MEETING AIM: To discover that God is powerful enough to keep us safe.
BIBLE PASSAGE: Acts 27
BACKGROUND: Shipwrecks seem a common outcome in the Bible when characters take to the sea, and this story is no different. However, each time Bible characters get in danger on the water, God shows his command of all creation, and rescues his people from danger. Paul gets into trouble on his way to Rome, but God keeps him safe along with all the sailors with Paul on the ship. God is sovereign over all.
Start your time together with some simple refreshments and chat about what your children have found exciting today (or yesterday, if you’re doing this in the morning). Ask your children if they remember times you have been to the seaside. Do they recall seeing big waves crashing on the shore? If you’ve never been to the seaside, show some videos of huge waves on a phone or tablet.
You will need: water toys; cover-up and clean-up equipment
Set out your water toys in a place where it doesn’t matter if you spill water (or use waterproof covers to protect floors etc). Give your children waterproof aprons to wear. Let them play with the equipment, seeing if they can create waves or discover how the water travels through some of the toys.
Let your children lead the play and join in with them if they invite you to. Chat about the water and relate it back to the videos you shared in ‘Starting out’(if you watched any videos).
You will need: Bible; The Big Bible Storybook (SPCK) or similar
Find your Bible and show your children the book of Acts. Explain that the book of Acts tells the story of what Jesus’ friends did after he died and came alive again at Easter, and went back to heaven. Explain to your children that Paul was a friend of Jesus. Sometimes, when he travelled around, he got into difficulties. Today’s story is about a time when Paul was involved in a shipwreck – he was travelling on the sea and there was a huge storm!
Show your children your Bible storybook. The Big Bible Storybook is ideal, but you could use another one that contains this story. If you have The Big Bible Storybook, read the story ‘Paul is safe’ from page 242 making sure everyone can see the pictures.
Read the story again, but this time, act out being in a storm. Use chairs to form a ship-shape, or just pretend you’re on a boat. Do your children think they’d be safer in the boat or trying to swim to shore? How can they look after those people who can’t swim? Finally, ask how God kept Paul safe. Chat about how God is powerful – more powerful than big waves.
Chat about the story using these questions:
•What is your favourite part of the story?
•How did Paul and the sailors feel when they were on the ship in the storm?
•Are there times when you feel scared? When? What do you do about it?
•Who helps you to be brave?
•What do you think the sailors did next?
You will need: large tray (such as a roasting tin); sheets of paper the size of your tray; water; marbling ink (available online); pencil or similar pointed tool; cover-up and clean-up equipment
Make sure everyone is covered up to stop them getting messy, then show your children how to make marbled paper using ink and water. Fill the tray with a couple of centimetres of water and drop blobs of ink onto the surface of the water. Use the pencil to swirl the ink together slightly (but not too much that the colours mix into one). Lay the paper carefully on top of the water, then peel it back again. The ink should have transferred onto the paper.
Encourage your children to make their own patterns. As you work, chat about how the patterns are like the waves on the sea. Use this to continue chatting about the story.
You will need: marble paintings from ‘Creative time’; spare marble paintings; felt-tip pens
Before your family Bible time, make some spare marble paintings to use in this activity.
Once the marble paintings from ‘Creative time’ are dry, invite your children to think about times when they want to ask God to keep them safe, like he kept Paul safe. Encourage them to write or draw this on their marble paintings. If they don’t want to ‘spoil’ their painting, then give them one of the spare ones.
Once everyone has finished, stand in a circle and put all the paintings in the middle. Thank God that he is more powerful than waves, and he is more powerful than all the situations you have drawn about. Ask him to keep you safe. Stick the paintings up around your house, so that you can think about when and how God answered your prayers.
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