Concepts Children Learn:

God is gentle. God's Spirit helps me be gentle. I can be gentle with my hands and my words.

Prep:Have your Bible marked with the following verses: John 15:8, 12, and 2 Corinthians 1:4. Print off the story pages either in b&w or color. You should already have most of the story pages. The new ones are 2, 3, 3a. and 6 in color. 1 or 1 color, 2, 3, and 3a, 4, 5 or 5 color, 6,. Make up Gentle Gardener craft (page 3 and 3a) to use as a story page. See craft page for directions.

Cut some extra cherries from the sticky-backed foam or felt to stick on Fruity Bear. Place them in a little vinyl tote bag (about 3 X 4"). 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

Today's Bible Verses: 2 Corinthians 1:4., John 15:8, 12. Verses used as reference for the lesson: Galatians 5:22-23; Phil 4:5, Matthew 7:12, 1 Thes. 2:7-8.

Each week we have been learning about the Fruits of the Spirit. (1) The Fruits of the Spirit are all of the good things that God's Spirit makes grow in us. When we stay close to Jesus, he makes these things grow: Love, goodness and patience, and many more good things. Today, we will learn about a new fruit - the fruit of gentleness.

(2) Let's look at this tree. Uh-oh. It has lots of broken branches. Somebody walked by the tree too quickly. They weren't gentle, and they hurt the tree. Now its branches are broken. And, now the branches don't have any fruit. (3) But, I know somebody who can fix the broken branches! The gentle gardener comes by and sees the broken branches. He loves his tree. He cares about each little branch. So, he uses gentle words to comfort the branches. And, he gives the tree lots of water and loving care. (4) He takes the little branches and ties them back onto the big, strong tree. His hands are very gentle as he ties them. He wants to make sure they do not break again. Now they can become strong again. Then the gentle gardener will watch over the branches as they grow. Soon the branches get stronger. And, then look what happens! (5) Soon we start to see lots of fruit on the branches! (6) How happy the gardener is now! Now he has all this yummy fruit!

Sometimes people feel like broken branches too. Sometimes they are hurt or sad. But, did you know that God is like the gentle gardener? He treats us gently when we hurt. Let's listen to see what this Bible verse: (Read 2 Corinthians 1:4). He always cares about us. And, he is gentle with us. He wants us to be gentle with others too. (Read John 15:12). Jesus showed us love, and he wants us to love others. One way to love others is to be gentle with them. How can we be gentle with others? The gardener used his hands gently. (Hold your hands up). We can use our hands gently too. We can give others gentle pats (pat someone near you) and hugs to comfort them. We can be gentle when we play with our friends. We can use gentle words to tell others about how much God loves them. It makes God happy when we are gentle with others.

(1 again) But, we don't have to try to be gentle on our own. If you stay connected to Jesus, God's Spirit will make all these good things grow in you! (Say the name of each fruit as you point to each one). Hey! Look who's here! Its our friend Fruity Bear! The End.

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

Fruity Bear: (He is just peeking out from the top of the table).
Teacher: Hi Fruity Bear! Come up and talk to us.
Fruity Bear: (He goes back under the table)
Teacher: Fruity Bear! What's wrong? Are you shy today?
Fruity Bear: (Peeks up over the table again).
Teacher: Come talk to me. You can whisper if you want.
Fruity Bear: (Hold the puppet next to your ear, as if he is whispering). Assistant makes whispering sounds.
Teacher: Oh! I see! He's feeling sad today. His best friend just moved away, so he doesn't really feel like talking to anybody. I think he needs us to be gentle with him, especially today. Hey kids, do you have any ideas about how we can be gentle with him? (Give the children a chance to answer. You may want to try some of their suggestions, or continue if you don't get a response). To start why don't you come and sit on my lap. (Bring Fruity Bear up above the table and sit him on your lap facing the children) There. Is that better?
Fruity Bear: Yeah...I'm starting to feel better now. But I don't feel like talking right now.
Teacher: That's o.k. You can just be quiet today. We are just glad you are here. We like you a lot.
Fruity Bear: Oh. o.k.
Teacher: I think Fruity bear would like a gentle hug. What do you think, Fruity Bear? Would you like a hug?
Fruity Bear: Yeah. I like hugs. (Bring him close to you and pretend you are hugging him).
Teacher: I think Fruity Bear might need us to use gentle words too. Fruity Bear, I'm so glad that you are my friend!
Fruity Bear: Oh, I'm glad you told me. Do you think the kids are my friends too?
Teacher: What do you think, kids? Do you think of Fruity Bear as your friend? (hopefully they say yes, if not, you can just say, 'I think they are just being shy '. I know they like you a lot!).
Fruity Bear: Oh, that makes me feel better. I'm glad I have other good friends. I like them a lot too! Thanks for being gentle with me and giving me extra care. It helps me remember how gentle God is with me!
Teacher: Oh, I'm so glad! Yes, I think all of us like gentle words and touches. Do you know what? You are being gentle with me too! I like that. (Pull out some cherries and stick them on Fruity Bear). There. Now we see that you have the fruit of gentleness too!
Fruity Bear: (Giggles). I like the fruit of gentleness! Well, I gotta go home now. But, I will be back next week. Thank you all for being my friends. And, thank you for being gentle with me. Bye-bye! See you next week.
Teacher: Everybody say, "Bye-bye" to Fruity Bear. (wave) Bye-bye, thanks for coming!.
Transition: Let's close our eyes and fold our hands. I'll pray first, then give you time to pray.
Dear God, Thank you for being gentle with me. Please help me to stay close to you. Help me be gentle with others. 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 Week 8.

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