Monthly Archives: January 2009

Peter – The Rock


Time

20 minutes (for the lesson – if you do the part about hardening the goo, you will need to bring the “Peter rocks” back to the kids during the next lesson)

Description

This object lesson teaches about Peter both before and after Pentecost. It focuses on his transformation into “the rock.” It’s very tactile and can be quite a bit messy without good supervision, but the kids will really enjoy getting to work with the cornstarch and water mixture.

Materials

  • NOTE: When I originally did this lesson, I found some Styrofoam containers at a restaurant supply store that worked perfectly. They are the type that fast food chains sometimes put hamburgers into and have a top and bottom that fold together to close. Instead of the bowls and measuring cups listed below, you can use these containers to hold the water and the cornstarch (one on each side of the container when it is opened. This way, your measurements are done before the kids arrive, and you don’t need so many measuring cups.)
  • Corn starch (about 4 oz per child – but have extra at the front for children to use to thicken the consistency)
  • Water (about ½ cup – but have extra at the front for children to use to weaken the consistency)
  • Cookie sheets or wax paper for the children to work on
  • Small bowls for each of the children
  • Spoons for stirring the mixture (optional – the children could use their hands)
  • ½ cup measuring cups (one for every two or three children)
  • Drop cloth to go under all the work areas
  • Molds that represent Peter – some ideas are a rock or the letters “P-E-T-E-R.” You can also use a muffin tin.
  • Paper towels and/or a nearby sink for clean up
  • Masking tape and a marker so that you can label the “rocks” with the children’s names while they dry
  • Paints and brushes or markers for decorating the “rocks” after they have hardened
  • (Optional) Ziplock bags for each child if you prefer to let them take their goo home with them.

Preparation

· Lay out the drop cloth under all the areas where the children will be working.

· Divide up the supplies so that each child has the amounts described above.

· Use the masking tape and marker to label the molds or muffin tin spaces so that you’ll know later whose rock is whose.

· Practice the script.


Procedure

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

  • “We’re going to do a fun experiment today that will teach us about Peter and God.”
  • “In front of you, you have some things from a kitchen.” (Hold each up as you describe it.)
  • “You’ve got a cookie sheet (or wax paper), and that’s to keep from making a mess that will be hard to clean up.”
  • “You have a bowl, a spoon, some water, a measuring cup and some powder.”
  • “The powder is called cornstarch.”
  • “We’re going to mix the water and the cornstarch together to make a paste that’s like ‘Peter,’ and we have to do it in the right amounts, so do exactly what I do, okay.”
  • “Pour the cornstarch into the bowl.”
  • “Then, pour in about ½ cup of water.”
  • “Now, use the spoon (or your hands) to mix the cornstarch and the water together.”
  • “When it’s good and mixed, it should ooze like honey. If yours doesn’t, let me know, and I’ll bring you some extra ingredients to help you get it there.” (Add water to soften the paste; add cornstarch to thicken it.)
  • “Now, pour it from your bowl onto the cookie sheet.”
  • “Kind of gooey, right? It just oozes.”
  • “That’s like Simon-Peter before he spent so much time with Jesus.”
  • “You see, Simon-Peter was first called just ‘Simon,’ which means ‘listens and obeys.’”
  • “But Simon wasn’t very good at either of those things.”
  • “When Jesus first met him, He gave Simon the name ‘Peter,’ which means ‘rock.’”
  • “But Peter wasn’t much of a rock, either.”
  • “Jesus gave him the new name, because He wanted Peter to start acting more like a rock.”
  • “A rock is solid. If it’s a big rock, you can’t push it around. It takes a stand and doesn’t move.”
  • “But Peter wasn’t anything like a rock.”
  • “He would take a stand for something, but when it got difficult, he would give up or run away.”
  • “Or maybe we should say, he would ‘ooze’ away like this goo.”
  • “But then one day that we’ve come to call ‘Pentecost,’ Peter was with all the other Apostles waiting in Jerusalem because Jesus had told them to wait there.” (The story is found in Acts 2.)
  • “Jerusalem was full of Jews and people who converted to Judaism from all over the world.”
  • “There were Parthians, Medes, Elamites, Mesopotamians, Judeans, Capadocians, Pontusians, Asians, Phrygians, Pamphylians, Egyptians, Romans, Cretans and Arabs, and they all spoke different languages.”
  • “Suddenly, the Apostles all heard a sound like a rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were waiting.”
  • “They looked at each other and saw little tongues of fire on everyone, but it wasn’t the kind of fire that burns.”
  • “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit, who is the third Person of God, and they began to speak in languages that they didn’t even know.”
  • “They went outside, and people start to look at them in amazement.”
  • “The people could tell that these men were just normal men who lived nearby, so they couldn’t understand how they could speak so many different languages.”
  • “In fact, they spoke all the languages of the people who had come to visit Jerusalem.”
  • “And that’s when it happened! Peter became a rock right there in front of everyone!”
  • “He jumped up where everyone could see him and began to preach to everyone about Jesus.”
  • “He told them to stop sinning and to give their hearts to Jesus.”
  • “He preached so powerfully that 3,000 people became Christians that day!”
  • “And from that day on, Peter was a rock.”
  • “He was no longer afraid of what other people thought about him, and he didn’t run away from anyone. He stood firm!”
  • “I told you that this goo is like Peter. Well it’s like him both before and after he became the rock.”
  • “Try to roll your goo between your hands, and see what happens.”
  • “It hardens up, doesn’t it?”
  • “But let it drip between your fingers, and it turns back into a liquid.”
  • “You see, Peter became the “rock” only when he was in God’s hand.”
  • “When he wasn’t resting in God’s powerful hand, Peter was more like the goo, but when he listened to God and obeyed Him, Peter became the rock!” (Let kids play with the goo for some time, and then say the following.)
  • “Okay, now that we’ve seen what Peter is like, we’re going to harden him up into the “rock” for good just like what happened at Pentecost.”
  • “Pour your Peter goo into these molds (or muffin tins).” (Have each child pour their goo into the mold or tin labeled with his or her name.)
  • “Do you remember what the Apostles saw on each other after they heard the rushing wind?” (Flames of fire)
  • “Right! Well, I’m going to add some fire to our Peter goo, and next time we meet, it will be hardened into a rock.”
  • “You know, what’s true for Peter is true for us, too.”
  • “When we are in God’s hand (meaning that we are trusting God and not just ourselves), we are like a rock. We will have the courage to stand our ground for God.”
  • “But when we try to do things our own way, we leave God’s hand and make a mess.”
  • “So, whenever you are going through a tough time, and you’re feeling gooey, remember to pray to God and ask Him to cover you with His hand.”

Take the goo in the molds/tins and either bake it or put it in the sun until hardened. When you meet with the children again, give them their “Peter Rocks,” and let them decorate them with paint or markers. Ask them questions about the lesson from the previous meeting, and see if they can answer them.

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Filed under Character, Christianity, Daily walk, God's Will, Hands-on, Listening to God, Obedience, Object Lesson, Peter, Science experiment, Simon-Peter, Transformation

Trust God When Things Look Bad (OBJ LESSON)


Time

10-15 minutes for the icebreaker (the recommended lessons will take longer.)

Description

This object lesson is a fun visual that reminds kids to trust God even when circumstances are looking bad. Use it as an icebreaker for a larger lesson. There is a little bit of “magic” and a little bit of science in this lesson that gives it some “Wow!” factor.

Materials

· Canning jar (“Mason jar”) with a screw-top lid and a removable insert

· Small piece of screening (like what covers your windows – enough to cover the top of the canning jar)

· Pitcher of water

· Piece of poster board – 3” x 3”

· If you don’t want to make your own jar, you can order one for approximately $10 from Steve Spangler Science (www.stevespanglerscience.com). It’s called the “Mysterious Water Suspension Trick.”

Preparation

· Cut the piece of screening so that it fits over the opening of the jar. You want some overlap so that the lid will hold the screening securely to the jar.

· Screw on the band part of the lid, but leave the removable insert out.

· You might want to laminate your poster board square but only if you plan on using it multiple times.

· Practice the trick. Flipping the jar upside down is the most challenging part.

· Practice the script.

Procedure

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

  • “Hey, everybody! Who’s having a great day?” (Listen for responses, and select the most enthusiastic child to come up to the front.)
  • (To the child…) “Have you had a pretty good day so far?” (While you are asking, pour water from the pitcher into the jar. Don’t let them see the screening over the top.)
  • “Would you say that you’ve been a really good kid today?” (While you are asking, place the poster board square on top of the jar.)
  • “Would you say that you have you been really, really good today?” (While you are asking, flip the jar and the poster board square upside down, and hold them over the child’s head. Keep your hand under the poster board square so that it looks like you are supporting it. In reality, the water droplets inside the screening and the air pressure pushing up on the poster board will hold the card in place.)
  • (Ask the audience…) “What do you think? Has he/she been really, really good? …or should I pull away the card?” (Most will typically encourage you to pull it away, so with as much drama as you can muster, pull the card away. The water will stay in the jar. The water droplets develop surface tension inside the tiny holes in the screen. This and the fact that if you hold the jar perfectly level, no air can get in to replace and water that leaves, will hold the water in.)
  • “I guess you have been really, really good!” (Tilt jar just a little, and some water will pour out until you level out the jar again. The kids usually get a big kick out of their peer getting wet.)
  • “Oops. Maybe you weren’t quite that good.” (You can thank your volunteer and send him/her back to his/her seat. If you want, you can have other kids come up and try. Finish with the following tie-ins to your lesson.)
  • “Sometimes, things look really bad, like when I held the jar of water over his/her head.”
  • “Remember during those times to trust God.”
  • “He has the ability to do the impossible in your life (like stopping gravity), and He can turn the bad stuff into good.”
  • “The Bible says that God will make everything work for you if you know Him as your heavenly father.” (Romans 8:28)
  • “Things might look bad, and you may not be able to see a way for things to turn out okay, but God knows all things. He can make a way out where there seems to be no way.” (After your lesson, you can tell the kids how the trick works. They might even enjoy making their own water suspension jars to try out on their friends at home.)
  • Some recommended lessons on trusting God when things look bad that will work with this icebreaker:
    • Joseph (anything from Genesis 37 to 45)
    • Ruth (you might need to give a summary of the entire story)
    • David and Goliath (1 Samuel 17)
    • Elisha and the Widow’s Oil (2 Kings 4)
    • Elisha and the Shunammite’s Son (2 Kings 4)
    • Hezekiah and Sennacherib (2 Chronicles 32)
    • Esther (you might need to give a summary of the entire story)
    • Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego (Daniel 3)
    • Daniel and the Lion’s Den (Daniel 6)
    • Jesus’ Arrest and Crucifixion (any of the Gospels)
    • Peter in Prison (Acts 12)

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Filed under faith, Fear, Hope, illusion, Magic, test, Witness

No More Than We Can Bear (OBJ LESSON)


Time

10-15 minutes


Description

This object lesson helps children understand that God will help them get through difficult times and situations. He never allows us to go through more than we can bear, and He never leaves us alone.

Materials

· Large balloons (at least 5-6, but you might want more just in case)

· Wood skewers (available in the barbeque area of the supermarket)

· Duct tape

Preparation

· Practice the trick several times before you go live. It can be tricky to get it right.

· Inflate five or more balloons. (Inflate the first three until they are taut. You are going to pop these. Don’t fill the last two until they are taut. You want the rubber to have a little give to it.)

· Practice the script.

Procedure

Use the following script, or modify to suit your needs:

· “How many of you have had bad stuff happen to you before?” (Demonstrate that you are looking for a show of hands.)

· “Yeah, me, too.”

· “Bad stuff even happens to Christians, but God won’t ever allow you to go through more than you can handle, because He loves you.”

· “Here’s how I know.” (Have volunteer read 1 Corinthians 10:13.)

· “God always provides a way out of difficult situations.”

· “I’m going to demonstrate this, but I’ll need a volunteer.” (Select volunteer from the group.)

· “Okay, let’s say that you are this balloon.” (Hand volunteer the balloon, and have him or her hold it at arm’s length so that it won’t pop in his/her face.)

· “And let’s say that this skewer is a bad thing that’s about to happen to you.”

· “Now, even though the skewer is going to go right through you…” (Try to put skewer through the balloon. The balloon should pop.)

· “Oops! That wasn’t supposed to happen. Let’s say that this balloon is you. And this skewer…” (Give a second balloon to your volunteer, and have him/her hold it at arm’s length again. Then pop it with the skewer.)

· “Wow! That almost never happens! Okay, let’s say that this balloon is you. And…” (Do the same procedure to pop the third balloon.)

· “Something’s really wrong here! Hmmm….. What’s wrong? What’s wrong…Oh! I’ve got it! These balloons don’t have the covering of the Holy Spirit.”

· “I can help with that. You see, in the Bible, oil often represents the anointing of God. Let’s anoint this skewer so that it can be used of God.” (Dip skewer into oil. Then insert it into a balloon through the tie-off area and out the very top. These are the areas where the rubber of the balloon stretches the least, so they are more likely to receive the skewer without popping. If the balloon pops, laugh nervously and grab another balloon – kids love it when things don’t go the way an adult plans them.)

· “Look at that! God’s anointing was all it took.”

· “You see, if God allows bad stuff to happen to us, He anoints it so that it ends up doing His work in our lives. God knows where you can handle the bad stuff, just like I knew just where the balloon could handle the skewer.”

· “Now, sometimes, God allows bad stuff to happen to you where you are weak, but He won’t allow it to happen unless He has reinforced you in that area.” (Grab a new a balloon, and put a piece of duct tape across both the front and back sides of balloon. Then slowly poke a skewer though – not the one with the oil. You can repeat this several times for dramatic effect.)

· “Sometimes during tough situations, you might feel like you could just burst.”

· “But remember that God knows just how much you can take, and He won’t let you go through any more than that.” (Thank and dismiss volunteer.)

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Filed under Anxiety, Belief, Challenges, Coping skills, faith, Fear, Hands-on, Science experiment, struggles, Trust, Worry

Garbage In – Garbage Out


Time

20-25 minutes


Description

This object lesson helps children understand how they can pollute their hearts and minds by allowing things in that don’t glorify God. It’s a messy lesson that the kids will enjoy, and the clean-up is kept to a minimum.

Materials

· Garbage bag or shopping bag

· Some “garbage” for filling up the bag (you can choose how messy you make it)

· Some other items to squeeze (recommended are: toothpaste, orange, lemon, grapes, shampoo, baby powder…the messier, the better)

· Clear, plastic tub or bin that the kids can squeeze the items into to keep the mess manageable but also so that the kids can see what is happening

· Wet wipes to clean up the kids hands after all the squeezing is done

· Two large sponges

· Two plates or bowls for the sponges to rest on (if you use a plate, you will want a lip that can hold in some of the overflow from the sponges)

· A pitcher of water

· A pitcher of a dark liquid (grape juice, prune juice or simply water with food coloring)

· Display table

Preparation

· Put your squeezable items on the display table. (You may or may not want to conceal them to add some suspense for “What will be squeezed next?” In the script below, I’ve listed the items in a suggested order, but you can choose any items in any order that you like.)

· Put your clear, plastic tub or bin on the display table.

· Fill your bag full of trash, and cut a slit in the bottom of the bag so that the contents will fall out when squeezed.

· If you are using citrus fruits, you might want to cut a slit on the top and the bottom for the juice to flow out when they are squeezed.

· Practice the script.

Procedure

Use this script, or modify to suit your needs:

· “I want to teach you something important today, and I’m going to need some volunteers to help me.” (Select volunteers – one for each of your squeezable items.)

· “Here’s a bottle of baby powder.” (Hand it to your first volunteer.)

· “If our first volunteer squeezes it, what do you think will come out?” (Listen for responses. Then have the volunteer squeeze the bottle into the clear tub.)

· “You were right! Baby powder did come out.” (Hand the next volunteer the bottle of shampoo.)

· “Here’s a bottle of shampoo. If he squeezes it, what do you think will come out?” (Listen for responses. Then have the volunteer squeeze the bottle into the clear tub.)

· “Right again! It was shampoo!” (Hand the third volunteer a bunch of grapes.)

· “What will come out if she squeezes these grapes?” (Listen for responses. Then have the volunteer squeeze the grapes into the clear tub.)

· “You guys are amazing!” (Hand the fourth volunteer an orange.)

· “What will come out this time?” (Listen for responses. Then have the volunteer squeeze the orange into the clear tub.)

· “I just can’t get anything by you.” (Hand the next volunteer a tube of toothpaste.)

· “What’s your guess?” (Listen for responses. Then have the volunteer squeeze the toothpaste into the clear tub.)

· “Yep. Let’s do another.” (Hand the next volunteer a banana.)

· “This will be fun – what’s coming out this time?” (Listen for responses. Then have the volunteer squeeze the banana into the clear tub.)

· “Oooo-that’s gross.”

· “So, would you ever get toothpaste out of a banana?” (Listen for response.)

· “How about shampoo out of a grape?” (Listen for response.)

· “Of course not, right? You only get what’s been put inside. Sometimes God puts it in there (like in the fruit), and sometimes people do (like with the baby powder).”

· “So what do you think will come out if we squeeze this?” (Hand last volunteer the bag of trash.)

· “Well, let’s see.” (Have the volunteer squeeze the trash bag over the clear tub.)

· “Isn’t that interesting?”

· “The same principle applies – whatever you put in is going to come out.” (Thank and dismiss volunteers.)

· “Guess what…your minds and hearts are just like that bag.”

· “If you put garbage in, you’re going to get garbage out.”

· “You might be able to keep it in for a while, but when you’re under pressure… (squeeze the garbage bag again) …out comes all the garbage.”

· “For example, if you spend hours listening to bad language in movies and T.V. shows, you can bet that it’s going to come out at the worst time – like when you’re helping your dad fix something and hit your thumb with a hammer. Or when you are helping your mom and burn yourself on a hot pan.” (Bring out sponges and pitchers of clear and dark liquid.)

· “You see, your heart and mind are like these sponges.”

· “If you pour good things into them like God’s Word, truth, praise music, and love (pour some of the clear liquid onto the sponge), then when you are under pressure, those good things will come back out again through your mouth and your actions.” (Squeeze the sponge into the plastic bin.)

· “But if you pour bad things into them like bad language, gossip, meanness, violence or lack of respect for authority (pour some of the dark liquid onto the sponge), then when you are under pressure, those bad things will come back out again.” (Squeeze the sponge into the plastic bin.)

· “There’s a saying that computer programmers use. It’s “G-I-G-O, and it means Garbage In – Garbage Out.”

· “It means, if you put bad stuff into the computer, you can’t expect to get anything other than bad stuff out.”

· “Remember G-I-G-O, and only let good stuff into your hearts and minds.”

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Filed under Brain, Character, Hands-on, heart, Object Lesson, spiritual disciplines

Light of the World


Time

10-15 minutes

Description

This object lesson teaches about our role as light of the world until Jesus returns. In it, you will be giving birthday candles to children and lighting them, so you may need to consider the age-appropriateness of this lesson for your group.

Materials

  • Birthday candles (enough for each child)
  • Larger candle with a candle holder (for you)
  • Lighter or matches to light your candle
  • Finger protectors made from paper or poster board

Preparation

· Cut out enough finger protectors for each child.

o 3” to 4” square should be about the right size.

o Cut an “X” or a star in the middle of each finger protector for the candle to slip through.

· Before class starts, light your candle, and put it in its candle holder somewhere out of the way. You can even conceal it behind something as long as it doesn’t present a fire hazard.

· Practice the script.

Procedure

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

· “Matthew 5:14-16 says that we are the light of the world.” (Have volunteer read Scripture.)

· “What do you think it means to be the light of the world?” (Listen for responses, and make comments as appropriate.)

· “You know, Jesus is the Light of the world, but after He died on the cross, He went back up into heaven.”

· “We who believe in Him are now supposed to reflect His light to the world.”

· “That’s why God doesn’t take you straight to heaven when you become a Christian.”

· “Christians are important in the earth as reflectors of God’s light until He comes back again.”

· “So, according to the Scripture we just read, we are supposed to give light to everyone in the house (which means “the earth.”)”

· “Let’s read verse 16 again.” (Have volunteer read Matthew 5:16.)

· “What does it mean to let your light shine before men?” (Listen for responses, and make comments as appropriate. Some ideas you can include if they aren’t mentioned are: doing nice things for others, speaking kindly to others, showing love to others, giving to the church and to missions, helping the poor, avoiding the temptation to do bad things, being a friend to those who have no friends, taking good care of the things God blesses you with, telling others about God.)

· “So, let’s practice letting our light shine. I’m going to hand out some candles to each of you.”

· “They have a finger protector on them, so you should hold them underneath that piece of poster board/paper.”

· “Even though they have a finger protector, these candles can still be dangerous, so I need you to be extra careful with them once they are lit.”

· “Can everyone do that?” (Hand out candles with finger protectors.)

· “Now that everyone has a candle, we just need to turn out the lights and light them.” (Have a volunteer turn out the lights.)

· “Hmmm…. I don’t have a lighter. Does anyone have an idea how we could light these?” (Children should notice the light coming from the candle that you concealed before class. If they don’t, walk over to it in order to draw their attention there.)

· “Hey! There’s a candle over here already!”

· “How many of you noticed that the candle was over here before the lights went out?” (Look for a show of hands.)

· “Looks like most of us didn’t notice it when the lights were on.”

· “I think we can learn something from this.”

· “Let’s say that having the lights on is like when things are going well for people and that having the lights out is like when bad or difficult things happen to them.”

· “When the lights are on in someone’s life, they may not notice that you are a Christian who is reflecting God’s light.”

· “But when the lights go off in their life (like when a pet or someone they love dies, or they lose a friend, or they get into some trouble…), your light really shows up.”

· “Your light sometimes shines even brighter if the lights have gone out in your life, and you are going through a difficult time, too.”

· “When they see how you handle a difficult situation by trusting in God and giving your fear or worry or pain to Him, those who don’t have His light will be attracted to it.”

· “That’s when they will come and ask you about your light, and that will be your signal that God has opened their heart to hearing about Him.”

· “Do you know what you should do then?” (Listen for responses. You want to hear that you should share your light with them. When you get this response, use your candle to light one of the children’s candles. Then, ask that child to light someone else’s candle. Have the next child pass his/her light on to the next person and so on until all candles are lit.)

· “Amazing, huh? Look at all the light we have generated!”

· “And did you notice? We were all able to share our light with someone else without losing any of our own light.”

· “That’s God’s miracle when we can give something away without losing any of it!”

· “You know what else? The light pushes back the darkness.”

· “The darkness represents the evil that Satan wants to do in the world.”

· “It’s our job to reflect God’s light to push back Satan’s darkness.”

· “The more people we share God’s light with, the further back we push Satan’s darkness.”

· “I have a cheer for us that will help us to remember to keep pushing back Satan’s darkness.”

· “I’ll say it the first time, and then I want you to join me in saying it.”

· “We’ll start quietly – almost a whisper – and then we’ll get louder and louder until we are shouting it.”

· “Are you ready?”

· “Okay, it’s very simple. This is what we are going to do to the darkness…

Push it back! Push it back!

Waaaaaaaay back!

· “Say it with me.” (Start with a whisper, and get progressively louder until the children are shouting it with you.)

· “Excellent! I feel like going out and sharing God’s light with someone right away. I hope you do, too!” (Have the lights turned back on, and have the kids extinguish the candles.)

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Filed under Challenges, Christianity, Evangelism, Hands-on, light, Light of the world, Object Lesson, Witness