Category Archives: Agape Love

Wreck-It Ralph (MOVIE MENTORING)


Wreck It RalphAudience

Children

Time

3 hours
Description

Wreck-It Ralph is a movie from Disney about a video game villain who wants to be a hero.  It deals with themes of diversity, judgment, bullying and self-acceptance.  It can be a good way to teach children how to appreciate the differences in the others around them.

 

Scriptures

These Scriptures speak to some of the themes of the movie.  Read one or more to give a biblical basis for the teaching.

  • Micah 6:8 (do justice, love kindness, walk humbly)
  • Matthew 7:1-5 (do not judge; remove the plank in your own eye first)
  • Matthew 7:12 (do to others as you would have them do to you)
  • Mark 12:31 (love your neighbor as yourself)
  • 1 Peter 3:8-9 (love one another, be compassionate and humble, repay evil with a blessing)

 

Materials

o  Copy of the movie

o  Equipment for showing the movie (TV, DVD player, LCD projector, Speakers, Screen…)

o  Question Sheet (attached)

o  Popcorn and drinks (optional)

 

Preparation

o  Print out copies of the question sheet for each individual or group.

o  Set up everything for viewing the movie.  (Be sure to test it all out to make sure that the movie plays well and that the sound can be heard by everyone.)

o  Prepare snacks. (optional)

 

Procedure

Watch the movie.  Then on your own, with a mentor or with a group, answer the questions on the Question Sheet.

 

Question Sheet

 

  1. Why didn’t the townspeople let Ralph live with them or participate in their activities?
  2. Are there people in our own community who get treated like Ralph?  Why or why not?
  3. How do you think the townspeople should have treated Ralph?
  4. In the “Bad-anon” meeting, the video game villains said that you can’t change if you’re a bad guy.  Do you think this is true?  Why or why not?
  5. Do you think Ralph had a good reason for wanting to earn a medal?  Why or why not?
  6. How do you feel about the way all the other racers treated Vanellope (“the Glitch”)?
  7. What is similar about Vanellope and Ralph?
  8. How did the thing that made them different from everyone else become the greatest strengths for Ralph and Vanellope?
  9. What did the townspeople and the other racers learn about how to treat someone who is different?
  10. How should we treat people in our lives who are different from everyone else?

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under acceptance, Agape Love, Bullying, diversity, Judgment, Justice, Kindness, Love, Movie, Relationships

Do Clothes Really Make the Man? (OBJ LESSON)


Time

30 minutes
Description

This object lesson looks at the different clothing Joseph wore and asks the question, “do clothes really make the man?”  The old adage means that how you dress says a lot about you, but in Joseph’s case, he was the same person in any costume.  However, no matter how good Joseph was, he couldn’t be good enough to impress God just through his good works.  God isn’t interested in what we DO until He changes WHO we are, and that only happens when we accept Jesus as our Savior.

 

Scriptures

  • Genesis 37-50
  • Isaiah 64:5-6
  • Isaiah 61:10

 

Materials

  • Several smocks (Loose-fitting fabrics that simply have a hole in the middle to fit over the head (for quick changing during the lesson) and a belt to tie them off.  You can do more elaborate costumes if you want, but these simple outfits will work.)
    • One plain white smock (to start the story)
    • One “coat of many colors”
    • Two dingy-colored or burlap smocks (for slavery before being sold and for prison)
    • One nicer white smock (for serving Potiphar)
    • Two even nicer smocks (for when Potiphar put Joseph in charge of his entire estate and for when Joseph comes up from prison)
    • One even nicer, nicer smock (for when Joseph was put in charge of Egypt – “robes of fine linen”)
    • One “filthy rags” smock (to represent our “righteousness”)
    • One “golden” smock (to represent the righteousness of Christ)
    • Gold chains costume jewelry
    • Ring costume jewelry

 

Preparation

  • Practice the script.

 

Procedure

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

  • “There is famous saying that ‘Clothes make the man.’”
  • “It means that what you wear says a lot about you and that people will judge you based on the clothes that you wear.”
  • “I think we ought to be careful about judging people based on the clothes that they wear.”
  • “They could be a great person inside of terrible clothes.”
  • “For example, Joseph wore many clothes in his lifetime, but for most of his life, Joseph was the same person underneath those clothes.”  (Ask for volunteer to come to the front, and put the plain, white smock on him or her.)
  • “Here’s Joseph, a young man of 17 years.”
  • “Look closely at him.  I want you to tell me if he changes when he gets his new clothes.”
  • “Joseph had 11 brothers, ten older than him.”
  • “In Hebrew culture, the oldest son was supposed to get the best treatment, but Joseph’s father loved him more than all the others, because he was the firstborn son of Rachel, Jacob’s favorite wife.)
  • “To show his love for Joseph, Jacob gave him a fancy coat to wear.”  (Put coat of many colors on volunteer.)
  • “Look closely; is it the same person or a different person underneath?” (Acknowledge responses.  Hopefully, the participants will agree that Joseph was the same person no matter what he was wearing.)
  • “This made Joseph’s brothers really jealous and angry with him, and they got even angrier when Joseph started having dreams about ruling over his brothers.”
  • “The next time the brothers were out shepherding their sheep, Joseph’s father sent him to check on them.”
  • “He made the mistake of wearing his fancy robe to go and find them.”
  • “The brothers were all wearing the clothes of smelly, dirty shepherds, and here came Joseph, wearing the clothes of someone who didn’t have to work because he was so special.”
  • “When they saw Joseph with his fancy coat, they were furious with him and talked about killing him.”
  • “In the end, they decided to sell him to a passing group of slave traders.”  (Put the dingy-colored smock on the volunteer.)
  • “What do you think now?  Is it the same Joseph, or did the clothes change him?”  (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “The slave traders took Joseph to Egypt and sold him to an Egyptian, named Potiphar.  There, he was given the clothes of a servant.”  (Put nicer white smock on volunteer.)
  • “Same Joseph or different?”  (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “Joseph served Potiphar so well that Potiphar soon promoted him and put him in charge of everything in his household.”  (Put even nicer white smock on volunteer.)
  • “Is he different yet, or is he the same Joseph he was when we started the story?”  (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “But then a terrible and unfair thing happened!  Potiphar’s wife accused Joseph of doing something he didn’t do, and Potiphar was so angry that he threw Joseph into prison.”  (Put second dingy smock on volunteer.)
  • “Do these clothes make him someone different?”  (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “Joseph was in prison for years, but he served the prison warden so well that the warden put him in charge of everything in the prison.”
  • “There came a day when Pharaoh (the king of Egypt) had a few dreams that bothered him.”
  • “No one could interpret the dreams for him, but he learned from one of his servants that Joseph had the power to interpret dreams.”
  • “Pharaoh called Joseph up from prison, and they dressed him in nicer clothes to prepare him to meet Pharaoh.”  (Put second even nicer white smock on volunteer.)
  • “Has he changed?”  (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams for him, and Pharaoh was so impressed that he promoted Joseph to the 2nd highest level within Egypt.  Only Pharaoh was more powerful than Joseph.”
  • “Pharaoh had Joseph dressed in robes of fine linen and put gold chains around his neck and an important ring on his finger.”  (Put even nicer, nicer smock, gold chains and ring on volunteer.)
  • “Even in this really nice set of clothes, isn’t Joseph still the same person underneath?”  (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “In this new role, Joseph did even better than he did in all his other roles.”
  • “He helped the Egyptians to save some food during the good years when there was lots of food, and when the famine came, there was plenty of food for everyone in Egypt and in the surrounding nations.”
  • “So, here we have Joseph with his eight different sets of clothes.”  (Show all eight smocks.)
  • “But the Joseph underneath is the same Joseph no matter what he is wearing.”
  • “Joseph always did his best and served those in authority faithfully, and in the end, he was recognized as a great and wise leader by Pharaoh.”
  • “Joseph was a pretty impressive guy!”
  • “When we read about him, most of us think it would be pretty cool to be like Joseph.”
  • “But you know what?  No matter how impressive Joseph is to us, he doesn’t impress God just because he was a good person.”
  • “The Bible tells us in Isaiah 64:5-6, ‘How then can we be saved? All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags.’”
  • “What that means is that even the ‘best’ person in the world – the one who does the most good things – looks like he is dressed in filthy rags to God.”  (Put filthy rags smock on volunteer.)
  • “We can’t save ourselves from Hell just by being good – not even if we are as a good as Joseph was.”
  • “You see, God doesn’t care what you DO until you change WHO you are, and there is only one way to change WHO you are in God’s eyes…you have to accept Jesus (God’s Son) as your Savior.”
  • “Two thousand years ago, Jesus died on a cross to save us from our sins.”
  • “He had to do that because we sin.”
  • “You sin, I sin…everyone who has ever lived sins.”
  • “The Bible says that the penalty for sin is death.  That means separation from God.”
  • “But God loved us so much that he didn’t want us to be separate from Him.”
  • “So He sent His Son, Jesus, to take the penalty of our sin for us.”
  • “Jesus died on a cross to pay for our sins.  Then He rose from the dead to give us new life!”
  • “But you have to accept what Jesus did for you.  It’s a gift, and He won’t make you take it.”
  • “If you want to, you can still pay the penalty for your own sins, but that would be a terrible waste of the gift Jesus bought for you when He died on the cross.”
  • “But here’s what’s cool about accepting Jesus’ gift!”  (Have someone read Isaiah 61:10)
  • “This Scripture is talking about two of the things Jesus did for us by dying on the cross.”
  • “The first is that He clothed us with salvation.  In other words, we get to go to heaven.”
  • “The second is that He dressed us up in a robe of righteousness.  In other words, He covered our unrighteousness (our filthy rags) with His righteousness.”  (Put golden smock on volunteer.)
  • “Now THIS impresses God!”
  • “When we accept Jesus as our Savior, He covers our sinfulness with His perfection.”
  • “Then, whenever God, the Father, looks at us, He sees the righteousness of His Son, Jesus.”
  • “This is the only set of clothes that will ever change WHO you are, because it makes you a child of God.”
  • “It has nothing to do with what you DO, because it’s a gift from Jesus.”
  • “You can’t earn it.  You can only accept it.”
  • “So in a sense, clothes really do make the man, but in God’s eyes, there are only two types of clothes that say anything about WHO you are.”
  • “Are you wearing the filthy rags of sinfulness? (Show the filthy rag smock.) ….or the righteous robe of a child of God?”  (Show the golden smock.)
  • “I hope you will accept the wonderful gift Jesus bought for you.  He really wants you to have it!”  (Thank and dismiss volunteer.  At this point (depending on your tradition), you might want to make an invitation for the audience to accept the gift of salvation and the robe of righteousness that Jesus has purchased for each of us.)

Leave a comment

Filed under acceptance, Agape Love, Belief, Character, Christianity, Eternity, faith, Jesus, Joseph, Object Lesson, Performance, salvation, sanctification, Transformation

Joseph’s Journey


For summer camp this year, I’ve written ten Challenges (Bible activities for small groups and a leader to do together – sometimes in competition with other groups) and some large group lessons on the story of Joseph. They are all located on the Lesson and Material Downloads page (see the link at the top of the screen), and you can find them alphabetically in the list. They all start with the letters “JJ” for “Joseph’s Journey.”

Hope you can find some lessons that will be useful for you!

Leave a comment

Filed under Abraham, Abundance, acceptance, activity, Agape Love, Annointing, Belief, Bible study, blessing, Challenges, Change, Character, Christianity, Comfort Zone, Coping skills, courage, Discipline, distractions, drama, exercise, faith, Fear, forgiveness, Future, Game, Games that Teach, God's dream, God's favor, God's Plan, God's Will, Hands-on, Healing, heart, Hope, Humility, Jesus, Joseph, Kindness, leadership, Lesson, Listening to God, Love, Obedience, Object Lesson, Overcoming obstacles, Pride, purity, Relationships, Repentance, Salt of the earth, sanctification, spiritual disciplines, Spiritual Growth, Spiritual Health, Spiritual Warfare, Strengths, struggles, team, temptation, territory, test, tool, Transformation, Trust, unconditional love, Waiting on the Lord

Weakness (DEVOTION)


As a group, read the following Scriptures, and then discuss the questions below.

  • Psalm 10:2 (the wicked man hunts down the weak)
  • Psalm 41:1-3 (blessed are those who have regard for the weak)
  • Isaiah 40:29-31 (He increases the power of the weak)
  • Ezekiel 34:16 (I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak)
  • Acts 20:35 (we must help the weak)
  • Romans 8:26 (the Spirit helps us in our weakness)
  • Romans 14:1-4 (accept the one whose faith is weak)
  • Romans 15:1 (bear with the failings of the weak)
  • 1 Corinthians 1:26-29 (God chose the weak things to shame the strong)
  • 1 Corinthians 9:22-23 (to the weak, I became weak)
  • 1 Corinthians 12:21-26 (the weaker parts of the body are indispensable)
  • 2 Corinthians 11:30 (I will boast of the things that show my weakness)
  • 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (for when I am weak, then I am strong)
  • Hebrews 5:1-3 (the high priest is subject to weakness)
  1. How does God feel about weakness?
  2. How is this different from how the world often feels about and acts toward weakness?
  3. How are we called to respond to weakness?
  4. How do these Scriptures relate to the weaknesses people have in regard to the work that they do and the relationships that they are in?
  5. Do you think God wants us to fix our weaknesses?  Why or why not?

Leave a comment

Filed under acceptance, Agape Love, Bullying, Challenges, Devotion, Humility, Kindness, Love, Relationships, self-image, Self-worth, spiritual disciplines, Spiritual Growth, Spiritual Health, Strengths, struggles, temptation, Weakness

Stronger Together (LESSON)


Time
30 minutes

Audience

Children, youth, adults

Description

This lesson helps participants understand how important it is to have unity in the Body of Christ.

Scriptures

  • John 13:34-35; 17:20-23
  • Romans 15:5-6
  • Ephesians 4:1-6, 4:9-12, 4:25-32
  • Hebrews 10:23-25

Materials

  • Paper currency (enough bills so that you have one for every three or four participants and one for yourself – NOTE: you are going to have them tear the money into smaller pieces.  If this is considered disrespectful or illegal in your country, you may want to use pictures of currency instead of the real thing.  For that matter, you may not want to see your hard-earned cash being torn into pieces.  Feel free to substitute.)
  • Clear tape (like the kind for wrapping presents.  Enough for each group of three or four participants to have a roll and one for yourself.)
  • Optional – a flipchart or whiteboard and markers
  • Bible

Preparation

  • Write the Scriptures on slips of paper (one per slip) so that you can hand them out to participants.
  • Before you begin teaching, hand out the slips of paper to different participants, who brought their Bibles.
  • Practice the script.

Procedure

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

  • “Today is your lucky day!”
  • “I’ve got extra money, and I would like to share it with you!”
  • “But first, I need to put you into groups.”
  • “I want everyone to line up single-file in the order of how many pets you have ever owned.”  (Or you can choose a different sorting technique.)
  • “I want the person who has owned the most on this side of the room, and the person who has owned the least on this side of the room.  (Gesture to either side of the room as you give these instructions.  It doesn’t matter which side you choose for most or least.)
  • “Everyone else will line up between those two people in the order of the number of pets you’ve owned.”
  • “Any questions?” (Answer questions.) “GO!”
  • “Okay, now we need to see how many pets you’ve had and what kinds.”  (Go down the line and ask each person how many and what kind of pets they owned.  If anyone is in the wrong place based on number of pets, move them to the right place in the line.)
  • “Okay, now I need to put you into small teams to receive your money.”
  • “I am going to number you off – one to ___.”  (You will want three to four people in each group, so count the total number of participants, and divide that number by either three or four.  This will tell you how high they need to count off.  For example, if you have 24 people and want to divide them into groups of four, 24/4=6.  You would have them number off one to six, and that would give you six groups of four people each.  Once you’ve told them how high to count, number them off.)
  • “Now, I want all the ‘ones’ to get together and all the ‘twos’ to get together.”  (Do the same with each number group.)
  • “Great job!  Now here is your money!  Congratulations!”  (Hand out one bill of currency to each group.)
  • “I know, I know…we’ve got a small problem.”
  • “I only gave each group one bill, but there are three (or four) of you.”
  • “Don’t worry; I have a solution!”
  • “I want the person who has the money in each group to tear it into three (or four) equal pieces and hand them out to all the team members.”  (Encourage them to do this.  They may be reluctant.  If so, convince them you are serious by demonstrating with a bill at the front of the room.  Keep encouraging them until every team has torn the bill and shared it equally.)
  • “There!  Isn’t that great?  Everyone happy?”  (Participants will most likely not be too happy and will tell you so.  Act as if you can’t understand why they wouldn’t like your solution.)
  • “What’s wrong?  I just gave you free money!  You should be happy!”  (Listen to their feedback.)
  • “Oh, so you’re saying that the money isn’t worth anything when it’s torn up like that?” (Listen to responses.)
  • “You’re saying that the money is more effective at what it does when it is all together?”  (Listen to responses.)
  • “That’s really interesting!  And it reminds me of something I’ve read in the Bible.”  (Ask everyone to take a seat with his or her groups.  Then, have a volunteer read John 17:20-23.)
  • “This is Jesus’ prayer the night before He died on the cross.”
  • “It’s probably a very important prayer if it’s one of the last ones that He prayed.”
  • “Why do you think He prayed for ‘complete unity’ between the believers and with God?”  (There could be many answers, but one will be so that the world will know that God sent Jesus and loved the believers just as He loved Jesus, His Son.)
  • “That’s not all the Scriptures say about unity between the believers.”  (Have a volunteer read Romans 15:5-6.)
  • “What is Paul saying about unity to the Romans?”  (Answers may include that it enables us to glorify God with one heart and mouth.  Have a volunteer read Ephesians 4:9-12.)
  • “What do you think Paul is saying in this Scripture about unity?”  (Listen to responses.  A main idea that you want to bring out is that being alone isn’t good.  We need others to help us when we get into trouble.)
  • “If Jesus and Paul feel the need to pray for the believers and encourage them to keep unity, it probably isn’t so easy to do.”
  • “What do you think gets in the way of unity among believers?”  (Answers might include differences of opinion, different denominations, differences of beliefs, jealousy, unforgiveness, lack of time, distance, etc…  You may want to put these on a flipchart or whiteboard.  I recommend drawing a line down the middle of the space and writing a minus sign at the top of the left column and a plus sign at the top of the right column.)
  • “That’s quite a list, and I think it would definitely break the unity of a group of believers.”
  • “Unity is hard.  Human nature (our sinful nature) leads us to want to divide rather than do the hard work to stay together.”
  • “There’s an old saying: ‘People like people who are like them.’”
  • “This means that we are drawn to people who look the same, act the same, have the same opinions, have the same backgrounds, etc.”
  • “It’s easier to keep relationships with these people, because we have so much in common.”
  • “If I had let you make your own groups earlier, you probably would have divided up based on ‘dog people’ and ‘cat people’ and ‘fish people’ and ‘hamster people,’ and all of you would have thought that you were better than the other groups.  Am I right?”
  • “But when people are different than us in the way they look or act or think…, we have to work hard to keep the relationships strong.”
  • “In fact, we might have to make some changes in our own lives in order to keep the relationship together.”
  • “So, let’s make a list of things we can do or the changes we can make to preserve or build unity.”  (Have a volunteer read John 13:34-35.)
  • “What’s the ingredient this Scripture mentions that we need to have for unity?”  (Answer should be ‘love.’ .  If you are using the flipchart or whiteboard, write these down on the “plus” side.  Have a volunteer read Hebrews 10:23-25.)
  • “What ingredient does this Scripture mention?”  (Answers should include ‘meeting together’ and ‘encourage one another.’ Have a volunteer read Ephesians 4:1-6.)
  • “What ingredients does Paul mention in this Scripture?”  (Answers should include ‘humility,’ ‘gentleness,’ ‘patience’ and ‘bearing with one another in love.’  Have a volunteer read Ephesians 4:25-32.)
  • “Last one.  What is Paul telling the Ephesians to do in this Scripture in order to preserve unity?”  (Answers should include ‘put off falsehood’ (or ‘be honest with each other’), ‘speak truthfully,’ ‘be angry sometimes but don’t sin by holding onto your anger,’ ‘do not steal from each other,’ ‘do your share of the work,’ ‘share with those in need,’ ‘don’t gossip, spread rumors or criticize,’ ‘build others up,’ ‘get rid of bitterness, rage, anger, fighting, slander (or ’saying bad things about others’), and any kind of bad feelings for others,’ ‘be kind and compassionate,” and ‘forgive each other.’)
  • “Look at all the things we need to do to keep our unity!”
  • “How are we ever going to be successful at all this stuff?”
  • “The good news is, we don’t have to do it by ourselves.”
  • “In truth, we are a lot like the money you have in your hands.”
  • “It doesn’t have any power in itself to put itself back together.  Neither do we.”
  • “But we do have a power given to us by the Holy Spirit.”  (Bring out some of the tape, and use it to tape back together the bill that you tore earlier.)
  • “The Holy Spirit is a little like this tape.”
  • “He has the power to bring us back together.”
  • “All we have to do is surrender to God’s will and allow Him to mend us, to bring us back together.”  (Pass out rolls of tape to each of the groups.)
  • “Are you willing to allow the Holy Spirit bring you back together?”
  • “Then tape that money back together.”  (Give them a few moments to tape the money.)
  • “Now the money is powerful and effective again!”
  • “Know this: one of the Enemy’s favorite and most effective weapons against us is a strategy called ‘Divide and Conquer.’”
  • “The Scripture says that Satan is like a roaring lion watching for someone to devour.”
  • “If you have every watched Animal Planet, you probably know that lions don’t attack herds; they attack the animals that wander away from the herd.”
  • “They attack the weak ones, the sick ones, the lazy ones, the ones doing their own thing.”
  • “That’s because attacking the herd is dangerous; they could easily trample the lion or gore him or kick him in the head.”
  • “Satan wants to divide us from the herd – the rest of the Body of Christ – so that he can attack us and have a really good chance of taking us down.”
  • “Don’t give him the opportunity!  Stick with the herd!”
  • “We are stronger and more powerful together!”  (You can allow the participants to keep the money or you can collect it back.  It might be interesting to encourage them to pool their money in order to increase its buying ‘power.’  Maybe they could buy something with it that would benefit everyone.)

Leave a comment

Filed under Agape Love, Christianity, conflict management, Conflict Resolution, forgiveness, Relationships, Satan's tactics, teambuilding, unity

Exceeding Abundantly (OBJ LESSON)


Time
25 minutes

Description
This object lesson teaches about greed and selfishness and how God wants us to deal with the blessings that He gives us.  It uses a metaphor based on the two seas in Israel.

Scriptures
•    Luke 6:38, 12:13-21
•    Ephesians 3:20-21

Materials
•    Small, plastic cups (about 50)
•    Big, plastic cups (two)
•    Pitcher
•    Bucket
•    Water (enough to fill the pitcher)
•    Cookie sheet with a lip around the edge
•    Table
•    Bible

Preparation
•    Fill the pitcher with water
•    Practice the script.

Procedure
Use the following script and instructions (or modify to suit your needs):
•    “Let’s read a story that Jesus told about a greedy man.”  (Ask volunteer to read Luke 12:13-21.)
•    “Why do you think Jesus told them this story?”  (Listen to responses.  The main idea is that Jesus wanted them to see that greed and the desire for earthly things were not the most important things for those in the Kingdom of God.)
•    “What do you think about the rich man in this story?”  (Listen to responses.)
•    “What else do you think the man could have done with all his extra crop?”  (Listen to responses.  The one you are looking for to begin the object lesson is that he could have shared the food with people who didn’t have very much.)
•    “I’m going to give you a picture of how God wants us to handle the blessings He gives us.”
•    “I need everyone to stand up and form a single-file line.”  (Help them get into a line.  It doesn’t have to be straight.  If you have a large number of participants, you can wrap the line around the room.)
•    “This line represents some very important bodies of water in the land of Israel.”
•    “At this end (designate one end of the line) is the Sea of Galilee.”  (Hand the participant on that end one of the large cups, and ask him/her to hold it.)
•    “And at this end (designate the other end of the line) is the Dead Sea.”  (Hand the participant on the other end the second large cup, and ask him/her to hold it.  Place the bucket nearby.  If you have a Bible with maps in it, you might want to show the group what Israel looks like and point out the two seas with the Jordan River between them.)
•    “The two seas are connected by the Jordan River.”  (Hand all the remaining participants one small cup each and ask them to hold it.)
•    “Now, even though these two seas are connected by the same river, they are very different from one another.”
•    “The Sea of Galilee contains 27 species of fish, some found nowhere else in the world.”
•    “Its sweet waters serve as the main water supply for Israel, and its shores are lush with vegetation.”
•    “Many people make their living from its waters, fishing or planting crops near the shore.”
•    “The Dead Sea, on the other hand, didn’t get its name for nothing.”
•    “There are no fish, no fishermen, no vegetation on its shores.”
•    “It’s twice as wide and almost four times as long as the Sea of Galilee, but the Dead Sea is toxic and bitter.”
•    “There is no life in it or around it except bacteria and one type of algea.”
•    “Why is it dead?  There are several reasons.”
•    “For one, it’s the point of lowest elevation on the planet outside of the ocean depths.”
•    “The Jordan River brings water and minerals into the Dead Sea, but it’s so low that the only way the water gets out is by evaporation.”
•    “And it’s so hot in this part of the world that seven million gallons of water evaporate from the Dead Sea every day!”
•    “So the water evaporates, but the minerals (like salt) stay.”
•    “In fact, the Dead Sea is six times saltier than the ocean!”
•    “You are probably wondering why I gave you the cups.”
•    “We are going to pretend like we are the two seas and the Jordan River to make a point about sharing what God blesses you with.”  (Go to the end of the line with the person representing the Sea of Galilee, and use the pitcher to pour water into his/her cup.  Then instruct him/her to pour water into the next person’s cup and so on down the line until the water reaches the “Dead Sea” participant.  Each time the “Sea of Galilee” participant’s cup of water is emptied, fill it back up.  Each time the “Dead Sea” participant’s cup fills up, have him/her empty it into the bucket.)
•    “In this demonstration, I represent the top of the Jordan River, which starts before the Sea of Galilee.”
•    “I’m sending water and fish and minerals into the Sea of Galilee, and those are travelling down through the Jordan River to the Dead Sea.”  (Keep pouring out water whenever necessary.)
•    “As a result, the Jordan River Valley is considered to be one of the most fertile places on the planet.
•    “It takes all these minerals and water down, down to the Dead Sea, but the fish know not to get too close or they will die.”
•    “Then, the water evaporates from the Dead Sea, leaving all the salt and minerals behind.”  (Have “Dead Sea” volunteer pour water into the bucket to demonstrate evaporation.)
•    “Now, the water is like God’s blessings, and I’m like God, pouring out blessings to this person.”
•    “He/she is then sharing those blessings with someone.”
•    “As long as he/she keeps sharing those blessings, I’ll keep more blessings coming.”
•    “But do you see what the Dead Sea person is doing?”
•    “He/she is keeping all the blessings for himself/herself!”
•     “That doesn’t work with God.”
•    “Just like in the story, God says, ‘You fool!  I’m taking to take those blessings away from you and give them to someone else.’”
•    “And so, just like that, when we try to keep all the blessings for ourselves, they evaporate!”
•    “Do you want to be a ‘Sea of Galilee’ person or a ‘Dead Sea’ person?”  (Listen to responses.)
•    “’Sea of Galilee’ people keep getting new blessings from God.”
•    “They enjoy those blessings and then pass them on to someone else, which gives them the blessing of the joy of sharing.”
•    “Okay, pass the last of your blessings down to the Dead Sea, and then bring your cups over here.”  (Move to the table, and set out the cookie sheet.)
•    “Everyone who has small cups, place them on this cookie sheet right-side-up.”  (Have them make a single layer of cups with each cup as close to the others as possible.  All sides should touch other cups if possible.  Once you have a bottom layer down, start stacking cups (use extras when you need to) on top to make a second layer.  Each cup should rest on top of three different cups beneath it.  When the second layer is done, add a third and a fourth until you have just one cup the very top of the pyramid you’ve created.)
•    “Let’s pretend these cups represent each one of us, and this pitcher represents God.”
•    “God pours his blessings out to you, and He wants you to enjoy them.”  (Demonstrate by pouring water into the top cup slowly and evenly.)
•    “But God never intends for you to keep that blessing all for yourself.”
•    “God will bless you more than you can handle all by yourself, and He wants you to share your overflow with those people He has put in your life.”  (Allow the water to overflow the top cup into the cups beneath it.  Ask volunteer to read Ephesians 3:20-21.)
•    “This Scripture says that God is able to bless us immeasurably more than we ask for or than we even imagine.”
•    “In the King James version of the Bible, it says that God is able to do exceeding abundantly more than we ask for or imagine.”
•    “Isn’t that cool?”
•    “The blessings will just keep coming and coming!”  (Keep pouring until the cups on the bottom level start to overflow.  It’s likely that not all the cups will receiver water from the upper rows.  That’s okay.)
•    “You just keep blessing those around you with your overflow, and God will keep blessing you.”
•    “Now, you know these people in the second row, but maybe you don’t know the people in the third row.”
•    “When you bless those close to you, it gives them the ability to bless those who are close to them who you don’t even know.”
•    “Then those in this third row can bless those in the fourth row!”
•    “When people get blessed, it’s easier for them to bless others.”
•    “And maybe some of them know God as their Lord, too.”
•    “God will bless them directly in addition to the blessings they get from knowing you.”  (Start filling the emptier cups on the second, third or fourth rows, and allow them to overflow to the rows beneath them.  Ask volunteer to read Luke 6:38.)
•    “God wants to bless you so much that it just runs over like this water, but He says that He will use the same measure you use to bless others.”
•    “In other words, the size of cup you use to pour our blessings on others is the same size cup God will use to bless you.”
•    “What size cup do you want to use to bless others?”  (Listen to responses.)
•    “I’m going to use the biggest cup I can find, because I want God’s blessings to keep coming and coming in huge amounts.”  (Thank everyone and let them take their seats.)

Leave a comment

Filed under Agape Love, generosity, Hands-on, Kindness, Love, Object Lesson, Relationships, sharing, unconditional love

Emotional Banking (GAME)


Time
30-45 minutes

Description
This game helps participants understand the concept of Emotional Bank Accounts (EBAs).

Audience
Children, youth, adults

Materials
•    500 “Credits” for each team in the following denominations and amounts (100 Credit Bill (1), 50 Credit Bills (4), 20 Credit Bills (5), 10 Credit Bills (10)).  See the file “Emotional Banking Credits Currency” on the Lesson and Material Downloads page for printouts of the credits.
•    Copy of “Give a Big Hug” cards (two for each team – they are in the same file as above.)
•    Copy of “Emotional Banking Rule” (one per team – see printout at the end of this lesson)
•    Copy of “Debrief Questions” (one per team – see printout at the end of this lesson)
•    Envelopes for each team (one per team)
•    Markers
•    Flipchart
•    (Optional) A prizes(s) for the winning team(s)

Preparation
•    Prepare an envelope for each team.
o    Count out 500 “Credits” in the following denominations and amounts (100 Credit Bill (1), 50 Credit Bills (4), 20 Credit Bills (5), 10 Credit Bills (10)).
o    Place all “Credits” in the team’s envelope.
o    Place one “Give a Big Hug” card in the team’s envelope.
•    Prepare a Scoring flipchart or whiteboard for each round like the one pictured below.  (You will need five (5) total scoring grids.)
•    Practice the script.

ROUND 1    Team 1    Team 2    Team 3    Team 4
Starting
Balance
Deposit Made
(-)
Deposit Received (+)
Winner?
(Y/N)
Bonus
(+)
Penalty
(-)
Net
Balance

Procedure
Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):
•    (Divide group into an even number of teams, and number or name the teams.  Group sizes are best between 4-6, but you could run the game with a “team” as small as one person.  Teams will be competing against each other to have the largest remaining balance.)
•    “We are going to play a game that will help us to understand some of the ideas behind an Emotional Bank Account (EBA).”
•    “If you are familiar with what a normal bank account is, you’ll be able to easily understand what an EBA is.”
•    “An EBA is an account that a person sets up in their mind when they meet someone.”
•    “Just like with a normal bank account, they then make deposits into that account and take withdrawals from it.”
•    “The balance in the account goes up and down depending upon whether or not the two people have good or bad experiences with each other.”
•    “Good experiences become deposits in the EBA, and the people will feel good about each other.
•    “Bad experiences become withdrawals from the EBA, and the people will feel bad about each other.”
•    “Does this make sense?” (Answer questions if anyone is lost.)
•    “EBAs are important for Christians to think about, because we want build relationships with other Christians and with people outside the Church.”
•    “If we are always taking withdrawals from other peoples’ accounts, it will be difficult for us to worship with them, work with them, minister to them or get them to trust our Savior.”
•    “As much as possible, we should be making deposits in their accounts.”
•    “This is likely to happen if we are showing them unconditional love in the same way that Jesus has shown unconditional love to us.”
•    “So, back to our game…”
•    “Each group is a team, and each team is in competition with every other team to end the game with the most “Credits” in your EBA.”
•    “’Credits’ look like these (show a few Credits), and each team is receiving an envelope with exactly 500 Credits in it.”  (Pass out envelopes.)
•    “While you are competing against all other teams for your final EBA balance, you will only be exchanging envelopes with one other team during each round.”
•    “Which team that is could change from round to round, but you will only exchange with one other team.”  (Designate which teams will pair with which other teams during Round 1.  You can simply pick the teams that are closest to each other.)
•    “Before you exchange envelopes each round, you will put a deposit of Credits into it.”
•    “It is important that you make a bigger deposit in your envelope than the deposit the other team makes to you, because an additional bonus will be awarded to the team giving the highest deposit between the two of you.”
•    “This will help us demonstrate the principle of sowing and reaping from Galatians 6:9-10, where Paul tells: ‘Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.’
•    “If you do good to the team you trade with, you will reap a harvest when I announce the bonus for that round.”  (If they ask, you can tell them that the bonus amount will change each round.)
•    “But Paul also says in Galatians 6:7-8, ‘Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.’”
•    “If you do bad to the team you trade with, you will reap destruction when I announce the bonus for that round, because you will have to pay it out of your Credits.”
•    “So, the team making the biggest deposit will reap a bonus, and the team making the smallest deposit will reap a penalty.”
•    “Does that make sense to everyone?”  (Check for understanding.)
•    “A few rules for the exchanges:
o    “A team cannot make a deposit to another team that is more than the total amount of Credits they have.  For example, if the other team has 200 Credits, you cannot make a deposit of 250 Credits.  That wouldn’t be fair to them.”
o    “Teams have each received in their envelopes two cards that say, ‘Give a Big Hug,’ on them.  They can put this card in the envelope with their deposit if they want to, but it will only be effective if there is a tie between the two teams.  In the event of a tie (i.e., both teams gave the same deposit), the team who ‘gave a big hug’ will receive the win.”
o    “Teams can reuse ‘Give a Big Hug’ cards given to them by other teams.”
•    “I will keep totals for each round on the flipcharts / whiteboard at the front of the room.”
•    “Here’s a copy of the rules of the game to help you strategize as a team.”  (Hand out ‘Emotional Banking Rules’ sheet to each team.)
•    “Are there any questions?”
•    “Then, let’s begin.  You have three minutes to come up with your team’s strategy for Round 1.”  (Allow three minutes for strategy.  At the end of the strategy time, have them put their deposits in the envelopes and trade with the team with which you paired them.  Have someone from each team come up to the flipchart / whiteboard and write in the ‘Deposit Made’ and ‘Deposit Received’ for their team.)
•    (If there is a tie, ask if anyone ‘gave a big hug.’  The team that ‘gave a big hug’ gets the win.  Mark the winning teams on the flipchart / whiteboard.)
•    (Announce the Bonus / Penalty for the round according to the following amounts:
o    Round 1 – 50 Credits
o    Round 2 – 200 Credits
o    Round 3 – 120 Credits
o    Round 4 – 240 Credits
o    Round 5 – 350 Credits
•    (Add these amounts as a Bonus to the winning teams and as a Penalty to the losing teams.  Then, tally the scores for the round, and announce them to the teams.  Follow this process after each round.)
•    (Between rounds, allow three minutes each time for strategic planning.)
•    (You can have the same teams trade with each other each round, or you can mix it up.  If you decide to change which teams are paired for each round, be sure you remember which teams are paired when you do the scoring.)
•    (After the final round, announce the winning team and award a prize if you choose.  Pass out the ‘Debrief Questions’ sheet to each team, and ask them to spend ten minutes going through the questions.)
•    (Then, as a large group, ask for general insights about Emotional Bank Accounts.  Some points that you might want to bring out if they aren’t mentioned are:
o    “Even large deposits can be a withdrawal from the other person’s account if they are less than we are expecting or less than we feel we have put into the relationship.  For example, you might be disappointed if you thought your reward for cleaning the garage was going to be a trip to an amusement park but then found out it was just a week without chores.”
o    “While the amounts we used for the game were measureable, the size of deposits and withdrawals in real life EBAs is highly subjective and based on each person’s expectations and what they tell themselves about WHY we did what we did.  For example, you might tell someone that they look very nice today and be surprised to find that they interpreted that as a withdrawal from their account, because they suspected that you only complimented them in order to get something in return.”
o    “Sometimes we get so far behind in a relationship that it is impossible to catch up without many, many consistent deposits over a long time.  However, we can also hope for forgiveness, which restores our deposits to our account right away.”
o    “Making deposits in other peoples’ accounts is not really about strategy; it’s about a genuine motive to improve the relationship.  This activity was a simulation to help us experience just a few of the aspects of EBAs, but it wasn’t supposed to be a perfect picture of them.”

Debrief Questions

1.    How was this activity like making deposits and withdrawals from Emotional Bank Accounts (EBAs)?
2.    When you believe you’ve given more to a relationship than the other person, how does this affect your feelings about the relationship?
3.    When you believe you’ve given less to a relationship than the other person, how does this affect your feelings about the relationship?
4.    How did the other team’s history of giving impact your level of giving?  Does this relate to real relationships in any way?
5.    If this had not been a competitive activity, what would have changed about your strategy?
6.    Was there anything about the “Give a Big Hug” option that was similar to real life?
7.    What additional lessons can you take away from this activity?

Emotional Banking Rules

o    Your goal is to finish the game with the most “Credits” in y our Emotional Bank Account (EBA).
o    There will be five rounds.
o    The amount of deposit you choose to make is entirely up to you (as long as it doesn’t break the next rule), but the team should have consensus about it.
o    You cannot make a deposit greater than the total of the other team’s balance.
o    Your deposit should be placed in your envelope before trading begins.
o    If you choose to “Give a Big Hug,” put the “Give a Big Hug” card in the envelope with your deposit.
o    Envelopes will be exchanged at the same time so that not team has an advantage.
o    Scoring will be done as follows:
o    The team making the largest of the two deposits will receive a bonus.  (The amount will change each round, and the facilitator will not reveal how much it is until the round is completed.)
o    The team making the smallest of the two deposits will receive a penalty.  It will be the same amount as the bonus of the winning team.
o    The team receiving the penalty will pay the other team their bonus.
o    In the event of a tie, a team that “gave a big hug” will receive the win.
o    Teams can reuse the “Give a Big Hug” cards that they get from other teams.
o    The facilitator will keep a record of all deposits, bonuses and penalties on a score chart.

Leave a comment

Filed under Agape Love, Christianity, Game, Games that Teach, Kindness, Love, Relationships, unconditional love