Category Archives: Hands-on

Exceeding Abundantly (OBJ LESSON)


Time
25 minutes

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

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

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

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

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

Advertisements

Leave a comment

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

Be Careful What You Say (GAME)


 

Time

30-35 minutes

 

Description

This game teaches that it is important to think before we speak.

 

Materials

·      Game Cards – available at the end of this lesson (there are enough cards for a group of six to play three, full rounds (with a few extras), so you may need to divide groups larger than six into smaller groups and give each the identical game cards)

·      Watch or clock with a second hand or a sixty-second timer for each group

·      Paper and something to write with in order to keep score for each team

·      Prizes for winners (optional)

 

Preparation

·      Print out and cut out the game cards

·      Make any additional game cards that you might want to include

·      Organize the cards into identical stacks (one for each group)

·      Pass out paper and writing instrument to each table or group

·      Practice the script.

 

Procedure

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

·      “We’re going to play a game today to help us to remember that we need to be careful what we say.”

·      “The Bible has many verses that tell us to be careful about our words and what comes out of our mouth.  Let’s read a few.”  (Ask volunteers to read the following verses, or select some of your own:

o        Proverbs 10:14 (Speaking too much can get you into trouble.)

o        Proverbs 10:19 (Speaking too many words lead to sin.)

o        Proverbs 10:31 (A perverse tongue is cut out.)

o        Proverbs 11:9 (The godless do harm to others with their mouth.)

o        Proverbs 12:18 (Words can hurt those around us.)

o        Proverbs 18:6 (Foolish people invite trouble when they speak.)

o        Proverbs 18:7 (A fool sets a trap for himself by what he says.)

o        Proverbs 26:7 (A fool’s mouth is useless to him.)

·      “And that’s just a few of the verses about watching what we say!  Our mouths can get us into a lot of trouble!”

·      “So, here’s how the game is played.” (Separate participants into groups if you have more than six participants.)

·      “First, we need a volunteer in each group to keep score.  Can I get some volunteers?”  (Make sure every group has someone to keep score and have them create a score sheet with the names of all the group members across the top of the page and columns for recording points.  Also appoint a timekeeper for each group.  Each round should last no more than sixty seconds.)

·      “Okay, each group (if you have groups) will get a stack of cards.  Be sure to keep them face down so that you can’t see them.”  (Hand out cards.)

·      “Each group member will take a turn drawing a card from the deck and reading it.”

·      “The cards have a word or phrase at the top of the card and some words commonly related to that word or phrase under it.”

·      “Then, he or she must give clues to the group to try to get them to guess the word or phrase at the top of the card.”

·      “The trick is that he or she cannot use any of the words on the card – not the word or phrase at the top of the card and not the commonly related words under it.”

·      “Also, he or she cannot use any form of the words or any gestures or body language of any kind.”

·      “To hold that person accountable, they have to show their card to the person on their right, but they shouldn’t show it to anyone else.”

·      “If the person on their right hears them use any of the words on the card or sees them do a gesture or body movement that might give away the word or phrase, he or she should stop the round and indicate which word was used.”

·      “The person on the right then gets a point, and the scorekeeper for the group should mark one point under that person’s name.”

·      “If, however, the person whose turn it is successfully gets someone to guess the word or phrase, then both the person whose turn it is and the person who guessed the word or phrase get a point.”

·      “The person with the most points after everyone takes three turns will be the winner.”

·      “Does anyone have any questions?”  (Answer any questions, and run a practice round if you think it will be helpful.  After that, begin the game, and allow each person in each group to have three turns.  Have someone at the table watch the time so that they can signal when time is up.  Then have the scorekeepers calculate the totals, and announce the winners.  Award prizes if you want, then have each group work through the debrief questions listed below.)

 

Debrief Questions

·       “How difficult was it for you to avoid using the words on the cards?”

·       “Do you struggle with any of the following temptations related to what we say?

o   Gossiping / Telling rumors

o   Lying

o   Making promises you can’t keep

o   Swearing

o   Taking the Lord’s name in vain

o   Nagging

o   Being critical of others

o   Discouraging others

o   Dominating conversations

o   Exaggerating

o   Blaming

o   Saying “yes” when you should really say “no”

o   Bragging

o   Being unkind

·       “What other temptations of the mouth can you think of?”

·       “What can you do to prevent giving in to these temptations in the future?”


 

Toothbrush

 

Teeth                  Paste               Mouth

 

Cavity                  Rot               Enamel

 

Tongue                Lips                  Chew

Hammer

 

Nail                       Hit                 Pound

 

Wood                   Tool                  Claw

 

Sledge                 Build              Thumb

Moses

 

Burning               Bush                Israel

 

Shepherd           Plague               Egypt

 

Prince               Pharaoh             Aaron

School

 

Learn                Teacher          Building

 

Education          Library               Book

 

Study              Homework              Test

Fishers of Men

 

Peter                 Andrew             James

 

Catch                  Jesus                  John

 

Net                 Evangelism        Heaven

Bible

 

Book                   Holy           Scripture

 

Quiet                Devotion             Word

 

Read                 Leather            Church

Parents

 

Adult                  People                 Kids

 

Father             Grown-up       Guardian

 

Mom                    Dad              Mother

Video Games

 

Nintendo            X-Box                  Play

 

TV                   Controller                Wii

 

Friends                Role                 Shoot

Pets

 

Dog                      Cat             Hamster

 

Cage                   Leash                  Fish

 

Animal                Bark                Meow

Cross

 

Jesus                    Die                      Sin

 

Golgotha           Roman            Crucify

 

Pay                     Christ               Carry

Toast

 

Bread                  Jelly                   Jam

 

Food                  Toaster             Butter

 

Honey                Spread                   Eat

Old Testament

 

New                     Bible                 Book

 

Word                Promise        Scripture

 

God                     Holy             Prophet

Sunday School

 

Teaching           Church                 Kids

 

Today                 Word           Children

 

Learn                  Bible           Scripture

Friends

 

Kids                  Children            Buddy

 

Play                    Close                    Pal

 

Together            School               Know

Sports

 

Soccer              Football         Baseball

 

Volleyball         Hockey      Basketball

 

Play                   Athlete         Compete

Helicopter

 

Fly                    Propeller             Rotor

 

Passenger             Air                 Wings

 

Bird                     Chop                     Up

Israel

 

Place               Jerusalem            Jacob

 

Middle               Name          Abraham

 

Jew                   Hebrew               Isaac

Fiery Furnace

 

Shadrack         Meshack      Abednego

 

Daniel                  Bow                Statue

 

Fire                     Jesus                Angel

David and Goliath

 

Stones                 Giant                 Fight

 

Child                    Boy           Shepherd

 

Kid                      Sling               Rocks

Map

 

Countries         Pictures               Draw

 

Legend            Compass     Directions

 

Cities                 Places              Ocean

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Christianity, Discipline, Game, Games that Teach, Guard your gates, Hands-on, mouth gate, Speaking, temptation, Tongue

Point to Christ Relay


Time

15-25 minutes

Description

This is game that helps participants understand how difficult it can be sometimes to keep our lives pointed toward Christ.

 

Materials

  • Blindfolds (one for each team)
  • Prizes for “enemies or demons.”
  • Prizes for the winning team (optional)
  • Flipchart and markers

 

Preparation

·      Find a wide-open space in which to run the race.  Make sure that there are no obstacles that the runners might stumble over.

·      Select a point in the room or outside that can represent “Christ.”

·      Select starting points around the room or outside that are equidistant from the “Christ” point.

·      Mark off the starting points and three to four relay points of equal distance.  In other words, you want to divide each path to “Christ” into three to four segments.

·      Post the debrief questions on a flipchart, but keep it concealed until the activity is over.  (See the end of this lesson for questions.)

·      Practice the script.

 

Procedure

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

·      “We’re going to run a race today, but it’s going to be a different kind of race.”

·      “This race will be a relay race, which may or may not be familiar to you.”

·      “But in this race, you will be blindfolded!”

·      “AND…each racer will have an enemy who tries to keep you from finishing your race!”

·      “Interested?”

·      “Okay, I’m going to divide you into teams.”  (Divide group into teams of 5-6.  Each team needs to be equally sized.  Extras can serve as additional “enemies/demons.”) 

·      “Now I need a volunteer from each team to be the ‘enemies or demons.’” 

·      “Your job will be to try to prevent the runners on the other teams from reaching their goal, and if you help your team win because you confused the other teams, your team will get a prize (optional).”

·      “So, here’s how this race works.”

·      “Each team will start from their starting point.”  (Indicate starting points for each team.)

·      “One team member will line up on each of your team’s relay points (including the starting point).”  (Indicate relay points for each team, and have the team members take their positions.)

·      When it’s your turn to race, you will have to put on a blindfold.”  (Indicate blindfold and how to put it on.)

·      “If your blindfold is not on correctly, your team can be disqualified, so make sure you get it on so that you can’t see.”

·      “The first racer will put on his blindfold and run to the first relay point.”

·      “Once there, he will take off the blindfold and give it to the next runner, who will then put on the blindfold before starting to run.”

·      “The first team to reach this point, which we are calling ‘Christ,’ wins!”

·      “But remember the enemies/demons?  These enemies/demons will run up to you as soon as you put your blindfold on, and they will spin you around 3-5 times.  When they are done spinning you, they may point you in the wrong direction.”  (Assign “enemies/demons” to opponents’ teams.  Extra “enemies/demons” should be instructed that they can are to stand off to the side and shout confusing directions to the runners to keep them from reaching the goal.  Be sure to reward these extra “enemies/demons” after the race, since they aren’t part of a team.)

·      “One team member is your “Holy Spirit.”  He or she will stand off to the side and call out directions to you about which way you should go.”

·      “You will have to listen very carefully to hear your “Holy Spirit” telling you how to face toward ‘Christ’ and to separate the voice of your “Holy Spirit’ from the voice of any demons.”

·      “Is everyone clear on the instructions?”  (Answer any questions.)

·      “Okay, everyone get on your places.  First runners, put on your blindfolds.  “Enemies/demons,” get ready to spin them.  Ready, get set….GO!”  (Help everyone to follow the rules, but try not to interfere in the race.  When the race is over, award prizes if you choose and have the teams reassemble to answer the debrief questions, listed below.)

 

Debrief Questions

o   “What made that difficult?”

o   “Even if you didn’t win, how were you able to succeed in running the race?”

o   “How is this like real life for a Christian?”

o   (Have a volunteer read 1 Corinthians 9:24-27.)

o   “How was running this race like the race Paul describes?”

o   “Why do you think Paul compares our Christian life to a race?”

o   “What does Paul mean by ‘running aimlessly’ and ‘fight(ing) like a man beating the air?’  How do these apply to us?”

o   “Why would Paul need to ‘beat (his) body and make it (his) slave?’”

§  “Do we need to do this, too?  If so, how?”

o   “What other lessons can you take away from this activity?”

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Challenges, Christianity, Daily walk, demons, Focus, Game, Games that Teach, Hands-on, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Listening to God, Satan's tactics, Spiritual Warfare, struggles

God’s Dream


Time

45-60 minutes

Description

This is game that helps participants understand that God’s dream for their lives has to be discovered and that it usually requires the help of others to complete.  It was developed for adults but can be modified for use with children (see ideas at the end of the lesson).

 

Materials

  • Large puzzles with at least 50 pieces each (The puzzles can be different, but they should be similar in size and shape.)
  • Masking tape
  • Ziplock bags (optional)
  • Signs that say, “MENTOR.” (One per table group.)
  • Prizes for the winning team (optional)
  • Flipchart, whiteboard (and markers) or LCD projector and screen

 

Preparation

·      Teams should be arranged at tables with 6-8 participants each.

·      Open each puzzle and remove 10-12 pieces.

·      Mix these up.

·      Carefully tape four pieces (each) to the bottom of different chairs around the room.  (You might want to put them in a Ziplock bag to protect the pieces.)  Make sure that they cannot be seen.  Each of these chairs should have pieces from several different puzzles taped underneath.

·      Label the back of these chairs, “MENTOR” (just one per table – if you have more pieces than will fit under the “MENTOR” chairs, tape them under other chairs, but don’t label those chairs, “MENTOR.”)

·      Take any remaining pieces (that you pulled from the puzzles) and mix them in with other puzzles around the room.

·      Put the rest of the puzzle pieces in a bag or box (but not a box with the picture on it) in the center of each table.

·      Keep the pictures of the completed puzzle in the teaching area at the front of the room.

·      Flipchart the Debrief Questions at the end of this lesson (but keep them hidden until the activity is done).

·      Practice the script.

 

Procedure

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

·      “We’re going to put some puzzles together.”

·      “These puzzles represent God’s dream for your life.”

·      “At your tables, one of the chairs says, “MENTOR,” on the back.  Those of you sitting in those seats are now the “Mentors” for your teams.”

·      “Can I see the “Mentors” outside the room for a minute?”  (Go outside room with “Mentors” and tell them about the hidden pieces under their chairs.  Ask them not to reveal this secret unless someone (from any table) specifically asks them about the missing pieces.  If they are asked any other question, they can answer it as long as it doesn’t reveal that there are hidden pieces under their chairs.  They are not to participate in the puzzle building unless asked to do so.  Also, let the “Mentors” know that you have the pictures of the completed puzzles at the teaching area in the front.  If anyone asks about them, the “Mentors” can come get the pictures and take them back to their tables.  Allow the “Mentors” to return to their groups.)

·      “Okay, you can start putting your puzzles together.  The first team to finish wins!”  (Allow at least 30 minutes for puzzle building.  If a team finishes, observe whether or not they try to help other teams.  If no one asks the “Mentors” about the missing pieces after 20 minutes, you can drop some hints until they catch on.  When everyone is done, award prizes (optional) and ask the teams to work through the debrief questions on the flipchart.  Allow 15 minutes.  Then do a large group debrief on what lessons they will take away from the activity.)

 

Debrief Questions

o   “What helped or hindered your team’s success?”

o   “What might you do differently if you had it to do over again?”

o   “Were the mentors important in completing the puzzle?  Why or why not?”

o   “If the puzzles represent God’s dream for your life, what do the pieces under the chairs represent?”

§  “How could this be a metaphor for the way God reveals His will?”

§  “What do the pieces at other tables represent?”

§  “What do the pieces that didn’t fit into your puzzle represent?”

o   “Did anyone try to determine if someone at the table was actually skilled at putting puzzles together?” 

§  “Why or why not?”

§  “Does this say anything about the way we approach the subject of mentors?  Explain.”

o   “How important are other people in solving our problems?”

o   “What lessons can you take away from this activity?”

 

Possible Modifications for Children

·      When working with children, consider the following changes to make it more relevant for them:

o   Instead of having “MENTORS,” you might label the chairs “PARENTS,” “TEACHERS,” or “CHRISTIAN FRIENDS.”

o   Rather than do a debrief at table groups, you might prefer to lead the questions from the front of the room in order to keep the children focused.

o   Some other debriefing questions you might ask could be:

§  “How does God show us His plan for our lives?”

§  “Why doesn’t God just tell us His whole plan when we are young?”

§  “Why does God give some of the pieces of our puzzle to other people?”

§  “Have you ever helped someone discover a piece of their own puzzle?” 

·      “How did that feel?”

·      “How did you find out that you had a piece of their puzzle?”

o   You might have the children finish by drawing pictures of God’s dream for their lives.

Leave a comment

Filed under Christianity, Game, Games that Teach, God's dream, God's Plan, God's Will, Hands-on

Fruit of the Spirit Jenga


 Time

15-20 minutes

Description

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

 

Materials

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

 

Preparation

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


·      Jesus (16 blocks)

·      Love (4 blocks)

·      Joy (4 blocks)

·      Peace (4 blocks)

·      Patience (4 blocks)     

·      Kindness (4 blocks)

·      Goodness (3 blocks)

·      Faithfulness (3 blocks)

·      Gentleness (3 blocks)

·      Self-control (3 blocks)


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

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

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

·      Set out one tower per table group.

 

Procedure

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

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

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

·      “Here are the rules of the game:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leave a comment

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

The Race


Time

20 minutes

Description

This object lesson teaches that the Bible compares our lives to a race. Our sin and our past often become like heavy clothing or baggage to us, but God wants us to throw these off and run freely.

Materials

  • Lots of heavy clothing – boots, shoes, coats, sweaters….
  • Several backpacks, pieces of luggage (preferably without rollers), and bags loaded with heavy stuff.
  • Lots of wadded balls of paper or soft balls
  • Candy that will tempt the kids. Candy bars will work better than small candy.
  • A few small prizes for the racers.  It’s best to have prizes for everyone for both races, since it’s not important who finishes first in the race of life.
  • (Optional) Whistle to start the race.
  • (Optional) Water guns and/or water balloons
  • (Optional) Tape or twine to mark the finish line

Preparation

· This can be an indoor or an outdoor activity. Outdoors is preferable, because you can let the kids really get into the lesson, but either will work.

· Find a good starting place and finish line for your race, and make sure they are well marked.

· Put all your heavy clothing in a box and set it to the side.

· Put all your bags and luggage off to the side.

· Wad up your paper balls, or fill your water guns / water balloons.

· Put the candy in your pockets, or conceal it in some other way.

· If you have other creative ideas for encumbering the runners, use them. The idea is to make the first part of the race a frustrating experience.

· Practice the script.

Procedure

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

· “Let’s run a race today!”

· “Who is interested in competing for the prize?” (Take up to six volunteers, depending on your class size. You will need several kids to stay in the role of spectator.)

· “Okay, the race will be from here (designate starting point) to there (designate finish line).”

· “Everyone ready?”

· “Okay! On your mark, get set…….oh, hold on a minute. You guys aren’t ready yet.”

· “If we want to make this race more realistic, I’m going to need you guys to wear these.” (Set out the box with all the clothes, heavy shoes, etc., and start handing them out to the volunteers. They should all get dressed up.)

· “Okay, that’s more like it. On your mark, get set……hmmmm….something’s still not right.”

· “Oh, I know! You need some of this!” (Hand out backpacks, luggage, bags, other articles for them to drag.)

· “Yes, that’s it! Okay, on your mark, get set…..Wait! Wait!”

· “I completely forgot to prepare the spectators on the sidelines and in the stands!” (Hand out wadded paper, soft balls (or if you’re brave) water guns or water balloons.)

· (To the spectators in a low voice so that the runners don’t hear…) “You guys are going to throw (squirt) these things at the runners as they run.”

· “I also need you to try to get them to leave the race to come and get these from you.” (Secretly hand them the candy.)

· (Still to the spectators…) “You guys are also going to boo at them and tell them things like, ‘You’ll never be able to win! Why are you even trying? My grandmother runs faster than you!…’ – Okay, you guys ready?” (Check to make sure that they understand what they are supposed to do.)

· “Okay, is everyone ready? On your mark, get set……GO!” (Blow whistle if you have it. Despite all the obstacles you’ve set up, it’s likely that a competitive spirit will drive kids to finish the race anyway. But whether they do finish or not is not too important on the first race. Just modify your questions for the runners to match what happened.  Award prizes for anyone who finished.)

· (After they’ve run the race or given up…) “So, how did that feel?” (Listen to responses.)

· “Do you feel like you were able to run your best race?….Why or why not?” (Listen for responses.)

· “What would have made the race easier to run?” (Listen for responses.)

· In today’s lesson, the race represents our life as Christians.”

· We are the runners.  The starting line indicate the moment we accepted Christ.  The finish line is heaven.”

· The heavy clothes and baggage represent the burdens that we bring into the race – our sin, bad stuff that has happened in our past, our weaknesses, our misunderstandings about God…”

· The spectators represent the demons, who are watching God’s plan for your life play out as we run the race.”

· The things they throw are fears, worries and doubts.”

· The candy they try to tempt you with represents Satan’s armies doing whatever they can to distract you from your mission.”

· “You see, most of us are not equipped to run this race we call life.”

· “We bring so much junk with us to the starting line, and we have no idea how to deal with Satan’s attacks.”

· “But as odd as it may seem, we do our training while we round the track.”

· “If we carry our Bible with us and pray and try to learn as we run, these strategies will help us get rid of the junk, ignore the distractions and make us faster.”

· “So, we need to start our race every day with our Bible, and we need to quit listening to all the voices that want to discourage us.”

· “They aren’t the only ones watching us run, by the way.”

· “God and the angels are also there, and if we listen carefully, we can hear their cheers for us above the discouraging shouts of our enemy.” (Have a volunteer read Hebrews 12:1.)

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” (Hebrews 12:1)

· “That ‘great cloud of witnesses’ refers to all the angels – the heavenly host – that are watching us and cheering for us and even helping us at times while we run our race of life.”

· “So, what do you say we run that race again?”

· “This time, I want you to throw off everything that hinders you or slows you down.”

· “And this time, spectators, I want you to represent the angels in heaven, and I want you to cheer on the runners and encourage them to run their best!”

· “Okay, runners….On your mark, get set……GO!” (Blow whistle if you have one.)

· (After the race… Award prizes to everyone, and then ask…) “So, how did that feel? Was it different?” (Listen for responses.)

· “That’s the way God wants us to feel when we are running the race of life.”

· “But in order to feel that free, we’ve got to throw off our sin, our fears, our worries, and our doubts. We’ve got to get to know God better and refuse to believe the lies of the Enemy.”

· “As you go through your life, I want you to remember this lesson.”

· “Every time you sin, I want you to think of it like it’s putting on heavy clothing or boots or picking up a heavy bag that you’ll have to carry or drag through your race of life.”

· “And when you ask God for forgiveness, I want you to think of it like it’s throwing off that heavy clothing or dropping that heavy bag.”

· “That’s the way God wants us to run our race!”

8 Comments

Filed under Angels, Challenges, Christianity, Daily walk, demons, Fear, Focus, forgiveness, Hands-on, Obedience, Object Lesson, Spiritual Warfare, struggles, temptation

Peter – The Rock


Time

20 minutes (for the lesson – if you do the part about hardening the goo, you will need to bring the “Peter rocks” back to the kids during the next lesson)

Description

This object lesson teaches about Peter both before and after Pentecost. It focuses on his transformation into “the rock.” It’s very tactile and can be quite a bit messy without good supervision, but the kids will really enjoy getting to work with the cornstarch and water mixture.

Materials

  • NOTE: When I originally did this lesson, I found some Styrofoam containers at a restaurant supply store that worked perfectly. They are the type that fast food chains sometimes put hamburgers into and have a top and bottom that fold together to close. Instead of the bowls and measuring cups listed below, you can use these containers to hold the water and the cornstarch (one on each side of the container when it is opened. This way, your measurements are done before the kids arrive, and you don’t need so many measuring cups.)
  • Corn starch (about 4 oz per child – but have extra at the front for children to use to thicken the consistency)
  • Water (about ½ cup – but have extra at the front for children to use to weaken the consistency)
  • Cookie sheets or wax paper for the children to work on
  • Small bowls for each of the children
  • Spoons for stirring the mixture (optional – the children could use their hands)
  • ½ cup measuring cups (one for every two or three children)
  • Drop cloth to go under all the work areas
  • Molds that represent Peter – some ideas are a rock or the letters “P-E-T-E-R.” You can also use a muffin tin.
  • Paper towels and/or a nearby sink for clean up
  • Masking tape and a marker so that you can label the “rocks” with the children’s names while they dry
  • Paints and brushes or markers for decorating the “rocks” after they have hardened
  • (Optional) Ziplock bags for each child if you prefer to let them take their goo home with them.

Preparation

· Lay out the drop cloth under all the areas where the children will be working.

· Divide up the supplies so that each child has the amounts described above.

· Use the masking tape and marker to label the molds or muffin tin spaces so that you’ll know later whose rock is whose.

· Practice the script.


Procedure

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

  • “We’re going to do a fun experiment today that will teach us about Peter and God.”
  • “In front of you, you have some things from a kitchen.” (Hold each up as you describe it.)
  • “You’ve got a cookie sheet (or wax paper), and that’s to keep from making a mess that will be hard to clean up.”
  • “You have a bowl, a spoon, some water, a measuring cup and some powder.”
  • “The powder is called cornstarch.”
  • “We’re going to mix the water and the cornstarch together to make a paste that’s like ‘Peter,’ and we have to do it in the right amounts, so do exactly what I do, okay.”
  • “Pour the cornstarch into the bowl.”
  • “Then, pour in about ½ cup of water.”
  • “Now, use the spoon (or your hands) to mix the cornstarch and the water together.”
  • “When it’s good and mixed, it should ooze like honey. If yours doesn’t, let me know, and I’ll bring you some extra ingredients to help you get it there.” (Add water to soften the paste; add cornstarch to thicken it.)
  • “Now, pour it from your bowl onto the cookie sheet.”
  • “Kind of gooey, right? It just oozes.”
  • “That’s like Simon-Peter before he spent so much time with Jesus.”
  • “You see, Simon-Peter was first called just ‘Simon,’ which means ‘listens and obeys.’”
  • “But Simon wasn’t very good at either of those things.”
  • “When Jesus first met him, He gave Simon the name ‘Peter,’ which means ‘rock.’”
  • “But Peter wasn’t much of a rock, either.”
  • “Jesus gave him the new name, because He wanted Peter to start acting more like a rock.”
  • “A rock is solid. If it’s a big rock, you can’t push it around. It takes a stand and doesn’t move.”
  • “But Peter wasn’t anything like a rock.”
  • “He would take a stand for something, but when it got difficult, he would give up or run away.”
  • “Or maybe we should say, he would ‘ooze’ away like this goo.”
  • “But then one day that we’ve come to call ‘Pentecost,’ Peter was with all the other Apostles waiting in Jerusalem because Jesus had told them to wait there.” (The story is found in Acts 2.)
  • “Jerusalem was full of Jews and people who converted to Judaism from all over the world.”
  • “There were Parthians, Medes, Elamites, Mesopotamians, Judeans, Capadocians, Pontusians, Asians, Phrygians, Pamphylians, Egyptians, Romans, Cretans and Arabs, and they all spoke different languages.”
  • “Suddenly, the Apostles all heard a sound like a rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were waiting.”
  • “They looked at each other and saw little tongues of fire on everyone, but it wasn’t the kind of fire that burns.”
  • “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit, who is the third Person of God, and they began to speak in languages that they didn’t even know.”
  • “They went outside, and people start to look at them in amazement.”
  • “The people could tell that these men were just normal men who lived nearby, so they couldn’t understand how they could speak so many different languages.”
  • “In fact, they spoke all the languages of the people who had come to visit Jerusalem.”
  • “And that’s when it happened! Peter became a rock right there in front of everyone!”
  • “He jumped up where everyone could see him and began to preach to everyone about Jesus.”
  • “He told them to stop sinning and to give their hearts to Jesus.”
  • “He preached so powerfully that 3,000 people became Christians that day!”
  • “And from that day on, Peter was a rock.”
  • “He was no longer afraid of what other people thought about him, and he didn’t run away from anyone. He stood firm!”
  • “I told you that this goo is like Peter. Well it’s like him both before and after he became the rock.”
  • “Try to roll your goo between your hands, and see what happens.”
  • “It hardens up, doesn’t it?”
  • “But let it drip between your fingers, and it turns back into a liquid.”
  • “You see, Peter became the “rock” only when he was in God’s hand.”
  • “When he wasn’t resting in God’s powerful hand, Peter was more like the goo, but when he listened to God and obeyed Him, Peter became the rock!” (Let kids play with the goo for some time, and then say the following.)
  • “Okay, now that we’ve seen what Peter is like, we’re going to harden him up into the “rock” for good just like what happened at Pentecost.”
  • “Pour your Peter goo into these molds (or muffin tins).” (Have each child pour their goo into the mold or tin labeled with his or her name.)
  • “Do you remember what the Apostles saw on each other after they heard the rushing wind?” (Flames of fire)
  • “Right! Well, I’m going to add some fire to our Peter goo, and next time we meet, it will be hardened into a rock.”
  • “You know, what’s true for Peter is true for us, too.”
  • “When we are in God’s hand (meaning that we are trusting God and not just ourselves), we are like a rock. We will have the courage to stand our ground for God.”
  • “But when we try to do things our own way, we leave God’s hand and make a mess.”
  • “So, whenever you are going through a tough time, and you’re feeling gooey, remember to pray to God and ask Him to cover you with His hand.”

Take the goo in the molds/tins and either bake it or put it in the sun until hardened. When you meet with the children again, give them their “Peter Rocks,” and let them decorate them with paint or markers. Ask them questions about the lesson from the previous meeting, and see if they can answer them.

2 Comments

Filed under Character, Christianity, Daily walk, God's Will, Hands-on, Listening to God, Obedience, Object Lesson, Peter, Science experiment, Simon-Peter, Transformation