Category Archives: Hands-on

Bloom Where You Are Planted (CHALLENGE)


Time

10-15 minutes
Description

This Challenge makes the point that we can make a choice to honor God even if difficult situations.  Joseph was sold into slavery by his own brothers, but he was such a trustworthy slave, that Potiphar put him in charge of everything in the house.  When Joseph was accused by Potiphar’s wife and thrown into prison, the prison warden soon put everything under Joseph’s authority, because Joseph was so faithful in how he handled his responsibilities.  Participants will plant flowers in a mixture of gravel and water jelly crystals to show that you can still bloom when you are in a bad place.

Scriptures

  • Genesis 37-50
  • John 4:10-14

 

Materials

  • Water Jelly Crystals – (You can order them from Steve Spangler Science for approximately $40 plus shipping and handling. (2.27 kg (5 pounds)
    Item #: WSAC-900) Order early, because they may take up to two weeks to receive. It’s important that the crystals are clear and not colored.  You can find these crystals at http://www.stevespanglerscience.com/product/1283.
  • Challenge Card (The file for printing is called, “JJ – Bloom Where You Are Planted – 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.)
  • Small, potted flowers (preferably seedlings with some leaves but before they bloom, but this is flexible) – 1 per person
  • Small, clear, plastic cups – 1 per person
  • Gravel – enough to fill each plastic cup about ¾ full
  • Ziplock bags – gallon size – 1 per group
  • Scoops or large plastic spoons – 1 per group
  • Gallon jug of water – 1 per group

 

Preparation

  • Divide the water jelly crystals evenly so that you have the same amount for each group, and place them in Ziplock bags.
  • Add a scoop or large plastic spoon to each bag for scooping out crystals.
  • Add enough plastic cups for each person in each group.
  • Divide the gravel evenly among the groups, and put it into a bag or some other container for each group.
  • Set aside enough flowers for each person in each 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).
  • 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, “Bloom Where You Are Planted” 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, water jelly crystals, and a scoop or spoon.”
  • “Each group will also have some flowers, gravel and water.”
  • “When I tell you to go, open your Ziplock bags, and read the Challenge Card.”
  • “You will then take the small seedlings out of their planter and shake off the soil so that all you have is the plant with exposed roots.”
  • “This represents Joseph, who was taken out of the good soil of his home and family.”
  • “Next, take a handful of gravel rocks and a handful of water jelly crystals, and mix them together.”
  • “Then, put them into your clear, plastic cup.”
  • “This represents the bad soil that Joseph was planted in when he was sold into slavery by his brothers and then again later when he was thrown into prison for something he didn’t do.”
  • “Plants can’t usually grow in rocks, because they need nutrients from the soil and something to hold the water when it rains.”
  • “That’s why we added water jelly crystals.  They hold water and help the roots to get the refreshing water that they need to grow.”
  • “So here’s the secret reason why Joseph was able to continue to grow even though he was in a bad place.”
  • “God was with him.”
  • “The water jelly crystals represent God’s presence in Joseph’s life.”
  • “Plants need normal water to thrive, but people need LIVING WATER, which is God’s Word and presence, to thrive.”
  • “Jesus says in John 4:10 that we can ask Him, and he will give us living water.”
  • “Then, He says in John 4:13-14 that ‘Everyone who drinks (regular) water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water (Jesus) gives them will never thirst. Indeed, the water (Jesus) gives them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’”
  • “That means that if you depend on Jesus, you will have eternal life with Him in heaven.”
  • “Put your finger into the gravel and water jelly crystals and make a hole for the seedling to be planted in.”
  • “Then, plant the seedling in the gravel, and move the gravel and water jelly crystals around the root.”
  • “Finally, add some water to about halfway up the cup.”
  • “Now, let’s set these aside.  We’ll watch them during the week (or weeks) to see if they thrive in their new soil.  They may even bloom!”
  • (When you are finished, have them answer the Debrief Questions below (also on their Challenge Cards.  The Rhyme Time is a reinforce to help them remember that if they continue to trust God, He will make even difficult situations a blessing for them.)

 

Debriefing Questions

 

  1. Do you think the flower will bloom where you planted it?  Why or why not?
  2. Why do you think Joseph was able to succeed in difficult situations?
  3. How could you “bloom” when you find yourself in a difficult place?

 

Rhyme Time

If we trust Him and obey,

God makes bad things go OUR way!

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Joseph’s Journey


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

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

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Finding Measures (GAME)


Audience

Teens and Adults

Time

15-20 minutes
Description

This game challenges team members to find ways to measure their progress towards a goal when the way to measure their progress is unclear.

Scriptures

2 Corinthians 10:12

 

Materials

  • Graduated pitcher (or any container for liquid that shows measurements along the side)
  • Unmarked pitcher or water bottle that holds 30 or more oz (one per team)
  • Multiple containers for liquid of various sizes
  • Water source or pitchers filled with water (one per team)
  • Permanent marker
  • Prizes for the winning team (optional)

 

Preparation

  • Find out how much water each of your various containers of different sizes can hold, and write it down somewhere.
  • Place these containers around the room inconspicuously.
  • Put the unmarked pitcher or water bottle and the pitcher of water at each table.
  • Practice the script.

Procedure

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

  • “We’re going to play a game that deals with measuring your progress.”
  • “At each of your tables, I have place a pitcher of water and an empty water bottle (or pitcher).”
  • “Your goal is to fill the empty container with exactly 29 oz of water.”
  • “I have a graduated pitcher here at the front that I will use to test whether or not you have been successful.”
  • “However, it’s not enough just to measure your final result.”
  • “You also have to measure your progress at the following increments:
    • 5, 8, 15, 21, 24, 29 oz”
  • “When you think you have measured out each of the increments, come to me, and I’ll test it with the graduated pitcher.”
  • “You have to successfully measure out each increment before you can move on to the next one.”
  • “The first team to successfully measure out all the increments and reach 29 oz wins.”
  • “What questions do you have?”  (Answer questions, but don’t answer any questions that deal with how much different containers in the room hold yet.  You can let them know that they can use any containers they can find but only if they ask.  Then, allow them to start the game.  Provide no direction unless directly asked, and only tell how much the different containers hold to individuals.  One of the lessons that you are trying to teach is the need for them to take initiative to determine their own way of measuring their success.  When a team has successfully finished the challenge, stop the game and have teams answer the following debrief questions.)

 

Debrief Questions & Discussion

  1. What was challenging about the game?
  2. How did you solve the problem of measuring your progress?
  3. Were you guessing, or did you know for sure what your progress was?
  4. What about this game was similar to trying to find ways to measure your progress with your work or ministry?
  5. What lessons can you apply to your work or your ministry?
  6. (If you want to work in the Scripture from above:  What happens when we try to measure our progress by comparing ourselves with others?)

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Filed under Evaluation, Feedback, Game, Games that Teach, Hands-on, impact, Management, Performance

Under the Radar (GAME)


Audience

Teens, Adults

Time

30-35 minutes
Description

This game helps participants to understand how challenging it is to get feedback “in under the radar” without raising the intended recipient’s defensiveness.  Participants will enjoy trying to get beanbags into a target.  The beanbags represent their feedback, and the target represents the recipient’s heart.

Scriptures

o  Proverbs 15:1, 18; 21:23

Materials

o  Beanbags (three per team – if you can’t find beanbags to buy, you can make simple ones with small ziplock bags or drawstring bags filled with beans or rice)

o  Posterboard (1 sheet per team)

o  Markers (2-3 – Red, Green and Black if you want it)

o  Masking tape

o  Note cards (3 per team)

o  A bag or pouch with material that you cannot see through (1 per team)

o  Scissors

o  Bible

Preparation

o  Create a target on the posterboard.  Start with a 6” x 6” circle in the middle.  Then draw concentric circles around it, making each new one about 6” bigger all around.

o  Write point values in each of the circles.  The center circle is worth 50 points.  The next, bigger circle is worth 25.  The next, bigger circle is worth 15.  The next one is worth 10, and if you have any edge left on the poserboard, you can mark that worth 5 points.

o  Buy or make your bean bags.

o  Place the posterboard targets on the ground, and mark a boundary for the throwers with a piece of tape on the floor.  It should be about 8-10 feet away from the target.

o  Mark three more lines of tape on the floor at 25%, 50% and 75% of the way between the throwing line and the target.

o  Cut the notecards in half, and put a large, colored dot on each one (Make 3 with RED dots and 3 with GREEN dots for each group.)

o  Mix up the 6 half-cards, and put them into a bag/pouch.

o  Practice the script.

Procedure

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

  • “Giving feedback isn’t easy.”
  • “We want our feedback to be taken to heart by the person we are giving it to.”
  • “Their heart is our target.”
  • “If the feedback doesn’t make it to their heart, they won’t do anything about it.”
  • “And even when we give feedback with a pure heart and a desire to help the other person, there is no guarantee that our feedback will hit its target.”
  • “There are many things that can rise up and block our feedback from reaching its target, and one of the most common obstacles is defensiveness.”  (Ask a volunteer to come to the front and represent the person to whom you want to give feedback.)
  • “When we are trying to send our feedback to its target…”  (Demonstrate “feedback” flying through the air in the direction of the volunteer with your hand.) “…if we don’t skillfully send it into the target area, the person’s defensiveness radar will see it coming….”  (Have the volunteer make a beeping sound to represent a radar system, and ask them to speed up their beeping as you get closer.) “…and the defensive walls will go up!”  (Have the volunteer put up their hands and block your feedback from reaching its target.  Then, thank and dismiss the volunteer.)
  • “So, let’s play a game that demonstrates this difficulty.”
  • “It’s called ‘Under the Radar,’ and your goal is to throw a beanbag onto a target to earn points.”
  • “You will have to stand here at this line to make your throw and try to hit that target.”  (Demonstrate so that participants get the idea.)
  • “That would be challenging by itself, but it’s more difficult than that.”
  • “I’m going to divide you into a team of three and then make you compete against another team of three.”
  • “Three people will get a chance to throw their ‘feedback’ onto the target, and the team that they are competing against will get a chance to block them.”
  • “Here’s how it will work.”
  • “Each person throwing will get three chances to hit the target, but before they throw, they have to draw three cards out of this bag.”
  • “Inside the bag are eight (6) notecards – three with RED dots and three with GREEN dots.”
  • “If they draw a card with a RED dot, the other team gets to put a person on one of the strips of tape between the throwing line and the target.“
  • “This person represents defensiveness on the part of the person receiving the feedback.”
  • “They have to stand on the tape, but they can do whatever they can from that point to try to block your ‘feedback’ from reaching its target.”
  • “If the person throwing draws two RED dots, two of the opposing team get to stand on the tape marks (different ones).”
  • “If he/she draw three RED dots, three of the opposing team get to stand on the tape marks.”
  • “If less than three RED dots are drawn in the three draws, not all opposing team members will get to stand on the tape marks.”
  • “Those not on tape marks are not allowed to interfere with the throws.”
  • “GREEN cards are good for the throwing team and keep the opposing team off the tape marks.”
  • “After drawing three cards from the bag, the thrower should make three throws and see how close to the center of the target that he/she can get while trying to avoid the defenses of the opposing team members on the tape marks.”
  • “After that team member has made their three shots, add up the total points.”
  • “Then, move the opposing team members off the tape marks, and let the other two team members take turns drawing three cards and take three throws while avoiding the defenses of any opposing players who get onto tape marks because of RED dot cards.”
  • “When all three team members have thrown, the opposing team gets their turn to throw and see how many points they can accumulate.”
  • “The team that has the most total points (from all nine throws) wins.”
  • “Any questions?” (After addressing questions, divide the group into groups of three and pair up the teams of three against each other.  Then, have them choose who will throw first and let them play.  When they are done, recognize or reward the winning teams, and have them return to their seats to work through the following debrief questions.)

Debrief Questions

1. What was challenging about the game?

2. If you compare the game to giving someone feedback, what comparisons can you make?

3. What types of things make people’s defensiveness go up?

4. How can you give feedback in a way that won’t make people defensive?

5. Read Proverbs 15:1, 18 and 21:23.  Do these Scriptures give you any additional ideas?

Summary

  • “Sometimes, you only get once chance to send that feedback in there, so you want to make sure that it has the best chance possible of hitting it’s target.”

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Filed under acceptance, conflict management, Conflict Resolution, discipleship, Evaluation, Game, Games that Teach, Hands-on, heart, Humility, leadership, Relationships, self-image, Spiritual Growth, team, Transformation

Tapped In (OBJ LESSON)


Time

15-20 minutes
Description

This object lesson teaches that you need to stay connected to Jesus in order to have the power to live a godly life and produce the fruit of the Spirit.

Scriptures

  • John 7:37-39, 15:1-5
  • Galatians 5:22

Materials

  • Garden hose (long enough to reach your teaching area from the water spigot
  • Short garden hose (a hose reel leader hose works well)
  • Two quick connect adapters for the hose – need to have an automatic stopper so that the water doesn’t continue to flow after you disconnect it
  • Water nozzle (as small as you can find so that you can use it to fill water balloons)
  • Water supply that you can hook the hose to
  • Nine large balloons (purple is the best color for the lesson if you can find it – you may want to have extra balloons in case any pop or have a leak)
  • Posterboard – one sheet of any light color or white
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Permanent marker to label nine, small signs with the name of the nine fruits of the Spirit
  • Lanyard or twine
  • Clear, plastic tub to hold the balloons as they fill with water
  • Thin piece of plywood or piece of plastic or metal (4 ft long) with nine 3/4 in holes drilled in it about 5 inches apart and 5 inches from the end of either side of the board.  (You can often find a piece of metal that has pre-drilled holes in it that will work just fine near the shelving part of your local hardware store.)
  • Drill and ¾ inch drillbit (if you need to make the board mentioned above)
  • Nine, large washers with a ½ inch hold in the center (the washers must be big enough that they won’t fall out of the balloon once you put them in the opening)
  • Bible

Preparation

  • (SEE DIAGRAMS AT END OF LESSON)
  • Connect the hose to the water spigot.
  • Connect the quick connect adapter (the one with the automatic stopper) to the end of the hose, and turn on the water.  Use a steady stream of water but not full force – maybe about 1/4-1/2 turn.
  • Connect the short hose to the quick connect adapter at the end of the longer hose.
  • Connect the other quick connect adapter to the end of the short hose, and screw on the water nozzle.
  • Run the hose segments and the nozzle into the teaching area.
  • Make a large sign that says, “DISOBEDIENCE,” and put it on the lanyard/twine so that someone can wear it around their neck.
  • Ask a volunteer to be your “DISOBEDIENCE” volunteer and to be ready when you call them.  Give him/her the sign to wear when the time is right.
  • Put a washer in the opening of each balloon.
  • Push each balloon through one of the nine holes in your board.  The opening of the balloon and the washer should be on top of the hole with the rest of the balloon below the board.
  • Put the board with the balloons across the clear, plastic tub so that the balloons hang down into the tub.
  • Cut out nine, small rectangles from the posterboard (each about 4 in long and 2 in tall).
  • Write the nine fruits of the Spirit (Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-Control) on these.
  • Tape the signs to the bottom of the tub on the outside, facing the audience.  Each sign should be in front of a different balloon.
  • Practice

Procedure

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

  • “I’m going to show you why it is so important for you to stay close to God.”
  • “The night before Jesus was crucified, he said something very important to his closest disciples.”  (Have volunteer read John 15:1-5.)
  • “Jesus was making a comparison between His relationship with His disciples and a grapevine.”
  • “Jesus said that He is the grapevine.  That’s the thickest part of the plant that is rooted to the ground.”
  • “He said that the disciples are branches and that the branches hold the fruit.”
  • “We know from Galatians 5:22 that the fruit that Jesus is talking about is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (If the kids are not familiar with the fruit of the Spirit, you might want to take a moment to describe each one for them.)
  • “And He says that if we (as the branches) don’t stay connect to Him (the vine), we won’t have any of this fruit.”
  • “But….if we stay connected to Jesus, we will have LOTS of fruit.”  (Ask for a volunteer to come to the front, and allow him/her to help you in the following demonstration.)
  • “I don’t have a grapevine here today, and even if I did, we don’t have an entire season to watch the grapes grow on the vine.”
  • “So, instead of using a real grapevine, I’m going to use this hose, this nozzle and these balloons to demonstrate what Jesus is talking about.”  (Ask volunteer to hold the nozzle at the end of the hose.)
  • “Imagine that this hose represents Jesus as the vine.”
  • “Through Him comes a steady flow of living water, which the Bible tells us is the Holy Spirit according to John 7:39.”  (Turn on the nozzle (if it isn’t already) and have the volunteer point it into the tub.  Have another volunteer read John 7:37-39.)
  • “This nozzle represents us as the branches, and these nine balloons represent the fruit of the spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  They are like the grapes on the vine.”
  • “Now, the goal is to produce fruit and lots of it.”
  • “We produce fruit by filling the balloons with the water.  This is like the Holy Spirit flowing through us (the nozzle) to do the good works that the fruit represents.”  (Allow your volunteer to begin to fill one of the balloons.  Turn off the nozzle when the balloon is full enough that the water doesn’t come shooting back out the top – over half-way.)
  • “But by itself, this nozzle is pretty useless.  It has no water of its own to share.”
  • “We can’t connect just the nozzle to a balloon and fill it.”  (Disconnect the nozzle from the hose and give it to the volunteer.  Ask them to try to fill the balloons with just the nozzle.)
  • “That’s what it’s like if we try to do God’s work without God.”
  • “There is just no power in it.”
  • “So we have to stay connected to the hose if we want to have the power to do the work that God has given us to do.”  (Reconnect the nozzle, and let the volunteer continue filling the first balloon.  When it gets about full, start filling up another balloon.)
  • “What does it mean to be connected to the hose?  In other words, how can we stay connected to Jesus so that His Spirit flows through us and produces fruit?”
  • “There are two things we need to do in order to stay connected to the hose/to Jesus.”
  • “We need to spend time with God, and we need to obey God.”
  • “If we do these two things, we will stay connected to Jesus, and His power will flow through us and produce lots of fruit.”  (Allow volunteer to keep filling balloons slowly.  Don’t allow them to fill all the balloons before you finish the next part.)
  • “How can we spend time with God?”  (Listen to answers.  You are looking for things like, “Go to church, worship, praise, pray, read your Bible…”)
  • “Excellent! During those times, God will tell us what He wants us to do in our lives.”
  • “But spending time with Him is not enough.  We have to also do what He says.”
  • “Sometimes, we know what God wants us to do, but we don’t want to do it.”
  • “That’s called ‘DISOBEDIENCE’ (bring your “DISOBEDIENCE” volunteer forward), and it’s disconnecting the hose so that the living water won’t pass through.” (Have “DISOBEDIENCE” volunteer disconnect the hose so that the water stops.)
  • “Disobedience stops the flow of the living water coming through your nozzle.”
  • “Another word for ‘disobedience’ is ‘sin.’”
  • “Sin stops the flow of God’s power, which He sends through His Holy Spirit, through you.”
  • “But it’s easy to get the living water flowing again. What do you think you have to do?”  (Listen to responses.  You are looking for someone to say, “obey.”)
  • “That’s right!  Obey, and living water flows through you again to create more fruit.”  (Have “DISOBEDIENCE” volunteer reconnect hose, and allow volunteer to fill in the rest of the balloons.  Then dismiss the volunteer.)
  • “So what are the two things we need to do to stay connected to God?”  (Listen for the answers, “spend time with Him” and “obey Him.”)
  • “Fantastic! Let’s all go and produce lots of fruit!”


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Filed under Annointing, Daily walk, Fruit of the Spirit, Hands-on, Listening to God, Obedience, Object Lesson, sanctification, spiritual disciplines, Spiritual Growth, Spiritual Health, Transformation

The Amazing Journey (GAME SERIES)


I’ve published a new series on the Lesson and Material Downloads page.  It’s called, “The Amazing Journey” (or AJ for short), and there are 20 object lessons.  Ten of the lessons focus on the story of Daniel and ten focus on the story of Esther.  They are non-competitive, but you can make them competitive if you like.

I’m writing them for a summer camp that I have in a few days.  Some of them need facilitator notes to help you set them up, but you should be able to figure most of them out.  I won’t have time to do the facilitator notes until after camp, but if you need them for a lesson, drop me a comment, and I’ll write them up for you for any of the lessons.

Blessings….Michael

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Filed under Belief, Christianity, courage, Daily walk, Daniel, Esther, faith, Fear, Game, Games that Teach, God's Will, Hands-on, Kindness, leadership, Obedience, Object Lesson, prayer, Relationships, Satan's tactics, struggles, temptation, test

The Legend of the Candy Cane (GAME)


Time
15-20 minutes (or more, depending upon how many times you play)

Audience

Children & Youth

Description

This matching game is a fun one to play at Christmas.  It takes the elements of “The Legend of the Candy Cane” (apocryphal) and uses it to make connections between the popular Christmas candy and truths about Christ.  Even though the widely circulated story of how the candy cane originated is not true, we can still find meaning and symbolism in the candy that will help us to appreciate our Savior.

Scriptures

  • Exodus 12:22-23
  • Psalm 51:7
  • Isaiah 53:5
  • Matthew 1:23, 5:12, 26:28
  • John 10:11
  • Romans 6:4, 9:33
  • 2 Corinthians 5:21

Materials

  • Printouts of “Legend of the Candy Cane – Cards.ppt” (available at www.teachingthem.com on the Lesson and Material Downloads page).  There are enough cards in the printout for two teams.  If you will have more teams competing, you will need more copies.
  • Scissors or a paper cutter (to cut out the cards)
  • A simple, red-and-white candy cane to use as an example
  • Flipchart or whiteboard and markers
  • Optional: If it bothers you that participants will be able to see the images through the paper, you might want to use a heavy stock of paper, or you might even want to glue the cards to cardboard or posterboard before cutting them out.
  • Optional: Small prizes for the winners – I recommend candy canes to fit with the theme.
  • Bible

Preparation

  • Print out the cards.
  • Optional: Glue the cards on top of the cardboard or poster board (to prevent participants from being able to see the images through the paper).
  • Cut out the cards.
  • Sort the cards into sets.  (There are two identical sets in each printout.  Most matching games have you match identical cards, but in this matching game, participants will match a characteristic of the candy cane with its meaning/symbol.  So, each set will contain one of each of the following cards: “White,” “Red,” “The Rock,” “J-Shape,” “Stripes,” “Peppermint,” “Hard,” “Sweet,” “Hyssop,” “Sinless,” “Blood,” “Shepherd,” “Born of a Virgin,” “By His Stripes,” “Jesus,” “Wash Me Clean,” “New Life,” and “Heaven.”
  • Shuffle the cards, and lay them out in three rows of six cards each.  (The cards should be laid out face-down.”)
  • Practice the script.

Procedure

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

  • “Have any of you ever heard “The Legend of the Candy Cane?”  (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “It’s this story that has been sent around the internet and on different websites about how the candy cane was created and why.”
  • “It says that a man created the candy cane to be a witness to Jesus Christ and that each of the characteristics of the candy cane pointed to our Lord.”
  • “Unfortunately, some people checked out the story, and it turns out not to be true.”
  • “The candy cane has been around for about 300 years, and it started out as just a simple candy.”
  • “However, that doesn’t mean that we can’t find symbols of Christianity in the candy cane.”
  • “Many times, God uses something to bring glory to Himself even when mankind didn’t intend to give Him glory.”
  • “I think the candy cane can definitely bring glory to God.”
  • “Let’s look at it more closely.”  (Hold up a candy cane for the participants to see.)
  • “What are some of the things you notice about the candy cane?”  (Hold up you hand to show that you want them to raise their hands to be recognized one at a time.  As you call on them, you might want to write what they say on the flipchart or whiteboard.  Then, ask them to tell you what this characteristic might represent in the Christian faith.  Several characteristics will have two meanings.  You will have to give them some guidance, but let them come up with as many as they can.  The main responses you are looking for are written below.
    • White = Sinless (2 Corinthians 5:21); Born of a Virgin (Matthew 1:23)
    • Red = Blood (Matthew 26:28)
    • Hard = The Rock (Romans 9:33)
    • J-Shaped = Jesus, Shepherd’s staff (John 10:11)
    • Stripes = By His stripes… (Isaiah 53:5)
    • Peppermint = Hyssop (Exodus 12:22-23), Washes Me Clean (Psalm 51:7)
    • Sweet = New Life (Romans 6:4), Heaven (Matthew 5:12)

There may be additional connections that the participants can make, but they won’t be included in the matching game.  As you make the connections, you might want to have someone read the Scriptures listed above.  Some Scriptures may need a little background information to connect them to the symbol.)

  • “See!  We came up with at least eleven connections between Christianity and the candy cane!”
  • “That can’t be accidental.  God must have hidden these truths in the candy cane for us to find.”
  • “Now, let’s play a game to help us remember these connections.”
  • “It’s a matching game, like when you turn a face-down card over and then try to remember where its match might be.”
  • “How many of you have played a game like this before?”  (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “I’m going to divide you into teams before we play.”  (Divide participants into evenly-sized groups – as much as possible – based on how many sets of cards you prepared.)
  • “Here’s how it is played for those of you who haven’t played before.”
  • “Each team has a set of 18 cards, placed face-down in front of you.”
  • “Your goal is to match all the different sets before the other teams do.”
  • “You will do this by turning over two cards at a time.”
  • “You will take turns on your team being the person who turns over the cards.”
  • “Once you turn them over, you cannot change which cards you’ve chosen.”
  • “I will look at the two you’ve chosen and tell you if you have a match or not.”
  • “If you have a match, I will let you make a set and take the cards off the board.”
  • “Sometimes, you may match two cards that actually need a third card to make the set.”
  • “You will be able to tell if there is a third card when there is a #3 in the corner of the two cards you have turned over.”
  • “Whenever this happens, I will let you turn over one more card to see if you can make a full set.”
  • “If you turn over the third card, I will let you remove the cards from the board.”
  • “If you turn over two (or three) cards that don’t match, you will have to turn them back face-down in the same place you found them.”
  • “After I’ve looked at all the cards, we’ll go to the next turn, and someone else in your team will turn over the cards.”
  • “The first team to match all their sets wins!”
  • “Do you have any questions?”
  • “Are you ready to play?”  (Start the game.  Do one round at a time, so that you will be able to tell which team wins.  If you have a prize picked out for the winners, you can hand it out then.  If you finish quickly, you can shuffle the cards and play again.  For a more challenging game, you might want to combine two sets of the cards to make a total of 36 cards for each team.)

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