Monthly Archives: October 2008

Big Rocks


Time

15-20 minutes

Description

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

Materials

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

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

Preparation

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

o Making Lots of Money

o Being Famous

o Having Popular Friends

o Dating the Coolest Guy/Girl

o Having the Best Tools / Video Games

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

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

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

o Love

o Joy

o Peace

o Patience

o Kindness

o Goodness

o Faithfulness

o Gentleness

o Self-Control

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

· Practice the script.

Procedure

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

o Making Lots of Money

o Being Famous

o Having Popular Friends

o Dating the Coolest Guy/Girl

o Having the Best Tools / Video Games

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

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

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

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

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

Spiritual Cadence


Time

20 minutes

Description

This object lesson is a fun way to reinforce some truths about Jesus, the Bible and the Gospel message. It’s a cadence much like the ones military groups might use during exercise. You can use it when outdoors with the kids or in a classroom setting.

Materials

None are necessary, but you might want to post the rhymes so that the kids can remember them more easily. In that case, you might need a flipchart and markers or PowerPoints and an LCD projector. Since you will be calling these out, it’s helpful to have the cadences written on note cards for your own use.

Preparation

· Make slides of the rhymes or prepare flipcharts

· Prepare note cards if you plan to use them.

· Practice the script.

Procedure

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

  • “We’re going to do a fun review activity today that will help us remember some important things about Jesus, the Bible and the Gospel.”
  • “It’s a cadence. Does anyone know what that is?” (Take responses)
  • “A cadence is a rhythmic pattern of sounds or words. It helps establish a beat, like in music, and it’s good for helping groups of people to do something physical all at the same time. Military groups often use cadences to help them march or exercise in unison.”
  • “Here’s the way a cadence might sounds when they do it in the military: (Try to find the rhythm as you call these out. Your speed should match the speed of a group of soldiers marching. Typically, the leader will draw out the last word. So, instead of “told!” on this first rhyme, it would sound more like, “tooooold!”)

I don’t know, but I’ve been told!

(Children repeat)

The sun shines bright, but I’m still cold!

(Children repeat)

I don’t know, but it’s been said!

(Children repeat)

We might all freeze ‘fore we get to bed!

(Children repeat)

(Instructor) Sound off! (Children ) One – two.

(Instructor) Sound off! (Children ) Three – four.

(Instructor) Sound off! (Both) One – two – three – four….THREE! FOUR!”

  • “So, since these are usually done with some type of physical activity, we are going to get up do some marching while I teach you this cadence.” (Have children stand up and either march in place or follow you as you march around the room.)
  • “We will follow the same pattern as the military cadence, but we are going to use rhymes that give God glory. Try repeating after me:

I surely know, and I have heard!

(Children repeat)

The Bible is God’s Holy Word!

(Children repeat)

I surely know, and I believe it’s true!

(Children repeat)

Jesus gave His life for you!

(Children repeat)

(Instructor) Sound off! (Children ) One – two.

(Instructor) Sound off! (Children ) Three – four.

(Instructor) Sound off! (Both) One – two – three – four….THREE! FOUR!”

· “Excellent work, soldiers! Let’s try some more!” (Use any or all of the following cadences, or make up some of your own. To really get the kids involved, you might ask them to come back the next teaching time with some new cadences of their own.)


Gospel Cadence

I surely know and can say in one breath!

The wages of our sin is death!

I surely know, yes, I’m on track!

We owed too much to pay it back!

I surely know, and it’s time to tell!

All our souls were bound for Hell!

I surely know, please understand!

God loves us; He had a plan!

I surely know, and for what it’s worth

Jesus was born of virgin birth!

I surely know for us to win!

Jesus lived here without sin!

I surely know, and I hope you see!

Jesus hung up on a tree!

I surely know, and I’ve heard account!

Jesus paid the whole amount!

I surely know, and I’ve heard it said!

Jesus Christ rose from the dead!

I surely know, and I can say!

Jesus is the only Way!”

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Filed under Adoration, Christianity, Gospel, Hands-on, Object Lesson, Praise

Don’t Break the Chain


Time

15-20 minutes

Description

This object lesson teaches that unforgiveness can hinder our prayers for forgivenss.

Materials

  • One “Energy Ball” from www.stevespanglerscience.com. (This ball sends a small electric current through your body when you touch a metal strip on the side. (You cannot feel the current.) The current will pass through as many people as you link together (through holding hands). As long as everyone is touching in the chain, the ball will light up with the last person touches the metal strip with you.)

Preparation

· Purchase the “Energy Ball” (under $10). Allow a few weeks for shipping and delivery.

· Practice the script.

Procedure

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

  • “How many of you know how important it is to forgive other people when they do something that upsets you?” (Look for a show of hands.)
  • “When we won’t forgive someone, it separates us. Let me show you what I mean.” (Ask for a volunteer to come up.)
  • (Child’s name) and I are good friends. We are very close.” (Give child a side hug.)
  • “But if I get upset with (child’s name) because of something he/she does, it separates us.” (Gently push child about an arm’s length away.)
  • “As long as I’m mad at (child’s name), we are no longer in fellowship.”
  • “But when I forgive (child’s name), it brings us back together. (Give child a side hug.)
  • “Now, God says in the Bible that if we are angry with someone and won’t forgive them, He won’t forgive us of our sins.”
  • “How many of you knew that already?” (Look for a show of hands.)
  • “Well, I didn’t know it for a long time. Let’s look at the Scripture that says this.” (Ask a volunteer to read Mark 11:25-26.)
  • “Jesus is saying that if we are upset with someone, we shouldn’t even bother praying for forgiveness for our own sins until we have forgiven that person.”
  • “What He is not saying is that if we don’t forgive someone we can’t go to heaven.”
  • “The only thing you have to do to go to heaven is believe that Jesus died for your sins and accept the gift of his sacrifice on the cross.”
  • “But what He is saying is that your relationship with God will suffer until you forgive that person you are upset with.” (Ask for a second volunteer to come up. Put this volunteer on the opposite side of you.)
  • “It works like this. When I’m close to (first volunteer’s name), then it’s possible for me to be close to God. (Give both children a side hug at the same time.)
  • “But when I won’t forgive (first volunteer’s name), then it’s not possible for me to be close to God.” (Gently push both volunteers about an arm’s length away from you.)
  • “God wants us to forgive others just like He has already forgiven us for all our sins. In other parts of the Bible, He points out that the person who is forgiven of much should also forgive others of much.”
  • “Let me show you another way. Let’s say this ball (show Energy Ball) will tell us if God will or will not answer our prayers for forgiveness.”
  • “If it lights up, God will answer our prayers. If it doesn’t, He won’t.” (Have child put finger on one sensor, and you put finger on other sensor. Then, join hands in a circle with volunteer representing God.  The ball should light up.)
  • “Good! I don’t have anything against (first volunteer’s name), so God will answer my prayers.”
  • “But if I’m upset that (first volunteer’s name) took the last piece of dessert at lunch (separate from both children and touch one sensor while the first volunteer touches the other sensor), God won’t answer our prayers until I forgive (first volunteer’s name).” (Join hands in a circle again while touching sensors, and ball should light up.)
  • “Cool, huh? Let’s see what happens when we add people.” (Get a few more volunteers and have them form a circle and each hold hands with the person next to them.)
  • “So, now what we are creating is the Body of Christ, which is made up of all the people who trust Jesus as their Savior.”
  • “When we love each other and forgive each other for things that upset us, God is pleased and answers our prayers.” (Have the original volunteer stand at the beginning of the circle and touch a sensor while the last person in the circle touches the other one— the ball should light up.)
  • “But if one of these people is mad at this other one because he jumped on top of him in the swimming pool…” (point to two children as you say this, and separate their hands as you do so – they should not be touching in any way. — The light will go out),
  • “…God won’t answer their prayers until this one forgives this one.” (Have them join hands again, and the ball should light up.)
  • “Now, let’s see what happens if we add everyone else to the circle!” (Allow all the other children to join the circle. They should hold hands like the others, and the first and last people in the circle should touch the contact points on the ball.)
  • “Hey! God must be answering our prayers!” (Let individuals in the circle break the chain and then reestablish it to see what happens to the ball.)HHey
  • “Jesus said that people will know we are His followers if we love one another.” (John 13:35)
  • “Loving one another makes us look so different from those who don’t know Jesus that they will want to know why we are so different, and that gives you a chance to tell them about Jesus.”
  • “You can’t love someone in the same way God loves us (unconditionally) if you are resentful of them, so let’s keep practicing forgiveness so that we can show the world what a forgiving God we have!” (Let other children be the ones to touch the contact points on the ball and experiment with it.)

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Filed under Agape Love, Christianity, forgiveness, Hands-on, Obedience, Object Lesson, prayer, Relationships, unconditional love

Cord of Three Strands


Time

10-15 minutes

Description

This object lesson teaches the old maxim that there is safety in numbers. Ecclesiastes 4:12 says that “A cord of three strands is not easily broken.” This lesson will demonstrate that.

Materials

  • A skein of yarn
  • Scissors
  • Several pairs of gloves
  • Whiteboard or flipchart and markers

Preparation

· Write Ecclesiastes 4:12 on whiteboard or flipchart (see below).

· Cut the yarn into 13 lengths of approximately five feet.

· Keep one length unbraided.

· Braid three strands into one length.

· Do this three more times so that you now have four lengths of braided yarn.

· Braid three of the braided strands together so that you now have nine strands of yarn in this one length.

· You should now have:

o A single strand of yarn.

o Three strands of yarn braided into one length.

o Nine strands of yarn braided into one length.

· Practice the script.

Procedure

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

  • “One of the most common and most successful strategies that Satan uses against us is called ‘Divide and Conquer.’”
  • “Does anyone know what that means?” (Take responses, but if they don’t know for sure, continue with script.)
  • “Divide and Conquer is Satan’s strategy to separate you and me from other Christians in our lives.”
  • “He knows that if he can get you alone, you are no match for him.”
  • “I’m not saying that Satan is all-powerful. He’s not. But he has had thousands of years to practice tempting us, and we are not all that difficult to figure out.”
  • “All by yourself, you are no match against Satan in a spiritual battle. Let me demonstrate.” (Ask your two biggest / strongest children (or even adults) to come up front. Give them each a pair of gloves to put on.)
  • “Okay, let’s say that these two guys are Satan’s henchmen. And let’s say that this strand of yarn (use single strand) is you.” (Give one end of the yarn to each of the “henchmen,” and ask them to wrap it around their hand to get a secure hold.)
  • “In a spiritual battle, these guys are going to do everything they can to break you.” (Have the “henchmen” pull on the yarn until they break it. Make sure that the room is clear of anything that could harm them if the yarn breaks and they fall backward.)
  • “Oh! Look at that! That’s not good! They broke you!”
  • “But you’ve got a defense. The Bible says that:” (Put on board or flipchart.)

“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:12)

· “In a spiritual battle, two are better than one, and three are better than two.”

· “You shouldn’t try to go it alone. You need Christian friends and Christian family members who can help you.”

· “How can Christian friends and family help you in your Christian walk?” (Take responses. Some ideas might be: encouragement when you are struggling, advice when you don’t know what to do, a positive example, sharing your burdens…)

· “Those are great reasons not to be a cord of one strand!”

· “ So let’s try this again with three strands braided together.” (Give the “henchmen” the three-strand braided yarn, and ask them to pull on it as hard as they can. Again, make sure that they won’t fall into anything if the yarn breaks. Depending on the size of your “henchmen,” it’s likely that they will not be able to break the three strands.)

· (If they break it…) “Hmmm. They were able to break the three strands, but it was much harder, wasn’t it? ‘A cord of three strands is not quickly broken,’ but sometimes even it needs more…” (Pull out the nine strands of yarn.)

· (If they don’t break it…) “Hmmm. They weren’t able to break it this time. It looks like “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Now, what if you had even more strands…” (Pull out the nine strands of yarn.)

· “What if instead of two friends or family members, you had eight friends or family to help you resist Satan’s temptations or to encourage you in the spiritual battle? Do you think you would be strong then?” (Take responses.)

· “You bet you would! But let’s check just to make sure.” (Give the “henchmen” the nine-strand braided yarn, and ask them to pull on it as hard as they can. For effect, call up more volunteers to help. They shouldn’t be able to break it.)

· “That’s impressive, isn’t it? So what do you think you need to do after seeing this demonstration?” (Take responses, and listen for things like: build relationships, go to church, make Christian friends, share my struggles with my Christian friends and family, help others who are struggling…)

· “Fantastic! Let’s strengthen your strands right now! Find two other people, and practice memorizing this verse together.” (Allow them to practice and then recite for the group.)

“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:12)

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Filed under Christianity, Coping skills, Hands-on, Object Lesson, Satan's tactics, Scripture memory, Spiritual Warfare

Names of God Bingo


Time

30 minutes

Description

This game reinforces learning about the names of God through repetition and a fun activity.

Materials

  • Copies of the six different bingo cards (See the “Names of God Bingo Cards” on the “Lesson and Material Downloads” page.) Each card has all the same names of God, but they have different placements. You can choose whether or not you reveal this information to the children.
  • Something to act as blotters. You can use coins, torn pieces of paper, poker chips… You will need enough for all the children to use.
  • One copy of the Names of God Call-Out Sheet” (at the end of this lesson plan).
  • Scissors
  • Bowl
  • Optional – Prizes for getting bingos.
  • Optional – Copies of “Names of God Chart” for each child. (See “Lesson and Material Downloads” page

Preparation

· Print the “Names of God Call-Out Sheet” at the end of this lesson plan, and cut it into strips.

· Place the strips in a bowl, and mix them up.

· Practice the script.

· Print copies of the six different bingo cards.

· Distribute them randomly to the children so that each child has one.

Procedure

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

  • “We’re going to play a game to help us remember the different names of God from the Bible.”
  • “Each of you has received a “Names of God” bingo sheet. On it, you will see some of the names of God from the Bible and what they mean. These aren’t all the names of God, but it’s a good list to start with.”
  • “I’m going to draw names from this bowl and call them out loud.”
  • “You have also received some blotters that you can use to mark the names of God that I call out loud.”
  • “Whenever I call out a name of God, search your bingo sheet to see if you have it. If you do, put a blotter on top of that name.”
  • “If you get five boxes in a row, in a column or in a diagonal marked, you have a bingo!”
  • “The center space is marked, ‘Grace Space.” This one is free; you can put a blotter on it now. It’s to remind you of God’s grace to us. Grace is something that you get but didn’t earn.”
  • “When you get a bingo, jump up and yell, “BINGO!” and I’ll come by to check what you have marked.”
  • “Does anyone have any questions about how to play?” (Answer questions.)
  • “Okay, let’s play!” (Draw a name of God from the bowl, and announce it twice slowly. Be sure to read off both the name of God and its meaning each time. Then draw the next name. Continue this process until someone calls, “BINGO!”)
  • (For a variation, you can play Blackout. In this version, all boxes must be covered in order to win.)


Names of God Call-Out Sheet

Abba

(Father)

Jehovah-Sabaoth

(The Lord of Hosts)

Jehovah-Tsidkenu

(The Lord Our Righteous-ness)

El Chuwl

(The God Who Gave You Birth)

Yahweh-Shammah

(The Lord is Present)

Adonay

(Lord, Master)

Christ

(The Annointed One)

Yahweh

(The Self-Existent One)

Jehovah-Hoseenu

(The Lord Our Maker)

Ancient of Days

Jehovah-Nissi

(The Lord My Banner)

Elohim

(The Creator)

Alpha and Omega

(First and Last)

El Deah

(God of Knowledge)

Jehovah-Rohi

(The Lord Our Shepherd)

El Roi

(The God Who Sees)

Jehovah-Shalom

(The Lord is Peace)

Jehovah-Jireh

(The Lord Will Provide)

El Elyon

(The God Most High)

El Shaddai

(God Almighty)

Jehovah-Rapha

(The Lord That Heals)

Jehovah-Elohim

(The Eternal Creator)

El Olam

(The Everlasting God)

Yahweh-Bore

(The Lord Creator)

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Filed under Adoration, Christianity, Game, Games that Teach, Hands-on, Praise, prayer, spiritual disciplines, Thanksgiving

Resurrection Plants



Time

15 minutes (actual teaching time – more time should be allotted for the plants to change.)


Description

This object lesson helps participants understand that Jesus rose from the dead after three days. It takes at least an hour for the plants to show signs of life, so you will want to conduct this object lesson at the beginning of class. If you are teaching a multi-day program, you can do PART 1 on the first day and PART 2 on the second.

Materials

· Several Resurrection Plants (a.k.a. The Rose of Jericho). They can be ordered online or through a local nursery.

· A shallow dish or bowl for each plant.

· A little water for each dish or bowl.

· Ziplock bags (optional)

Preparation

Put a little water into the bottom of each bowl.

Practice the script.

Procedure

PART 1

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

· “I’m going to need a few volunteers.” (Select one volunteer per Resurrection Plant.)

· “I would like each of you to take one of these.” (Hand out plants to each child.)

· “What do you think that is?”

· “Would you agree that it looks pretty dead?”

· “Yeah, it looks dead to me, too, but I know something about these plants. They are very special.”

· “In front of each of you, there is a plate/bowl with a little water in it. I would like for each of you to put your plant in that water.”

· “We are going to leave those there for a little bit and see what happens.” (Allow volunteers to return to their seats and continue with other parts of your lesson. The plants will need at least an hour to show a difference.)

PART 2

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

· “Let’s take another look at those plants.” (Ask your volunteers to rejoin you up at the front.)

· “Take a look at your plant. What do you think?” (Have them hold up their plants so that everyone can see them.)

· “Isn’t that amazing! Didn’t they look dead before?”

· “We call them Resurrection Plants, because ‘resurrection’ means to ‘come back to life.’”

· “That’s just what Jesus did. He died and was buried, but three days later, He came back to life! These plants are a good reminder that Jesus is risen!”

· “God puts many things in nature to remind us of Him and of His truths. The resurrection plants are an example of that. Can you think of any other examples from nature that teach us about God or His truth?” (The children might have all types of ideas, but here are a few to help if they can’t think of any:

o At night, the sun goes away, but the moon continues to reflect its light (Jesus is like the sun, and we are like the moon.)

o Sheep follow their shepherd just like Jesus wants us to follow Him.

o Dogs know how to show unconditional love. Even if you forget to feed them one day, they forgive you right away.)

· “Can anyone think of anything that dies and comes back to life?” (Take responses. If they struggle, you can remind them that seeds from fruits and plants have to die and be buried in order to grow into the trees and plants that they one day become.)

· “So God has left all these things for us as reminders of what His Son did.”

· (Allow volunteers to return to their seats. You can let them put the plants in ziplock bags and take them home, or you can let they dry out so that you can use them again later.)

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

Mr. Bobby’s Sacrifice


Time

20-25 minutes

Description

This object lesson teaches about the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross and helps children to recognize that He did it for all of us – even those of us who choose not to accept His gift. (It’s called “Mr. Bobby’s Sacrifice in honor of the big man with a bigger heart who always volunteers for this strenuous activity.)

This activity works best with a larger group of kids. However, if you have a small group, try having each child make several trips up to put their rocks in the bucket. Only on the last trip can they get the incentive.

Materials

  • Two buckets with strong handles
  • A place where children can pick up at least two rocks each
  • Some type of incentive for the children (I’ve used individually wrapped packages of fruit snacks and candy before.) If you can get something that most of the kids will like but that a few will not, you will have more success with the activity. (In this case, be sure to have another incentive hidden that these children can choose at the end of the activity.)
  • Two signs that say, “SIN.”
  • Tape

Preparation

· Find a strong volunteer, and explain the object lesson to him.

· Put your incentives in a place where they will be easily seen by the children and where they have easy access to them.

· Put tape of your “SIN” signs, and lay them close to the teaching area

· Ask the children to each grab at least two rocks for a special activity in class. They can grab more than two rocks if they want, but they must have at least two. Rocks can be the size of a small egg or larger.

· Practice the script.

Procedure

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

· “Hey, everyone! Did each of you grab at least two rocks before you came in here?” (Have the children hold them up so that you can see them.)

· “Fantastic! Hey, I’ve got great news! Mr. (supply the name of your volunteer) wants to buy everyone some (supply the name of your incentive)!”

· “How many of you want some (incentive)?”

· “Okay, Mr. (volunteer) is going to earn those for you by showing us how strong he is.”

· “Everyone who wants (incentive) has to line up with your rocks right here.”

· “When I tell you to, you will trade your rocks for the (incentive) by putting at least one in each of Mr. (volunteer’s) buckets.”

· “He will earn the incentive for you by carrying your rocks.”

· “Isn’t Mr. (volunteer) great!” (Encourage enthusiastic responses.)

· (Have Mr. (volunteer) stand at the front of the room with a bucket in each hand. As well as he is able, he should stretch his arms wide like Jesus on the cross. It’s important for the kids to be able to tell that this is challenging and painful to the volunteer. Have the children line up with their rocks.)

· (Ask the first child.) “Do you want a (incentive)? Okay, then divide all your rocks between the two buckets.”

· (After the child puts his/her rocks into the two buckets, allow him/her to get the incentive and then return to his/her seat. Keep working your way through the children, occasionally pointing out your volunteer’s straining or facial expressions.)

· (If a child says, “no” to the incentive, he or she should lay his or her rocks down on the floor and return to his/her seat. Your volunteer should then set down the buckets, pick up the rocks and divide them between the two buckets. Then, he should resume his former position. This typically doesn’t happen until later in the object lesson, and it usually requires some prodding to get the first child to lay down his/her rocks.)

· “Did you notice that he still picked up the rocks? You see, Mr. (volunteer) already agreed to pay for everyone. Even if you don’t want your (incentive), he will still pay for it for you.”

· (Continue having children put their rocks in and take their incentives. If you get three-fourths of the way through the children without one of them laying down his or her rocks, you will need to do some prodding using the following script.)

o “Wow! Mr. (volunteer) is really sweating! It looks like a real struggle holding up those buckets?”

o “How do you feel about that?”

o “Mr. (volunteer), how are you feeling?” (Have him be honest about the pain and struggle.)

o “If it’s that difficult, why are you doing it?” (Have him share about his love for the children.)

o (Back to the children) “Is it okay with you that he is having to work so hard for you to you’re your (incentive)?”

o “Do you think it is fair that he is having to go through so much pain?”

o “Are you sure, you want to put your rocks into his buckets”

· (After all have made (or not made) the trade, allow your volunteer to put the buckets down.)

· “Kids we did this activity to give you a picture of how much Jesus loves you. Just like Mr. (volunteer) loves you enough to pay for your (incentive), Jesus loves you enough to pay for you to join Him in heaven.”

· “The rocks you brought today represent your sin, the bad things you’ve done.” (Label both buckets with the “Sin” signs.)

· “You may have noticed that some of you brought small “sins,” and some of you brought big “sins.” Some of you brought just two “sins,” and some of you brought several handfuls!”

· “When we go before God, some of us will just have a few sins compared to the others. And our sins might not seem that bad compared to theirs, but to God, sin is sin – no matter how small and no matter how few.”

· “The Bible says that the payment, the punishment for sin is death. It’s what we owe to pay for our sins.” (Romans 6:23)

· “Unfortunately, none of us can pay for our sins. We owe too much.”

· “The only One who could pay was someone who didn’t owe anything of his own.”

· “And the only Person who has ever lived and not sinned is Jesus. He’s the only One who could pay what we owed for our sin.”

· “Just like Mr. (volunteer) spread his arms to pay for your (incentive), Jesus spread His arms on the cross to pay for your sins and mine.”

· “But do you remember that not everyone wanted their (incentive), but Mr. (volunteer) paid for them anyway?”

· “You see, Jesus paid for everyone’s sins – even those of us who don’t want to believe in Him.”

· “And isn’t that a shame? To leave something that is already paid for on the table?”

· “Shouldn’t we enjoy it if Jesus went to so much trouble to get it for us?”

· “Jesus paid for it! He didn’t just die for a few. He died for ALL of us!”

· “But Jesus loves us so much that He won’t force us to take what He bought for us. He still lets us choose.”

· “You have to want it and accept it, but you don’t have to do anything to earn it.”

· “If you want what Jesus has bought for you on the cross… if you want life with Him forever in heaven, all you have to do is tell him in your prayers.”

· “Tell Him that you want what He bought. Tell Him you want to follow Him and to go to heaven.”

· “And then, tell all of us so that we can celebrate with you!”

· “I know that some of you who didn’t take your (incentive) did it out of your love for Mr. (volunteer).”

· “If you are one of those people, Mr. (volunteer) wants to see you after we finish.” (Have your volunteer tell these children how much he appreciates the sacrifice they made for him and that they really helped with the lesson. Then, he can give them the choice of taking the incentive – no rocks this time.)

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