once on its axis every 24 hours. If it didn't rotate, one side would be day all the time and be very hot, and the other would be night all the time and be very cold. If the earth's speed of rotation were much slower than it is, our days would still be very hot, and our nights very cold. If the rotation were much faster, the wind would blow so strongly that we wouldn't be able to stand up in the open. The length of each day and night is also just right for the amount of sleep we need.

4. The earth is tilted on its axis by about 23 degrees. If it wasn't tilted this way, we would have no seasons. Countries near the equator would be very hot. Those far from the equator would be too cold to grow food - resulting in a world-wide food shortage.

5. The diameter of the earth is about 13,000 Kilometres. If it were only about 10% less than this then, because of the consequent reduction in gravity, most of the oxygen which we need to breathe would escape into outer space. If the diameter of the earth were 10% greater than at present, the increased gravity, and hence air pressure, would cause the polar ice caps to melt - resulting in devastating flooding.

6. Our atmosphere contains about 21% oxygen, which is just right for life on earth. A much higher level would make the planet highly inflammable, but at a much lower level, fire would not burn at all. And we would find it very hard to breathe!

Another type of oxygen is ozone. This forms a layer in our atmosphere which absorbs the very harmful ultraviolet light from the sun and prevents it reaching us on the earth. The problem with ozone is that it is poisonous. So where to we find this ozone layer? About 15 kilometres above the earth's surface, where it can do us no harm.

7. The pull of gravity on the earth by the moon and the sun causes the tides. Tides cleanse the ocean's shores, help put oxygen (that fish breathe) into the water, and help keep the ocean currents moving, preventing the sea from becoming stagnant. If the moon were a little smaller or a little further away than at present, there would be very little tidal action, resulting in even the oceans becoming stagnant and the death of all aquatic creatures. If the moon were a little larger or a little nearer than at present, the tidal action would be too severe, with low lying areas being flooded twice a day!

8. Unlike the earth, the moon doesn't rotate about its axis. This means that the same side of the moon always faces the earth. This side is made up of mostly dark dust, and so it only reflects about 7% of its sunlight to the earth. The other side of the moon is extremely rocky, and therefore very reflective. If this side faced the earth, our nights would be almost as bright as our days, thus making sleeping very difficult.

9. Although we don't know the purpose of all the planets in the solar system, we do know that the two largest, Jupiter (318 times the size of the earth) and Saturn (95 times the size of the earth), with their strong gravities, are in just the right positions to pull many comets and meteors away and prevent them crashing into the earth and killing us all.

O.L. - Teaching Creation using balloon modelling.

When introducing the topic of Creation, I usually start by emphasizing the point that there are two things that only God can do.

Firstly, although people are very clever, and can do such things like land a man on the moon, invent televisions or computers, they cannot make something out of nothing. Given starting materials, people can often change their properties - size, shape, colour, texture etc., but they cannot make something out of nothing - only God can do that.

Secondly, people cannot make something that is living out of something that is not living. Again, only God can do that.

I then proceed by stating that I am now going to re-create two of the creatures that God first created on the fifth and sixth days of the Creation week. I then make a balloon bird (or fish) and a balloon animal, continuing my talk as I do so. ( If you don't do balloon modelling, you can still get your point across by simply cutting out appropriate shapes from pieces of paper).

As you make the shapes, emphasize that you are starting with something that already exists e,g. your uninflated balloon and some air. Then state that for anybody to make anything ( whether it be a watchmaker, a car-maker, a shoe-maker, or a balloon animal maker) only two things are needed - Know-how ( or intelligence ) and Power ( or energy ). Without power, your idea will remain only in your head, and without know-how (or an intelligent plan), you will just make a big mess!

As your models near completion, ask "If I had more know-how, do you think I would make a better or worse model?" The children will respond "better." Then ask "The Bible tells us that God has all know-how (He knows everything and is super-intelligent), so how good do you think God could make things?" The children should respond "very good" or "perfect." Then state " That's exactly right. The Bible tells us that in the beginning, God created a perfect world."

Then ask "If I had more power, do you think I could make these models faster or slower than I can now?" The response will be "faster." Then ask "All the power in the Universe belongs to God, so how fast do you think He could make things?" The children should respond "in a split second" or "instantly." State "That's exactly right. The Bible tells us that God not only created a perfect world, but He also made everything in it instantly - just by speaking."

Alternatively (for a younger class) you could simply produce a balloon animal which has already been made, and ask "How do you think this model was made? Do you think it could have been made by accident? Perhaps someone left an uninflated balloon in this room last night, and left the window open. Overnight, the wind blew through the window and into the balloon. The balloon then began twisting itself round and round until it formed the shape of this animal which you see here now. Finally, the end of the balloon managed to tie itself in a knot to stop the air escaping. Do you think that really happened, or do you think that there is a balloon model maker somewhere who made this animal on purpose?" The children should see the absurdity of the model being able to make itself by accident, and respond "There is a balloon model maker somewhere." Emphasise the point that everything the children see around them has to have a maker. Watches need watchmakers, shoes need shoemakers, chairs need carpenters etc. Nothing can make itself.

You will then be able to apply the above argument to the creation of the Universe and everything in it. State "There are some people who believe that the Universe made itself by accident. But the Universe is far more wonderful and complex than a balloon animal, and if even that couldn't make itself, then how likely is it that the whole Universe made itself? No, the Bible teaches us that we have wonderful Creator who made the Universe and everything in it on purpose. And the good news is :- He made it all for our benefit.

T.T. - Ideas on teaching about Creation.

I can think of no other Bible topic that lends itself to so many fun activities for children than creation. Here are a few examples that you could incorporate into your lessons on this subject.

1. (Object Lesson - The earth, sun and moon). After teaching how God created the earth, sun and moon, get three children to act out their motions.
a. The sun stays still, but always shines (smiles).
b. The earth travels round the sun, rotating as it does so (365+ spins per one circuit round the sun!).
c. The moon travels round the earth, remembering to always keep its same side facing the earth.

I have always found this to be great fun for children of all ages. Usually the 'moon' finds it hard to keep up with the earth, causing great hilarity among the spectators.

You could explain that God has made the conditions on earth just right for life. Even small changes would make life, as we know it, impossible. Ask "What would it be like on earth if - - - ?

1. The earth was nearer to the sun -------- Too hot. (It has been calculated that even a 2 degree C. rise in the average surface temperature of the earth would be enough to melt the polar ice caps and cause devastating flooding).
2. The earth was further away from the sun ------ Too cold.
3. The earth didn't rotate once on its axis every 24 hours ------ One side would be day all the time and be very hot. The other would be night all the time and be very cold.
4. The earth rotated faster than now ------ Very short days and nights, and constant hurricane force winds.
5. The earth wasn't tilted on its axis ------ No seasons. Countries near the equator would be very hot. Those far from the equator would be too cold to grow food - resulting in a world-wide food shortage.
6. The diameter of the earth was (say 10%) less than its present 13,000 Kilometres ------- Because of the consequent reduction in gravity, most of the oxygen which we need to breathe would escape into outer space.
7. The diameter of the earth was 10% greater than at present ------ The increased gravity, and hence air pressure would cause the polar ice caps to melt - resulting in devastating flooding.
8. The moon was a little smaller or a little further away than at present ------ Very little tidal action, resulting in even the oceans becoming stagnant and the death of all aquatic creatures.
9. The moon was a little larger or a little nearer than at present ------ Too severe tidal action, with low lying areas being flooded twice a day!

What a wonderful Creator we have, who not only made the earth just right for us to inhabit, but He also keeps it that way year, after year, after year.

2. (Object Lesson - Gravity). Get a soft, hollow ball and pierce two holes in it close to each other. Thread a piece of string through the holes and tie together. You are now ready to demonstrate the importance of having the right strength of gravity as the earth circles the sun.

Hold the end of the string, and swing the ball round your head. Explain that your head represents the sun, and the ball represents the earth travelling round it year after year at a constant speed. Also, because gravity remains the same, the earth remains the same distance from the sun.

Ask, "What would happen to the earth if God increased gravity a little?" Demonstrate the effect by letting the ball crash into your head.

Ask "What would happen if God decreased gravity a little?" Demonstrate by letting go of the string. The ball will fly off to the other side of the room!

3. (Object Lesson - Can nothing turn into something?). Bring an empty jar to your class, complete with lid. Ask the children to watch the jar for you for a few weeks, and tell you if anything begins to appear on the inside.

After a few weeks, ask the children if anything has begun to grow inside the jar? No. Ask, if you left the jar in the room for a year, with the lid closed, they think something will then have begun to grow - perhaps a little ant? No. How about 10 years? 100 years? A million years? Ever? The answer is still no. Explain that if nothing cannot become something in a few weeks, there is absolutely no reason to believe that it could ever do so. (You may wish to explain that there is actually air in your jar, but if even the air could not turn into something, there is certainly no way that 'nothing' could).

Some people do believe, however, that this did happen. They call it Evolution. They say that a long time ago, there was nothing. But them this nothing, all by itself, managed to become something, and that this something kept changing and changing into all the variety of things we see today, including us! The Bible tells us, however, that in the space of six days God, through His power, created the Universe and everything in it. God not only made everything complete and perfect, He made it all for our benefit - for us to enjoy and take care of.

4. (Object Lesson - Dependence on oxygen). Talk about how God created the air ( or oxygen ), and then demonstrate how dependent we are on this by getting the children to see how long they can survive without it, i.e. how long they can hold their breath. If the oxygen level were a little less than its present 21%, breathing would be difficult. If it were a little higher, the fire danger would be greatly increased.

5. If you were the Creator! Give each child a circular piece of plain cardboard (or paper). Ask them to imagine that they are the Creator, and that they are going to create a new world by drawing on their cardboard. Allow a few minutes for this, and give a few suggestions e.g. birds, flowers, animals, people.

When complete, ask the children to close their eyes and imagine the creatures in their perfect world coming alive - singing, laughing, playing etc. Everything is wonderful.

Now ask the children to imagine that something has gone wrong in their perfect world. People are arguing, fighting and killing each other. The animals are killing and eating each other. Weeds are growing among the flowers.

Explain that this is exactly what happened with God's perfect world. The question to the children is, "What should they do about their world that has gone bad?" Give them four options:-

1. Destroy their world. (You will probably find that most children will vote for this option!)
2. Send someone to teach the people how to be good.
3. Go yourself to show the people how to love each other.
4. Give the people the power to change and be good.

Conclude by explaining that God didn't choose to destroy His world, because He still loved it even after it had gone bad. Rather, He chose options 2, 3, and best of all No. 4.

6. An Amazing flying machine.

Talk about all the money and brain power that have gone into making some marvellous flying machines, such as Concorde, the Space shuttle, Stealth bombers, etc. Then say that you are now going to talk about an amazing flying machine that is far more wonderful than all the others put together! This flying machine can take off and land sideways on a vertical wall! It has tremendous manoeuvrability, being able to instantly change direction. It can take off with amazing acceleration. It has the ability to sense danger, and can take off and be out of danger in a split second. If it develops a fault, it can often correct itself. It has the ability to find it's own fuel and refuel itself, and it even has the ability to reproduce itself - to make many other flying machines just like itself! "Would you children like to see a picture of this amazing flying machine? Here it is - a fly! (Produce a picture of an ordinary house fly). God's creations are far more wonderful than people can make!"

7. Children are fascinated with dinosaurs. You may be able to purchase at reasonable cost a suitable fossil, e.g. a dinosaur tooth, or footprint and take this along to your class to talk about.

8. (Object Lesson - "Made after its own kind."). God made the first of every living Biblical "kind", each with the ability to reproduce 'after it's own kind.' To explain this, take along an acorn. Explain that God created the first oak tree, with acorns (seeds) like this one contained in it. Some of those acorns would fall to the ground and grow into other oak trees, just like their parent tree, with each again containing their own acorns. Those, in turn. would fall to the ground and some would grow into more oak trees containing acorns, etc. etc. And that's how we get oak trees today. You may then wish to apply this argument to other living things, emphasising that cats always produce cats, dogs produce dogs, and people produce people etc.

O.L. - A Memory Feat.

Adam was created perfect with a wonderful mind and memory. He had to name all the many different animals that God brought before him, and then would have had to remember all their names. To illustrate this you can then amaze your class by doing your own memory feat.

Have fifty cards, blank on one side and numbered from 1 to 50 on the other. On the same side write , apparently random, six-digit numbers across their centres. State that you are going to memorise all fifty of these six-digit numbers. Flick through the cards as you pretend to memorise them, give them a good shuffle, turn the blank sides upwards and offer the pack to about six volunteers who will each choose a card. One at a time, ask your volunteers to tell you the number of their card (i.e. between 1 and 50), and as they do so write on the board the six-digit number associated with that card! You will achieve a 100 percent success rate!

You will have probably realised by now that you don't really memorise the numbers, rather you calculate them from the card number you are given. This is how you do it :-

To the number you are given (i.e. between 1 and 50), add eleven. Reverse this two-digit number. This will be the first two numbers you write on the board. Add these two numbers together to give your third number. However, if this is a two-digit number, ignore the first digit (i.e. "1") and write down the second. Proceed in this way, adding your last two digits together, until you have written down all six digits. Ask your volunteer to confirm this is the number they have on their card. A few of examples will make this clear :-

Card No. 15. Six-digit No. will be 628088.
Card No. 16 Six-digit No. will be 729101.
Card No. 17 Six-digit No. will be 820224.

As can be seen, even card numbers that are close to each other will produce completely different six-digit numbers.

The vastness of the Universe.

People, especially children, find it difficult to comprehend the vastness of the Universe - and hence the Greatness of God who created it all. Instead of talking about trillions of stars, you could use the Voyager spaceship to help children understand how big our Universe really is.
The Voyager was launched in 1977 to explore the Universe. It travels at a speed of 1.5 million Kilometres a day. Travelling at that speed, it would take the Spaceship :-

30 minutes to travel once round the earth.
6 hours to reach the moon.
3 months to reach the sun.
26 years to reach the outer limits of the solar system (where it is now).
And a massive 40,000 years to reach our nearest star! And, of course, there are trillions of stars in the entire Universe, all of which are much, much further away still.

"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands." Psalm 19.1.

O.L. - God can do things instantly.

Here are two 'instant addition' illustrations to help children understand that God doesn't need time to do what He wants to do, rather He can do things instantly.

A. Get a volunteer to write any two four-digit numbers on the board. You then write out the third four-digit number, ensuring that the product of the second and third numbers is 9999. For example, if the second number is 3785, the third number will be 6214. Get your volunteer to write out the fourth four-digit number. You then write out the fifth number, ensuring that the product of the fourth and fifth numbers is again 9999. You are now ready to amaze your class by adding up all five numbers instantly. Your answer will be 2, followed by the first number minus 2. i.e. If the first number is 4567, your answer will be 24565. Here is an example :-

Volunteer 4567
Volunteer 4291
Self 5708
Volunteer 6235
Self 3764

Total = 24565

Get the children to confirm your answer - with their calculators if these are available.

B. Prepare four cards (A,B,C,D), each with a five-digit number on them written from top to bottom as shown.


9 6 1 8
1 4 5 7
5 2 4 1
4 7 7 7
2 5 8 4

Get a volunteer to come and stick the cards on the board, in any order they choose, to thus form five four-digit numbers - as per the example above. Remind the children that there are twenty four different ways in which your volunteer could have arranged the cards.

As soon as the cards are in place, write down the product of the five numbers. You could get the children to be adding up the numbers with their calculators at the same time - but you will have the correct answer long before them! To get your instant answer, write down 2, followed by two plus each number in your second four-digit number (1457 in above example), except for the last number (7) which remains unaltered. Thus the answer is 23677.

You may wish to get a second volunteer to come and rearrange the cards, and repeat the procedure. If the cards were rearranged C.B.D,A for example, your answer will be 27691.

O.L. - God's Provision.

There are numerous examples in nature that can help children understand the wonderful provision of God for all of His creation. You can take along to your class such things as flowers, insects and pets, and by showing how God meets all their needs, show how He will also meet all our needs. I usually take along a few dandelions, including one which is ready to shed its seeds, and proceed as follows :-

Most people think of these flowers as weeds, but did you know that God provides for each plant everything it needs to survive, grow well, and produce more dandelions?

Petals. You probably think you are looking at just one flower, but actually what you can see is about a hundred flowers bunched together. Each single petal is a complete flower, capable of producing a perfect seed, to enable another dandelion to grow.

Stem. Now let's look at the stem of the dandelion. As I break it in two, you can see that it is hollow - just like a straw. This means that the stem is very light and flexible. When heavy rain or wind comes, the stem will bend over, but then will be able to spring up again afterwards. If the stem was solid, it would break in the heavy rain or wind.

Leaves. We will now look at the leaves. They appear to be pretty crude and ugly, but actually all these jagged edges, channels and grooves are ideal for collecting rain water and sending it down to the root where it is needed to help the dandelion to grow.

Root. Look how long and strong this root is. It is ideal for holding the dandelion in place when the bad weather comes, and preventing it from being blown away.

Seed head. Let us now examine this dandelion which is ready to shed its seeds. If you look closely at the seed heads, you will see that they are all like tiny parachutes. This means that when a breeze comes, they don't all fall off the parent plant in the same small area and thus have to compete with each other for the same patch of earth to grow in. No, because of the way God has designed them, they are able to float long distances in the breeze, and thus have a much better chance of surviving and growing into other dandelions.

Seed. If you looked at a seed under the microscope, you would see that it is shaped like a screw. This means that after its "parachute" has carried it to a patch of earth, it is able to plant itself by screwing into the ground, thus again giving it a better chance to survive and grow.

As we have seen, God loves each little dandelion so much that He has given it everything it needs to grow well and produce more dandelions. Hands up everyone who thinks that God loves us as much as He does dandelions? (Probably most of the children will raise their hands). Those who have raised their hands are wrong. The Bible teaches that God loves each of us far, far, more than dandelions, or indeed any other of His creations. But if He gives each dandelion everything it needs, how much more will He give to us everything we need!

Letter to an atheist - A birdbox and a tree.
by David Catchpoole

Dear ‘open-minded atheist’,

You ask me how I could possibly believe in a Creator given that certain high-profile scientists1 say that no Creator was necessary? Well, let’s take a simple example. Do you see (in the photo at right) the birdbox—where did it come from?

Of course you would say that somebody must have made it, but how do you know that? After all, you didn’t see anyone making it, so how do you know the birdbox had a maker?

(I’m being quite serious—like you, I also realize the birdbox must have been made by someone—but I would like you to ponder how it was that you came to that conclusion.)

Here’s how I would answer. Even though I didn’t see anybody making it, I can see that it has a degree of organization and complexity which, though limited, is never seen to come about by natural processes. Someone must have made it, and attached it to the tree—probably for the purpose of attracting birds so that the maker/owner of the birdbox could enjoy their singing and admire them at close range.

And now, three questions:

Can that birdbox capture the sun’s energy and convert it into useful fuel? Answer: No.

Can that birdbox repair itself if part of it is broken off, e.g. by strong winds in a storm? Answer: No.

Can that birdbox generate copies of itself, which in turn can produce further copies, which in turn can reproduce themselves, and so on? Answer: No!

And yet, the tree, to which the birdbox is attached, can do all of those things—yet you say that the tree had no Creator, that it’s simply the product of time and chance? Where’s the logic in that? When you consider just the ordered complexity of photosynthesis (capturing of the sun’s energy), man hasn’t even yet fully described all that’s going on in photosynthesis, let alone been able to duplicate it! If the birdbox had a designer (and it obviously did, as we both acknowledge) then so too did the tree—and whoever designed the tree is obviously one super-Intelligent Designer!

Just as it is written in the Bible:

For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.
Romans 1:20a (English Standard Version)


A Christian friend

T.T. - Creation and Evolution.

I don't usually mention the theory of evolution in my classes, concentrating instead on just teaching Creation from God's Word. Sometimes, however, an older child may raise the subject. Then I will proceed along the following lines. I explain the basics of special creation by God and evolution, and then state that there are two ways we can test which one is more likely to be true.

1. Ask "Is evolution happening today?" The answer is obviously "No." We never observe one kind of creature changing into a different kind. Thus, cats always give birth to cats, dogs give dogs, potatoes give potatoes and carrots give carrots etc. etc.

2. Is there any evidence to show that evolution ever happened in the past? Again the answer is "No." Fossils are a collection of 'dead things' - creatures and plants that lived and died in the past. But the fossil record shows clearly defined species, with no evidence of one type of creature changing into a different type. If evolution were true, we would expect to find billions of transitional forms. But they are just not there.

There have been a number of claims that 'intermediate' forms have been found (e.g. ape-men), but on further inspection they have proved to be false. So-called ape-men, for example, have subsequently been shown to be really either apes, men, or fraudulent hoaxes (e.g. Pilkdown man).

Science is concerned solely with what is happening in the present. It cannot tell us anything about what happened in the past. So when it comes to the origins of things, we move into the realm of speculation and personal faith. Ultimately, the question is "Who are we going to believe? Fallible men who weren't there in the beginning, or God who is the only one who was there?"

Creation or Evolution? - A comparison.

Some people try to reconcile Creation, as revealed in Genesis, with the theory of evolution which some scientists believe is the way everything came into existence. Basically these people say that "God used evolution." However, a brief look at these two belief systems show that they contradict each other in too many areas. They cannot both be true. Consider the following :-

God's record of creation in Genesis. Evolutionary long-age theory.

Earth before sun and stars. Sun and stars before earth .
Earth covered with water at first. Earth a molten blob at first.
Oceans before dry land. Dry land before oceans.
Life first created on the land as plants. Life started in the ocean.
Plants created before the sun. Plants formed after the sun.
Fish and birds created together. Fish formed long before birds.
Birds created before land animals. Land animals formed before birds.
Whales created before land animals. Land animals formed before whales.
Man and dinosaurs lived together. Dinosaurs died out long before man.
Creation completed in six days. Evolution going on into the future.

Some people say "God could have used evolution." True, but the point is not what God could have done, but rather what did God say he did? The question then is:- Do you believe God's word, the Bible, or do you believe an unprovable theory devised by fallible men? However, if you don't believe the beginning of the Bible, what justification do you have for believing any of it's other parts?

T.T. - Big bang or big mess?

People who deny the existence of God have therefore to believe that the Universe created itself out of nothing. (To believe that actually requires a lot more faith than I have got!). So how then do atheists explain how the Universe formed? Most use the idea of a 'big bang', even though none of them were there to see what actually happened.

They say that first of all there was absolutely nothing. But then, they claim, all the energy and matter contained in the billions of stars in the universe was somehow there, separated into a single point, which suddenly 'exploded'. This somehow formed lots of hydrogen gas, which spread out and filled the universe. Then the clouds of hydrogen gas started to pull themselves together by gravity. These clouds got hotter and hotter until they each formed a star. Then these stars exploded and formed all the other elements like carbon and oxygen, that made up all the stuff in the universe, including you and me.

But where did the first energy come from? How could it all have been contained in a single point? What made this point explode? And who ever heard of an explosion making order and design? What happens when fireworks explode? You certainly get a bang, but all you have left is a big mess!

There are lots of sound scientific reasons why the big bang idea is wrong, could not work, and simply did not happen.

It is far easier, in fact, to believe that Almighty God made the sun, the moon, the stars and everything in the universe the way He says He did in the Bible.

What proof would satisfy?

Although I was born in England, spent 27 years living in Scotland, I have now lived in New Zealand for over 15 years and have a close affinity with this country and its diverse people. I did, however, feel rather ashamed to be associated with New Zealand recently. The occasion was during the last few days of our election campaign (somewhat overshadowed by the American election!). The final live televised debate between the (then) Prime Minister and leader of the Labour party, Helen Clark and the leader of the opposition (National party) and (now) new Prime Minister, John Key.

Both leaders were asked "Do you believe in God?" They both said "no", and went on to cite "lack of proof of the existence of God" as the reasons for their response. Although I am ashamed (though not really surprised) that the leaders of New Zealand deny the existence of God, I cannot help but wonder "What has gone wrong with this country?" Like many countries in the 'Western world', it was built on strong Christian beliefs and principles. Unfortunately these have been seriously eroded over time - as evidenced by the many ungodly laws that our leaders have passed over the last few years.

I have tried to put myself "in the shoes" of Helen Clark, John Key, and many others like them and asked myself that if I genuinely was seeking proof of God's existence, what proof could God give me that would convince me that He is real? I came up with the following four proofs that God could give to convince me of His existence.

1. Creation. If God is real, I would ask Him to create something, out of nothing, that I could see with my own eyes and touch with my own hands.

2. Communication. I would ask God to communicate with me, perhaps by sending someone, or even writing to me, to tell me things like what He is like, why He made me, what His plans are for me, and if there is there is life after death.

3, Revelation. I would ask God to reveal Himself to us by visiting planet Earth in person. When He was here, I would ask Him to prove His power by doing things we humans cannot do, and that defy the natural laws of the universe. Things like multiplying matter, defying gravity, commanding nature (such as storms) to obey Him, commanding the sick to be healed and the dead to come back to life.

4. Finally, if God were real, I would ask Him if He really loved us humans, and to do something to demonstrate how much He loves us.

I cannot really think of any other proofs that God could give to convince us that He is real. But surely those I have listed above are more than enough. If God did all that, surely nobody could still doubt His existence. The proof would be irrefutable! But then I remembered - GOD HAS ALREADY GIVEN US THOSE FOUR PROOFS!

1. We only have to look around us to see the vast number of wonderful things that have been created (If there is no Creator, they must have created themselves, beginning with nothing. And to believe this requires an unreasonable faith!). - "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands." Psalm 19.1.

2. God has sent us many messengers to tell us about Himself - they were usually called Prophets. And He has written us a letter that tells us all we need to know to live our lives the right way. It is called the Bible. - "In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways." Hebrews 1.1. "All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness." 2 Timothy 3. 16,17.

3. Two thousand years ago, God did visit this planet in person. We called Him "Jesus". And while He was with us, He did stop or suspend the natural physical laws that govern the universe. We called these mighty acts "miracles". "Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples." John 20.30.

4. God did demonstrate how much He loves us by allowing Himself to be crucified on a wooden cross. "God demonstrates his love for us in this. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5.8.

I must conclude that God has given us many proofs of His existence. Enough, I would suggest, to convince any person genuinely seeking the truth. Yet many still deny His existence. No, the problem is not with God, it is not a lack of proof. Rather, the problem is with people. Many refuse to believe. To do so would mean that they would have to admit that they were responsible to a Higher Authority, and our selfish nature naturally rebels against that. Jesus put it like this "You refuse to come to me that you may have life (John 5. 40). Or, as the old proverb says. "There are none so blind as those who do not want to see."

So let us continue to proclaim the Gospel, and pray to God to open the eyes of the (spiritually) blind.

Puppet play - "I don't believe in God."

You will need two 'people' puppets, a boy and a girl. I have called them James and Jessica.

Jessica. How are you today James?

James. Great. I got good marks in my school test, so my Dad took me to see my favourite Soccer team play. They won 5 - 0, and then we stopped off at McDonald's for tea.

Jessica. That's wonderful, James. I hope that you gave God thanks for all the good things that have been happening to you.

James. I don't believe in God.

Jessica. Why do you say that James?

James. I think that I would like to believe in God. But there is no proof that He actually exists.

Jessica. But James, the proof of God is all around you.

James. I don't understand what you mean, Jessica.

Jessica. Just use your eyes. Look at the millions of stars, all the living things like flowers, birds, animals and people. Think about how wonderful they all are. They must have been made by a very clever Creator. Otherwise you have to believe that everything made itself, beginning with nothing!

James. I hadn't thought about it like that before. But if there is a God, why hasn't He sent someone to earth to tell us about Himself?

Jessica. He has. He has sent many messengers to us in fact. They were usually called Prophets, and we can read about everything they said in the Bible. The Bible is really God's love letter to you James. If you read it, you will get to know what God is really like, and how special you are to Him.

James. But if God really loves us, as you say, why hasn't He come to reveal Himself to us in person?

Jessica. Two thousand years ago. He did just that. He came to earth in human form. We called Him, Jesus.

James. But how do we know that Jesus was really God?

Jessica. He did things that only God could do. He defied the natural laws of the universe by doing miracles like multiplying matter, defying gravity, commanding nature (such as storms) to obey Him, commanding the sick to be healed and the dead to come back to life. And then He proved how much He really loves us by allowing Himself to be crucified on a cross so that we could be forgiven our wrongdoings.

James. That was a wonderful thing to do. But what a sad ending.

Jessica. That is not the ending, James. You see, death couldn't hold Jesus because He was faultless. Jesus took His life up again, and is alive for evermore.

James. You have given me something to think about, Jessica.

Jessica. Good. Remember that God has promised to reveal Himself to all those who genuinely seek Him.

Two popular questions.

Here are two questions that children often ask.

1. Who made God?

"If I told you the answer to that, I know what your next question would be. You would say "Who made the person who made God ?" Then, if I told you that , you would ask "Who made the person who made the person who made God ?" Then, if I told you that, you would ask "Who made the person who made the person who made the person who made God ?" etc. etc.

No, the answer is NOBODY made God. God is eternal. That means He has no beginning or end. He has always existed. In fact, there was a time when there was no matter (solid things), no space, and no time, only God Himself. Then God spoke and by His power brought everything in the Universe into existence. The exciting thing is that although we have a beginning, God has made each one of us eternal as well. That means the "real you" - your Soul and Spirit will never die.

I know this is hard for us to understand, because we are used to living in time, with beginnings and endings. But let us consider the alternative. If there is no God (or Creator), that means that everything in the Universe must have created itself - beginning with nothing. Our common sense tells us that nothing can make itself - it has to have a maker or creator. That is why most people in the world believe in a Creator (God). It requires far, far too much faith to believe that everything made itself out of nothing. It is far easier to believe that there always has been a loving God who created everything.

2. Is there life elsewhere in the Universe?

Surveys in a number of countries indicate that the majority of people believe that there is other life in the Universe, apart from on earth.

We now know that the Universe is absolutely enormous, with countless billions and billions of stars (our sun is a star). People reason that because there are so many stars, there are probably billions and billions of planets associated with them. And the chances are that millions and millions of these planets will be similar to earth, and therefore capable of sustaining life.

Unfortunately, some people believe that life can form itself by chance processes, and if it has happened on earth - then why not on other planets as well? However life CANNOT form itself. A creation needs a Creator. A design needs a Designer. The only One who can create life is God.

So the question we should really be asking is "Has God created life on other planets?"

The only Person who knows everything about everything is God. And God has written us a book called the Bible, which tells us everything we really need to know about life. Therefore the first place we should go to find out if something is true or not is the Bible. Unfortunately, the Bible doesn't say if there is life somewhere other than on earth, so we cannot know for sure. However, by studying the Bible, it does seem that life (certainly intelligent life) outside of the earth is extremely unlikely.

The Bible makes it clear that our earth (small as it may be) is THE most important place in the Universe. It was on earth that God created the first man, Adam. It was here that Adam sinned and brought God's curse on "the whole of creation." thus bringing it into "bondage to decay" (see Romans 8. 21). If there were extraterrestrials (ET's) on other planets, it would hardly be fair that their world was adversely affected because of Adam's sin here on earth!

It was on our earth that God's Son, Jesus Christ, died for our sins "once for all" and redeemed (bought back) the "whole of creation" to Himself. If Jesus died on earth "once for all", that seems to exclude the possibility of Him then going off to other planets to die all over again!

And it will be to here on earth that Jesus will one day return for those of us who are trusting in him. The Bible talks about us (the Church) becoming "the Bride of Christ". And I can't imagine Jesus having more than one bride!

Although we cannot therefore know for certain that there is not life elsewhere in the Universe, if it does exist, we can know three things about it :-

1. It is younger than life on earth, because God didn't create the sun, moon, stars, and consequently any planets that may be associated with them, until Day 4 of the Creation week, whereas He made the earth on Day 1.

2. There is no need to be worried that the earth may be invaded by ET's who are able to take control because they are more advanced and/or intelligent than we are. No. Any other life forms, if they exist at all, cannot be superior to us, because we humans are made in God's image - and you can't get better than the best!

3. It is not important to us on earth. God tells us in the Bible everything that is really important for our lives. Therefore, as it doesn't mention life outside of earth, it cannot be important to us, if it exists at all. If it were important, the Bible would have mentioned it.