Overwhelming Blessings (OBJ LESSON)


IMG_2673

Time

15 minutes

Description

This object lesson uses a tower of cups and a waterfall of liquid to demonstrate how God blessed everyone around Joseph because of Joseph’s faithfulness to God.

Scriptures

  • Genesis 37:12-36; 39:1-6, 20-23; 41:53-57
  • 2 Corinthians 2:9 – The Voice translation: “God is ready to overwhelm you with more blessings than you could ever imagine so that you’ll always be taken care of in every way and you’ll have more than enough to share.”

Materials

  • Notecard (1)
  • Cup Tower
    • Clear, plastic cups (41)
    • Transparent tape (“Scotch” tape or another brand) (1 roll)
    • Double-sided foam tape (1 roll)
    • Pitcher
    • Water
    • Large spoon (for stirring)
    • Tray or clear basin (to catch any water that overflows the cups)
    • Food coloring (I recommend a darker color such as green, red or blue.)
  • Bible

Preparation

  • Write 2 Corinthians 2:9 from The Voice translation on a notecard.
  • Create a cup tower.
    • Stack the cups in five layers.
    • The bottom layer will have 18 cups.
    • The next layer will have 12 cups.
    • The next layer will have seven cups.
    • The next layer will have three cups.
    • The top layer will just have one cup.
    • It may be helpful to assemble each layer separately first and to tape the cups together at the rims with transparent tape.
    • Then, place a piece of double-sided foam tape wherever three cups will be supporting an upper layer cup.
    • Finally, place your layers on top of each other one-by-one, and press gently to get the double-sided tape to stick.
    • You don’t need your cup tower to last forever, but you don’t want it to fall apart during your lesson as you add the weight of the water to the upper layers.
    • See the photos below to help you assemble the cup tower.

Cup Tower

  • Place your cup tower into or onto the clear basin or tray.
  • Test your cup tower, but pouring water into the top cup, and ensuring that water cascades into the lower levels of cups.
  • Fill the pitcher with water, add food coloring, and stir.
  • Bookmark Genesis 39:20-23 in your Bible so that you can find it quickly when you need someone to read it out loud.
  • Practice the script.

 

Procedure

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

  • Joseph was sold by his brothers and had to go to serve as a slave in Egypt.
  • He was sold to a man named Potiphar, who held a very high position in Pharaoh’s court.
  • Pharaoh was the king of Egypt, and Potiphar was the captain of his security team.
  • Potiphar was probably very wealthy and had a large household.
  • He put Joseph to work, and he was soon very pleased with how hard-working and responsible Joseph was.
  • The bible says that Joseph “succeeded in everything he did as he served in the home of his Egyptian master.” (Gen 39:2)
  • Potiphar was so happy that he made Joseph his personal attendant and put him in charge of his entire household.
  • Then, an amazing thing happened!
  • The bible says, “the Lord began to bless Potiphar’s household for Joseph’s sake. All his household affairs ran smoothly, and his crops and livestock flourished.” (Gen 39:5)
  • In other words, Potiphar’s life got better BECAUSE Joseph was there!
  • Potiphar wasn’t even a follower of God, but God blessed him, because he had Joseph living in his house.
  • Here’s what’s really cool!
  • This doesn’t just happen with Joseph; it happens with you, too!
  • When you are following God and doing what He says to do in your bible, God is so pleased with you that He blesses you.
  • But God loves to bless you with much more than you need. (Have volunteer read 2 Corinthians 2:9 from The Voice translation: “God is ready to overwhelm you with more blessings than you could ever imagine so that you’ll always be taken care of in every way and you’ll have more than enough to share.”)
  • That’s such a great Scripture!
  • Let me show you what that looks like. (Ask for a volunteer to come help you, and bring out your cup tower and your pitcher of colored water.)
  • In this stack of cups, you are this top cup, and the other cups are the people around you.
  • When you are pleasing God by doing what He wants you to do, He blesses you.
  • Let’s pretend that this liquid is God’s blessing in your life. (Show pitcher of colored liquid, and help your volunteer pour it into the top cup in the stack. Keep pouring after the cup is full, and the liquid will start to spill over into the other cups, which will then spill over into the other cups. Continue pouring until all the cups are full.)
  • God overwhelms you with his blessings!
  • It’s more than you could ever imagine!
  • You are taken care of in every way!
  • And you have more than enough to share!
  • See how all the people around you get blessed, because you are doing what God wants you to do!
  • You take God’s blessing with you everywhere you go. (Thank and dismiss your volunteer.)
  • So Joseph is in Potiphar’s house, and Potiphar is being blessed.
  • But through some unfair events, Joseph was thrown into prison.
  • You might think Joseph would have been angry with God for allowing this to happen, but he continued to trust God even in prison.
  • And you know what God did? He blessed the prison because of Joseph. (Have a volunteer read Genesis 39:20-23.)
  • God overwhelmed Joseph with blessings, and they poured out onto the people in the prison. (Gesture toward the cup tower.)
  • You know what happened next?
  • Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, had some dreams that troubled him.
  • He heard that Joseph knew how to interpret dreams, so he released Joseph from prison and had him interpret his dreams for him.
  • When he heard how wise Joseph was, he promoted him to the second highest position in the entire country.
  • He put Joseph in charge of all the food in Egypt, and Joseph managed it so well when there was plenty of food that there was enough for all the people during a terrible famine that lasted for seven years.
  • In fact, Joseph had saved so much food during the good times that there was enough to feed the people of other countries when they ran out of food.
  • The people of these nations bought food from Egypt and made Pharaoh very rich.
  • Again, God overwhelmed Joseph with blessings, and those blessings poured out onto the people of Egypt and the nations around Egypt.
  • God can do the same thing through you!
  • If you do what God wants you to do, God will bless you and everyone around you!
  • (You may want to have the kids say the following Rhyme Time a few times to reinforce the main teaching point.)

 

Rhyme Time

When we do what God wants us to do

God blesses us and those around us, too!

 

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Journey with Joseph (LESSONS)


Joseph

(Image credit – Phillip Martin – http://bible.phillipmartin.info/bible_joseph.htm)

 

I developed the following five lessons for a week-long summer camp that I pastored this year.  The lessons follow the themes of the Royal Family Kids Camp curriculum (http://royalfamilykids.org/) are intended to build on one another, but it is possible to teach them individually with some modifications.  I have also integrated a few other object lessons to help bring out the teaching points from Joseph’s life, and these can be found separately on the Lesson & Material Downloads page.

 

Monday – I Will Trust God Even When Life is the Pits

Time

50 minutes
Description

This lesson introduces Joseph and his family and describes the events leading up to Joseph’s brothers selling him into slavery. 

Scriptures

  • Genesis 37
  • Jeremiah 29:11

Materials

  • Name signs on string lanyards for Jacob and his children: Jacob, Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Dinah (the sister), Joseph and Benjamin.
  • Colorful coat, smock or robe for Joseph
  • Place that can act as a well or pit – You can use a cardboard box or some chairs with a blanket draped over them. It just needs to conceal Joseph when his brothers “throw him into the pit.”
  • Two pouches with play coins or something “jingly” in them
  • 3-4 feet of rope
  • OPTIONAL – An Egyptian headdress – This can be a piece of blue and gold or black and gold striped fabric or cardboard in the style of Tutankhamun. Examples can be found online.
  • OPTIONAL – Burlap fabric with a hole cut in the middle for you to put your head through
  • OPTIONAL – 10 slices of bread in 10 Ziplock bags for the brothers to eat while Joseph is in the well. You might also want a paper sack for them to carry these in and a marker to label the side of the bag.
  • SEE ALSO – Materials for the two object lessons at the end. They are listed in each individual file.
  • Bible

 

Preparation

  • Prepare the well/pit.
  • Assemble other supplies so that they will be accessible where and when you need them in the lesson.
  • OPTIONAL: Put the bread in the Ziplock bags, and put them in the paper bag. You might want to label the bag “LUNCH” in large letters.
  • SEE ALSO – Preparation steps for the two object lessons at the end. They are listed in each individual file.
  • Practice the script.

Procedure

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

  • All this week, we are going to be talking about on of my favorite people in the Bible. (Ask for a volunteer to come up to play Joseph, and put the name sign on him.)
  • His name is Joseph, and he was the son of a man named Jacob (who was also named Israel, but that’s a different story). (Ask for 13 more volunteers to come up to play Joseph’s brothers and sister, and put the name signs on them.)
  • Joseph had 12 brothers and one sister. (Line up your volunteers in height order facing the audience, and put Dinah (the sister) third to last and Joseph second to last.)
  • There was Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Dinah (the sister), and then Joseph and Benjamin. (Place your hand on the shoulder of each volunteer as you name them down the line.)
  • And I’ll be Jacob, the dad. (Put on your name sign.)
  • So, Joseph had 10 older brothers and an older sister!
  • I bet that was tough!
  • Do any of you have a lot of brothers and sisters? (Raise your hand to demonstrate you would like a show of hands.)
  • It can be fun sometimes, but sometimes it’s no fun at all being one of the youngest.
  • Well, that was sure true for Joseph, because his older brothers hated him.
  • You see, Jacob (their dad – that’s me!) had been married four times, and all the other brothers and even Joseph’s sister were all from three of the marriages.
  • But Joseph and Benjamin were the sons of Jacob’s favorite wife, Rachel. (Separate Joseph and Benjamin from the rest.)
  • Rachel had died when Benjamin was born, but Joseph remembered her, and his dad loved him for it.
  • In fact, Jacob loved Joseph more than any of his other children, and they all knew it!
  • They knew it, because their dad made a really special, colorful coat just for Joseph. (Put the colorful coat on Joseph.)
  • If you were Joseph’s brothers, wouldn’t that make you a little bit mad? (Listen for responses.)
  • So the brothers were jealous of Joseph, and they didn’t like being around him, but their dad would often send Joseph to check on his older brothers and see what they were doing. (Have the older brothers go off to one side. Then whisper to Joseph to go and see what they were doing and come back and tell you.)
  • This made them even madder at him, because Joseph would always get them in trouble with their dad. (Go up to the older brothers, and pretend to scold them.)
  • Nobody likes a tattletale.
  • And Joseph made it even worse!
  • He started having these dreams about how great he was compared to his brothers, and he bragged about it to them! (Have Joseph stand akimbo and look superior in the direction of his brothers.)
  • He told them that one day they would all bow down and worship him – even his dad! (Have Joseph pretend to tell about his dream, and have the brothers act furious.)
  • They waited to see if their dad would discipline Joseph, but when he didn’t, they all got mad and left “to go watch over the sheep.” (Have brothers take their sack lunch (optional) and go to another area of the room close to the makeshift well or pit.)
  • Joseph’s dad was suspicious, so a few days later, he told Joseph to go look for them and see what they were really doing. (Have Joseph look for his brothers in a few places and then finally find them.)
  • When his brothers saw him coming, they said to each other, “Look, here comes the dreamer. We should kill him and throw him into a pit. Then, we can tell our dad that a wild animal ate him.”
  • Reuben, the oldest brother, convinced the other brothers to just throw him into the pit and let him die in there. He was hoping to come back and rescue Joseph later.
  • So when Joseph arrived, the brothers grabbed him, ripped off his colorful coat and threw him into the pit. (Have volunteers act this out – carefully.)
  • Then, the brothers sat down and had lunch. (Have volunteers pull out bread in the Ziplocks and begin eating it.)
  • They cared more about lunch than their own brother!
  • As they were eating, they saw a caravan of camels coming in their direction. (Get a group of 4-6 volunteers to get up and play the role of the Ishmaelites marching toward the brothers. Give one of the volunteers the pouch of coins and another volunteer the piece of rope. Ask another volunteer to put on the Egyptian headdress if you procured one. Give him the second pouch of coins, and have him and wait in the opposite corner of the room.)
  • It was a group of Ishmaelites headed to Egypt, and it gave Judah an idea.
  • He said to his brothers, “What if we didn’t kill Joseph but sold him to these Ishmaelites instead? Then, we won’t have the guilt of his murder, but we will still be rid of the dreamer.”
  • All the other brothers agreed, so they pulled Joseph out of the pit and sold him to the Ishmaelites for 20 pieces of silver. (Have the brothers pull Joseph out of the pit. Then, have the Ishmaelites give the brothers the pouch of coins, tie the rope around Joseph’s hands and take him to the place where the volunteer in Egyptian headdress is waiting..)
  • The brothers knew they would need a good story for their father, so they ripped Joseph’s colorful coat, killed a goat and dipped the coat into the blood. (Have volunteers act this out.)
  • They sent the coat back home to their father and asked, “Isn’t this your son’s coat?” (Have one of the brothers bring you the coat.)
  • When Jacob got it, he wailed with grief, tore his clothes (which was how his people showed their sadness), and dressed in burlap, which is like a potato sack and very scratchy to wear. (Act this out if you got the burlap.)
  • It showed everyone that he was so sad that he didn’t want to be comfortable if he couldn’t have his son back.
  • When Jacob saw the torn and bloody coat, he assumed that Joseph had been eaten by a wild animal, and his sons never told him the truth.
  • Meanwhile, the Ishmaelites made it to Egypt, and they sold Joseph to a man named Potiphar, the captain of Pharaoh’s palace guard. (Have volunteers act this out, and have Potiphar given the Ishmaelites the pouch of coins. Then, thank and dismiss all your volunteers.)
  • This story seems pretty terrible so far, doesn’t it?
  • Joseph’s brothers hated him so much that they sold him into slavery, and his father thinks he’s dead!
  • What a disaster!
  • But don’t worry. God knows what’s happening to Joseph, and God has been with Joseph every step of the way to Egypt.
  • God won’t abandon Joseph.
  • In Jeremiah 29:11, God says “I know the plans I have for you. They are plans for good and not for evil. Plans to give you hope for a good future.”
  • Let me show you what happens when bad stuff happens to you.
  • OBJECT LESSON – Good Seed – Bad Seed (Just do the first part of the lesson today – up to the point where you have “planted” the seeds. Over the next few days, you can show how things are growing in the soil.)
  • God doesn’t stop everything bad from happening to us, but He always turns bad things into good for us.
  • Let me show you what I mean.
  • OBJECT LESSON – Lemons into Lemonade (Modify the script as needed to blend with this lesson.)
  • Life isn’t always fair, but God will help you through the tough times, and He will use them to bless you in a big way. (Have the kids say the Rhyme Time with you a few times. Have a Prayer Warrior pray for everyone. Then, dismiss everyone.)

 

Rhyme Time

When life seems too hard to do,

God is there to help us through.

 

 

Tuesday – I Will Trust God to Help Me Do Right

 

Time

50 minutes
Description

This lesson covers the time period in Joseph’s life when he is working for Potiphar but then unfairly accused by Potiphar’s wife.

Scriptures

  • Genesis 39:1-20
  • 2 Corinthians 2:9 – The Voice translation: “God is ready to overwhelm you with more blessings than you could ever imagine so that you’ll always be taken care of in every way and you’ll have more than enough to share.”
  • Romans 8:28

Materials

  • Notecard (1)
  • Cup Tower
    • Clear, plastic cups (41)
    • Transparent tape (“Scotch” tape or another brand) (1 roll)
    • Double-sided foam tape (1 roll)
    • Pitcher
    • Water
    • Large spoon (for stirring)
    • Clear basin or a tray (to catch any water that overflows the cups)
    • Food coloring (I recommend a darker color such as green, red or blue.)
  • Small bag of fertilizer or a few dried cow patties if you can find them
  • Heart with soil and large packages of good and bad seeds from the Good Seed-Bad Seed lesson
  • Flower in a flower pot (real or fake)
  • Piece of fruit
  • Special coat for Joseph to wear as a trusted servant in Potiphar’s house
  • Costume for Potiphar if you are using one
  • A chisel and a hammer
  • OPTIONAL – Something that looks like prison bars
  • Bible

Preparation

  • Write 2 Corinthians 2:9 from The Voice translation on a notecard.
  • Create a cup tower.
    • Stack the cups in five layers.
    • The bottom layer will have 18 cups.
    • The next layer will have 12 cups.
    • The next layer will have seven cups.
    • The next layer will have three cups.
    • The top layer will just have one cup.
    • It may be helpful to assemble each layer separately first and to tape the cups together at the rims with transparent tape.
    • Then, place a piece of double-sided foam tape wherever three cups will be supporting an upper layer cup.
    • Finally, place your layers on top of each other one-by-one, and press gently to get the double-sided tape to stick.
    • You don’t need your cup tower to last forever, but you don’t want it to fall apart during your lesson as you add the weight of the water to the upper layers.
  • Place your cup tower into or onto the clear basin or tray.
  • Test your cup tower, but pouring water into the top cup, and ensuring that water cascades into the lower levels of cups.
  • Fill the pitcher with water, add food coloring, and stir.
  • Practice the script.

Procedure

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

  • You probably remember from yesterday that Joseph was sold as a slave in Egypt. (Invite your Joseph and Potiphar volunteers from yesterday up to the front. Help Potiphar put on his costume. Ask them to act out whatever you say about them.)
  • He was sold to a man named Potiphar, who held a very high position in Pharaoh’s court.
  • Pharaoh was the king of Egypt, and Potiphar was the captain of his security team.
  • Potiphar was probably very wealthy and had a large household.
  • He put Joseph to work, and he became very pleased with how hard-working and responsible Joseph was.
  • The bible says that Joseph “succeeded in everything he did as he served in the home of his Egyptian master.” (Gen 39:2)
  • Potiphar was so happy that he made Joseph his personal attendant and put him in charge of his entire household. (Put the special coat on Joseph.)
  • Then, an amazing thing happened!
  • The bible says, “the Lord began to bless Potiphar’s household for Joseph’s sake. All his household affairs ran smoothly, and his crops and livestock flourished.” (Gen 39:5)
  • In other words, Potiphar’s life got better BECAUSE Joseph was there! (Have Potiphar look very happy!)
  • Potiphar wasn’t even a follower of God, but God blessed him, because he had Joseph living in his house.
  • Here’s what’s really cool!
  • This doesn’t just happen with Joseph; it happens with you, too!
  • When you are following God and doing what He says to do in your bible, God is so pleased with you that He blesses you.
  • But God loves to bless you with much more than you need. (Have volunteer read 2 Corinthians 2:9 from The Voice translation: “God is ready to overwhelm you with more blessings than you could ever imagine so that you’ll always be taken care of in every way and you’ll have more than enough to share.”)
  • That’s such a great Scripture!
  • Let me show you what that looks like. (Ask for a volunteer to come help you, and bring out your cup tower and your pitcher of colored water.)
  • In this stack of cups, you are this top cup, and the other cups are the people around you.
  • When you are pleasing God by doing what He wants you to do, He blesses you.
  • Let’s pretend that this liquid is God’s blessing in your life. (Show pitcher of colored liquid, and help your volunteer pour it into the top cup in the stack. Keep pouring after the cup is full, and the liquid will start to spill over into the other cups, which will then spill over into the other cups. Continue pouring until all the cups are full.)
  • God overwhelms you with his blessings!
  • It’s more than you could ever imagine!
  • You are taken care of in every way!
  • And you have more than enough to share!
  • See how all the people around you get blessed, because you are doing what God wants you to do!
  • You take God’s blessing with you everywhere you go. (Thank and dismiss your volunteer.)
  • So Joseph is in Potiphar’s house, and Potiphar is being blessed.
  • But there was a problem…
  • Joseph was super good looking.
  • I know, it doesn’t seem like much of a problem, but it was, because Potiphar’s wife thought Joseph was cute. (You may or may not want to have a volunteer play Potiphar’s wife depending on your audience. If you don’t, you can act out her parts without making them inappropriate.)
  • She even tried to get Joseph to kiss her!!
  • She wouldn’t leave him alone.
  • Joseph was a good guy, though, and anytime she tried to kiss him, he would tell her, “No!”
  • He told her that he could never do something so mean to his master, Potiphar, and he could never sin against God.
  • But Potiphar’s wife wouldn’t take no for an answer.
  • One day when everyone was out of the house, she trapped Joseph and tried to make him kiss her.
  • She grabbed his coat and held on to it so that he couldn’t get away.
  • Joseph didn’t know what else to do, so he stripped out of his coat and ran away.
  • Potiphar’s wife was FURIOUS with him!
  • She decided she would get revenge, so she screamed as loudly as she could.
  • Servants came running from the yard, and she told them that Joseph had tried to kiss HER!
  • That’s the opposite of what happened, but everyone believed her!
  • When Potiphar got home, she showed him Joseph’s shirt and told him the story. (People area always using Joseph’s clothes to tell lies about him!)
  • And believe it or not, Potiphar was so angry with Joseph that he threw him into prison! (Have Potiphar point Joseph toward an area of the room that you are designating as a prison. Joseph should look very unhappy.)
  • Oh no!
  • If there is something worse than being a slave, it might be being a prisoner in a cold, dark cell.
  • Poor Joseph!
  • Why is God allowing all this bad stuff to happen to him? (Thank and dismiss your volunteers. Bring out your large heart container with soil in it from the Good Seed – Bad Seed lesson. Ask a new volunteer to come up to help you.)
  • Do you guys remember from yesterday how I told you about the wounds we get in our hearts when someone does something to hurt us?
  • I told you that wounds are like fertile soil where things can grow really quickly.
  • And I told you that both God and Satan are gardeners who plant seeds in your heart. (Show large packages of seeds.)
  • God plants beautiful things, but Satan plants weeds.
  • I bet Joseph has some pretty big wounds in his heart, but I trust that God is going to grow something beautiful there.
  • Let’s look at our hearts.
  • Well, so far, nothing has started to grow.
  • When a gardener goes into his garden and sees that nothing is growing, do you know what the gardener does? (Listen for responses.)
  • Right! He adds fertilizer to the soil.
  • I happen to have some here! (Pull out your bag of fertilizer or a dry cow patty if you were able to find one, and have your volunteer hold one or the other in his or her hands.)
  • Does anyone know what fertilizer is made of? (Listen for responses.)
  • Yes! Animal poop! That’s pretty gross, huh, (to volunteer) and you had it in your hands!
  • It doesn’t smell right now, but have you ever smelled it when it was fresh? Gross!
  • So you wouldn’t want to walk through a cow pasture and smell all their poop, would you?
  • But would you smell this? (Hold up flower in the pot, and let your volunteer smell it.)
  • Sure, because it smells good, right?
  • Did you know that this (hold up fertilizer) is what the gardener uses to make this (hold up flower in pot) smell so good?
  • How does that happen? (Listen for responses.)
  • Right, the fertilizer gives nutrients to the soil, and the flower takes the nutrients in the soil to help it grow.
  • So, would you ever eat this? (Hold out fertilizer to your volunteer.)
  • I didn’t think so!
  • But would you eat this? (Hold out piece of fruit.)
  • Well, believe it or not, there is some of this (Hold up fertilizer) in this (Hold up fruit).
  • You see, God doesn’t waste anything.
  • He even takes bad stuff like this fertilizer and turns it into good stuff, like this flower or this piece of fruit.
  • If God can do that with poop, I bet He can do it with all the bad stuff that happens in your life, too!
  • Some of what happens to us really stinks, but God will use it to do good stuff in our life, and we will come out smelling like a rose. (Have a volunteer read Romans 8:28.)
  • The Bible says that God will use EVERYTHING to bless you if you trust Him with it.
  • So when bad stuff happens in our lives, God uses it like fertilizer.
  • He mixes it into the soil in our hearts so that His seeds can grow there and produce beautiful things and good fruit. (Have your volunteer mix some of the fertilizer into the soil in the heart.)
  • Tomorrow, we will see if that helps God’s seed to grow in our heart. (Thank your volunteer and dismiss him or her.)
  • Our Rhyme Time for today says that what’s hard is a tool and a test.
  • Let me tell you what that means.
  • What do we use tools for? (Hold up the chisel and a hammer. Listen for responses.)
  • Right, we use them to build things or make things.
  • Well, that’s exactly how God uses the hard things in our lives.
  • Hard things are tools that God uses to shape us.
  • He carves away the parts that don’t look like Him.
  • Hard things are also tests in our lives.
  • They show us what’s hidden in our hearts.
  • If we go through a hard thing like Joseph did, and we hate the people who hurt us, it means that our hearts still need to grow.
  • God will keep giving us tests until we are like Jesus, who asked God the Father to forgive even the people who killed Him.
  • So, hard stuff is both a tool and a test in our lives.
  • (Have the kids say the Rhyme Time with you a few times. Have a Prayer Warrior pray for everyone. Then, dismiss everyone.)

 

Rhyme Time

Often what’s hard is a tool and a test.

God will help me to do what’s best.

 

 

Wednesday – I Will Trust God Because He Has Big Plans for Me

 

Time

50 minutes
Description

This lesson covers the time period in Joseph’s life when he was in prison until the time Pharaoh promotes him to the second-highest position in Egypt.

Scriptures

  • Genesis 39:21-41:57 

Materials

  • Special robe and a set of keys for Joseph as the manager of the prison
  • Ornate cup and three bunches of grapes for the chief cupbearer
  • Three baskets with bread in them for the chief baker
  • Printouts (7 copies in color) of the file “PROPS – Joseph’s Journey – Fat & Skinny Cows and Grain”
  • 2 sheets of posterboard
  • Glue
  • Special robe, gold costume jewelry necklace and ring for Joseph as second to Pharaoh
  • Two baby dolls (or something representative) wrapped in blankets
  • Heart with soil and package of good seeds from the Good Seed-Bad Seed lesson
  • Fake plants or flowers to plant in the heart soil
  • Two or more pouches with coins in them
  • OPTIONAL – Something that looks like prison bars
  • OPTIONAL – Curved piece of posterboard or cardboard (about waist high for a kid) to represent a chariot and ropes to represent reins for Joseph
  • OPTIONAL – Ritz crackers or another brand to hand out to the audience during “the famine”
  • OPTIONAL – OBJECT LESSON – Spotlight Effect (see materials listed in the lesson)
  • OPTIONAL – OBJECT LESSON – Do Clothes Really Make the Man? (see materials listed in the lesson)
  • Bible

Preparation

  • Pharaoh’s Dream
    • Cut out the pictures in the file “PROPS – Joseph’s Journey – Fat & Skinny Cows and Grain”
    • Glue each set of seven pictures to a piece of posterboard so that you can show all seven of the same image at one time
  • Good Seed – Bad Seed
    • Plant the flowers or plants in your soil.
  • OPTIONAL – If you are using the chariot prop, shape your posterboard or cardboard, and decorate one side so that it looks like an official’s chariot.
  • OPTIONAL – If you choose to teach “OBJECT LESSON – Spotlight Effect,” you will need to follow the preparation steps in that lesson.
  • OPTIONAL – Decide if you want to teach “OBJECT LESSON – Do Clothes Really Make the Man?” If you do, you will need to prepare all the smocks that are listed in the object lesson.
  • Practice the script.

Procedure

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

  • So you probably remember that Joseph was thrown in jail in yesterday’s lesson. (Have Joseph volunteer come up and get in the jail cell if you are using one.)
  • He was punished for a crime he didn’t commit, and that’s not fair, but God let it happen.
  • I’m sure that Joseph sat in his jail cell and wondered why God would let Potiphar do this to him.
  • But here’s what I love about Joseph – he didn’t wonder about it very long.
  • Joseph must have made up his mind that if God allowed him to be thrown into prison unfairly that God had a reason for allowing it to happen.
  • That takes a lot of faith – to trust God when bad stuff happens to you, but that’s what Joseph did.
  • And then you know what he did?
  • He got to work. (Have Joseph pretend to be cleaning up in the prison.)
  • He decided that he was going to be the best prisoner in the whole prison.
  • He worked harder than anyone else, and he had a good attitude about it.
  • He didn’t feel sorry for himself.
  • He trusted God and waited for God to show him why he was in the prison.
  • Pretty soon, the prison warden (that’s the prison boss) noticed what a hard worker Joseph and what a great attitude he had. (Have a volunteer come play the prison warden and look impressed at Joseph’s hard work.)
  • The prison warden was so impressed that he put Joseph in charge of the entire prison. (Have prison warden give Joseph a special coat and a set of keys to represent his new authority.)
  • Do you see how God is blessing Joseph even in Joseph’s toughest times?
  • God never left Joseph all by himself in prison; He was there with Joseph the whole time.
  • So, one day, two of Pharaoh’s officials were put in prison. (Have two volunteers come act out these roles in your prison area.)
  • One was the chief cupbearer, who tasted all Pharaoh’s food to make sure it wasn’t poisoned. (Give this volunteer an ornate cup.)
  • The other was the chief baker, who made all Pharaoh’s bread. (Give this volunteer a basket with bread in it.)
  • The prison warden assigned them to Joseph, and he took care of them. (Tell your volunteers to act out the story as you tell it.)
  • One day, they looked really upset, and Joseph asked them what was wrong.
  • They told him that they had both had strange dreams the night before.
  • Do you remember that Joseph is good at interpreting dreams?
  • He had them tell him their dreams, and then he was able to tell them what they meant.
  • The chief cupbearer had a dream about a grapevine with three branches. (Hand this volunteer the three bunches of grapes.)
  • The vine grew grapes, and he squeezed them into Pharaoh’s cup.
  • Then, he gave the cup to Pharaoh.
  • Joseph knew right away what the dream meant.
  • He said that the dream was a prophecy that the chief cupbearer would be released from jail in three days and would go back to serving Pharaoh. (Have this volunteer shout for joy and put a fist in the air.)
  • The chief cupbearer was very excited, and Joseph asked him to remember that Joseph was in jail unfairly.
  • The chief cupbearer promised that he would remember Joseph.
  • Then, the chief baker told his dream to Joseph.
  • He dreamt that he had three baskets of bread on his head, but birds came and ate the break out of the top basket. (Balance three baskets on his head, and make hand motions like birds eating out of his basket.)
  • He was excited to hear the meaning of his dream, but Joseph told him that it meant that in three days, he would be released from prison and then killed by Pharaoh. (Have this volunteer shout, “Oh no!” and drop his head and shoulders.)
  • Yikes! Not such a good dream, I guess.
  • Three days later, Joseph’s interpretations came true. (Release your two volunteers from prison.)
  • Both men were let out of prison, but one was allowed to return to Pharaoh’s court and the other was killed. (Have a volunteer come up and play Pharaoh, and have the chief cupbearer go to join him. Have the other volunteer do a dramatic death scene and then return to his seat.)
  • Unfortunately, the chief cupbearer forgot about Joseph and never told Pharaoh that he was in prison unfairly. (Have Joseph try to get the chief cupbearer’s attention from prison, but have the chief cupbearer ignore him.)
  • So, Joseph was in prison for TWO…MORE….YEARS! (Have Joseph get back to work.)
  • You would think he got discouraged, but he continued to trust in God.
  • And then something important happened!
  • Pharaoh had two terrible nightmares. (Have Pharoah pretend to toss and turn in his sleep and then act out the story as you tell it.)
  • He called all his wise men and magicians and asked them to tell him what the dreams meant.
  • No on knew what they meant, and Pharaoh was really worried about them.
  • Finally, the chief cupbearer remembered Joseph, and he told Pharaoh that he knew a person who could interpret dreams. (Have them act this and the following out.)
  • Pharaoh had Joseph released from prison immediately, and Joseph was brought before Pharaoh.
  • Pharaoh told Joseph his dreams. This is what happened.
  • In the first dream, Pharaoh was standing on the banks of the Nile river, and he saw seven fat, healthy cows come out of the river. (Ask your Pharaoh volunteer to hold up the posterboard with the seven fat cows.)
  • But right after them, seven six and skinny cows came out of the river and ate the fat cows. (Ask your Pharaoh to cover up the posterboard with the seven fat cows with the posterboard with the seven skinny cows.)
  • In the second dream, Pharaoh saw seven heads of grain. (Ask your Pharaoh to cover up the posterboard with the seven skinny cows with the posterboard with the seven healthy heads of grain.)
  • They were healthy and beautiful, but then seven more heads of grain came up and ate the seven healthy heads of grain. (Ask your Pharaoh to cover up the posterboard with the seven seven heads of health grain with the posterboard of Wheat Thins. Then, he can hand the posterboards to Joseph.)
  • Pharaoh didn’t know what the dreams meant, but Joseph did.
  • Joseph said that the seven cows and seven heads of grain represented seven years. (Have Joseph first show the posterboard with seven fat cows, then the posterboard with seven healthy heads of grain.)
  • And he said that the first cows and grain represented seven good years with plenty of food, but the second group of cows and grain represented seven bad years with no food. (Have Joseph show the posterboard with seven skinny cows, then the posterboard with Wheat Thins. Then, he can lay the posterboards aside.)
  • Joseph told Pharaoh that he should put a man in charge of all the food in Egypt so that they could save enough food during the good years to help them have enough food during the bad years.
  • Pharaoh thought this was a great idea, and since Joseph thought of it, Pharaoh put Joseph in charge.
  • I’m not kidding!
  • Right then and there, Pharaoh put a special robe on Joseph, gave him a gold chain to wear around his neck and put his special ring of authority on Joseph’s finger. (Have Pharaoh put a special robe, necklace and ring on Joseph.)
  • He told everyone that no one in the kingdom was more powerful than Joseph except Pharaoh, and he gave Joseph a chariot. (Put Joseph behind posterboard or cardboard that represents a chariot and ropes for reins if you are using them.)
  • Everywhere that Joseph went, his men commanded the people to kneel down. (OPTIONAL – You might have Joseph carry his chariot around and get the other kids to kneel down.)
  • And Pharaoh said that no one could even lift their hand or their foot in Egypt unless Joseph approved it!
  • Joseph had just come out of prison, and now he was the second most-powerful person in all of Egypt! Only God can do something like that!
  • But Pharaoh wasn’t done yet!
  • He also gave Joseph a beautiful wife, named Asenath. (Have one of the girls come up and stand with Joseph in the chariot. You might have them take a lap around the teaching area.)
  • Joseph was now 30 years old, and that means that he spent 13 years as a slave and a prisoner and Egypt.
  • But now he was the second-most powerful official in Egypt, and he had a wife and an important job to save the people of Egypt. (Have your girl volunteer get out of the chariot but wait at the front of the room, and have Joseph take his chariot around the room as you tell the next part. He can pretend to be giving orders to the people.)
  • Over the next seven years, there was plenty of rain, and the crops grew and grew just like Joseph had said.
  • Joseph made the farmers give some of the grain that they harvested to the officials, and he stored it in the cities.
  • There was so much food that they stopped keeping records of it after a few years.
  • In those seven years of plenty, God gave Joseph and Asenath two boys. (Give your girl volunteer two baby dolls or something representative. Have Joseph come stand with his wife.)
  • Joseph named his first son Manasseh, which means, “makes me forget,” because God had made him forget all the troubles in his life now that he had so many blessings.
  • Joseph named his second son Ephraim, which means, “fruitful,” because God had grown good fruit out of the wounds in his heart.
  • The seven good years came to an end, and the seven years without food started.
  • Pretty soon, everyone was hungry. (Have everyone in the audience rub their bellies and make low, growling noises to simulate a rumbling belly.)
  • The officials went to Pharaoh and asked for food, and he sent them to Joseph and told them to do whatever he told them to do. (Have two volunteers come to Pharaoh to act this out.)
  • Joseph opened the storehouses of grain and gave it to the officials to share with all the people of Egypt. (Have Joseph and two volunteers act this out. OPTIONAL – You might have the officials take crackers to everyone in the audience.)
  • The famine was so bad that people were starving even in the countries around Egypt, so those countries sent their people to Egypt and bought grain from Joseph. (Have a few volunteers come with money pouches and buy food from Joseph.)
  • As a result of Joseph’s wise actions during the seven good years, Egypt was well fed and became very rich during the bad years. (Thank and dismiss all your volunteers.)
  • OPTIONAL – OBJECT LESSON – Spotlight Effect (Modify the script as needed to blend with this lesson.)
  • (Bring out the heart with soil from the Good Seed-Bad Seed lesson.)
  • Do you remember our hearts with the soil in them?
  • Look! Some good things are growing in the soil that we fertilized!
  • It looks like God is making good out of bad.
  • I bet that is like what is happening in Joseph’s life at this point in the story.
  • Joseph had a lot of wounds from the way his brothers, Potiphar and Potiphar’s wife treated him, but God used that fertile soil in his heart to plant good seeds. (Show package of good seeds.)
  • This reminds me of our Rhyme Time for today. (Say Rhyme Time.)
  • The problems we have today (our “present struggles”) are more than we can see, because God has a purpose, a plan and a dream for them.
  • Joseph struggled for 13 years as a slave and a prisoner, but God had a purpose for that.
  • God had a plan.
  • And God had a dream for Joseph.
  • He was using the hard times to prepare Joseph for the good times.
  • He was teaching Joseph to trust in God during the hard times, and He was helping Joseph learn how to be a wise manager over Potiphar’s house and over the prison so that he could be a wise manager over all of Egypt.
  • When we are faithful to God with small things, God blesses us with bigger things.
  • That was true for Joseph, and it’s going to be true for you, too!
  • So remember that the hard times are more than they seem…they are part of God’s purpose, plan and dream for you!
  • (Have the kids say the Rhyme Time with you a few times. Have a Prayer Warrior pray for everyone. Then, dismiss everyone.)
  • OPTIONAL – OBJECT LESSON – Do Clothes Really Make the Man? (Modify the script as needed to blend with this lesson.)

 

Rhyme Time

God has a purpose, a plan and a dream.

My present struggles are more than they seem.

 

 

Thursday – I Will Trust God to Help Me Forgive Instead of Getting Even

 

Time

50 minutes
Description

This lesson covers the time period in Joseph’s life when he encounters his brothers during the famine and finally reveals his true identity to them.

Scriptures

  • Genesis 42:1-45:15

Materials

  • 11 sacks with rice or something similar in them
  • 11 pouches with coins in them
  • Some things that can serve as gifts for Joseph (These could be gift-wrapped boxes, or they could just be fancy looking items that might be given as gifts during this time.)
  • Table with place settings and food on it
  • Heart with soil and package of good seeds from the Good Seed-Bad Seed lesson
  • Fake weeds to plant in the heart soil
  • Supplies for the two object lessons at the end of this lesson
  • Bible 

Preparation

  • Put rice or something similar in all the sacks.
  • Put a pouch with coins in it at the top of each sack.
  • Arrange the food on your table
  • Preparation steps listed in the two object lessons at the end of this lesson
  • Plant your weeds in the heart soil.
  • Practice the script.

Procedure

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

  • Our story today starts with Joseph’s father and brothers. Remember them?
  • Well, remember that I told you yesterday that it was the seven bad years with no food, and everyone was hungry.
  • Joseph had done a really good job saving food for Egypt, so all the Egyptians had something to eat.
  • But people were also starving in the countries around Egypt, and that included the place where Joseph’s father and brothers lived. (Get 10 volunteers to come act out the lesson.)
  • One day, Joseph’s father told his sons that he had heard that there was good in Egypt.
  • He told his sons to go buy food for them so that the family wouldn’t starve.
  • However, he wouldn’t let Benjamin (the youngest go), because Benjamin was now his favorite child. (Have your Joseph volunteer come up to act out the lesson.)
  • When the brothers reached Egypt, they saw Joseph and bowed down to him, but they didn’t recognize him.
  • He was dressed like an Egyptian, and he talked like an Egyptian, and he was a very powerful man.
  • His brothers could never have guessed that Joseph would be Pharaoh’s top official.
  • They sold him as a slave and figured he was still a slave or maybe even dead after all these years.
  • As Joseph looked at his brothers bowing down before him, he remembered that he had dreamed that this would happen one day.
  • I’m sure Joseph was still feeling hurt that his brothers had sold him into slavery, so he spoke harshly to them and accused them of being spies who were trying to see if Egypt was weak and could be invaded by another country’s army.
  • His brothers were afraid that such a powerful Egyptian official would call them spies, so they began telling Joseph about their family to convince him they were just normal men wanting to buy food.
  • They told him about their aging father and their younger brother, Benjamin, but Joseph said he didn’t believe them.
  • He threw them all into prison for three days. (Have 10 volunteers go to prison area.)
  • After three days, he let them out and told them he would allow all but one of them to go back and get the younger brother they mentioned.
  • If they couldn’t bring the brother back, he would know that they were spies.
  • He kept his brother Simeon and put him back in jail. (Put one of the volunteers back in the prison area.)
  • Joseph kept one brother, because he wanted to make sure that his brothers would come back with Benjamin, his younger brother.
  • Then, he had his servants fill his brother’s sacks with grain.
  • Secretly, he told his servants to put the money each brother gave him to buy the grain back in the top of each sack. (Open one of the bags, and take out the pouch of coins to show the audience.)
  • The brothers were sad to leave Simeon, but they didn’t know what else to do.
  • They took their bags of grain and started walking home.
  • But when they stopped to sleep that night, they realized that their money had been given back to them.
  • They were terrified! Now the Egyptian would think that they stole the money.
  • They decided that God was punishing them selling Joseph into slavery.
  • When they got home, they told their father what had happened, and he was angry with them.
  • He accused them of robbing him of his sons.
  • First Joseph was killed, and now Simeon was in an Egyptian prison.
  • He said he would never let them take Benjamin back to Egypt, because he didn’t want to lose him.
  • But soon, almost all the food was gone, and Jacob realized that if they didn’t buy more grain from Egypt, they would all die of hunger.
  • So, he agreed to send Benjamin with them, but he made his sons carry gifts for the Egyptian official, and he had them take twice the money they had taken the first time so that they could pay it back to the man. (Have volunteers move from one part of the room to another with their bags that contain the pouches of money and their gifts for Joseph.)
  • When they got back to Egypt, Joseph saw them and saw his younger brother, Benjamin, who he loved very much.
  • Benjamin hadn’t been there when his other brothers sold him into slavery.
  • Joseph told his guards to take the men to a big feast at Joseph’s palace for lunch.
  • He told his servants to seat his brothers in the order of their age and told them who was the oldest and who was younger. (Ask two volunteers to play servants, and have them lead the brothers to sit at the table you set up. Have them seat the brothers in order of height. Have them act out the story as you tell it.)
  • His brothers were terrified when they saw they were going into the palace, and they thought they were going to be made into slaves because they didn’t pay for the grain on their last trip.
  • They told the servants that they found the money after they left and that they brought it back plus extra money to pay for the grain they bought this time.
  • But the lead servant told them that he remembered getting their money last time and that God must have put the money in their bags.
  • Then, the servant released Simeon from prison, and he joined them for dinner. (Have volunteer in prison come out and join the others at the table.)
  • When the brothers realized that they had been seated in the order of their age, they were amazed! How did the Egyptians know who was older and who was younger?
  • While the brothers waited for Joseph, they got their gifts ready for him. (Have them put their gifts on the table in front of them.)
  • When Joseph came, they gave him their gifts and bowed down low before him.
  • Joseph asked them about their father to see if he was still alive.
  • When he heard that his father was still living and saw his younger brother Joseph, he couldn’t keep in his emotions anymore and ran from the room to weep with joy.
  • Then he washed his face and returned and commanded the servants to bring food, and he told the servants to give five times as much to his brother Benjamin. (Have servants pretend to dish out food and give Benjamin a really large portion.)
  • Again, his brothers were amazed and confused by this strange treatment.
  • When his brothers were about to go home, Joseph called over one of his servants and told him to put all their money back in their bags and to put an expensive, silver cup in Benjamin’s bag of grain. (Have volunteers act this out.)
  • You see, Joseph was going to test his brothers to see if their hearts had changed over the years.
  • When they were caught “stealing” the cup, he was going to demand that Benjamin be taken back to be a slave.
  • Joseph wanted to see if his older brothers would let that happen, or if they would stand up for Benjamin.
  • If they just let Benjamin go to be a slave, Joseph was going to reveal his identity to his younger brother, and they were going to live together in Egypt.
  • But if the older brothers stood up for Benjamin, Joseph would tell them all the truth.
  • The brothers left early the next morning, but before they had gotten far, one of Joseph’s servants caught up with them and accused them of stealing the silver cup. (Have volunteers act the story out as you tell it.)
  • The brothers denied stealing the cup and said that they would all be Pharaoh’s slaves if one of them had stolen the cup.
  • Joseph’s servant told them that they could all go free except for the one who stole the cup, and he began searching their bags.
  • When he got to Benjamin’s bag, he found the silver cup, and all the brothers tore their clothes to show their grief!
  • They all followed the servant back to the city.
  • Joseph pretended to be furious with them, and they all bowed before him and said that they would all be his slaves – not just Benjamin.
  • Joseph said he only wanted the thief to be his slave, but Judah, one of his older brothers, stepped forward and begged to take Benjamin’s place as a slave. (Have one of the volunteers act this out.)
  • He said it would kill their father if he lost Benjamin.
  • They had passed Joseph’s test!
  • Joseph couldn’t hold in his emotions anymore!
  • He ordered all the Egyptians out of the room, and he began to weep so loudly that everyone in the palace could hear him.
  • When he could finally control himself, he said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?”
  • His brothers just stood and stared at him with their mouths open.
  • They couldn’t believe what they were hearing!
  • He let them come closer to look at him and see that he was telling the truth.
  • His brothers were shaking in fear and wondering how Joseph was going to punish them for selling him into slavery.
  • But Joseph told them that even though they tried to hurt him, God made good come out of the bad.
  • He told them that God had made it possible for Joseph to save many lives, and he told them that he forgave them all.
  • He kissed them each on the forehead and wept over them, and they began to believe that he really wasn’t angry with them.
  • Then, Joseph sent them all back home and told them to come back immediately with their father and everyone else in the family.
  • He told them that he would give them a special place in Egypt where they could live and where they would have plenty of food to eat.
  • And so, that’s exactly what the brothers did. (Thank your volunteers, and let them have a seat.)
  • One of the things that I really love about Joseph is that he was able to forgive his brothers.
  • That would be a hard thing to do if you had been sold as a slave, but Joseph could see how God was with him and protected him through all the difficult years.
  • Let me show you why it’s important to forgive those who hurt us.
  • OBJECT LESSON – Unforgiveness (Modify the script as needed to blend with this lesson.)
  • Remember our hearts filled with soil. (Bring out the heart filled with soil from the Good Seeds-Bad Seeds lesson.)
  • I don’t know if you can tell, but this heart has some weeds in it.
  • Those were planted by our enemy, Satan.
  • Remember that I told you that he loves to garden in your heart, but he plants weeds…not beautiful or fruitful things.
  • When people hurt us, weeds can grow from the wound in our hearts.
  • We have to pull those weeds out by forgiving those who hurt us, because if we don’t, the weeds will choke out the good things that God has planted in our hearts. (Pull the weeds out, and throw them away. Name the weeds as you pull them – “Hatred,” “Jealousy,” “Shame,” “Bitterness,” etc.)
  • You may forgive a person today and then get angry with him again tomorrow.
  • That’s normal.
  • Satan will keep planting his bad seeds over and over again in your heart, until you show him that you are determined not to let those bad feelings grow in there.
  • When Satan is convinced that you will pull out every week he plants in your heart, he will eventually give up.
  • OBJECT LESSON – Holding a Grudge (Modify the script as needed to blend with this lesson.)
  • (Have the kids say the Rhyme Time with you a few times. Have a Prayer Warrior pray for everyone. Then, dismiss everyone.)

 

Rhyme Time

Jesus helps me to forgive.

Holding a grudge is no way to live.

 

 

Friday – I Will Trust God to Bring Good Out of Bad

 

Time

50 minutes
Description

This lesson reviews the life of Joseph for lessons about how God uses even the bad things in our lives to bless us.

Scriptures

  • Genesis 45:26-28, 47:27-28, 49:29-50:21

Materials

  • OBJ LESSON – Life is But a Weaving – Slides
  • LCD projector and computer
  • Joseph & Jesus puzzle pieces
  • Cardboard to serve as a backing for the Joseph & Jesus puzzle pieces
  • Glue
  • OBJ LESSON – Jesus Unlocked the Door (and all it’s materials)
  • Bible

Preparation

  • Use glue to stick the corresponding Joseph and Jesus puzzles pieces on both sides of a piece of cardboard.
  • Place a popsicle stick in the cardboard on the sides that you will be connecting to other puzzle pieces. (You might want to put a little glue on the popsicle stick.)
  • Follow the Preparation steps in OBJ LESSON – Jesus Unlocked the Door.
  • Practice the script.

Procedure

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

  • You remember from yesterday that Joseph’s brothers were headed back to get their family and bring them to Egypt.
  • Jacob, their father, couldn’t believe that Joseph was alive at first, but his sons kept telling him, and he finally believed.
  • He was so overjoyed that he quickly packed everything and moved to Egypt, where he and Joseph had a joyful reunion.
  • Jacob lived in Egypt another 17 years before he died, and his family took him back to his home in Canaan to bury him.
  • After their father was buried, Joseph’s brothers were afraid of him again.
  • They thought that now that their father was gone, Joseph would get his revenge on them.
  • When Joseph heard about it, he broke down and cried.
  • He couldn’t believe that his brothers would still think he couldn’t forgive them.
  • He told them, “Don’t be afraid of me. You intended to harm me, but God turned it into good, and He allowed me to save many lives.”
  • After that, Joseph’s brothers trusted him, and they lived with him for the rest of their lives in Egypt.
  • Joseph had a pretty messy life, don’t you think?
  • He was hated by his brothers, thrown into a well, sold as a slave, accused of doing something he didn’t do and thrown into prison, and forgotten by the one who promised to try to get him out.
  • I’m sure there were many times when Joseph cried out to God and asked Him why? Why was God allowing these terrible things to happen to him.
  • I want to show you something. (Show slide of the back side of a tapestry.)
  • What does that look like to you? (Listen for responses.)
  • It looks like a mess, doesn’t it?
  • Would you believe me if I told you that this is a beautiful work of art? (Listen for responses.)
  • It doesn’t look like it does it?
  • It looks like maybe your little brother made it.
  • Well, this was a piece of art carried around by an incredible lady named Corrie Ten Boom.
  • Corrie was a Dutch person, who was living in her home country of Holland when the Nazi’s were killing as many Jewish people as they could find. (Joseph was a Jewish person, and so was his whole family, but they lived a long time before Corrie Ten Boom.)
  • When Corrie and her family heard that the Nazi’s were looking for Jews, they invited all their Jewish friends and even some that they didn’t know to come and hide in the walls of her house.
  • Eventually, the Nazi’s found out what they had been doing, and they took Corrie, her father and her sister to terrible concentration camps.
  • Her father and her sister died in those camps, and only Corrie lived long enough to get free.
  • She had a messy life like Joseph’s, and she would carry this artwork around and tell people that this is what her life looked like to her – a complete mess.
  • But she said she realized something one day.
  • She sees her life from underneath, but God is weaving it from above, and what He sees is very different. (Advance slide.)
  • What God saw was the Crown of Life that He was preparing for Corrie.
  • That’s much more beautiful, isn’t it. (Advance slide.)
  • If you look at both the top and bottom at the same time, can you see the shape of the crown on the messy side?   Yeah, me too!
  • She wrote a nice poem at the crown tapestry, and part of it says that the dark threads (the hard times in her life) are just as necessary as the gold and silver threads that look so beautiful.
  • But from here on earth, she couldn’t see how God was using those hard times to make something beautiful for her.
  • She wasn’t able to see the full beauty until she got to heaven, which was after her 91st
  • God is making you a crown, too, and He is going to use all the hard things that you have been through to make it beautiful for you.
  • When you get to heaven, He is going to give it to you as a special gift.
  • (Have the kids say the Rhyme Time with you a few times.)
  • You know, Joseph kinda reminds me of someone.
  • Let’s see if you can help me figure it out. (Use the Joseph and Jesus puzzle pieces to build the image of Joseph. Read the bold print on the Joseph side, and then read the bold print on the Jesus side, but don’t reveal that it’s about Jesus. Keep asking the kids if they know who you are talking about until they guess that it’s Jesus. Then, finish building the puzzle, and show them both sides.)
  • Okay, I have one more story to tell you.
  • OBJ LESSON – Jesus Unlocked the Door
  • (Have a Prayer Warrior pray for everyone. Then, dismiss everyone.)

 

Rhyme Time

If we trust Him and obey,

God makes bad things go our way.

 

 

 

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Filed under Joseph, Vacation Bible School, VBS

Source of My Identity (LESSON)


image-identity-in-christTime

30 minutes
Description

This lesson explores many of the things in which people base their identity and sense of self-worth, e.g., wealth, power, fame, etc. It encourages participants to consider the danger of living life in this way and the value of basing our identities solely in Christ.

Scriptures (choose from the following)

  • Genesis 1:27 (We are created in God’s image.)
  • John 1:12 (We are children of God.)
  • Romans 8:14-17 (We are children and heirs of God.)
  • 1 Corinthians 12:27 (We are the Body of Christ.)
  • 2 Corinthians 5:17 (We are a new creation.)
  • Galatians 3:26-28 (We are one in Christ Jesus.)
  • Galatians 4:6-7 (We are children and heirs of God.)
  • Ephesians 2:10 (We are God’s masterpiece.)
  • Philippians 3:20 (We are citizens of heaven.)
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:5 (We are children of the light and of the day.)
  • 1 Peter 2:9 (We are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession.)
  • 1 John 3:1 (We are children of God.)
  • 1 John 4:15 (W live in Christ, and He lives in us.)

Materials

  • Bible
  • Notecards – 20-25
  • Slips of paper with the Scriptures you want to use (one set of verses per slip of paper)

Preparation

  • Write out the following words or phrases, each on an individual note card. Depending on your group size, you may want to use fewer cards or make up more of your own.
    • # of Likes on Social Media
    • # of People They Know
    • # of Social Media Friends or Followers
    • Ability to Avoid Sin / Goodness
    • Accomplishments
    • Education
    • Experiences
    • Fame, Notoriety, Reputation
    • Hours Spent at Church
    • Misfortunes / Suffering
    • Money
    • People of Status That They Know
    • Personality (ex. Extravert or Introvert)
    • Position or Status
    • Preferences (ex. Dog Person or Cat Person)
    • Social Class
    • Sports Teams
    • Talents / Skills
    • Volunteer Work / Good Deeds
    • Where They Grew Up
    • Where They Went to School
  • Shuffle the notecards, and keep them in a stack for passing out, or place them facedown on a table.
  • Write the Scriptures you want to use on slips of paper (one set of verses per slip).
  • Pass out the slips of paper to different participants before you begin, and ask them to be ready to read them out loud.

Procedure

  • “If someone asked you who you are, you would probably describe yourself by telling them something about your experience, or what you do for a living or where you grew up or went to school.”
  • “I would do the same. It’s the way that we help other people get to know something about us.”
  • “But some people get confused and think that their identity is actually based in those things that they use to describe themselves.”
  • “They organize their lives around those things, and their sense of self-worth is totally tied up in them.”
  • “Let’s do an icebreaker to illustrate what I mean.”
  • “I’m going to pass out a notecard to each one of you.” (Alternatively, you could pass it out to pairs or trios, and they can role-play together. If you put the cards on a table, let participants come and select one.)
  • “Read your card, but don’t show it to anyone.”
  • “I’m going to pick the first person, and I want you to come up front and act out the things a person might say if they were the type of person who based their whole identity on what’s on your card.”
  • “The rest of us are going to try to guess what your card says.”
  • “Once someone guesses, you get to pick the next person (or group) to go.”
  • “Does anyone have any questions?” (Answer Questions. Then choose the first person to come role-play what’s on their card. Afterward, debrief with the following questions.)

Debrief

  • “What do you think the dangers are of basing our identity in these things?”
  • “Where should we base our identity? Why?” (Have volunteers read the Scriptures you gave them before you started, and discuss the implications of each one.)

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The One Anothers of Scripture (INFOGRAPHIC)


One Anothers of ScriptureHere’s a visual that shows all the “one anothers” that I was able to find in the Scriptures, e.g, “love one another,” “forgive one another” and so on.  The size of each of the keywords to the left of the Scriptures indicates the relative number of times it appears in the Bible.

You can find the slide to download on the Lesson and Material Downloads page.  It is listed alphabetically as “One Anothers of Scripture, The (INFOGRAPHIC).”

You can use this resource in a variety of ways:

  • Assign a few “one another” topics to individual or groups, and have them read the associated Scriptures.  Have them share about the context in which each “one another” was given.
  • Have a discussion about the large number of “one anothers” in the New Testament.  Why are there so many? What are the implications for us as Christians?  How well are we doing?
  • Use the list of “one anothers” as a self-assessment.  In which areas are you (or your participants) doing well? In which areas could you improve?
  • Compare the number of times each of the “one anothers” appears in Scripture.  What messages should we take away from this?  How should this affect our behaviors?
  • Ask participants to group the “one anothers” into major themes.  What do they learn from this exercise?

 

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Spiritual Practice Cards (JOB AID)


I created this job aid for a spiritual retreat I have coming up.  It’s a list of 40 spiritual disciplines or practices arranged on cards and organized by the type of spiritual practice each one is.  The information on the cards in compiled from a large number of sources, but I’m particularly indebted to the work of Adele Calhoun, Dallas Willard, Richard Foster, and John Ortberg.

You can download the full card deck on the Lesson and Materials Download page under the name “Spiritual Practice Cards (JOB AID)“, but here is one card that shows what they look like and how to use them.

Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 1.38.43 PM

Ideas About How To Use the Cards

  • Give a deck of all 40 cards to participants, and ask them to find three practices that they are interested in learning more about.  Have them read the Scriptures and other information on the card and then share what was most interesting for them.
  • Have small groups share a favorite practice and a new practice that they would like to try and tell why.
  • Ask participants to come up with ways they could combine two or more of the practices together, and have them share what impact they think combining them will have on their experience.
  • Provide self-directed time during a retreat or workshop, and encourage participants to experiment with new practices.  (Some practices, like Labyrinth Prayer, will require additional resources.  Others, like Rule for Life, will require you to share a few examples, which are easy to find on the internet.)  Have participants come back from the self-directed time and share about their experience.
  • Ask participants to choose a practice that requires  or benefits from partnering with another person, and have them try it together.
  • Have participants share about a favorite practice and how they do it differently from any of the methods listed on the card.

If you think of other creative ways to use the cards, please leave me a comment.  I would love to learn from your experience.

 

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Filed under habits, spiritual disciplines, Spiritual Growth, Uncategorized

I’ve Got This! (DRAMA)


HUMOR - Don't Worry - I've Got ThisTime

5 minutes
Description

This quick drama illustrates our need to invite God into our work.

Materials

  • None

Preparation

·      Practice the skit, and memorize the lines.

Procedure

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

[SCENE: God is sitting patiently as John comes to work at the beginning of the day. God stands, brightens and smiles when He sees John, but John doesn’t notice God. God sighs and sits back down.]

 

JOHN:          [Stretching, popping knuckles, getting ready for a day of work] “Whew! Tough day ahead! Lots of things to do. Let’s see….[pointing at imaginary things around the room] I’ve got to move this heavy thing and push on that unmovable boulder. Then, I’ve got to deal with this prickly cactus of a problem, and finally, I’ve got to diffuse this ticking time bomb. [sarcastically] It’s going to be a great day!”

GOD:            “Good morning, John. Do you need any help with all that work?”

JOHN:          [Looks back over his shoulder and notices God for the first time] “Oh, hi God. Thanks for the offer, but I’ve got this!”

GOD:            [shrugs] “Okay, have it your way.” [watches with mild amusement and curiosity as John tries to lift the first object. In the middle of John’s efforts, comes closer and squats down to get a better look.]

JOHN:          [goes to the imaginary heavy object and tries to lift it. Grunts and strains. Tries different positions. Huffs, puffs and sweats but fails to lift it. Finally gives up in disgust.] “Well, that’s not ready to move. I’ll come back to it later.”

GOD:            “You’re sure you don’t need any help?”

JOHN:          [waving God off] “No, no…I’ve got this.” [moves to the unmovable boulder, walks around it and plans how he will move it]

GOD:            [looking at the boulder and then at John] “That looks tough.”

JOHN:          [still looking at the boulder] “Yeah, I’ve been pushing on this boulder for months, and it hasn’t moved even a little.” [with new determination] “But, today’s the day!” [gets ready to push] 

GOD:            [looking concerned] “Uh, John…are you sure that’s the direction you want to push that?”

JOHN:          “Pretty sure! I’ve tried everything else, so this has to work.”

GOD:            [talking to Himself] “Hmmm….I don’t remember you asking me what to do with it.”

JOHN:          [pushing and pushing on the boulder] “This…….time……you……are…..going……to…..move!” [gives it one last kick! Waits a few seconds in anticipation, then cheers as the boulder begins to roll down a hill.] “Ha! Yes! I finally did it!” [realizes in horror that the boulder is about to roll right through a crowd of people] Oh no! Oooooh no! Watch out, everyone! Move out of the way! Run! Run for your lives!”

[Both John and God cringe and cover their eyes as the boulder crashes into the crowd and creates a huge mess.]

GOD:            [uncovering His eyes] “That didn’t go very well, did it?”

JOHN:          [ashamed and uncovering his own eyes to see the damage] “No. What a disaster!” [then, with a look of hope] “Hey! Could you clean that up for me? Please! I promise not to do it again!”

GOD:            “Well, there are going to be some pretty significant consequences, but I’ll get you through them. Just remember to ask for my help before you make a mess next time, okay?”

JOHN:          [moving to the next challenge – the prickly cactus of a problem] “Yeah, sure God. You bet!” [looks at the cactus from multiple angles, trying to figure out how to move it] “Now for this prickly cactus of a problem.” [reaches in, and pricks his finger on a cactus spine] “Ouch! That hurt!”

GOD:            “Hey, John. Are you sure you want to handle this on your own?”

JOHN:          [sucking on finger] “It’s okay. I’ve got this. I know just the way to deal with things like this.” [pretends to put a blanket around the cactus] “I’ll just cover up the prickly parts, and then I’ll be able to move it.” 

GOD:            [looking doubtful]

JOHN:          [takes a few deep breaths, then bear hugs the cactus and moves it to the other side of the room, yelping all the way.] “Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! Ow! Ouch! [whines like a puppy]

GOD:            [watches him go, shaking His head]

JOHN:          [returns, gingerly removing spines from his arms, legs, chest and face. Grimaces and expresses pain as he pulls out each spine.]

GOD:            “How did that go?” 

JOHN:          “Not so great, really. That’s going to hurt for awhile.” 

GOD:            “Yeah, I think so. Remember, I’m here if you need me.” 

JOHN:          “Thanks, God. I appreciate it.” [turning to the last problem – the ticking time bomb] “Now for this ticking time bomb just waiting to explode!” [looks thoughtfully at the bomb, trying to figure out what to do with it.]

GOD:            Uh, John?

JOHN:          [lost in concentration]

GOD:            [more urgently] John?

JOHN:          [oblivious to God’s question]

GOD:            [shouting and startling John out of his concentration on the bomb] JOHN!

JOHN:          [startled] “Yes, God?”

GOD:            [stepping between John and the bomb and moving John to the side] “Why don’t you let me handle this one so that you don’t hurt yourself?”

JOHN:          “But I can do it! I’ve got this!”

GOD:            “John, stop and think about what has happened so far today. How is doing everything on your own working for you?” 

JOHN:          [sighing and dropping his head] “Not so great, I guess.” 

GOD:            “Right. Not so great. John, you don’t have to do the work alone. I’m right here, and I want to help.”

JOHN:          “But I feel like it’s my responsibility and that I should be able to handle it.”

GOD:            “John, if I want something done, I can get it done myself. I don’t actually need you in order to get the work done.” 

JOHN:          [looking wounded] “Ouch!”

GOD:            [putting His hand on John’s shoulder] “Listen to me. I don’t need you to do the work, but I want you to do it…with me. I enjoy our time working together. The problem is that you keep forgetting to invite me.”

JOHN:          “It’s just that I’ve been doing this for years, and I feel I should be better at it by now. I want to do big things for you, and I want you to be proud of me.”

GOD:            “John, I am proud of you! I delight in you! But I didn’t create you for the work; I created you for relationship. I just save some of the work for you so that we have something to do together.” 

JOHN:          “Does that mean you will still love me even if I don’t get the work done or if I make a mess of it?”

GOD:            “Exactly! I’m not depending on you for the results. I’ll take care of those myself. I just want you to show up each day ready to help.”

JOHN:          [visibly relieved, as if a heavy weight has been lifted off his shoulders] “Oh, wow, that’s a relief! I’ve been so afraid that you were going to be disappointed in me if I couldn’t do it all.” 

GOD:            [putting His arm around John’s shoulder and giving him a squeeze/side hug] “Relax, I’ve got this!”

[Both exit]

[END SCENE]

 

Debrief Questions

  1. What is your reaction to what you saw in the skit?
  2. In what ways do you relate to John?
  3. What is God saying to you through what you’ve seen and heard?
  4. What will you do differently as a result?

 

 

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Pride and Fear (DEVOTION)


 

Screen Shot 2016-02-20 at 3.58.17 PMThis is the throne of your heart. The person that sits on the throne of your heart is the one who directs your life.

 

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2016-02-20 at 3.58.35 PM

 

Of course, Jesus wants to be that person, but He allows you to choose each day and even each moment who will sit on the throne of your heart. I’m not talking about your salvation. I’m talking about who is Lord over your life. I’m talking about who you give authority to in your life each moment and each day.

 

 

Screen Shot 2016-02-20 at 3.58.47 PMBecause even after you’ve asked Jesus into your heart, He still has competition for the throne from your EGO.  EGO is a term coined by Sigmund Freud for the part of your mind that coordinates communication between your conscious and subconscious, but it has come to mean “your self-importance.”  It’s the need to feel that your SELF is important.

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2016-02-20 at 3.59.11 PM

Another way you can think of EGO is E-G-O, and it stands for Edging God Out, because that is exactly what your self-importance does. EGO Edges God Out so that it can take the throne. Your EGO wants to make YOU the king of your life instead of Jesus. This is a TERRIBLE idea, because pushing Jesus off the throne of our hearts kills our desire to please God. When EGO sits on the throne, we are motivated by Pride and Fear.

 

 

Screen Shot 2016-02-20 at 3.59.41 PMLet me take you to the chalkboard and show you what I mean.

The Bible talks a lot about Pride and Fear, but let’s just look at two Scriptures as examples.  Romans 12:3 tells us that we should not think of ourselves more highly than we ought, and Proverbs 29:25 tells us that the fear of man is a snare.  Both Pride and Fear are a trap, and we have to be careful to avoid them.

When our EGO sits on the throne of our heart, our heart is pulled by two powerful desires. The desire to Promote Ourself – Pride…and the desire to Protect Ourself – Fear.  This is because EGO thinks SELF is so important that it should be both Promoted and Protected.

Screen Shot 2016-02-20 at 4.19.27 PM

When we Promote ourselves (Pride), we exhibit certain behaviors.

  • Boasting
  • Taking all the credit
  • Showing off
  • Doing all the talking
  • Demanding all the attention

We do these things to Promote SELF…to get people to think highly of us.

 

Screen Shot 2016-02-20 at 3.59.57 PMWhen we Protect SELF (Fear), we exhibit different behaviors.

  • Hoarding control
  • Hiding behind position
  • Withholding information
  • Intimidating others
  • Discouraging honest feedback

Why do we do these things?

Because EGO thinks SELF is important and needs to be protected from all threats. We are all motivated by these two things much of the time.

But here is why we need to invite Jesus back onto the throne.

Screen Shot 2016-02-20 at 4.00.11 PMPride and Fear separate us from God and from others. They isolate us.

They trick us into constantly comparing ourselves with others.  “Do I look, sound, and smell better than him or her?” “Is he going to pass me up for the next promotion?”

They distort the truth. I think I deserve the recognition (even though I only did a little piece of the work). I think he’s attacking me and that I have to save face (even though his motive might be to gently correct me).

 

Screen Shot 2016-02-20 at 4.00.22 PM

The antidote to Promoting SELF (Pride) is Humility.

And the antidote to Protecting SELF (Fear) is Faith.

But it’s not possible for you to practice true Humility and Faith without Jesus.

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2016-02-20 at 4.00.34 PM

We’ve got to put Him back on the throne of our hearts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, let me give you a few steps to redeem your EGO and put it in proper relationshipScreen Shot 2016-02-20 at 4.01.01 PM to Christ.

Instead of Edging God Out, your SELF can Exalt God Only.  Here’s how.

  1. When you become aware that you are Promoting or Protecting Self, acknowledge what is happening in your mind. Ex. “This is pride.” or “This is fear.”
  2. Ask Jesus to retake the throne of your heart.
  3. Pause and pray that God will show you the source of the pride or fear.
  4. When you recognize a source, keep asking “why?” to find the root.
    1. For example, I get an email from my boss, and I feel fear. Why?
    2. I am afraid my boss is unhappy with the work I turned in. Why?
    3. I am afraid that it won’t be good enough. Why?
    4. If he says it isn’t good enough, it feels like he is saying that I’m not good enough. Why?
    5. I’m afraid of being rejected because of that time I was rejected in a very painful way by someone I cared about.  (You may not get this deep the first time you work through this process, but the Holy Spirit will be faithful to reveal to you the source of your false narrative (story) if you continue to ask Him where your fear or pride is coming from. He will help you to recognize the bad stories you subconsciously tell yourself whenever your SELF is threatened.)
  5. When you find the root, ask God to replace it with His truth.
  6. Then, ask God to help you practice Humility or Faith in this current situation.
  7. Instead of reacting in pride or fear, choose to respond with humility and/or faith.

Keeping EGO off the throne of your heart is difficult, and it takes practice.  Don’t get discouraged.  You will get better and better as you continue to invite Jesus to the throne.

 

NOTE: This devotion is an adaptation of the work of Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges in their book Lead Like Jesus.  It helps us understand how important it is to keep Jesus on the throne of our heart so that we can avoid being controlled by pride and fear.  You can find the slide deck and a self-assessment on the Lesson and Material Downloads page.  (Click the link or see the tab at the top of the screen.)  Then, scroll down to “Pride and Fear” in the alphabetical list.

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