Tag Archives: faithfulness

Good Seed – Bad Seed (OBJ LESSON)


Time

10-15 minutes
Audience

Children, Teens, Adults

Description

This object lesson teaches about wounds that we get when people or circumstances hurt us.  These take up a place in our hearts, because our hearts are where we keep things that are very important to us (both good and bad).  Wounds are very fertile places in our hearts, so both God and Satan will try to plant seeds there.  God’s seeds will turn our wounds into something beautiful, but Satan’s seeds will turn them into something painful, shameful, bitter and/or destructive.  (Note: You will need a break in the lesson and/or a helper to plant the flowers and the weeds in the soil.)

Scriptures

  •   Romans 8:28

 

Materials

  • 1 large, heart-shaped pan or container (open at the top and about 3-5 inches deep – will be used as a planter for flowers and weeds and filled with soil.)
  • 2 large, over-sized “packages” of seeds (They should be really big – preferably 2 ft tall for an exaggerated effect.  They could created out of flipchart paper or something else (like a large mailing envelope.)
  • 1 watering can (to water the flowers)
  • Thick marker
  • Sheet of paper
  • Tape
  • Flowers (these can be real or fake – enough to fill the heart-shaped container)
  • Weeds (these can be real or fake – about 10 of these)
  • Soil (enough to fill the heart-shaped container)
  • Seeds to go in each of the seed packages (It doesn’t matter what kind as long as they are large enough to be visible.  Sunflower seeds would work well.  Put several handfuls into each package.)

 

Preparation

  • Spread the soil around the heart-shaped container.
  • Fill the watering can with water, and have it ready nearby the teaching area.
  • Put the flowers and weeds somewhere where they can’t be seen and where you will be able to plant them later without being seen.
  • Practice the script.
  • Label one package of seeds in large letters that say, “Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-Control.”
  • Label the other package of seeds with large letters that say, “Hate, Sadness, Fear, Impatience, Meanness, Sinfulness, Disloyalty, Harshness, Lack of Control.”
  • Use the sheet of paper, marker and tape to label the watering can with a sign that says, “Living Water.”

Procedure

Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

  • “Sometimes bad things happen to us.”
  • “People mistreat us or hurt us, we have a bad experience, we make a mistake and have to suffer from the consequences…”
  • “These things happen to everyone, but sometimes the experience hurts us so much that it creates a wound in our heart.”
  • “A wound in your heart is a painful place; it hurts just to think about it.”
  • “When you remember what happened, you feel terrible sadness or anger or jealousy or shame and embarrassment.”
  • “Don’t raise your hand, but just think to yourself – do you have a wound like that in your heart?”  (Allow participants a few moments to consider and remember a wound that they have suffered.)
  • “I imagine that we can all think of at least on painful experience in our lives that just won’t go away.”  (Ask for a volunteer to come to the front.)
  • “A wound is a really fertile place in your heart; that means that it’s a place where things can grow really well.”
  • “It’s really fertile because of the pain from the wound.  That pain can change you – it can change you for good or change you for evil.”
  • “Let’s imagine that this heart-shaped container represents a wound in your heart.”  (Show the heart-shaped container, and have the volunteer put his/her fingers through the soil.)
  • (To the volunteer…) “Does that look like some fertile soil to you?”  (Acknowledge response.)
  • “It’s really good soil, and you could grow almost anything in there.”
  • “Well, there are two ‘gardeners’ who are very interested in growing things in that soil; one is God, and one is Satan.”
  • “They both want to grow things in your wound, because they know how fertile the soil is.”
  • “God brings His seeds.”  (Hand the large package of God’s seeds (Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control) to your volunteer, and have him/her hold it up where everyone can see.)
  • “God’s seeds will grow into the fruit of the Spirit, which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”  (Have volunteer shake some seeds into the soil in the heart.)
  • “The Bible says in Romans 8:28 that God will use ALL things for the good of those who love Him.”
  • “That means that God can even take the wounds in your heart, the worst things that you have ever experienced, and turn them into blessings for you!”
  • “But Satan also brings his seeds.” (Set the God seeds aside and hand the volunteer the other package of seeds.)
  • “Satan’s seeds will grow into the fruits of evil, which are the opposite of the fruit of the Spirit: Hate, Sadness, Fear, Impatience, Meanness, Sinfulness, Disloyalty, Harshness, Lack of Control.”   (Have volunteer shake some seeds into the soil in the heart.)
  • “Now, these two sets of seeds are going to compete to grow in the soil of your heart.”
  • “Since the wound is so fertile, they are definitely going to grow, but you get to decide which type of seeds fill up your heart.”
  • “Do you want the seeds that grow into the fruit of the Spirit to fill your heart, or do you want the seeds of evil to grow there?”  (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “If you want the fruit of the Spirit to grow, you’ve got to water those seeds every day with Living Water.”  (Hand your volunteer the watering can, making sure that the audience can see the “Living Water” label.  Have the volunteer sprinkle some water over the soil.)
  • “Living Water is the Word of God – the Bible.”
  • “When you water with Living Water every day, the seeds that turn into the fruit of the Spirit are going to grow.”
  • “But if you do nothing, the weeds of evil will grow instead.”
  • “They don’t need any help to grow, because they grow naturally all by themselves.”
  • “The fruit of the Spirit, on the other hand, only grows when you spend time getting closer to God each day by studying His Word, praying and doing your best to follow what His Word says to do.”
  • “Let’s give these some time to grow and see what happens.”  (Hand the heart-shaped container to a helper (or take a break) to take away and plant the flowers and weeds.  Thank and dismiss your volunteer.  Plant the flowers all around the heart, and insert weeds at different places.  Then, bring the container back into the teaching area to finish the lesson.)
  • “Let’s pretend that some time has passed.”
  • “Our flowers that represent the fruit of the Spirit (Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-Control) have grown up, because we have been watering them every day with Living Water by spending time praying, reading God’s Word and doing what it says to do.”
  • “Unfortunately, some weeds of evil (Hate, Sadness, Fear, Impatience, Meanness, Sinfulness, Disloyalty, Harshness, Lack of Control) have also grown up in our heart.”
  • “That’s the way Satan works.  He never gives up.”
  • “Even when we are working really hard to let God use the wound to bless us and those around us, Satan will still plant seeds of evil around God’s seeds.”
  • “You will have forgiven the person who hurt you, but every once in awhile, feelings of hate or mean thoughts will spring up in your heart.”
  • “You may have trusted God with the mistake you made, but every once in awhile, feelings of deep sadness or sinful thoughts or actions might spring up.”
  • “Don’t be surprised when this happens…it’s normal.”
  • “What you have to do is pull those weeds.”  (Ask for volunteer to come up and carefully pull the weeds out without uprooting the flowers.)
  • “The way you get those weeds out of your heart is by giving them to God whenever you notice them in your heart.”
  • “Pray to God, and ask Him to take away your bad feelings and your bad thoughts.  Ask Him to help you stay away from bad actions.”
  • “Keep the garden of your heart clean from weeds so that the fruit of the Spirit can really grow and make your heart beautiful.”
  • “In that way, God will take a wound in your heart and make it into something beautiful for you and everyone God puts in your life.”  (Thank and dismiss your volunteer.)

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Filed under blessing, Bullying, Challenges, Fruit of the Spirit, God's Protection, God's Will, Healing, heart, Object Lesson, Overcoming obstacles, purity

God Doesn’t Waste Anything (OBJ LESSON)


Time

10-15 minutes
Audience

Children, Teens, Adults

 

Description

This object lesson teaches about how God brings good things out of bad and uses the metaphor of turning lemons into lemonade.

Scriptures

  • Romans 8:28
  • Galatians 5:22

Materials

  • Several cow patties if you can find them.  If you can’t, use a bag of fertilizer and just explain that many fertilizers include animal waste.
  • A pot of fragrant flowers
  • A piece of fruit that most people would enjoy eating

Preparation

  • Lay out materials for the lesson.
  • Practice the script.

Procedure

Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

  • “Who knows what this is?”  (Hold up dry cow patty.)
  • “Right?  It’s a cow patty.”  (Pass it around to kids.)
  • “Now, it doesn’t smell too bad right now, but who has ever smelled a fresh one?” (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “They’re stinky, aren’t they?”
  • “So, you probably wouldn’t go around smelling them, would you?”
  • “But would you smell this?”  (Hold up flowers in a pot.)
  • “Sure, because it smells good, right?”
  • “Did you know that this (hold up another cow patty) was used to make this (hold up flowers) smell so good?”
  • “How did that happen?”  (Take responses until someone mentions fertilizer.)
  • “Right!  Cow manure is one of the most common ways to fertilize plants and flowers.”
  • “How many of you would eat this?”  (Hold up cow patty.)
  • “But would you eat this?”  (Hold up fruit.)
  • “Believe it or not, there’s some of this (hold up cow patty) in this (hold up fruit).
  • “God made it so that plants and flowers take the nutrients out of the manure and reuse them to help the fruit and the flowers grow.”
  • “God doesn’t waste anything.  He even takes bad stuff (hold up cow patty) and turns it into good stuff (hold up or point to fruit and flowers).”
  • “If God can do that with cow poop, He can do that with the bad stuff in your life, too.”
  • “Some of the stuff that happens to us really stinks, but God will use it to do good stuff in our lives so that we come out smelling like a rose.”
  • “He can use those bad things to create fruit in our lives like the fruit He talks about in the Bible.”  (Have volunteer read Galatians 5:22).
  • “So, whatever bad stuff happens in your life, give it to God to use as fertilizer, and He will bring good fruit out of it.”  (Have volunteer read Romans 8:28.)
  • “God will use everything to bless you if you trust Him with it!”  (You can use the Rhyme Time below to reinforce the lesson.)

 

Rhyme Time

If we trust Him and obey, God makes bad things go OUR way!

 

 

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God’s Permissive Will (OBJ LESSON)


Time

45 minutes
Audience

Children, Teens, Adults

 

Description

This object lesson teaches about how God’s permissive will works with God’s unchangeable will.  It uses the stories of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph and his brothers to illustrate how God allows us to make choices but brings even our bad choices and sin into alignment with his perfect will in the end.

 

Scriptures

  • Genesis 2:16-17; 37-50
  • Numbers 23:19
  • Deuteronomy 30:15-20
  • Joshua 24:14-15
  • 1 Samuel 15:29
  • Malachi 3:6
  • Romans 8:28
  • Hebrews 6:17
  • James 1:17

 

Materials

  • One red rope – about 15-20 ft long
  • Five ropes (any color other than red) – about 15-20 ft long each
  • Printout of the file, “JJ  – God’s Permissive Will – Choices Cards (OBJ LESSON).” It can be found on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at www.teachingthem.com.  This can be printed in black and white on regular paper.
  • 70 clothespins
  • Large paper clip or rubber band
  • Bag to hold clothespins, Choice Cards and ropes

 

Preparation

  • Print out “JJ – God’s Permissive Will – Choice Cards.”  (There are 35 pages.)
  • Cut each of the pages in half down the line in the middle to make 70 separate Choice Cards.
  • Put ropes in your bag
  • Put the clothespins in your bag so that you can carry them during your lesson.
  • Put the Choice Cards in numerical order (the numbers are on each card) with #1 on top and all the rest following.
  • Clip or rubber band these cards together, and put them in your bag.
  • Practice the script.

 

Procedure

Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

  • “God’s will is difficult to understand.”
  • “In some parts of the Bible, it says that God’s will never changes.”  (Have volunteer(s) read one or more of the following Scriptures out loud: Numbers 23:19, 1 Samuel 15:29, Malachi 3:6, Hebrews 6:17, James 1:17.)
  • “But we know from other parts of the Bible that God allows us to have free will – meaning, He lets us make choices.”  (Have a volunteer(s) read one or more of the following Scriptures out loud: Genesis 2:16-17, Deuteronomy 30:15-20, Joshua 24:14-15.)
  • “This is sometimes called ‘God’s permissive will,’ which means that God gives us permission to choose to do something different than His will.”
  • “These Scriptures make me wonder how God’s will can always stay the same even though we do things that are not in His will.”
  • “Why don’t our bad decisions mess up God’s perfect and unchanging will?”
  • “I’m going to show you how this all works.”  (Ask for two volunteers.  Give them each one end of the red rope, and have them stretch it out as far as it will go across the room.)
  • “Let’s say that this is God’s unchanging will.”
  • “It stays the same no matter what.”
  • “On this end, we have ‘Before time began,’ and on the other side, we have ‘Eternity.’”
  • “God’s will is outside of time.  It was here before time began and will continue on after time ends.”
  • “This rope represents our free will.”
  • “There was a time in the Garden of Eden when God’s will and man’s free will were tied together.”  (Tie the two ropes together near the ‘Before time began” end.)
  • “But that didn’t last long, because Adam and Eve chose to do something against God’s will when they ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.”
  • “Whenever people step away from God’s will by using their free will to do something wrong, it looks like this.”  (Ask for another volunteer to come up and hold the “free will” rope away from the “God’s Will” rope.  Leave the two ropes tied together, but have the volunteer just hold the rope a few steps away from the “God’s Will” rope.)
  • “That first sin was followed by many more, and I don’t have time to tell you about all of them.”
  • “Instead, I’ll focus just on one family – the family of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph.”
  • “I’m picking this family, because they are God’s chosen people, the ones He made a promise to bless.”
  • “The story started with God making a promise to Abraham.  Abraham was old and didn’t have any children, but God promised to make him the father of many nations.  His son Isaac was the child of that promise.”
  • “At this point, Abraham’s free will was lined up with God’s will, so the two ropes are together.”  (Have volunteer who has the “free will” rope come back to the red “God’s will” rope and hold both ropes together.  Pull out Choice Card #1 from your bag.  Show it to the audience. Clip the two ropes together using a clothespin.  Anytime a Choice Card says, ‘GOD’S WILL – BOTH ROPES’ at the bottom, clip the two ropes together.)
  • “Isaac grew up and got married.  His wife Rebekah couldn’t have children, so he prayed for her.  God answered his prayer and gave them two children, Esau and Jacob.”
  • “What do you think?  Was Isaac’s free will still lined up with God’s will at this point?”  (Listen to responses.)
  • “Sure it was!  Isaac wanted what God wanted, and God blessed him with two children.”  (Show Choice Card #2, and use the clothespin to clip the two ropes together.)
  • “Esau and Jacob fought with each other in their mother’s womb, and God told Rebekah that Jacob would one day rule over his brother Esau.”
  • “Do you think it God’s will that the babies fought in the womb?”  (Listen to responses.)
  • “I don’t know for sure if babies know enough to use their free will, but let’s say that it could be possible.”
  • “That means that their free will separated from God’s will.”  (Have ‘free will’ rope volunteer take a step away from the ‘God’s will’ rope so that the two ropes separate.  Make sure he/she doesn’t pull hard on the rope and rip the Choice Cards that are already on it.  Use a clothespin to clip Choice Card #3 to just the ‘free will’ rope. Draw out Choice Card #4, and show audience.)
  • “Jacob’s name in Hebrew means, ‘He deceives,’ and it’s a great name for Jacob.  He was one of the trickiest people in the whole Bible.  The first trick we know about is when he convinced his brother, Esau, to sell him the birthright of the firstborn son in exchange for a bowl of stew!”
  • “The birthright of the firstborn son was a special privilege given to the boy who was born first, and it made him the leader of the family when the father died.  It also gave him twice the inheritance of the other children, so it was pretty important.”
  • “Now we know that God said Jacob would one day rule over Esau, but I’m pretty sure this is not how God planned for it to happen.”
  • “God didn’t need Jacob to trick Esau.  God would have made His will come true without tricks.”
  • “So, this choice that Jacob made was definitely away from God’s will!”  (Clip Choice Card #4 with a clothespin to just the ‘free will’ rope.  If you have lots of participants, you could give the choice card to a volunteer and have him/her clip it and then stand by it to represent that choice.  There will be 70 choices total, so you might have each volunteer represent several choices.  Draw out the remaining Choice Cards in numerical order while telling the story of God’s chosen people.  The cards are listed below for your reference along with important story elements.)
  1. REBEKAH AND JACOB – Tricked Isaac into giving Esau’s blessing to Jacob (It wasn’t enough that Jacob stole the birthright from Esau; he felt he had to steal his blessing, too.  (The blessing was a special gift from the father that helped a child to know what his or her future would be like.)) FREE WILL ROPE
  2. ESAU – Threatened to kill his brother, Jacob (Esau was so mad when he found out, that he promised to kill Jacob as soon as their father died.) FREE WILL ROPE
  3. REBEKAH – Tricked her husband, Isaac, into sending Jacob away to find a wife among her brother’s people (Now we know where Jacob learned to be so tricky.  His mom was a trickster, too!  She saved Jacob’s life by sending him where Esau couldn’t get him.  It’s good that she saved Jacob’s life, but she didn’t trust God to help.  Instead, she told a lie.  That’s away from God’s will.)  FREE WILL ROPE
  4. GOD – Promised land to Jacob in a dream and told him that he would have many descendants (God met Jacob while he was running away and renewed the promise that He had made to Abraham and Isaac.)  BOTH ROPES
  5. JACOB – Fell in love with Rachel as soon as he saw her (When Jacob arrived at the land of his relatives, he saw a girl named Rachel and fell in love with her.  God wants us to fall in love.  This was lined up with God’s will.)  BOTH ROPES
  6. JACOB – Worked for Laban for seven years in order to marry his daughter, Rachel. (It was the custom for these people at this time that a man would pay a woman’s father for the privilege of marrying her.  Jacob didn’t have any money or property, so he worked for seven years as payment.  This was honorable behavior.)  BOTH ROPES
  7. LABAN – Tricked Jacob into marrying Rachel’s older sister, Leah (Jacob wasn’t the only tricky person.  His uncle Laban wanted to marry his oldest daughter off before Rachel got married, so he tricked Jacob into marrying her. That’s definitely away from God’s will.)  FREE WILL ROPE (have volunteer step away from ‘God’s Will’ rope to hold ‘free will rope’ and show the distance between the two.  You might want to have them step in the other direction from the first time in order to make the best use of space.)
  8. JACOB – Was angry with Laban but agreed to work for Laban for seven more years so that he could marry Rachel, too.  (Jacob loved Rachel very much and still wanted to marry her, so even though he had been tricked, he agreed to work seven more years to pay for her hand in marriage.  That’s pretty romantic, but the problem with it is that God doesn’t want us to marry more than one person.  This is away from God’s will.)  FREE WILL ROPE
  9. LABAN - Tricked Jacob many times in order to make him keep working for him. (Laban wasn’t satisfied with having Jacob work for him for 14 years. Jacob was a talented shepherd, and Laban got rich while Jacob was taking care of his sheep.) FREE WILL ROPE
  10. 14.  GOD - Blessed Jacob by giving him many herds and many children (12 sons and 1 daughter).  (This is the beginning of God fulfilling His promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.) BOTH ROPES
  11. 15.  RACHEL and LEAH - Competed with each other to see who could have the most sons for Jacob.  (In their culture, they believed that you were more important if you had more sons.  Leah was able to have six boys, but Jacob didn’t love her.  He loved Rachel, but she couldn’t have children for many years until God finally let her have Joseph and Benjamin towards the end of her life.)  FREE WILL ROPE
  12. JACOB - Ran away from Laban.  Laban chased him, but God warned Laban in a dream not to hurt Jacob.  (I’m not sure if it was God’s will for Jacob to run away or not, but God protected Jacob, so we will say that this was lined up with God’s will.) BOTH ROPES
  13. JACOB – Wrestled with God until God gave Jacob a blessing. (While Jacob was traveling back to the land his family lived in, and angel of the Lord (probably Jesus) came to earth and wrestled Jacob.  Jacob wouldn’t let go until God blessed him.)  BOTH ROPES
  14. 18.  ESAU - Forgave his brother Jacob, because he had been very blessed by God over the years they were apart.  (Jacob was worried about his brother still being mad at him, but he was surprised to find that Esau had totally forgiven him.)  BOTH ROPES
  15. SIMEON AND LEVI – Took revenge on people who hurt their sister, Dinah, by killing all the men in the town.  (When Jacob settled his family in Shechem, a man hurt his daughter, Dinah.  Her brothers took revenge by killing every single man in the town.  Jacob never forgave his sons for what they did.)  FREE WILL ROPE
  16. GOD - Allowed Rachel to die giving birth to Benjamin, Jacob’s youngest child.  (Sometimes God allows bad things to happen, and we don’t understand why.  There are times when we find out later what God was doing, but we won’t know all God’s reasons for what He allows to happen.  We just have to trust Him.)  BOTH ROPES
  17. JACOB - Loved Joseph more than any of his other children.  (Because Joseph was the firstborn child of Rachel, the wife Jacob loved and because some of his other sons had disappointed him, Jacob showed favoritism to Joseph.)  FREE WILL ROPE
  18. 22.  JOSEPH - Told his father about the bad things his brothers had been doing. (Joseph saw his brothers do some pretty bad stuff, and he told his dad about it.  I think it was the right thing to do, but it made his brothers really mad at him.)  BOTH ROPES
  19. 23.  JOSEPH’S BROTHERS - Hated Joseph because their father loved him more.  (It was obvious to his brothers that Joseph was their dad’s favorite, so they hated him.)  FREE WILL ROPE
  20. 24.  JOSEPH - Had two prophetic dreams that showed he would one day rule over his family.  (These dreams were from God, because they eventually came true.)  BOTH ROPES
  21. JOSEPH – Told his brothers about his dreams. (I think this was a mistake.  Joseph might have been showing off to his family, and all it did was make them all angry with him and hate him more.)  FREE WILL ROPE
  22. JOSEPH’S BROTHER – Hated Joseph because of his dreams.  FREE WILL ROPE
  23. 27.  JACOB - Made a special coat of many colors for Joseph, because Joseph was his favorite.  (This was another mistake.  The coat was a special coat like the one rulers would wear.  It was a coat for people who didn’t have to work, and it made Joseph’s brothers hate him even more.)  FREE WILL ROPE
  24. 28.  JACOB - Sent Joseph to check on his brothers and bring him back a report. (And another mistake!  Didn’t he realize how much his sons hated Joseph?  The brothers were working, and Joseph was wearing his fancy, no-working coat.  And Jacob sent Joseph to tattle on his brothers – not good!)  FREE WILL ROPE
  25. 29.  JOSEPH’S BROTHERS – Threw Joseph in a well and then sold him to some slave traders. (Joseph’s brothers were sick and tired of their little brother, and they decided to get rid of him.)  FREE WILL ROPE
  26. 30.  JOSEPH’S BROTHERS - Tore his robe and dipped it in blood.  Then they let their father believe Joseph was killed. (They hid what they did by making Jacob think that Joseph had been eaten by a wild animal.)  FREE WILL ROPE
  27. 31.  MIDIANITES - Sold Joseph as a slave to Potiphar, the Egyptian and captain of the guard for Pharoah. (God is never happy when people are treated as slaves.)  FREE WILL ROPE
  28. 32.  JOSEPH - Served Potiphar faithfully and honored God.  (Suffering can often change your heart, and I think Joseph grew up a lot when he was sold as a slave.  During this time, he learned to trust God and do his best even in a bad situation.)  BOTH ROPES
  29. 33.  GOD - Was with Joseph and gave him success in everything that he did.  (When we are lined up with God’s will, He blesses us and blesses us!)  BOTH ROPES
  30. 34.  POTIPHAR - Put Joseph in charge of everything in his household and trusted him with everything he owned.  (Even people who don’t believe in God can be in line with God’s will sometimes.  Potiphar was so impressed with Joseph that he gave him responsibility for everything.) BOTH ROPES
  31. 35.  POTIPHAR’S WIFE – Tried to get Joseph to kiss her.  (What?!  She was married!  Definitely not in God’s will!)  FREE WILL ROPE
  32. 36.  JOSEPH - Refused to sin against Potiphar and God and avoided Potiphar’s wife whenever possible.  (Good for him!)  BOTH ROPES
  33. 37.  POTIPHAR’S WIFE - Lied about Joseph to her husband and said that Joseph tried to kiss her.  (Oooh….she’s not a good person!) FREE WILL ROPE
  34. 38.  POTIPHAR - Put Joseph in the prison where the king’s prisoners were kept. (It’s interesting that he put Joseph in this special prison for Pharaoh’s prisoners.  That gave Joseph opportunities to meet important people.  Still, Potiphar shouldn’t have put him in prison for something he didn’t do.) FREE WILL ROPE
  35. 39.  JOSEPH - Served the prison warden faithfully and honored God while he was in prison.  (Joseph was put into prison unfairly, but he still chose to trust in God and honor God by working hard.)  BOTH ROPES
  36. 40.  GOD - Was with Joseph and gave him success in everything that he did. (Again, when we line up with God’s will, He blesses us.)  BOTH ROPES
  37. 41.  THE PRISON WARDEN - Put Joseph in charge of everything and everyone in the prison.  (Because Joseph was so trustworthy, the warden trusted him with everything.  God was definitely at work.)  BOTH ROPES
  38. 42.  THE CUPBEARER and THE BAKER – Offended Pharaoh.  (We don’t know what happened, but Pharaoh was mad at two of his top servants.)  FREE WILL ROPE
  39. 43.  PHARAOH - Put the cupbearer and the baker into prison. (It’s hard to know if Pharaoh was being fair or not, but God was going to use it.)  BOTH ROPES
  40. 44.  POTIPHAR - Assigned the cupbearer and the baker to Joseph. (Potiphar was in charge of the prison, and he apparently still had some trust in Joseph.) BOTH ROPES
  41. 45.  THE CUPBEARER and THE BAKER - Both had dreams on the same night, but they were sad because they didn’t know what the dreams meant.  (Sometimes God is the One who gives people dreams.) BOTH ROPES
  42. 46.  JOSEPH - Noticed their sadness, asked to hear their dreams and then interpreted them.  He asked the cupbearer to remember him when he returned to Pharaoh. (Joseph had interpreted his own dreams in the past and knew that God could interpret these dreams through him.  In this case, Joseph told them that the cupbearer’s dream meant that Pharaoh would restore him again in three days and that the baker’s dream meant that Pharaoh would kill him in three days. Joseph asked the cupbearer to remember him and get him out of prison.)  BOTH ROPES
  43. 47.  PHARAOH - Restored the cupbearer and killed the baker, just as Joseph had predicted.  (Exactly as Joseph had interpreted the dreams, the cupbearer went back to work, but the baker was killed.) BOTH ROPES
  44. 48.  THE CUPBEARER - Forgot about Joseph for two years.  (Not cool!  Joseph got him free, and he totally forgot about Joseph.)  FREE WILL ROPE
  45. 49.  PHARAOH - Had two dreams that worried him.  (These dreams were definitely from God.  One was about seven fat cows that got eaten by seven skinny cows, and the other was about seven healthy heads of grain that got eaten by seven sick heads of grain.)  BOTH ROPES
  46. 50.  PHARAOH - Called all his magicians and wise men, but no one could interpret the dreams. (God was saving the interpretation for Joseph.)  BOTH ROPES
  47. 51.  THE CUPBEARER - Remembered Joseph and told Pharaoh about his ability to interpret dreams.  (Finally!) BOTH ROPES
  48. 52.  PHAROAH - Called for Joseph to come to interpret his dreams. (It’s just about to get really good!) BOTH ROPES
  49. 53.  JOSEPH - Interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams and gave him advice about how to prepare for the coming famine.  (Joseph didn’t take any of the credit for his ability.  He gave it all to God, and he helped Pharaoh understand that the dreams meant there would be seven years of plenty of food followed by seven years of starvation.)  BOTH ROPES
  50. 54.  PHARAOH - Put Joseph in charge of all of Egypt, gave him his official ring, robes, chain and chariot and gave him a wife. (Pharaoh realized no one would do a better job than Joseph at saving the country, so he put him in charge of everything!) BOTH ROPES
  51. 55.  GOD - Allowed a famine throughout all of the world.  (A famine is a bad thing, but God allowed it to help many people stop believing in false gods and start believing in Him.)  BOTH ROPES
  52. 56.  JOSEPH - Managed the food in Egypt well so that no one had to starve during the famine. (God gave Joseph excellent management skills, and he saved so much food during the good years that there was plenty of food for everyone during the seven years of famine.) BOTH ROPES
  53. 57.  JACOB - Sent Joseph’s brothers to Egypt to get food for the family.  (It wasn’t just the people in Egypt who couldn’t grow food during the famine.  People all over the world started coming to Egypt, because they were the only ones with food.)  BOTH ROPES
  54. 58.  JOSEPH - Recognized his brothers when they came to buy grain but didn’t reveal his identity.  (Joseph knew that he had to test his brothers to make sure that they had changed.) BOTH ROPES
  55. 59.  JOSEPH - Tested his brothers to see if his younger brother, Benjamin, was still alive.  (First of all, Joseph was worried that his younger brother might have been killed or sold into slavery, so he made his brothers go and get him to bring him to Egypt.)  BOTH ROPES
  56. 60.  JOSEPH’S BROTHERS – Returned home to get Benjamin, but they had to leave Simeon, who was put into prison.  (To make sure that they would come back, Joseph made them leave Simeon behind.)  BOTH ROPES
  57. 61.  JACOB - Didn’t want to let his sons take Benjamin, but he finally gave in when they got too hungry.  (Jacob was afraid that the ruler (actually Joseph) in Egypt might keep Benjamin, so he didn’t want to let him go.  In the end, though, they needed the food for survival.) FREE WILL ROPE
  58. 62.  JOSEPH’S BROTHERS - Returned to Egypt with Benjamin and two times the money needed to pay for food.  (They returned with twice the money, because Joseph had their money put back in their grain sacks before they left the first time.  That shows that he had forgiven them.  He didn’t want their money, and he didn’t want to get even.)  BOTH ROPES
  59. 63.  JOSEPH - Tested his brothers one more time to see if their hearts had changed.  (Now that Joseph saw Benjamin, he was relieved, but he still wondered if his brothers were the same, evil people that they had once been, so he tested them one more time by sending them back with a silver cup hidden in Benjamin’s sack.  After they had left, he sent his official to find out who “stole” his cup.  He wanted to know if they would sacrifice Benjamin for their own safety.)  BOTH ROPES
  60. 64.  JUDAH - Offered to be Joseph’s slave if Joseph would just let Benjamin and the others go. (To Joseph’s surprise and joy, Judah offered to become a slave in order to free Benjamin.  Judah was the brother who led the others to sell Joseph into slavery, but his heart had changed over the years.)  BOTH ROPES
  61. 65.  JOSEPH - Revealed his identity to his brothers and sent them back to get their father and bring him to Egypt. (When he was sure that his brothers had changed, Joseph told them who he was.  They had dinner together, and he told them the whole story.  Then, he sent them back to get the whole family.)  BOTH ROPES
  62. 66.  PHARAOH - Approved for Joseph’s family to live in the best part of Egypt.  (Pharaoh trusted Joseph so much and was so grateful for his wise leadership that he gave Joseph’s family the best land in Egypt to live in.)  BOTH ROPES
  63. 67.  JACOB - Brought his whole family to Egypt.  (70 people in all!)  BOTH ROPES
  64. 68.  JOSEPH - Reunited with his father and family and received his father’s blessing.  (Jacob was so happy to see Joseph alive!  The two had a great reunion.)  BOTH ROPES
  65. 69.  JOSEPH - Forgave his brothers for the terrible things they had done to him. (Joseph really forgave his brothers.  In fact, he told them that he knew they meant to hurt him, but God allowed it to happen so that he could save many lives.) BOTH ROPES
  66. 70.  MOSES - Led the Hebrews out of Egypt and into the Promised Land. (And that wasn’t the end of the story, because Jacob’s family lived in Egypt for 400 years.  During that time, they were protected from the evil religions that were in the country of Canaan, where they had come from, and they were able to grow from 70 people to over 2 million.  When the time was right and the Hebrews were ready, God sent Moses to lead them out of Egypt and back into the Promised Land of Canaan.)  BOTH ROPES
  • CONCLUSION:
  • “Notice how often people in this story did their own free will apart from God’s will.”
  • “But also notice that God always brought events back in line with His will.”
  • “So here’s the answer to how God can allow us to have free will and sin but still accomplish His perfect will in the end…”
  • “No matter what these people did, God would take it and use it for His purposes.”
  • “Even when they sinned, He turned it around and made it work for good.”
  • “In the end, God brings everything in line with His will.”  (Grab the end of the Free Will rope.  Then go to the “eternity” end of the red rope, and pull on the Free Will rope until it straightens out right next to the red rope.  This shows how God brings everything into alignment with His purposes in the end.)
  • “You’ve probably noticed that the ‘God’s Will’ rope is red.  That’s to symbolize the blood of Jesus, that has the power to bring our Free Will into alignment with God’s Will.”
  • “Satan is a bigger trickster than Jacob, Rebekah and Laban put together, and he constantly tries to get us to pull away from God’s Will.”  (Gently pull several of your volunteers back away from the red rope as they hold onto the “Free Will” rope.)
  • “But no matter what he tricks us into doing, God offers to help us line up with His will if we will just trust in the blood of Jesus.”  (Pull the ropes together again.)
  • “When you accept Jesus’ sacrifice of His own life on the cross as payment for your sins, God brings everything in line with His will.”
  • “He will take all the bad and sinful choices you made and use them in a positive way.”
  • “He will take all the terrible things other people did to you and use them in a positive way.”
  • “And even though you can still make choices that take you away from God when you are a believer…”  (Pull one of your volunteers and the “Free Will” rope away from the red rope.)
  • “If you ask God for forgiveness, He will bring those bad choices back into line with His will.”  (Pull the ropes together again.)
  • “Romans 8:28 says that God will use ALL things for the good of those who love Him.”
  • “God is pretty amazing, don’t you think?”  (Acknowledge responses, thank your volunteers and allow them to be seated.)

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Do Clothes Really Make the Man? (OBJ LESSON)


Time

30 minutes
Description

This object lesson looks at the different clothing Joseph wore and asks the question, “do clothes really make the man?”  The old adage means that how you dress says a lot about you, but in Joseph’s case, he was the same person in any costume.  However, no matter how good Joseph was, he couldn’t be good enough to impress God just through his good works.  God isn’t interested in what we DO until He changes WHO we are, and that only happens when we accept Jesus as our Savior.

 

Scriptures

  • Genesis 37-50
  • Isaiah 64:5-6
  • Isaiah 61:10

 

Materials

  • Several smocks (Loose-fitting fabrics that simply have a hole in the middle to fit over the head (for quick changing during the lesson) and a belt to tie them off.  You can do more elaborate costumes if you want, but these simple outfits will work.)
    • One plain white smock (to start the story)
    • One “coat of many colors”
    • Two dingy-colored or burlap smocks (for slavery before being sold and for prison)
    • One nicer white smock (for serving Potiphar)
    • Two even nicer smocks (for when Potiphar put Joseph in charge of his entire estate and for when Joseph comes up from prison)
    • One even nicer, nicer smock (for when Joseph was put in charge of Egypt – “robes of fine linen”)
    • One “filthy rags” smock (to represent our “righteousness”)
    • One “golden” smock (to represent the righteousness of Christ)
    • Gold chains costume jewelry
    • Ring costume jewelry

 

Preparation

  • Practice the script.

 

Procedure

Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

  • “There is famous saying that ‘Clothes make the man.’”
  • “It means that what you wear says a lot about you and that people will judge you based on the clothes that you wear.”
  • “I think we ought to be careful about judging people based on the clothes that they wear.”
  • “They could be a great person inside of terrible clothes.”
  • “For example, Joseph wore many clothes in his lifetime, but for most of his life, Joseph was the same person underneath those clothes.”  (Ask for volunteer to come to the front, and put the plain, white smock on him or her.)
  • “Here’s Joseph, a young man of 17 years.”
  • “Look closely at him.  I want you to tell me if he changes when he gets his new clothes.”
  • “Joseph had 11 brothers, ten older than him.”
  • “In Hebrew culture, the oldest son was supposed to get the best treatment, but Joseph’s father loved him more than all the others, because he was the firstborn son of Rachel, Jacob’s favorite wife.)
  • “To show his love for Joseph, Jacob gave him a fancy coat to wear.”  (Put coat of many colors on volunteer.)
  • “Look closely; is it the same person or a different person underneath?” (Acknowledge responses.  Hopefully, the participants will agree that Joseph was the same person no matter what he was wearing.)
  • “This made Joseph’s brothers really jealous and angry with him, and they got even angrier when Joseph started having dreams about ruling over his brothers.”
  • “The next time the brothers were out shepherding their sheep, Joseph’s father sent him to check on them.”
  • “He made the mistake of wearing his fancy robe to go and find them.”
  • “The brothers were all wearing the clothes of smelly, dirty shepherds, and here came Joseph, wearing the clothes of someone who didn’t have to work because he was so special.”
  • “When they saw Joseph with his fancy coat, they were furious with him and talked about killing him.”
  • “In the end, they decided to sell him to a passing group of slave traders.”  (Put the dingy-colored smock on the volunteer.)
  • “What do you think now?  Is it the same Joseph, or did the clothes change him?”  (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “The slave traders took Joseph to Egypt and sold him to an Egyptian, named Potiphar.  There, he was given the clothes of a servant.”  (Put nicer white smock on volunteer.)
  • “Same Joseph or different?”  (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “Joseph served Potiphar so well that Potiphar soon promoted him and put him in charge of everything in his household.”  (Put even nicer white smock on volunteer.)
  • “Is he different yet, or is he the same Joseph he was when we started the story?”  (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “But then a terrible and unfair thing happened!  Potiphar’s wife accused Joseph of doing something he didn’t do, and Potiphar was so angry that he threw Joseph into prison.”  (Put second dingy smock on volunteer.)
  • “Do these clothes make him someone different?”  (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “Joseph was in prison for years, but he served the prison warden so well that the warden put him in charge of everything in the prison.”
  • “There came a day when Pharaoh (the king of Egypt) had a few dreams that bothered him.”
  • “No one could interpret the dreams for him, but he learned from one of his servants that Joseph had the power to interpret dreams.”
  • “Pharaoh called Joseph up from prison, and they dressed him in nicer clothes to prepare him to meet Pharaoh.”  (Put second even nicer white smock on volunteer.)
  • “Has he changed?”  (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams for him, and Pharaoh was so impressed that he promoted Joseph to the 2nd highest level within Egypt.  Only Pharaoh was more powerful than Joseph.”
  • “Pharaoh had Joseph dressed in robes of fine linen and put gold chains around his neck and an important ring on his finger.”  (Put even nicer, nicer smock, gold chains and ring on volunteer.)
  • “Even in this really nice set of clothes, isn’t Joseph still the same person underneath?”  (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “In this new role, Joseph did even better than he did in all his other roles.”
  • “He helped the Egyptians to save some food during the good years when there was lots of food, and when the famine came, there was plenty of food for everyone in Egypt and in the surrounding nations.”
  • “So, here we have Joseph with his eight different sets of clothes.”  (Show all eight smocks.)
  • “But the Joseph underneath is the same Joseph no matter what he is wearing.”
  • “Joseph always did his best and served those in authority faithfully, and in the end, he was recognized as a great and wise leader by Pharaoh.”
  • “Joseph was a pretty impressive guy!”
  • “When we read about him, most of us think it would be pretty cool to be like Joseph.”
  • “But you know what?  No matter how impressive Joseph is to us, he doesn’t impress God just because he was a good person.”
  • “The Bible tells us in Isaiah 64:5-6, ‘How then can we be saved? All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags.’”
  • “What that means is that even the ‘best’ person in the world – the one who does the most good things – looks like he is dressed in filthy rags to God.”  (Put filthy rags smock on volunteer.)
  • “We can’t save ourselves from Hell just by being good – not even if we are as a good as Joseph was.”
  • “You see, God doesn’t care what you DO until you change WHO you are, and there is only one way to change WHO you are in God’s eyes…you have to accept Jesus (God’s Son) as your Savior.”
  • “Two thousand years ago, Jesus died on a cross to save us from our sins.”
  • “He had to do that because we sin.”
  • “You sin, I sin…everyone who has ever lived sins.”
  • “The Bible says that the penalty for sin is death.  That means separation from God.”
  • “But God loved us so much that he didn’t want us to be separate from Him.”
  • “So He sent His Son, Jesus, to take the penalty of our sin for us.”
  • “Jesus died on a cross to pay for our sins.  Then He rose from the dead to give us new life!”
  • “But you have to accept what Jesus did for you.  It’s a gift, and He won’t make you take it.”
  • “If you want to, you can still pay the penalty for your own sins, but that would be a terrible waste of the gift Jesus bought for you when He died on the cross.”
  • “But here’s what’s cool about accepting Jesus’ gift!”  (Have someone read Isaiah 61:10)
  • “This Scripture is talking about two of the things Jesus did for us by dying on the cross.”
  • “The first is that He clothed us with salvation.  In other words, we get to go to heaven.”
  • “The second is that He dressed us up in a robe of righteousness.  In other words, He covered our unrighteousness (our filthy rags) with His righteousness.”  (Put golden smock on volunteer.)
  • “Now THIS impresses God!”
  • “When we accept Jesus as our Savior, He covers our sinfulness with His perfection.”
  • “Then, whenever God, the Father, looks at us, He sees the righteousness of His Son, Jesus.”
  • “This is the only set of clothes that will ever change WHO you are, because it makes you a child of God.”
  • “It has nothing to do with what you DO, because it’s a gift from Jesus.”
  • “You can’t earn it.  You can only accept it.”
  • “So in a sense, clothes really do make the man, but in God’s eyes, there are only two types of clothes that say anything about WHO you are.”
  • “Are you wearing the filthy rags of sinfulness? (Show the filthy rag smock.) ….or the righteous robe of a child of God?”  (Show the golden smock.)
  • “I hope you will accept the wonderful gift Jesus bought for you.  He really wants you to have it!”  (Thank and dismiss volunteer.  At this point (depending on your tradition), you might want to make an invitation for the audience to accept the gift of salvation and the robe of righteousness that Jesus has purchased for each of us.)

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Tapped In (OBJ LESSON)


Time

15-20 minutes
Description

This object lesson teaches that you need to stay connected to Jesus in order to have the power to live a godly life and produce the fruit of the Spirit.

Scriptures

  • John 7:37-39, 15:1-5
  • Galatians 5:22

Materials

  • Garden hose (long enough to reach your teaching area from the water spigot
  • Short garden hose (a hose reel leader hose works well)
  • Two quick connect adapters for the hose – need to have an automatic stopper so that the water doesn’t continue to flow after you disconnect it
  • Water nozzle (as small as you can find so that you can use it to fill water balloons)
  • Water supply that you can hook the hose to
  • Nine large balloons (purple is the best color for the lesson if you can find it – you may want to have extra balloons in case any pop or have a leak)
  • Posterboard – one sheet of any light color or white
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Permanent marker to label nine, small signs with the name of the nine fruits of the Spirit
  • Lanyard or twine
  • Clear, plastic tub to hold the balloons as they fill with water
  • Thin piece of plywood or piece of plastic or metal (4 ft long) with nine 3/4 in holes drilled in it about 5 inches apart and 5 inches from the end of either side of the board.  (You can often find a piece of metal that has pre-drilled holes in it that will work just fine near the shelving part of your local hardware store.)
  • Drill and ¾ inch drillbit (if you need to make the board mentioned above)
  • Nine, large washers with a ½ inch hold in the center (the washers must be big enough that they won’t fall out of the balloon once you put them in the opening)
  • Bible

Preparation

  • (SEE DIAGRAMS AT END OF LESSON)
  • Connect the hose to the water spigot.
  • Connect the quick connect adapter (the one with the automatic stopper) to the end of the hose, and turn on the water.  Use a steady stream of water but not full force – maybe about 1/4-1/2 turn.
  • Connect the short hose to the quick connect adapter at the end of the longer hose.
  • Connect the other quick connect adapter to the end of the short hose, and screw on the water nozzle.
  • Run the hose segments and the nozzle into the teaching area.
  • Make a large sign that says, “DISOBEDIENCE,” and put it on the lanyard/twine so that someone can wear it around their neck.
  • Ask a volunteer to be your “DISOBEDIENCE” volunteer and to be ready when you call them.  Give him/her the sign to wear when the time is right.
  • Put a washer in the opening of each balloon.
  • Push each balloon through one of the nine holes in your board.  The opening of the balloon and the washer should be on top of the hole with the rest of the balloon below the board.
  • Put the board with the balloons across the clear, plastic tub so that the balloons hang down into the tub.
  • Cut out nine, small rectangles from the posterboard (each about 4 in long and 2 in tall).
  • Write the nine fruits of the Spirit (Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-Control) on these.
  • Tape the signs to the bottom of the tub on the outside, facing the audience.  Each sign should be in front of a different balloon.
  • Practice

Procedure

Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

  • “I’m going to show you why it is so important for you to stay close to God.”
  • “The night before Jesus was crucified, he said something very important to his closest disciples.”  (Have volunteer read John 15:1-5.)
  • “Jesus was making a comparison between His relationship with His disciples and a grapevine.”
  • “Jesus said that He is the grapevine.  That’s the thickest part of the plant that is rooted to the ground.”
  • “He said that the disciples are branches and that the branches hold the fruit.”
  • “We know from Galatians 5:22 that the fruit that Jesus is talking about is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (If the kids are not familiar with the fruit of the Spirit, you might want to take a moment to describe each one for them.)
  • “And He says that if we (as the branches) don’t stay connect to Him (the vine), we won’t have any of this fruit.”
  • “But….if we stay connected to Jesus, we will have LOTS of fruit.”  (Ask for a volunteer to come to the front, and allow him/her to help you in the following demonstration.)
  • “I don’t have a grapevine here today, and even if I did, we don’t have an entire season to watch the grapes grow on the vine.”
  • “So, instead of using a real grapevine, I’m going to use this hose, this nozzle and these balloons to demonstrate what Jesus is talking about.”  (Ask volunteer to hold the nozzle at the end of the hose.)
  • “Imagine that this hose represents Jesus as the vine.”
  • “Through Him comes a steady flow of living water, which the Bible tells us is the Holy Spirit according to John 7:39.”  (Turn on the nozzle (if it isn’t already) and have the volunteer point it into the tub.  Have another volunteer read John 7:37-39.)
  • “This nozzle represents us as the branches, and these nine balloons represent the fruit of the spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  They are like the grapes on the vine.”
  • “Now, the goal is to produce fruit and lots of it.”
  • “We produce fruit by filling the balloons with the water.  This is like the Holy Spirit flowing through us (the nozzle) to do the good works that the fruit represents.”  (Allow your volunteer to begin to fill one of the balloons.  Turn off the nozzle when the balloon is full enough that the water doesn’t come shooting back out the top – over half-way.)
  • “But by itself, this nozzle is pretty useless.  It has no water of its own to share.”
  • “We can’t connect just the nozzle to a balloon and fill it.”  (Disconnect the nozzle from the hose and give it to the volunteer.  Ask them to try to fill the balloons with just the nozzle.)
  • “That’s what it’s like if we try to do God’s work without God.”
  • “There is just no power in it.”
  • “So we have to stay connected to the hose if we want to have the power to do the work that God has given us to do.”  (Reconnect the nozzle, and let the volunteer continue filling the first balloon.  When it gets about full, start filling up another balloon.)
  • “What does it mean to be connected to the hose?  In other words, how can we stay connected to Jesus so that His Spirit flows through us and produces fruit?”
  • “There are two things we need to do in order to stay connected to the hose/to Jesus.”
  • “We need to spend time with God, and we need to obey God.”
  • “If we do these two things, we will stay connected to Jesus, and His power will flow through us and produce lots of fruit.”  (Allow volunteer to keep filling balloons slowly.  Don’t allow them to fill all the balloons before you finish the next part.)
  • “How can we spend time with God?”  (Listen to answers.  You are looking for things like, “Go to church, worship, praise, pray, read your Bible…”)
  • “Excellent! During those times, God will tell us what He wants us to do in our lives.”
  • “But spending time with Him is not enough.  We have to also do what He says.”
  • “Sometimes, we know what God wants us to do, but we don’t want to do it.”
  • “That’s called ‘DISOBEDIENCE’ (bring your “DISOBEDIENCE” volunteer forward), and it’s disconnecting the hose so that the living water won’t pass through.” (Have “DISOBEDIENCE” volunteer disconnect the hose so that the water stops.)
  • “Disobedience stops the flow of the living water coming through your nozzle.”
  • “Another word for ‘disobedience’ is ‘sin.’”
  • “Sin stops the flow of God’s power, which He sends through His Holy Spirit, through you.”
  • “But it’s easy to get the living water flowing again. What do you think you have to do?”  (Listen to responses.  You are looking for someone to say, “obey.”)
  • “That’s right!  Obey, and living water flows through you again to create more fruit.”  (Have “DISOBEDIENCE” volunteer reconnect hose, and allow volunteer to fill in the rest of the balloons.  Then dismiss the volunteer.)
  • “So what are the two things we need to do to stay connected to God?”  (Listen for the answers, “spend time with Him” and “obey Him.”)
  • “Fantastic! Let’s all go and produce lots of fruit!”


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Catch! (Obj Lesson)


Time
10-15 minutes

Description
This object lesson illustrates how Satan tries to fill our minds with worries, fears, doubts and many other things so that there is no room for God’s truth, peace and joy.

Audience
Children, youth and adults

Materials
•    Tennis balls (9-12)
•    Permanent marker
•    Posterboard (1 sheet should do)
•    Scissors or some other cutting device
•    Block pattern (You can find this in the file “Catch – Block Pattern.ppt” located on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at http://www.teachthem.wordpress.com.)
•    Clear tape

Preparation
•    Write a different label on each of the tennis balls.  They should read: Worry, Fear, Jealousy, Anger, Doubt, Entertainment, Video Games, Depression, Obsessions, Fatigue, Hatred, Self, Regret, Embarrassment, Cute Boy, Cute Girl (or whatever you think appropriate – they should be things that Satan might use to fill up our minds so that we don’t have room to think about things God wants us to think about)
•    Make several blocks out of posterboard using the block pattern mentioned above and the clear tape
•    Label the blocks: Truth, Love, Joy, Peace, Wisdom, Vision, Faith, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-Control, Righteousness, Hope (or whatever you think appropriate – they should be things that God wants to fill our mind with).  You could also focus on Philippians 4:8 and do blocks that say “True, Noble, Right, Pure, Lovely, Admirable.”  You will need 9-12 blocks.
•    Practice the script.

Procedure
Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):
o    “I want to show you an illustration of the battle for your mind.”
o    “Satan and God are in a war.  It’s evil against Good.”
o    “Your mind and heart are the battlefields on which this war is waged.”
o    “Satan knows that he can’t do anything to damage God, so He tries to hurt the Creator through his creation, and that’s us.”
o    “Satan first wants to hold as many of us prisoner as possible, so that we never get to join God’s army.”
o    “But even after we become Christians and join God’s side, Satan doesn’t give up.”
o    “If he can’t have us on his side, he will at least try to make us ineffective by pulling our minds and hearts away from God.”
o    “Satan knows that if he can win the battle for our mind, we will be ineffective for God.”
o    “So the tactic we are going to talk about is how Satan tries to fill our mind with lots of things so that there is no room for what God wants to put in there.”  (Ask for a volunteer to come forward.)
o    “Let’s pretend that this person represents our minds.”
o    “And let’s pretend that these tennis balls each represent something that Satan want to fill our mind with so that we don’t think about Godly things.”  (Read on of the balls out loud, and show it to the group.  Then hand it to your volunteer.)
o    “If that one doesn’t completely occupy our minds, Satan will give us more things to think about.  (Read several more balls, and hand them to the volunteer.)
o    “He will keep this up, filling our minds with all kinds of junk until they are completely full.”  (Read off the rest of the balls, and hand them to the volunteer, who should be having trouble holding them all.  If he/she drops any, pick them up, and hand them back to the volunteer.)
o    “When our minds are full like this, there is not room for what God wants to put in.”  (Pick up one of the blocks, and read it off.  Try to fit it into the volunteer’s hands, but give up in frustration.)
o    “But who ever said that we have to hold anything that Satan gives to us?”  (Instruct volunteer to drop all the balls and to take the block.)
o    “Now, without all the junk that Satan tries to fill our minds with, there is plenty of room for what God wants to fill our mind with.”  (Read off each of the blocks, and then stack them neatly in the volunteer’s hands.  Keep one for the next part of the lesson.)
o    “Notice how much easier it is to hold the things that God gives us rather than the things Satan tries to fill our minds with.”  (Pick up a few of the balls off the floor, and toss them at the volunteer while saying, “Catch!”  Hopefully, the volunteer will drop everything to catch the balls.  If he/she does, then ask, “Why did you drop all God’s good things to catch what Satan threw you?”  If the volunteer doesn’t fall for the trick, keep tossing balls in his/her direction.  Then say, “It was good that you didn’t fall for Satan’s trick.  He won’t give up.  He will keep tossing bad thoughts at you, and you have to be careful to not accept them.”
o    “If Satan does succeed in getting in one of his thought bombs, the Bible tells us clearly what to do about it.”  (Have volunteer read 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.)
o    “The war we fight is different than most wars.  It’s a thought war.”
o    “When one of Satan’s thought bombs gets in, we are to take it captive to Christ.”  (Have volunteer take one of the thought bombs and hold it up like he/she is giving it to God.)
o    “God will then take that thought bomb and replace it with one of His truths.” (Exchange the ball for a block.)
o    “This war is difficult, and it’s long.  You have to keep fighting all your life to keep your thoughts pure and true.” (Have volunteer read Romans 12:2.)
o    “God wants us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.  That means taking evil and ungodly thoughts captive every time we have them and exchanging them for truth and wisdom with God.”
o    “You see, when God saved us, he gave us a completely new heart, but we have the same mind that we had before we were saved.”
o    “In order to get a new mind, we have to exchange the bad thoughts one by one for good thoughts.”
o    “Maybe a good way to think about it is this: our hearts after trusting Christ are like moving into a brand new house, but our minds after trusting Christ are like moving into an old house that needs a lot of renovation work.”
o    “The good news is that God will help us with all the renovation.  He will be our general contractor, who guides us in all the work.”  (Thank volunteer, and let him/her have a seat.)

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Filed under Brain, Focus, Mind, Satan's tactics, Spiritual Warfare, Transformation

Fruit of the Spirit Jenga


 Time

15-20 minutes

Description

This object lesson teaches how important it is to exhibit the fruit of the Spirit.  It uses the popular Jenga ® game from Hasbro.

 

Materials

  • Jenga ® game (or a similar game that is played with a block tower)
  • Label maker or permanent marker

 

Preparation

  • Using the label maker or the permanent marker, label all the Jenga blocks with “Jesus” and the fruit of the Spirit from Galatians 5:22-23.  If the tower his 16 levels tall, you can use the numbers to the right of each label to determine how many blocks will be allocated to each one.


·      Jesus (16 blocks)

·      Love (4 blocks)

·      Joy (4 blocks)

·      Peace (4 blocks)

·      Patience (4 blocks)     

·      Kindness (4 blocks)

·      Goodness (3 blocks)

·      Faithfulness (3 blocks)

·      Gentleness (3 blocks)

·      Self-control (3 blocks)


·      Repeat the labeling process for each Jenga ® set until you have enough for each table group or for each set of 6-8 participants.

·      Set up the towers (each level should run perpendicular to the one below it), and return them to their packaging.

o   The “Jesus” blocks should be the center block of each level.

·      Set out one tower per table group.

 

Procedure

Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

·      “We’re going to play a game using the block towers in the middle of your tables.”

·      “Carefully remove the packaging so that your tower will continue standing.”

·      “Here are the rules of the game:

o   Each person will use one hand (and one hand only) to remove a block from the tower.

o   Be careful not to make the tower fall when you remove the block, because if the tower falls after you’ve touched it, you lose.

o   If one person successfully removes a block without knocking down the tower, it becomes the next person’s turn.  Play moves clockwise around the table.

o   Keep playing until someone knocks the tower over – just make sure it isn’t you!

o   And be sure not to bump the table, because you might accidentally cause the tower to fall.

o   We will continue playing until all groups have the tower fall, so if your group finishes a game before the others, you can rebuild your tower and start again.”

·      “Does anyone have any questions about how to play?”  (Allow groups to play, and celebrate the team that was able to hold out the longest.)

·      “Did you notice anything about the pieces you pulled out of the towers?”  (Listen for them to acknowledge that the pieces had words written on them and that many had “Jesus” written on them.)

·      “Right.  Each level had ‘Jesus’ as the center block.  Does anyone know what the other words represented?” (Listen for someone to mention the fruit of the Spirit, but if they don’t, have someone read Galatians 5:22-23.)

·      “Those nine words represent what we call “the fruit of the Spirit.”

·      “When we are walking closely with the Lord, our lives should show some fruit of the Spirit’s work within us.”

  • “The longer we are Christians, the more fruit we should show.”
  • “So, what do you think the towers represented?”  (Listen for someone to say, ‘our lives,’ or ‘our Christian walk.’”
  • “Exactly!  The tower is a picture of our life as a Christian.”
  • “What does the game illustrate about our Christian walk?”  (Listen for responses.)
  • “We can fail to show love (hold up a block from one of the games), and the tower will still stand.”
  • “We can fail to show patience, and our lives will still look normal to everyone around us.”   (Hold up another block.)
  • “We can fail to show several of these fruits in our life, and people can still think that we are godly Christians who are following the Lord closely.”  (Hold up several blocks.)
  • “But fruit of the Spirit that disappears from our tower, the more likely it’s going to fall.”
  • “When it does, people are often confused and surprised.  They thought we were walking so closely with God and didn’t realize how close to collapse we were.”
  • “Why do you think I put a ‘Jesus’ block in the center of each level?”  (Listen to responses.)
  • “Yes, if Jesus isn’t at the center of our lives, it’s not likely that we will show much fruit in our walk.”
  • “We show fruit of the Spirit by following God closely and by keeping Jesus at the center of our lives.”
  • “Studying our Bibles, going to church, spending time with Christian friends, praying…these are just a few ways for us to follow God so that we show more fruit.”
  • “When we stop doing these things, the fruit starts to fall off our tree.  We get angry quickly, we fail to show kindness, we do things we shouldn’t do, we lose our joy or peace…”
  • “Before too long, people will notice the changes, and our tower will come tumbling down.”
  • “In your table groups (or with a partner), talk about the fruit of the Spirit that you are struggling to show lately.  Is it love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness or self-control?”
  • “Then tell them what you plan to do to change things so that you show more fruit in that area.” (Allow a few minutes for discussion.  Then invite anyone who wants to share their thoughts or their commitment with the rest of the group to do so.)
  • “Remember to guard your fruit.  The Enemy will try to pick a piece at a time, and before you know it, you won’t have any left.”
  • “Stay close to God by spending time with Him and with other believers, and you will have more and more fruit so that your towers stay strong.”

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Filed under Authenticity, Character, Christianity, Daily walk, Game, Games that Teach, Hands-on, Jesus, Kindness, Love, Object Lesson, Spiritual Health

Character Jenga


Time

15-20 minutes

Description

This object lesson teaches how important it is to maintain godly character by using the popular Jenga ® game from Hasbro.

Materials

  • Jenga ® game (or a similar game that is played with a block tower)
  • Label maker or permanent marker

Preparation

  • Using the label maker or the permanent marker, label all the Jenga blocks with the following virtues, or choose some of your own. (It’s okay to use a virtue more than once; just mix up the identical virtues when you set up the block tower.) Bolded virtues are the “fruit of the Spirit” from Galatians 5:22 in case you want to just focus on these.


· Courage

· Dependability

· Fairness

· Faithfulness

· Friendliness

· Generosity

· Goodness

· Helpfulness

· Honesty

· Integrity

· Joy

· Kindness

· Love

· Loyalty

· Patience

· Peace

· Responsibility

· Self-control

· Selflessness


· Build the tower in the teaching area according to the instructions in the game. Each new level should have three blocks turned 90 degrees (perpendicular) to the level below it.

Procedure

Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

  • “A person’s character is a very important thing.”
  • “Does anyone know what the word, ‘character,’ means?” (Listen for responses and add to the definition if necessary.)
  • “Character is your moral quality. It’s your virtue. A person’s character is reflected in the things that he/she does or does not do. If they do good things, we say he/she has good character. If they do bad things, we say he/she has bad character.”
  • “People with good character are honest, friendly, helpful, loyal, fair…and a lot of other good things. These are called virtues.”
  • “But good character is a hard thing to keep. You’ve really got to work to make sure your good character stays good.”
  • “Good character is like this Jenga ® tower.” (Point out tower.)
  • “It’s made up of lots of different virtues, all stacked together.” (Carefully remove one or two of the top blocks from the tower, and show the labels to the group. Then, return the block to the top of the tower.)
  • “If we take away one of these virtues, the tower will still be pretty sturdy.” (Allow one of the kids to carefully remove one of the blocks from the middle of the tower. Let the child read the label out loud.)
  • “We can even take away several of the virtues, and the tower will still stand.” (Allow several kids in turn to take out a block and read the label.)
  • “But if we keep losing virtues from our character tower, it won’t stand for long.” (Allow kids to keep playing in turn until the tower falls.)
  • “Our character only stays strong as we continue to honor God through virtuous actions.”
  • “The devil likes to poke holes in our tower one piece at a time.”
  • “First he tempts you to tell a lie or be mean to someone.”
  • “When you give into the temptation and sin, you lose a piece of your character tower. In this case the “Honesty” virtue or the “Kindness” virtue.”
  • “The devil will continue to poke holes in your character tower over and over until it crumbles.”
  • “So, keep your tower safe! Don’t fall for the devil’s temptations!”
  • “And if you do, tell God that you’re sorry right away. He will immediately forgive you and help you to start rebuilding the part of your tower that you lost.”

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Filed under Character, Christianity, Game, Hands-on, Kindness, Love, Obedience, Object Lesson, Satan's tactics, temptation

Potiphar Says


Time

10 minutes

Description

This object lesson teaches that we don’t always get to choose our circumstances, but we always get to choose our attitude about those circumstances. It highlights Joseph’s way of handling his enslavement to Potiphar in Genesis 39:1-20.

Materials

  • (Optional) Costume to wear as you play the role of Potiphar.

Preparation

· (Optional) Dress up as Potiphar.

· Practice the script.

Procedure

Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

· “Today, we are going to talk about Joseph from the Bible.”

· “He was his father’s favorite son but his brothers’ least favorite sibling.”

· “In fact, they hated him so much that they sold him into slavery!”

· “A passing band of Ishmaelites bought Joseph and took him to Egypt, where they sold him to a man named Potiphar, one of Pharoah’s officials. (Have volunteer read Genesis 39:1-20.)

· “How many of you think Joseph got a really unfair deal?” (Take responses.)

· “Me, too. I wouldn’t want to be a slave, and I sure wouldn’t want to be thrown into prison for something I didn’t do.”

· “Let’s play a game like ‘Simon Says.’ It’s called ‘Potiphar Says.’”

· “Everyone stand up.”

· “I’m going to ask you to do several things. If I say ‘Potiphar says’ before the thing I ask you to do, then you should do it.”

· “However, if I don’t say ‘Potiphar says’ before the thing I ask you to do, you shouldn’t do it.”

· “If you do something when I don’t say ‘Potiphar says,’ you have to sit down.”

· “Is everyone clear on the rules?” (Check to make sure everyone is clear.)

· “Okay, let’s play:” (Play a round of ‘Potiphar Says,’ asking the kids to touch their noses, raise their hands above their heads, hop on one foot, etc… Mix up the times you say, ‘Potiphar says,’ to try to catch them off guard. You can run several rounds if they go quickly.)

· “That was fun! Probably a lot more fun than Joseph had following Potiphar’s orders, don’t you think?”

· “But you know what really impresses me about Joseph?”

· “Even though the whole thing was unfair…even though he had lost his family and his home and his country and his freedom, Joseph still had a great attitude about the whole thing.”

· “He could have kicked the dirt and complained about how unfair it all was, but he didn’t.”

· “He did his job the best he could. In fact, he did it so well that Potiphar put him in charge of everything!” (Have volunteer reread Genesis 39:4-6.)

· “Joseph kept trusting in God and doing the best he could. He made the best of a bad situation, and God blessed him.”

· “And because Joseph was blessed, Potiphar’s entire household was blessed.”

· “And you know what? The same thing can happen with you!”

· “In your life, you will be in bad situations sometimes. You will be in unfair situations sometimes.”

· “You may not be able to do much about the bad situation, but you can choose your attitude.”

· “If you choose to keep trusting in God when things are bad, He will bless you and everything and everyone around you!”

· “When someone has a great attitude in a bad situation, it really gets peoples’ attention.”

· “They wonder why you have such a great attitude, and they will probably even ask you about it.”

· “When they do, that is your opportunity to tell them about how wonderful God is and how you can trust in him to use ALL things in your life for your benefit.” (Have volunteer read Romans 8:28.)

· “So, everyone try to be like Joseph in Potiphar’s house – keep doing your best and trusting in God, and then watch and see how He will bless you and those around you!”

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Filed under Christianity, faith, Game, Joseph, Obedience, Object Lesson, struggles, Trust

Big Rocks


Time

15-20 minutes

Description

This object lesson teaches the kids about spiritual priorities using an object lesson similar to the one FranklinCovey does about managing your time.

Materials

The sizes of the bucket/heart-shaped container and the cups can vary. You will want to practice with them to make sure you get the right effect. The aquarium gravel should fill the bucket/heart-shaped container until it’s somewhere close to three quarters full, and the large rocks should almost fill it when placed in the container by themselves.

  • Clear (see-through) bucket or heart-shaped container (craft stores often have large, clear, plastic hearts)
  • Separate box or bucket in which you can dump aquarium gravel (You will want to be able to pour out of it.)
  • Five, large drinking cups
  • Aquarium gravel (five pounds should be enough)
  • Permanent marker or label-making machine
  • Nine palm-sized rocks and one rock that is noticeably larger
  • Different colors of paint for the large rocks (optional)

Preparation

· Fill five drinking cups with aquarium gravel and label them as follows with the permanent marker or label maker (it’s important that the children be able to read the labels):

o Making Lots of Money

o Being Famous

o Having Popular Friends

o Dating the Coolest Guy/Girl

o Having the Best Tools / Video Games

· Set up a display table in your teaching area where everyone will be able to see what’s on top of it.

· (Optional) Paint each of your large rocks different colors, and allow them to dry completely.

· Label each rock with the permanent marker or the label maker so that you have one of each of the following:

o Love

o Joy

o Peace

o Patience

o Kindness

o Goodness

o Faithfulness

o Gentleness

o Self-Control

· Label your largest rock, “Jesus,” and set it aside out of sight.

· Practice the script.

Procedure

Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

· “I would like to do a demonstration about how our hearts work, and I’m going to need a volunteer.” (Select volunteer.)

· “Everyone say, “Hello,” to my volunteer!”

· “Okay, this bucket (or heart-shaped container) represents our hearts.”

· (To volunteer) “Will you touch the side of that container and see if you can feel a heartbeat?” (Allow volunteer to check container.)

· “Okay, so it doesn’t beat like a heart, but it will work for our lesson.”

· “Our heart is like a place where we store all the things that are most important to us.”

· “For some people, these are things like (as you mention these, have your volunteer hold up each cup for all to see and then pour the aquarium rocks into the container. When they are all poured in, the container should be about three-fourths full):

o Making Lots of Money

o Being Famous

o Having Popular Friends

o Dating the Coolest Guy/Girl

o Having the Best Tools / Video Games

· “Now, those things aren’t bad in and of themselves. God doesn’t say that we shouldn’t have those things, but He says that those things can make it difficult for us to fit even more important things into our hearts, like: (as you slowly mention these, have your volunteer hold up the rocks so that everyone can see the label on each one. After showing the group, the volunteer should do his/her best to fit the rocks into the container on top of the aquarium rocks):

o Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control” (You will probably need to give an example of a few of these to make sure the children understand.)

· (Noticing the struggles your volunteer is having…) “Hey, you look like you’re having a hard time there. What seems to be the problem?” (Listen to response, and comment on it.)

  • “So, you’re telling me you don’t have room for these really important big rocks?” (Listen to response, and comment.)
  • “Well, if you don’t have room for those, you sure don’t have room for this one…” (Reveal the “Jesus” rock.)
  • “The Bible calls Jesus “the Rock.” (You might ask your volunteer to read any of the following verses: Gen 49:24, Deut 32:3-4, Deut 32:31, 1 Sam 2:2, 2 Sam 22:1-3, 2 Sam 22:32, Psalm 18:31, Psalm 18: 46, Psalm 19:14, Psalm 78:35, Isaiah 26:4.)
  • “He is solid! You can trust in Him! You can build your life on Him! Jesus is the Rock!”
  • “Now we don’t have room in our heart for Jesus, and that’s a terrible thing?”
  • (Ask volunteer) “What do you think we ought to do about this?” (Listen to ideas. If your volunteer doesn’t come up with it on his/her own, suggest that maybe he/she could start over with an empty heart. Then help your volunteer take out the big rocks and dump the gravel into the spare bucket or box.)
  • “Okay, so we are going to start fresh! What’s the first thing we are going to put into our heart?” (Listen for “Jesus.” If you get anything else, redirect the volunteer to consider how important it is to start with Jesus. He’s the biggest Rock.)
  • “Excellent! Please put Jesus in our heart.” (Allow volunteer to follow through.)
  • “Now what should we put in?” (Listen for response. The big rocks should go in next.)
  • “Terrific! I agree! Let’s put in those big rocks next!” (As volunteer adds them to the container, remind the class of what each one represents.)
  • “You know, these rocks seem a little familiar to me. Does anyone know what they are called in the Bible?” (Listen for “fruit of the Spirit.” If they don’t know it, have them turn to Galatians 5:22-23 in their Bibles and read aloud.)
  • “Right! The famous Fruit of the Spirit! You know, you only get this fruit after Jesus is put into your heart.”
  • (Ask volunteer) “So, were you able to fit them all in?” (Listen for response.)
  • “That’s pretty amazing! I’m surprised you had room for all of them.”
  • “But you know, I can’t help but wonder…what would happen if we tried to put some of those other things that were important to us back in? You know, ‘making money,’ ‘being famous,’ ‘having popular friends’….”
  • “I said before that God never said we couldn’t have these things. We just have to put the important stuff in first.”
  • “Who thinks we could fit some of that stuff back in?” (Wait for responses.)
  • (To volunteer) “Well, let’s do it!” (Help volunteer to pour the aquarium rocks back into the container. You will need to gently shake the container as you pour to help the rocks settle to the bottom. When you are done, most if not all of the little rocks will fit around the big ones.)
  • “Now, THAT’S amazing! So, who thinks they know what this tells us about God?” (Listen to responses. Try to direct them to the main teaching point – if we put God first, we can still have many of the other things we like. But if we put God last, we will never have enough room in our hearts or time in our day for Him.)
  • “Everyone give our volunteer a round of applause for coming up to help out!” (Lead the applause, and then dismiss your volunteer.)

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Filed under Christianity, Hands-on, heart, Object Lesson, Priorities