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Turkey Lesson Plan: Obeying God

Turkey Flag and Map

Students will learn that there are Christians who continue to obey God even though they may be punished for doing so. Not only do they obey, but they also remain happy in Jesus when they are punished.

Explain: Today we are going to learn about the country of Turkey and some Christians who live there. Turkey honors children during a special Children’s Day in April. On Children’s Day, the president and other government officials turn their jobs over to children for the day!

So today, you are going to be teachers for a while.

Instructions: Divide the class into two groups for the following activity. Provide guidance for the groups if they need it.

Group 1: Provide copies of the “Bible Verse to Remember” for each member of the group. The verse is “But Peter and the other apostles answered and said, ‘We ought to obey God rather than men’” (Acts 5:29). Explain that they will be teaching the verse to the rest of the class, but first they need to learn it themselves. Ask them to decide who will teach it to the class and how they will teach it. Will they have the class repeat it several times out loud? Will they make up a tune for the words to teach? Maybe they can plan to repeat the verse for the class a number of times, leaving off one more word at the end of the verse each time for the class to fill in.

Group 2: Provide copies of the story “Happy to Obey God” to the group to read to the class. They may want to choose one volunteer from their group to read it, or divide the story up and have several volunteers each read one or two paragraphs, or act it out while someone reads it. Ask the group to practice their plan by reading through the story at least once.

Bible Verse to Remember
Let Group 1 teach the verse to the class. (See “Introduction” above.)

Bible Story (Acts 5:12–42)
Let Group 2 present the story to the group.

Happy to Obey God
After Jesus rose from the dead, he was taken up to heaven. Peter and the other disciples kept on teaching people the things they had learned from Jesus. Crowds brought sick people to the disciples, and the sick people were healed in Jesus’ name.

More and more people believed in Jesus.

But some important leaders were upset. They did not believe in Jesus. The disciples were getting a lot of attention, and the important leaders did not like it.

So the leaders put Peter and the other disciples in jail. But an angel came and let came them out during the night!

The angel of the Lord told the disciples to go to the temple and teach the people. So the disciples went to the temple the next morning. They taught the people how to have new life in Christ.

The important leaders had a meeting the same morning. They talked about what to do with the apostles. They did not know that the disciples were out of jail.

Some officers went to the jail. They found it locked, and guards were watching it. But no one was inside! They officers told the leaders what they found.

Someone told the leaders that the disciples were in the temple. Officers went to the temple, got the disciples, and brought them to the meeting. “Didn’t we tell you not to teach in the name of Jesus?” one of the leaders asked the disciples.

But Peter and the other apostles answered and said, “We ought to obey God rather than men.” Before he went to heaven, Jesus had told the disciples to share his message with everyone. They knew they must obey him.

The leaders talked about how to punish the disciples.

They decided to have someone beat the disciples, then let them go. They warned them not to talk about Jesus anymore. After the beating, the disciples rejoiced! They were thankful that they had been able to suffer for the name of Jesus. They kept on teaching and preaching about Jesus.

Discussion Options and Concepts to Introduce

  • The apostles taught people how to have new life in Christ. If someone asked you how they can become a Christian, what would you say?
  • Peter was one of the apostles punished for teaching about Jesus. Later, he wrote the books of 1 and 2 Peter in the Bible. In those books, he wrote, “If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you,” and “If you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.” What was Peter saying? In the Bible story we heard, how did he show he believed what he was saying?
  • Do you think you could rejoice if you were insulted or made fun of for being a Christian?

Introduction to Turkey
The land that is now Turkey was the site of important events in the Bible.

Ask: Can anyone tell me who Noah was? (Accommodate answers.)

Explain: After the flood settled in the land that is now Turkey. Abraham and Jacob are two other people in the Bible who lived there. The Apostle Paul started churches in the region, and the seven cities mentioned in the Bible Book of Revelation are in Turkey.

Today Islam is the main religion in Turkey. A Christian who visited Turkey said, “Sometimes Christians in Turkey face violent persecution,” the visitor said. “But they also face ‘smart persecution.’ Smart persecution happens when Christians are treated unfairly on their jobs and at school. It’s called smart persecution because it works. And because it’s easy for persecutors to deny they are doing it,” the visitor said.

In our next story, we will learn about a Christian girl who had problems at school with smart persecution.

Map Activity
Point our Turkey on a map.

Explain: The world can be divided into seven continents. (Point to the continents as you read the list with the help of any students who are familiar with their location.) The continents are: North America, South America, Africa, Asia, Europe, Antarctica, and Australia. Most countries are part of only one continent. But the biggest part of Turkey is in Asia, and a small part is in Europe.

Current Story: Nuray Makes a Choice
Nuray was a student at a public school in Turkey. More than 1,100 students went to the school, and most were Muslims. Nuray used to be a Muslim like the other students, but she became a Christian after learning about God’s love for her.

Nuray still had to take a class about Islam, the religion of Muslims, at school. A Christian in Turkey said, “Some people say that required Muslim classes in school don’t happen anymore in Turkey, but they do.”

In order to pass a test in the class, Nuray would have to agree that Islam is the truth. Nuray did not want to do that, because Islam does not teach that Jesus is the Son of God who can save us from sin.

Nuray knew that it is more important to please God than to get a good grade on the test. She did not answer the question that said Islam is true. She left the question blank, and she failed the test. “I’m proud to have failed a test like that,” Nuray said. The principal tried to get Nuray to return to Islam, but she refused. Nuray is not afraid to stand up for her belief that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.

Discussion Options

  • The principal tried to get Nuray to stop following Jesus and to become a Muslim again. Should she have obeyed the principal? Why or why not?
  • How is Nuray’s story like the story of Peter and the apostles?
  • Suppose you met someone and you wanted to be friends with him or her. Then suppose they tried to get you to do something you knew you shouldn’t do. If you did not do what they wanted, you would not be their friend. What would you do?

Closing Remarks

Explain: We’ve learned in our stories about people who obeyed God even when it might not have been easy. Obedience is not always easy.

Ask: What are some things your mom or dad want you to do that are not always easy to obey? (Accommodate answers.) What are some ways you can obey at home this week, maybe without even being asked? Can you obey happily?

Closing Prayer Suggestion
Ask for a volunteer “teacher” to lead a prayer for Turkey and for Christians there.

Optional Ideas
Use one or more of the suggestions below at any time during the lesson.

Turkish Treats

  1. Simit

    Simit is a popular snack in Turkey. Try this recipe for a small version of the treat.

    Mix 1 cup of flour and ¼ tsp. salt. Add 1 tsp. olive oil, 2 tbsp. softened butter, 2 tbsp. warm butter, 4 tsp. milk, and 1 beaten egg. Mix until a ball of dough is formed.

    Using flour-coated hands, form the dough into “snakes” about 6 inches long and ½ to ¾ inches wide. Join the ends and pinch together to form circles. Put on a greased cookie sheet, and brush with egg white. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees. Makes about 8.

  2. Try Something New
    Provide samples of some of the following things grown in Turkey for the students to try: hazelnuts, pistachios, almonds, walnuts, chestnuts, raisins, grapes, apricots, figs, quinces, pomegranates, cherries, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, watermelon, olives, oranges, and sugar beets.

  3. Turkish Delight
    Turkish delight is a treat featured in C.S. Lewis’ book The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, as well as in the movie version of the story.

    Pour two packets of unflavored gelatin into ½ cup of cold water. Stir briefly, then let the mixture sit for about 10 minutes. Thoroughly mix ¼ cup of water, 1 cup of sugar, 1 tsp. cornstarch, the juice of one orange, and the juice of one lemon in a saucepan. Bring to a low boil, then add to the gelatin mixture. Bring to a soft boil for 20 to 25 minutes, uncovered, stirring once or twice. Pour into a greased loaf pan or a slightly larger pan. Let set at room temperature until cool. Cut into cubes about 1-inch square. Roll cubes in powdered sugar before serving.