Category Archives: sanctification

The WHO and the DO (LESSON)


 

Time

30 minutes

 

Description

This lesson teaches that the most important question to answer correctly in this life is the question Jesus asked of His disciples, “Who do you say I am?”  Answering that question correctly changes who we are and makes us children of God, and who we are to God matters even more than what we do in this life.

 

Scriptures

  • Matthew 16:13-18
  • John 1:42
  • 2 Corinthians 5:17
  • 1 Peter 2:9-10

 

Materials

  • The following supporting materials can be found at www.teachingthem.comon the Lesson and Material Downloads page.
    • “Dot and the Line, The (OBJ LESSON)” (Object lesson that you will teach in the middle of this lesson to explain the difference between our life on earth and eternity.  There are a few optional supplies you might want to gather for this part of the lesson that are mentioned in the document.)
    • “Who and the Do, The – Signs” (This file also includes a slide with one of the main teaching points.  You can project this if you are using PowerPoint.)
  • Bible

Preparation

  • Print out “The Dot and the Line” object lesson, and review it to make sure you are ready to teach it.
  • Gather any props for “The Dot and the Line” if you intend to use them.
  • Print out the “WHO” and “DO” signs.
  • Put markers in the Bible in the place where you want your volunteers to read the Scriptures for the lesson.
  • Practice the script.

Procedure

  • Jesus asked his disciples a very important question one day.  ‘Who do people say that I am?’  (Have volunteer read Matthew 16:13-14.)
  • “They replied, ‘Some say John the Baptist.’”
  • “That was strange.  How could Jesus be John the Baptist?  John the Baptist was a good friend of Jesus’, but he had been killed by an evil king named Herod not long before.”
  • “Even if it were possible for people to come back from the dead, Jesus couldn’t have been John the Baptist, because they lived at the same time.”
  • “Then they said, ‘Some say you are Elijah or Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’”
  • “All these people were dead long before, but they had all been godly men who had shared God’s word.  Elijah was even able to do miracles like Jesus.”
  • “They thought Jesus might be one of these people because of all the miracles they saw Him do and the truth they heard Him speak.”
  • “Then Jesus asked them an even more important question.”  (Have volunteer read Matthew 16:15)
  • “Jesus asked them, ‘Who do you say I am?’”
  • “This is the most important question you will ever answer in your entire lives!”
  • “It’s more important than questions on a test at school.”
  • “It’s more important than questions your parents ask you.”
  • “It’s more important than a question a police officer or a fireman might ask you.”
  • “It’s even more important than a question a game show host would ask you if you were about to win $1 million!”
  • “Touch your neighbor, and say, ‘Man!  That IS an important question!’”
  • “This question is so important, because it determines where you will spend eternity.”
  • “And maybe you’re thinking, ‘Huh?  What’s eternity?’”
  • “I’m glad you asked!  Let me show you!”
  • (Facilitate “The Dot and the Line” object lesson.)
  • “So what was the question that I said was so important?”  (Expected response: “Who do you say Jesus is?”)
  • “Right!  And our friend Peter is going to help us with the right answer.” (Have a volunteer read Matthew 16:16.)
  • “Who is Jesus?”  (Expected response: “The Christ, the Son of the living God.”)
  • “What does that mean?  Does anyone know what a Christ is?”  (Expected responses: “Savior, Expected Deliverer, Messiah”)
  • “He was the One that the Jews had been waiting for!  The One the Scriptures talked about!”
  • “He was the One who they expected to be their King!”
  • “That’s the right answer to the question, ‘Who do you say Jesus is?’”
  • “Jesus is our Savior, our Lord, our King and our God.”
  • “If you get this answer right, it will make your Dot better and your Line very, very good.”
  • “Jesus was really happy that Peter got the question right.” (Have volunteer read Matthew 16:17-18.)
  • “This is not the first time Jesus has given Simon the name Peter, remember.”  (He also did it in John 1:42.)
  • “Jesus said Peter was a ‘rock,’ because he wanted him to become someone all the others could depend on – someone who was strong and unmovable in his dedication to God.”
  • “And you know, Simon is not the only one who got a new name in the Bible.”
  • “Can anyone remember any of the others who got new names?”  (Expected responses: “Saul-Paul, Abram-Abraham, Jacob-Israel, Sarai-Sarah…”)
  • “The Bible says, ‘Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!’” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
  • “When God changes your name, it’s because He sees you as He knows you will be, not as what you currently are.”
  • “Peter didn’t act like a ‘rock’ when Jesus gave him his new name.  It took many years for him to change.”
  • “But God looks past your behaviors to your relationship to Him.”
  • “He cares more about your WHO than what you DO.”  (Invite two volunteers to the front and give one the “WHO” sign and one the “DO” sign.  It might be better to have one girl and one boy for comedic effect because you will be giving them a big hug a few times that squishes them together.)
  • “Touch a neighbor and say, ‘He’s cares more about my WHO than what I DO!’”  (Point to each volunteer as you mention their sign.)
  • “No matter what bad stuff you DO, God will always love you because of WHO you are to Him.” (Point to each volunteer as you mention their sign.)
  • “Before you ask Jesus into your heart, you are God’s incredible creation, and He loves you because of that.”
  • “But after you ask Jesus into your heart, you become a son or daughter of God!  A child of the King!  A prince or a princess!  You’re royalty!”
  • “Turn around and tell somebody, ‘I’m royalty!’” (You may want to have a volunteer read 1 Peter 2:9-10.)
  • “When you ask Jesus into your heart, you move from being someone who isn’t one of God’s people to someone who is one of God’s people.  That’s SO awesome!”
  • “Now just because God cares about your WHO more than what you DO doesn’t mean that He doesn’t care at all about what you DO.” (Point to each volunteer as you mention their sign.)
  • “He does care a lot.”
  • “He says that because of your new WHO (child of God) when you accept Jesus as your Lord, what you DO should get better and better every day.” (Point to each volunteer as you mention their sign.)
  • “Peter didn’t act like a ‘rock’ when Jesus gave Him the name, but Jesus expected him to work toward becoming more and more like a rock every day.”
  • “And the same is true for you.”
  • “Children of the King act in a different way that those who aren’t children of the King.”
  • “The King expects more out of you.”
  • “That means that you have to follow your leader – DO what you see Him doing in the Bible.”
  • “You won’t be perfect.  You’ll make lots of mistakes, but keep trying every day.”
  • “You goal is to make what you DO match your WHO.” (Bring your two volunteers close together, and give them a big squeeze for comedic effect.)
  • “When they don’t match (push volunteers apart) people get confused.”
  • “They say, ‘I thought he was a child of the King, but he’s telling lies.’ or, ‘I thought she was royalty, but she is acting nasty to her friends.’”
  • “It’s hard for them to understand how your WHO and what you DO can be so different.” (Point to each volunteer as you mention their sign.)
  • “So bring those two together (bring volunteers in close for another big hug!) so that no one will be confused.” (Thank and dismiss your volunteers.)
  • “Touch your neighbor, and say, ‘I’m gonna make what I DO match my WHO!’”
  • “And what is your WHO again?” (Expected response: “Child of the King or Child of God!”)
  • “So remember, the most important thing in life is WHO you say Jesus is.”
  • “If you get that right, it will change your WHO forever and make you a Child of God.”
  • “And every day, we should work at making what we DO match our new WHO!”  (You might want to reinforce the lesson by having  everyone saying the Rhyme Time below several times.)

Rhyme Time            

When I trust in Jesus

He changes my WHO.

Now I try every day

To improve what I DO.

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Filed under Jesus, Obedience, Peter, salvation, sanctification

Do Clothes Really Make the Man? (OBJ LESSON)


Time

30 minutes
Description

This object lesson looks at the different clothing Joseph wore and asks the question, “do clothes really make the man?”  The old adage means that how you dress says a lot about you, but in Joseph’s case, he was the same person in any costume.  However, no matter how good Joseph was, he couldn’t be good enough to impress God just through his good works.  God isn’t interested in what we DO until He changes WHO we are, and that only happens when we accept Jesus as our Savior.

 

Scriptures

  • Genesis 37-50
  • Isaiah 64:5-6
  • Isaiah 61:10

 

Materials

  • Several smocks (Loose-fitting fabrics that simply have a hole in the middle to fit over the head (for quick changing during the lesson) and a belt to tie them off.  You can do more elaborate costumes if you want, but these simple outfits will work.)
    • One plain white smock (to start the story)
    • One “coat of many colors”
    • Two dingy-colored or burlap smocks (for slavery before being sold and for prison)
    • One nicer white smock (for serving Potiphar)
    • Two even nicer smocks (for when Potiphar put Joseph in charge of his entire estate and for when Joseph comes up from prison)
    • One even nicer, nicer smock (for when Joseph was put in charge of Egypt – “robes of fine linen”)
    • One “filthy rags” smock (to represent our “righteousness”)
    • One “golden” smock (to represent the righteousness of Christ)
    • Gold chains costume jewelry
    • Ring costume jewelry

 

Preparation

  • Practice the script.

 

Procedure

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

  • “There is famous saying that ‘Clothes make the man.’”
  • “It means that what you wear says a lot about you and that people will judge you based on the clothes that you wear.”
  • “I think we ought to be careful about judging people based on the clothes that they wear.”
  • “They could be a great person inside of terrible clothes.”
  • “For example, Joseph wore many clothes in his lifetime, but for most of his life, Joseph was the same person underneath those clothes.”  (Ask for volunteer to come to the front, and put the plain, white smock on him or her.)
  • “Here’s Joseph, a young man of 17 years.”
  • “Look closely at him.  I want you to tell me if he changes when he gets his new clothes.”
  • “Joseph had 11 brothers, ten older than him.”
  • “In Hebrew culture, the oldest son was supposed to get the best treatment, but Joseph’s father loved him more than all the others, because he was the firstborn son of Rachel, Jacob’s favorite wife.)
  • “To show his love for Joseph, Jacob gave him a fancy coat to wear.”  (Put coat of many colors on volunteer.)
  • “Look closely; is it the same person or a different person underneath?” (Acknowledge responses.  Hopefully, the participants will agree that Joseph was the same person no matter what he was wearing.)
  • “This made Joseph’s brothers really jealous and angry with him, and they got even angrier when Joseph started having dreams about ruling over his brothers.”
  • “The next time the brothers were out shepherding their sheep, Joseph’s father sent him to check on them.”
  • “He made the mistake of wearing his fancy robe to go and find them.”
  • “The brothers were all wearing the clothes of smelly, dirty shepherds, and here came Joseph, wearing the clothes of someone who didn’t have to work because he was so special.”
  • “When they saw Joseph with his fancy coat, they were furious with him and talked about killing him.”
  • “In the end, they decided to sell him to a passing group of slave traders.”  (Put the dingy-colored smock on the volunteer.)
  • “What do you think now?  Is it the same Joseph, or did the clothes change him?”  (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “The slave traders took Joseph to Egypt and sold him to an Egyptian, named Potiphar.  There, he was given the clothes of a servant.”  (Put nicer white smock on volunteer.)
  • “Same Joseph or different?”  (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “Joseph served Potiphar so well that Potiphar soon promoted him and put him in charge of everything in his household.”  (Put even nicer white smock on volunteer.)
  • “Is he different yet, or is he the same Joseph he was when we started the story?”  (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “But then a terrible and unfair thing happened!  Potiphar’s wife accused Joseph of doing something he didn’t do, and Potiphar was so angry that he threw Joseph into prison.”  (Put second dingy smock on volunteer.)
  • “Do these clothes make him someone different?”  (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “Joseph was in prison for years, but he served the prison warden so well that the warden put him in charge of everything in the prison.”
  • “There came a day when Pharaoh (the king of Egypt) had a few dreams that bothered him.”
  • “No one could interpret the dreams for him, but he learned from one of his servants that Joseph had the power to interpret dreams.”
  • “Pharaoh called Joseph up from prison, and they dressed him in nicer clothes to prepare him to meet Pharaoh.”  (Put second even nicer white smock on volunteer.)
  • “Has he changed?”  (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams for him, and Pharaoh was so impressed that he promoted Joseph to the 2nd highest level within Egypt.  Only Pharaoh was more powerful than Joseph.”
  • “Pharaoh had Joseph dressed in robes of fine linen and put gold chains around his neck and an important ring on his finger.”  (Put even nicer, nicer smock, gold chains and ring on volunteer.)
  • “Even in this really nice set of clothes, isn’t Joseph still the same person underneath?”  (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “In this new role, Joseph did even better than he did in all his other roles.”
  • “He helped the Egyptians to save some food during the good years when there was lots of food, and when the famine came, there was plenty of food for everyone in Egypt and in the surrounding nations.”
  • “So, here we have Joseph with his eight different sets of clothes.”  (Show all eight smocks.)
  • “But the Joseph underneath is the same Joseph no matter what he is wearing.”
  • “Joseph always did his best and served those in authority faithfully, and in the end, he was recognized as a great and wise leader by Pharaoh.”
  • “Joseph was a pretty impressive guy!”
  • “When we read about him, most of us think it would be pretty cool to be like Joseph.”
  • “But you know what?  No matter how impressive Joseph is to us, he doesn’t impress God just because he was a good person.”
  • “The Bible tells us in Isaiah 64:5-6, ‘How then can we be saved? All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags.’”
  • “What that means is that even the ‘best’ person in the world – the one who does the most good things – looks like he is dressed in filthy rags to God.”  (Put filthy rags smock on volunteer.)
  • “We can’t save ourselves from Hell just by being good – not even if we are as a good as Joseph was.”
  • “You see, God doesn’t care what you DO until you change WHO you are, and there is only one way to change WHO you are in God’s eyes…you have to accept Jesus (God’s Son) as your Savior.”
  • “Two thousand years ago, Jesus died on a cross to save us from our sins.”
  • “He had to do that because we sin.”
  • “You sin, I sin…everyone who has ever lived sins.”
  • “The Bible says that the penalty for sin is death.  That means separation from God.”
  • “But God loved us so much that he didn’t want us to be separate from Him.”
  • “So He sent His Son, Jesus, to take the penalty of our sin for us.”
  • “Jesus died on a cross to pay for our sins.  Then He rose from the dead to give us new life!”
  • “But you have to accept what Jesus did for you.  It’s a gift, and He won’t make you take it.”
  • “If you want to, you can still pay the penalty for your own sins, but that would be a terrible waste of the gift Jesus bought for you when He died on the cross.”
  • “But here’s what’s cool about accepting Jesus’ gift!”  (Have someone read Isaiah 61:10)
  • “This Scripture is talking about two of the things Jesus did for us by dying on the cross.”
  • “The first is that He clothed us with salvation.  In other words, we get to go to heaven.”
  • “The second is that He dressed us up in a robe of righteousness.  In other words, He covered our unrighteousness (our filthy rags) with His righteousness.”  (Put golden smock on volunteer.)
  • “Now THIS impresses God!”
  • “When we accept Jesus as our Savior, He covers our sinfulness with His perfection.”
  • “Then, whenever God, the Father, looks at us, He sees the righteousness of His Son, Jesus.”
  • “This is the only set of clothes that will ever change WHO you are, because it makes you a child of God.”
  • “It has nothing to do with what you DO, because it’s a gift from Jesus.”
  • “You can’t earn it.  You can only accept it.”
  • “So in a sense, clothes really do make the man, but in God’s eyes, there are only two types of clothes that say anything about WHO you are.”
  • “Are you wearing the filthy rags of sinfulness? (Show the filthy rag smock.) ….or the righteous robe of a child of God?”  (Show the golden smock.)
  • “I hope you will accept the wonderful gift Jesus bought for you.  He really wants you to have it!”  (Thank and dismiss volunteer.  At this point (depending on your tradition), you might want to make an invitation for the audience to accept the gift of salvation and the robe of righteousness that Jesus has purchased for each of us.)

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Filed under acceptance, Agape Love, Belief, Character, Christianity, Eternity, faith, Jesus, Joseph, Object Lesson, Performance, salvation, sanctification, Transformation

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

New Life (DEVOTION)


As a group, read the following Scriptures.  Then, create a flipchart that compares what you know about the man before and after he met Jesus.

Luke:8:26-34


1.    What changes did you notice?

2.    Why wouldn’t Jesus allow the man to go with Him?

3.    What impact do you think these changes had on the community as the man continued to interact with them in a new way?

4.    Now, look at the story as a metaphor for what happens in a new believer’s life when he/she comes to Christ.  What comparisons can you make?

5.    How should this story influence how we live today?

 

Facilitator’s Notes

Here are some of the comparisons about the before and after conditions of the demon-possessed man you can point out if the group doesn’t notice them.  The middle line represents the man’s encounter with Jesus.

 

BEFORE AFTER
o  Spiritual bondage, demon possessed

o  Naked

o  Social outcast, living in tombs

o  Chained, physical bondage

o  Cursing, shouting, running

o  Hurting himself

o  Freed, delivered

o  Fully clothed

o  Came home

o  Freed

o  Sitting at the feet of Jesus

o  In his right mind

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Filed under Change, demons, Devotion, faith, Jesus, salvation, sanctification, Transformation

Out of Orbit (Obj Lesson)


Time

10-15 minutes
Description

This object lesson teaches about how difficult it can be for us to stay focused on following Jesus.

 

Scriptures

  • Philippians 3:12-14

Materials

  • A toy rocket or spaceship (or if you don’t have anything like that, improvise with a cardboard tube or just about anything else – the kids won’t mind)
  • One large ball (preferably yellow or orange)
  • Several smaller balls of varying sizes
  • Permanent marker
  • Index cards (one for each ball)
  • Tape
  • Bible

Preparation

  • Write the following words on different index cards, “SON,” “WORLD,” “Jealousy,” “Bitterness,” “Selfishness,” “Unkindness,” “Worry,” “Doubt,” “Foolishness,” “Pride,” “Fear,” “Greed,” “Ignorance,” or any others that you want to use.  The only ones that are required are the “SON” card and the “WORLD” card.
  • Tape these cards onto different balls.  The “SON” card should be taped to the largest ball.
  • Practice the script.

 

Procedure

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

  • “Do any of you ever have trouble staying focused on following God?”  (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “Me, too!  It’s so hard to always do what is right and stay on the path toward Him.”
  • “We are kind of like a rocket ship heading toward the sun (but actually, we are headed to the S-O-N, because we won’t burn up when we reach Him!)”  (Ask for enough volunteers to hold all the props you’ve brought – one for the rocket ship and one for each ball.  Put the person holding the “SON” ball at one end of the room, and place the person with the “WORLD” ball and the person with the rocket ship at the other end of the room.  Space those with the balls along either side of the path between the large ball and the rocket ship.)
  • “Before we know Jesus, we are stuck in the WORLD’s orbit.”  (Guide the person with the rocket ship by the shoulders to make several orbits around the person with the “WORLD” ball.”
  • “But then, we catch a glimpse of the SON and decide we want to follow Him.”
  • “We break free from the WORLD’s orbit and start heading toward the SON.”  (Guide the person with the rocket ship slowly toward the SON, but as soon as you get to the first person with a ball on the path, break off and orbit around that person.”
  • “Unfortunately, on the way to the SON, we get distracted by ________ (name whatever is printed on the card on the ball), and we go into orbit around it for a while.” (Keep going around this person.)
  • “The more times we go around _____________ (say what is on the ball again), the more we hate it, but it is soooooooo hard to break free from its gravitational pull!”  (Keep going around this person.)
  • “We keep seeing the SON every time we pass around __________________ (say the name of the ball), and eventually, His power pulls us free of the orbit of the dead planet we have been circling.”  (Break free and start back toward the SON.)
  • “Not everything is a temptation for us, so we will be able to pass some of these dead planets without any problem, but our Enemy, Satan, is not going to give us up without a fight.
  • “He will put a very tempting planet in our path, and sure enough, we will get distracted looking at it and get sucked into its gravitational pull!” (Guide the person with rocket to begin orbiting this new dead planet.)
  • “Even though the planet looked tempting from a distance, when we get close to it, we find that it is empty and lifeless.  It doesn’t satisfy.”
  • “The SON won’t let us forget Him.  We will see Him on every orbit, and eventually, He will pull us free from that dead planet and set us back on the path toward Him.”  (Guide the person with the rocket to break away and head toward the Son.)
  • “This keeps happening over and over and over again.  It’s very frustrating!”  (Guide the person with the rocket to get sucked into one orbit and then break away and then get sucked into another orbit and so on….)
  • “But there is good news!  The closer we get to the SON, the easier it gets to break free from these temptations.”
  • “We get stronger and stronger in our faith and our ability to resist temptation, and we stay longer and longer on the path toward the SON.”
  • “We just need to keep striving to reach the SON.  Paul says in his letter to the Philippians, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12-14)
  • “Paul was saying that he doesn’t look back at what’s behind him; he just keeps straining toward what is ahead of him.”
  • “He keeps his ship pointed toward the SON, and when he gets off-course, he gets back on-course as soon as possible to follow the SON.”
  • “One day, it will be time, and the SON will bring us the rest of the way to Him when we join Him in heaven (or when He comes back to join us on earth).  (Guide the person with the rocket ship to the SON and have him orbit the SON several times before ending the lesson.)

 

 

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Filed under Challenges, Daily walk, God's Will, Jesus, Obedience, Object Lesson, Pride, Repentance, sanctification, Satan's tactics, Spiritual Growth, temptation

Tapped In (OBJ LESSON)


Time

15-20 minutes
Description

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

Scriptures

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

Materials

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

Preparation

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

Procedure

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

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


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Contagious Contact (Obj Lesson)


Time

15-20 minutes

Description

This object lesson teaches that spending time with God can have a contagious impact on everyone around us.

Scriptures

  • Exodus 34:28-29

Materials

  • One large jar of gold glitter
  • A drop cloth or piece of fabric (about 4 feet long and 3 feet wide)
  • Bible

Preparation

  • Open the Bible up to the passage in Exodus, and sprinkle some gold glitter onto the page.
  • Open up the drop cloth or sheet, and sprinkle a large amount of glitter all around.
  • Carefully conceal the drop cloth / sheet or fold it up and put it aside.
  • Arrange for two helpers to come and help you open the sheet when you give the cue.

Procedure

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

  • “Here’s what happens when we spend time with God.”  (Ask for a volunteer to come to the front.)
  • “When you read your Bible or spend time in prayer or worship, a little bit of God rubs off on you.”  (Have the volunteer read Exodus 34:28-29 out loud.  It’s okay if he/she has to move some of the glitter out of the way in order to read the passage.)
  • “Moses spent 40 days on the top of a mountain in the presence of God, and when he came back down, his face glowed with the glory of God.”
  • “When you spend time with God, your face may not actually glow, but God’s glory still shines through you.”  (Have volunteer put his/her fingertips into the gold glitter and then touch his/her face.)
  • “Then, as you go out and live your life, everyone you come in contact with gets a little bit of contact with the glory of God.” (Have the volunteer go into the audience and shake hands with a few people and then return.)
  • Now, if you spend time with God every day, a lot of His glory is going to rub off on you.” (Have volunteer put his/her entire hands into the glitter and then touch his/her face.)
  • “Now when you go out and live your life, you’re going to really bless people with the glory of God.  Their lives will be better, because they had contact with you after you had spent time with God.”  (Have volunteer go out and shake hands with different people this time and then return.)
  • “But what if, like Moses, you spent a lot of time praising and worshipping God, praying to Him and reading His Word?”
  • “What would that look like?”
  • “I think it would look a little like this.”  (Have the two helpers you selected before your lesson come and lay out the drop cloth or sheet with glitter on it.  Then, have your volunteer lay down on it and roll around a few times.  When they are pretty well covered in glitter, have them go around hugging people.)
  • “The more time we spend with God each day, the more we will be able to share His glory with those we come in contact with.”
  • “As Christians, we should always leave people, places and things better than they were when we found them.”

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The Roman Road (LESSON)


Scriptures:
Romans 3:23
Romans 6:23
Romans 5:8
Romans 10:9
Romans 10:13

Description: Within the book of Romans, the author has given us a path toward salvation.  Some call it the Roman Road.  This lesson helps participants to memorize the Scriptures of the Roman Road so that they can share it with their friends.

Time: 45 minutes

Materials:

  • Printouts of the Roman Road pictures (You can find these on the Lesson Materials and Downloads page on www.teachingthem.com.  The file is called, “Roman Road – Cards.ppt.”  You will want one enough flash-card size sets for every person to have one.  To get this size, go to File, then Print on the Menu Bar of PowerPoint.  Then, under “Print What:,” choose Handouts (6 slides per page).  Change the slides that you want to print to “From: 2” and “to: 19.”  This will give each person three sets of the six pictures (one with just the chapter and verse, one with just the Scripture words and one with neither).  If you don’t want each person to have all three sets, choose just the ones you want.
  • Scissor or a cutting board to cut out the flash cards
  • Rubber bands or envelopes (one per person in your group)
  • Cut out the flash cards, and put them in rubber bands or in envelopes to make them easy to distribute.
  • Practice the lesson.

o  LCD projector, computer and screen to project the slides (if you don’t have these, you can print out full-sized versions of the slides to use as displays.)
o  Bible

Preparation:
o  Print all the sets of the flash cards
o Cut out the flash cards, and put them in rubber bands or in envelopes to make them easy to distribute.
o Practice the lesson.

Procedure:
Use the following script or modify to suit your needs:

  • “The author of the book of Romans gave very clear instructions about how we can be saved and go to heaven.”
  • “Several Scriptures in the book link together to give us the plan of salvation.”
  • “These Scriptures are often called “The Roman Road.”  (Show title slide.)
  • “There are two reasons for this.  The first is that the Scriptures are in the book of Romans, and they describe the path (or road) to salvation.”
  • “The other reason is called a play on words, or a clever way of using a familiar term in a new way.”
  • “The roads built by the Romans a few thousand years ago were famous around the world during the early church period, because they were all straight, paved roads that led back to Rome.”
  • “The Roman Road in Scripture won’t lead you to Rome, Italy, but it will help you to walk the straight path to Jesus Christ.”
  • “So calling it a ‘Roman Road’ is just a way to make it easier to remember.”
  • “I’m going to take you down the Roman Road, and we are going to memorize the Scriptures together.”
  • “That way, you will be able to share it with your friends if God provides you an opportunity to share your faith with them.”  (Show Romans 3:23 slide, and ask for a volunteer to read it out loud from his or her Bible.)
  • “This means that there isn’t anyone who has ever lived with the except of Jesus Christ who has lived without sinning.”
  • “Our sin makes us fall short of God’s glory, but God is perfect and without sin.”
  • “In the game of ice hockey, if a player breaks a rule, he gets sent to the penalty box, also known as the ‘Sin Bin.’”
  • “In the same way, when we break one of God’s rules, we have to pay a penalty in the ‘sin bin.’”
  • “We put ourselves into spiritual prison, and Satan is the prison warden.”
  • “He can keep us locked up, because we broke the rules.  God has given him that authority over sinners, because God is too holy to allow sinners into His presence.”  (Show Romans 6:23a slide, and ask volunteer to read just the first part of the Scripture from his or her Bible.)
  • “Wages are what you get paid for work you do.”
  • “This Scripture is saying that our payment for the work of sin that we have done is death.”  (RIP on the tombstones in the picture stands for “Rest In Peace,” which used to be a common sentiment when someone died.)
  • “We have earned death because of our sin, and there are two kinds of death that this Scripture is talking about.”
  • “First, there is spiritual death in our relationship with God.”
  • “Sin separates us from God.  It creates a giant chasm between us, and none of us can leap over that chasm to get back to God.”
  • “The second kind of death is the one we are more familiar with – death of our bodies.”
  • “Before Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, they were going to live forever, but because of sin, they ruined their physical bodies.”
  • “What that physical body wears out of gets too sick or suffers a mortal injury, it dies.”
  • “So far, the death rate for human beings is just about 1 to 1 – one death for every life.”  (Exceptions might be Enoch and Elijah.  Show Romans 6:23b slide and have volunteer read it out loud.)
  • “This is a GREAT Scripture!”
  • “We earned death because of our sin BUT God has given us a gift – the gift of living forever with Jesus!”
  • “But notice that it’s a gift.”
  • “A gift is FREE!  There is nothing that you can do to earn it.”
  • “It comes from the generosity of the giver.”
  • “That means that we can’t earn our way into heaven; we can only receive it as a free gift from God.”
  • “Also, a gift is free, but you don’t have to accept it.”
  • “Millions and probably billions of people will live their lives here on earth and never accept the gift that Jesus bought for them.”
  • “Sometimes they don’t accept it, because they don’t know that it exists.  That’s why you have to tell everyone about the incredible gift Jesus bought for them.”
  • “Even more often, though, people don’t accept the gift, because they don’t trust the Gift Giver.”
  • “They think the gift is a trick or too good to be true or not worth having, so they don’t take it, and that’s a terrible shame, because Jesus was thinking about them when He bought it.”  (Show Romans 5:8 slide, and have volunteer read it out loud.)
  • “I said the gift was free, but that’s not totally true.”
  • “Someone had to pay for it.”
  • “It’s free to us, but it cost Jesus dearly.”
  • “Remember that I said that the wages of sin is death – the payment for our sin is that we have to die?”
  • “And remember that we are in the Sin Bin because we broke the rules and that Satan keeps the keys to our prison cell?”
  • “Well there is a way to pay the payment for our sin without us having to personally die.”
  • “In the Old Testament, the Hebrew/Israelites would kill animals to pay for their sins.”
  • “Animals could pay the debt we owed for our sin, because they were innocent and hadn’t sinned.”
  • “The problem with this arrangement, though, was that the death of the animal (really the blood of the animal) couldn’t clear our debt.”
  • “Animals are innocent, but that’s because they couldn’t sin if they wanted to – they don’t have the ability to choose to sin or to not sin.”
  • “So using their blood to pay for their debt was kind of like cheating.”
  • “It wouldn’t really pay for it.  It would just cover their debt for a year, but then the Israelite priests had to kill another animal to cover their sin again.”
  • “This had to happen every year, and they never really got out of Satan’s prison.  We just got to walk around the prison yard some. (joke – not meant to represent anything in doctrine)”
  • “In the end, Satan still owned us.  The Bible says we were his slaves.”
  • “We needed a better solution.”
  • “This is why Jesus came to live as a man on the earth.”
  • “He had to become like one of us and live a life completely free of sin.”
  • “That way, He qualified to pay our debt, because when He died, He didn’t have any debt of His own.”
  • “He took our punishment of death.  He paid our debt for us.”
  • “And the incredible thing is, He came and died for us ‘while we were still sinning.’”
  • “Who does something like that?”
  • “Do you give your friend money when he hasn’t paid you back the money you already gave him?”
  • “Do you buy your enemy a gift while he is cursing your name?”
  • “Nobody does that but God!”
  • “God loves us soooooooooo much that He overlooks our sin, our pride, our selfishness, our betrayal, and He pays the prison warden to get us out of prison!”
  • “That is an awesome God!”  (Show Romans 10:9 slide and have volunteer read it out loud.)
  • “I told you that what Jesus did was a gift and that you don’t have to take it.”
  • “But if you want to take it, this is the way to do it: confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead.”
  • “That’s how you accept the gift.  That’s how you walk out of Satan’s prison.”
  • “You see, when Jesus died for us, He broke the lock off of the prison door.”
  • “Unfortunately, many people are staying in prison, because (like I mentioned before) they either don’t know the lock is broken, or they don’t trust the One who broke it off for them.”
  • “All they have to do is accept the gift Jesus bought, and they can walk straight out of that prison cell, but many choose to stay.  It’s very sad.”
  • “One way of summarizing what you have to do to be saved from the punishment for sin is A-B-C.”
  • “A is for Accept the gift that Jesus bought for you.”
  • “B is for Believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead.”
  • “C is for Confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord!”  (Review A-B-C, Accept-Believe-Confess several times so that they remember it.  Then show the Romans 10:13 slide, and have a volunteer read is out loud.)
  • “This Scripture says that ‘Only God’s favorite people will be saved, right?’”  (They should respond with a loud, “NO!”)
  • “Only those who lead a good life will be saved?”  (Get them to respond with a loud, “NO!”)
  • “Only those who go to church every Sunday?”  (Allow responses.)
  • “Only those who give to the poor?”  (Allow responses.)
  • “Only those who help little, old ladies across the street?”  (Allow responses.)
  • “What does it say?  ‘EVERYONE who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved!’”
  • “Halleluja!  That’s the best news you will ever hear in your life!”
  • “God doesn’t want to leave ANYONE behind!”
  • “EVERYONE who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved!”
  • “You don’t have to be good looking or strong or smart or even good – God bought this gift for EVERYONE!  You just have to accept it!”
  • “On the cross, Jesus paid our entire debt!”
  • “Our bill is cancelled!”
  • “Satan has nothing against us!  He has no power to keep us in prison any longer!”
  • “That’s called the ‘Gospel!’  ‘Gospel’ means ‘good news,’ and this definitely qualifies!”
  • “That’s news so good you just HAVE to share it with somebody!”
  • “So I’m going to help you memorize this so that you can share it whenever God leads you to tell a friend or someone you meet.”  (Go through the next six slides slowly, allowing everyone to say the Scriptures out loud a few times before advancing to the next slide.  After the six slides that show the Scriptures, there are six slides with blank spaces where the Scripture or verse reference use to be.  See if anyone is brave enough to stand up and say it from memory.)
  • “Fantastic, but we need more practice, so I’ve made up some flash cards for each of you.”  (Hand out flash cards to each person.)
  • “I want you to find a partner and go through these flash cards to help each other memorize each step of the Roman Road.”
  • “You will notice that you have three sets of the six pictures.”
  • “One set shows the actual words of the Scripture.”
  • “One set shows just the chapter and verse reference, and the third set is blank – just the picture.”
  • “You can use whatever set you think you are ready to use.”
  • “If you don’t have anything memorized yet, use the one with the words.”
  • “If you kinda have the words, you might want to use the one with just the chapter and verse reference.”
  • “If you think you have it all memorized, use the blank flash cards.”
  • “Tell your partner which ones you want to use, and have him or her hold them up for you until you can say the Scripture.”
  • “Then trade, and you hold up the flash cards for your partner.”  (Ask for questions.  After you have answered them, have them start helping each other.  Allow ten minutes or so depending on time available.  Then give opportunities for individuals to come up front and recite all six Scriptures (if you count Romans 6:23a and b as two Scriptures).)

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In But Not Of (LESSON)


Scriptures:

Proverbs 16:7
Daniel 1:1-20

Philippians 3:20

1 Peter 2:11-12

Description: Nebuchadnezzar’s armies invade Jerusalem and take away the best and brightest teenagers to Babylon to make them aides in the king’s court.  Daniel and his friends choose to honor God by not eating food from the king’s table.  Like Daniel and his friends, kids today will often be faced with circumstances that challenge their commitment to following the Lord.  Christians are called to be in the world, but not of the world.

This is a big lesson with lots of moving parts.  Feel free to scale it down to suit your teaching style, available time or resources.

Rhyme Time:

Not everything that others do
Is what God wants to see from you.

Time: 45 minutes

Materials:
o  Ping-pong / Table Tennis ball

  • Table
  • Something to act as a border on either side of the table (to keep the ball from falling off the edge – I used erasers.)
  • Signs for kids to wear (You can find these on the Lesson Materials and Downloads page on www.teachingthem.com.  The file is called, “In But Not Of – Signs.ppt.”  You can also make your own signs that say things like, “Too Busy, Too Tired, No Time, Some Leaders, Peer Pressure, Temptations, Movies/TV, Music, Things You Like to Do, Things You Are Taught, Culture…”  – anything that might make it difficult for kids to live the life that God wants them to live.)
  • Hole punch or something to make holes in the signs
  • Yarn or string to make lanyards for signs
  • Clear bottle with lid
  • Water (enough to fill bottle almost ¾ full) and some extra in a separate container to use later in the lesson.
  • Food coloring
  • Vegetable oil (enough to fill bottle ¼ full) in a separate container.
  • Two serving platters with covers (or something like them)
  • Junk food (enough to make a sizeable mound on one of the platters)
  • Vegetables (real or artificial – enough to make a sizeable mound on one of the platters)
  • Costumes for the waiters (something like a white shirt, a black bow tie made from construction paper and a hand towel to go over their arms)
  • A copy of the answers for the Game Show.  These are at the end of this document.
  • Cardboard boxes or a table decorated to look like three contestant booths on a Jeopardy-type game show.
  • Three sheets of flipchart paper (one for each contestant booth).
  • A flip chart marker.
  • Masking tape.
  • LCD projector, computer, screen and PowerPoint file “In But Not Of – Charts and Game Show” (can be found at www.teachingthem.com on the “Lesson and Material Downloads” page.  If you prefer, some of the lesson can be sketched on a whiteboard or flipchart.)
  • Put one hole in each end of each sign (along the top)
  • Thread the yarn or string through each hole, and tie it off to make a lanyard to go around the kids’ heads.
  • Pour water into bottle, and drop in several drops of food coloring.
  • Put the lid on the bottle, and shake thoroughly to mix the coloring throughout.
  • Keep the vegetable oil separate.  (You will add it during the lesson.)
  • Get two volunteers to act as your waiters.  Have them dress in costume and be ready to appear with one of the platters (each of them) when you call on them.
  • Prepare both of your platters – one should be piled high with junk food, the other with vegetables, and then covered.
  • Load the PowerPoint slides for “In But Not Of – Charts and Game Show,” and black the screen by pressing “b” on your keyboard while you are in Slide Show View.
  • Create and decorate your three contestant booths.  Tape a sheet of flipchart paper to the front of each booth.  Position these somewhere in the room where they will be in front of the kids but also able to see the projection screen.
  • Hide the answer sheet in the booth that you will assign to your “Daniel” volunteer.  You don’t want the other kids to be able to see it from where they are standing, but it has to be easy for “Daniel” to see without drawing attention to himself/herself.
  • Select a “Daniel” volunteer (might be best to use another adult), and explain that you would like his/her help with a “game show.”  Show him/her the booth and where you’ve hidden the answers.  Tell him/her that you want them to get most or all questions right but that he/she shouldn’t allow anyone to know that he/she has the answers.
  • Practice the lesson.
  • Also see: http://wallbuilder.wordpress.com/2009/11/05/taking-a-stand/ for additional sermon illustrations.

o  Bible

Preparation:

o  Print signs for kids to wear

Procedure:

Use the following script or modify to suit your needs:

  • (Gather kids together around the table, and pass out the signs for some of them to wear.)
  • “Let’s start today’s lesson with a demonstration.”
  • “I need a volunteer.”  (Select a volunteer, and give him or her the ping-pong ball.)
  • “This ball this person has represents a Christian trying to live the life that God wants him/her to live.”
  • “The rest of you are people or things that make it difficult for the volunteer to follow God.”
  • “Our volunteer with the ball is going to try to blow the ball to the other end of the table without falling off the table.”
  • “That will represent living a life that pleases God.”
  • “The rest of you (even those without signs) are going to try to prevent the ball from reaching the other end of the table by blowing it in the other direction.”
  • “Does anyone have any questions?”  (Answer questions.  Then let them begin blowing.  If the ball drops off the table, the volunteer should start over.  You can stop the demonstration either when the volunteer succeeds or after enough time has passed for the kids to understand the lesson.)
  • “So, what do you think this demonstration is supposed to teach us?”  (Listen to responses.  If it isn’t mentioned, be sure to point out that it can be very difficult to live a life pleasing to God in today’s culture. Many different things and even people work against the Christian, and Christians need God’s help to be able to move in the opposite direction of the world around them.  Allow kids to take a seat as you begin the lesson.)
  • “We are going to talk about a story that happened in the land of Israel.”
  • “It’s from the Old Testament times, and you can read about some of what I’m going to tell you in the books of Daniel, 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles.”
  • “Israel, at the time of our story, was not very powerful.”
  • “They were controlled by the kingdom of Egypt in the south and then later by the kingdom of Babylon in the north.”
  • “A man named Jehoiakim was put on the throne by Pharaoh Nechoh of Egypt.”
  • “But in the third year of his reign, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon attacked and besieged Jerusalem (606 B.C.).”
  • “It took him two years to conquer Jerusalem, but Nebuchadnezzar finally won.”
  • “He chose not to destroy Jerusalem at that time, but he did take some of the gold, silver and bronze items from God’s Temple.”
  • “He also stole many of the brightest and most promising of Israel’s youth from Judah’s royal family and other noble families.”
  • “These young men were strong, healthy, intelligent and attractive young men, who were well-versed in every branch of learning.”
  • “Nebuchadnezzar wanted them for two very important reasons:
  1. By stealing Israel’s smartest and most promising youth, Nebuchadnezzar kept Israel from growing stronger after he returned to Babylon.  The Jews would have no strong leaders to lead them in battle against Babylon.
  2. By bringing Israel’s best and brightest to Babylon, the king hoped to make his kingdom even stronger by training them to become aides in his court.”
  • “Nebuchadnezzar’s plan was very smart, because it not only stole the best from his enemies; it added the best to his own people.”
  • “But for his plan to work, he first had to get the Jews to commit to Babylonian ways and give their loyalty to the king.”
  • “This was tricky, because Nebuchadnezzar was the enemy of the Jewish people.”
  • “He had just held Jerusalem under siege for two years while he tried to starve the people inside so that they would grow weak and give up.”
  • “Then, he had taken these boys away from their families and friends and marched them 800 miles (1300 km) to a strange place, where they would live for the rest of their lives.”
  • “Nebuchadnezzar was a very smart king, though, and he had already done this before with other people.”
  • “He had his servants put the boys into a special school, where they would learn the new customs, languages, religion, laws and other practices of the Babylonians.”
  • “For three years, Nebuchadnezzar did something called “brainwashing” on these boys.”
  • “Brainwashing is what happens with someone powerful tries to wash out everything you already know so that he can replace it with what he wants you to think.”  (Show first slide with the picture of a brain on it.  For each click, one of the following phrases will appear inside the brain: “Hebrew language, Hebrew laws and rules, Hebrew teachings, Hebrew culture, Hebrew customs, Hebrew foods, Israel, Hebrew friends, Jehovah.”)
  • “All their lives, these boys had been trained by their parents, their teachers and their priests how to speak the Hebrew language, obey the Hebrew laws and rules, follow the Hebrew teachings, culture and customers, eat the Hebrew foods, love the land of Israel, love the Hebrew people and worship the one, true God, whom they called Jehovah.”
  • “But Nebuchadnezzar needed them to forget about all that stuff if he was ever going to get them to become loyal Babylonians.”
  • “So, he had his servants ‘wash’ their brains at his royal school and replace the old information with new information about Babylonian languages, laws, rules, teachings, culture, customs, foods, land, friends and gods.”  (Advance the slide, and all the words will fall out of the brain.   Advance the slide again, and the terms will reappear, but this time “Israel” will be replaced with “Babylon,” “Hebrew” with “Babylonian” and “Jehovah” with “gods of Babylon.”  After this slide, there is a black slide before the next slide.  This is to allow you to black out the screen if you like.)
  • “This is where we meet Daniel and his friends.”
  • “You probably know them as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, but those weren’t their real names.”
  • “As part of his brainwashing, Nebuchadnezzar gave them all new names.”
  • “Their old names honored Jehovah, so Nebuchadnezzar changed their names so that they would honor his gods instead.”  (Advance the slide to show the following chart.  Each time you advance the slide, it will reveal another box of the chart, moving from left to right on each row.  This will allow you to talk about each one at a time.  After this slide, there is a black slide before the next slide.  This is to allow you to black out the screen if you like.)
Hebrew Name Hebrew Meaning Babylonian Name Babylonian Meaning
Daniel “God is my judge” Belteshazzar “Bel protect his life”
Hananiah “The Lord shows grace” Shadrach “Command of Aku” (the moon-god)
Mishael “Who is like God?” Meshack “Who is as Aku is?”
Azariah “The Lord is my help” Abednego “Servant of Nebo”
  • “Even Daniel had a new name, but we don’t use it much today – probably because he didn’t use it much when he wrote the book of Daniel.”
  • “The boys were about 17 years old when Nebuchadnezzar took them away from their families.”
  • “They were assigned to three years of training to make them court aides to the king.”
  • “As part of their training/brainwashing, they were served best food and wine from the king’s kitchen.”  (Have volunteer come out dressed as a waiter with a covered serving platter.  With a flourish, remove the cover, and show all the junk food that you have under it.)
  • “Daniel and his friends hadn’t forgotten the one, true God, and this food caused them a problem.”
  • “They knew that it had been offered as sacrifices to Babylonian gods, and Hebrew law forbade them from eating it.”
  • “This was their first test in this new land.  Would they eat the king’s food?
  • “What would you do?”  (Get responses from the kids.)
  • “Well Daniel and his friends decided not to eat it even though it could get them into a lot of trouble.”
  • “Daniel went to the chief official who watched over them and asked for permission to eat just vegetables and water.” (Have second volunteer come out dressed as a waiter with a covered serving platter.  With a flourish, remove the cover, and show all the vegetables you have under it.)
  • “The chief official liked Daniel and his friends.”
  • “He could tell that they were different than the others, and he wanted to help them, but he was afraid that Nebuchadnezzar would cut off his head if Daniel and his friends weren’t as healthy as the other kids.”
  • “So, Daniel asked the chief office if he would allow them to try it for just ten days.”
  • “Because God had given the chief official great respect for Daniel, the chief official gave them permission to try it.”
  • “At the end of 10 days, they looked healthier and better nourished than all the other kids.”
  • “If fact, they just kept getting better and better, as these charts show.”  (Advance slide to show the “Strength Comparison” slide in the “In But Not Of – Charts and Game Show” PowerPoint.)
  • “They kept getting stronger…” (Show next slide.)
  • “Healthier…” (Show next slide.)
  • “Wiser…” (Show next slide.)
  • “And even funnier than all the other guys!”  (After this slide, there is a black slide in case you want to black out the screen before you get to the Game Show.)
  • “I guess Daniel and his friends were right to trust God!”
  • “The chief official was so impressed, he let them eat vegetables and water every meal.”
  • “That may not sound very good to you, but it allowed Daniel and his friends to honor Jehovah, so they liked it very much.”
  • “This was their first test in Babylon, and God gave them an A+!”
  • “He gave them favor with not only the chief official but also with Nebuchadnezzar.”
  • “God made Daniel and his friends smarter than any of the other kids, and He gave Daniel the ability to understand visions and dreams.”
  • “This was an excellent gift from God, because a king needed someone who could interpret dreams and visions to help him understand the times and the future of his kingdom.”
  • “After three years of training, all the young men (no longer boys) were brought before the king and tested.”
  • “They all had to compete on King Nebuchadnezzar’s favorite game show, ‘Your Life Is In Jeopardy.’” (Ask for three volunteers.  Make sure one of the ones you choose is your “Daniel” volunteer.   Point out the three contestant booths for the game show, and assign them their places behind each one.  Make sure Daniel goes to the one that has the answers.  Ask for one more volunteer to be your scorekeeper, and give him/her the flipchart marker.  Have this volunteer write the names of the three contestants at the top of each flipchart.  The two ordinary volunteers can use their real names.  The “Daniel” volunteer needs to use “Daniel” as his/her name.)
  • “Welcome to ‘Your Life’s in Jeopardy!’  I’m King Nebuchadnezzar, and I’ll be your host.”  (Show first game show slide.)
  • “If you’re not familiar with the way the game is played, here are the rules:
    • Each round, one of you will select one of the five categories. (Say each category out loud so that they know what they are.)
    • I will show an problem, and you will need to give me the answer in the form of a question. (The ‘form of a question’ rule is optional, because it is often too difficult for kids to remember.)
    • The person who raises their hand the fastest is the one who gets to answer.
    • If you get the question right, our scorekeeper will add the points for that question to your scoreboard.
    • However, if you get the question wrong, the scorekeeper will subtract those points from your score.
    • The winner will become my most trusted advisor, and the losers will become doggie treats for my attack dogs.
    • If anyone has any questions, I will boil him in oil.  Any questions?
    • Good, I didn’t think there would be.
  • “Let’s get started.”  (Select someone to pick the first category.  It doesn’t matter who you choose, and it doesn’t matter what category they select.  When you advance the slide, the order of the questions is predetermined (in order to keep it simple for you).  If the person’s choice doesn’t match the actual question, just remind them that you are the king and tell them about how hungry your attack dogs are.  Go through all the questions, or cut it short based on the time you have.  Each time, Daniel should be able to get the right answer, so he should be the clear winner in the end.)
  • “Excellent job, Daniel!  I see that you and your friends, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are much wiser than any of the others.”
  • “You will be added to my regular staff of advisors!”
  • “The rest of you will be taken to play with my attack doggies.”  (Allow all the volunteers to return to their seats, and ‘step out’ of your role as King Nebuchadnezzar.)
  • “So, back to the story….Nebuchadnezzar soon found them ten times smarter than all his magicians and enchanters within the entire kingdom!”  (Have a volunteer read Proverbs 16:7.)
  • “This Scripture means that when we are obedient to God, even our enemies will like us.”
  • “That’s pretty amazing!”
  • “So, what does this mean for you?”
  • “How many of you know that earth is not your home if you are a Christian?”  (Look for a show of hands.  Then, have a volunteer read Philippians 3:20.)
  • “Our home is in heaven.  We are citizens of heaven, not of earth.”
  • “So, we are IN the world – meaning, we live here – but we are not OF the world – meaning that we are not part of the world’s family anymore.”
  • “Jesus tells us in another place that those who don’t follow him are sons of the Devil (John 8:44).”
  • “But our Father is God in heaven, and there should be some family resemblance.”
  • “People should be able to tell who our Father is by how we act.”
  • “If we act like those who don’t know Jesus as Lord, people will think that Satan is our father.”
  • “But if we act like Jesus, people will know that God is our Father.” (Have a volunteer read 1 Peter 2:11-12.)
  • “Peter tells us that we are aliens and strangers here, and he says that we should be careful to stay away from sin and live such good lives that everyone who sees us will glorify God.” (Show the bottle with the colored water in it, and ask for a volunteer to come up.)
  • “Let’s say that this bottle represents the world.”  (Hand bottle to volunteer.)
  • “Inside are all the people who are part of this world.”
  • “They don’t know Jesus as their Lord.”
  • “The coloring represents their sinfulness.  They do things that God has told us not to do.”  (Show separate container with water in it.)
  • “In this container, I have some clean and clear water.”
  • “It represents some Christians and how they live their lives.”  (Ask your volunteer to pour the separate container of clear water into the dark water that is colored by the food coloring.  Then, have the volunteer put the lid back on the bottle and shake it.)
  • “What happened to the clean water that our volunteer put into the ‘world?’”  (Accept responses.)
  • “Right!  It took on the color of the water around it.”
  • “Sometimes, this is just how Christians act.”
  • “They mix with the world and start doing the sinful things that those in the world are doing.”
  • “Then, they look just like everyone else, and you can’t tell who is a Christian and who is not.”
  • “They are both IN the world and OF the world.”  (Show separate container with oil in it.)
  • “But this container has oil in it, and it represents Christians who are committed to following Jesus.”  (Ask volunteer to pour oil into original bottle and then to cap and shake it thoroughly.)
  • “We put these Christians in the world just like the others, but watch and you will see something different happen.”  (As the volunteer holds the bottle where everyone can see it, the oil will rise to the top.  It will not stain with the food coloring, so you will be able to see a clear layer of oil on top of the darker water.)
  • “What do you notice this time?”  (Accept responses.)
  • “Exactly!  The oil didn’t become like the colored water.”
  • “This represents Christians who live IN the world but do not allow themselves to become OF the world.”
  • “In the Bible, oil often represents the Holy Spirit, so these Christians are Christians who are submitting to the leadership of the Holy Spirit in their lives.”
  • “They still look different from the rest, because they didn’t do the sins of the people around them.”
  • “They are like Daniel and his friends, who refused to eat the same foods as everyone else.”
  • “They made a hard decision to be different, even though that might make some people not like them and some people become jealous of them.”
  • “But we have a problem.”
  • “Do you notice that all the oil rose to the top?”
  • “It isn’t mixed in with the water.”
  • “Sometimes Christians act like this.”
  • “They find that it’s easier to just be around other Christians all the time, so they start to group together.”
  • “It’s good to group together for church and at other times, but we shouldn’t always spend time with other Christians.”
  • “If we do, we won’t be able to help other people get to know Jesus.”
  • “So what should we do?”  (Take responses.  You are looking for someone to say that you need to keep mixing with the people in the world.)
  • “That’s right!  That’s what we need to do!”  (Have volunteer shake bottle again.)
  • “We should come together as Christians to encourage and support one another, but then we need to get back out there in the world and interact with those who don’t know Jesus.”
  • “As long as we act like Jesus and not like those in the world, we will continue to look different from the world.”
  • “And when we look different from the world, we give glory to God.”  (Thank volunteer and allow him/her to be seated.)
  • “I have a Rhyme Time that will help us remember the lesson.”
  • “I’ll say it a few times, and then you can say it with me.”  (Recite the Rhyme Time several times, and then let the kids say it with you.  If you have time, allow them to come up and do it individually, as well.)
    • It would be easy, after all.
    • Everyone else was doing it.
    • The king might do terrible things to them if they didn’t.
    • God would understand, wouldn’t He?”

“Not everything that others do is what God wants to see from you!”


Daniel’s Answer Key

King’s Future – 100 Nowhere
King’s Places – 100 Hole-land
King’s Places – 200 The Neverlands
King’s Secrets – 100 His subjects are a royal pain.
Happy King – 100 None – TV hasn’t been invented
Happy King – 200 Dominate the world
King’s Future – 200 Because he will feed everyone else to the lions
King’s Enemies – 100 Tickle Torcher
King’s Enemies – 200 Sends them straight to DEAD without dinner
King’s Enemies – 300 He throws them in the Lyin’s den
King’s Enemies – 400 He throws them in the fiery FURnace
King’s Secrets – 200 They are all wearing camel-flage
King’s Secrets – 300 Because he tends to babble on
Happy King – 300 They have a good sense of RUMOR
King’s Secrets – 400 His nose runs but his feet only smell
King’s Enemies – 500 Because they have nothing left to go on
King’s Future – 300 Da bunnies, da bunnies, Oh, I love da bunnies!
King’s Future – 400 Da Persians, da Persians, Oh, I hate da Persians!
King’s Future – 500 Nebbie K. Nezzar
King’s Places – 300 Booty-pest
Happy King – 400 It had a little boogey on it
Happy King – 500 Its rear end
King’s Secrets – 500 Never could net her
King’s Places – 400 Gone-ah
King’s Places – 500 Germ-many

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Filed under Abednego, Challenges, Character, Christianity, courage, culture, sanctification

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