Category Archives: individuality

Jigsaw Body


Time

20 minutes

Description

This object lesson teaches about how the Body of Christ is connected and emphasizes how God uses our imperfect parts and our struggles to join us to others. It uses the metaphor of a jigsaw puzzle.

Materials

  • Computer, LCD Projector and screen
  • PowerPoint presentation, “Jigsaw Body (PowerPoint).” See “Lesson and Material Downloads Page” at https://teachthem.wordpress.com/

Preparation

· Set up projector and screen.

· Practice the script.

Procedure

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

· “The Body of Christ is a giant jumble of all kinds of different people. Black people, white people, yellow people, tan people…. fat people, skinny people, funny people, serious people, musical people, logical people, poor people, rich people…”

· “And then there are the many different traditions and styles of worship and ways of teaching and ways of expressing our gifts. What are some of the ways you have seen people worship God?” (Listen to responses, and be careful not to discount the different expressions of worship. They might not be familiar to us, but that doesn’t always mean that they aren’t valid.)

· “How many of you know that God loves variety?” (Model that you are looking for a show of hands, then show the first slide.)

· “Here’s a collage of pictures of people worshipping and honoring God in many different ways. I think He enjoys all of these different ways, because having us all worship in just one way would be pretty boring.” (Show first slide.)

· “But you know, besides the fact that all Christians call Jesus Christ Lord and Savior, there is at least one other thing that we all have in common: we all have struggles.”

· “No Christian, no matter how spiritual they are or how long they have been a Christian, is ever completely free from struggles.”

· “We can’t graduate from the ‘school of hard knocks.’ They keep coming all throughout our lives.”

· “Even Saint Paul, who wrote two-thirds of the New Testament, told us about having what he called a ‘thorn in the flesh.’ We don’t know exactly what it was. Some think it was a problem with his eyes; others think it was some type of temptation.”

· “But whatever it was, God wouldn’t take it away even though Paul prayed and asked Him to three different times.”

· “Why do you think God lets us struggle sometimes?” (Listen for responses. Then add the following.)

· “Those are good responses. In addition to what you’ve said, I can think of three good reasons God leaves us with our struggles.

o They keep us in communication with Him. While we are struggling, we pray more and with more intensity. If it weren’t for our difficult times, God might never hear from some of us!

o They are a greenhouse for spiritual growth. Do you know what a greenhouse is? (Listen for responses, and add if necessary: a greenhouse is a house made of glass or plastic that lets sunlight in and keeps it in to help plants grow better in a warm, tropical environment.) When we submit our difficult areas to God, we learn spiritual lessons that we couldn’t learn if everything was easy.

o They connect us to each other. When we have needs, we reach out to others for help. Some of us wait until we are really hurting before we swallow our pride and admit that we can’t do it alone, and that might be the whole point of why God allows our suffering to continue so long.”

· “I think the Body of Christ is really like a giant jigsaw puzzle.” (Show next slide.)

· “Each of us has jagged parts and unfinished parts that God is still working on to make us look more like Him.”

· “All of us have places in which we need to receive from others and places where we can give where others are in need.”

· “None of us is perfect, and that’s by God’s design. God has a purpose for our imperfection.”

· “Perfect people would be like puzzle pieces with smooth edges.” (Show next slide.)

· “They wouldn’t need anyone else, and they would have no reason to want to help their brothers and sisters in Christ (since none of us would have any needs, either).”

· “Everyone would live independent lives without any needs.”

· “There would be nothing to force them to reach out to their neighbor or to the Church.”

· “Over time, the Church would stop looking like an interdependent, connected Body of Christ.”

· “Rather than being jointed together like a jigsaw puzzle, we would just be jumbled – overlapping but not connecting.” (Show next slide.)

· “What do you notice is harder to see in this picture?” (Listen for “the cross.”)

· “Right! When we don’t join together as the Body of Christ, it’s hard to see Christ in us.”

· “Our jagged edges and lack of ability to do everything for ourselves force us to get help from one another.”

· “Our struggles and our needs are God’s way of forcing us to reach out and to receive from others. They bond the Body together.”

· “I think we should give God praise for every struggle we have and everything that isn’t perfect about us.”

· “God left us with those struggles and those imperfections, because they fit perfectly with someone else that God has brought or will bring into our lives – like your parents or your friends or your teacher or someone else that you might not have even thought about yet.”

· “Also, we should be careful not to limit these connections to just members of the Body of Christ.”

· “God has a plan to draw more and more people to Him, and He wants those that He brings to us to have some place to connect with us.”

· “Our struggles and our pains and our imperfect parts are the places where He connects us with them.” (Show final slide.)

· “Putting our “perfect” sides out for the world to see creates pressure for us to live a ‘perfect lives,’ but nobody is perfect except for Jesus.”

· “Trying to look like we are perfect is just a lie to make us feel good about ourselves, and when people find out about our jagged edges, they realize that we are just pretending to be perfect.”

· “Smooth edges don’t make people want to be Christians. They push them away.”

· “They make people who aren’t Christians think that they have to clean up their lives and become perfect before becoming a Christian.”

· “So, if we want to win the world to Christ, we’ve got to stop polishing our edges and let the world see us as we really are.”

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Filed under Authenticity, Challenges, Christianity, diversity, individuality, Object Lesson, Relationships, self-image, struggles

God Loves Variety


Time

20-25 minutes

Description

This object lesson teaches about how God created us all differently. It uses a little bit of water science to illustrate the different music God put in each of us.

Materials

  • Ten identical glasses or jars
  • Red, blue, and yellow food coloring (optional)
  • Fork, spoon or something else you can tap the glasses with to get a musical note
  • Water for the jars
  • Scotch tape or masking tape
  • Sharp marker
  • Note card
  • Table for the display

Preparation

· Fill eight glasses/jars each with a different amount of water, and set them up on a table at the front of the teaching area. Space them evenly apart with enough room to tap their sides in-between them.

· Fill the last two glasses with the exact same amount of water, and set them aside for later use in the lesson. Do not color the water in these two.

· Test the sound of each jar by lightly tapping it on the side or rim with the fork, spoon or other implement. Each glass/jar should make a distinct sound like the different notes on a scale.

· Use the food coloring to make the water in each jar a different color. You can arrange them in the colors of the rainbow – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet – but you will need one extra shade of color for the eighth glass. (Optional)

· Number the glasses/jars by putting a piece a tape on each one and writing the number on the tape. The fullest glass/jar is #1, and the least full glass/jar is #8. The number goes on the teaching side of the glasses so that the child will be able to see it to play the music.

· On the note card, write the sequence of numbers for playing the songs (see final page of this document).

· Practice the script and using the glasses/jars to get just the right notes.

Procedure

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

  • “For this activity, I’m going to need a volunteer.” (Take volunteer from the group.)
  • (To volunteer…) “Look at the table, and tell me what you see.” (Listen to response, and comment.)
  • “What do you notice is different about all these glasses/jars?” (Listen to response, and comment.)
  • “So, they have differently colored water in different amounts, right?”
  • “I think they may have another difference, too. Take this fork (or spoon, or whatever), and lightly tap the side of a few of the glasses/jars.” (Allow child to tap two or three glasses/jars.)
  • “Did you hear that? They made different sounds!”
  • “Does anyone know why that happens?” (Listen for responses, and comment. You may need to offer a fuller explanation…)
  • “Tapping the glasses/jars makes them vibrate, and the vibration produces a sound. The water slows down the vibrations, so the more water, the slower the vibrations will be. A slow vibration gives us a low note, and a fast vibration gives us a high note.” (If you are using jars with a small opening, you can also demonstrate that if you blow across the top of them, they will produce sounds, as well. However, the effect will reverse. The jars with the least amount of water will give you the lowest notes, and the jars with the most water will give you the highest notes. That’s because you are vibrating the air this time and not water or the jars.)
  • “Let’s see if we can play a song with them.” (Lay out the notecard for the song(s) you selected in front of the child, and help him or her to play the song(s).)
  • “That’s fantastic! Can we get a round of applause for our virtuoso musician?” (Lead applause.)
  • “Now, what do you think would happen if al the glasses/jars had the same amount of water in them?” (Take responses from group. Then bring out the two extra glasses/jars that have the same amount of water in them.)
  • “I think you’re right – they would all make just one note. Let’s test it.” (Have volunteer test the theory by tapping on the two new glasses/jars.)
  • “How fun is that? Could you play any songs if all the glasses/jars played the same notes?” (Take responses.)
  • “Nope, you couldn’t play any songs. Wouldn’t it be boring if all your music only had one note?” (Imitate what this would sound like by pretending to sing a song with only one note in it.)
  • “Isn’t it much better to have multiple notes to play?”
  • “Well, I think that is how God feels, too, and that’s why he made all of us so different from each other.”
  • “All of us are like different musical notes: we sound differently, we act differently, we look differently from one another, we like different things, we worship God differently, we pray differently, we have different talents and abilities…the list goes on forever!”
  • “And you know what? It’s OKAY! In fact, it’s glorious! It’s God’s plan!”
  • “One of the things I know about God is that He loves variety. I know that because of how different all of us are and how different all the plants and tress are and how different all the animals are…”
  • “God loves variety. He made you different from everyone else, and He enjoys you that way.”
  • “One of the traps we get into is wishing we were like someone else. ‘I wish I were handsome like him or pretty like her or rich like them or popular like those people…’”
  • “And then we look at ourselves and think, ‘I’m not as good as those other people.’”
  • “But let me tell you, that’s nonsense. The things that are different about you give God glory, because they show how creative He is.”
  • “So, even the stuff you may not like about yourself could be part of God’s purpose and plan in your life. It could just be His creativity at work.”
  • “Instead of not liking that part of you, you should ask God to help you see it the way He sees it. Then one day you will recognize how cool a thing it is!”
  • “You uniqueness is like your own special musical note that no one else can play.”
  • “So, anyone want to hear another song?” (Allow volunteer to play one to two more songs and then return to his/her seat.)


Notes for Songs

Mary Had a Little Lamb

321 2333 222 355

321 2333 322 321

Jingle Bells


333 333 35123

444 4433 332232 5

333 333 35123

444 4433 355 321

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star

11 55 66 5 44 33 22 1

55 44 33 2 55 44 33 2

11 55 66 5 44 33 22 1

This Old Man

535 535 6543234

345 111 12345

522 4321

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Filed under Christianity, diversity, Hands-on, individuality, Object Lesson, self-image