Category Archives: forgiveness

Restored (GAME)


15-20 minutes

Peter denied knowing Jesus three times.  After Jesus rose from the dead, he reinstated Peter to leadership of the church by giving him three opportunities to express his love for Jesus.  In this activity, children will try to knock down three cans labeled, “I don’t know him!” with beanbags or balls labeled, “Yes, Lord, you know I love you!”



  • John 18:15-18
  • John 18:25-27
  • John 21:15-17



  • 3 canned foods labeled, “I don’t know him!”
  • 3 beanbags or balls labeled, “Yes, Lord, you know I love you!”
  • Note cards or duct tape to use to label the cans and the beanbags/balls.
  • 1 permanent marker for labeling
  • 1 surface (like a overturned bucket or table) to set the cans on
  • Masking tape
  • Bible



  • Label the cans of food and the beanbags or balls.
  • Select a space to play the game.
  • Stack the three cans (two on the bottom and one on the top) on the bucket or table.
  • Use the masking tape to lay down a “throwing line” about ten feet away from the cans. (The children will stand behind this line to make their throws.)
  • Practice the script.



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

  • “We’re going to play a game called, ‘Restored.’”
  • “It’s about Jesus and Peter.”
  • “Peter told Jesus one time that even if everyone else left Him, he never would.”
  • “Peter even carried around a sword in case he needed to defend Jesus against an attacker.”
  • “But one night, the Jewish leaders sent their guards to arrest Jesus.”
  • “Peter attacked with his sword, but he hurt a servant instead of the guards.”
  • “Jesus healed the man that Peter had cut and then let the guards arrest Him.”
  • “Peter and all of Jesus’ best friends got scared and ran away.”
  • “Peter followed the guards from a distance as they took Jesus to the Jewish leaders.”
  • “The guards took Jesus to the house of the top Jewish leader and put Him on trial for crimes He didn’t commit.”
  • “Peter waited in the courtyard while the trial was going on, and people started to notice that he looked like one of Jesus’ followers.”
  • “They asked him three times if he was one of Jesus’ followers, and he denied it each time.”
  • “Jesus wasn’t surprised, though.”
  • “He had told Peter that he would deny knowing Jesus three times before the rooster crowed.”
  • “Sure enough, when Peter denied he knew Jesus for the third time, a rooster crowed, and Jesus looked directly into Peter’s eyes.”
  • “Peter was so ashamed that he ran away and cried and cried.”
  • “When Jesus needed Peter the most, Peter wasn’t a very good friend.”
  • “But even though Peter wasn’t a very good friend to Jesus, Jesus still wanted Peter to lead His followers.”
  • “After Jesus rose from the dead, He met with Peter to let him know that he was forgiven.”
  • “Then, one morning, Jesus did a strange thing.”
  • “He asked Peter three times if Peter loved Him.”  (Have volunteer read John 21:15-17.)
  • “By asking Peter this question three times, Jesus was letting him know that Peter was forgiven and restored to a leadership position for Jesus’ followers.”
  • “Each ‘I love you, Lord,’ was like a big eraser getting rid of the ‘I don’t know Hims!.’”
  • “So, this game is like the Bible story.”
  • “Each of these cans is labeled, ‘I don’t know him!’ and represents the three times Peter denied knowing Jesus after Jesus had been arrested.”
  • “Each bean bag (or ball) is labeled, ‘Yes, Lord, you know I love you!’ and represents the three times Peter was given a chance to express his love to Jesus after Jesus rose from the dead.”
  • “Everyone will take turns throwing three bean bags (or balls) at the cans from a distance of about ten (10) feet.”
  • “If you knock the cans down, it will be like erasing Peter’s denials with his confessions of love for Jesus.”
  • “Want to play?”  (Let the children line up and take turns trying to knock over the cans.  Each child gets three throws before you reset the cans for the next child.  After each child has had at least one chance to knock the cans over, discuss the following debrief questions.)


Debrief Questions

  1. How do you think Peter felt after denying Jesus three times?
  2. Do you remember why Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love me?” three times?  Why did He do that?
  3. How do you think Peter felt after Jesus gave him three chances to confess his love for Jesus?
  4. Do you believe God forgives you for every bad thing you do?  Why or why not?


Filed under Church, forgiveness, Game, Grace, Jesus, leadership, Peter, Relationships



This short drama reenacts the story of Zacchaeus the Tax Collector from Luke 19:1-10.  It is intended to make the story a little easier for young minds to understand or to give new perspective for older minds.



  • Have a ladder ready and off to the side for “Zach” to use.
  • Assemble a costume for the person playing Jesus (white robe, sash or shawl, beard, etc.)



SCENE:         A crowd of three or four people is standing around waiting for something special to happen and straining to see who is coming in the distance.  Zach enters from behind the crowd but can’t see what all the excitement is about. The actor should come in on his knees to simulate being much shorter than all the others.


Zach –              “Hey, what’s going on?”


Person 1 –        (Not even looking at Zach but still watching for something special to happen) “Quiet down, little man!  We’re waiting for the miracle worker.”


Zach –              (Trying to pry a space between people so that he can see) “Miracle worker?  I want to see!  Can you let me through?”


Person 2 –        (Intentionally blocking his way) “Oh, no you don’t!  The miracle worker isn’t interested in someone like you.  You’re a bad person!”


Zach –              (Trying to pry a space between people in another part of the crowd) “Come on, guys! I just want to see him!  I heard he has someone like me on his team.”


Person 3 –        (Blocking the way) “You mean a tax collector?  (Looking puzzled and asking a question of the person next to him/her) Yeah, why DID he pick that Matthew guy to be on his team?  All those tax collectors are criminals.  He must have chosen Matthew because he is rich from stealing our money!”


Zach –              (Still trying to break through) “I don’t think that’s why…I heard Matthew left all his money behind when he followed the miracle worker.  Please let me through!  I should be allowed to see him, too!”


Person 1 –        (Blocking the way) “Not if I can help it!  Any miracles he does today will be for me!”


                        (Zach realizes he can’t get through the crowd and comes up with a better idea.  He grabs a ladder and climbs up on top (on his knees if possible and safe).  Just then, Jesus arrives and calls out to him.)


Jesus –             “Hi, Zach!  What are you doing up there?  Come down so that I can spend some time with you!”


                        (The crowd gasps!  Zach climbs down and forces his way through the crowd to Jesus.)


Person 2 –        “Doesn’t he know what a bad person that guy is?”


Person 3 –        “That’s TWO tax collectors he has talked to!  What kind of miracle worker is this?”


Person 1 –        “Hey, what about me?  I want a miracle!”


Zach –              (Looking up at Jesus) “Jesus, they are right.  I’ve been a bad person…but I’m willing to fix it right here and right now!  I will give half of what I own to the poor, and I’ll pay back anyone I’ve cheated four times as much as I took!”


Jesus –             (Smiling) “Okay, Zach, it’s a start…and a good one.  I don’t care as much about what you’ve done in the past as I do about what you choose to do today, and you are choosing well.”


Zach –              (Taking Jesus by the hand and walking toward the door) “I want you to meet my friends.  (Pausing)  Uh….they are a lot like me…you don’t mind, do you?”


Jesus –             “Of COURSE I don’t mind, Zach…those are exactly the people I came to find.  I want to meet all your friends!”


Zach –              “Awesome!  They are going to love you! (Pausing before opening the door) Hey, can you do one of those miracles and make me taller?”


Jesus –             (Opening the door for Zach, and walking through) “Zach, you stood taller today than you have in your entire life!”





1 Comment

Filed under drama, forgiveness, God's Plan, Obedience, Quick Drama, Repentance, salvation, Transformation, unconditional love

The Rest of the Story (LESSON)



30 minutes



This lesson tells of Jesus’ resurrection and the restoration of Peter to leadership.  Peter denied Jesus three times, and Jesus forgave him three times just so that he would know and understand that he was completely forgiven and that God could still use him.



  • Luke 24:37-43
  • John 20:1-9; 21:15-19
  • Acts 2:14-41
  • Romans 6:23



  • The following supporting materials can be found at www.teachingthem.comon the Lesson and Material Downloads page.
    • “Rest of the Story – Love Signs” (This document has a single page with the three Greek words for love – Agape, Phileo and Eros.)
    • “Rest of the Story – Script Cards” (This is a document with all Peter’s and Jesus’ lines on it to help them during the drama.)
  • Tape
  • Costume for Peter character – fisherman’s hat, fishing pole, tackle box, fishing vest, etc.  Can go barefoot.
  • Costume for Jesus character – recommend a long piece of fabric with a hole cut in the middle for his head to fit through.  Add a belt around the waist and maybe a sash to drape over one shoulder and under one arm.
  • Something like a net that Peter and the other disciples can cast during the drama scene.
  • Something to act as a boat for the drama scene.
  • Strips of cloth and a piece of fabric to represent Jesus’ grave clothes.
  • Bible


  • Print the “Script” document mentioned above and cut out the lines for both Jesus and peter to say.  (Optionally, you could write these lines for Jesus and Peter to say on notecards:
    • Peter: I’m going fishing.  Anyone want to come?
    • Jesus: Catch any fish?
    • Peter: Nope…nothing!
    • Jesus: Cast your net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.
    • Jesus: Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?
    • Peter: Yes, Lord.  You know that I love you.
    • Jesus: Simon son of John, do you truly ‘agape’ me more than these?
    • Peter: Yes, Lord.  You know that I ‘phileo’ you.
    • Jesus: Feed my lambs.
    • Jesus: Simon son of John, do you truly agape me?
    • Peter: Yes, Lord, you know that I phileo you.
    • Jesus: Take care of my sheep.
    • Jesus: Simon son of John, do you phileo me?
    • Peter: Lord, you know all things.  You know that I phileo you.
    • Jesus: Feed my sheep.
  • Print two copies of the “Love Signs” document mentioned above, and crease it along the lines between each of the Greek words.  Then, fold the paper so that it makes a triangle with one word on each side.  Tape the ends together.
  • Select your volunteer to play Jesus (you may want to choose an adult because of the lines he needs to say), and explain what you want him to do.  Dress him in his costume, and have him wait off-stage or out of sight.  Give him the script with his lines on them.
  • Select your volunteer to play Peter (you may want to choose an adult because of the lines he needs to say), and explain what you want him to do.  Dress him in his costume, and have him sit in the audience.  Give him the script with his lines on them.
  • Neatly fold the “grave clothes” and put them somewhere that can represent the garden tomb.
  • Practice the script.



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

  • “It’s Sunday.  The Jewish Sabbath day of rest is over.”
  • “In the early morning, several women, who were followers of Jesus, left the house where they were staying and went to anoint Jesus’ body with spices.”
  • “They probably wondered how they were ever going to be able to move the huge stone that covered the opening to the tomb.”
  • “But when they reached the tomb in the garden, the stone had already been rolled away!”
  • “They stepped into the tomb, but there was no body there.”
  • “Suddenly, two angels appeared and said, ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead?  He is not here; He is risen!  Don’t you remember?  He told you this would happen.’”
  • “The women remembered and ran back to tell the others.”
  • “At first, no one believed them, but Peter and John ran to the tomb and saw for themselves.  Jesus was not there, but his grave clothes were neatly folded where He had been lain.”
  • “When John saw the grave clothes, he believed that Jesus had risen.”
  • “The grave clothes were neatly folded!” (Point to or hold up the “grave clothes.”)
  • “Some people would later say that Jesus’ body was stolen, but no grave robber would take the time to first undress the body and then neatly fold the clothes.”
  • “If they were going to steal the body, they would have had to a) defeat the Roman guards outside the tomb, and these men would fight to the death, because if they lost the body, Pilate would order them killed; b) roll away the stone, which probably weighed over a thousand pounds and would have to be rolled up an incline that was meant to lock it into place.”
  • “After all that exhausting, physical work just to get to the body, do you think they would worry about getting the grave clothes off of the body.”
  • “Besides, that would have meant that they had to carry Jesus’ naked body, and that would have attracted a lot of attention if anyone saw them.”
  • “Nope, when John saw the neatly folded grave clothes, he knew – Jesus had done exactly what He promised – He had raised His own body from the dead!”
  • “Peter, however, still wasn’t sure.”
  • “It wasn’t until Jesus personally appeared to Peter that Peter understood and believed what had happened.”
  • “Then Peter knew that Jesus had to die to take the punishment for our sins, because the Bible says that the payment for sin is death.” (Romans 6:23)
  • “But then once the payment was made, Jesus defeated death forever by raising His body back to life!”
  • “Jesus appeared several more times to different people: a few times to the apostles, once to a few men on the road to Emmaus, and once to over 500 people at one time!”
  • “But even with all this excitement, would you believe that Peter once again went back to fishing?”
  • “It’s the truth!  I think he got tired of waiting for Jesus to tell him what to do, so he got up one day and said…”  (Have Peter character stand up where he was sitting and say: “I’m going fishing.  Anyone want to come?”  He can select 4-5 volunteers from the audience to act out the story with him.)
  • “Several of the apostles decided that they would go with him.” (Have them get into the boat and act out whatever you say from this point forward.)
  • “They fished all night long, but they didn’t catch a single fish.” (The volunteers can cast the net over the side of the boat several times to act this out.)
  • “Early the next morning, as the apostles sat or slept in their boat, they heard a call from the shore…” (Have Jesus character call out from the edge of the room: “Catch any fish?”  Have Peter yell back, “Nope.  Nothing!” and then have Jesus call out, “Cast your net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.”)
  • “Isn’t that funny?  How could someone on the shore know more about where the fish are at than the fishermen on the water?”
  • “But they tried it anyway, and when they pulled their nets back in, there were so many fish, they couldn’t even haul the net into the boat.” (Have volunteers cast their net one more time onto the kids in the audience and pretend to pull them in.)
  • “John said to Peter, “It’s the Lord,” and Peter immediately jumped into the water to swim to shore, leaving his friends to gather up the fish.”  (Have Peter character act this out.)
  • “They had caught 153 really big fish, and when they reached the shore with the boat, Jesus asked them to bring some to put on the fire (where He already had a few fish cooking).”
  • “That morning, they ate together like they used to do before Jesus had been crucified, and they just enjoyed each other’s company for some time in the sun.” (Have volunteers act this out.)
  • “Then Jesus turned to Peter and asked him a serious question…” (Jesus: “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?”  Peter should reply, “Yes, Lord.  You know that I love you.”)
  • “Jesus may have been asking Peter if he loved Jesus more than all the other disciples.”
  • “After all, Peter had bragged that even if everyone else failed Jesus, he would never fail Him.”
  • “Or Jesus may have been asking Peter if he loved Jesus more than all the fish he had just caught, because every time Peter got the chance, he stopped following Jesus and went right back to fishing.”
  • “But whatever Jesus was talking about there, I don’t want you to miss something really important that is also happening.”
  • “It’s not obvious in the English translation of what Jesus said, because we usually just have one word for love.”
  • “Jesus didn’t speak English.  He spoke Aramaic, a really old language, Hebrew, the Jewish language, and Greek, a language that was common then because it was used for business.”
  • “When He asked Peter if he loved Him, Jesus used the Greek word ‘agape’ for love.”  (Jesus: “Simon son of John, do you truly ‘agape’ me more than these?” Hand Jesus the love sign triangle, and have him hold it so that everyone can see the “Agape” side.)
  • “Agape means the best kind of love, a kind that will never give up or go away.”
  • “It’s not puppy love, the warm feeling you get inside when you see someone cute.”
    “This kind of love is an action.”
  • “It’s love that loves you even when you don’t deserve it, even when it’s hard to love you, even when you don’t love the other person back.”
  • “Peter knew that he couldn’t claim to love Jesus like that anymore.”
  • “He had run away, and he had denied Jesus three times.”
  • “So Peter used a different Greek word for love when he answered Jesus. He said…” (Peter: “Yes, Lord.  You know that I ‘phileo’ you.” Hand Peter the love sign triangle, and have him hold it so everyone can see the “Phileo” side.)
  • “Phileo is a weaker kind of love.”
  • “It means ‘brotherly love,’ and it’s where the city of Philadelphia gets its name.”
  • “Philadelphia is known as the City of Brotherly Love.”
  • “Phileo is a love that says, ‘I’ll love you because I should.  You’re my brother, after all.”
  • “If you have a brother or sister, you know you are supposed to love them because they are family.”
  • “But if your brother or sister is really mean to you, you might decide to stop loving them.”
  • “There’s an even weaker kind of love that’s called ‘Eros.’”  (Have Jesus and Peter characters hold their triangles to show this side of their sign.) 
  • Eros is the kind of love that says, ‘You’re cute!’”
  • “This is the kind of love that gives boys crushes on girls and girls crushes on boys.”
  • “It only lasts as long as the other person is cute to us.”
  • “So, back to Peter.”
  • “He wanted to say that he would love Jesus with agape love – the kind that never gives up or goes away, but he couldn’t bring himself to boast any longer.”
  • “Peter used to brag a lot, but his failure made him a humble man, and people that knew him said that he was humble for the rest of his life.”
  • “Jesus noticed that Peter changed the word for love, but He just said…” (Jesus: “Feed my lambs.”)
  • “Jesus often referred to His followers as sheep or lambs.”
  • “So, He was telling Peter that he was to be the leader of the Church, that He was to be the shepherd of God’s flock.”
  • “Then Jesus asked again…” (Jesus: “Simon son of John, do you truly agape me?”  Have him show the Agape side of the sign.  Then Peter should say, “Yes, Lord, you know that I phileo you.”  Have Peter show the Phileo side of his sign.  Jesus should then say, “Take care of my sheep.”)
  • “One last time, Jesus asked… (Jesus: “Simon son of John, do you phileo me?”  Have the volunteer show the Phileo side of the sign.)
  • “Did you notice what Jesus did?
  • “Jesus was basically saying “Okay, Peter.  I know you aren’t ready to be bold yet.  It’s okay if all you are willing to do is love me with phileo.  I’m willing to accept that for now.”
  • “But even so, Peter was hurt, because Jesus asked him a third time if Peter loved Him.  So, he said…”  (Peter: “Lord, you know all things.  You know that I phileo you.”  Have Peter character show the Phileo side of his sign.  Then Jesus should say, “Feed my sheep.”  Thank your volunteers, and let them take a seat.)
  • “Did you notice that Jesus asked the question three times?  Does that remind you of anything?”  (Expected response: “Peter denied Jesus three times.”)
  • “Right!  Jesus asked Peter three times, because each time was like an eraser for the times that Peter denied Jesus.”
  • “Jesus was telling Peter, ‘You denied me three times.  I forgive you three times.’”
  • “Jesus was restoring Peter to his leadership of the flock, the Church.”
  • “I’m sure it was painful for Peter to be reminded of the three times he denied he knew Jesus, but it was important that he knew he was completely forgiven and that Jesus still had a leadership role for Peter to fill.”
  • “Peter did take that leadership role.”
  • “On the day of Pentecost (which is a Jewish holiday that celebrates the time for harvesting crops), Peter and the other disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit.”
  • “Peter got up and preached so powerfully that 3,000 people accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior.”
  • “He was so powerful spiritually that people were healed when just his shadow fell on them.”
  • “He raised a woman named Dorcas from the dead, introduced the Gentiles (non-Jewish people) to the Gospel and wrote two books of the New Testament (and probably was the person who told Mark all the stories he wrote in his Gospel).”
  • “Peter and his wife were both crucified for their beliefs, but Peter begged to be crucified upside down, because he didn’t feel worthy to die in the same way Jesus did.”
  • “I guess you could say that Simon eventually earned his name that means ‘listens and obeys,’ because he listened carefully to everything that God told him.”
  • “And he also earned his name of Peter which means ‘rock,’ because Peter became a solid leader who led the early church.”
  • “After that meeting between Jesus and Peter on the beach, Jesus only stayed on earth for a little longer.”
  • “Then, in front of many witnesses, He rose into heaven, where He sits at the right hand of God, the Father.”
  • “There, He prays for us and speaks good things about us to the Father every day.”
  • “And one day, we will get to see Him in all His glory when we join Him in heaven.” (You may want to have the kids say the Rhyme Time below to reinforce the teaching point of the lesson.)


Rhyme Time

Jesus paid the price I couldn’t give,

And rose again so I could live!

Leave a comment

Filed under Easter, forgiveness, God's Plan, Jesus, Lesson, Peter, Resurrection



5 minutes

Children, Youth, Adults



This quick drama makes the point that the wages of sin are death but that the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus.


  • Table to set Sin Shop items on with their labels
  • Tape to put labels near Sin Shop items
  • Items for your Sin Shop – items labeled (labels are available in the file mentioned below, but feel free to “upgrade” the sins depending on your audience) with various sins.  For example:
    • Lying to Parents
    • Cheating on Math Test
    • Disrespecting Parents
    • Thinking Bad Thoughts
    • Taking Your Brother’s Gameboy
    • Using a Bad Word
    • Little White Lie
  • Basket for shopping
  • Sign for store: “Lou’s Sin Shop” (available in the file mentioned below)
  • Sign that says, “The cost of sin is death” in large letters and “but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” in tiny letters.  (If death is a difficult concept for your audience, you can use the sign that says, “The cost of sin is separation from God.”  (You can find these signs and the labels for your sin shop items at on the Lesson and Material Downloads page in a file called, “Sin Shop – Props.”)
  • Small slip of paper with writing on it that can act as a receipt.  Should say, “Paid in Full” on it in large letters.  (An example is provided in the file mentioned above.)
  • Optionally – costumes for your actors – apron for Lou Cipher, the storeowner, and a register or calculator.



  • Set up the table and the props with their labels to make them look like a counter at a store.
  • Practice the skit, and memorize the lines.


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

[PETEY enters Lou’s Sin Shop with a shopping basket.]

PETEY: “Wow!  A sin shop!  Awesome!  I’ve been wanting some of these!”

[PETEY looks through the shelves and selects several items for his basket.]

PETEY: “I’ll take one of these and one of these….oh, and I’ve got to have one of these!”


[PETEY goes to register to pay.]

PETEY: “Okay, that will do it.  How much do I owe you?”

[LOU calculates on his register or calculator as he says the following line.]

LOU: “Disrespecting Your Parents…..Taking Your Brother’s Gameboy….Using a Bad Word….Thinking Bad Thoughts…(Be careful with that one.  It’s powerful.)….All together, that’ll be exactly….DEATH.  Paper or plastic?” (Substitute “separation from God” if you prefer.)

PETEY: “Huh? I’m sorry.  It sounded like you said, “death.”  Did you mean “deal”…you’re going to give me a deal?” (Alternative: “Huh? I’m sorry.  It sounded like you said, ‘separation from God.’  I just want to know how much I owe you.”)

LOU: “Nope, I meant DEATH….listen, I’m already giving you a deal.  You don’t have to die physically today.  You can put down a little spiritual death and pay the rest later.” (Alternative: “That IS what I said.  Your total is separation from God.”)

PETEY: “Spiritual death?  What do you mean?”  (Alternative: “Separation from God?  What do you mean?”)

LOU: “Between you and God.  This stuff poisons your relationship with Him.  It won’t kill it off completely, but it makes it plenty sick.  So, paper or plastic?”

PETEY: “Uh, well, I guess I better put some stuff back.  Take this and this off.  How much do I owe you now?”


LOU: “Total’s still DEATH.” (Alternative: “separation from God.”)

PETEY: “Wait!  That’s not fair!  I took some stuff away.  How can you charge the same price?  Okay, all I want is this Little White Lie.  Ring that up.”

LOU: “Read the sign, will you, [Points to sign.] It clearly says, ‘The cost of sin is death.  Romans 6:23.’  That means little sins and big sins.  They are all the same price.  So what’s it gonna be?”  (Alternative: “separation from God.”)

PETEY: “I’ll tell you what it’s going to be!  I’m going to put in a complaint!  Your name is ‘Lou.’  Is that as in, ‘Lou-ser?’”

LOU: “Full name is Lou Cipher.  You can complain all you want.  Management knows what I’m doing, and I’ve got their approval.  Hey, look at me when I’m talking to you.”

[PETEY has noticed a receipt on the counter.]

PETEY: “Hey, what’s this?  You didn’t tell me about this.  It’s a receipt for all my sins, and it says it’s paid!  I don’t have to pay you!”

LOU: “Oh, great, another one of those!  Yeah, Management’s got a policy of paying for the sins of anybody that wants to apply the last part of the sign.”

PETEY: “What last part of the sign?  I didn’t see anything.”

LOU: “Well, you don’t expect me to advertise something like that, do you? It’s in the small print.”  [Points out small print on sign.]


PETEY: [Reading]  “’The cost of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.’  Huh.  Well, I’m going to accept Management’s generosity.  And you can keep those sins I picked out; I’m done shopping!”  [Exits]  (Alternative: “separation from God.”)


LOU: [Chasing after PETEY]  “Hey, wait!  I’ve got some stuff in the back you might want to take a look at…”  [Exits]


1 Comment

Filed under drama, forgiveness, God's Plan, Grace, Jesus, Quick Drama, Sin, skit



10 minutes




Peter thought he was being generous when he offered to forgive people seven times, but Jesus requires us to forgive every single time someone hurts or disappoints us.  This object lesson helps participants to understand that the process of forgiving is not a one-time event.



  • Children, Youth, Adults



  • Matthew 18:21-22. NKJV
  • Romans 5:8



  • Trick candles – the ones that relight after you blow them out (8-12)
  • Something to stick the candles in to make them stand upright (like the foam for artificial plant arrangement)
  • Lighter
  • Bowl or cup with water in it
  • Bible



  • Stick the candles into the foam or other material.
  • Have the candles and your other supplies ready in the teaching area.
  • Practice the script.



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

  • “Sometimes people hurt or disappoint us, and we want to get even with them. But God tells us that we should forgive them every time – even when they hurt us over and over again.” (Have a volunteer read Matthew 18:21-22. NKJV)
  • “Did you hear that? Jesus said we have to forgive 70 times 7 times!  That’s 490 times!”
  • “But Jesus isn’t just saying we need to forgive 490 times…He’s really saying we need to forgive as many times as it takes…every single time.”
  • “It’s like these candles.” (Light the candles.)
  • “The candles represent our heart; the flames represent the hurt or disappointment we experience when others mistreat us.” (Invite a volunteer to blow them all out. Because they are trick candles, the flames will reappear. Have the volunteer blow them out again. Repeat this process several times before extinguishing the candles in water.)
  • “Blowing out the flames is like the act of forgiveness.”
  • “Sometimes once isn’t enough.”
  • “Sometimes the hurt and disappointment keep flaring up in our hearts.”
  • “Sometimes the person who hurt us does it again and again and again.”
  • “If we don’t blow out the flames by forgiving, the fire can get out of control and turn into bitterness, rage, depression or despair.”
  • “Jesus wants us to forgive each and every time someone hurts us and every time the painful memories of that hurt come back, because it prevents the fire from taking over.”
  • “It’s not because the other person deserves forgiveness…often, they don’t.”
  • “It’s because Jesus doesn’t want the pain to control our lives.”
  • “And we should always remember that Jesus set the example for us.”
  • “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
  • “He forgave us of all the bad things we’ve ever done or will ever do.”
  • “And if He can forgive us, we should be willing to follow Him by forgiving those who hurt us.”
  • “People will know you are a follower of Jesus when they see you doing what your Leader does.”

1 Comment

Filed under forgiveness, heart, Object Lesson, Peter

Conflict and Anger (DEVOTION)

In your table groups, read the following Scriptures, and discuss the questions that follow:

  • Mark 11:25
  • Luke 6:27-36
  • Romans 12:14-21
  • 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
  • Ephesians 4:26-27

What themes do you notice from these Scriptures?


Is it okay to be upset with someone?  What conditions does God place on anger?


How are we to act towards our enemies?  Why do you think this is so?


Read the parable of the Unmerciful Servant in Matthew 18:21-35.  Consider that this Scripture is most likely about forgiving a Christian brother or sister (notice that Peter asks about forgiving “my brother,” that Jesus is making a comparison to the “kingdom of heaven” and that the other man is referred to as a “fellow servant.”).  If that’s true, what is Jesus saying about forgiveness?  (Hint: the jail cannot be hell, and the torture cannot be eternal in hell if this is about believers.)



Leave a comment

Filed under Anger, conflict management, Conflict Resolution, Devotion, forgiveness

Conflict Among Believers (DEVOTION)

In your table groups, read the following Scriptures, and discuss the questions that follow:

  • Matthew 7:3-5
  • Matthew 5:23-24
  • Matthew 18:15-17
  • Luke 17:3-5
  • John 13:34-35
  • 1 Corinthians 6:1-8
  • Ephesians 4:1-3
  • Colossians 3:12-14

What do these Scriptures have in common?

Whose responsibility is it to take initiative toward reconciliation?  When does this apply?

How would you describe God’s view on conflict within the Body of believers?

Why does God want believers to be reconciled to one another?

What are some general principles you can take away from these Scriptures?



Leave a comment

Filed under Body of Christ, conflict management, Conflict Resolution, Devotion, forgiveness, Relationships

Garbage Collector (QUICK DRAMA)


This short drama highlights our tendency to not trust God with the garbage in our lives.  Often, prayer is a last resort after we have tried in every way to fix the problem ourselves.  God is waiting for us to bring all our garbage to Him.  He’s not shocked by the stuff we’ve been carrying around, and it doesn’t make Him love us any less.



  • Use a thick marker to write the following words (each word in large, bold letters and each word on a separate sheet of paper): SIN, SHAME, HURT, PAIN, ANGER, BITTERNESS, UNFORGIVENESS, DISAPPOINTMENT, FEAR, REGRET, BETRAYAL, DISHONESTY, ADDICTION, LUST, ENVY, PRIDE, JEALOUSY, HATRED, GREED, SELFISHNESS, PREJUDICE, RACISM, THEFT, UNFAITHFULNESS, MEANNESS (Feel free to use other words that better suit your audience.)
  • Crumple up all the sheets of paper.
  • Assemble a costume for the person playing Jesus (white robe, sash or shawl, beard, etc.)


SCENE:  Jo/e enters from the side or back of the room, harried and unsuccessfully trying to hold onto armfuls of crumpled sheets of paper.  Each time she/he drops one, she/he stoops to pick it up before continuing toward the stage.  Dressed recognizably in a white robe and having a beard – Enters casually following Jo/e, watching her/him curiously as they both move to the stage.


Jesus –      “Hey, Jo/e, watcha got there?”


Jo/e –        (Clearly uncomfortable and trying to hide the crumpled paper from Jesus) “Oh, hi, Jesus.  I’m not sure what you are referring to. I don’t have anything.”


(As she/he is talking, several of the crumpled papers fall to the ground.  Jo/e hurriedly tries to pick them up, but Jesus stoops and picks one up before Jo/e can get to it.)


Jesus –      (Uncrumpling the paper and holding it inconspicuously in a way so that the audience can see what is written on it or reading it aloud) “Jo/e, this is garbage.  Why are you carrying this around?”


Jo/e –        (Trying to take the paper back from Jesus) “Oh, Jesus, don’t worry about that.  I’ve got that taken care of.” (Drops more papers in attempt to get the one Jesus is holding.)


Jesus –      (Keeping the first paper out of Jo/e’s reach and picking up another one from the ground, opens it and reads it aloud.) “Jo/e, this one, too?  Don’t you know that you can give this stuff to me? ”


Jo/e –        (Trying unsuccessfully to get papers back from Jesus but dropping more each time.) “Jesus, please let me have those back!  They’re mine, and I’m handling them.”


Jesus –      (Picking up another paper and reading it aloud.) “Oh, Jo/e!  This is too much for you to carry!  All this garbage is making your life a mess!”


Jo/e –        “Jesus, I really don’t want you to see those. And I’m doing fine with them, really!  I’ve had them for a long time.”


Jesus –      “I know you have, Jo/e.  I’ve been waiting for you to bring them to me, but you’re stubborn, and you’ve been holding on to them for far too long. Your garbage is starting to stink, Jo/e, and you can’t hide it any longer.  Let me take it away for you.”


Jo/e –        (Clutching the papers) “But I don’t know how!  It’s part of me, and I’m afraid of letting it go.”


Jesus –      “I’m not asking you to let go of all of it at once. We can start small. How about we start with this one? (Gestures with one of the papers He has collected.) Can I keep it?”


Jo/e –        (Looking pained and indecisive for a moment before relenting) “Oh, okay! Keep it!  But just that one!” (Reaches over, grabs the other two pieces of paper from Jesus, crumples them back up and replaces them in the pile in her/his arms.)


Jesus –      (Smiling) “Okay, Jo/e, it’s a start…and a good one.  Let’s talk about where this came from and how to keep it from controlling your life.” (Turns and begins walking toward the exit.)


Jo/e –        (Stooping to pick up any dropped pieces of paper before following Jesus out of the room.) “Hey, you know, Jesus…I feel a little better already.  I may have another one in here somewhere that I’m ready to give you.”


Jesus –      (Before exiting with Jo/e following) “Excellent, Jo/e!  From now on, I want you to consider me your personal garbage collector.  I do pickups anytime, day or night.”





Filed under acceptance, Confession, drama, forgiveness, prayer, Problem solving, Quick Drama, Repentance, Sin, skit

Let Go, Let God, Get Free! (CHALLENGE)


10-15 minutes

This Challenge teaches how bitterness, unforgiveness, hatred and resentment create a trap for us and how forgiveness and turning things over to God (especially when we are having a hard time forgiving in our own power) gets us free from the trap.  It uses Chinese finger traps to illustrate the point.


  • Genesis 37-50 (Particularly Genesis 50 when Joseph forgives his brothers)
  • Colossians 3:13



  • Finger traps – 1 per person with several extras in case they break (they are notoriously poorly made – You can order them through anyone you like, but they are cheaply available through Oriental Trading. Order early, because it may take a few weeks for them to arrive. Approximately $10 for 72, plus shipping and handling.  The link to Oriental Trading:
  • Challenge Card (The file for printing is called, “JJ – Let Go, Let God, Get Free – Challenge Card (CHALLENGE),” and it can be found on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at  This can be printed in black and white on regular paper.  There are two Challenge Cards per page.)
  • Ziplock bags – any size – 1 per group



  • Print out the Challenge Card document.
  • Cut the Challenge Card document in half (each half is identical), and put one in each Ziplock bag (one per group).
  • Put enough finger traps into each Ziplock bag for each person to have one (and maybe a few extras).
  • Practice the script.


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

  • “We’re going to do a group Challenge today.”
  • “It’s called, “Let Go, Let God, Get Free!” and it’s part of the Joseph’s Journey Series.”
  • “First, I’ll need to divide you into groups.”  (Divide the participants into the number of groups for which you have prepared kits.)
  • “Each group will have a Ziplock bag with a Challenge Card.”
  • “When I tell you to go, open your Ziplock bags, and read the Challenge Card.” (Allow them to read the Challenge Card.)
  • “Colossians 3:13 says, ‘Put up with each other. Forgive the things you are holding against one another. Forgive, just as the Lord forgave you.’” (NIRV)
  • “This challenge is about how bitterness, resentment, hatred and unforgiveness become a trap for us.”
  • “How many of you have ever seen a Chinese finger trap before?”  (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “Let’s say that this finger trap (hold up a finger trap for everyone to see) is bitterness, resentment, hatred or unforgiveness.”
  • “When you are feeling these emotions toward someone, it’s like putting your fingers in the trap.”  (Demonstrate for them.)
  • “Sometimes you want to get free from these emotions, but you can’t.”  (Pull your fingers apart.  The finger trap should tighten up on them and prevent your fingers from getting free.)
  • “You might even want to forgive that person, but the trap of bitterness, resentment, hatred or unforgiveness won’t let you go.”  (Demonstrate trying to pull your fingers out again.)
  • “These are times when it may not be possible for you to forgive that person.  It’s just too hard.”
  • “So, here’s what you should do.”
  • “First, LET GO! – This means, stop trying so hard to do what you can’t do on your own.”
  • “Next, LET GOD! – This means, let God do what you can’t do.  Pray to Him, and tell Him what you are struggling with.  Ask Him to give you His love and His forgiveness for that person.”
  • “Finally, GET FREE! – It’s like a miracle!  When you stop trying so hard and let God do what you can’t do, you get free!  The bitterness, resentment, hatred or unforgiveness will disappear as God replaces it with His love and His forgiveness.”
  • “Let me show you what I mean with this finger trap.”  (As you demonstrate, say the three steps out loud.  First show them that trying in your own power just makes the trap tighter.  Then, LET GO! – Push your fingers together so that they meet in the middle of the trap.  LET GOD! – Ask someone else to hold the finger trap (they are representing God), while you carefully and slowly pull your fingers out.  GET FREE! – Show the group that your fingers are free from the trap of bitterness, resentment, hatred and unforgiveness.)
  • “See how it works?”
  • “When I can’t do it myself, I stop trying and just pray that God will change my heart for me.  Then I get free!”
  • “So what are the three steps again?”  (Let the group tell you several times what the three steps are in order – LET GO! LET GOD! GET FREE!)
  • “Want to try it on your own?” (Pass out the finger traps and let them play with them.  Try to get them to go through the three steps and say them out loud several times.)
  • (When you are finished, have them answer the Debrief Questions below (also on their Challenge Cards).  The Rhyme Time is to help them recognize that God can help them forgive.)


Debriefing Questions


  1. Why is it important to forgive people when they hurt you?
  2. Why is it so hard to forgive people sometimes?
  3. Do you think these three steps will work for you?  Why or why not?


Rhyme Time

Jesus helps me to forgive; Holding a grudge is no way to live!

Leave a comment

Filed under forgiveness, Joseph, Object Lesson, Relationships, Teaching

Unforgiving Servant (QUICK DRAMA)

Matthew 18:21-35


Two men enter with a prisoner in chains.  They bring him before a king and throw him down.  The king addresses the prisoner.


KING: “My records show that you owe me $3,267,500.  Pay today, or I will sell you, your wife, your children and all you own to pay the debt.”

SERVANT: “Oh, please, your Majesty!  Please have mercy on me!  I can’t pay you today, but I will!  I promise!”

KING: “Hmmmm… On second thought, there’s no way you could every pay off such a large sum.  You seem repentant.  Your debts are completely forgiven.”

SERVANT: “Really?  Completely forgiven?  Oh, THANK YOU, your Majesty!”

The servant leaves, bouncing out of the room while thanking the king.  As soon as he leaves the king’s presence, however, he comes across a man in the hallway and begins yelling at and choking him.

SERVANT: “You lousy rat!  Where’s that lunch money you borrowed from me?  You better pay up!”

MAN (falling on his knees): “Oh, I will!  I will!  I promise you will have all your money back, but I don’t have it on me today!”

SERVANT: “Don’t have it on you, huh?  Guards!  Arrest this man and throw him into prison!  He owes me money!”  (Guards enter and take man to prison.)

Several of the king’s servants observed the unforgiving servant’s behavior, and they quickly reported it to the king.  Enraged, he demands that the unforgiving servant be brought before him.

KING: “I’ve heard how you treated the man who owed you lunch money.  Because you are such an unforgiving servant and couldn’t overlook such a small amount after I had forgiven you of so much, I’m ordering you to be tortured by my guards until you’re ready to forgive that man.”


Isn’t it silly that the unforgiving servant couldn’t forgive a few dollars after he had just been forgiven millions of dollars?  God says that ‘s what it’s like when we won’t forgive people for things they’ve done to us.  Compared to how much God had to forgive us for, it’s like the difference between millions of dollars and lunch money.


When we won’t forgive others, our relationship with God suffers.  It’s like being in prison.  It won’t keep us from getting into heaven, but it will make life miserable.  But if we will forgive those who intend to harm us, God forgives us and fixes our relationship with Him again.

Leave a comment

Filed under Character, conflict management, Conflict Resolution, drama, forgiveness, Grace, Relationships, unconditional love