Concepts Children Learn:
God's Spirit can change our heart on the inside.
God's Spirit produces good things, like love and goodness, in our hearts.
Whatever is on the inside will come out: good or bad fruit.

Prep: Bring some examples of bad fruit: Fruit that is mis-shaped, or fruit with big holes, brown spots, wormy, rotten, etc. in a plastic bag. Or you can use this page instead: bw: Bad Fruit. color: Bad Fruit. For Circle Time you will need some jelly-filled squeeze bottles, waxed paper, some plastic spoons, napkins and Ritz or other crackers. See Activities Page for directions.

Have your Bible marked with the following verses: Matthew 7:16-17, Matthew 25:40. Print off the story pages either in b&w or color. B&W pages: 1, 1a 2, 3 3a, 4a and 4b b&w, or 4a and 4b color, 5, 6 Make the lift-the-flap story pages for all of the bad trees. For the good tree, you can just use the pages themselves if you wish. See directions on Craft Page to make the lift-flap story pages. 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.

Circle Talk Time Skit: Have an assistant read the part of Fruity Bear or use a little-kid voice. See craft page for supplies and directions. 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.

Today's Bible Verses: Matthew 7:16 -17, and Matthew 25:40 (You can read verses 34-40 if you have really good listeners). Other scriptures used as reference: Luke 6:43, Galatians 5:22-23.

Today we will learn about another Fruit of God's Spirit. By now we know that most fruit grows on a tree or on a vine. But How can we tell what kind of fruit a tree will have? (1) Well, let's look at these trees. This one is sickly. Its falling over. Let's see what kind of fruit it will produce. (Lift flap on it). Oh, no! The fruit is all mis-shaped! I don't think its any good! (2) What about this tree? Uh-oh. This tree has bugs on the inside. Let's see what kind of fruit it produces. (Lift flap) The fruit is all buggy too! This fruit is really yucky! I wouldn't want to eat fruit like that! How about this tree? (3) What kind of fruit do you think it will produce? (Lift flap!) Ouch! All this tree produced is thorns! It must be a thorn tree! Those are all bad trees, aren't they? They only produce bad fruit because they are bad trees. They can't produce any good fruit because they aren't good trees. (Shake head no). This is the kind of fruit they produce: (Show your examples of bad fruit: fruit that is mis-shaped or has holes, brown spots, wormy, rotten). Would you would want to eat fruit like that? Yuck! I think these fruits are ready for the garbage pail!

(4) But, look at this tree. It looks like a good tree! Its even good on the inside. What kind of fruit do you think it will produce? (Lift flap). Oh, wow! Look at all that good fruit! This fruit is really yummy! This tree will never produce bad fruit because its good on the inside. It will only produce good fruit!

Did you know that our Bible tells us that people are the same. Listen to these verses: (Read Matthew 7:16-17) (5) If someone's heart is full of bad things, they produce only yucky fruit - things like causing fights, being mean, causing trouble, stealing, lying...all kinds of bad things. (6) But, when God's Spirit changes your heart, He produces good fruit. Things like love, joy, peace, patience, and kindness! He also produces the fruit of goodness in us. Remember how we learned that we are like the vine, and Jesus is the branch? When we stay connected to Jesus, that is the only way we can produce good fruit. We can't do it all by ourselves. By ourselves, all we would produce is rotten, messed up fruit like those. (Point to your examples of fruit). But if you let God change your heart, his Spirit changes you on the inside. Then, just like the tree that is good on the inside, you will produce all the good fruit too! Then we can be loving and good and kind! The good fruit we produce shows what good things are on the inside.

All of our goodness is from the God. He is the only one who is good. And, God is good and loving to us all the time. What are some of the good and loving things that God does? (Give the children a chance to answer, then add some or all of these: He sent his Son Jesus to take the punishment for our sins, gives us eternal life, forgives us, helps us, teaches us, changes our hearts, protects us...the list goes on and on). So, when God is so good to you, how does that make you want to be towards God? (Give children a chance to answer, then continue). It makes me want to love him too! Well, we could show our love for God by praising him, or obeying him. Another way to love him is to love others. Listen to how this verse says it: (Read Matthew 25:40). That means that whatever we do to others, we are doing it to Jesus. When we love God, we show it by doing good things for people to help them.

(5 again) So, we don't have to produce stinky, rotten fruit. (6 again) We can let Jesus change our hearts. He is the only one who can help us produce the good kind of fruit. If we try to do it on our own, we will just produce crabby crab apples, pointy thorns, or rotten fruit that is ready for the garbage! But, God's Spirit gives us the power to love and do good to others! Hey! Look who's here -- its our friend, Fruity Bear! (Pull out Fruity Bear Puppet).

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

Fruity Bear: HI EVERYBODY!
Teacher: Hi Fruity Bear! Wow. You sound excited today.
Fruity Bear: Yeah, I really liked the lesson!
Teacher: What did you like about it?
Fruity Bear: Well, I think I understand what you said about good trees and bad trees. I have something to show you!
Teacher: What do you have?
Fruity Bear: Here, squirt it and you will see what's inside! (Give one of the "good" squeeze bottles to your assistant to squirt onto wax paper on table).
Teacher: Oh, that looks delicious! What is it?
Fruity Bear: Its grape jelly! It came from our good grape vines that produce the best grapes ever!
Teacher: They must've been a really good to produce such good grapes! (Ask children: Who wants to taste this one? Then take a spoon and spread the squirted jelly on a cracker and give it to one of the children). What else do you have there?
Fruity Bear: Here try another one!
Teacher: Oh, thanks! Who wants to squeeze this one? (Have one of the children who volunteer squeeze another "good" bottle onto the wax paper). What is that one?
Fruity Bear & Teacher: (Continue on this way until all the "good" bottles have been squeezed. Depending on what types of jelly you have in the bottles, Fruity bear can continue to make comments about the good trees or plants such as: "That came from the blueberry pants in our back yard. Its a really big bush that produces good blueberries every summer!" or "That's applesauce. It came from my neighbor's good apple tree!" The teacher continues to ask for volunteers to taste the good ones, and spreads the squirted jelly onto a cracker and gives to a different child / children each time. Make sure all of the children have had a chance to taste at least one type of jelly. Save the yucky one for the end. When the child squeezes the yucky one, continue on with the next line).
Teacher: Ew-w-w! What's that one? That one doesn't smell very good. (Hold your nose).
Fruity Bear: (Giggles). That's because it came from the bad apple tree in my yard. All it produces is bad apples. Those apples get lots of worms, and they always seem be rotten. They don't even get ripe. I don't think it will ever produce good apples.
Teacher: Oh, then that one is ready for the garbage pail! (Throw the bottle and jelly that was squirted onto waxed paper into trash).
Fruity Bear: I sure hope I don't produce bad fruit like that!
Teacher: Just stay connected to Jesus. Remember, He is the vine. And we are like the branches. So if we stay connected to Him, we will produce the good fruit!
Fruity Bear: Yea-a-a-a! (Teacher and assistant Clap) .
Fruity Bear: I gotta go now, Bye-bye.
Teacher: Everybody say, "Bye-bye" to Fruity Bear. (Wave Bye-bye). 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.

PRAYER: Dear God,

Please help me

Thank you for being so good to me.

stay connected to you
I know that I can't do So I can produce
anything good on my own. good fruit
I want to produce and lots of it!

the good kinds of fruit.

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.

© copyright Virginia Sigle /