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All Puffed Up

(Show balloons.) This balloon will play the part of the proud Pharisee, and this balloon will be the humble tax collector. I need two volunteers, one to hold each balloon. (Hand “Pharisee” balloon to a child old enough to blow it up.) Now as I read the story, whenever I look at the person holding the Pharisee balloon, I want you to blow some air into the balloon and then hold it shut. The person holding the tax collector balloon can just let it rest on your hand.

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Truth vs. Myth

The Bible is God’s word to us. God speaks to us through the Bible. It is not a book written just to be an interesting story or to teach us history. The Bible is a book written to change lives. God sent the scriptures to us so that we would know how much God loves us. The Bible tells us that Jesus came to take away our sins so that we would live forever with God. It’s not a fairy tale, and it’s not a myth. The Bible is the truest story that ever was. It is God’s message of love to us. And God wants us to read the Bible and to listen to its words just as often as we can.

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Erasing the Mark

None of us has leprosy, but when we do bad things, it’s like having leprosy inside. We know we’ve done wrong, and we feel ugly inside. We feel bad, and we feel like everyone is staring at us, like nobody loves us or wants to be around us. Have you ever felt that way after you did something wrong? (Let children respond.) Now even though no one would be able to tell from the outside that we’ve done something wrong, Jesus knows. And when we’ve sinned, and we ask Jesus for help, what does he do for us? He forgives us and washes away our sins completely. He heals us and makes us clean inside.

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Mustard Seed Faith

Maybe Jesus was trying to get his disciples to see that it really wasn’t their faith that was so powerful; it was what God could do with that faith. God could do amazing things with their lives when they put their trust in him. Just as you have to put the seed in the soil for it to grow, you have to actually put your faith in God for your faith to grow. If we put our faith in our friends, would that work just as well? (Let kids respond.) No, that would be sort of like trying to plant our seed in a pot of yogurt or peanut butter. We have to plant our faith seed in good soil. Our faith must be planted and rooted in God. He will grow our faith for us. And then we can do all kinds of wonderful things through God’s power.

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