John 3:16-17, NIRV
16God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son. Anyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life. 17 God did not send his Son into the world to judge the world. He sent his Son to save the world through him.
Lenten Coin Calendar. (You can also have extra copies available for children who need them, as well as directing them to download the calendar here.)
How did you do with filling your jars with coins this past week? (Allow children to share examples of their collecting.) By a show of hands, how many times did you pray to God when you heard your own stomachs growling? (Allow children to raise hands and say how many times they prayed.) Remember, today, we pray, thanking God for the food we enjoy. We also pray for those who have no food this day.
Let’s find out what items we will be looking for around our homes this week.
Today’s scripture passage is perhaps the most well-known verse in all the Bible. It is an excellent verse to memorize. Have any of you have memorized it and would like to recite it? (Allow children to recite.) This verse is one of the most famous verses because it proclaims the good news. God loved the world so much that God gave us Jesus. This is an incredible gift! What is the most incredible gift that you have ever received? (Allow children to answer.)
Have you ever received an incredible gift and put it in your closet without opening it? That would be strange, wouldn’t it? If you did that, you would never really know how wonderful the gift was and what the gift could offer you.
What if you did decide to open and enjoy the gift and your life is never the same again? That’s the way it is when you receive the gift from God that John 3:16 refers to. God is giving us the gift of Jesus, and when you open it, you begin to enjoy eternal life with God right here on earth.
This week, the items that you are looking for might be found in your closets. As you seek out those items, remember how important and incredible having these items in your closet can be. But those items aren’t left in the closet. They are worn on our feet and our bodies to protect us from the weather. As we collect coins this week, we will be reminded of people who don’t have the protection of those items.
God of love, you love the world so much that you gave the most incredible gift. Because of the gift of Jesus, my life will never be the same. Thank you! Amen.