Calming the Storm


January 4 – February 1, 2004


Praising Puppets



Scripture:   Matthew 8:18-27


Memory Verse:   “You, Lord, are the light that keeps me safe.  I am not afraid of anyone.  You protect me, and I have no fears.”  Psalms 27:1 CEV



We can trust Jesus to take care of us.



The objective of this workshop is to teach the children the Matthew passage and to have them learn that we can rely on Jesus to take care of us.  



Welcome and Introductions:

1.     Greet the children and introduce yourself.  Wear your nametag. Make sure the children are wearing nametags. If not, ask the shepherd to supply a temporary badge. Remember you are interacting with a different group of students each week that may not know you.

2.     Explain the purpose of this workshop:  Today we will use puppets to learn about trusting Jesus to care for us.  What is trust? Take several answers but get across the concept of being sure of something or someone.  Before we do puppets, we’re going to read the Bible story for today.


Scripture/Bible Story:


Ask the children to open their Bibles, if they have them, to Matthew 8:18. 


Warm-Up Discussion and Questions:  This passage is from the book of Matthew.  Does anyone know in what part of the Bible we would find the book of Matthew?  New Testament   Matthew is one of four books that have a special name--does anyone know what they are called?  Gospel.  And what does Gospel mean?  Good News.  Does anyone know what the other three Gospels are?  Mark, Luke and John.  Who and what are the Gospels about?   These books are about the life of Jesus and the good news that he died so our sins would be forgiven.   What do we have to do to have our sins forgiven?  Just trust in Jesus.  


Read the Scripture Passage Matthew 8:18-27 from the CEV (see note about who should read the Bible during class at the end of this lesson):


The Cost of Following Jesus

18When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake. 19Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, "Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go."
20Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."
21Another disciple said to him, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father."
22But Jesus told him, "Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead."

Jesus Calms the Storm

23Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25The disciples went and woke him, saying, "Lord, save us! We're going to drown!"
26He replied, "You of little faith, why are you so afraid?" Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.
27The men were amazed and asked, "What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!"


Example of Discussion after the Passage: 


There are actually two stories in the passage.  Our puppet lesson is going to focus on the second story about the boat.  Who was in the boat with Jesus?   The disciples.   Who went to sleep in the boat?  Jesus.    What happened while Jesus was asleep?  A storm came up.  What kind of storm do you think this was and how do you know that?  Must have been very bad because the disciples thought they were going to drown.   Jesus seemed a little disappointed that the disciples were afraid--I wonder why.  Jesus seems to think the disciples don’t have enough faith if they think they are going to drown.   Jesus knows that God is in control and that it was not part of God’s plan to have everyone die in the boat.  I think he was hoping the disciples had figured that out too.  How did Jesus “save” them?   He rebuked (scolded or disciplined) the waves and they calmed down.  How did the disciples feel about this?  They were amazed.  Do you think the disciples felt more safe or less safe when they were with Jesus after this happened?  Probably more safe.   Does this story make you feel more safe or less safe knowing that Jesus cares for us too?  Any answer is appropriate.  Try to get at least 2 or 3 children to answer.   “Even the winds and the waves obey him!”—that means that Jesus is very powerful, and all things obey his commands. 


Puppet Application:


Note:  There are 5 skits with differing numbers of characters in each.  You may have to repeat one or more of the skits to give everyone a chance to perform.   


  1. Divide the class into groups of children for each skit. 
  2. Give out copies of the script to each child.   The scripts can be highlighted for individual parts.
  3. The puppets can already be out on a table.  Let the children line up to choose a puppet.  The puppets don’t have to match the parts they play.
  4. You have several options about who can read the parts.  You may pre-record the entire skit on cassette tape before Sunday.  You can choose a narrator (use a shepherd or workshop leader) to read all the puppet parts while children act out with the puppets.  You may also allow each child to read and act out his/her own puppet part.   With this last option, you may encounter 1st and 2nd graders that don’t read well.
  5. Allow the groups 5 minutes to practice their script.  Space out all the adults in the room to help with the script practice.  Grades 1&2: The shepherd and workshop leader should help with the scripts, perhaps even “speaking” the voices while the children act them out.  If one child is uncomfortable with reading, and you have planned for children to speak their parts, one of the adults present can read the words for this child.
  6. After each skit, have the puppet operators return to the audience to discuss what happened in the skit as a group.  Apply the skit to the concepts being taught in this workshop.  See suggested discussion questions below.
  7. If you have to repeat a skit to give everyone a turn, you may hold the discussion until the second time you have done the skit.


Skit 1 Discussion Questions:


Who fixes your dinner?  Get a couple children to answer.  How would you feel if you thought that person wasn’t going to be able to fix dinner for you?   Try to get a couple of answers.  Did the children really need to worry about dinner—how did the Mom still provide dinner for them? No because the mother called their father and told him to get dinner for them.  Do you think they will trust their mother more in the future to always provide for their needs?   Probably.


Skit 2 Discussion Questions:


Did the child that got left behind trust his father to have a good reason to call him?  No, he just ignored his father because he wanted to play his game.  What if the next time the father calls it is to get the child to do a chore—is it still important to come?  Yes, we must trust that the father has a good reason for asking the child to do the chore.  Why do trust and obey go together?  Probably lots of appropriate answers—try to get at if we trust someone then we know that what they ask us to do is something we should do.   


Skit 3 Discussion Questions:


Do you know why Faith Quest has memory verses?  The verses that are picked are chosen to help you—for example, to make good choices or to know something about God.  Why do you think this memory verse was chosen?  Helps you know that you can rely on God when you are afraid.  Have you ever prayed when you were afraid?  What kind of fears can you pray about?  Try to get some variety—bullies, tests, scary things, not doing well at something.  Did you know that the Bible says that you can pray about all kinds of fears or really anything you want to talk to God about?  Did you know that praying is one way we tell Jesus we trust him?       


Skit 4 Discussion Questions:


Has a teacher ever asked you to learn or practice something that seemed hard or useless to you?  What kinds of things?  Try to get three or four answers.  Do you trust teachers to do what is best for you?  Try to get a few responses.  Do you think you should?  Try to get a few responses.  If you teachers care about you, don’t you think Jesus, who is perfect, cares much, much more about you? 


Skit 5 Discussion Questions:


Who likes to get shots?  I’m sure no one.   Why do you think parents and doctors make you get shots?  See if someone will admit that shots are good for you.  Is it hard to trust adults who tell you to do something hard or painful for a reason?  Sure.  Is it hard to trust Jesus to take care of us?  Sometimes it is but we can trust Jesus to always take care of us.   How do we trust Jesus?  Just tell him you are relying on him to care for you. 



Reflection Time:

Usually at 10:35 a.m., you ask the shepherds to pass out the journal sheets and pencils/markers. Tell the older students to write a sentence about someone they trust to take care of them (can be a person or Jesus).  Tell the younger students (or stumped older students) to draw a picture of a person (or Jesus) that they trust to care for them.  The workshop leader(s) and shepherd(s) can help parents by writing a caption on the picture.


At 10:45 ask the students to close their journals and sit quietly for prayer.



Prayer:  Write your own or use this example.  Thank you God for caring for us.  Thank you for teaching us to trust you and other people in our lives.   


Tidy and Dismissal: Ask children to help tidy up. Close/lock the door and turn off the lights.


Teacher preparation in advance:

1.     Pray that God will guide you to teach what He wants taught during this workshop and scripture passage.  Pray for a loving and patient attitude toward the children.  Pray for time management during the workshop.

2.     Read the scripture passages and attend the Faith Quest Leaders Bible Study.

3.     Please practice reading the scripture passage out loud several times.  See Who Should Read section of this lesson for encouragement.  

4.     Make at least 6 or 7 copies of each script.  You can highlight one character in each skit. 

5.     Make a poster of the memory verse to hang on the wall.  This poster needs to be taken down each week and re-hung on Sunday.

6.     If you decide to pre-record the scripts, there is a tape recorder/boom box in the Praising Puppets cabinet.

7.     Prepare a closing prayer.

8.     Journal pages will be provided at the Bible Study or the first Sunday of the rotation.


Who Should Read the Bible in Class


As the writer of this lesson and also as a Faith Quest teacher, I strongly encourage you, the workshop leader, to read the Bible passage yourself and only after practicing it before your first Sunday. 


Catherine Devins, who helped Rev. Joan McCarthy bring the workshop rotation to the Kirk,  suggests that “the workshop leader be sure to prepare a reading with emphasis and energy and excitement as appropriate.”  Drawing from personal experience, she says, “When I teach, I do the reading and ask the kids to follow along. Often I set up the story in an animated way, then read with as much drama as I can get away with.”


Suggested Supply List


Copies of the script

Poster for memory verse



Notes supplied by Lori Houck for curriculum writers' Bible study




SKIT 1  (3 characters)



Karen:  “Is Mom still in bed?”


Dylan:  “Yes.  I just opened the door to her bedroom.  The lights are all off.  And she said not to come near her.  She thinks she has the flu.”


Karen:  “I’m really hungry.  It’s almost dinnertime.  She’s usually cooking dinner by now.  Do you think we’ll starve to death?”


(Sound of door opening)


Father:  “Karen…Dylan…”  (can substitute different names here)


Dylan:  “Dad, what are you doing home so early?


Father:  “Your mom called me at work and said she couldn’t get out of bed.  I came home early.”


Karen:  “Dad, I’m really hungry.”


Father:  “Good, because I picked up a pizza on the way home.”




SKIT 2 (5 characters)


(Mother and 3 children should be scattered around the stage.)


Father:  (coming in, loudly)  “Children…please come down here….”


(All come running to Father except one.)


Father:  “OK, let’s go quickly.”  (Father and 1st and 2nd children leave the stage.)


3rd Child:  (comes to where father was)  “Where is everyone?”


Mother:  “They went to a fair.  Why didn’t you come when your father called?” 


3rd Child:  “I was in the middle of a game.  I didn’t want to stop right then.  Can you take me to the fair now?”


Mother:  “I don’t know where it is.  Your father saw a traveling fair while he was out running errands and wanted to take everyone before it closed.  He was really in a hurry.”


3rd Child:  “I can’t believe he left me.”


Mother:  “He didn’t leave you on purpose.  You didn’t come.”


Narrator (adult voice):  “1 hour later”


(Father and 1st and 2nd children come in)  


1st child:  “That was fun.  I can’t believe how fast those rides were.” 


2nd child:  “We don’t want dinner.  We’re full of cotton candy.”


3rd Child:  “I can’t believe you didn’t take me.”


Father:  “I thought you must be at a friend’s house.  What if the house had been on fire, and I was trying to get everyone to leave?  Next time, you’ll have to trust me that I have a good reason for calling you.

SKIT 3 (2 characters)


Child (lying down):  “Mom, can you come in here?”


Mother:  “Why aren’t you asleep?  You went to bed a while ago.”


Child:  “I was reading a very scary book before I went to bed, and now I’m afraid and can’t get to sleep.  Can you stay here awhile?”


Mother:  “Well, I’ll sit here with you for a few minutes, but I can’t stay with you all night.  You’re too old for that.  Do you remember that memory verse you’re learning in Faith Quest?”


Child:  “The one we’re learning now is, ‘You, Lord, are the light that keeps me safe.  I am not afraid of anyone.  You protect me, and I have no fears.’ ”


Mother:  “That’s Psalm 27:1, and you said it perfectly.  Why don’t you pray about being afraid?  That’s what I do when I’m afraid or worried about something.”


Child:  “What if Jesus doesn’t hear my prayer?”


Mother:  “The Bible says that God hears every prayer.”


Child:  “What if my prayer isn’t answered?”


Mother:  “You have to trust Jesus.  He will care for you.”


SKIT 4 (3 characters)



Teacher:  “Class, your time is up now.  Turn in your tests now.”


Student 1:  “Finally we are done with that test.  It was hard.”


Student 2:  “But not impossible.  I think I did OK.”


Student 1:  “I agree.  I don’t think I missed more than a few questions.”


Teacher:  “How was the test?”


Student 2:  “I’m glad you made us do all of that math.  I didn’t like doing it at the time, but I knew all my math facts when I needed them on the test.”


Teacher:  “I knew the class would need to know those math facts.  Maybe this will teach you to trust your teachers more in the future.”


Student 1:  “Thanks for helping us do well.”



SKIT 5 (2 characters)



Child:  “Dad, I could run during recess today.  My foot feels normal.”


Father:  “I think you’re finally over that skin infection.”


Child:  “I guess that shot helped.”


Father:  “I thought it would.  I knew you didn’t want a shot, but sometimes that’s the only thing that will make you better.”


Child:  “I’m sorry I was so mad at you at the doctor’s that day.  It seems worth it now that my foot doesn’t hurt anymore.”


Father:  “Try to remember that next time.  I don’t do anything to harm you—you need to trust me to always take care of you the best way I know how.”