Monthly Archives: July 2009

Connecting the D.O.T.S. (Obj Lesson)


Time
15 minutes

Description
This object lesson teaches about how God’s plan for us can be difficult to see at times.  Even so, we should do our best to follow the path He has set out for us.

Scriptures
•    Psalm 37:23-24
•    Proverbs 3:5-6, 16:9
•    Romans 8:28

Materials
•    Dot-to-dot pattern (You can find this on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at http://www.teachthem.wordpress.com in the file named Connect the D-O-T-S – Pattern.ppt)
•    Posterboard or flipchart paper (2-4, depending upon how large you want to make the dot-to-dot pattern)
•    LCD or overhead projector (or photo copy machine, depending upon how you choose to enlarge the pattern)
•    Marker

Preparation
•    Enlarge the dot-to-dot pattern.  (In the file mentioned above, it is the first slide.  The second slide shows the completed dot-to-dot picture, and the third slide shows a more stylized dot-to-dot picture of the same pattern in case you want to project it.  You can enlarge it a few different ways – print it and then photo copy it using the magnification settings on the copier, use either an LCD or overhead projector to project the image on several posterboards or flipchart pages and then trace the image onto the paper.)
•    Hang the dot-to-dot pattern where your volunteer will be able to reach it.
•    Practice the script.

Procedure
Use the following script and instructions (or modify to suit your needs):
•    “Let’s do a dot-to-dot puzzle!”

Unfinished Puzzle

Unfinished Puzzle

•    “I’m going to need a volunteer.”  (Select a volunteer from the audience.)
•    (To volunteer) “You know how to do these, right
•    “You connect the dots with a line in the order of the numbers next to the dot.”
•    “Start with number “1;” then go to “2;” then to “3” and so on.  (Let the volunteer begin to connect the dots with a marker.)
•    (To audience) “You know, doing a dot-to-dot puzzle is a lot like trying to follow God’s plan for your life.”
•    “When you first get started, it’s hard to see what He’s doing in your life.”
•    “It can look like just a bunch of dots.”
•    “But each of those dots is an event in your life.”
•    “Some are big events; most are small.”
•    “Some are so small that you wouldn’t even think they would matter, but Romans 8:28 tells us that God uses ALL things for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose.”
•    “Some dots represent good choices that you made, and some represent bad choices, but God uses everything!”
•    “He just keeps connecting those dots.”  (By this time, your volunteer should have run into at least one of the following problems:  a) There is no dot or label for “10;” b) Dots “13, 14, 15 and 16” are not labeled; c) Many of the dots have more than one number associated with them.)
•    (To volunteer) “Is there a problem?”  (Listen for response.)
•    (To group) “Sometimes, God’s next step for you won’t be clear.”
•    “What do you think you should do when this happens?”  (Take responses, and listen for ideas like “pray, read the Bible, ask other Christians, wait for the Lord.”  Offer these if the kids don’t.)
•    “Right!  Eventually, the Lord will usually show you the next step.”
•    “Sometimes, though, He is testing you to see which path you will take.”
•    “And sometimes, He doesn’t have a specific next move for you to take.  He is fine with you making the best decision you can that honors Him.  In this case, He is fine with any of your choices and is giving you some freedom to select the one that you think is best.”
•    “Often during these times, God doesn’t move quickly, so you may have to be patient.”  (Show volunteer the order of the missing dots.  They are labeled on both the second and third slide in the PowerPoint file.)
•    (To group and volunteer) “Has anyone noticed that some of the dots have more than one number associated with them?”  (Demonstrate that you are looking for a show of hands.)
•    “What do you think this might represent in God’s plan for your life?”  (Listen to responses.  The group may come up with some creative ideas, but one possibility is that God might ask you to go through some experiences multiple times – especially if they were tests that you didn’t pass the first time through.)
•    “There are a few lines and squares already drawn into the pattern.  What do you think these might represent in God’s plan for your life?”  (Listen to responses.  Again, they might have creative answers other than this one, but one possibility is that these could represent resources and helps that God provides in our lives.  Another possibility is that these could represent times when God had to carry us through a difficult time.)
•    “Can any of you tell what the picture is yet?”  (Listen to responses, but neither confirm nor deny at this point.)
•    “You know, sometimes when we think we can tell where God is going, we want to jump ahead and skip some of the dots.”
•    “You can see examples of this in Scripture when:
o    Abram had a son with Hagar instead of with Sarai.
o    Jacob stole his brother’s blessing and birthright.
o    David tried to carry the Ark of the Covenant on a cart instead of the shoulders of the priests.
o    James and John offered to call down fire on a village that had rejected Jesus.
o    Peter often tried to take leadership of the apostles before it was time.”
•    “But what does it do if I jump from this dot to this dot and skip the ones in-between?”  (Demonstrate by pointing to dots in the pattern.  Then listen for responses.)
•    “It messes up the picture, right?”
•    “Then, God has to lead me back to the right dot so that I can go back through the right steps again.”
•    “It’s hard to do, but we should be patient and go at the Lord’s pace.”  (Have a volunteer read Psalm 37:23-24, Proverbs 3:5-6 and Proverbs 16:9.)
•    “God cares about the steps we take, and He wants us to walk in His path.”  (Watch the volunteer, and help him/her whenever he/she gets stuck.  When the puzzle is complete, thank and dismiss the volunteer.)
•    “Who can read it now?”  (Listen to responses.  The correct answer is “D.O.T.S. – Disciples of the Savior,” and there is a cross behind the text.)
•    “If we continue to follow God’s path, He will make us into what He truly wants us to be: D.O.T.S. – Disciples of the Savior!”

Finished Puzzle

Finished Puzzle

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Filed under Christianity, Daily walk, faith, God's Will, Listening to God, Obedience, Object Lesson

Strongholds (Obj Lesson)


Time
15 minutes

Description
This object lesson teaches about strongholds, what they are, where they come from and how to defeat the ones that are created by the Enemy.

Audience
Children, youth, adults

Scriptures
o    John 8:44
o    2 Corinthians 10:3-5

Materials
o    PowerPoint file – “Strongholds – Bricks.ppt  (You can find this on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at http://www.teachthem.wordpress.com.)
o    A board or wall of some sort to stick the bricks to.
o    Glue, paste or tape for making “bricks”
o    Tape or push pins for sticking the “bricks” to the wall (depending upon whether or not you use a cork board)

o     Scissors

Preparation
o    Print the bricks from the “Strongholds – Bricks.ppt” file.  (You can also create your own if these don’t suit your audience.  The positive sides of the bricks represent the Fruit of the Spirit.  The negative sides of the bricks represent the opposite of the Fruit of the Spirit.  I’ve included many different options for the negative sides so that you can pick the ones that the audience will identify with most, but you may also want to have several different words for the negative sides.  You might also want to print several copies of each brick so that you can build an impressively big “stronghold.”)
o    Fold each “brick” page in half along the dotted line, and then tape or paste them together.
o    Trim the bricks along their borders, and discard the white space that’s left over.
o    Make tape “donuts” (circles of tape), and put them where the volunteers can get to them quickly.
o    Arrange all the bricks with the negative side facing up, and put them in easy reach of the volunteers.
o    Practice the script.

Procedure
Use the following script and instructions (or modify to suit your needs):
•    “We are in a spiritual war between God and Satan, and the battlefield is our minds.”
•    “Satan wants to control and destroy our minds, and God wants our minds completely devoted to Him.”
•    “Satan wants to control and destroy our minds, because it is the only way he can hurt an all-powerful, all-knowing, everywhere God.”
•    “He tries to wound the Creator through His creation.”
•    “If we want to help God win the war, we need to know how the battle is fought.”  (Ask volunteer to read 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.)
•    “We do not wage war as the world does.  We have different weapons.”
•    “We don’t use bazookas or fighter jets or nuclear missiles to fight this war, because it’s not a physical war – it’s a thought war!”
•    “We are fighting to give control of our minds and thoughts to God.”
•    “Regular weapons won’t do anything against thoughts.”
•    “But this Scripture says that our weapons have divine power to demolish strongholds!”
•    “That sounds pretty powerful!”
•    “What are these weapons that this Scripture is talking about?  Does anyone know?”  (Listen to responses.  If no one mentions them, let them know that our main spiritual weapons are prayer, the Word and the name of Jesus Christ.)
•    “Okay, so now we know our weapons.  What about strongholds?  Does anyone know what those might be?”  (Listen to responses.  You are looking for the idea of a fort or a military position that is very strong – a “strong hold” on some territory.)
•    “In war, a stronghold is a place that one side has built up and fortified.”
•    “They have a ‘strong hold’ on that place, so it’s an effective place for them to use to wage war against their enemies.”
•    “Whether it’s a good or bad stronghold depends upon whose stronghold it is.”
•    “You can find examples in Scripture of both positive strongholds (held by the allies of God) and negative strongholds (held by the allies of Satan).”
•    “In the thought war between God and Satan, spiritual strongholds are habits of thinking.”
•    “There are three ways for thoughts to get into your mind: you can think them yourself, God can put the thought into your mind through His Spirit, or Satan can put the thought into your mind.”
•    “Even when you think the thoughts yourself, they are heavily influenced by the habits of thinking you have developed by listening to either God or Satan when they gave you thoughts.”
•    “By the way, if you want to hear God’s thoughts in your mind, you have to listen carefully.  He rarely shouts them like Satan does.”
•    “So, it’s really important to know where the thought came from.”
•    “If they come from Satan, we don’t want to listen to them.”
•    “Jesus said that Satan is ‘the father of lies,’ that ‘when he lies, he speaks his native language,’ and that ‘there is no truth in him.’” (John 8:44)
•    “Everything Satan says to you is a lie, and everything God says to you is the truth.”
•    “Satan starts lying to you when you are a very young child, because he wants to build strongholds of lies in you mind.  He wants you in the habit of believing his lies.”
•    “Let me give you a picture of what this looks like.”  (Ask for three or four volunteers to come up front, and tell them that you want them to use the tape donuts to stick the “bricks” to the wall or board you are using for this lesson.  Tell them to stick them so that they look like bricks in a wall, and ask them to show only the red lettering on the bricks.  If you didn’t print them in color, you may need to mark the bricks in some way so that your volunteers can tell which side is the lie and which side is the truth.  While they are working, continue with the lesson.)
•    “When Satan gives you a thought, you have a choice whether or not to agree with it.”
•    “If you agree with it, or if you choose to just passively receive it and not evaluate whether it is right or wrong, it becomes a brick in Satan’s stronghold of lies.”
•    “Once Satan finds a lie that you will agree with or passively allow into your mind, he works full time to reinforce that particular lie until it forms a ‘strong hold’ on the way you think.”
•    “The volunteers are showing us how Satan builds his stronghold.”
•    “All of these are lies that he wants us to believe.”  (Read some of the bricks out loud.)
•    “Brick-by-brick, lie-by-lie, he builds up this stronghold, and it changes the way we think and how we see the world around us.”
•    “The worst part is, once we develop the habit of thinking in this way, we start to do Satan’s work for him.”
•    “We add bricks to the wall without him even having to lift a finger, and it gets stronger and stronger.”
•    “Now, when God’s truth comes into your mind, Satan will attack it from his stronghold.”
•    “You could be sitting in church and listening to a sermon or talking to a godly friend or reading something with truth in it.”
•    “God will often use these things to give you a truth He wants you to hear.”
•    “It enters your mind, but Satan attacks it from his stronghold of lies and convinces you it’s not true.”
•    “As long as Satan has this stronghold in your mind, it will be difficult for God’s truth to survive.”
•    “But I have some good news for you!”  (Ask volunteer to read 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 again.)
•    “The Scriptures say that we can demolish the strongholds with our weapons that have divine power.”
•    “Here’s how to do it!”
•    “First, stop allowing thoughts to come into your mind unsupervised.”
•    “You’re at war!  No military commander allows some stranger to enter his base of operations without an armed escort!” (Ask for a volunteer to come join you at the front.)
•    “Let’s pretend this person is a thought and that I’m your mind.”
•    “If I recognize that I’m in a thought war, am I going to do this… (have volunteer approach you while you act out the following)  Yo! Whassup, man?  Don’t know who you are and don’t care.  Come join the party!”  (Have volunteer pass you by.)
•    “What do you think, is that how I should greet this thought?”  (Listen to responses.)
•    “Of course not!  He could be a terrorist bringing in a mind bomb!”
•    “Let’s do this again the right way.”  (Have volunteer go back to his/her original place and then try to pass by you.)
•    “Halt!  Who goes there?  Are you friend or foe?”  (Tell your volunteer to say he/she is a friend.)
•    “Oh, yeah?  Well, we will see about that!  I’m taking you to my General!”  (Gently, but playfully grab the volunteer’s arm and lead him/her to another place in the room.  Then look up as if you are praying and say…)
•    “General Jesus, I found this thought trying to gain access to our military command.  Is he friend or foe?”  (Pretend that Jesus tells you he is a foe.)
•    “He’s the enemy?  Thank you, sir.  I will dispose of him right away.”  (Playfully escort the volunteer back to his/her original starting point.  If he/she resists, you might need to ask another adult in the room to help you escort him/her.)
•    “Now that you know that thought is a lie, never let it back into your mind.”
•    “Each time Satan tries to sneak it through, reject it.”
•    “You might say something like, ‘I know that’s a lie, and I reject it in the name of Jesus!’”
•    “Whenever you reject a lie, you’ve got to replace it with the truth.”
•    “It’s not enough to say, ‘That’s not true!’  You’ve also got to replace it with what is true.”
•    “For example, take a look that the Enemy’s stronghold that these volunteers have been building.”  (Point to board or wall where the volunteers have been adding the bricks.)
•    “It’s good to say that this isn’t true about me.”  (Read off one of the bricks.)
•    “But then I also need to replace it with a similar truth.”  (Turn the brick over, and move the tape or pin to the other side so that you can stick it back to the board on the green / Fruit of the Spirit side.)
•    “So I ask God what is really true about me, and He gives me the truth He wants to occupy my mind.”  (Stick brick to the board.)
•    “Touch your neighbor and say, ‘Ask God what HE wants you to think!’”  (Allow a moment for them to do this.)
•    “The more I do this, the more I trade Satan’s lies for the truth of God.”  (Have your volunteers start flipping the bricks to the positive side.)
•    “And when you do this, you’ve got to believe what you hear God say.”
•    “It isn’t always easy, because God’s truth sometimes looks wrong compared to what is going on around us and what we thought was true before.”
•    “You may have to pray, ‘This is hard to believe, Lord, but I trust You.  Help me to see the truth in this.’”
•    “This is called taking every thought captive before Christ, and it demolishes strongholds.”
•    “In fact, it replaces Satan’s strongholds with God’s strongholds in your mind!”
•    “Then, when Satan tries to send a lie your way, God’s truth will attack it from God’s strong hold in your thinking.”  (Even if they haven’t completely finished flipping bricks, thank your volunteers, and let them return to their seats.)
•    “Let’s recite a Rhyme Time that will help us remember today’s lesson:

Satan’s strongholds really stink!
I’m letting God choose what I think!

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Filed under Belief, Brain, Christianity, demons, Jesus, Mind, Object Lesson, Spiritual Warfare, thinking, Thought war, thoughts

F.E.A.R. (Obj Lesson)


Time
15 minutes

Description
This object lesson teaches about fear and how to deal with it.

Audience
Children, youth, adults

Materials
o    F.E.A.R. Acronym Cards (You can find these on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at http://www.teachthem.wordpress.com in the file named F-E-A-R – Acronym Cards.ppt)
o    Flipchart or whiteboard (or you could project the Scriptures with an LCD projector)
o    Marker

Preparation
o    Print the F.E.A.R. Acronym Cards, and arrange them face-up on a table.
o    Write the “fear” Scriptures on a flipchart or whiteboard, and cover them until you need them.
o    Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.  (Psalm 23:4)
o    The LORD is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear?  The LORD is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1)
o    I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.  (Psalm 34:4)
o    He (the man who fears the Lord) will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD.  (Psalm 112:7)
o    Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.  (Proverbs 29:25)
o    So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.  (Isaiah 41:10)
o    Practice the script.

Procedure
Use the following script and instructions (or modify to suit your needs):
•    “When was the last time you did something really scary? The kind of scary that knots your stomach and weakens your knees? The kind of scary that makes you feel like everything is out of control?”  (Take responses.)
•    “Fear is an interesting emotion.”
•    “It protects us from doing the really dumb stuff that would win us a Darwin Award (a pretend award given out to people who do dumb, life-threatening things).”
•    “But it also keeps us from taking important risks and doing what we know we should.”
•    “I’ve come to think of fear as an acronym.”
•    “Which acronym you use says a lot about how you approach scary things.”
•    “I need four volunteers for this lesson.”  (Select volunteers, and have them come up front.)
•    “On the table, there are 52 different words that all start with the letters ‘F,’ ‘E,’ ‘A,’ or ‘R.’”
•    “Most of the words will fit into an acronym that will tell us what some people thing about fear.”
•    “I would like for you to represent words that begin with the letter ‘F.’”  (Appoint one of the volunteers to always choose a word beginning with ‘F.’)
•    “I would like for you to represent words that begin with the letter ‘E.’” Appoint one of the volunteers to always choose a word beginning with ‘E.’)
•    “I would like for you to represent words that begin with the letter ‘A.’” Appoint one of the volunteers to always choose a word beginning with ‘A.’)
•    “I would like for you to represent words that begin with the letter ‘R.’” Appoint one of the volunteers to always choose a word beginning with ‘R.’)
•    “As a group, select four words that fit together to make an acronym for the word fear.”
•    “You can only use each word once.”
•    “Let’s do the first few together.  Find the words, ‘Forget Everything And Run,’ and come show them to us.”  (Wait for them to find these words and then show them to the audience.)
•    “Some people think F.E.A.R. means that they should Forget Everything And Run, but this isn’t very helpful.  It doesn’t solve your problem.”
•    “Let’s try another one.  Find the words, “Forget Everything and Relax.”  (Wait for them to find these.)
•    “This isn’t anymore helpful.  Your F.E.A.R.s might actually happen, and you won’t be ready for them.”
•    “Now find these words, ‘Failure Expected and Received.’” (Wait for them to find these.)
•    “You get what you expect.  If you expect to fail, you probably will.  This is not the best approach to fear.”
•    “One more together – find ‘Finding excuses and Reasons.’”  (Wait for them to find these.)
•    “Often people use F.E.A.R. to find excuses and reasons for not doing what they should be doing.”
•    “Now, you try it on your own.”  (Allow them a few minutes to select their first acronym.  Then have them show the audience.  If the acronym makes sense, ask the audience the following question.  If it doesn’t, challenge your volunteers to try again.)
•    “What do you think this acronym says about people who approach fear in this way?”  (Allow the volunteers to make five or six different acronyms, and ask the audience about what it says about the people who approach fear in that way.  Then, dismiss your volunteers.)
•    “Once, when General George Patton was praised for his bravery in battle, he said, ‘Sir, I am not a brave man — the truth is, I am an utter craven coward.  I have never been within the sound of gunshot or in sight of battle in my whole life that I wasn’t so scared that I had sweat in the palms of my hands, but I have learned early in my life never to take counsel of my fears.’”
•    “Fear is a normal feeling at times, but we shouldn’t allow it to control us.”
•    “We should find ways of dealing with our fear so that it doesn’t prevent us from accomplishing God’s purposes in our lives.”
•    “One great way to deal with fear is to memorize Scriptures about it.”
•    “I’ve written some on the board.”
•    “Read through them, and then pick a few that you want to memorize this week.”
•    (Some of the acronyms you can make from the words in the card file are:
o    False Expectations Appearing Real
o    False Evidence Appearing Real
o    For Everything A Reason
o    Face Everything And Recover
o    Faith Erases All Reservations
o    Forgetting Everything’s All Right
o    Focus Energy And Respond)

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Filed under Belief, Christianity, Coping skills, courage, Fear, Object Lesson, Trust, Worry

Heart Garden (Obj Lesson)


Time
15-20 minutes

Description
This object lesson teaches about our hearts and how God works in them to produce something beautiful.  It’s preferable to do it outside.

Audience
Children, youth, adults

Materials
o    Landscaping edging (I used 20 ft, but that is quite big.)
o    Stakes for the edging (8-10 should do if you create the 20 ft heart.)
o    Hammer
o    Potting soil
o    Spade or some other gardening tool
o    (Optional) Gardening gloves and hat
o    Watering can with water in it
o    Assorted garbage – plastic, peelings, etc.  (Be careful not to put anything in the soil that might cut fingers.)
o    Hard soil to spread over the top of the heart (enough to cover the surface)
o    Rocks – several dozen of assorted sizes to mix in with the soil
o    Manure/fertilizer – actual manure is good for shock value, but fertilizer will make the point.
o    Sprouts – a few small plants just beginning to show above the soil
o    Beautiful flowers or ground cover – enough to cover most or all of the heart
o    Marker
o    Packages of seeds (4 or more)

Preparation
o    Create a heart shape with the landscaping edging, and stake it down.  (Cut the edging in half to make this easier.)
o    Fill the shape almost to the top with potting soil.
o    Mix some garbage and rocks into the soil.
o    Cover the soil and the garbage with hard soil clods that you’ve dug up from somewhere else
o    Label the seed packages using the marker so that they say, “Answered Prayer,” “Truth,”  “Kindness and Love,” and “Hope.”  If you have more than four packages, you can label them with other “seeds from God” that you can think of.
o    Practice the script.

Procedure
Use the following script and instructions (or modify to suit your needs):
•    “I’m going to give you a picture of what our hearts are like.”
•    “Think of your heart like a garden.”
•    “Before we know Jesus as our Lord and Savior, the soil in our heart is hard and dead.  Nothing will grow there except weeds.”  (Show hard soil in heart.)
•    “But God wants to make our hearts beautiful, so the first thing He does is to break up all that hard soil.”  (Ask a volunteer to come break up the soil with a spade or some other tool.  Hand them the gloves and the gardening hat if you have them.)
•    “This isn’t very fun for us.  Our hard hearts are difficult to break up, and the tools that God uses are sometimes very sharp.”
•    “He might allow us to go through some difficult experiences or lose something we love, but He only does this to break up the hard soil and start planting good seeds on the inside.”
•    “Thankfully, God will also pour in some Living Water to help break up the soil.”  (Have volunteer pour in some water.)
•    “Living Water is the Word of God.  It’s the Bible.  The Scriptures are like water to a thirsty soul, and we need to drink deeply of them every day to stay spiritually healthy.”
•    “Sometimes breaking up the hard soil takes a very long time.  The harder the soil in our hearts, the longer it will take God to make it usable for His purposes.”
•    “Once the hard soil is broken up, God will remove the parts that are unusable.”  (Have volunteer pull our chunks that don’t break down into the soil.)
•    “By breaking up the hard soil, God can give you a new heart.”
•    “If you are willing to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior, your heart will be made new.”  (Make sure audience can see the potting soil.)
•    “The Scriptures say that God will remove our heart of stone and give us a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 11:19)
•    “Now, when a gardener is preparing soil, he mixes in some nasty stuff like this manure.”  (Give manure/fertilizer to volunteer, and have him/her mix it into the soil.)
•    “It stinks, it’s gross, you really don’t want to deal with it, but it’s the best way to make the soil rich and ready to grow healthy plants and flowers.”
•    “Romans 8:28 tells us that when you give your heart to God, He will use even the bad stuff in your past to enrich your heart ‘soil.’”
•    “In other words, He will use the times you’ve been hurt, the times bad things happened to you and the bad decisions you made to bless you.”
•    “That’s great news!!!!”
•    “God then plants some seeds in your heart.”  (Have volunteer sprinkle in some seeds and work them in with the spade.)
•    “Actually, God plants seeds even before you become a Christian, when your heart is hard, but many of them don’t make it into the soil.”
•    “When Jesus taught about this, He said that the birds of the air will steal the seeds before they have a chance to take root in the hard soil.”
•    “He told his disciples that the birds of the air represent our enemy, Satan, who doesn’t want God’s truth to get into your heart.”
•    “God’s seeds can represent times when He answered prayers for you or times when He spoke some truth into your life through a friend or teacher or parent or event a stranger.”  (Have volunteer show the labels on these packages of seeds.)
•    “Sometime an act of kindness or love can plant a seed.”  (Have volunteer show the label on this package and pour in some seeds.)
•    “And sometimes God gives you hope in difficult situation.”  (Have volunteer show label on this package and pour in some seeds.)
•    “When God plants His seeds, He is faithful to continue to water the seeds with His Living Word and shine the light of His Son on them.”  (Have volunteer water the seeds.)
•    “Eventually, some of those seeds will start to grow in our hearts.”  (Have volunteer plant a few spouts in the soil.)
•    “God will continue to water and care for these while He plants even more seeds.”  (Have volunteer water soil and plant a few more seeds.)
•    “But just because we got new hearts doesn’t mean that our hearts are completely pure.”  (Have volunteer sift through soil until he/she finds trash or rocks.)
•    “We probably still have trash that we allowed into our hearts before we became Christians, and it’s likely that we still have some hard places in our hearts.”
•    “The trash represents sinfulness that we haven’t dealt with yet, and the rocks represent emotional hard places – hurts, pains, disappointments, hatreds, fears… that we haven’t allowed God into.”
•    “God can plant beautiful things in the parts of our hearts that we give to Him, but He can’t do anything with the areas we won’t trust Him with.”
•    “The trash and the hard places will stay in our hearts until we allow God to help us get rid of them.”
•    “While other parts of our heart are showing new life and the evidence of God’s work, these places are in danger of hardening back up if we don’t turn them over to God.”
•    “The more we trust God, the more beautiful our hearts will become.”  (Have the volunteer replace the sprouts with some beautiful flowers.)
•    “And when our hearts are beautiful, God will use them to bring joy and happiness to other people who see them.”
•    “That’s beautiful, isn’t it?”  (Thank and dismiss volunteer.)
•    “So, are we done?  Can we just let it alone and enjoy it?”  (Listen for responses.)
•    “No.  If we leave it alone, what will happen?”  (Listen for responses.)
•    “Right!  It will die.  These flowers need watering and sunshine every day.”
•    “In the same way, you need to meet with God every day – to enjoy His Son and to get the Living Water that comes from the Bible.”
•    “And even if we do that everyday, is that enough to keep our heart garden healthy?”  (Listen to responses.)
•    “No, because we have an enemy, and his name is Satan.”
•    “Satan plants seeds, too, but they grow into weeds that will choke out the beauty from our garden.”
•    “Satan’s seeds are bad thoughts, worries, fears, resentments and other things that keep us from loving God, loving our neighbor and loving ourselves.”
•    “Whenever you notice a weed in your heart garden, what should you do?”  (Listen to responses.)
•    “Right, pull it out!  Don’t let those bad thoughts or worries or fears stay.  Yank them out!”
•    “Okay, let’s practice the Rhyme Time for this lesson to help us remember it:”

My heart is the garden
Where God plants His seeds.
We tend it together
And pull all the weeds!

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Filed under Christianity, Daily walk, Healing, heart, Object Lesson, sanctification, Transformation

Knocking Down Giants (Obj Lesson)


Time
15 minutes

Description
This object lesson teaches about our how to knock down the “giants” in our lives.  “Giants” represent the things we fear – the things that keep us from living fully for God.

Audience
Children, youth, adults

Materials
o    “Giant” silhouettes (6-8 – you can make these with plywood and a jigsaw)
o    Plywood – 4’ x 4’ sheet
o    ¾ “ wall trim (16’ – get the kind that looks like one-quarter of a round dowel rod)
o    Jigsaw
o    Hand saw
o    Black spray paint (one can)
o    Tape
o    Wood glue
o    Marker
o    3-6 ping pong balls
o    3 tennis balls
o    1 very large ball or bean bag
o    Computer, printer and paper
o    PowerPoint file – “Knocking Down Giants – Signs.ppt  (You can find this on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at http://www.teachthem.wordpress.com.)

Preparation
o    Draw a silhouette pattern of the heads and shoulders of a “giant” on paper, and cut it out.  The pattern should be about 12” wide at the shoulders (bottom of the pattern) and about 18” high.  You can be as creative as you want with the shape of the silhouette, but the more complicated you make it, the more sawing you will have to do.
o    Use this as your pattern for tracing the silhouettes on the plywood with the marker.
o    Cut out the silhouettes with a jigsaw.
o    Cut the wall strip into 12” segments (two per “giant”)
o    Paste these at the bottom of your silhouettes on both the front and back.  These will help the silhouette be free-standing.
o    Spray paint everything black, and allow it to dry.
o    Print out the signs in the “Knocking Down Giants – Signs” file, and cut them out.  (Feel free to change the labels on the signs to better fit your audience.)
o    Paste or tape these to the different signs (after they are dry from the painting).
o    Practice the script.

Procedure
Use the following script and instructions (or modify to suit your needs):
•    “Remember the story of David and Goliath?”
•    “David had to face a really big giant, but he found the courage to do it by trusting in God.”
•    “Even though there aren’t any giants left in the world, all of us have types of ‘giants’ in our lives.”
•    “Giants represent the things we fear and the things that keep us from achieving what God wants us to achieve.”
•    “Some of us fear ‘Losing Someone We Love.’” (As you mention these “giants,” put up the giant silhouettes all in one row at the front of the room.)
•    “Some of us fear ‘Not Having Friends.’”
•    “Some of us fear ‘The Dark.’”
•    “Some of us fear ‘Bad People.’”
•    “Some of us fear ‘Being Lost.’”
•    “Some of us fear ‘Getting Hurt.’”
•    “Some of us fear ‘Being Embarrassed.’”
•    “Some of us fear ‘Death.’”
•    “Can I get a volunteer to come up and help me with these giants?”  (Select volunteer, and have them stand about 8’-10’ away from the giants.)
•    “Here’s how we often try to attack the giants in our lives.”  (Hand volunteer some ping pong balls, and have them throw them at the giants to see if they can knock them down.)
•    “How is that working for you?”  (Get feedback from the volunteer.)
•    “Would it help if you had better ammunition to throw at the giants?”  (Hand the volunteer three tennis balls, and let him/her throw them at the giants.)
•    “The ammunition you’ve been using so far is like our human efforts at dealing with our fears, but what if you could access a more powerful ammunition?”
•    “Would you like to have access to ammunition that guaranteed you success when you attacked the giants in your life?”  (Listen to response.)
•    “Well, you do!  It’s called prayer, and it gives you the power of God.”  (Hand volunteer the large ball or bean bag, and have them throw it at the giants.)
•    “If you want guaranteed success dealing with your fears, stop trying to defeat them in your power, and pray for God to help you.”  (Thank volunteer and dismiss.)

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Filed under Bullying, Challenges, Christianity, Coping skills, courage, Daily walk, David, faith, Fear, Game, Goliath, Object Lesson, prayer, Spiritual Warfare

God’s Image (QUICK DRAMA)


Time
15 minutes

Description
This Quick Drama teaches that God wants to make us into the image of His Son, Jesus.  We often think that we should do the work, but God is the only One who can successfully and permanently change us.  Even though God wants to change us, He loves us like we are today.  He also loves us too much to leave us that way.  (This Quick Drama was inspired by God’s Chisel, written by The Skit Guys.  It’s an excellent drama that you can find at http://www.skitguys.com/store/detail/188/.  I wrote this one to appeal more to kids, but the original is the best.)

Audience
Children, youth, adults

Materials
o    Tool belt
o    Assorted tools to fill the tool belt
o    Hammer
o    Chisel (metal is preferred for the sound it makes)
o    Hand mirror

Preparation
o    Practice the script.

Script
Brad:      [Enters with a mirror is his hand.  He is admiring himself in the mirror.  He also has a heavily loaded tool belt and is using one of the tools to “polish” himself and make himself look even better.] Oh, darling! You….look….mahhhhh-velous!

GOD:    [Appears] Hey, Brad!  Whatcha doing?

Brad:     [Embarrassed] Oh, uh… [Remembers mirror in his hand, looks at it briefly and then hides it behind his back]  Nothing, really.

GOD:    So, did you like what you saw?

Brad:     Uh, well…yeah!  Yeah!  I guess I did!  Is there anything wrong with that?

GOD:    Who did you see when you looked in the mirror?

Brad:    Well, me, of course!

GOD:    That’s the problem.  You see, Brad, what you’re supposed to is the image of my Son, Jesus.

Brad:     Oh.  [Realizes his error]  But I don’t know how to do that.

GOD:     That’s okay.  In fact, it’s why I’m here.  [Pulls out a hammer and chisel from Brad’s tool belt]

Brad:     What are you going to do with those?

GOD:    These are my shaping tools.  With them, I will chip away anything that doesn’t look my Son.

Brad:     Okay, will it hurt?

GOD:    Sometimes.  You’ve added a lot of stuff that wasn’t in my original design, and it’s got to come off.

Brad:    Okay, but make it fast, please.

GOD:    [Chisels loudly] You’ve been unkind to your brothers and sisters a lot lately.

Brad:    Owww!  I know.  [Hangs head}

GOD:    [Chisels loudly] And you’ve been stuffing your bad feelings deep down inside.

Brad:     Owww!  But what else can I do with them?  No one listens to me!

GOD:    I do.  [Chisels loudly]  You’ve shown disrespect to both your parents and your teachers.

Brad:     Owww!  Wait!  Can we stop?  This really hurts!

GOD:     We can take a break, but you should know that these areas grow bigger when you don’t let me work on them.

Brad:     God, what’s the use?  I’m never going to be like Jesus.  He’s perfect, and I’m…I’m…I’m just messed up.  I can’t be fixed.

GOD:    Brad, what do you think I see when I look at you?

Brad:    A disappointment.

GOD:    Not at all!  You know what I see?  My masterpiece!  My glorious creation!  My beautiful, wonderful child!  I’ve never made a piece of junk, and I never will.  I only make masterpieces.

Brad:     [Looking down at his feet and shuffling them on the ground]  But I sin, God!  I mess up!  I do things I’m not supposed to do!

GOD:    Brad, you can never be a disappointment to me, because my expectations for change in your life aren’t based on your efforts.  I’m the one who is responsible for changing you.  All you have to do is surrender.  Trust me to do my work.  I’ll take care of the rest.

Brad:    Oh, God, that sounds great, and I want it to be true, but it seems too easy.

GOD:    Oh, I never said it was going to be easy.  Simple maybe, but it’s almost never easy.  Trusting me takes lots of practice.  Every day, you’re going to want to try to take the tools back in your hands and change yourself, but you’ve got to let me do the work.

Brad:     Okay, Lord.  Can we take it one day at a time, though?

GOD:    Of course, Brad.  Ready for some more chiseling?

Brad:    Uh, would tomorrow be okay?  I’m a little chiseled out.

GOD:    Sure, Brad.  Tomorrow.  [Both Exit]

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Filed under Daily walk, drama, sanctification, skit, tool, Trust

Facing Your Giants (QUICK DRAMA)


Time
10 minutes

Description
This Quick Drama teaches that we shouldn’t fear the giants in our lives but that we shouldn’t try to take them on alone, either.  (I’ve chosen giants who represent fears children might have, but feel free to change the type of giants to match your audience.)

Audience
Children, youth, adults

Materials
o    Life-size drawings of different giants (4 that are about 2 sheets of foam board-high each)

o    Foam board (10-12 pieces)

o    Different colored paints or markers

o    Paint brushes

o    Utility knife and razor

o    Tape
Preparation
o    Draw and color the giants on foam board, and make them free-standing by taping some “wings” near the bottom and on the back.  These wings should fold out so that they are perpendicular to the bottom of the foam board with the picture on it.
o    Razor the back side of the giants to weaken them, so that they will break apart easily when they are attacked.
o    Arrange the giants in different places around the room.
o    All the giants can be voiced by one or more people offstage.
o    Practice the script.

Script
Narrator:  All of us have mean, ugly giants in our lives…things we are afraid of dealing with.  Just like in King David’s time, God often leaves giants in our paths in order to teach us warfare.  Of course, we won’t ever fight a Goliath, but we will fight against other types of giants.

[Brad enters followed by God.  Brad sees the first giant and tries to run away.  God gently catches him and turns him back toward the giant.]

GOD:    [Whispers to Brad] Remember, you’re not alone.

Brad:     [Tentatively approaches giant] Wh-wh-what do you want?

Giant #1:     I am the giant of Darkness and Monsters!  FEAR ME!

Brad:     I-I-I-I-I…

GOD:    Remember, you’re not alone.

Brad:     [Turning to God] Can you help-help me, God?

GOD:     Yes, I can.  Please step aside.  [Cracks knuckles, stretches, then loudly karate chops the giant (e.g., “Hi-ya!”) until he is demolished – really hams it up for the kids.]

Brad:     Hey!  That was SO cool!  Will you teach me how to do that?

GOD:    Sure, Brad.  I see another giant over there.  [Points]

Brad:     Oh, uh, I didn’t mean so soon, but okay.  [Goes up to giant timidly.]

Brad:    What…What do you want?

Giant #2:    I am the giant of No Friends and Being Alone.  FEAR ME!

Brad:     God, what do I do?

GOD:    Are you asking for my help?

Brad:     Yes, please!

GOD:    Okay, watch this!  Hi-ya!  Hu-ya! [Saves a small piece for Brad]

Brad:     [Tentatively] Hi-ya! [Then cowers in case giant attacks.]

GOD:    Excellent!  Now you’re getting it! [Notices another giant] Hey, isn’t that another monster over there?

Brad:     [Confidently] Yeah!  Let’s get him!  [Goes up to giant]  What do you want?

Giant:     I am the giant of People Who Try to Hurt You!  FEAR ME!

Brad:     Oh yeah?  Well, take this!  [Karate chops with no effect]  Hi-ya!  [Tries again with no effect]  Hu-ya!  [Tries several more times with no effect]

Giant:     FEAR ME!

Brad:    [Turns back to God] God!  What happened?  I did everything you showed me!

GOD:    You forgot the most important part.

Brad:    What was that?

GOD:     Me.  You tried to do it all alone.

Brad:     [Sheepishly] God, will you help me with this one?

GOD:    Sure, Brad, and I’ll save a small part for you to do so that you can keep growing.  [God attacks giant but saves a piece for Brad.  Brad destroys it and genuinely enjoys attacking the giant with God.  They high five.]

Brad:    I see one more giant over there.  Let’s do this one together!  [Approaches giant]  Who are you?

Giant:     I am the Giant of Death.  FEAR ME!

Brad:    Death?  How do I fight this one, God?

GOD:    Brad, I have to do this one all by myself.  [Completely destroys giant]  Brad, there was only one way to destroy the Giant of Death.  I had to send my Son, Jesus, to die on the cross.  But when He died, He defeated death and rose back to life three days later.  Now, anyone that believes wht Jesus did and askes Him to be Lord of their life doesn’t have to fear the Giant of Death anymore.  Whenever a Christian dies, He immediately joins Jesus in heaven.

Brad:     Oh, God, I want that!  Will you help me make Jesus Lord of my life?

GOD:     You bet! [Both exit]

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Filed under Belief, Bullying, Challenges, Christianity, courage, David, drama, faith, Fear, Heaven, prayer, salvation, skit, Spiritual Warfare