Tag Archives: patience

God’s Timing (CHALLENGE)


Time

10-15 minutes
Description

This Challenge makes the point that God’s timing often seems slow to us but that we have to be careful not to rush ahead of God.  Things work out best when we follow closely behind Him.  The challenge is accomplish by staging a “race” between pouring a bottle of ketchup and pouring cups of water.

 

Scriptures

  • Genesis 37-50

 

Materials

  • Bottles of ketchup – 1 per group (The glass bottles are best, because the ketchup comes out much more slowly, and you can’t squeeze them.  However, if you can’t find glass bottles, plastic will work.)
  • Challenge Card (The file for printing is called, “JJ – God’s Timing – Challenge Card (CHALLENGE),” and 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.  There are two Challenge Cards per page.)
  • Prizes – 1 per person – recommend candy or something sweet to eat (The prize is used to create urgency for completing the task.  It should be something the participants are eager to get so that they will want to try to rush the task they are given.  This is to show that we often have to be patient and wait for the good things God has planned for us.)
  • Large, clear, plastic cups – 2 per person and one extra for the group leader (These are to pour the liquid into and from.  Each participant will need one, and one group leader will need one for each group.  The cups can have color, but the kids should be able to see through the plastic so that they can judge their progress against the leader’s cup.)
  • Ziplock bags – gallon size – 1 per group
  • Gallon jug of water – 1 per group
  • Red food coloring – 1 per group (OPTIONAL – used to make the water similar to the ketchup in color but not change the consistency of the liquid.  If you want, you can use this to illustrate that we are like God in some ways, but He is much better and worth waiting for – or so the ketchup commercials used to say.)

 


Preparation

  • Put enough plastic cups (2 for each person in each group plus one extra for the leader) in each of the Ziplock bag.
  • Put a bottle of ketchup in each of the Ziplock bag.
  • Put a bottle of red food coloring in each of the Ziplock bags. (OPTIONAL)
  • Print out the Challenge Card document.
  • Set aside the gallon jugs of water where each group can get them.
  • Cut the Challenge Card document in half (each half is identical), and put one in each Ziplock bag (one per group).
  • Practice the script.

 

Procedure

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

  • “We’re going to do a group Challenge today.”
  • “It’s called, “God’s Timing” and it’s part of the Joseph’s Journey Series.”
  • “First, I’ll need to divide you into groups.”  (Divide the participants into the number of groups for which you have prepared kits.)
  • “Each group will have a Ziplock bag with a Challenge Card, cups, and a bottle of ketchup (and possibly a bottle of red food coloring).”
  • “When I tell you to go, open your Ziplock bags, and read the Challenge Card.” (Allow them to read the Challenge Card.)
  • “Now, you will then have a race!”
  • “Your group leader will pour ketchup out into one of the cups.”
  • “The ketchup represents God’s timing – how fast or slow He chooses to move.”
  • “The ketchup cup represents God’s will.  When it is full, God’s will has been fully accomplished.”
  • “The rest of you will each get two cups and fill one full with water.”
  • “Then you will pour your water from that cup into your empty cup.”
  • “When everyone’s empty cups are full, you will each get a prize.”
  • “Sounds easy, right?”
  • “But here’s the hard part!”
  • “You can’t ever fill your cup faster than the cup that is being filled with ketchup.”
  • “In life, we often want to go faster than God’s timing, but this is a very bad thing to do.”
  • “We have to be patient and wait for the good things God has planned for us.”
  • “In the Bible, Joseph knew when he was 17 years old that he would one day rule over his brothers, but he had to patiently wait for 13 years before God’s will was accomplished in his life.”
  • “Back to our race – If one of your leaders notices that you have gotten ahead of the ketchup, you will have to pour the water back into your first cup and start all over.”
  • “Does anyone have any questions before we race?”  (Answer their questions.)
  • (Then, allow them to fill up their cups and add red food coloring (optional).  You can then begin the “race.”  If anyone’s cup becomes fuller than the ketchup cup, have them empty it and start over again.  If the ketchup just isn’t moving, try slightly tipping the bottle to let more air in to replace the ketchup that is coming out.  (If you have a squeezable bottle, try to squeeze it without being noticed.)  When you are finished, have them answer the Debrief Questions below (also on their Challenge Cards.  The Rhyme Time is to help them remember that God is using even the times when we are waiting on Him.  If we trust Him and obey Him during these times, God will use them to make us ready for His blessings.)

 

Debriefing Questions

 

  1. How difficult was it to wait for “God’s timing” (the ketchup)?
  2. Have you ever had to wait for God to do something in your life?  How did that feel?
  3. Why do you think it’s important to wait for God to work in His time?
  4. How can you be better about waiting for God in the future?

 

Rhyme Time

If we trust Him and obey,

God makes bad things go OUR way!

 

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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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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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Joseph’s Journey


For summer camp this year, I’ve written ten Challenges (Bible activities for small groups and a leader to do together – sometimes in competition with other groups) and some large group lessons on the story of Joseph. They are all located on the Lesson and Material Downloads page (see the link at the top of the screen), and you can find them alphabetically in the list. They all start with the letters “JJ” for “Joseph’s Journey.”

Hope you can find some lessons that will be useful for you!

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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

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