Concepts Children Learn:
God is faithful. God's Spirit helps have fruit that will last!To be faithful means to hang onto the vine, and not give up.

Prep:Have your Bible Marked with the following verses: John 15:4, John 15:16. Print off the story pages either in b&w or color. 1 and 1a, or 1color and 1a color, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 6 color, 6. Look at lesson directions to see how to make vine and branches. Begin story page 1 with the extra branch attached (accessory page). Directions: Cut out accessories from accessory page. Apply restickable gluestick glue or removable double-sided tape to the backs. Cover Vine picture with clear contact paper. See lesson for how to use it.

Cut some extra blueberries from the sticky-backed foam or felt to stick on Fruity Bear. Place them in a little vinyl tote bag (about 3 X 4"). Cut a branch from sticky-backed foam or felt. If you don't have it yet, make up a sample of the Fruity Bear craft. See Craft page for patterns and directions, You will be using him for the Circle Talk Time. Have an assistant read the part of Fruity Bear or use a little-kid voice for the Circle Talk Time Skit. The numbers in parentheses tell you what Story Page to hold up while you are telling the story. (You don't need to read the words on the actual story pages. They are for use as posters or coloring pages). Only read words that are not in parentheses for the lesson. The words in parentheses tell you what actions you do.

FAITHFULNESS John 15:4, John 15:16 Other scriptures used as reference for lesson: Galatians 5:22-23; Hebrews 10:23; 2 Thessalonians 3:3; 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13; 2 Timothy 2:13

We've been talking about the Fruits of the Spirit - all of the good things that God's Spirit produces in us when we follow him. (1) The first week we talked about how Jesus is like the vine (point to the vine), and we are like the branches (point to a branch). When we stay connected to him, God's Spirit can produce fruit in us - good fruit like love, joy, peace, and all of the other good things!

(Bend branch down a little at where it connects to the middle vine). But, look at this branch. This branch is not totally connected to the vine. Its very weak, and its starting to break. So, the branch is not getting the food and water that it needs to grow. (2) And, look what is happening to the fruit. This fruit is not lasting very long. They are starting to fall off even before they are ripe! Some of the fruit is wormy. And, the weak little branch cannot produce any more fruit when it is on its own. That is really sad, isn't it? It needs to be connected to its vine again so it can produce fruit. (3) The faithful gardener knows just what to do! He gently connects the branch to the vine again. He ties it real tight. (Point to the place where it is tied on). (1 again) Now the weak, little branch will become strong again because it is connected to the strong vine! Now the branch will get strong like the branch its connected to, and produce even more fruit than before! (add more grapes to the picture).

Its the same with people. Let's listen to this verse: (Read John 15:4). We can't produce fruit by ourselves either. We are too weak on our own. Some of you are connected to the vine: You have trusted Jesus to save you, and you follow him. But, It is not always easy to follow Jesus. Sometimes, we sin in big ways. Or maybe we keep making the same mistakes. Sometimes it gets hard, and we just feel like giving up! If we are upset, maybe we don't feel like spending time with Jesus every day. (4) So we feel like that weak little broken branch! We are not connected to Jesus as closely as before. But, then we start to miss him. We want to be connected to the vine again, but it seems like there is no hope for us.

But, do you know what? There is hope! Our God is a God of hope! God is faithful, just like the faithful gardener in our story. (5) Just ask God to help you. He will always forgive you. He will keep you strong to the end. God is the one who made you. He loves you and he misses you when you get broken. The vine is still there. It is firmly planted. And, He will be there when you call on him. (6) So, when you feel like the little broken branch, just hang onto the vine. He is so much stronger than we can ever be. He will help to produce all those good fruits. Listen to this verse: (Read John 15:16) And, the fruit that God's Spirit produces will last! It won't drop off or get wormy. What good fruits can His Spirit produce in us?(5 again, point to fruits as you say them) So far, we learned these fruits of the Spirit: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness. (Point to each fruit as you say the word). (6) Now we learn about faithfulness. To be faithful means that we don't give up. We (5 again) hang onto the vine no matter what. God is faithful. And we can trust him to help us be faithful.

Hey! Look who's here! Its our friend Fruity Bear!

CIRCLE TIME SKIT: (What does this mean for me?)

Fruity Bear: (Holding vine with one hand over, and one hand under vine, and has basket of fruit sitting on table at his feet). Hi!
Teacher: Hi Fruity Bear! What do you have there?
Fruity Bear: I'm holding onto the vine because I feel weak! And, I have all my fruit too!
Teacher: Well, I guess you have been listening closely to the lesson.
Fruity Bear: Yeah. (He drops the vine, and when he goes to pick it up, he spills the basket of fruit. When you pick it up, let the fruit drop out.) Oh no! Now I'm not connected to the vine anymore!
Teacher: But, remember what we learned? The vine is still there.
Fruity Bear: But I've lost all of my fruit too!
Teacher: (Pick up vine and stick on Fruity Bear). Here is your vine. All you have to do is hang on.
Fruity Bear: O.K. I'm hanging on tight!
Teacher: And, look, now the faithful gardener can produce all this wonderful fruit in you! (Stick a bunch of blueberries on him and the vine).
Fruity Bear: (Laughs) Hee hee. That tickles! hee hee. Its so much fun producing all this good fruit! I like hanging on to the vine! I like being faithful!
Teacher: And just think - this fruit will last! It won't get wormy or fall off.
Fruity Bear: That's the best part! Yea! (Jumps up and down).
Teacher and Assistant: (Claps and says "Yea!)
Fruity Bear: Well, I gotta go now! Bye-bye. See you next week!
Teacher: Everybody say, "Bye-bye" to Fruity Bear. (Wave and say bye-bye, thanks for coming!).
Transition: Let's bow our heads, close our eyes and fold our hands. I'll say the words first and give you time to say them after me if you'd like to.
Dear God, Thank you for being faithful to me. Thank you for loving me so much. Please help me to stay connected to you so I can produce lots of fruit! I want them all! In Jesus name, Amen,
Transition: Now we have some fun crafts and activities that go with this lesson. Go To Activities Page for activities. Go to Crafts Page for crafts. .

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