Category Archives: Authenticity

Salt of the Earth (Obj Lesson)


Time

10 minutes
Description

This object lesson teaches what it means when God calls us to be the salt of the earth.

Scriptures

  • Matthew 5:13
  • 2 Kings 2:20-22

Materials

  • Salt that you can pass around for the kids to taste
  • Small, draw-string bag with salt in it
  • Salt shaker
  • Piece of meat (fish, chicken or beef – real or fake – I used Play Doh) with salt on it
  • Medicine bottle filled with salt
  • Bottle of water
  • Bible

Preparation

  • Put salt in the draw-string bag.
  • Salt the piece of meat on all sides.
  • Fill the medicine bottle with salt.

Procedure

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

  • “Jesus says that we are the salt of the earth.”  (Have volunteer read Matthew 5:13.  Then begin passing the salt around, and encourage everyone to taste some.)
  • “Salt was very important during the time that Jesus was here on earth.”
  • “Roman soldiers often received part of their pay in salt.”  (Set out bag with salt in it.  As an alternative, you can put all these props into a bag and let a volunteer try to figure out which prop you want put out each time.  You can coach them if they run into trouble.)
  • “In fact, the word we use for what you get paid for working is ‘salary,’ and ‘salary’ actually means ‘salt money.’”
  • “Salt was also important for making things taste better, just like it is today.”  (Set out the salt shaker.)
  • “What would potato chips or French fries be like without salt?”
  • “When Jesus compares us to salt, He is saying that we should make things better.”
  • “We should make life better for others.  They should enjoy being around us.”
  • “But Jesus asks, ‘What good is salt if it has lost its flavor?’”
  • “He says that it will be thrown out and trampled underfoot.”
  • “The Romans use to make roads out of bad salt that wasn’t salty anymore.”
  • “In fact, one of their greatest military roads was the Via Salaria, or the Salt Road.”
  • “Jesus was saying that if we aren’t salty any more as Christians, we are no longer making life better for those around us.”
  • “And so He asks, if you aren’t making things better anymore, what good are we?”
  • “He doesn’t have any use for us here on earth unless we are going to make things better, because that is the work He has for us to do.”
  • “But salt was good for more than just salaries and making things taste better.”
  • “People also used it to preserve meat.” (Set out piece of meat with salt on it.)
  • “You see, they didn’t have refrigerators back then, so if they wanted their fish, chicken or their beef to not go bad, they covered it with salt.”
  • “The salt kept bacteria from growing on the meat and spoiling it, and it kept the flies from laying their eggs in it.”
  • “When Jesus says that we are the salt of the earth, He is saying that we should be preserving (which means saving) the earth.”
  • “We should be saving those who are lost and headed towards Hell.”
  • “Without us, the bacteria of sin would grow unchallenged in the hearts of those who don’t know Jesus, and Satan, who is also known as Beelzebub (or the Lord of the Flies) would plant evil in their hearts.”
  • “But that’s not all that salt can do.”
  • “Salt also heals.”  (Set out medicine bottle filled with salt.)
  • “When you get a sore throat, one of the best things you can do for it is to gargle with hot, salty water.”
  • “Elijah used salt in 2 Kings 2:20-22 to heal poisonous water.”
  • “When Jesus says we are the salt of the earth, He is saying that we should bring healing to those who are sick with sin.”
  • “But that’s not all that salt can do.”
  • “Salt also creates thirst.” (Set out a bottle of water.)
  • “If you eat something salty, you immediately want something to drink.”
  • “When you buy popcorn at the movies, I bet you always get a drink, because you know that you are going to be thirsty after eating it.”
  • “When Jesus is saying that we are the salt of the earth, He is saying that we should create thirst for the living water (which is the Holy Spirit) that God offers to every person on earth.”
  • “When people see how much God has blessed us, they will want to know Jesus as their Savior, too.”
  • “So, salt may have seemed pretty ordinary to you, but now I hope you see how important it is.”
  • “Salt has value. It makes things better; it saves; it heals and it creates thirst.”
  • “That’s what we should do as followers of Jesus.”
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Filed under Authenticity, blessing, Character, Christianity, Daily walk, Evangelism, Healing, impact, Love, Object Lesson

Fruit of the Spirit Jenga


 Time

15-20 minutes

Description

This object lesson teaches how important it is to exhibit the fruit of the Spirit.  It uses the popular Jenga ® game from Hasbro.

 

Materials

  • Jenga ® game (or a similar game that is played with a block tower)
  • Label maker or permanent marker

 

Preparation

  • Using the label maker or the permanent marker, label all the Jenga blocks with “Jesus” and the fruit of the Spirit from Galatians 5:22-23.  If the tower his 16 levels tall, you can use the numbers to the right of each label to determine how many blocks will be allocated to each one.


·      Jesus (16 blocks)

·      Love (4 blocks)

·      Joy (4 blocks)

·      Peace (4 blocks)

·      Patience (4 blocks)     

·      Kindness (4 blocks)

·      Goodness (3 blocks)

·      Faithfulness (3 blocks)

·      Gentleness (3 blocks)

·      Self-control (3 blocks)


·      Repeat the labeling process for each Jenga ® set until you have enough for each table group or for each set of 6-8 participants.

·      Set up the towers (each level should run perpendicular to the one below it), and return them to their packaging.

o   The “Jesus” blocks should be the center block of each level.

·      Set out one tower per table group.

 

Procedure

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

·      “We’re going to play a game using the block towers in the middle of your tables.”

·      “Carefully remove the packaging so that your tower will continue standing.”

·      “Here are the rules of the game:

o   Each person will use one hand (and one hand only) to remove a block from the tower.

o   Be careful not to make the tower fall when you remove the block, because if the tower falls after you’ve touched it, you lose.

o   If one person successfully removes a block without knocking down the tower, it becomes the next person’s turn.  Play moves clockwise around the table.

o   Keep playing until someone knocks the tower over – just make sure it isn’t you!

o   And be sure not to bump the table, because you might accidentally cause the tower to fall.

o   We will continue playing until all groups have the tower fall, so if your group finishes a game before the others, you can rebuild your tower and start again.”

·      “Does anyone have any questions about how to play?”  (Allow groups to play, and celebrate the team that was able to hold out the longest.)

·      “Did you notice anything about the pieces you pulled out of the towers?”  (Listen for them to acknowledge that the pieces had words written on them and that many had “Jesus” written on them.)

·      “Right.  Each level had ‘Jesus’ as the center block.  Does anyone know what the other words represented?” (Listen for someone to mention the fruit of the Spirit, but if they don’t, have someone read Galatians 5:22-23.)

·      “Those nine words represent what we call “the fruit of the Spirit.”

·      “When we are walking closely with the Lord, our lives should show some fruit of the Spirit’s work within us.”

  • “The longer we are Christians, the more fruit we should show.”
  • “So, what do you think the towers represented?”  (Listen for someone to say, ‘our lives,’ or ‘our Christian walk.’”
  • “Exactly!  The tower is a picture of our life as a Christian.”
  • “What does the game illustrate about our Christian walk?”  (Listen for responses.)
  • “We can fail to show love (hold up a block from one of the games), and the tower will still stand.”
  • “We can fail to show patience, and our lives will still look normal to everyone around us.”   (Hold up another block.)
  • “We can fail to show several of these fruits in our life, and people can still think that we are godly Christians who are following the Lord closely.”  (Hold up several blocks.)
  • “But fruit of the Spirit that disappears from our tower, the more likely it’s going to fall.”
  • “When it does, people are often confused and surprised.  They thought we were walking so closely with God and didn’t realize how close to collapse we were.”
  • “Why do you think I put a ‘Jesus’ block in the center of each level?”  (Listen to responses.)
  • “Yes, if Jesus isn’t at the center of our lives, it’s not likely that we will show much fruit in our walk.”
  • “We show fruit of the Spirit by following God closely and by keeping Jesus at the center of our lives.”
  • “Studying our Bibles, going to church, spending time with Christian friends, praying…these are just a few ways for us to follow God so that we show more fruit.”
  • “When we stop doing these things, the fruit starts to fall off our tree.  We get angry quickly, we fail to show kindness, we do things we shouldn’t do, we lose our joy or peace…”
  • “Before too long, people will notice the changes, and our tower will come tumbling down.”
  • “In your table groups (or with a partner), talk about the fruit of the Spirit that you are struggling to show lately.  Is it love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness or self-control?”
  • “Then tell them what you plan to do to change things so that you show more fruit in that area.” (Allow a few minutes for discussion.  Then invite anyone who wants to share their thoughts or their commitment with the rest of the group to do so.)
  • “Remember to guard your fruit.  The Enemy will try to pick a piece at a time, and before you know it, you won’t have any left.”
  • “Stay close to God by spending time with Him and with other believers, and you will have more and more fruit so that your towers stay strong.”

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Filed under Authenticity, Character, Christianity, Daily walk, Game, Games that Teach, Hands-on, Jesus, Kindness, Love, Object Lesson, Spiritual Health

Gumball Magnets



Time

10 minutes


Description

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

Materials

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

· Box of multi-colored gumballs

· Magnet (just about any kind will do)

· Clear container in which to mix gumballs and magnets

· Display table

Preparation

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

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

· Practice the script.

Procedure

· “I have here a bucket of gumballs.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jigsaw Body


Time

20 minutes

Description

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

Materials

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

Preparation

· Set up projector and screen.

· Practice the script.

Procedure

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Filed under Authenticity, Challenges, Christianity, diversity, individuality, Object Lesson, Relationships, self-image, struggles