Paul on the Road to Damascus
A Shrinky-Dink Lesson
Summary of Lesson Activities:
Using a box of random objects, kids will review the story of Saul’s conversion and then make a transforming Shrinky-Dink craft that will help them to remember that Jesus helps us to be a new creation.
- Wrapped box (box with lid, lid and bottom wrapped separately for easy opening and reuse, wrapped around with a ribbon) with story-telling objects inside. Attach a gift tag with the name ‘Saul’ on it.
- Stone (for Paul’s determination to persecute the church – stoning of Stephen)
- Flashlight (bright light on the way to Damascus)
- Blindfold (Saul was blind for three days)
- Glove (Ananias – because God used him)
- Small bottle of water (Saul’s baptism)
- Paper Funnel-megaphone (Saul preaches Christ)
- Shrinky-Dink paper with the memory verse printed on (one per child)
- Permanent Markers in a variety of colours
- Toaster oven
- Oven mitts
- Cooling rack
- Example Shrinky-Dink decorated memory verse
Introduce yourself and get to know the names of students.
Begin the class by drawing attention to the wrapped box and generating curiosity about what might be inside. Ask the students questions about their experiences with gifts. Have you ever received a gift? What is the best gift you have ever received? What do you like about receiving gifts?
Ask: Do you know who Saul is? What can you tell me about him?
Depending on the week that you are teaching, students may be very familiar with the story of Saul or just learning it for the first time. Keep this in mind as you teach and adjust as necessary.
Say: Saul received an amazing gift from God! Do you know what God gave him? (Allow for responses, but don’t reveal what the answer is.) Let’s open up this gift box and find out!
Open up the gift and let the kids look at what’s inside. It’s a seemingly random collection of things, and let the kids puzzle over what these things are all about for a minute before you continue with the lesson.
Say: Hmm, this is a strange collection of things! I wonder what this is in here for…(hold up the stone). Hey, this stone reminds me of something from Saul’s life!
Use the objects in the gift box one at a time to tell the story of Saul’s conversion. Use your own words along with passages in the Bible, dramatic gestures and variety of voices to engage the kids in the story. You may need to explain the connection between the story and the objects for some that are less obvious. Some notes are provided below. If you are teaching further along in the rotation you may ask the students to fill in the story details or explain what they think the objects are for.
Tell the story of Saul’s life before he met Jesus
- Saul was a very devoted Jew who was upset with the message that Jesus preached. He didn’t believe that God had sent Jesus to rescue all people, and he was really mad at all of the followers of Jesus who kept telling people that Jesus is Lord.
- Refer to the stoning of Stephen and Saul’s approval of his murder (Acts 7- 8:1).
- His determination to stop Christians from telling people about Jesus and his anger toward them (Acts 8:3).
- Went to the high priest to get permission to travel to the far away city of Damascus and throw any Christians he found into prison (Acts 9:1-2).
Tell about Jesus appearing to Saul in a bright light. (Acts 9:4-9)
- A light from heaven flashed around Saul
- Jesus asked Saul why he was persecuting Him, and sent him to Damascus to await further instructions
- Saul was blind, and was led to Damascus, where he refused to eat or drink anything for three days.
Tell about how God used Ananias to help Saul (Acts 9:10-18a)
- Ananias was a follower of Jesus
- Jesus appeared to Ananias in a vision, and told him to go to the house Saul was staying at. Jesus had already given Saul a vision of Ananias coming to him to restore his sight.
- Ananias reminded Jesus of how dangerous Saul was and his intent to hurt Jesus’ followers, but Jesus told Ananias to go anyway, because He had chosen Saul to tell many people about Him.
- He went, placed his hands on Saul, and told Saul that Jesus had sent him so that Saul would be able to see again and would be filled with the Holy Spirit.
- Scales fell from Saul’s eyes and he could see again
Bottle of water:
Tell of Saul’s baptism (Acts 9:18b-19a)
- Not only did the scales fall from Saul’s eyes, but Saul now believed in Jesus.
- Saul showed his new faith in Jesus by being baptized right away.
Tell of Saul preaching Jesus (Acts 9:19b-22…the rest of Acts and the Pauline Epistles)
- Saul began to preach that Jesus was the Son of God in the synagogue (the place where Jews met to worship) at Damascus.
- People were astonished that the man who had come to Damascus to persecute Christians was now preaching the message of Christ.
- Saul devoted the rest of his life to telling people that Jesus is the Savior and King. He traveled all over to bring the good news to people who had never heard it, planting churches and teaching people how to follow Jesus. (When he started preaching to non-Jews, he went by his Greek name, Paul) Even though he himself was often persecuted and had many troubles on his journeys, he never gave up on sharing Jesus with others. He wrote many letters that became books in our Bible.
Discuss what Saul’s story shows us about the gift that God gave to Saul – that Saul was transformed, made into a new person. Jesus had forgiven Saul, and Jesus had changed Saul inside so that he lived in a way that was the complete opposite of how he had lived before! Contrast his heart before he met Jesus and his heart after he believed. (Depending on the group of kids, you may have to teach this, or you may be able to draw this out of them by asking questions.)
Say: What an amazing gift God gave Saul! Jesus forgave Saul, and with a changed heart Saul started a new life that was totally different than his old life! Saul was transformed! Did you know that God offers this same gift to everyone?
Our memory verse teaches us that God makes us into new creations through Jesus! Say the memory verse together as a class.
To help each of us remember that God offers to make you into a new creation, we are going to decorate our memory verse on these pieces of paper. Use whatever colours you would like; you can even add designs or pictures. Personalize it to reflect you. (Don’t tell them that they are working with Shrinky-Dink paper - let that be a surprise!)
Hand out the Shrinky-Dinks. You will want to turn on the toaster oven to let it warm up. When most of the kids have finished decorating their papers, get their attention for a demonstration.
Say: God offers to change every single one of us into a new creation. When we accept God’s love, He can do wonderful new things in us. What are some of the things that God can make new in us? Let children share some ideas. Some examples may be:
Sinful - Forgiven Hateful - Loving
Hopeless - Hopeful Fearful - Fearless
Death - Life Lost - Direction
Lonely - Friend Sad - Joyful
What does our memory verse say? “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come!” Let’s see what happens when we put this paper in the toaster oven.
Watch together as the Shrinky-Dink is transformed by the heat! Once the transformation is complete, remove it carefully from the toaster oven to the cooling rack.
Say: Look how much that changed! The paper I coloured was totally transformed into a new creation – something like how Jesus transformed Saul, and like He can transform us!
When you are finished with personalizing your memory verse papers, you can give them to me (make sure that your name is on it!). Over the next few weeks I will put these in my oven at home, and when they are finished I will deliver them to your family mailbox. When you pick up your transformed project you can remember that God offers you the gift of being transformed and becoming a new creation!
NOTE: After cooking each Shrinky-Dink, tie a string or piece of yarn through the hole so that they can be used as a backpack charm or wall ornament.
- Story sequencing: Have the kids each randomly draw an object from Saul’s gift box. See how fast they can line up in order of the story. Could use a timer and try to beat your time.
- Ask children if there are areas in their life that they would like Jesus to transform and pray for those specifically
- Hand out the objects and have the kids each tell the part of the story that relates to that object.
A lesson from member ZBCC
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