Category Archives: God’s Will

Don’t Take Shortcuts (OBJ LESSON)


MazeTime

20 minutes
Description

This object lesson teaches about what we miss out on when we take shortcuts in reaching God’s will for our life.  It uses a maze and the life of David.

 

Audience

Children

 

Materials

o  PowerPoint file – “Don’t Take Shortcuts – Maze  (You can find this on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at www.teachingthem.com.)  Make one copy for each participant.  The file also includes answer keys with three different paths.  You might want to print one copy of these for your reference.

o  Pens or pencils to work the maze.  (One per participant)

o  A package of gummy fruit for each participant.

o  Bible

 

Scriptures

o  1 Samuel 16:1, 11-13

o  1 Samuel 24:1-7

o  1 Samuel 26:1-25

 

Preparation

o  Print copies of the maze for each participant.

o  Practice the script.

Procedure

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

  • “When we know what God’s will is for our life, we sometimes want to take shortcuts.”
  • “David knew God’s will for his life from an early age – maybe from about fifteen years old.”  (Have participant read 1 Samuel 16:1, 11-13.)
  • “If you knew that God wanted you to be king, you might want to make that happen as fast as possible.”
  • “However, David was different.”
  • “He didn’t want God’s will for him until God wanted him to have it.”
  • “Even though God had Samuel tell David he would be king of Israel some day, David let King Saul chase him around the desert for fifteen years.”
  • “David had two opportunities to kill King Saul.”  (Have volunteer read 1 Samuel 24:1-7 and then summarize the story from 1 Samuel 26:1-25.)
  • “David didn’t kill Saul either time, because he didn’t want God’s will for his life until it was God’s time.”
  • “That was smart, because it helped David grow more like God as he waited.”
  • “When he was finally made king fifteen years after he was anointed to be king, he was ready!”
  • “Let’s do a maze that will help you see what I’m talking about.”  (Pass out copies of the maze to each participant.  Hand out a package of gummy fruit to each participant, and tell them that they can eat a gummy candy anytime they cross a picture on the maze.  Give them 5 minutes to try and solve it.  Let them know that the rules are that they can’t cross lines or go over the same space twice.  There are three possible solutions (shown in the PowerPoint file).  When they finish, debrief with the following questions:
    • Why do you think it is better to take the harder path?
    • What do you miss if you take the short-cut?
    • Why does God want you to be patient and wait for His will for your life?
  • Review the Rhyme Time below to reinforce the main message of the lesson.)

 

Rhyme Time

It may be a test,

But we should wait for God’s best!

 

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Filed under David, God's Will, King Saul, Obedience, Object Lesson

Hearing Impaired (QUICK DRAMA)


SCENE:       Sam enters, wearing several things that cover up his ears.  Start with cotton balls in the ear.  Then add a hat that comes down over the ears.  Finally, put on earmuffs or headphones. Label each thing with a sign that says, “SIN.”. (For the cotton balls, you might just want to tape a piece of paper or poster board with the word on each one over his ears so that the audience will be able to read the signs.) God is located somewhere unseen, but where He can be clearly heard by the audience. You might want to use a microphone.

SAM:            (Looking distraught) God? Where are you?  Why won’t you speak to me?

GOD:            I’m right here, Sam.  I’m always with you.  I will never leave you nor forsake you.

SAM:            (Obviously not hearing God, Sam keeps looking stressed.) God, I’m in trouble!  I need you now!  Please speak to me!

GOD:            Sam, you can’t hear me, because you aren’t doing what I told you to do.  Your sin is blocking you from hearing my voice.

SAM:            Please, God! Help me!  Say SOMETHING!  ANYTHING!

(Amy enters, carrying her Bible.)

AMY:            Sam, I’m not sure why, but I feel like God gave me this Scripture to share with you. (Opens her Bible and reads). “Everyone who is committed to truth hears my voice.” (John 18:37) I’m sorry if that doesn’t make sense, but I felt like it was important for me to share it with you. You can hold onto my Bible if you like. I’ll get it back from you later.

(Amy exits without her Bible.)

SAM:            (Reading the Scripture again.) “Everyone who is committed to truth hears my voice.” Is that why I can’t hear you, God?  Is it because I’m not committed to Your truth? (Pauses, looking toward heaven.)

GOD:            Yes, Sam.  Now you are getting it.  Try getting rid of some of that sin in your life.

SAM:            Alright, God. I know I shouldn’t be doing this. (Removes earmuffs or headphones) I’m going to make a commitment for Your truth.

GOD:            Much better, Sam!  Doesn’t that feel great!

SAM:            Whoa!  God, I think I know what You want me to do!  (Removes hat)

GOD:            YES!  Terrific!

SAM:            Oh, Wow!  I’ve never heard You so clearly before!  I’m getting rid of all this junk that’s been keeping me from hearing You!  (Removes cotton balls from ears)

GOD:            Sam, I’m so pleased!  You’ve done well!  And don’t worry about that problem you’re having. I’ve got that covered.

SAM:            Thank you, Lord!  I’m not worried anymore. I know you’ve been with me this entire time, and I trust you to get me through this. Thanks for helping me to hear You. (Smiles toward heaven)  I’ve got to keep my spiritual ears cleaned out! (Exits)

 

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Filed under drama, God's Will, Obedience, Sin, skit

Tool, Test or Territory? (CHALLENGE)


Time

15-20 minutes
Description

This Challenge looks at the events of Joseph’s life and asks whether God was using each one as a Tool (to shape Joseph), a Test (to reveal the quality of his heart) or new Territory (to give him more ministry for the Lord).

 

Scriptures

  • Genesis 37-50

 

Materials

  • Card stock paper – 1 sheet per person (Alternatively, you can use posterboard, but you will then need to glue the pyramid pattern to the posterboard.)
  • Printouts of the pyramid pattern – 1 per person (The file for printing is called, “JJ – Tool, Test or Territory? – Pyramid (CHALLENGE),” and it can be found on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at www.teachingthem.com.  It would be best if the pyramids were printed in color.)
  • Printouts of the Questions and Answers sheets for group leaders – 1 per group (The file for printing is called, “JJ – Tool, Test or Territory? – Questions and Answers Sheet (CHALLENGE),” and it can be found on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at www.teachingthem.com.  This can be printed in black and white on regular paper.)
  • Challenge Card (The file for printing is called, “JJ – Tool, Test or Territory? – Challenge Card (CHALLENGE),” and it can be found on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at www.teachingthem.com.  This can be printed in black and white on regular paper.  There are two Challenge Cards per page.)
  • Glue sticks – several per group
  • Envelope – 1 per group
  • Rulers – several per group (to help with creasing)
  • Ziplock bags – gallon size – 1 per group
  • Scissors or cutting tools – 1 per person

 

Preparation

  • Print out the pyramid patterns on card stock paper (or on regular paper and then glue them to posterboard).
  • Put enough pyramid patterns into each Ziplock bag for each participant in the group to have one.  (If you want to save time facilitating this challenge, you can cut out the pyramids yourself.)
  • 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).
  • Print the Questions and Answers document out (one per group) and put it in an envelope.  Then add it to the Ziplock bag for each group.
  • Put glue sticks and scissors (or cutting tools) in each Ziplock bag (enough for sharing or for each participant in each group).
  • Practice the script.

 

Procedure

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

  • “We’re going to do a group Challenge today.”
  • “It’s called, “Tool, Test or Territory?” 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, some pyramid patterns, glue, scissors, rulers and an envelope.”
  • “When I tell you to go, open your Ziplock bags, and begin cutting out your pyramid patterns.  There are enough for everyone to have one.”
  • “After they are cut out, use the rulers to crease your pyramids along all the lines.”
  • “Then, put glue anywhere it says, ‘GLUE-GLUE-GLUE,’ and glue these tabs INSIDE your pyramid.  The square part is the bottom of the pyramid, and the four triangles are the top.”
  • “When you are done, your group leader will open the envelope to get the Questions and Answers sheet and ask you about different experiences in Joseph’s life.”
  • “Everyone in the group should vote about how you think God was using that experience in Joseph’s life.”
    • “If you think God was using it as a ‘Tool,’ show the ‘Tool’ side of the pyramid to your group leader.”
    • “A ‘Tool’ experience is when God uses it to shape our character to make us more like Jesus and develop skills / knowledge we can use to serve Him.”
    • “If you think God was using it as a “Test,’ show the ‘Test’ side of the pyramid to your group leader.”
    • “A ‘Test’ experience is when God uses it to test our hearts and show us our character and maturity.”
    • “If you think God was using it as a ‘Territory,’ show the ‘Territory’ side of the pyramid to your group leader.”
    • “A ‘Territory’ experience is when God uses it to invite us to take more territory (which is an area of influence or ministry) for His glory.”
    • “If you think God was using it for more than one reason, show the fourth side of your pyramid to your group leader.”
  • “Be ready…your group leader will probably ask you why you voted the way that you did.”
  • (Let them begin. When they finish making their pyramids, open the envelope and give them the quiz by reading off each experience and asking them to vote with their pyramids. After each vote, ask a few of the participants to tell you why they voted the way they did; then, share the correct answer and explanation from the sheet.  When they are finished with the quiz, have them answer the Debrief Questions below (also on their Challenge Cards.  The Rhyme Time is a reinforce to help them remember that the events of their lives can be used by God in a big way.)

 

Debriefing Questions

  1. What do you think about all these events in Joseph’s life?
  2. What did you learn about how God uses our experiences to prepare us for the future?
  3. What is a Tool, a Test or a new Territory God has recently used in your life?

 

Rhyme Time

Often what’s hard is a tool and a test;

God will help me to do what’s best!

 

 

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Filed under Challenges, Character, Choices, Coping skills, God's Plan, God's Will, Hardship, Joseph

God’s Timing (CHALLENGE)


Time

10-15 minutes
Description

This Challenge makes the point that God’s timing often seems slow to us but that we have to be careful not to rush ahead of God.  Things work out best when we follow closely behind Him.  The challenge is accomplish by staging a “race” between pouring a bottle of ketchup and pouring cups of water.

 

Scriptures

  • Genesis 37-50

 

Materials

  • Bottles of ketchup – 1 per group (The glass bottles are best, because the ketchup comes out much more slowly, and you can’t squeeze them.  However, if you can’t find glass bottles, plastic will work.)
  • Challenge Card (The file for printing is called, “JJ – God’s Timing – Challenge Card (CHALLENGE),” and it can be found on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at www.teachingthem.com.  This can be printed in black and white on regular paper.  There are two Challenge Cards per page.)
  • Prizes – 1 per person – recommend candy or something sweet to eat (The prize is used to create urgency for completing the task.  It should be something the participants are eager to get so that they will want to try to rush the task they are given.  This is to show that we often have to be patient and wait for the good things God has planned for us.)
  • Large, clear, plastic cups – 2 per person and one extra for the group leader (These are to pour the liquid into and from.  Each participant will need one, and one group leader will need one for each group.  The cups can have color, but the kids should be able to see through the plastic so that they can judge their progress against the leader’s cup.)
  • Ziplock bags – gallon size – 1 per group
  • Gallon jug of water – 1 per group
  • Red food coloring – 1 per group (OPTIONAL – used to make the water similar to the ketchup in color but not change the consistency of the liquid.  If you want, you can use this to illustrate that we are like God in some ways, but He is much better and worth waiting for – or so the ketchup commercials used to say.)

 


Preparation

  • Put enough plastic cups (2 for each person in each group plus one extra for the leader) in each of the Ziplock bag.
  • Put a bottle of ketchup in each of the Ziplock bag.
  • Put a bottle of red food coloring in each of the Ziplock bags. (OPTIONAL)
  • Print out the Challenge Card document.
  • Set aside the gallon jugs of water where each group can get them.
  • Cut the Challenge Card document in half (each half is identical), and put one in each Ziplock bag (one per group).
  • Practice the script.

 

Procedure

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

  • “We’re going to do a group Challenge today.”
  • “It’s called, “God’s Timing” 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, cups, and a bottle of ketchup (and possibly a bottle of red food coloring).”
  • “When I tell you to go, open your Ziplock bags, and read the Challenge Card.” (Allow them to read the Challenge Card.)
  • “Now, you will then have a race!”
  • “Your group leader will pour ketchup out into one of the cups.”
  • “The ketchup represents God’s timing – how fast or slow He chooses to move.”
  • “The ketchup cup represents God’s will.  When it is full, God’s will has been fully accomplished.”
  • “The rest of you will each get two cups and fill one full with water.”
  • “Then you will pour your water from that cup into your empty cup.”
  • “When everyone’s empty cups are full, you will each get a prize.”
  • “Sounds easy, right?”
  • “But here’s the hard part!”
  • “You can’t ever fill your cup faster than the cup that is being filled with ketchup.”
  • “In life, we often want to go faster than God’s timing, but this is a very bad thing to do.”
  • “We have to be patient and wait for the good things God has planned for us.”
  • “In the Bible, Joseph knew when he was 17 years old that he would one day rule over his brothers, but he had to patiently wait for 13 years before God’s will was accomplished in his life.”
  • “Back to our race – If one of your leaders notices that you have gotten ahead of the ketchup, you will have to pour the water back into your first cup and start all over.”
  • “Does anyone have any questions before we race?”  (Answer their questions.)
  • (Then, allow them to fill up their cups and add red food coloring (optional).  You can then begin the “race.”  If anyone’s cup becomes fuller than the ketchup cup, have them empty it and start over again.  If the ketchup just isn’t moving, try slightly tipping the bottle to let more air in to replace the ketchup that is coming out.  (If you have a squeezable bottle, try to squeeze it without being noticed.)  When you are finished, have them answer the Debrief Questions below (also on their Challenge Cards.  The Rhyme Time is to help them remember that God is using even the times when we are waiting on Him.  If we trust Him and obey Him during these times, God will use them to make us ready for His blessings.)

 

Debriefing Questions

 

  1. How difficult was it to wait for “God’s timing” (the ketchup)?
  2. Have you ever had to wait for God to do something in your life?  How did that feel?
  3. Why do you think it’s important to wait for God to work in His time?
  4. How can you be better about waiting for God in the future?

 

Rhyme Time

If we trust Him and obey,

God makes bad things go OUR way!

 

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Filed under Change, Discipline, Expectations, God's Plan, God's Will, Obedience, Object Lesson, Progress, Teaching, Waiting on the Lord

Center of God’s Will (CHALLENGE)


Time

10-15 minutes
Description

This Challenge teaches that the safest place for us is in the center of God’s will.  Groups will create a board (representing God’s will) with handles and then attempt to spin it upside down with a cup of water on it.  If they do it correctly, centrifugal force will keep the water in the cup.  The metaphor is that when everything is “spinning” around us, the center of God’s will is the best place to keep us from being “upset.”

 

Scriptures

  • Genesis 37-50
  • Isaiah 26:3

 

Materials

  • Future board – 1 square per group – about 18”x18” (You can substitute other materials, such as plywood or heavy cardboard.)
  • Note card – 1 per group
  • Marker – (just 1 for the Preparation stage)
  • Tape – (just 1 roll for the Preparation stage)
  • Something sharp that can be used to put a small hole in the four corners of the board (just 1 for the Preparation stage)
  • Plastic cups – 2 per group (They only need one, but it’s possible that it might break.)
  • Twine – 4 lengths of about 2.5 ft per group (These will provide handles for the board so that it can be spun.)
  • Gallon jug of water – 1 per group
  • Challenge Card (The file for printing is called, “JJ – Center of God’s Will – Challenge Card (CHALLENGE),” and it can be found on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at www.teachingthem.com.  This can be printed in black and white on regular paper.  There are two Challenge Cards per page.)
  • Ziplock bags – gallon size – 1 per group

 

Preparation

  • Write, “GOD’S WILL” on the note card, and tape it to the center of the board.
  • Put a small hole in each corner of the boards so that the groups can thread twine through it and tie a knot on the bottom side.  (These will provide handles for spinning the boards.)
  • Put all the materials in a Ziplock bag. – 1 per group (This should include two plastic cups and four lengths of twine.)
  • 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).
  • Tape the future board to the Ziplock bag, and put the water where groups can reach it.
  • Practice the script.

 

Procedure

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

  • “We’re going to do a group Challenge today.”
  • “It’s called, “Center of God’s Will” 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, some cups, some string, a board and some water.”
  • “When I tell you to go, open your Ziplock bags, and read the Challenge Card.” (Allow them to read the Challenge Card.)
  • “This challenge is about staying in the center of God’s will.”
  • “You will have to create your ‘God’s Will’ board.”
  • “Here are the instructions – you can build as I share them with you.”
  • “Tie a knot at one end of each piece of twine.”
  • “Thread one piece of twine through each of the four holes in the future board.”
  • “Pull the twine through until the knot stops the rope from continuing through the hole.”
  • “Tie the unknotted ends of the twine together in one, big knot above the board (on the God’s Will side).  (Make sure that each rope is the same length from the knot to the board.  Otherwise, your board will not hang flat.)”
  • “Fill the cup ¾ full of water.”
  • “The water represents you.”
  • “Your challenge is to place the cup of water on the board, hold the top of all four strings where you tied them together, and spin the board with the water in a circle so that the water goes upside down several times before you stop spinning.”
  • “This represents the challenging times in our lives when everything seems to be spinning around us.”
  • “It’s difficult to keep from getting ‘upset,’ but if we stay in the center of God’s will, it’s a lot easier than if we are outside of His will.”  (Let several participants try to spin the board and the water.  Whenever they spill the water, refill the cup, and let them try again.  Give them some help if they need it.  Speed is important to take advantage of the centrifugal force.)
  • “Isaiah 26:3 says, ‘(God) will keep in perfect peace all who trust in (Him), all whose thoughts are fixed on (Him)!’” (NLT)
  • “That means that if we keep our trust in God and keep thinking about Him, we will have peace in difficult 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 when they trust and obey God, they stay in the center of His will.  Then, He makes bad things work for their good.)

 

Debriefing Questions

  1. What usually happens if the water cup is near the edge of the board when you spin it?
  2. What usually happens if it is near the center of the board?
  3. What do you think it means to be in the “center of God’s will” in your life?
  4. How can you do this more often?

 

Rhyme Time

If we trust Him and obey, God makes bad things go OUR way!

 

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Filed under Challenges, Daily walk, God's Will, Obedience, Object Lesson, Science, Science experiment, Teaching

Good Seed – Bad Seed (OBJ LESSON)


Time

10-15 minutes
Audience

Children, Teens, Adults

Description

This object lesson teaches about wounds that we get when people or circumstances hurt us.  These take up a place in our hearts, because our hearts are where we keep things that are very important to us (both good and bad).  Wounds are very fertile places in our hearts, so both God and Satan will try to plant seeds there.  God’s seeds will turn our wounds into something beautiful, but Satan’s seeds will turn them into something painful, shameful, bitter and/or destructive.  (Note: You will need a break in the lesson and/or a helper to plant the flowers and the weeds in the soil.)

Scriptures

  •   Romans 8:28

 

Materials

  • 1 large, heart-shaped pan or container (open at the top and about 3-5 inches deep – will be used as a planter for flowers and weeds and filled with soil.)
  • 2 large, over-sized “packages” of seeds (They should be really big – preferably 2 ft tall for an exaggerated effect.  They could created out of flipchart paper or something else (like a large mailing envelope.)
  • 1 watering can (to water the flowers)
  • Thick marker
  • Sheet of paper
  • Tape
  • Flowers (these can be real or fake – enough to fill the heart-shaped container)
  • Weeds (these can be real or fake – about 10 of these)
  • Soil (enough to fill the heart-shaped container)
  • Seeds to go in each of the seed packages (It doesn’t matter what kind as long as they are large enough to be visible.  Sunflower seeds would work well.  Put several handfuls into each package.)

 

Preparation

  • Spread the soil around the heart-shaped container.
  • Fill the watering can with water, and have it ready nearby the teaching area.
  • Put the flowers and weeds somewhere where they can’t be seen and where you will be able to plant them later without being seen.
  • Practice the script.
  • Label one package of seeds in large letters that say, “Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-Control.”
  • Label the other package of seeds with large letters that say, “Hate, Sadness, Fear, Impatience, Meanness, Sinfulness, Disloyalty, Harshness, Lack of Control.”
  • Use the sheet of paper, marker and tape to label the watering can with a sign that says, “Living Water.”

Procedure

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

  • “Sometimes bad things happen to us.”
  • “People mistreat us or hurt us, we have a bad experience, we make a mistake and have to suffer from the consequences…”
  • “These things happen to everyone, but sometimes the experience hurts us so much that it creates a wound in our heart.”
  • “A wound in your heart is a painful place; it hurts just to think about it.”
  • “When you remember what happened, you feel terrible sadness or anger or jealousy or shame and embarrassment.”
  • “Don’t raise your hand, but just think to yourself – do you have a wound like that in your heart?”  (Allow participants a few moments to consider and remember a wound that they have suffered.)
  • “I imagine that we can all think of at least on painful experience in our lives that just won’t go away.”  (Ask for a volunteer to come to the front.)
  • “A wound is a really fertile place in your heart; that means that it’s a place where things can grow really well.”
  • “It’s really fertile because of the pain from the wound.  That pain can change you – it can change you for good or change you for evil.”
  • “Let’s imagine that this heart-shaped container represents a wound in your heart.”  (Show the heart-shaped container, and have the volunteer put his/her fingers through the soil.)
  • (To the volunteer…) “Does that look like some fertile soil to you?”  (Acknowledge response.)
  • “It’s really good soil, and you could grow almost anything in there.”
  • “Well, there are two ‘gardeners’ who are very interested in growing things in that soil; one is God, and one is Satan.”
  • “They both want to grow things in your wound, because they know how fertile the soil is.”
  • “God brings His seeds.”  (Hand the large package of God’s seeds (Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control) to your volunteer, and have him/her hold it up where everyone can see.)
  • “God’s seeds will grow into the fruit of the Spirit, which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”  (Have volunteer shake some seeds into the soil in the heart.)
  • “The Bible says in Romans 8:28 that God will use ALL things for the good of those who love Him.”
  • “That means that God can even take the wounds in your heart, the worst things that you have ever experienced, and turn them into blessings for you!”
  • “But Satan also brings his seeds.” (Set the God seeds aside and hand the volunteer the other package of seeds.)
  • “Satan’s seeds will grow into the fruits of evil, which are the opposite of the fruit of the Spirit: Hate, Sadness, Fear, Impatience, Meanness, Sinfulness, Disloyalty, Harshness, Lack of Control.”   (Have volunteer shake some seeds into the soil in the heart.)
  • “Now, these two sets of seeds are going to compete to grow in the soil of your heart.”
  • “Since the wound is so fertile, they are definitely going to grow, but you get to decide which type of seeds fill up your heart.”
  • “Do you want the seeds that grow into the fruit of the Spirit to fill your heart, or do you want the seeds of evil to grow there?”  (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “If you want the fruit of the Spirit to grow, you’ve got to water those seeds every day with Living Water.”  (Hand your volunteer the watering can, making sure that the audience can see the “Living Water” label.  Have the volunteer sprinkle some water over the soil.)
  • “Living Water is the Word of God – the Bible.”
  • “When you water with Living Water every day, the seeds that turn into the fruit of the Spirit are going to grow.”
  • “But if you do nothing, the weeds of evil will grow instead.”
  • “They don’t need any help to grow, because they grow naturally all by themselves.”
  • “The fruit of the Spirit, on the other hand, only grows when you spend time getting closer to God each day by studying His Word, praying and doing your best to follow what His Word says to do.”
  • “Let’s give these some time to grow and see what happens.”  (Hand the heart-shaped container to a helper (or take a break) to take away and plant the flowers and weeds.  Thank and dismiss your volunteer.  Plant the flowers all around the heart, and insert weeds at different places.  Then, bring the container back into the teaching area to finish the lesson.)
  • “Let’s pretend that some time has passed.”
  • “Our flowers that represent the fruit of the Spirit (Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-Control) have grown up, because we have been watering them every day with Living Water by spending time praying, reading God’s Word and doing what it says to do.”
  • “Unfortunately, some weeds of evil (Hate, Sadness, Fear, Impatience, Meanness, Sinfulness, Disloyalty, Harshness, Lack of Control) have also grown up in our heart.”
  • “That’s the way Satan works.  He never gives up.”
  • “Even when we are working really hard to let God use the wound to bless us and those around us, Satan will still plant seeds of evil around God’s seeds.”
  • “You will have forgiven the person who hurt you, but every once in awhile, feelings of hate or mean thoughts will spring up in your heart.”
  • “You may have trusted God with the mistake you made, but every once in awhile, feelings of deep sadness or sinful thoughts or actions might spring up.”
  • “Don’t be surprised when this happens…it’s normal.”
  • “What you have to do is pull those weeds.”  (Ask for volunteer to come up and carefully pull the weeds out without uprooting the flowers.)
  • “The way you get those weeds out of your heart is by giving them to God whenever you notice them in your heart.”
  • “Pray to God, and ask Him to take away your bad feelings and your bad thoughts.  Ask Him to help you stay away from bad actions.”
  • “Keep the garden of your heart clean from weeds so that the fruit of the Spirit can really grow and make your heart beautiful.”
  • “In that way, God will take a wound in your heart and make it into something beautiful for you and everyone God puts in your life.”  (Thank and dismiss your volunteer.)

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Filed under blessing, Bullying, Challenges, Fruit of the Spirit, God's Protection, God's Will, Healing, heart, Object Lesson, Overcoming obstacles, purity

Holding a Grudge (OBJ LESSON)


Time

15-20 minutes
Audience

Children, Teens, Adults

Description

This object lesson teaches about the danger of holding a grudge (i.e., choosing not to forgive someone).  It uses an illustration from Where the Red Fern Grows, a great book about a boy and his hunting dogs, by Wilson Rawls.  In the book, the boy learns about an unethical hunter, who traps raccoons by using a weakness in their nature.  The lesson compares the trapper to Satan and the trapper’s methods to Satan’s way of trapping us with our own bitterness.

Scriptures

  •  Matthew 18:21-35

Materials

  • 2-3 foot log
  • Drill with a large bit (like the kind used for drilling doorknob holes into doors) and a small bit (the same diameter as your pegs or pins)
  • 3-4 pegs or pins (about 5” long each)
  • Hammer
  • Sandpaper
  • 2” ball of aluminum foil
  • (A diagram of this build is in the file called, “JJ – Holding a Grudge – Diagram (OBJ LESSON)” and it can be found on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at www.teachingthem.com.)
  • ALTERNATIVE: If you don’t want to build the trap, you could just show the diagram as an illustration.

Preparation

  • Drill a large hole into the side of the log – large and deep enough for someone to stick his/her hand in and grab a 2” ball of aluminum foil.
  • Hammer pegs or pins into the hole at a 45 degree angle so that the volunteer can get their hand in and comfortably grab the ball of foil but so that he/she will not be able to remove their hand while still clutching the foil.
  • Sand down the rough spots to protect your volunteer from splinters.
  • Put the aluminum foil ball into the hole.
  • These materials will make a trapping device to illustrate how Satan tricks us into holding onto something worthless even though we can’t get free from the trap while we hold it.  A volunteer will put his/her hand into the hole and grab the aluminum foil ball.  The simple solution would be to let go of the ball and get free, but sometimes we want what the ball represents too much.
  • Practice the script.

Procedure

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

  • “There’s a great book by Wilson Rawls, called Where the Red Fern Grows.  It’s about a young boy and his hunting dogs.”
  • “At one point in the story, the boy finds evidence of an unethical hunter.”
  • “The hunter would trap raccoons by using a weakness in their nature.”
  • “He would take a fallen log like this one.”  (Gesture to log.)
  • “And he would drill a hole in the top, like this one.”  (Gesture to hole.)
  • “Then, he would hammer nails through the wood into the hole at a 45 degree angle, like these.”  (Gesture to pegs.)
  • “Finally, he would drop something shiny into the hole like this.”  (Drop in aluminum ball.  Ask for a volunteer to come up and pretend to be a raccoon.)
  • “My volunteer will represent a raccoon that the hunter is trying to trap.”
  • “Raccoons LOVE shiny things!”
  • “They can’t resist them.”
  • “So, when a raccoon sees something shiny, he reaches for it.”
  • “The raccoon would put his hand into the hole in the log and grab the aluminum foil ball.”  (Have volunteer reach into the trap and make a fist around the aluminum ball.)
  • “But while he had his fist around the ball, his hand was too big to pull his hand out of the hole.”
  • “He would struggle and pull for hours, but he wouldn’t let go of the ball.”  (Have volunteer pretend to struggle to pull fist out of the hole.  He/she can’t let go of the ball in order to get free.)
  • “Even when he saw the hunter coming, he wanted the shiny thing so much that he wouldn’t let go to save his life.”
  • “So, that’s how the hunter traps the raccoon.  Now, let’s make a comparison to how Satan traps people.”
  • “Let’s pretend that this trap is really a trap called unforgiveness.”
  • “My volunteer will represent each of us, and in this comparison, we are like the raccoon in the story.”
  • “The trap is a trap of not forgiving someone when they hurt you or disappoint you or forget about you or mistreat you.”
  • “The shiny ball is called a ‘grudge.’”
  • “A grudge is a bad feeling you have against someone.”
  • “It can be anger, bitterness or resentment.  It’s a bad feeling, but it feels good.”
  • “It feels justified and right sometimes to be mad at someone.”
  • “Do you ever feel that way?”  (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “I do.  It’s not good to feel that way, but sometimes we are tempted to.”
  • “When you hold the grudge, it’s very satisfying.”
  • “We spend lots of time thinking about how badly the other person treated us and how good it would feel to get even with them.”
  • “We feel like we SHOULD be mad at them.  If we don’t stay mad at them, then they will get away with the bad thing that they did without having to pay for it.”
  • “We want them to be punished for the bad thing that they did.”
  • “But here’s the problem…the grudge looks shiny and feels good to hold, but it’s really just GARBAGE!”
  • “There’s no real value in it.  Even if you got it out of the trap, it wouldn’t make your life better.”
  • “It wouldn’t fix any of your problems.”
  • “It wouldn’t even make you feel better, because it doesn’t do what it promises.”
  • “You think getting even makes you feel better, but it actually makes you feel worse.”
  • “And the whole time you are holding a grudge, Satan is using it to destroy you.”
  • “Satan is like the trapper who comes to kill the raccoon.”  (Have volunteer struggle to pull the grudge out of the trap as you pretend to be a trapper coming to get him/her.  Look menacing, but don’t scare your audience if they are young.)
  • “You can try to get free, but it’s not possible while you are holding onto the grudge.”
  • “Satan will use the grudge to steal your life – your joy and happiness – from you.”
  • “As long as you hold the grudge, you will be unhappy – I guarantee it.”
  • “The only good solution is to let go of the grudge.”
  • “Open your hand, and release it.”  (Demonstrate with volunteer.)
  • “This is called forgiveness.”
  • “It’s letting go of your right to get even with the other person.”
  • “It doesn’t mean that you have to like the person or have a relationship with him or her, but it does mean that you can’t wish bad things about them anymore.”
  • “When you forgive, you let go of the grudge and get free from the trap.”
  • “When you let go of the grudge, you show that you are trusting God to take care of the situation and do what He thinks is best.”
  • “Only God is wise enough to know what needs to be done in your situation.”
  • “When you trust God to handle bad situations, your happiness and joy will return.”
  • “So, here’s how it works again…”  (Have volunteer reach back in and grab the grudge but then demonstrate the next three steps with you.)
  • “Step 1 – Let go (of the grudge).” (Have volunteer let go of the grudge but keep his/her hand in the trap.)
  • “Step 2 – Let God (take care of things).”  (Have volunteer look up to God and maybe raise his/her other hand to demonstrate giving the grudge to God.)
  • “Step 3 – Get Free (from the trap of unforgiveness)!” (Have volunteer pull their hand from the trap and put both hands in the air to show that he/she is free.)
  • “Let’s say the three steps together – Let God, Let God, Get Free!”  (Have the entire group say this several times so that they get it.)
  • “So, don’t let Satan trap you into holding a grudge.” (Thank and dismiss volunteer. You can use the Rhyme Time below to reinforce the message of this lesson.  The Scriptures at the top are provided in case you want to tell the story as context for the lesson.)

Rhyme Time

Jesus helps me to forgive,

Holding a grudge is no way to live.

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Filed under Conflict Resolution, forgiveness, God's Will, Healing, Object Lesson