Monthly Archives: October 2008

Man and the Moon


Time

20-25 minutes

Description

This object lesson makes an analogy between Jesus and the sun and Christians and the moon. It helps kids to learn what why Jesus didn’t take us straight to heaven as soon as we became Christians.

Materials

  • Several white shirts for kids to slip on (large undershirts are easy to get on an off over their other clothing).
  • Black light

Preparation

· Plug in the black light near your teaching area.

· Have shirts ready.

· Practice the script.

Procedure

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

  • “For this activity, I’m going to need four volunteers (or five or six…the number is not important).” (Select volunteers, and have them slip on the white shirts. Ask another volunteer to be in charge of turning off the lights when you ask.)
  • “I have a friend (Author’s note: I’m referring to me – you and I are friends, right?) whose son has a shirt that says, ‘Be the moon,’ on the front. On the back, it says, ‘Reflect the Son.’”
  • “It’s a great picture of our role within the world.”
  • “The moon, we know, sends out no light of its own.”
  • “These volunteers are going to represent the moon. Do any of you have any light of your own that you can show us?” (Take responses.)
  • “Right, because you are representing the moon, and the moon is really just a big, dead, gray rock…or maybe green cheese…but it doesn’t have the ability to send out light.”
  • “However, on clear nights, the moon can sometimes be so bright that you can see clearly by the light it reflects. How does that happen?” (Take responses.)
  • “Exactly! It reflects the light of the sun.”
  • “This black light is going to represent the sun for us.”
  • “When the sun sets… (have volunteer turn out the lights, and then turn on the black light. Try to put the light where the bulb cannot be seen by the audience. You just want them to see the reflection of the light on the white shirts.) …the moon rises, and it reflects the light of the sun.”
  • “’But how does that happen?’, you might ask. The sun is gone. Does anyone know how it works?” (Take responses, and add your own explanation if necessary.)
  • “Right, even when the people in the world can’t see the sun, the moon can (so to speak). The moon is just far enough away from the world that it always has a clear view of the sun.”
  • “Even when our part of the world has turned away from the sun, the moon stays where the light of the sun can still shine directly on it. That way, it can reflect the light back to the world.” (Have volunteer turn on lights, and turn off the black light.)
  • “When the sun comes back on a fresh, new morning, the moon is still there, but we don’t need its light anymore, because the light of the sun is far better than just a reflection of the light of the sun.”
  • “Our role as believers in Jesus is just like the moon’s role in the night sky.”
  • “You see, the Son (S-O-N….Jesus) has gone back to heaven, and the world can’t see Him.”
  • “But He left us here on earth to reflect His light.”
  • “That’s why God didn’t take you straight to heaven when you became a Christian.
  • “It would have been better for you to be in heaven, but God wanted you to stay here and reflect His light to those who can’t see Him.”
  • “We Christians have no light of our own, but it’s our job to shine light into dark places.” (Have volunteer read Matthew 5:14-16.)
  • “This world is like a house with all the lights shut off. You are like a lamp that shines light to everyone around you.” (Have volunteer turn off lights, and turn the black light back on.)
  • “Now, we live in bodies that are dead with sin, just like the moon is a big, dead rock.”
  • “If I turn off this light… (turn off black light) …they don’t shine any light to the rest of us.”
  • “But if they stay where they can see the light… (turn on black light) …then they will reflect the light to everyone else.”
  • “Our bodies are dead with sin, but our spirits are alive in Christ. It’s our spirit that is able to reflect the light of Jesus.”
  • “The people in the world don’t always know where the light is coming from, but it at least makes them curious.”
  • “They may not ask us about our light for a long time, so you might think they haven’t noticed it.”
  • “But I promise you, if you’ve done a good job of reflecting the light of Jesus, there is a time when they will come to you to find out where your light is coming from. Does anyone know when that time is?” (Take responses, and elaborate if necessary.)
  • “Sure, when the lights go out in their life….when something difficult happens to them like a fight with a good friend or failing a class at school or getting in big trouble with their parents…. Those are the times when things are darkest in their lives.”
  • “And when it’s dark, people naturally want to go toward the light. If they have seen your light before, they will come to you.”
  • “That is God giving you an opportunity to share what you know about Jesus.” (Have volunteer turn on lights, and turn off black light.)
  • “What we have to careful about is that we don’t allow the world to get between us and the Son of God.”
  • “Does anyone know what happens when the world gets between the sun and the moon?” (Take responses, and add your explanation if necessary.)
  • “Right, it causes an eclipse. An eclipse can happen when the world blocks the light from the sun so that it can’t reach the moon. Then the moon can’t shine the sun’s light.”
  • “This can happen to Christians, too. Watch this!” (Ask for several volunteers to come stand in between you and the volunteers representing the moon. Then have your volunteer turn off the lights, and turn on the black light.)
  • “These volunteers represent ‘the world,’ which is a name the Bible gives to sinfulness.”
  • “So, really, these volunteers represent sin in our lives.”
  • “When we are sinning, the light of the Son of God cannot reflect off of us.”
  • “A little sin blocks some of the light.” (Move volunteers around so that just one or two are standing in front of the ‘moon’ volunteers.)
  • “A lot of sin in our lives can block the light out completely. (Move volunteers around so that they completely block the ‘moon’ volunteers. Call up more volunteers if you need to.)
  • “Jesus is always shining His light, but it is only going to reflect off of us when we don’t allow ‘the world’ (sin) to get between Him and us.” (Have volunteer turn lights back on, turn off the black light and excuse volunteers to return to their seats.)
  • “One last analogy. If we understand where the moon gets its light, then we know that the moon serves as a reminder.”
  • “When the sun goes away at night, the moon reminds us that the sun is only gone for a little while before it returns.”
  • “Isn’t that really what we are supposed to be about as Christians?”
  • “The Church didn’t exist until Jesus rose again after His death and resurrection.”
  • “He created it, because He was going away, and He left us here to remind the world that He is coming back.”
  • “And He is coming back! The Bible says so. And on that day…” (Have volunteer read Revelation 22:4-5.)

They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 22:4-5)

  • “I can’t wait for that day, but until then, Genesis 1:16 says, “God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day (that’s Jesus) and the lesser light to govern the night (that’s us).”
  • “How do you think we are doing with our part of the job?” (Take responses, comment and then end the lesson.)

A Few More Scriptures That Might Be Helpful

  • “Once for all, I have sworn by my holiness— and I will not lie to David – that his line will continue forever and his throne endure before me like the sun; it will be established forever like the moon, the faithful witness in the sky.” Selah (Psalm 89:35-37)
  • “The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.” (Isaiah 60:19)
  • “The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.” (Romans 13:12)
  • “You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.” (1 Thessalonians 5:5)

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Filed under Christianity, Evangelism, Great Commandment, Great Commission, Intercession, Object Lesson, Relationships, Witness

Mind Pollution


Time

15-20 minutes

Description

This object lesson teaches about how important it is to protect our mind from negative influences. It uses a simple visual aid of water and food coloring.

Materials

  • Display table
  • Red, green or blue food coloring
  • Large, clear (see-through) container
  • Two or three pitchers
  • Enough water to fill each of the pitchers and half the large container
  • (Optional) Bottle of bleach

Preparation

· Test the experiment to make sure you know how it works. (Note: if you use too much food coloring, it will be difficult to dilute. A drop at a time is best.)

· Set up the large, clear container (half-full with water) on a display table.

· Have the pitchers and food coloring nearby.

· Practice the script.

Procedure

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

· “Your mind is an incredible creation of God.”

· “It has over 100 billion neurons that send electrical pulses back and forth to each other. These are your thoughts, and you are capable of having more thoughts than the number of known atoms in the entire universe!” (Source: Tony Buzan, Head Strong 2001)

· “Your brain is incredible!”

· “And did you know, that your brain is approximately 75% water?”

· “That’s why I’m going to use this container of water to represent your brain in this lesson.”

· “We will say that this container represents your precious, incredible brain.”

· “The water inside it represents your thoughts.”

· “I have some pitchers of clean water here, and they are going to represent good things that you can put into your brain.”

· “Can anyone help me think of some good things that you can put into your brain?” (Take responses. If the kids need help, try to steer them toward things like Scripture, positive thoughts, encouragement/praise, positive music, learning, worship, thinking about God…)

· “Great, that’s exactly what I’m talking about!”

· “I also have some food coloring up here, and it represents some bad things you can put into your brain.”

· “Who can help me think of some bad things that we could put into our brains?” (Take responses. If the kids need help, try to steer them toward things like profanity, gossip, lies, music with bad lyrics, the Lord’s name used in vain, mean thoughts, self-defeating or limiting talk, hurtful talk, movies or TV with bad scenes, bad pictures, jokes with inappropriate themes…)

· “Exactly! We’ve got to watch out for that kind of stuff!”

· “For this demonstration, I’m going to need a volunteer. Who would like to come help me?” (Select volunteer.)

· “Okay, notice how clear this water is. It’s like our minds the way that God first created them – pure and beautiful.”

· “Let’s say that we are really careful, and we only allow good things into our brain.” (Have volunteer pour some water into container from one of the pitchers.)

· “See what happened? We got more brain!”

· “Okay, it doesn’t work exactly like that, but let’s say that this is like gaining wisdom.”

· “When we add good things, like Scripture, positive thoughts, encouragement/praise… we grow in wisdom and knowledge, and our mind stays clear and clean.”

· “But what if we aren’t so careful, and we allow in some jokes that are hurtful to other people.” (Have volunteer squirt a drop of food coloring into the water in the container. Then pause to allow the children to see the effect. Just one drop of food coloring will spread and spread throughout the water until it has tinted the whole thing.)

· “Wow! Did you see that? Just that one little drop of bad stuff changed the whole color of the water.”

· “And what if we still aren’t so careful, and we allow in some inappropriate pictures (have volunteer add drop) …and profanity (add drop) ….and music with negative lyrics (add drop) …and some negative self-talk about what a loser we are or how stupid we are at math (add drop).”

· “Look what happens then. Our minds are getting darker and darker.”

· “What should we do about that?” (Listen to responses. When someone suggests to add more good things, continue.)

· “Right! Exactly! We need to add more good stuff – more Scripture and positive thoughts and godly advice from our parents…Romans 12:2 says that we should stop doing what the rest of the world does and start being transformed by renewing our minds. That’s the same thing as adding in the good stuff.” (Have volunteer pour in more water.)

· “But do you see the problem I’m seeing?” (Listen for responses.)

· “The water (our minds) are not going back to clear again. We are diluting the bad stuff, but it’s taking a lot more water than it did food coloring to improve our mind here.”

· “That’s the way sin works. Both Jesus and the Apostle Paul warned that, ‘a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.’ (Matthew 13:33 and 1 Corinthians 5:6)

· “Yeast is an image of sin in the Bible, so Jesus and Paul are saying that a little sin will spread until it ruins everything.”

· “So, as soon as we realize the damage we are doing to our minds, we’ve got to stop adding yeast / sin.”

· “Then, we’ve got to add lots and lots of good stuff by going to church, hanging out with godly friends, listening to our parents, changing the music we listen to, changing the movies we watch, reading the Bible every day, memorizing Scripture, studying about God…” (As you are mentioning these things, have the volunteer pour more water into the container with each suggestion. Try to fill the container until it’s full – unless you plan to continue with the bleach part of the lesson.)

· “Good habits are going to be the best way to dilute the bad stuff that you already have in your minds.”

· “And it’s not going to be easy. You’re going to have to work at it every day.”

· “And when you allow bad stuff in, it’s going to take much longer to dilute it than it did to let it in there.”

· “It’s like when I eat too much food. It might take me an hour of exercise to burn the amount of calories I ate even though it only took me five minutes to eat it.”

· “Because our minds are so awesome, I don’t believe the bad stuff ever goes away.”

· “I think our brains have the ability to hold onto everything we’ve ever put in there (even though sometimes it’s hard to remember where you left your stuff).”

· “If you put lots of bad stuff in your mind, that’s the bad news. The good news is, that your mind will never be too full of good stuff, so you can keep on adding it in!” (Thank your volunteer, and allow him/her to return to his/her seat.)

Optional Section – Adding Bleach

· “Now, there is one more thing that you can do that we haven’t talked about.”

· “You can give all that bad stuff you put into your mind to God in prayer.”

· “This bleach represents our prayers to God. (By the way, kids, bleach is a powerful and dangerous chemical. You should never handle it unless you have an adult there with you.)”

· “I don’t think the bad stuff we’ve put in our minds ever goes away, but we can turn it over to God in prayer, and He will use it for good.” (Pour bleach into the tinted water. It might take quite a bit of bleach (and you may need to stir it), but it will eventually take the tint out of the water. The result will be a yellowish liquid – not perfect, but no longer tinted with the original colors.)

· “Romans 8:28 tells us that God will use ALL things for the good of those who love Him.”

· “That means that He will even take the bad stuff we’ve done or let into our brains and use it for His glory and His Kingdom.” (Give a personal example.)

· “But, hey! That’s not an excuse to put the bad stuff in there! Your best strategy is to keep the bad stuff out in the first place!”

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Filed under Brain, Christianity, Mind, Object Lesson, Scripture memory, spiritual disciplines

Heavenly Bodies (OBJ LESSON)


Time

20-30 minutes

Description

This object lesson teaches about our new, resurrection bodies by using a simple science experiment. You will demonstrate how ultraviolet rays change the color of UV-sensitive beads and how medicine bottles block UV rays. The beads will represent our spirit, and the bottles will represent our earthly bodies (which keep our spirit from showing its full potential).

Materials

  • Color Changing UV Beads (available from www.stevespanglerscience.com for about $7 per 250 beads) – you will want enough so that each child can have at least 8-10 beads.
  • Prescription medicine bottles (the translucent, brown type) – enough so that each child can have one. It’s best if the bottles have lids that aren’t child-proof, since the kids will be opening and closing them on their own. However, if you can only get bottles with child-proof lids, you can still use them if you help the kids open their bottles when it comes time.

Preparation

· Order Color Changing UV Beads

· Obtain prescription medicine bottles. (If you are using bottles that have previously contained medicine, be sure to sterilize them to get rid of all medicine residue. Some pharmacies will be willing to give you unused bottles if you tell them what you are using them for.)

· Put at least 8-10 beads in each of the bottles, and then close the lids.

· Keep one bottle for demonstration, and put the rest to the side. You’ll probably want to wait until the end of the lesson to pass them out, because they can become a noisy distraction if you pass them out too soon.

· Practice the script.

Procedure

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

· “How many of you know that you will get a new body in heaven?” (Demonstrate that you are looking for a show of hands.)

· “Well, you will! Let’s look at the Scripture that tells us about it.” (Have volunteer read 1 Corinthians 15:42-44.)

· “This Scripture is a little hard to understand, so let me help with it.”

· “The Apostle Paul is talking about our bodies by comparing them to seeds.”

· “He says earlier that the bodies we have now will die one day, but they will be replaced with new bodies.”

· “Someone will bury our old bodies, but our new bodies will rise to be with Jesus in heaven.”

· “This is like when you plant a seed in the ground. The seed is dead, but when you bury it, it comes back to life and grows into a plant of some sort.”

· “And Paul is saying that what grows out of the seed is very different from the seed itself, just like your new, heavenly bodies will be very different from your current earthly bodies.”

· “Your earthly body is ‘perishable,’ which means that it can die. But your new body will be ‘imperishable,’ which means that it cannot die.”

· “Your earthly body is ‘sown in dishonor,’ which means that it was sinful up to the time it will be buried in the ground. But your new body will be ‘raised in glory,’ which means that it will have no sin in it at all.”

· “Your earthly body is ‘sown in weakness,’ which means that even when you try to do good things, you sometimes do bad things. You aren’t strong enough to always do good things. But your new body will be ‘raised in power,’ which means that your spirit and your body will both be free of sin so that you are able to always do good things.”

· “Finally, Paul says that your earthly body is ‘sown a natural body,’ which means that it has to obey the physical laws of the natural world. But your heavenly body will be ‘raised a spiritual body,’ which means that it will be free of the limitations of the natural world. I think it means that we will be able to walk through walls and fly and stuff like that, because Jesus was able to do those things when He came back from the dead.”

· “Still, it’s hard to understand exactly what your new body will be like in heaven.”

· “We have a hard time imagining a body free from sickness, that never gets old and that can do incredible things, but let me give you this word picture – maybe it will help.” (Show a prescription medicine bottle with UV color-changing beads inside.)

· “This medicine bottle represents your body.”

· “Inside the medicine bottle are some white beads, and those represent your spirit.” (Open the bottle, and pour out a few beads to show the class. Then return them to the bottle, and close the top.)

· “Your spirit is different from your earthly body, but it has to stay inside it for now.”

· “Unfortunately, your earthly body is sick with sin. It has been since before you were born, because that’s how all people since Adam and Eve have been.”

· “Your spirit doesn’t like being trapped inside your body, because the Bible says that your body and your spirit are in constant conflict with each other.” (Have volunteer read Galatians 5:17.)

· “Your body wants things that your spirit doesn’t want, and your spirit wants things that your body doesn’t want.”

· “Now, these beads that I have in this bottle are not normal beads. They are color-changing beads that turn different colors when the ultraviolet rays (UV rays) of the sun shine on them.”

· “What’s sad is that they can’t change colors while they are trapped inside these bottles, because medicine bottles are made of a special material that blocks the UV rays of the sun from getting into the bottle.”

· “The beads inside the medicine bottle are like your spirit inside your earthly body.”

· “They want to get free so that they can be beautiful, but they are trapped inside the medicine bottle.”

· “Your spirit wants to get free, but it’s trapped inside your earthly body.”

· “But here’s the good news. If you have asked Jesus to come into your heart, there will come a day when your spirit will be free of your body.”

· “It might be on the day that you die and go to be with Jesus in heaven, or it might be the day that Jesus comes back to rule over the earth, but one day, your spirit will be free.”

· “Jesus is going to give your spirit a new body that isn’t sick with sin.”

· “In your new, sinless body, your spirit will be exposed to the unfiltered Son-light of Jesus Christ, and something incredible will happen.”

· “Your new spirit-body won’t fight against itself anymore, and it will show its true potential.” (Go to a window or outside, and take the beads out of demonstration bottle to show the kids how they change colors in the sun. It will take just a few seconds for them to react – even on a cloudy day.)

· “I can’t tell you exactly how incredible your new body will be, because some of it is still a mystery that God wants to surprise us with later.”

· “But your new spirit-body is going to be something special, just like these beads.”

· “And believe me, the change will be even more dramatic than what you see here!” (Pass out bottles with beads in them to each child, and let them play with them to see the difference between being in the bottle and being out of the bottle.)

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Filed under Christianity, Eternity, Hands-on, Heaven, Object Lesson, Rapture, Resurrection

Potiphar Says


Time

10 minutes

Description

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

Materials

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

Preparation

· (Optional) Dress up as Potiphar.

· Practice the script.

Procedure

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

· “Everyone stand up.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gumball Magnets



Time

10 minutes


Description

This object lesson teaches about how appearances can be deceiving when it comes to salvation. Just because we go to church and hang out with Christians doesn’t mean we are necessarily going to be saved, and it’s what is inside us that makes the difference.

Materials

· Bag of Magnetic Marbles from www.stevespanglerscience.com (about $4)

· Box of multi-colored gumballs

· Magnet (just about any kind will do)

· Clear container in which to mix gumballs and magnets

· Display table

Preparation

· Pour both the Magnetic Marbles and the gumballs into the clear container and mix them thoroughly. (If you look closely, it’s possible to see differences in them, but they are not noticeable from a distance.)

· Position the container on the display table where it can be seen by everyone.

· Practice the script.

Procedure

· “I have here a bucket of gumballs.”

· “What you may not be able to tell is that not all of them are regular gumballs.”

· “In fact, some of them are very, very special. They’re magnetic!”

· “I wonder how I could figure out which ones were magnetic….” (Pause to allow the kids to make recommendations.)

· “Oh, yeah! I could put a magnet down inside and see what it pulled out! Perfect!”

· “I’m going to need a volunteer, though.” (Select volunteer from the audience.)

· “Okay, I just happen to have this magnet with me.”

· “Take this, and put it down in the gumballs to see which ones it attracts.” (Allow volunteer to search through gumballs with the magnet. The magnetic marbles should come out easily.)

· “Isn’t that interesting? The magnetic gumballs look a lot like the normal gumballs.”

· “But we know they can’t be the same because they act differently from the others.”

· “They’ve got something different on the inside that the real gumballs don’t have – a magnet. And that magnet is attracted to this magnet.” (Thank volunteer and let him/her return to his/her seats. Put magnetic gumballs back into the container, and mix them in.)

· “You know what else is interesting? We’re a lot like those gumballs.”

· “If you are a Christian, you have something inside of you that is attracted to God, and that something is also God.”

· “Christians have Jesus in their hearts, and He changes their heart so that it is attracted to God.”

· “Once you have Jesus in your heart, you want to get closer and closer to God.”

· “But just looking at all of you, I can’t tell which of you are Christians and which of you are not.”

· “You come to church, but that doesn’t make you a Christian.”

· “You own a Bible, but that doesn’t make you a Christian.”

· “You look like pretty nice people, but that doesn’t make you a Christian.”

· “There is only one thing that makes you a Christian. Can anyone tell me what that is?” (Listen for responses.)

· “Right. You have to believe and accept that Jesus died for your sins. That makes Him your Savior.”

· “So, it’s possible for us to look the same on the outside but be very different inside – just like these gumballs.”

· “But God is like this magnet. He knows who trusts in Him and who doesn’t, and there’s coming a day when He will call all His people to join Him in heaven.” (Put magnet back into gumballs and pull out the magnetic marbles.)

· “Even though we may look the same, God knows which of us are His children and which aren’t, because He can see our hearts.” (Have someone read 1 Samuel 16:7.)

· “Only those who believe in Jesus will be called, so make sure you tell Him you want to be one of His gumballs!”

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Filed under Authenticity, Christianity, Eternity, Hands-on, heart, Object Lesson, Rapture, Resurrection, salvation

Jigsaw Body


Time

20 minutes

Description

This object lesson teaches about how the Body of Christ is connected and emphasizes how God uses our imperfect parts and our struggles to join us to others. It uses the metaphor of a jigsaw puzzle.

Materials

  • Computer, LCD Projector and screen
  • PowerPoint presentation, “Jigsaw Body (PowerPoint).” See “Lesson and Material Downloads Page” at https://teachthem.wordpress.com/

Preparation

· Set up projector and screen.

· Practice the script.

Procedure

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

· “The Body of Christ is a giant jumble of all kinds of different people. Black people, white people, yellow people, tan people…. fat people, skinny people, funny people, serious people, musical people, logical people, poor people, rich people…”

· “And then there are the many different traditions and styles of worship and ways of teaching and ways of expressing our gifts. What are some of the ways you have seen people worship God?” (Listen to responses, and be careful not to discount the different expressions of worship. They might not be familiar to us, but that doesn’t always mean that they aren’t valid.)

· “How many of you know that God loves variety?” (Model that you are looking for a show of hands, then show the first slide.)

· “Here’s a collage of pictures of people worshipping and honoring God in many different ways. I think He enjoys all of these different ways, because having us all worship in just one way would be pretty boring.” (Show first slide.)

· “But you know, besides the fact that all Christians call Jesus Christ Lord and Savior, there is at least one other thing that we all have in common: we all have struggles.”

· “No Christian, no matter how spiritual they are or how long they have been a Christian, is ever completely free from struggles.”

· “We can’t graduate from the ‘school of hard knocks.’ They keep coming all throughout our lives.”

· “Even Saint Paul, who wrote two-thirds of the New Testament, told us about having what he called a ‘thorn in the flesh.’ We don’t know exactly what it was. Some think it was a problem with his eyes; others think it was some type of temptation.”

· “But whatever it was, God wouldn’t take it away even though Paul prayed and asked Him to three different times.”

· “Why do you think God lets us struggle sometimes?” (Listen for responses. Then add the following.)

· “Those are good responses. In addition to what you’ve said, I can think of three good reasons God leaves us with our struggles.

o They keep us in communication with Him. While we are struggling, we pray more and with more intensity. If it weren’t for our difficult times, God might never hear from some of us!

o They are a greenhouse for spiritual growth. Do you know what a greenhouse is? (Listen for responses, and add if necessary: a greenhouse is a house made of glass or plastic that lets sunlight in and keeps it in to help plants grow better in a warm, tropical environment.) When we submit our difficult areas to God, we learn spiritual lessons that we couldn’t learn if everything was easy.

o They connect us to each other. When we have needs, we reach out to others for help. Some of us wait until we are really hurting before we swallow our pride and admit that we can’t do it alone, and that might be the whole point of why God allows our suffering to continue so long.”

· “I think the Body of Christ is really like a giant jigsaw puzzle.” (Show next slide.)

· “Each of us has jagged parts and unfinished parts that God is still working on to make us look more like Him.”

· “All of us have places in which we need to receive from others and places where we can give where others are in need.”

· “None of us is perfect, and that’s by God’s design. God has a purpose for our imperfection.”

· “Perfect people would be like puzzle pieces with smooth edges.” (Show next slide.)

· “They wouldn’t need anyone else, and they would have no reason to want to help their brothers and sisters in Christ (since none of us would have any needs, either).”

· “Everyone would live independent lives without any needs.”

· “There would be nothing to force them to reach out to their neighbor or to the Church.”

· “Over time, the Church would stop looking like an interdependent, connected Body of Christ.”

· “Rather than being jointed together like a jigsaw puzzle, we would just be jumbled – overlapping but not connecting.” (Show next slide.)

· “What do you notice is harder to see in this picture?” (Listen for “the cross.”)

· “Right! When we don’t join together as the Body of Christ, it’s hard to see Christ in us.”

· “Our jagged edges and lack of ability to do everything for ourselves force us to get help from one another.”

· “Our struggles and our needs are God’s way of forcing us to reach out and to receive from others. They bond the Body together.”

· “I think we should give God praise for every struggle we have and everything that isn’t perfect about us.”

· “God left us with those struggles and those imperfections, because they fit perfectly with someone else that God has brought or will bring into our lives – like your parents or your friends or your teacher or someone else that you might not have even thought about yet.”

· “Also, we should be careful not to limit these connections to just members of the Body of Christ.”

· “God has a plan to draw more and more people to Him, and He wants those that He brings to us to have some place to connect with us.”

· “Our struggles and our pains and our imperfect parts are the places where He connects us with them.” (Show final slide.)

· “Putting our “perfect” sides out for the world to see creates pressure for us to live a ‘perfect lives,’ but nobody is perfect except for Jesus.”

· “Trying to look like we are perfect is just a lie to make us feel good about ourselves, and when people find out about our jagged edges, they realize that we are just pretending to be perfect.”

· “Smooth edges don’t make people want to be Christians. They push them away.”

· “They make people who aren’t Christians think that they have to clean up their lives and become perfect before becoming a Christian.”

· “So, if we want to win the world to Christ, we’ve got to stop polishing our edges and let the world see us as we really are.”

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God Loves Variety


Time

20-25 minutes

Description

This object lesson teaches about how God created us all differently. It uses a little bit of water science to illustrate the different music God put in each of us.

Materials

  • Ten identical glasses or jars
  • Red, blue, and yellow food coloring (optional)
  • Fork, spoon or something else you can tap the glasses with to get a musical note
  • Water for the jars
  • Scotch tape or masking tape
  • Sharp marker
  • Note card
  • Table for the display

Preparation

· Fill eight glasses/jars each with a different amount of water, and set them up on a table at the front of the teaching area. Space them evenly apart with enough room to tap their sides in-between them.

· Fill the last two glasses with the exact same amount of water, and set them aside for later use in the lesson. Do not color the water in these two.

· Test the sound of each jar by lightly tapping it on the side or rim with the fork, spoon or other implement. Each glass/jar should make a distinct sound like the different notes on a scale.

· Use the food coloring to make the water in each jar a different color. You can arrange them in the colors of the rainbow – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet – but you will need one extra shade of color for the eighth glass. (Optional)

· Number the glasses/jars by putting a piece a tape on each one and writing the number on the tape. The fullest glass/jar is #1, and the least full glass/jar is #8. The number goes on the teaching side of the glasses so that the child will be able to see it to play the music.

· On the note card, write the sequence of numbers for playing the songs (see final page of this document).

· Practice the script and using the glasses/jars to get just the right notes.

Procedure

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

  • “For this activity, I’m going to need a volunteer.” (Take volunteer from the group.)
  • (To volunteer…) “Look at the table, and tell me what you see.” (Listen to response, and comment.)
  • “What do you notice is different about all these glasses/jars?” (Listen to response, and comment.)
  • “So, they have differently colored water in different amounts, right?”
  • “I think they may have another difference, too. Take this fork (or spoon, or whatever), and lightly tap the side of a few of the glasses/jars.” (Allow child to tap two or three glasses/jars.)
  • “Did you hear that? They made different sounds!”
  • “Does anyone know why that happens?” (Listen for responses, and comment. You may need to offer a fuller explanation…)
  • “Tapping the glasses/jars makes them vibrate, and the vibration produces a sound. The water slows down the vibrations, so the more water, the slower the vibrations will be. A slow vibration gives us a low note, and a fast vibration gives us a high note.” (If you are using jars with a small opening, you can also demonstrate that if you blow across the top of them, they will produce sounds, as well. However, the effect will reverse. The jars with the least amount of water will give you the lowest notes, and the jars with the most water will give you the highest notes. That’s because you are vibrating the air this time and not water or the jars.)
  • “Let’s see if we can play a song with them.” (Lay out the notecard for the song(s) you selected in front of the child, and help him or her to play the song(s).)
  • “That’s fantastic! Can we get a round of applause for our virtuoso musician?” (Lead applause.)
  • “Now, what do you think would happen if al the glasses/jars had the same amount of water in them?” (Take responses from group. Then bring out the two extra glasses/jars that have the same amount of water in them.)
  • “I think you’re right – they would all make just one note. Let’s test it.” (Have volunteer test the theory by tapping on the two new glasses/jars.)
  • “How fun is that? Could you play any songs if all the glasses/jars played the same notes?” (Take responses.)
  • “Nope, you couldn’t play any songs. Wouldn’t it be boring if all your music only had one note?” (Imitate what this would sound like by pretending to sing a song with only one note in it.)
  • “Isn’t it much better to have multiple notes to play?”
  • “Well, I think that is how God feels, too, and that’s why he made all of us so different from each other.”
  • “All of us are like different musical notes: we sound differently, we act differently, we look differently from one another, we like different things, we worship God differently, we pray differently, we have different talents and abilities…the list goes on forever!”
  • “And you know what? It’s OKAY! In fact, it’s glorious! It’s God’s plan!”
  • “One of the things I know about God is that He loves variety. I know that because of how different all of us are and how different all the plants and tress are and how different all the animals are…”
  • “God loves variety. He made you different from everyone else, and He enjoys you that way.”
  • “One of the traps we get into is wishing we were like someone else. ‘I wish I were handsome like him or pretty like her or rich like them or popular like those people…’”
  • “And then we look at ourselves and think, ‘I’m not as good as those other people.’”
  • “But let me tell you, that’s nonsense. The things that are different about you give God glory, because they show how creative He is.”
  • “So, even the stuff you may not like about yourself could be part of God’s purpose and plan in your life. It could just be His creativity at work.”
  • “Instead of not liking that part of you, you should ask God to help you see it the way He sees it. Then one day you will recognize how cool a thing it is!”
  • “You uniqueness is like your own special musical note that no one else can play.”
  • “So, anyone want to hear another song?” (Allow volunteer to play one to two more songs and then return to his/her seat.)


Notes for Songs

Mary Had a Little Lamb

321 2333 222 355

321 2333 322 321

Jingle Bells


333 333 35123

444 4433 332232 5

333 333 35123

444 4433 355 321

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star

11 55 66 5 44 33 22 1

55 44 33 2 55 44 33 2

11 55 66 5 44 33 22 1

This Old Man

535 535 6543234

345 111 12345

522 4321

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Filed under Christianity, diversity, Hands-on, individuality, Object Lesson, self-image