Friday, November 21, 2008

Kidzone 21.

Kidzone 21.

Story - Message in a bottle.

An American minister once thought up a very unusual way of sending a message. Firstly he thought, if he was going to send a message in this novel way, what was the very most important message he could send? It didn't take him long to decide. Then the minister, with the help of some friends, made thousands of copies of this message, went down to the beach, put each copy of the message in bottles, and threw them into the ocean.
That certainly wasn't a very efficient way of sending a message as most of the bottles would have been broken up by waves or rocks, or simply lost at sea. However, after a short time, the minister began receiving replies from people who had found his message. They were so intrigued by it that they wrote to the minister to ask for more information. Altogether the minister received over 1,400 replies, from people in many different countries, all eager to find out more about this wonderful message.
What do you think the message was that the minister sent out? It really is the most important message of all, and is taken from the Bible, John, chapter 3 verse 16. For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him shall not die, but have eternal life.
That is the best and most important message this world has ever received because it talks about a wonderful person, a wonderful fact, and a wonderful gift.
A wonderful person. That's God's Son, Jesus. And there is nobody more wonderful than Him. He gave up his life for us all.
A wonderful fact. God loves you. And there is nothing you could ever do to stop Him loving you, because God Is Love.
A wonderful gift. Eternal life! And there is absolutely nothing that can compare with that.

Your questions answered - Why does God allow suffering?

Because everybody goes through tough times sooner or later, we have all asked a question like this. We might ask "If God is all powerful and all loving, why does He allow suffering? Why doesn't God stop all the trouble in the world?" God's ability is usually not in doubt, but rather the question is why He does not appear to act. Surely the all-loving God as revealed in the Bible would do something?

Only God, Himself knows the complete answer to this. However, we can share some thoughts with those who are genuinely seeking answers to this problem.

1. God does not cause suffering - man does. God created people with free-will. This means we have the ability to choose to either obey or disobey our Creator. Our first ancestors chose to disobey God. This was in reality rebellion against their Creator. As a result of this rebellion (the Bible calls it sin), a curse came upon the whole earth so that everything in it was affected and began to degenerate to the state we find it in today.

Thus, man's original sin first brought trouble and suffering into God's perfect world, and our continuing sin results in continued trouble and suffering.

2. Although God does not cause trouble and suffering, He is often able to use it to get our attention.

The most important thing in life is our relationship with God who we can only know through a personal faith in Jesus Christ. However, if we all lived completely trouble-free lives, most people would never give God a second thought! As Jesus said "What would it profit a man if he gained the whole world and lost his own soul?" (Mark 8.36). It is often through trouble or suffering that God is able to gain our attention and make us aware of our need of Him. Numerous people have in fact only found a personal faith in Jesus Christ after a tragedy in their lives.

3. God is primarily concerned with our characters, that is what we are rather than what we do.

Our character can be defined as a measure of what we have overcome. Thus, as we overcome problems and difficulties, our characters are developed. A trouble-free life would, in fact, hinder this development. And whilst this life lasts for only a short time, our characters are for eternity.

It is an interesting fact that many of the men that God has used the most throughout history have been those that have suffered the most in their lives. The Apostle Paul, Martin Luther and John Bunyon (author of Pilgrim's Progress) immediately spring to mind.

4. God, being all-powerful, could stop all suffering on the earth in an instant if He chose to. But what would He actually have to stop? - People! Suffering is the result of sin, and to remove sin God would have to remove all sinners - everyone! But because He loves us, God would rather transform us than wipe us out. The good news is that through the death of His Son on the cross He has made it possible for that to actually happen.

5. God understands our suffering. He does not ask us to face suffering without having first faced it Himself. This He did on the Cross when Jesus suffered more than anyone. Through that Cross He now provides us with the grace and power to face suffering.

God then has done something about trouble and suffering. The basic problem in the world is us - self-centred people. But through a commitment to Christ, God, by His Spirit, is able to come into our lives and change us, giving us new God-centred natures. Then as individuals are transformed, the societies in which they live are changed. This is verified by reference to history. In times when large numbers of a particular community have committed themselves to Christ (this is called a revival) the crime rate in that community has fallen to almost zero. This then is God's plan for our world - to change individuals who in turn change the world in which they live.

The only real answer to suffering is to become a Christian, for then we have His unbreakable promise that all things (including our suffering) will be working together for our good (Romans 8.28).

6. The complete answer to mankind's problems and the end of all suffering is the coming again of the Lord Jesus Christ. Then, God has promised, the creational order prior to man's disobedience and rebellion against God will be restored. "The desert shall blossom as the rose, the eyes of the blind shall be opened, the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped, the lame shall leap and the dumb shall sing. The lion shall lay down with the lamb, swords shall be turned into ploughshares, and a government of peace shall be established." These are just a few biblical expressions of the future kingdom rule of Christ. The whole of creation is looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth. This is good news in a world of trouble and suffering.

Illusion - Standing up under pressure.

When things are going well, it is sometimes hard to tell the difference between the person who is trusting in Jesus, and the one who is not. However, when pressure - hardships, troubles, problems etc. - comes upon us, the person who knows Jesus is able to keep standing, whereas the person without Christ often crumples or "goes under."

Preparation. Take two plastic pen tops (Preferably different colours). Attach one or two plastic paper clips to the first top. To make the second top heavier than the first, attach one or two metal paper clips. Take about a two litre plastic clear bottle, and fill about 90% full with water. Drop the two plastic tops (with attached clips) into the water. They should both float. Screw the top on the bottle, and apply pressure to the bottle by squeezing it. A little "trial and error" may be required here. You may need to adjust your tops by adding or subtracting clips to ensure that when pressure is applied, the first top continues to float, whilst the second always sinks, or "goes under." When you release the pressure, the submerged top should rise to the surface again.

Presentation. You could give this demonstration to your friends. Explain that the two same-sized tops represent two people, one who is trusting in Christ, and one who isn't. When things go well (no pressure to the bottle), there is no difference - the tops both float. However, when pressure comes, one continues to float, but the other goes under. Repeat the pressure-on / pressure-off process a few times.

Lguah barek - Can you raed tihs?

I cdnuolt biveiee taht I cluod auiacity uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinevtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Kidzone 20.

Story - DOG / GOD.

A dog lived with his young master in the city of Pompeii nearly 2,000 years ago. Pompeii was located in what we now call Italy, right next to a volcano called Vesuvius. One day in AD 79 Vesuvius erupted violently. Millions of tons of molten lava came out of the volcano, slid down it's banks, and completely buried the city of Pompeii. Some of the inhabitants were probably quick enough to escape, but many more were too slow and were buried by the lava.

Pompeii remained buried and practically forgotten about for centuries, but then about 100 years ago some archaeologists began to examine the buried city. Among their discoveries were the remains of a young boy and a dog, lying together. What was really interesting was that the dog was wearing a bronze collar with an inscription on it. Excitedly the archaeologists took the collar back to the laboratory, cleaned it up, and managed to read the inscription. It said "This is a very special dog, because he has saved his master from fire, drowning and thieves."

Could that dog could have escaped that lava from the volcano when it erupted? Yes, I think it could have because dogs have four legs and can run fast. But it didn't. It stayed right next to it's master. When the lava approached, I think the dog may have thought "I am not leaving my master. Whatever happens I will always stay next to him, as I always have done in the past."

That dog was very FAITHFUL. Most dogs are faithful to their masters - they will stay with them in good times and bad. A second characteristic of dogs is that they are FRIENDLY. It is easy to make friends with a dog. You only have to speak nicely to them, and they will probably run up to you , wagging their tails, and try and give you a lick! A third characteristic of dogs is that they are LOVING. Unlike some humans, dogs will never hold a grudge. Even if you mistreat them (which of course you shouldn't) they will still want to be your friend.

If you write the word 'D O G' backwards, it spells 'G O D'. And just as dogs are faithful, friendly and loving, so is God. These are three of his main characteristics.

Faithful. Our God is a faithful God. He has promised that He will never leave us or abandon us. Even if we do wrong, even if we ignore or disobey Him, He will stay with us because He is faithful.

Friendly. Many people wonder what life is all about. They don't know where they came from, they don't know why they are here on planet earth, and they don't know where they will go when they die. A man once got on a bus, sat next to another passenger and, wanting to be friendly, asked "Where have you come from? Where did you get on this bus?" The passenger replied "I don't know." The man thought "That's very strange", but undaunted he asked "What are you doing here on this bus?" The passenger replied "I don't know." The man tried a third time "Where are you going. What is your destination?" The passenger again replied "I don't know." At this point the man concluded that the passenger was completely crazy - and he was probably right. An amusing story. But many people are like that passenger. We are all on a journey through life, but many passengers have no idea where they came from, why they are here, or where they are going! The answer to these questions is, of course, that we came from God - He created us. Secondly, we are here to be God's FRIENDS - He made us for Himself, so that we could enjoy Him, and He could enjoy us, both now and forever. Thirdly, if we are trusting in Jesus, we are on our way to heaven- that is our final destination and true home.

Loving. God is a loving God. He loves us, not because we are lovable, but because He can't help Himself - because GOD IS LOVE! And God showed His love for us by sending His Son to die for us. I have a son, but I wouldn't give him up to die for you, or anyone. But that's what God did. That's how much He loves each one of you.

Your questions answered - When did God create angels?

The Bible does not tell us exactly when, but it was probably on the first day of the creation week that we read about in Genesis. We think this because Job 38.7 tells us that "all the sons of God" (Angels) "shouted for joy" when God "laid the earth's foundation."

The angels were all created holy (good), otherwise God could not have said on Day 6 that everything He had made was "very good". Therefore it was after the creation week that some of the angels (possibly a third of them) rebelled against God. The leader od these fallen (bad) angels is named Satan (meaning 'adversary').

The majority of angels have always remained faithful to God, and the exciting thing is that God created them so that they could serve and help us humans. Mighty and powerful that angels are, it is only us humans who have been created in God's likeness. And it is only for us humans that God's Son, Jesus died on the cross.

Illusion - Colours.

Look at the chart below, and QUICKLY say the COLOUR, not the word:


Note. You could print this out, or make out your own chart, to try out on your friends. You will find that many people will say some of the words, rather than their colours.

Laugh Break - Little Johnny.

A. A new teacher was trying to make use of her psychology courses. She started her class by saying, "Everyone who thinks they are stupid, stand up!"After a few seconds, Little Johnny stood up.The teacher said, "Do you think you're stupid, Little Johnny?"No, ma'am, but I hate to see you standing there all by yourself!"

B. At Sunday School they were teaching how God created everything, including human beings. Little Johnny seemed especially intent when they told him how Eve was created out of one of Adam's ribs.Later in the week his mother noticed him lying down as though he were ill, and asked, "Johnny what's the matter?"Little Johnny responded, "I have a pain in my side. I think I'm going to have a wife."

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Kidzone 19

Kidzone 19.

Story - The true picture of your life.

A Christian once had a dream in which he died and went to heaven. There to greet him was St. Peter, who gave him a quick tour of his beautiful new home. Then St. Peter said "Do you like videos?" Rather puzzled, the man replied that he did. "Good" said St. Peter "I am now going to show you a video of your whole life." St. Peter led the man into a sumptuous room, made sure he was comfortable, and left him to watch the video.

The video really was of the man's life, beginning from soon after he had been born. At first the man enjoyed watching it because it showed him interacting with all his old friends, most of whom he hadn't seen for many years. The video showed all the acts of kindness the man had shown, beginning from when he was only a young boy - sharing his toys, including others in his games, helping out at home and at school, comforting people when they were sad, giving money towards good causes, spending quality time with his children etc. etc. As the video progressed, however, the man began to feel rather uneasy.

The video concluded, and St. Peter returned. "Did you enjoy the video of your life?" he asked. The man replied "But that wasn't a true picture of my life. It showed all the good things I did, but it omitted all the bad ones. It's an edited video. It isn't a complete picture of my life." "Oh yes it is", replied St. Peter "When you did do bad things, the moment you said 'sorry' to God, they ceased to exist. And you can't make a video of something that doesn't exist!" What you just saw really is the true picture of your life.

Your Questions Answered - If Adam and Eve were white skinned, how did dark skinned people come about?

The Bible doesn't tell us what colour God created Adam and Eve, but they would have almost certainly been mid-brown. God is a God of variety. He created the first two humans and gave them the ability to be able to reproduce a great variety of people - as we see in the world today. In the same way God only created (for example) two dogs, but gave them the ability through breeding to produce all the different types of dogs that we see today. But, of course, they are all still dogs, just as people are still people!

The differences between black and white skinned people are actually very small, and all due to a brown pigment (coloring) in our skin called "Melanin". If you have a lot of melanin, you will have very dark skin, if you have a moderate amount, you will have a mid-brown skin, and if you have a small amount, you will have "white" skin.

The amount of melanin you have will be dependent on your parents. If both your parents are dark skinned, you will (probably) also be dark skinned. If both your parents are fair skinned, you will (probably) also be fair skinned. However, if your parents are mid-brown skinned, or if one is dark skinned and the other white, then the colour of your skin will be less predictable. You are most lilely to be mid-brown, but actually you could be anywhere between "white" and "black", depending on which parent has passed on to you the genes (information) that determine skin colour.

The picture below is of twin girls born in England in 2005. Their parents could both be described as mid-brown but, as you see, one twin inherited a "white" gene (very little melanin) , and the other a "dark brown" gene (a lot of melanin).

Thus it is clearly seen that only a few generations after Adam and Eve, there could easily have been a great variety of people on the earth, with many different shades of skin colour.

Laugh Break - A lie funny.

A clergyman was walking down the street when he came upon a group of about a dozen boys, all of them between 10 and 12 years of age.

The group surrounded a dog. Concerned lest the boys were hurting the dog, he went over and asked "What are you doing with that dog?"One of the boys replied, "This dog is just an old neighborhood stray. We all want him, but only one of us can take him home. So we've decided that whichever one of us can tell the biggest lie will get to keep the dog."

Of course, the reverend was taken aback. "You boys shouldn't be having a contest telling lies!" he exclaimed. He then launched into a ten minute sermon against lying, beginning, "Don't you boys know it's a sin to lie," and ending with, "Why, when I was your age, I never told a lie."

There was dead silence for about a minute. Just as the reverend was beginning to think he'd gotten through to them, the smallest boy gave a deep sigh and said, "All right, give him the dog."

Illusion - John 3.16.

Can you work out this famous scripture shown below?

Hints. The hand reaching down from the cloud is the oldest known visual symbol of God - He's reaching down to us from heaven. The needle and thread are for sewing - "so". The face is male, so "he". That's a grave minus r. What does a snake say? what does an owl say? Notice the leaves are plural. The dress shows a hem - "him". A shell - "shall". A knot - "not". 1/2 - "have". The clock, showing time is crossed out, meaning not time but eternity - "eternal" or "everlasting".

Answer. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Kidzone 18

How many F's are there in this sentence?

Illusion - Finished Files.

Look at the photograph above, and count the number of F's in the sentence. How many did you count? The correct number is shown below.

Your Questions Answered - If God knows the future, does that mean that what is going to happen is going to happen?

Most followers of Eastern religions believe this. They say that our lives are all planned out beforehand for us, and nobody can change their destiny. Thus, for example, if you are destined to have a road accident at age 35, you will have a road accident at age 35! Nothing can change that.

This fatalistic "What will be will be" attitude to life is shown up in many different ways. Thus people may not bother to take care when they are driving a vehicle because they think that if they are destined to arrive safely at their destination, they will arrive safely. But if they are destined to have a crash, they are certain to have a crash - even if they drive carefully. At the Bali bombings a few years ago, most of the native inhabitants of that island just stood back and watched the aftermath. They took the attitude "It must be God's will. If people are going to die, they will die, if they are going to survive, they will survive. Therefore no rescue attempt will make any difference."

God certainly does know everything, including our futures. However the Bible makes it perfectly clear that we are in control of our own destinies. The choices we make today will largely determine what our future lives will be like. However, our eternal, all-knowing God is outside of time as we know it, and is able see the choices we make in the future. They are, however, still our choices. For example, Jesus always knew that Judas was going to betray Him, but that doesn't mean that Judas was not responsible for his actions. No. He made a bad choice! Interestingly, it was actually the "Westerners" in Bali at the time who, after the bombings, rushed to the aid of the injured - thus outworking their belief that what we do can indeed influence the outcome of an event.

So make sure you make good choices in life. And the most important one we have to make is what we are going to do with God's gift of Jesus - to accept Him as our Saviour and Lord, or to reject Him. I hope that you make the right choice. It will affect your eternal destiny.

Story - A free pardon.

This month's story is about a man who made a really bad choice - with deadly consequences!

Back in the 1830's an American by the name of George Wilson spotted a burglar trying to break into a Post office. Wilson pulled out his gun and shot the burglar, who subsequently died of his wounds. George Wilson was arrested and sent to trial for murder. He was found guilty and sentenced to death.

Wilson's lawyers petitioned the President, Andrew Jackson, on his behalf. On considering the nature of the case, President Jackson decided to offer Wilson a free pardon. Excitedly the lawyers took the good news to Wilson in prison. But amazingly the condemned man refused to accept the President's free parden. The country's legal experts weren't sure what to do in these circumstances, but on consideration concluded that, as Wilson refused to accept the free pardon, it was not valid. Therefore George Wilson was executed for his crime.

We have all sinned against a holy God and stand condemned. The penalty is death (separation from God). However because He loves us, God sent His only Son to pay the penalty for our sins by dying on the cross. This means that God is now able to offer each one of us a free pardon. However, just as in the case of George Wilson, that free pardon has to be accepted - otherwise it is not valid and we will have to pay the penalty ourselves.

Illusion - Finished Files (Answer).

Answer. The correct number of F's is 6. If you got it wrong, go back and count them again - there really are 6 F's in this sentence. Don't worry if you didn't get the right number, most other people get the wrong number as well! Most people overlook two or three of the three "OF's" in the sentence, and so only count three or four F's. This is because when we read a sentence, we actually only read some of the letters in the words, and guess the rest of them. If the word, or full sentence, makes sense to our mind, it is satisfied and moves on.

If you wish to make a copy of this sentence to try out on your parents or friends, type and print it out exactly as shown above. Remember - Type it all in capitals, and make sure that the end of each line is as shown in the photograph.

All I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarten.These are the things I learned:

Share everything.
Play fair.
Don't hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don't take things that aren't yours.
Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
Live a balanced life - learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
Take a nap every afternoon.
When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Kidzone 17.

Story - Jesus for tea.

A lady once had a dream. In that dream, her telephone rang, and the voice at the other end said "this is Jesus. I am coming for tea with you this afternoon at 4 p.m."

The lady was highly excited at the thought of Jesus coming for tea with her. But then she thought "What can I give Jesus to eat? I know, I will bake him my favourite chocolate cake. Everybody likes that." And then she remembered that her house needed a tidy up. So she set to work making the cake and cleaning up the house.

At 3.30 p.m. the doorbell rang. "Oh no" the lady thought, "Jesus has come early and I still haven't finished vacuuming the carpet - and my cake is still in the oven." On opening the door, the lady discovered that it wasn't Jesus calling, but rather a man and his wife. Politely, the wife asked "I wonder if you could help us out? My husband lost his job a few months ago, and as we hadn't got enough money to pay the rent on our home we were evicted this morning. We have nowhere to stay, no money for food, and it is bitterly cold out here. Could you possibly give us a few dollars so that we could go and get a warm cup of coffee from McDonalds? The lady replied "I would like to help you, I really would, but I just can't spare you the time. I have Jesus coming for tea at 4 p.m. and I am not ready for him yet. Why don't you go and ask some of my neighbours? I am sure one of them will be able to help you. The lady closed the door and finished off her cleaning.

At 3.45 p.m. the doorbell rang again. "Oh no" the lady thought "Jesus is early. I have finished my cleaning, but my cake is still in the oven." This time the caller wasn't Jesus, but a young girl shivering in the cold in her thin, threadbare clothes. She said "It is bitterly cold out here and my clothes are so thin. I wonder if you have any old clothes you could let me have that would be a little warmer than these?" The lady thought for a moment, then said "I do have some warm clothes in my attic that I think would fit you really well. But I don't have time to look for them right now because I have Jesus coming for tea shortly, and the cake I am making him isn't finished yet. If you come back tomorrow though, I will have plenty of time to look out the clothes for you." The lady closed the door and finished making the cake. Now she was ready for Jesus.

At 4 p.m. the doorbell rang for the third time. "Just as I thought" said the lady to herself, "Jesus is right on time." This time, however, a young boy stood on her doorstep. "Please can you help me" he said, "I have had nothing to eat all day, and I am very hungry. I wondered if you would give me a little food?" The lady replied, "I have just taken a chocolate cake out of the oven. I am sure you would enjoy it - - - - but, I'm sorry I can't let you have a slice right now. Jesus is coming to have tea with me very soon. I have made this cake for him, and I couldn't possibly offer it to him with a slice already missing. If you come back tomorrow though, you can have all the cake that is still left." The lady shut the door and began to wait for Jesus' arrival.

At 4.30 Jesus still hadn't arrived. At 5 p.m. the lady was still waiting. At 5.30 she began to think that Jesus wasn't going to come. At 6 p.m. her telephone rang. The voice at the other end said "This is Jesus." "Oh Jesus" replied the lady "Where have you been? You were supposed to come for tea with me this afternoon. Why didn't you come?" Jesus replied "But I did come. In fact I came three times - and each time you sent me away with nothing!"


If Jesus were to come into your classroom while you were eating your lunch and say "I am hungry", I am sure that all the children would jump up and say to him something like "Jesus, please share some of my lunch. I will be delighted to give you some." If, however, a stranger were to come into the classroom and say "I am hungry", would everyone all still be so willing to share their lunch with him? Probably not. They may say "Why should I share with you?", or "Why don't you go and get your own lunch?"

Jesus taught us that if we give to others, we are actually giving to him. But if we refuse to give to others who are in need, we are refusing him (Matthew 25. 34-36). I have news for you. Jesus is not going to visit you in person. But as you go through life you will meet many people in need that you could help. Remember therefore, if you do give to them, you are actually giving to Jesus, but if you refuse to help them you are really refusing Jesus.

Your Questions Answered - Do people have more than one life on earth?

Many Eastern religions teach that after a person dies he/she is then born into the world again and has another life. Then after they die a second time, they are reborn again, and so on and so on. This belief is known as reincarnation. Most people who believe this also believe that the type of life you are presently living determines the quality of your next life. Thus if you lead a good life, you will probably be born into a wealthy family next time. Conversely, if you lead a bad life, you may well be born into a life of poverty next time round. And if you lead a really bad life, you may come back as an animal, or even an insect next time!

Some people who have allowed themselves to be subjected to the ungodly practice of hypnotism appear to then remember a 'former' life on earth. The interesting thing is most of these people seem to remember being a famous person in the past. Many, for example, claim to have been King Henry V111, or Queen Elizabeth 1. However our common sense should be setting off alarm bells here - They can't all have been Henry V111 or Elizabeth1 !

The idea of reincarnation is attractive to some people because it means that if you make a mess of this life, you will always get a second chance. But the important question is not whether this is an attractive idea, but whether it is true?

The only person who knows everything is God. And He has written us a book called the Bible which tells us everything we need to know concerning our life and what happens afterwards. If you believe something that disagrees with the Bible - you are wrong! You need to change your beliefs so that they agree with the Bible. So is reincarnation true? Definitely not! Hebrews 9 verse 27 says "We die only once, and then we are judged." If reincarnation were true, that would obviously mean dying more than once, and that clearly contradicts the Bible. Therefore it must be wrong.

Thus the Bible makes it clear that we only have one life, and then we will stand before God in judgement. And at that time the only thing that will matter to God is whether we have accepted or rejected His free gift of the Lord Jesus Christ. That is why it is vital to accept Jesus Christ as our Saviour in this life. We won't get a second chance!

Illusion - 23 coin challenge.

Here is a really fun way that you can challenge your friends or parents. If you follow the instructions below, you are almost certain to win.

Take 23 identical coins (or anything that can be used as counters), and lay them down on a table. Your challenger and yourself have to pick up coins in turn. For each turn, you both have to pick up either 1, 2, or 3 coins. Whoever picks up the last coin loses. If you follow the instructions below then, if you go first, you are certain to win. If your challenger goes first, you are still almost certain to win!

To understand how you win, practice the challenge by placing the 23 coins down in rows as shown below :-

0 0
0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0

Imagine someone is challenging you, and you are to go first. Start picking up the coins on the top row, and remembering that whoever picks up the last coin (on the bottom row) loses. Pick up the first two coins, leaving five rows of 4 each, plus the last coin. Now it is your imaginary opponent's turn. All you need to remember is that no matter how many coins they pick up (1, 2, or 3), you then always pick up enough coins to complete the row. Thus, if they pick up 1, you pick up 3. If they pick up 2, you pick up 2, if they pick up 3, you pick up 1. Proceed in the same way until all the rows of 4 coins have been picked up - leaving your opponent to pick up the last coin!

If your opponent starts first, it is possible that they may win, but they would have to be either very lucky, or very, very smart. They cannot afford to make even one mistake. Suppose your opponent starts by picking up 1 coin. You then pick up 1 coin, removing the top row and leaving you in control. Then you just proceed as described above. If your opponent starts by picking up 3 coins, you pick up 3 - thus removing the top two rows, and leaving you in control again. If your opponent starts by picking up 2 coins, it is still possible that they could win, but they still cannot afford to make a mistake. In this situation, you have to look for the first opportunity to complete a row of 4 coins. For example, if your opponent picks up 2, you (say) pick up 1, your opponent will have to pick up 3 to stay in control (If he picks up 1, or 2, that gives you the chance to complete the set of 4, and gain control). Even if your opponent picks up the right number of coins on the second row, it is unlikely that he will choose the right number for all of the last four rows as well.

Having practiced with the coins laid out in 'fours' as shown above, it is now time to set them out a different way. This is because if the same person challenges you a number of times, he may eventually realise that to gain control, you have to force your opponent to pick up the first coin in each row of four. To avoid this, set out the coins in a different way. But remember that the way to win is still the same. After you have picked up your coins, ideally you want to leave your opponent with 1, then before that, 5, 9, 13, 17, and 21 coins (equivalent to the last coin plus 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 'sets of four').

I usually lay my coins out this way :-

0 0 0
0 0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 0

I must have accepted a few hundred challenges over the last few years, but have only lost about three times!

Laugh Break - Gems from the classroom.

"In the first book of the Bible, Guinness, God got tired of creating the world, so he took the Sabbath off."

"Lot's wife was a pillar of salt by day, and a ball of fire by night."

"Samson slew the Philistines with the axe of the Apostles."

"The first commandment was when Eve told Adam to eat the apple."

"The fifth commandment is Humour your Father and your Mother."

"The Epistles are the wives of the Apostles."

"Jesus was born because Mary had an immaculate contraption."

"Solomon had 300 wives and 700 porcupines."

"The greatest miracle in the Bible was when Joshua told his son to stand still, and he obeyed him."

"Christians have only one spouse. This is called monotony."

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Monday, June 23, 2008

Kidzone 16

Kidzone 16.

Your Questions Answered - If I ask God for something, will He give it me?

God has promised to give us everything we need (read Philippians chapter 4, verse 19) but, like any good father, hasn't promised to give us everything we want. There is a big difference! Some of the things we might need are food, clothes, homes to live in, families to look after us, joy - if we are feeling sad, peace - if we are troubled, patience - if we are waiting for something, and love - if we are finding it hard to get on with someone.

God always wants the very best for His children. However, He will never give us something that He knows would be bad for us. He loves us too much for that. So, the answer to the question is sometimes:-

"Yes" - God really wants you to have what you asked Him for.

"Wait" - God wants you to have that thing, but the time is not yet right.

"No" - God knows that the thing you asked Him for would not be good for you.

There is nothing wrong in asking God for things we want, but very often people ask God for something purely out of selfish motives, rather than thinking beforehand what might be best for others, or what God might want us to have. A better approach would be to ask God for His will to be done in your life, and then ask Him to place His desires in your heart. Then you will be able to pray for something with faith, being confident that it is also God's will that you should have whatever you ask of Him.

Note. Most of the questions that I answer on "Kidzone" were asked by children in some of the "Bible" classes that I take. However, if you have a question you would like answered, you can email it to me at

Story - God knows best.

Many years ago an Irish girl, Amy Carmichael, was born with blonde hair and brown eyes. She wished, however, that her eyes were blue like all her brothers and sisters - she just didn't like looking different from them. One day Amy read in her Bible where Jesus promised to give her whatever she asked for. That night she excitedly prayed, asking God to change the colour of her eyes to blue. The next morning she expectantly looked in the mirror to check the colour of her eyes and, to her great disappointment, found them still to be brown.

Somewhat puzzled the young girl consulted her mother. "Why will God not give me blue eyes like my brothers and sisters?" Her wise mother replied "God knows best. He has given you brown eyes for a reason. God has planned your life out even from before you were born, and perhaps one day you will discover why He chose to give you brown eyes."

The years passed, and Amy became a Missionary to India. To her horror she discovered that young children were working as slaves in a factory near where she now lived. She knew that she must do something about it. Therefore she disguised herself as a native Indian, blackening her blonde hair with boot polish, browning her face and arms with coffee, and putting on a Sari dress.

Boldly the disguised missionary walked past the factory guards and managed to smuggle a number of the smallest children out by hiding them under her loose fitting dress.

Later, when this event was being recounted to some friends, one of them exclaimed "Isn't it lucky that you have brown eyes and not blue eyes like all your brothers and sisters. No-one can disguise the colour of their eyes, so if you had blue eyes you could never have fooled the factory guards by passing yourself off as an Indian!"


Was it "luck" that that Amy was born with brown eyes? I don't think so. I believe that God gave her brown eyes for a reason. God "knows the end from the beginning." He knew that she would need to have brown eyes all those years later.

Sometimes we may pray and ask God for something. And although it may appear that there is no good reason why He shouldn't grant our request, we don't get what we asked for. At those times we need to trust God and to remind ourselves that, as with the case of Amy Carmichael, He sees "The big picture." Whereas we see only a little part of our lives, God sees all of it - past, present, and future. And only He knows what is really best for us.

Illusion - Predicting the future.

Write out the number "1089 " on a piece of paper, and seal it in an envelope. Ask a volunteer to look after it for you, and to be ready to open it when asked.

Ask for a second volunteer to come and do a maths calculation on a piece of paper (or a blackboard) for you. State that although the numbers will be chosen by your volunteer, you have already placed the answer to their calculation in the envelope which your first volunteer is holding.

Ask your volunteer to - 1. Write any three digit number on the paper or board. 2. Write the same number reversed under the first number. 3. Subtract the lesser number from the greater. 4.Reverse the answer obtained. 5. Add the last two numbers. Your final answer will always be 1089. Get your first volunteer to open the envelope - confirming your correct prediction.

Here is an example : -

Here is a second example :-

Try a few calculations yourself, just to be completely convinced !

Laugh Break - "Hold your tongue."

Many of us have given, or been given, the good advice "If you can't say anything good about a person, say nothing at all." And some of us have at one time said to someone (or been told by someone to) "Hold your tongue." That is actually quite logical advice because, if you are physically holding your tongue (with a thumb and finger) it is difficult to say anything, either good or bad!

Write out some well known sayings, e.g. the first few lines of nursery lines, on pieces of paper. Get volunteers to come out and read those lines out loud while holding their tongues. The listners have to guess the well known saying that is being read (or mumbled) out.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Kidzone 15.

Kidzone 15.

Story - The Little Monkey.

This is a story about a little monkey who came home from school one afternoon, and said to his mum "Can I go out to play?"
His mum replied "Yes, but don't go anywhere near the river."
"Why not?"
"The crocodiles live in the river."
"What do crocodiles look like, mum?"
"They have little beady eyes that pop out of the water and stare at you. They float like a log. They have big sharp teeth like needles. And they have a big jaw, which will go 'snap' and eat you up little monkey. So don't you go anywhere near the river."
So the little monkey went out to play.

The next afternoon, the little monkey came home from school, and asked his mum "Can I go out to play?"
His mum replied "Yes, but don't go anywhere near the river."
"Why not?"
"The crocodiles live in the river."
"Remind me. What do crocodiles look like, mum?"
"They have little beady eyes that pop out of the water and stare at you. They float like a log. They have big sharp teeth like needles. And they have a big jaw, which will go 'snap' and eat you up little monkey. So don't you go anywhere near the river."
So the little monkey went out to play.

This went on day, after day, after day. So one afternoon, coming home from school, the little monkey said to himself "If I go home today and ask my mum if I can go out to play, and she says to me one more time "Yes, but don't go anywhere near the river because of the crocodiles. They have little beady eyes that pop out of the water and stare at you. They float like a log. They have big sharp teeth like needles. And they have a big jaw, which will go 'snap' and eat you up little monkey. So don't you go anywhere near the river." I'll - - , I'll - - , I'll- - . I know. I will run away from home. Yes, that's what I will do, I will run away from home.

So the little monkey got home, and asked his mum "Can I go out to play?"
His mum replied "Yes, but don't go anywhere near the river because of the crocodiles. They have little beady eyes that pop out of the water and stare at you. They float like a log. They have big sharp teeth like needles. And they have a big jaw, which will go 'snap' and eat you up little monkey. So don't you go anywhere near the river."

The little monkey thought "Right, that's it!" So he went into the garden, climbed over the garden fence, and ran off into the jungle. He hadn't been going long, when he came upon a big animal. It had big, floppy ears, and a long, long nose which reached almost all the way down to the ground. What was it? That's right, an elephant. The little monkey looked up at the big elephant, and asked "Please Mr. Elephant, can you tell me the way - - - - - to the river? The Elephant looked down at the little monkey, and said "Oh, little monkey, you don't want to go anywhere near the river."
"Why not?"
"The crocodiles live in the river. They have little beady eyes that pop out of the water and stare at you. They float like a log. They have big sharp teeth like needles. And they have a big jaw, which will go 'snap' and eat you up little monkey. So don't you go anywhere near the river."
The little monkey looked at the big Elephant and said "You're just like my mum." So he kicked the Elephant on the leg, and ran off further into the jungle.

After a while, the little monkey met another animal. It had long legs and a long, long neck that stretched almost to the top of the trees. What was it? That's right, a giraffe. The little monkey looked up at the tall giraffe, and asked "Please Mr. Giraffe, can you tell me the way to the river? The Giraffe looked down at the little monkey, and said "Oh, little monkey, you don't want to go anywhere near the river."
"Why not?"
"The crocodiles live in the river. They have little beady eyes that pop out of the water and stare at you. They float like a log. They have big sharp teeth like needles. And they have a big jaw, which will go 'snap' and eat you up little monkey. So don't you go anywhere near the river."
The little monkey looked at the tall Giraffe and said "You're just like my mum as well." So he kicked the Giraffe on the leg, and ran off further into the jungle.

After a while, the little monkey met another animal. This animal was going ha, ha, ha, he, he, he, ho, ho, ho. What was it? That's right a hyena, sometimes called a laughing hyena because of the noise they make. The little monkey looked up at the hyena, and asked "Please Mr. Hyena, can you tell me the way to the river? The Hyena looked at the little monkey, and said "Sure I can, little monkey. I will tell you the way to the river."
"You will?"
"Yes, I know where the river is. I will tell you how to get there."
"But - - - But - - - But - - - But, what about the crocodiles?"
"There's no such thing as crocodiles."
"There's not! Well, if there's no such thing as crocodiles, why is it that my mum always tells me never to go down to the river?"
"Your mum knows what a good looking, handsome, little monkey you are. And she knows that if you see the reflection of your face in the water, you will see for yourself how handsome you are. And she doesn't want you to know that."
"So that's why my mum never wants me to go anywhere near the river. Quick, Mr. Hyena. Tell me how to get there."
"You see that big, tall, tree. Climb to the very top. When you're there, in the distance you will see a huge rock. Climb down the tree, go through the jungle to the rock, and climb on top of it. On the far side, you will see some long, thick, grass. Climb down the rock, go through the jungle to the grass, and go right through it. On the far side, you will see a big, wide, river. And then you will be able to look at your face in the water."
"Thanks very much Mr. Hyena" said the little monkey as he began running to the big, tall, tree. But as soon as he had gone the hyena went "ha, ha, ha, he, he, he, ho, ho, ho".

The little monkey, being a monkey, was a great climber, so he climbed up the tree in no time at all. He looked around, and sure enough, there was the huge rock the Hyena had told him about. He climbed down the tree, made his way through the jungle and climbed on top of the rock. On the far side, he saw the long, thick, grass. He climbed down the rock, went through the jungle until he reached the grass. It was so thick and tall that he couldn't see through it. So, he pushed it aside, and pushed it aside and pushed it aside until he was through it. And there about 20 metres in front of him was a big, wide, river!

The little monkey ran down to the bank of the river, desperate to see his reflection in the water. But a hippopotamus and her family had just passed by and muddied up all the water. The little monkey couldn't see his face in it. He was so disappointed. But then he looked out to the centre of the river where it was nice and still and clear. He thought "Oh, if I could just get to the centre of the river, then I could see my face in the water. I need a way of getting to the middle of the river." Then he had an idea. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw floating down the river was a log.

The little monkey thought "If that log comes close enough, I will be able to jump on top of it, and paddle my way to the middle of the river. I just need the log to get a little closer."

The log came nearer, and nearer, and nearer. The little monkey thought "Right, after three, I am going to jump on the log ." He counted 1 - - - 2 - - - 3 - - - The little monkey went flying through the air. He was about to land on the log, when the big crocodile opened it's jaws, the little monkey went flying in, and the crocodile went snap, snap, snap. And that was the end of the little monkey!


Why was the little monkey eaten by the crocodile? He got in trouble because he didn't listen to his mum. You should always listen to your mums, and do what they say, because they have lived longer than you and know better than you what is good or bad for you.

Who does the little monkey stand for in this story? - That's right, us.
Who does the little monkey's mum stand for? - Our mums, who give us good advice.
But, who does the elephant and giraffe stand for? Who else might give us good advice, apart from our mums? - Dads, Grandparents, older brothers and sisters, teachers etc. Any adult that you know and can trust, and wants the best for you.
Who does the hyena stand for? Remember the hyena didn't eat the little monkey (the crocodile did that). The hyena lied to the little monkey. - It could be a stranger who wants to harm you, or it could be Satan, who is known as "the liar" in the Bible. There is no need to worry about Satan though, because Jesus has beaten him. All you need to remember is - Don't listen to his lies. For example, if you get a thought in your mind "Go on, steal that boy's lunch. He deserves it for annoying you, and nobody will ever know it was you." DON'T LISTEN TO IT!
Finally, who does the crocodile stand for? What is our worst enemy of all? What is the only thing that can separate us from God? - SIN, all the wrong things we do.

The Bible tells us that sin is like a trap. It might look nice or harmless, but it is very, very, dangerous. For example, you may go home, find a plate full of your favourite cakes on the table. As nobody is around - you eat them all. You may think "They were delicious." But then your mum comes in, and you get in trouble for stealing the cakes. And then you get a sore tummy for being too greedy. Sin works like that. Eventually, we usually have to pay the penalty for it.

The little monkey's sin was being disobedient to his mum - that's what got him into trouble. I am not saying that if you disobey your mum, you will be eaten by a crocodile! (One young boy actually told his mum that I said this would happen to him if he disobeyed her! I make sure the children understand better now). What I am saying is that if you keep on doing wrong, and don't do anything about it, you are placing yourself in a very dangerous position. So keep away from sin.

Ephesians 6.1. says "Children obey your parents in the Lord for this is right. Honour your mother and father, which is the first commandment with a promise - that all may go well with you, and that you may enjoy long life on the earth."

It starts off "Children", so this is especially for you.

"Obey your parents." That means do what they tell you. The only time you shouldn't obey them - and I hope that this never happens to any of you - is if they tell you to do something that breaks God's laws, like stealing or lying. But don't argue with them. I would just say something like "Jesus wouldn't like it if I stole." All other times you need to obey your parents, even if they tell you to do something that you don't like, like washing the dishes. You may not like washing the dishes, but that is not breaking God's laws!

"Honour your father and mother." That is more than obeying them, That is respecting them, treating them nicely. Never say anything nasty to your parents. Never say anything nasty about your parents (even if you think they deserve it). That is dishonouring them. For example, if your mum says to you "Go and clean up your bedroom" and you go to do it. That is good, you are about to obey her. But as you go you grumble to yourself "This isn't fair. I didn't make the mess in my room. My mum is always blaming me for things. I don't like her." That is not honouring your mother!

If you do obey and honour your parents, God's promise to you is that "All will go well with you, and you will enjoy long life on the earth." In other words, as you go through life, you will be successful, good things will happen to you.

Illusion - Needle through a balloon.
Punctuating an inflated balloon with a pin or needle, without it bursting, will always fascinate your friends. There are two ways you can achieve this :- 1. Place a small piece if clear sticking tape on the inflated balloon. You can then pierce this without the balloon bursting. 2. Pierce the balloon where the rubber is thickest i.e. near the hole and at the opposite end. In fact, by using these two locations, you should be able to pass your needle right through the balloon. Hints. Don't inflate the balloon too much. Use a sharp needle. Smear a little grease on the end of your needle.

Your questions answered - Did some people in the Bible really live until they were over 900 years old?
A better question would be "Why do people live such short lives today?" The important thing to remember is that when God first created the earth it was completely different from what it is like now. God called it "very good". The Bible indicates that the original climatic conditions on the earth were perfect for life, and that there was no pain, sorrow, sickness or even death. All these 'bad' things (including death) only came into God's perfect creation as a result of Adam and Eve's disobedience in the Garden of Eden.
Thus Adam only died because of his disobedient act. He died spiritually - in other words he became separated from a holy God - immediately. But it took 930 years for him to die physically. Likewise Adam's early descendents mostly managed to live until they were over 900 years of age, the oldest recorded one being Methuselah who survived until he was 969. But eventually they all died.
About 1,700 years after creation came the great flood at the time of Noah, with consequent major changes in the climatic conditions. Now the earth was a much more hostile place in which to live. In particular many Bible scholars believe that the protective water vapour canopy, which had once surrounded the earth, collapsed at the start of the flood leaving all life forms exposed to harmful radiation from the sun, and therefore much more likely to have shorter life spans.
The Bible record indicates that this did indeed happen. Although Noah managed to live until he was 950 years old, his son, Shem, only survived for 600 years. A few generations later, when the effects of the dramatic climatic change had really taken hold, we read that Abraham only lived until he was 175. At the time of King David (about 1,300 years after the flood), this decline in life spans had levelled out to the present average of about 70 years.
The Bible describes death as "the last enemy". The good news is that God has promised that one day Jesus will completely defeat this "last enemy", and He will create a new earth when, as in the beginning, there will be no more death.

Laugh break - Even still more of George's favourite jokes.
1. What do you get when you pour boiling water down a rabbit hole? - A hot cross bunny.
2. What animals are always found at a cricket match? - Bat, Duck, Cricket.
3. What lies on its back one hundred feet up in the air? - A dead centipede.
4. What do you get when you cross a bear with a skunk? - Winnie the Phew.
5. Where is the best place to park a dog? - In a barking lot.
6. What do you call a bull taking a nap? - A bulldozer.
7. How do you count a herd of cows? - With a cowculator.
8. What did the dog say when asked "What's on top of the house?" - Roof.
9. Why do giraffes have such long necks? - Because their feet stink.
10. Why is the sky so high? - So birds won't bump their heads.
11. What do you call an artic cow? - An eskimoo.
12. What do tigers have that no other animals have? - Baby tigers.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Kidzone 14.

Kidzone 14.

Story - Honouring your parents.

The Apostle Paul wrote about the fifth of God's Ten Commandments. He said "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honour your father and mother - which is the first Commandment with a promise - that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth." (Ephesians 6 v. 1). Honouring your parents means respecting them, treating them well, and never speaking nastily to them or about them. If we do this then God promises that "things will go well for us."

There was once a young man who, from the time he was just a young boy, had his heart set on joining the Navy. His plan was to join the Navy at the earliest opportunity and, he thought, if he worked hard he might even become a ship's Captain one day and be in Command of his own boat.

As soon as he was old enough this young man signed up to join the Navy, and was looking forward to setting out to sea. Just before he was due to set out, his mother came to him saying that she thought he was making a mistake in joining the Navy, she just didn't feel 'right' about it, and asked him to reconsider.

What would you have done in that young man's situation? I think most of us would have said something like "This is my life. I am old enough to make my own decisions, and this is really what I want to do." But this young man went to the Navel authorities and explained that he couldn't dishonour his mother's wishes by joining the Navy.

That young man never went to sea, and he never became Captain of his own boat. But he did become the Commanding Officer of the whole Navy! In fact, he became President of his country. His name? - George Washington.

Would George Washington have still become the first American President if he had disregarded his mother's wishes? We will never know for sure, but I doubt it. And as he kept God's Commandment to honour his parents, he proved God's promise that "all would go well for him."

Illusion - R U E ?

When talking about His return to earth, Jesus explained that the actual date of His return was not important, what really matters is "Are you ready?"

Write out on a card the letters R U E ? (ensure that the "E" is in red). Ask your friends "What does this say? That's right R U E. But what is the colour of the "E"? That's right - red. Now, read the card again, but this time say the colour of the letter "E". That's right R U red E. Now, keep on saying it, faster and faster _ _ _ _ _ _ _ You've got it. It says "ARE YOU READY?" The important question is "Are you ready for when Jesus returns? Are you really trusting in Him?"

Your Questions Answered - When is Jesus coming back to earth?

Jesus' Disciples once asked Him this very question. His reply was very interesting. He stated that only Father God knew the answer to that. This response reminds us that athough Jesus was still God, He left behind some of His Godly qualities - such as knowing everything, and being everywhere all at the same time - when He left heaven to come to earth.

However, Jesus did then on to give us a clue. He said that just before His return (sometimes called His 'second coming') to set up His everlasting Kingdom on earth, conditions here would be very much like they were in the days of Noah. What was it like then in the days of Noah? Well, people were very wicked. They had forgotten about God and His eternal laws, and just did whatever they wanted so that the earth became "full of violence."

Most people would agree that the earth today is becoming more and more like it was in the days of Noah. Each year it seems to get worse with more wars, more violence, more murders, more greed etc. Therefore many Christians believe that the return of Jesus to earth cannot be too far away.

Having given His Disciples this clue, Jesus basically told them that they were really asking the wrong question. He went on to tell them that the really important question in life was not when He was returning to earth, but were they really ready for His return? In other words, are we really trusting in Jesus? Do we really know Jesus as our personal Saviour? If the answer is "Yes" then we are ready for His return, and should be hoping that He comes very soon.

Laugh break - Still more of George's favourite jokes.

1.What dog keeps the best time? - A watch dog.

2. What is the largest type of ant? - An Elephant.

3. What runs round a garden without ever moving? - A fence.

4. Where do wasps live? - Stingapore.

5. How do computers eat? - In megabites.

6. What do you do with criminal sheep? - Put them behind Baas.

7. What do frogs drink? - Croka Crola.

8. What can run but cannot walk? - A tap.

9. Where do you go to find out how much a pie weighs? - Over the rainbow. (Somewhere over the rainbow weigh a pie).

10. Name two days of the week beginning with the letter T? - Today and Tomorrow.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Kidzone 13.

Kidzone 13.

Story - The portrait of the Son.

A wealthy man had a hobby of collecting very valuable paintings. After many years he had amassed a wonderful collection, which was the envy of many art enthusiasts. This man had a son, whom he loved dearly. But war came, and the son went off to fight for his country. The father, however, was now too old to go to war.

During a fierce battle, one of the son's army friends was shot by the enemy. He lay wounded and unable to move on open ground. When the son saw what had happened to his friend, he ran to his aid, lifted him on to his shoulders and began to run back towards the safety of his own lines. However, as he was doing this, the son was also shot. Nevertheless, he still managed to carry his friend back to safety. The friend eventually recovered from his wounds, but the son died from his.

When the father heard that his beloved son had been killed, he was absolutely devastated. Even his wonderful art collection could not console him. A few months later, there was a knock on the father's door. Standing at the door was a young soldier who introduced himself as a friend of the son. "In fact" he said "I was the wounded soldier that your son was rescuing before he was shot and fatally wounded."

The young soldier continued "I do a little painting. I am not that good, I am only an amateur. But I painted a portrait of your son, and thought that you would like to have it." The soldier gave the portrait of the son to the father who was delighted with it. It clearly wasn't that good a painting, but what made it special to the father was that it was that it was of his son. He gave the portrait "pride of place" in his collection, and it always remained his very favourite.

The years passed, and eventually the father died. In accordance with his last wishes, auctioneers were brought in to sell off the father's famous collection of valuable paintings. Many art collectors gathered, each hoping to purchase a valuable painting. The auctioneer began the sale "The father has instructed that the first item to be sold is the portrait of the son. Now, will anybody start me off with a bid of $100?" There were murmurs among the crowd, and people were heard to say "That's not a valuable painting." "It was obviously painted by an amateur." "It's not even worth $100."

"How about $50 then?" said the auctioneer. No bids. "Will someone give me $20?" No bids. "Surely someone will start me off with a bid of $10?" Suddenly a voice from the back called out "I bid $5 for the portrait of the son." Everyone turned around to see the old gardener who had worked for the father for many years. He explained "The father was very good to me, and so was the son. I would like to have the portrait to remind me of them, but $5 is all I can afford."

"At last we have an opening bid" said the auctioneer. "Now, who will give me an advance on $5?" Silence. At last someone spoke up. "Let the gardener have the portrait of the son, so we can get on with bidding for the valuable paintings That is what we are here for." A murmur of approval spread through the crowd. "Very well" said the auctioneer." If there are no other bids, the portrait of the son is sold to the gardener for $5. He banged doun his gavel to indicate that the sale was complete.

"That concludes today's sale" said the auctioneer. There was an uproar among the bidders "What do you mean? What about the valuable paintings? Why aren't you selling those?" The auctioneer replied "The father left exact instructions in his will. He said that whoever gets 'the son' gets everything else as well! Therefore, all the other paintings, the house and all it's contents, all the father's money goes to the gardener, because he was the one who got the son.

Conclusion. Because the gardener got 'the son', he got everything else as well. It is just like that in God's Kingdom. If you have the son (Jesus) in your life, then all the riches of heaven - eternal life, forgiveness, victory, grace, peace, success, joy, etc. etc. - belong to you as well.

"He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life." (1 John 5 v. 12).

Illusion - Blowing a paper into a bottle.

Find an empty narrow-necked bottle (e.g. a soft drink bottle). Take a small piece of paper and screw it up into a small ball. Hold your bottle in a horizontal position, and place the paper into it's neck. Get your friends to try and blow the paper into the bottle.

You will find that your friends will be unable to blow the paper from the neck into the main body of the bottle! In fact the opposite will happen, and the paper will be propelled backwards right out of the bottle. The harder someone blows, the faster and further the paper will be propelled away from the bottle.

Explanation. There is already air in your 'empty' bottle, and when someone blows more air into the bottle (whilst attempting to blow the paper in), this will result in the air pressure inside the bottle now becoming higher than that outside - with the result that the paper is forced away from the bottle rather than into it.

Laugh break - More of George's favourite jokes.

1. Why did the Hippo. cross the road? - It was the chicken's day off.

2. Where do cows go on holiday? - cowlifonia!

3. If that is true, how do they get there? - Automoobile.

4. What do snakes learn at school? - Hisstory.

5. What is as big as an elephant, but weighs nothing? - An Elephant's shadow.

6. What does Batman's mum say when his dinner is ready? - Dinner - - - Dinner - - - Dinner - - - Dinner - - - Batman. Dinner - - - Dinner - - - Dinner - - - Dinner - - - Batman.

7.If there were ten cats in a boat and one jumped out, how many would be left? - None. (All the other cats were copy-cats).

8. What is black and white and red all over? - A sun-burnt zebra.

9. When is a piece of wood like a king? - When it is a ruler.

10. What did Adam say to his wife on the day before Christmas? - It's Christmas Eve.

Your question's answered - Did God write the Bible?

The Bible claims to be the inspired Word of God. In other words it was written by God, Himself. (See for example 2 Timothy 3.16 and 2 Peter 1.21). Christians believe that to be true. Here are seven reasons why we believe this.

1. The Bible does not contradict any scientific fact.

The Bible claims to be the TRUTH - and all its scientific statements have proved to be correct! Here are a few examples.

In ancient times, the earth was generally thought to be supported by huge pillars. But this conflicts with what Job said of his Creator 4,000 years ago: "He spreads out the northern skies over empty spaces; he suspends the earth over nothing. " (Job 26.7).

At the time of Christopher Columbus, navigators were concerned that by travelling too far they might fall of the edge of the world. Scientific observation had shown that the earth was flat - water finds its own level, so the sea must be flat! However, some 2,700 years ago Isaiah said of his Creator, "He sits enthroned above the circle (literally ball) of the earth." (Isaiah 40.22).

Nearly 2,000 years ago, Jesus referred to a future event that would happen in a split second (the blinking of an eye). In the same passage (Luke 17) Jesus said that it would be day with people working in the field (verse 31) and night with people asleep in bed (verse 34). How was this possible? It used to be thought that when it was daytime, it was daytime all over the world. We now know, however, that when it is daytime at one longitude, it may be night at another - thus enabling us to understand Jesus' statement.

And so we could go on. The Bible has proved to be remarkably accurate in all of its scientific statements. The people that God used to write down these statements doubtless believed, along with their contemporaries, many unscientific notions. However, God ensured that no such untruths came to be included in His Word,

2. The fulfilled prophecies.

A prophecy is usually a prediction about a future event. Hundreds of prophecies in the Bible have been fulfilled, exactly as foretold, often hundreds of years later.

Biblical prophecies are not vague and rambling such as those of Nostradamus and other supposed prophets. Bible prophecies deal with specific places, people and events. Their fulfilments can be verified by reference to subsequent history. For example Isaiah (chapter 53) foretold the death of Christ with minute accuracy more than 700 years before His crucifixion. In fact, over 300 Biblical prophecies about the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus have been completely fulfilled.

Biblical prophecy can only be explained by divine inspiration. God, the Creator of time, is outside of time. He is the One who controls the future and, therefore, the only One who knows the future.

3. There are no contradictions in the Bible.

This is quite remarkable when you consider that the Bible is a collection of 66 books written by at least 40 different people over a period of about 1,600 years. You would normally expect such a collection of different books to have many contradictory statements, but the unity of the Bible is extraordinary for every book agrees with all the others, like some gigantic jig-saw.

4. There are no proven errors in the Bible.

Because of its remarkable claims, no book has ever been scrutinised by its critics as closely as the Bible. Yet, despite this, there remain no proven errors in the Bible.

Much of the Bible concerns a record of the conflicts between the Israelites and neighbouring nations. For centuries there was no evidence for these wars outside of the Bible itself, and critics claimed they were a mixture of legend and invention. Today, however, 'myth' after 'myth' have proved to be true history. Archaeologists have discovered numerous cities beneath the sands of the Middle East, together with countless inscriptions, letters and other items all proving conclusively that the biblical accounts are an authentic record and that the characters referred to truly existed at the times stated.

5. The remarkable Mosaic Laws.

Our public sanitary laws date back less than 200 years. The Bible, however, contains a remarkably good sanitary code. Modern public health officers are concerned with public cleanliness, purity of water supplies, dispersal of sewage, clean food, education of the public, and control of infectious diseases. The Mosaic law (The Ten Commandments and other laws that God gave to Moses) covers all these aspects in Leviticus chapters 11 - 16.

When plagues such as the black death swept across Europe in the Middle ages, the Jews, in stark contrast to the other peoples, survived in large numbers. This was because of their healthy habits and high moral standards, as a consequence of their keeping the Mosaic laws. The Jews themselves did not know anything about germs or how diseases spread. Their motivation for keeping the laws was simply "The Lord said." And we know that it was essential for God's plan for the Jews to survive. Their survival and the subsequent formation of the state of Israel was a result of God's protection and the fulfilment of His promises as foretold in the Bible.

6. The Authority of Jesus.

Even a brief glance at the Gospels will convince anybody that Jesus Himself accepted the scriptures (what we now call the Old Testament) as directly from God. Jesus quoted from the scriptures frequently and always treated them as God's Word "which cannot be broken" (John 10.35).

As Jesus accepted the scriptures as God's Word, how can anyone who claims to follow Him not do likewise?

7. The life changing power of the Bible.

Amongst the countless thousands of books that have been written, the Bible is the only one that claims to be alive and have the power to change lives (see Proverbs 4. 20 - 22, Isaiah 55. 11, and Hebrews 4. 12). These amazing claims have been completely vindicated as down through the centuries countless multitudes have found them to be true for themselves. As people have READ, BELIEVED and OBEYED the Bible, their lives have been completely transformed.

The above was extracted from a Booklet "The Bible. The work of man or the Word of God?" that I wrote a number of years ago. If you would like a free copy of the complete booklet and you live in Britain, I understand they are still available from New Life Centre, Prestwick, KA9 2PA, Scotland. If you live in New Zealand, please email me your postal address, and I will send one on to you.

Uncle Maurice

Friday, February 8, 2008

Kidzone 12.

Story - Mine twice over!

At Christmas we remember the coming of Jesus Christ into our world. But why did He come? The Bible says that He came to redeem us. Redeem is a very old word that isn't used much today, but it simply means "to buy something back again." Here is a famous old story that helps us understand that Jesus came to redeem us.

A boy once made a toy boat. He was very proud of his boat because he hadn't bought it, he had made it himself. One day whilst sailing his boat on the lake, the wind suddenly strengthened and blew the toy boat out of sight towards the other side of the lake. The boy immediately ran around to the far side of the lake to look for his boat. He searched and searched, but couldn't find it anywhere, the boat was lost. The boy was bitterly disappointed because this wasn't any ordinary boat, this was his special boat that he had made with his own hands.

Sometime later the boy was walking past a shop. He happened to look in the window, and there up for sale was his boat. He knew it was his because he had made it himself and knew exactly what it looked like. Immediately the boy rushed into the shop and paid the asking price for his boat. On leaving the shop, the boy looked admiringly at his boat and said "Now you are mine twice over. I made you, and now I have bought you back again. I have redeemed you."

That is a picture of what God has done for us. He made us and therefore owns us, but because of our sin we became lost and separated from Him. But in His love, God sent Jesus to buy us back, to redeem us. And the price Jesus paid? - His own blood that He shed on the cross. So although at Christmas we remember the coming of Jesus to earth, we must also think of Easter and remember the purpose of His coming, to redeem us to God.

Illusion - Three cup challenge.

Here is a simple challenge you can try out on your friends (or parents!).

Take three identical cups (plastic or cardboard ones are fine) and place them in a row on a table, with the centre cup (cup 2) the right way up, and the outside cups ( cups 1 and 3) downwards. Challenge your friend to turn two cups over at a time (i.e. one with each hand) three times, so that all the cups end up the right way up. Say "I will demonstrate how this is done."

Firstly, turn over cups 1 and 2.
Secondly, turn over cups 1 and 3.
Thirdly, turn over cups 1 and 2.

All the cups will now be the right way up. Try it out for yourself.

Before you get your friend to take the challenge, invert the middle cup (cup 2), leaving cups 1 and 3 the right way up. No matter what your friend tries, they will find it impossible to end up with three cups the right way up!

The difference, of course, is that when you did the challenge, you started with one cup the right way up. When your friends do the challenge they will be starting with two cups the right way up!

Don't people notice that they are starting with the cups set up in a different way? Only very rarely, and then usually only after you have demonstrated 'the right way to do it' a number of times.

After they have had a few failed attempts, you may wish to tell your friends your secret. Or you may wish to leave them guessing!

Laugh break - George's favourite jokes.

If you live in or near Auckland, New Zealand, you may have met my cheeky friend George when he was visiting your school, church or holiday camp. Below are some of George's favourite jokes which he has asked me to share with you.

1. What goes quick, quick, quick, quick? - A duck with hiccups.

2. What goes peck, peck, peck, boom? - A chicken in a minefield.

3. Why did Captain Cook sail to New Zealand? - It was faster than swimming.

4. What never asks questions but gets lots of answers? - A doorbell.

5. Why do skeletons stay home every night? - They have no body to go out with.

6. What's the smallest room you will ever find? - A mushroom.

7. Why are they not making ladders any longer? - They are long enough already.

8. What was the first animal in outer space? - A cow. The one that jumped over the moon.

9. What do you get if you cross a famous detective with a skeleton? - Sherlock Bones.

10. Why is everyone tired on April 1st.? - They have just finished a 31 day March.

If you have a favourite joke (or jokes) why not email it to me at George and I may then include it in a future edition of "Kidzone".

Your questions answered - Why did God use Adam's rib to create Eve?

To make the first woman, God caused Adam to fall into a deep sleep. Then He took one of Adam's ribs and built Eve from it. Eve was to become Adam's helper and wife. The name 'Eve' means 'life', because she would become the mother of the whole human race. Everybody who has ever lived since then has descended from her.

God chose to use a rib rather than one of Adam's other bones because this is the one bone in our body that will grow back if it is removed. Thus Adam would not have to go through life with one rib short. If he had done so, this world would not have been perfect. And God clearly tells us that His creation was indeed perfect in the beginning, before Adam and Eve's later rebellion in the garden of Eden which spoiled everything.

Some people mistakenly believe that because God removed one of Adam's ribs, all males now have one less rib than females. This is completely untrue. We all have 24 ribs each, 12 on each side of our rib cages.

God blessed Adam and Eve and told them to have many children and fill the earth. So it was God who designed marriage of a man and a woman, and the family unit, way back in the beginning.

Kidzone 11.

A story for Remembrance day - Doing your duty.

November 11th. is remembrance day, when people remember those who gave up their lives for their countries during two world wars. November 11th. was chosen because it was on that date in 1918 that the first world war came to an end. Here is a story from the second world war.

At sixteen years of age Ronald Heys was too young to join the armed forces, but he did want to play his part in the defence of Britain during those dark World war ll days when many towns and cities were under attack from the German bombers. Thus Ronald volunteered to be a messenger between the Fire Service headquarters and the various fire depos, in his home town of Bootle, near Liverpool.

One dark evening when the "blackout" was being enforced, Bootle was under attack from 'fire' bombs. Ronald was given a message for one of the depos. and set out on his bicycle to deliver it. On his way, he crashed into a pile of rubble and glass. Although cut and bruised from his accident, Ronald managed to continue his journey and get his message delivered.

Ronald was then asked to deliver a second message, to which he gladly agreed. This time Ronald crashed his bicycle into an abandoned vehicle, which he didn't see in the dark. However the boy still managed to continue his journey and deliver his message.

For the third time that evening Ronald was asked to deliver a message, to which he readily agreed. This time he crashed into a bomb crater, but once again managed to continue on and deliver his message.

Ronald was fairly badly injured by now, but another message came in and as Ronald was the only person available to deliver it, again he volunteered. This time a bomb fell quite close to Ronald, and he was thrown from his bicycle by the shock wave. But nothing was going to stop Ronald that night, and he managed to deliver his fourth message. Having done that, the first thing he said was "Any more messages, Sir?"

Ronald was awarded the British Empire Medal for his bravery that night. But when anyone commended him for what he had done, he would reply "I was only doing my duty."

Because of Ronald Heys and many more like him who simply "did their duty", Britain was saved from tyranny.

Illusion - Restoring a cut rope.

All that is needed for this illustration is a piece of string or rope at least 1 meter long, and a pair of scissors.
Hold the top of the rope in one hand, and grasp the centre of it with the other. Bring the centre portion of the rope to the top, but as your bottom hand reaches your top, swap the centre for a piece of rope about 10 to 15 cm. from the top. This will take place behind your top hand, so will not be noticed. With a little practice you will soon become proficient. It will appear to your watchers that you are now showing the top and the centre of the rope in your top hand, whereas you will actually be showing the top and a section 10 to 15 cm. below the top.
Cut the rope where it is looped. You have actually cut off just a small top portion, but have appeared to cut it in equal halves. While still concealing the top of the rope behind your hand, tie the small section of rope around the centre, and release for all to see. What your watchers will appear to see are two halves of rope tied together in the middle. What you actually have is one long piece of rope (just slightly shorter than your original one) and a small piece tied round its centre.
Tell your watchers that you are now going to restore the original rope. Hold one end of the rope in your right hand, and begin to wrap the rest of the rope around it with your left hand. As you reach the knot - and while still continuing the wrapping - slide off the knot, and keep concealed in your left hand. Unwrap the rope, showing that it has been completely restored! No one will notice that it is now slightly shorter than at first.

Laugh Break - Things young children have been heard to pray.

Dear God, Please put another holiday between Christmas and Easter. There is nothing good in there now.Amanda
Dear God, Thank you for the baby brother but what I asked for was a puppy. I never asked for anything before. You can look it up. Joyce
Dear Mr. God, I wish you would not make it so easy for people to come apart I had to have 3 stitches and a shot. Janet
Dear God, How did you know you were God? Who told you? Charlene
Dear God, I bet it's very hard for you to love all of everybody in the whole world. There are only 4 people in our family and I can never do it.Nancy
Dear God, I like the story about Noah the best of all of them.You really made up some good ones. I like walking on water, too. Glenn
Dear God, My Granddad says you were around when he was a little boy. How far back do you go? Love, Dennis
Dear God, Do you draw the lines around the countries? If you don't, who does? Nathan
Dear God, Did you mean for giraffes to look like that or was it an accident? Norma
Dear God, In Bible times, did they really talk that fancy? Jennifer
Dear God, Please send Dennis Clark to a different summer camp this year.Peter
Dear God, Maybe Cain and Abel would not kill each other so much if they each had their own rooms. It works out OK with me and my brother. Larry
Dear God, I keep waiting for spring, but it never did come yet. What's up? Don't forget.Mark

Your Questions Answered - Why did God create the earth the way it is?

(My thanks to David Goodwin of Kidsreach - ( ) for providing the illustrations for this presentation)

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.

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.

"God's eternal power and divine nature can be seen from the things He has made." (Romans 1.20).

Maurice Sweetsur