Category Archives: heart

Penny Auction (ACTIVITY)


Time

15 minutes

 

Description

This activity can be used in two ways.  You can use it for teaching about judging the character of people or about how to do better selection and hiring.

 

For teaching about judging character, use 1 Samuel 16 (the story about David’s anointing).  The lesson will help make the point that what people look like on the outside is an unreliable way to judge the quality of their heart.

 

For teaching about selection and hiring, the lesson helps hiring managers understand that it’s difficult and often unreliable to judge job candidates by their appearance and what they put on their applications.  To make better hires, they will need to use good interviewing techniques and skills to find out what the applicant is really like.

 

Scripture

  • 1 Samuel 16:1-13

 

Materials

  • Pennies (or some other low-denomination currency – 10 per participant)
  • Newspaper
  • Brown wrapping paper (or a grocery sack)
  • Giftwrap (look for different styles with some noticeably nicer than the others)
  • Clear tape
  • Bows and/or ribbons (for 3-4 packages)
  • Gifts (10 of varying quality – some should be things that few would enjoy receiving, e.g. toilet paper rolls.  Others can be nicer, e.g., desk supplies, picture frames, coffee mugs.  You might want to have one or two that are much nicer if you can afford to give them away.)
  • Copy paper – a few sheets
  • Scissors
  • Marker (one – for labeling the gifts)

 

Preparation

  • Wrap all ten gifts.  Most of the nicer gifts should be wrapped in either the newspaper or the brown wrapping paper.  The less nice gifts should be wrapped to make them look really nice, with ribbons and bows.  Wrap one or two nice gifts nicely, just so you aren’t too predictable.  Make sure that it isn’t obvious what is inside by the shape of the package.
  • Set all the gifts up on a table at the front of the room, and put a small sign in front of each one that labels the gift “A, B, C, D, etc…”  (Each gift should be labeled with one letter.)
  • Distribute ten pennies (or other currency) to each participant.

 

Procedure

Use this script, or modify to suit your needs:

  • “We are going to have an auction!”
  • “With the pennies that I have given you, you can bid on any of these ten gifts up at the front.”
  • “You can use all your pennies to purchase one of the gifts, or you can split your pennies and use them to buy two or more gifts.  It’s up to you how you would like to strategize.”
  • “You can keep whatever is in the gift.”
  • “As with other auctions, I will set a starting bid.”
  • “If you want the gift at that price, you can raise your hand to indicate that you want to bid on it.”
  • “Someone else in the group may be willing to pay more, though.”
  • “After you bid, I will ask if anyone wants to bid a penny higher than your bid.”
  • “If someone else raises their hand and bids a penny higher, then that person gets control unless you choose to bid higher than them.”
  • “The person with the highest bid when I say, ‘SOLD,’ is the winner.”
  • “Does anyone have any questions?” (Answer any questions.)
  • “Let’s begin!”  (Have them bid on one of the gifts.  It doesn’t matter what order you do it in, but you might want to mix nice looking gifts with less nice looking ones.  If bidding slows on a gift, say, “Going once…Going twice….SOLD!” and indicate the person who bought the gift.  Collect their pennies from them, and let them take their gift.  It’s okay for them to open it up right then.  It will start to make the point that the wrapping is an unreliable indicator of what’s inside.  When all the gifts are purchased or all the pennies are gone, open all the gifts (even the ones that didn’t get bid on), and ask the following debrief questions.)

 

Debrief

  • How reliable was it to judge the quality of the gift by its wrapping?
  • How does this apply to our relationships with people?
  • What would be a better way to judge the quality of the person?
  • How does the Bible say God does it?  (Read 1 Samuel 16:1-13)
  • So, what should we do?

 

Debrief (for using this for Selection and Hiring)

  • How reliable was it to judge the quality of the gift by its wrapping?
  • How does this apply to selection and hiring?
  • What would be better ways to judge the quality of the person?  (Answers could include: behavioral interviewing, testing, immersion, trial run, probationary period, references, etc.)

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Filed under Character, David, heart, Hiring, Interviewing, Judgment, Samuel

70×7 (OBJ LESSON)


Time

10 minutes

 

Description

 

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

 

Audience

  • Children, Youth, Adults

 

Scriptures

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

 

Materials

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

 

Preparation

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

 

Procedure

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

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

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Filed under forgiveness, heart, Object Lesson, Peter

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

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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Filed under Abraham, Abundance, acceptance, activity, Agape Love, Annointing, Belief, Bible study, blessing, Challenges, Change, Character, Christianity, Comfort Zone, Coping skills, courage, Discipline, distractions, drama, exercise, faith, Fear, forgiveness, Future, Game, Games that Teach, God's dream, God's favor, God's Plan, God's Will, Hands-on, Healing, heart, Hope, Humility, Jesus, Joseph, Kindness, leadership, Lesson, Listening to God, Love, Obedience, Object Lesson, Overcoming obstacles, Pride, purity, Relationships, Repentance, Salt of the earth, sanctification, spiritual disciplines, Spiritual Growth, Spiritual Health, Spiritual Warfare, Strengths, struggles, team, temptation, territory, test, tool, Transformation, Trust, unconditional love, Waiting on the Lord

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

Heart Garden (Obj Lesson)


Time
15-20 minutes

Description
This object lesson teaches about our hearts and how God works in them to produce something beautiful.  It’s preferable to do it outside.

Audience
Children, youth, adults

Materials
o    Landscaping edging (I used 20 ft, but that is quite big.)
o    Stakes for the edging (8-10 should do if you create the 20 ft heart.)
o    Hammer
o    Potting soil
o    Spade or some other gardening tool
o    (Optional) Gardening gloves and hat
o    Watering can with water in it
o    Assorted garbage – plastic, peelings, etc.  (Be careful not to put anything in the soil that might cut fingers.)
o    Hard soil to spread over the top of the heart (enough to cover the surface)
o    Rocks – several dozen of assorted sizes to mix in with the soil
o    Manure/fertilizer – actual manure is good for shock value, but fertilizer will make the point.
o    Sprouts – a few small plants just beginning to show above the soil
o    Beautiful flowers or ground cover – enough to cover most or all of the heart
o    Marker
o    Packages of seeds (4 or more)

Preparation
o    Create a heart shape with the landscaping edging, and stake it down.  (Cut the edging in half to make this easier.)
o    Fill the shape almost to the top with potting soil.
o    Mix some garbage and rocks into the soil.
o    Cover the soil and the garbage with hard soil clods that you’ve dug up from somewhere else
o    Label the seed packages using the marker so that they say, “Answered Prayer,” “Truth,”  “Kindness and Love,” and “Hope.”  If you have more than four packages, you can label them with other “seeds from God” that you can think of.
o    Practice the script.

Procedure
Use the following script and instructions (or modify to suit your needs):
•    “I’m going to give you a picture of what our hearts are like.”
•    “Think of your heart like a garden.”
•    “Before we know Jesus as our Lord and Savior, the soil in our heart is hard and dead.  Nothing will grow there except weeds.”  (Show hard soil in heart.)
•    “But God wants to make our hearts beautiful, so the first thing He does is to break up all that hard soil.”  (Ask a volunteer to come break up the soil with a spade or some other tool.  Hand them the gloves and the gardening hat if you have them.)
•    “This isn’t very fun for us.  Our hard hearts are difficult to break up, and the tools that God uses are sometimes very sharp.”
•    “He might allow us to go through some difficult experiences or lose something we love, but He only does this to break up the hard soil and start planting good seeds on the inside.”
•    “Thankfully, God will also pour in some Living Water to help break up the soil.”  (Have volunteer pour in some water.)
•    “Living Water is the Word of God.  It’s the Bible.  The Scriptures are like water to a thirsty soul, and we need to drink deeply of them every day to stay spiritually healthy.”
•    “Sometimes breaking up the hard soil takes a very long time.  The harder the soil in our hearts, the longer it will take God to make it usable for His purposes.”
•    “Once the hard soil is broken up, God will remove the parts that are unusable.”  (Have volunteer pull our chunks that don’t break down into the soil.)
•    “By breaking up the hard soil, God can give you a new heart.”
•    “If you are willing to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior, your heart will be made new.”  (Make sure audience can see the potting soil.)
•    “The Scriptures say that God will remove our heart of stone and give us a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 11:19)
•    “Now, when a gardener is preparing soil, he mixes in some nasty stuff like this manure.”  (Give manure/fertilizer to volunteer, and have him/her mix it into the soil.)
•    “It stinks, it’s gross, you really don’t want to deal with it, but it’s the best way to make the soil rich and ready to grow healthy plants and flowers.”
•    “Romans 8:28 tells us that when you give your heart to God, He will use even the bad stuff in your past to enrich your heart ‘soil.’”
•    “In other words, He will use the times you’ve been hurt, the times bad things happened to you and the bad decisions you made to bless you.”
•    “That’s great news!!!!”
•    “God then plants some seeds in your heart.”  (Have volunteer sprinkle in some seeds and work them in with the spade.)
•    “Actually, God plants seeds even before you become a Christian, when your heart is hard, but many of them don’t make it into the soil.”
•    “When Jesus taught about this, He said that the birds of the air will steal the seeds before they have a chance to take root in the hard soil.”
•    “He told his disciples that the birds of the air represent our enemy, Satan, who doesn’t want God’s truth to get into your heart.”
•    “God’s seeds can represent times when He answered prayers for you or times when He spoke some truth into your life through a friend or teacher or parent or event a stranger.”  (Have volunteer show the labels on these packages of seeds.)
•    “Sometime an act of kindness or love can plant a seed.”  (Have volunteer show the label on this package and pour in some seeds.)
•    “And sometimes God gives you hope in difficult situation.”  (Have volunteer show label on this package and pour in some seeds.)
•    “When God plants His seeds, He is faithful to continue to water the seeds with His Living Word and shine the light of His Son on them.”  (Have volunteer water the seeds.)
•    “Eventually, some of those seeds will start to grow in our hearts.”  (Have volunteer plant a few spouts in the soil.)
•    “God will continue to water and care for these while He plants even more seeds.”  (Have volunteer water soil and plant a few more seeds.)
•    “But just because we got new hearts doesn’t mean that our hearts are completely pure.”  (Have volunteer sift through soil until he/she finds trash or rocks.)
•    “We probably still have trash that we allowed into our hearts before we became Christians, and it’s likely that we still have some hard places in our hearts.”
•    “The trash represents sinfulness that we haven’t dealt with yet, and the rocks represent emotional hard places – hurts, pains, disappointments, hatreds, fears… that we haven’t allowed God into.”
•    “God can plant beautiful things in the parts of our hearts that we give to Him, but He can’t do anything with the areas we won’t trust Him with.”
•    “The trash and the hard places will stay in our hearts until we allow God to help us get rid of them.”
•    “While other parts of our heart are showing new life and the evidence of God’s work, these places are in danger of hardening back up if we don’t turn them over to God.”
•    “The more we trust God, the more beautiful our hearts will become.”  (Have the volunteer replace the sprouts with some beautiful flowers.)
•    “And when our hearts are beautiful, God will use them to bring joy and happiness to other people who see them.”
•    “That’s beautiful, isn’t it?”  (Thank and dismiss volunteer.)
•    “So, are we done?  Can we just let it alone and enjoy it?”  (Listen for responses.)
•    “No.  If we leave it alone, what will happen?”  (Listen for responses.)
•    “Right!  It will die.  These flowers need watering and sunshine every day.”
•    “In the same way, you need to meet with God every day – to enjoy His Son and to get the Living Water that comes from the Bible.”
•    “And even if we do that everyday, is that enough to keep our heart garden healthy?”  (Listen to responses.)
•    “No, because we have an enemy, and his name is Satan.”
•    “Satan plants seeds, too, but they grow into weeds that will choke out the beauty from our garden.”
•    “Satan’s seeds are bad thoughts, worries, fears, resentments and other things that keep us from loving God, loving our neighbor and loving ourselves.”
•    “Whenever you notice a weed in your heart garden, what should you do?”  (Listen to responses.)
•    “Right, pull it out!  Don’t let those bad thoughts or worries or fears stay.  Yank them out!”
•    “Okay, let’s practice the Rhyme Time for this lesson to help us remember it:”

My heart is the garden
Where God plants His seeds.
We tend it together
And pull all the weeds!

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Filed under Christianity, Daily walk, Healing, heart, Object Lesson, sanctification, Transformation

God Chooses Me – David – Part 1 (LESSON)


Scriptures:    1 Samuel 9 – 1 Samuel 16

Description:    This lesson leads up to and covers David’s anointing to be king and focuses on how God looks at the heart of a person rather than his outward appearance.  It starts with Saul’s anointing as king and covers the history of what happens in the early years of his leadership.  The lesson is part of a series that deals with David, so you might want to cut parts to tighten it up if you are just focusing on how God chooses leaders.

Rhyme Time:    No matter how strong; no matter how smart;
God picks me; He knows my heart!

Time:    30-45 minutes

Materials:
o    Crown, scepter and cape for the king
o    “X-ray machine” (see instructions below for making it)
o    “X-ray images” from the “God Chooses Me – X-Ray Hearts.ppt” file (see the Lesson Materials and Downloads page on http://www.teachthem.wordpress.com).
o    PowerPoint file with maps and animations – called “God Chooses Me – Maps.ppt (see the Lesson Materials and Downloads page on http://www.teachthem.wordpress.com)
o    Laptop/desktop computer, projection screen and LCD projector (alternatively, you could draw a map of Israel on a flipchart or whiteboard and cut out the pictures mentioned in the lesson to stick to the map as you tell the story.  You can find the clip art pictures in the file named, “God Chooses Me – Pictures.ppt on the Lesson Materials and Downloads page on http://www.teachthem.wordpress.com)
o    Olive oil to anoint David.  (You can put it in a bowl or a flask, depending upon whether you want to pour it over the volunteer’s head or just smear it across his forehead.  If you pour it over his head, do so sparingly.  It’s difficult to get the oil off afterward, and you will want to be careful not to get it into carpeting.)
o    A towel or something that the David volunteer can use to wipe off the oil after the anointing.

Preparation:
o    Create “x-ray machine.”  Take a piece of poster board and cut an 8”x11” hole in it.  Draw some knobs and buttons on this frame to make it look like a machine.  Tape a clear, plastic sheet protector onto the backside so that it covers the hole.  Print the x-rays from the “God Chooses Me – X-Ray Hearts.ppt” file (see the Lesson Materials and Downloads page on http://www.teachthem.wordpress.com).  Organize these in the same order that they are in inside the PowerPoint file, and slip them into the sheet protector.
o    Put oil into a container and set it where you can get to it.
o    Put the towel somewhere close by.
o    Set up your LCD projector, screen and laptop/desktop or draw a map of Israel on a flipchart or whiteboard (In this lesson, when it talks about putting up pictures, it means you should advance the slide if you are using the PowerPoint.)
o    Print out the pictures to use while telling the story (if you are using a flipchart or whiteboard)

Procedure:
Use the following script or modify to suit your needs:
o    “We are going to talk about a story that happened in the land of Israel.”
o    “You may not know where Israel is, so I’ve brought a map.”  (Show map of the world, and point out places the kids might recognize.  Then show the general area where Israel is located.  When you advance the slide, it will magnify the Middle East and then put a circle around Israel.  When you advance the next time, it will magnify Israel even more and outline it in red.)
o    “Many years ago, a man named Samuel was a prophet and the leader of Israel.”
o    “He lived in Shiloh, where the tabernacle of the Lord was.”  (Put “Samuel” picture on Shiloh on the map.)
o    “But people weren’t happy with just a prophet leader.”
o    “The surrounding nations had kings, and that was what the Israelites thought that they needed to be strong and mighty as a people.”
o    “So, they asked Samuel for a king, and Samuel asked God.”
o    “God showed Samuel that he wanted a man named Saul to be the first king of Israel.”
o    “Saul was the tallest man in all of Israel.”  (Invite the tallest person in the room to come forward.)
o    “He was the tallest; he was strong, and he was good looking, too!”
o    “He really looked like a king!”
o    “Now, God doesn’t generally choose people because of how tall or how good looking or how smart they are, but He wanted to teach the Israelites a lesson.”
o    “They wanted a king who looked like a king, so God gave them what they wanted.”
o    “Remember this: be careful what you ask for!”
o    “Saul might have looked like a king, but he wasn’t what they were hoping for.”
o    “They had problems with him from the very beginning.”
o    “On the day that he was being crowned king in Mizpah, Saul went missing.”
o    “They found him hiding in some equipment – too afraid to come accept his responsibility as the new king.”  (Have your Saul hide behind something.)
o    “But they went and got him and crowned him king anyway.”  (Put the crown on his head, the cape around his neck and the scepter in his hand.  Then have him strut around like a proud king.  On the map, show the “crown” picture in Mizpah.)
o    “Samuel told Saul and all the people what king’s should do.  Then, he sent them all home.”
o    “Even Saul went to his home in Gibeah, and he kept living his life like normal.”  (Move “crown” picture to Gibeah on the map.  Have “Saul” sit back down.)
o    “But then, the Ammonites attacked Jabesh-Gilead!”  (Put an “explosion” to mark the battle at Jabesh-Gilead.)
o    “The Ammonites were one of Israel’s enemies, and they lived in the East.”  (Point out Ammonite territory in the eastern part of the map.)
o    “The people of Jabesh-Gilead sent messengers to Gibeah to beg for Saul’s help.”  (Draw dotted line from Jabesh-Gilead to Gibeah.)
o    “Saul came to their aid and defeated the Ammonites at Jabesh-Gilead.”  (Draw dotted line from Gibeah to Jabesh Gilead, and add another “explosion.”)
o    “This made him more confident as a king, so he set up his kingdom in Gilgal.”  (Put “king on throne” in Gilgal.)
o    “Here, he began to assemble his army, and he chose 3,000 fighting men.”  (Put pictures of soldiers near Gilgal.)
o    “Saul gave his son Jonathan an army of 1,000 men, and he kept 2,000 for himself.”
o    “After a few years, the Philistines began to threaten Israel.”  (Show Philistine territory in the southern part of the map.)
o    “They gathered 30,000 chariots and 6,000 horsemen and many fighters at a place called Michmash.”  (Put “soldiers” in Michmash on the map.)
o    “This was a major problem for the Israelites!”
o    “They only had 3,000 fighting men!”
o    “Even worse than that, they only had two swords in their entire army – one for Saul and one for Jonathan!”
o    “The reason for this is that the Philistines were much stronger than Israel and wouldn’t allow any Israelites to be blacksmiths.”
o    “If an Israelite wanted something done with metal, they had to go to the Philistine blacksmiths to get it done, and the Philistine blacksmiths would never make weapons for them – only farming tools.”
o    “So the Israelites are being threatened by an army much, much bigger than theirs.”
o    “It has chariots and horses and swords and other weapons that the Israelites don’t have.”
o    “Things looked bad for Israel.”
o    “But then Jonathan did a very courageous thing.”
o    “He took his armor bearer (the man who carried his shield and some of his weapons) and said, ‘Let’s go to Michmash and see what the Lord will do!’”  (Put picture of Jonathan and armor bearer at Michmash.)
o    “His armor bearer bravely followed, and they went to the pass at Michmash to challenge the 600 Philistines that were guarding the path through the mountains there.”
o    “Jonathan said to his armor bearer, ‘If the Philistines call us and ask us to come up to them when they see us, God has given us the victory, and we will climb up and attack them.  But if they tell us to wait where we are at for them to come down, we will not go up after them.’”
o    “When the Philistines saw them at the bottom of the pass, they called out, ‘Come up here!  We have something to show you!’”
o    “So Jonathan and his armor bearer climbed to the top of the pass.”
o    “When they got there, they began to fight against the Philistines and quickly killed 20 men.”  (Put an “explosion” at Michmash.)
o    “At that moment, God sent an earthquake that fiercely shook the ground, and the Philistines were terrified!”
o    “They began fighting each other in their confusion, and Jonathan and his armor bearer pursued them.”
o    “Saul and the Israelites were startled by the earthquake and looked across the valley to see the Philistine army melting away.”
o    “When Saul realized that his son was the reason for the Philistine retreat, he called all the Israelites to war.”
o    “They drove the Philistines back from Michmash all the way to Aijalon, picking up the weapons that the Philistines dropped as they retreated.”  (Move “soldiers” to Aijalon.)
o    “After defeating the Philistines in this battle, Saul and his army had many swords and other weapons.”
o    “Over the following months and years, Saul’s army grew.”
o    “He led his soldiers in wars against all the enemies of the Israelites – the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Amalekites and Philistines.”  (Show these nations on the map.)
o    “But then Saul made a huge mistake.”
o    “God told him to attack the Amalekites in s a very specific way, but Saul didn’t follow God’s directions.” (Put a dotted line from Gilgal to the Amalekites’ territory and then add an “explosion” on the Amalekites’ territory.)
o    “So, God sent Samuel, the prophet, to meet Saul in Gilgal.”  (Put “Samuel” on Gilgal on the map next to Saul on his throne.)
o    “Samuel told Saul that because he had not followed God’s directions, God would one day take the kingdom of Israel away from him.”
o    “Samuel returned home to Shiloh, where the tabernacle of the Lord was located, and he was sad that Saul was disobedient to God.” (Move “Samuel” to Shiloh on the map.)
o    “God spoke to Samuel and told him that He had selected the next king.”
o    “God told Samuel to fill his horn with oil and head to Bethlehem, where he would anoint the next king.”
o    “Anointing was a ceremony where someone was set apart to do God’s work.”
o    “It involved pouring oil over their heads or spreading oil over their foreheads.”
o    “It said to the person and to the world that this person had a special purpose for God.”
o    “So Samuel left for Bethlehem and went to the house of a man named Jesse.”  (Move “Samuel” to Bethlehem.  Ask for seven volunteers to come up.)
o    “He asked Jesse if he could see his sons, and Jesse brought out each of his sons one-by-one starting from the oldest.”  (Organize the volunteers in a line from tallest to shortest facing the rest of the kids.  The tallest one needs to be a boy, but the rest can be girls or boys.)
o    “Samuel inspected the first one (the oldest/tallest) and thought, ‘Ah! This is the king!  He’s handsome and strong!’”
o    “But God said, ‘Uh, uh….nope!  That’s not him.  Take a look at his heart.’”  (Use “x-ray machine” to look at his heart.  The first picture is of a chest x-ray with a Valentine’s Day candy that says, “Kiss Me.”)
o    “Nope, God’s right…this one only cares about the girls.  Let’s look at the next one.”   (Between volunteers, discreetly slip out the top page from the sheet protector in the “x-ray machine,” and lay it to the side.  The second picture has a very small heart.)
o    “Oh, this one’s heart is way too small.  He can’t be the king.  Let’s look at the next one.”  (Slip the top page out of the sheet protector.  The next picture is a cluster of party balloons.)
o    “No, this one just wants to party.  How about the next one.”  (Slip the top page out.  The next picture is a hamburger.”)
o    “This one has too much cholesterol in his diet.  I’m afraid he won’t last too long if he becomes king.”  (Go to the next volunteer.  Slip out the top page.  The next picture is a set of office equipment.)
o    “Wow!  This one is a workaholic!  He’s too busy to be king.”  (Slip the top page out.  The next picture is a piggy bank.)
o    “Just what I was afraid of…this one loves money too much.”  (Slip the top page out.  The next picture is a chicken.)
o    “This one’s too chicken to be king.  Oh, no!  That’s the last one, and none of them are qualified to be king.”
o    “After the last one, Samuel asked Jesse, ‘Is this it?  Don’t you have any other boys?’”
o    “Jesse said, ‘No, I have one more, but he’s my youngest, and he’s just a shepherd.’”
o    “Samuel thought he had to be better than the rest, so he had the boy sent for.”  (Call up one more volunteer from the audience.  Pick someone small.)
o    “When he saw him, he knew.  This was the boy God had chosen.”
o    “It wasn’t that he was the biggest or the strongest – he wasn’t.”
o    “Samuel could just tell that he was a boy after God’s own heart.”  (Pull out the top sheet from the “x-ray machine.”  The final picture is a big heart with a cross in the middle to signify that David has the heart of God.)
o    “So, recognizing David as the one God had chosen, Samuel anointed David with oil right there in front of his brothers.”  (Pour a little oil on the volunteer’s head or smear some across his forehead to signify his anointing.)
o    “Remember, this told everyone that David had been set aside for serving the Lord in a special way.” (Thank your volunteers, and let them return to their seats.)
o    “We often look at the outside of a person to judge how important or successful they are.”
o    “If they are tall and handsome or beautiful and talented, we often admire them.”
o    “Sometimes we even want to be like them, but God says in His Word that that’s not how he judges a person.”
o    “In 1 Samuel 16:7, God says to Samuel about Jesse’s oldest son, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.’”
o    “God looks at our hearts!  Isn’t that amazing!”
o    “He knows that many of us are not the most beautiful or the most talented or the strongest or the most popular, and it’s okay with Him.”
o    “He doesn’t care so much about what we are like on the outside – He cares about what we are like on the inside!”
o    “That’s where beauty really counts!  Beauty on the inside!”
o    “If you are beautiful on the inside, then it makes your outside beauty even more beautiful!”
o    “Saul was a mess as a king, because his heart was a mess!”
o    “His son Jonathan would have made a much better king than he did, because He had a heart for God and was willing to trust God with his life.”
o    “God allowed the people to have a king that was impressive looking first so that they would appreciate David as a king with the heart of God.”
o    “We will learn more about David as king in another lesson, but for now, I want you to remember that God cares much less about your outside than He does about your inside.”  (Have volunteer read 1 Corinthians 1:26-29.)
o    “God often chooses the people that no one else would think to choose, because then He gets the glory for what we do.”
o    “If God chose the most talented or the strongest or the most beautiful or the wealthiest, they might say that they accomplished on their own what really God accomplished through them.”
o    “So no matter how strong or beautiful or smart you are, be committed to God in your heart, and give Him the glory for all you do.”
o    “Then God will set you aside (will anoint you) for His purposes!”  (You might want to practice the Rhyme Time from the beginning of the lesson at this point.)

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Filed under David, heart, History, Israel