Category Archives: Scripture memory

Balloon Burst (MEMORY)


Time
10 minutes

Audience

Children, youth

Description

This memory activity helps participants memorize Scripture by putting the words on balloons and then regularly eliminating words by bursting the balloons.

Materials

  • Balloons (light colored, one for every word in the memory verse, one or more for the reference (book, chapter, verse) and maybe a few extras just in case you lose a balloon or two)
  • Sharp object, like a pin or tack, to pop the balloons
  • Thick-tipped, permanent marker (dark color)
  • Corkboard or some other surface onto which to tack the balloons (optional – you could have the participants hold the balloons instead)
  • Thumb tacks or push pins (one per balloon, to tack the balloons to the corkboard or other surface – not needed if you decide to have the participants hold the balloons)

Preparation

  • Choose a verse to memorize.
  • Inflate the balloons, and tie them off.
  • Write one word from the Scripture on each balloon using the permanent marker.
  • Tack the balloons to the corkboard/surface in the correct sequence.  Be careful to tack them through the tie-off area so that you don’t pop them or create a leak.  (Optional – you may decide to have the participants hold the balloons.)
  • Memorize the Scripture for yourself.
  • Practice the script.

Procedure

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

  • “We are going to memorize a Scripture today using these balloons.”  (Indicate balloons.  If you are going to have participants hold them, call up volunteers, and give them each a balloon (or two).  Arrange the volunteers in the correct sequence.)
  • “Everyone say the verse with me.”  (Point to each balloon, and say the word out loud as you go through the verse.  Do this several times until everyone seems to be remembering the words.  Then, pop a balloon with the sharp object (or have a volunteer do it).  Pick a balloon randomly; it’s better not to go in any particular order.)
  • “Okay, now let’s try to remember the verse without this balloon as a reminder.”  (Point to each balloon as you did before, and let the participants say the words.  When you get to the missing balloon, point to the volunteer or the space where the balloon was.  If they get stuck, prompt them with the correct word.  Once they have shown that they can remember the verse without this balloon, pop another.)
  • “You’re doing so well, I think you need more of a challenge!”  (Go through the verse again until they seem to remember it all.  Then, pop another balloon, and repeat.  Keep this up until all the balloons are gone.  Then, let anyone who would like to try come up front and say the entire verse from memory.)

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Filed under memory, Scripture memory

Mind Pollution


Time

15-20 minutes

Description

This object lesson teaches about how important it is to protect our mind from negative influences. It uses a simple visual aid of water and food coloring.

Materials

  • Display table
  • Red, green or blue food coloring
  • Large, clear (see-through) container
  • Two or three pitchers
  • Enough water to fill each of the pitchers and half the large container
  • (Optional) Bottle of bleach

Preparation

· Test the experiment to make sure you know how it works. (Note: if you use too much food coloring, it will be difficult to dilute. A drop at a time is best.)

· Set up the large, clear container (half-full with water) on a display table.

· Have the pitchers and food coloring nearby.

· Practice the script.

Procedure

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

· “Your mind is an incredible creation of God.”

· “It has over 100 billion neurons that send electrical pulses back and forth to each other. These are your thoughts, and you are capable of having more thoughts than the number of known atoms in the entire universe!” (Source: Tony Buzan, Head Strong 2001)

· “Your brain is incredible!”

· “And did you know, that your brain is approximately 75% water?”

· “That’s why I’m going to use this container of water to represent your brain in this lesson.”

· “We will say that this container represents your precious, incredible brain.”

· “The water inside it represents your thoughts.”

· “I have some pitchers of clean water here, and they are going to represent good things that you can put into your brain.”

· “Can anyone help me think of some good things that you can put into your brain?” (Take responses. If the kids need help, try to steer them toward things like Scripture, positive thoughts, encouragement/praise, positive music, learning, worship, thinking about God…)

· “Great, that’s exactly what I’m talking about!”

· “I also have some food coloring up here, and it represents some bad things you can put into your brain.”

· “Who can help me think of some bad things that we could put into our brains?” (Take responses. If the kids need help, try to steer them toward things like profanity, gossip, lies, music with bad lyrics, the Lord’s name used in vain, mean thoughts, self-defeating or limiting talk, hurtful talk, movies or TV with bad scenes, bad pictures, jokes with inappropriate themes…)

· “Exactly! We’ve got to watch out for that kind of stuff!”

· “For this demonstration, I’m going to need a volunteer. Who would like to come help me?” (Select volunteer.)

· “Okay, notice how clear this water is. It’s like our minds the way that God first created them – pure and beautiful.”

· “Let’s say that we are really careful, and we only allow good things into our brain.” (Have volunteer pour some water into container from one of the pitchers.)

· “See what happened? We got more brain!”

· “Okay, it doesn’t work exactly like that, but let’s say that this is like gaining wisdom.”

· “When we add good things, like Scripture, positive thoughts, encouragement/praise… we grow in wisdom and knowledge, and our mind stays clear and clean.”

· “But what if we aren’t so careful, and we allow in some jokes that are hurtful to other people.” (Have volunteer squirt a drop of food coloring into the water in the container. Then pause to allow the children to see the effect. Just one drop of food coloring will spread and spread throughout the water until it has tinted the whole thing.)

· “Wow! Did you see that? Just that one little drop of bad stuff changed the whole color of the water.”

· “And what if we still aren’t so careful, and we allow in some inappropriate pictures (have volunteer add drop) …and profanity (add drop) ….and music with negative lyrics (add drop) …and some negative self-talk about what a loser we are or how stupid we are at math (add drop).”

· “Look what happens then. Our minds are getting darker and darker.”

· “What should we do about that?” (Listen to responses. When someone suggests to add more good things, continue.)

· “Right! Exactly! We need to add more good stuff – more Scripture and positive thoughts and godly advice from our parents…Romans 12:2 says that we should stop doing what the rest of the world does and start being transformed by renewing our minds. That’s the same thing as adding in the good stuff.” (Have volunteer pour in more water.)

· “But do you see the problem I’m seeing?” (Listen for responses.)

· “The water (our minds) are not going back to clear again. We are diluting the bad stuff, but it’s taking a lot more water than it did food coloring to improve our mind here.”

· “That’s the way sin works. Both Jesus and the Apostle Paul warned that, ‘a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.’ (Matthew 13:33 and 1 Corinthians 5:6)

· “Yeast is an image of sin in the Bible, so Jesus and Paul are saying that a little sin will spread until it ruins everything.”

· “So, as soon as we realize the damage we are doing to our minds, we’ve got to stop adding yeast / sin.”

· “Then, we’ve got to add lots and lots of good stuff by going to church, hanging out with godly friends, listening to our parents, changing the music we listen to, changing the movies we watch, reading the Bible every day, memorizing Scripture, studying about God…” (As you are mentioning these things, have the volunteer pour more water into the container with each suggestion. Try to fill the container until it’s full – unless you plan to continue with the bleach part of the lesson.)

· “Good habits are going to be the best way to dilute the bad stuff that you already have in your minds.”

· “And it’s not going to be easy. You’re going to have to work at it every day.”

· “And when you allow bad stuff in, it’s going to take much longer to dilute it than it did to let it in there.”

· “It’s like when I eat too much food. It might take me an hour of exercise to burn the amount of calories I ate even though it only took me five minutes to eat it.”

· “Because our minds are so awesome, I don’t believe the bad stuff ever goes away.”

· “I think our brains have the ability to hold onto everything we’ve ever put in there (even though sometimes it’s hard to remember where you left your stuff).”

· “If you put lots of bad stuff in your mind, that’s the bad news. The good news is, that your mind will never be too full of good stuff, so you can keep on adding it in!” (Thank your volunteer, and allow him/her to return to his/her seat.)

Optional Section – Adding Bleach

· “Now, there is one more thing that you can do that we haven’t talked about.”

· “You can give all that bad stuff you put into your mind to God in prayer.”

· “This bleach represents our prayers to God. (By the way, kids, bleach is a powerful and dangerous chemical. You should never handle it unless you have an adult there with you.)”

· “I don’t think the bad stuff we’ve put in our minds ever goes away, but we can turn it over to God in prayer, and He will use it for good.” (Pour bleach into the tinted water. It might take quite a bit of bleach (and you may need to stir it), but it will eventually take the tint out of the water. The result will be a yellowish liquid – not perfect, but no longer tinted with the original colors.)

· “Romans 8:28 tells us that God will use ALL things for the good of those who love Him.”

· “That means that He will even take the bad stuff we’ve done or let into our brains and use it for His glory and His Kingdom.” (Give a personal example.)

· “But, hey! That’s not an excuse to put the bad stuff in there! Your best strategy is to keep the bad stuff out in the first place!”

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Filed under Brain, Christianity, Mind, Object Lesson, Scripture memory, spiritual disciplines

Cord of Three Strands


Time

10-15 minutes

Description

This object lesson teaches the old maxim that there is safety in numbers. Ecclesiastes 4:12 says that “A cord of three strands is not easily broken.” This lesson will demonstrate that.

Materials

  • A skein of yarn
  • Scissors
  • Several pairs of gloves
  • Whiteboard or flipchart and markers

Preparation

· Write Ecclesiastes 4:12 on whiteboard or flipchart (see below).

· Cut the yarn into 13 lengths of approximately five feet.

· Keep one length unbraided.

· Braid three strands into one length.

· Do this three more times so that you now have four lengths of braided yarn.

· Braid three of the braided strands together so that you now have nine strands of yarn in this one length.

· You should now have:

o A single strand of yarn.

o Three strands of yarn braided into one length.

o Nine strands of yarn braided into one length.

· Practice the script.

Procedure

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

  • “One of the most common and most successful strategies that Satan uses against us is called ‘Divide and Conquer.’”
  • “Does anyone know what that means?” (Take responses, but if they don’t know for sure, continue with script.)
  • “Divide and Conquer is Satan’s strategy to separate you and me from other Christians in our lives.”
  • “He knows that if he can get you alone, you are no match for him.”
  • “I’m not saying that Satan is all-powerful. He’s not. But he has had thousands of years to practice tempting us, and we are not all that difficult to figure out.”
  • “All by yourself, you are no match against Satan in a spiritual battle. Let me demonstrate.” (Ask your two biggest / strongest children (or even adults) to come up front. Give them each a pair of gloves to put on.)
  • “Okay, let’s say that these two guys are Satan’s henchmen. And let’s say that this strand of yarn (use single strand) is you.” (Give one end of the yarn to each of the “henchmen,” and ask them to wrap it around their hand to get a secure hold.)
  • “In a spiritual battle, these guys are going to do everything they can to break you.” (Have the “henchmen” pull on the yarn until they break it. Make sure that the room is clear of anything that could harm them if the yarn breaks and they fall backward.)
  • “Oh! Look at that! That’s not good! They broke you!”
  • “But you’ve got a defense. The Bible says that:” (Put on board or flipchart.)

“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:12)

· “In a spiritual battle, two are better than one, and three are better than two.”

· “You shouldn’t try to go it alone. You need Christian friends and Christian family members who can help you.”

· “How can Christian friends and family help you in your Christian walk?” (Take responses. Some ideas might be: encouragement when you are struggling, advice when you don’t know what to do, a positive example, sharing your burdens…)

· “Those are great reasons not to be a cord of one strand!”

· “ So let’s try this again with three strands braided together.” (Give the “henchmen” the three-strand braided yarn, and ask them to pull on it as hard as they can. Again, make sure that they won’t fall into anything if the yarn breaks. Depending on the size of your “henchmen,” it’s likely that they will not be able to break the three strands.)

· (If they break it…) “Hmmm. They were able to break the three strands, but it was much harder, wasn’t it? ‘A cord of three strands is not quickly broken,’ but sometimes even it needs more…” (Pull out the nine strands of yarn.)

· (If they don’t break it…) “Hmmm. They weren’t able to break it this time. It looks like “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Now, what if you had even more strands…” (Pull out the nine strands of yarn.)

· “What if instead of two friends or family members, you had eight friends or family to help you resist Satan’s temptations or to encourage you in the spiritual battle? Do you think you would be strong then?” (Take responses.)

· “You bet you would! But let’s check just to make sure.” (Give the “henchmen” the nine-strand braided yarn, and ask them to pull on it as hard as they can. For effect, call up more volunteers to help. They shouldn’t be able to break it.)

· “That’s impressive, isn’t it? So what do you think you need to do after seeing this demonstration?” (Take responses, and listen for things like: build relationships, go to church, make Christian friends, share my struggles with my Christian friends and family, help others who are struggling…)

· “Fantastic! Let’s strengthen your strands right now! Find two other people, and practice memorizing this verse together.” (Allow them to practice and then recite for the group.)

“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:12)

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Filed under Christianity, Coping skills, Hands-on, Object Lesson, Satan's tactics, Scripture memory, Spiritual Warfare