Category Archives: tool

God Doesn’t Waste Anything (OBJ LESSON)


Time

10-15 minutes
Audience

Children, Teens, Adults

 

Description

This object lesson teaches about how God brings good things out of bad and uses the metaphor of turning lemons into lemonade.

Scriptures

  • Romans 8:28
  • Galatians 5:22

Materials

  • Several cow patties if you can find them.  If you can’t, use a bag of fertilizer and just explain that many fertilizers include animal waste.
  • A pot of fragrant flowers
  • A piece of fruit that most people would enjoy eating

Preparation

  • Lay out materials for the lesson.
  • Practice the script.

Procedure

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

  • “Who knows what this is?”  (Hold up dry cow patty.)
  • “Right?  It’s a cow patty.”  (Pass it around to kids.)
  • “Now, it doesn’t smell too bad right now, but who has ever smelled a fresh one?” (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “They’re stinky, aren’t they?”
  • “So, you probably wouldn’t go around smelling them, would you?”
  • “But would you smell this?”  (Hold up flowers in a pot.)
  • “Sure, because it smells good, right?”
  • “Did you know that this (hold up another cow patty) was used to make this (hold up flowers) smell so good?”
  • “How did that happen?”  (Take responses until someone mentions fertilizer.)
  • “Right!  Cow manure is one of the most common ways to fertilize plants and flowers.”
  • “How many of you would eat this?”  (Hold up cow patty.)
  • “But would you eat this?”  (Hold up fruit.)
  • “Believe it or not, there’s some of this (hold up cow patty) in this (hold up fruit).
  • “God made it so that plants and flowers take the nutrients out of the manure and reuse them to help the fruit and the flowers grow.”
  • “God doesn’t waste anything.  He even takes bad stuff (hold up cow patty) and turns it into good stuff (hold up or point to fruit and flowers).”
  • “If God can do that with cow poop, He can do that with the bad stuff in your life, too.”
  • “Some of the stuff that happens to us really stinks, but God will use it to do good stuff in our lives so that we come out smelling like a rose.”
  • “He can use those bad things to create fruit in our lives like the fruit He talks about in the Bible.”  (Have volunteer read Galatians 5:22).
  • “So, whatever bad stuff happens in your life, give it to God to use as fertilizer, and He will bring good fruit out of it.”  (Have volunteer read Romans 8:28.)
  • “God will use everything to bless you if you trust Him with it!”  (You can use the Rhyme Time below to reinforce the lesson.)

 

Rhyme Time

If we trust Him and obey, God makes bad things go OUR way!

 

 

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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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God’s Image (QUICK DRAMA)


Time
15 minutes

Description
This Quick Drama teaches that God wants to make us into the image of His Son, Jesus.  We often think that we should do the work, but God is the only One who can successfully and permanently change us.  Even though God wants to change us, He loves us like we are today.  He also loves us too much to leave us that way.  (This Quick Drama was inspired by God’s Chisel, written by The Skit Guys.  It’s an excellent drama that you can find at http://www.skitguys.com/store/detail/188/.  I wrote this one to appeal more to kids, but the original is the best.)

Audience
Children, youth, adults

Materials
o    Tool belt
o    Assorted tools to fill the tool belt
o    Hammer
o    Chisel (metal is preferred for the sound it makes)
o    Hand mirror

Preparation
o    Practice the script.

Script
Brad:      [Enters with a mirror is his hand.  He is admiring himself in the mirror.  He also has a heavily loaded tool belt and is using one of the tools to “polish” himself and make himself look even better.] Oh, darling! You….look….mahhhhh-velous!

GOD:    [Appears] Hey, Brad!  Whatcha doing?

Brad:     [Embarrassed] Oh, uh… [Remembers mirror in his hand, looks at it briefly and then hides it behind his back]  Nothing, really.

GOD:    So, did you like what you saw?

Brad:     Uh, well…yeah!  Yeah!  I guess I did!  Is there anything wrong with that?

GOD:    Who did you see when you looked in the mirror?

Brad:    Well, me, of course!

GOD:    That’s the problem.  You see, Brad, what you’re supposed to is the image of my Son, Jesus.

Brad:     Oh.  [Realizes his error]  But I don’t know how to do that.

GOD:     That’s okay.  In fact, it’s why I’m here.  [Pulls out a hammer and chisel from Brad’s tool belt]

Brad:     What are you going to do with those?

GOD:    These are my shaping tools.  With them, I will chip away anything that doesn’t look my Son.

Brad:     Okay, will it hurt?

GOD:    Sometimes.  You’ve added a lot of stuff that wasn’t in my original design, and it’s got to come off.

Brad:    Okay, but make it fast, please.

GOD:    [Chisels loudly] You’ve been unkind to your brothers and sisters a lot lately.

Brad:    Owww!  I know.  [Hangs head}

GOD:    [Chisels loudly] And you’ve been stuffing your bad feelings deep down inside.

Brad:     Owww!  But what else can I do with them?  No one listens to me!

GOD:    I do.  [Chisels loudly]  You’ve shown disrespect to both your parents and your teachers.

Brad:     Owww!  Wait!  Can we stop?  This really hurts!

GOD:     We can take a break, but you should know that these areas grow bigger when you don’t let me work on them.

Brad:     God, what’s the use?  I’m never going to be like Jesus.  He’s perfect, and I’m…I’m…I’m just messed up.  I can’t be fixed.

GOD:    Brad, what do you think I see when I look at you?

Brad:    A disappointment.

GOD:    Not at all!  You know what I see?  My masterpiece!  My glorious creation!  My beautiful, wonderful child!  I’ve never made a piece of junk, and I never will.  I only make masterpieces.

Brad:     [Looking down at his feet and shuffling them on the ground]  But I sin, God!  I mess up!  I do things I’m not supposed to do!

GOD:    Brad, you can never be a disappointment to me, because my expectations for change in your life aren’t based on your efforts.  I’m the one who is responsible for changing you.  All you have to do is surrender.  Trust me to do my work.  I’ll take care of the rest.

Brad:    Oh, God, that sounds great, and I want it to be true, but it seems too easy.

GOD:    Oh, I never said it was going to be easy.  Simple maybe, but it’s almost never easy.  Trusting me takes lots of practice.  Every day, you’re going to want to try to take the tools back in your hands and change yourself, but you’ve got to let me do the work.

Brad:     Okay, Lord.  Can we take it one day at a time, though?

GOD:    Of course, Brad.  Ready for some more chiseling?

Brad:    Uh, would tomorrow be okay?  I’m a little chiseled out.

GOD:    Sure, Brad.  Tomorrow.  [Both Exit]

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Filed under Daily walk, drama, sanctification, skit, tool, Trust

Pump You Up


hans-and-franz

Time

15-20 minutes

Description

This object lesson teaches that God uses difficult times and circumstances to make us stronger. It’s a play off the Saturday Night Live skit on Hans and Franz, but the kids will not need to be familiar with the skit to enjoy the humor. It’s best if there are two leaders to do the lesson, but you can do it with just one.

Materials

  • Sweat pants and a sweat shirt (for both)
  • Newspaper (or something else to stuff inside your sweats to simulate muscles)
  • Thick belts (or something that looks like a weight belt)
  • Dowel rod (3/4 inch diameter)
  • Styrofoam balls (2 – six-inch diameter or larger)
  • Duct tape
  • Black spray paint
  • Sheet of paper with some writing on it. (It doesn’t matter what it says.)

Preparation

· Make a set of “barbells” by following these steps:

o Paint the two Styrofoam balls black.

o Wrap the duct tape around the dowel rod from top to bottom so that it is completely covered.

o Attach the two Styrofoam balls to either end of the dowel rod.

· Put on the sweats, and stuff them with newspaper to make it look like you’ve got huge muscles all over your body.

· Practice the script (and your Austrian accent).

Procedure

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

Hans: “Good morning (afternoon, evening) little boys and girls. My name is Hans.”

Franz: “Ya, ya, and I’m Franz, and we’re here to….”

Both: “Pump….you up!” (Clap hands in unison on the word ‘pump.’ Then point to all the kids in exaggerated motions, and do poses like they would do at a body building competition.)

Hans: “But before we can pump you up tonight, we have a letter to read from one of our fans.” (Hans pulls out letter. Franz celebrates letter with some exaggerated poses.)

Hans: “Dear, Hans and Franz: Lifting weights hurts my muscles. Isn’t there an easier way to get properly pumped up?” (Crumples paper, and throws away.)

Hans: “Can you believe that, Franz? This girlie-man wants properly pumped up muscles without it hurting his weak and flabby body. What do you think about that?”

Franz: “Well, Hans, I can hardly believe he could pick up a pencil to write with those teeny tiny muscles of his.”

Hans: “Ya, maybe he had his mommy-wommy write it for him.”

Franz: “Ya, right! Kids, hear me now and believe me later, you cannot get a properly pumped up body like this one (does a few poses) without pain.”

Hans: “So true! As the King of Pumptitude, Mr. Arnold Schwarzenegger, says, ‘No pain – no gain!’”

Franz: “See this barbell here?” (Point to barbell.

Franz: “They will give me perfectly shaped ab muscles and glutes.”

Hans: “Ya, and perfect pinky toe muscles, too, ya!”

Franz: “Well, theses weights actually tear down my muscle tissue. Then, my body repairs my muscles and makes them stronger than before.”

Hans: “Tearing down your muscles first is how weights work to….”

Both: “Pump….you up!”

Franz: “Hans, I went to church the other day.”

Hans: “Ya, Franz. I bet you had more muscle than even the pastor.”

Franz: “Ya, Hans, but he said something that convinced me he is no girlie-man.”

Hans: “What was it, Franz?”

Franz: “He said that sometimes bad things happen to us and tear us down like puny muscle tissue. But then God builds us back up stronger than we were before!”

Hans: “Hey, Franz, it sounds like that pastor has some really super-sized spiritual muscles!”

Franz: “Ya, Hans. Maybe he’s the King of Spiritual Pumptitude.”

Hans: “Kids, hear me now and write to me next Christmas, hard times build up your puny spiritual muscles!”

Franz: “No more talking. Time to show these kids how powerful our muscles are.”

Hans: “Ya, watch me lift this barbell through the roof into the outer atmosphere.” (Pretend to try to pick up the barbell several times. Exaggerate the strain you are exerting, and eventually fail. Then, let Franz try with no success.)

Franz: (Whispering to Hans loudly enough that everyone can hear.) “Hans, this is obviously cemented to the floor. That’s the reason we can’t pick it up.”

Hans: (Whispering back) “Ya, Franz. Let’s play a trick on all these girly-men in the audience. (To audience) This barbell is too easy for us to lift. One of you puny people should come try to lift it so that it will be more of a challenge to you. Who wants to try?” (Pick the smallest volunteer you can find – preferably a girl – and let her come lift the barbell. When she does, look at each other in mock surprise and say…)

Both: “We’re not worthy! We’re not worthy!” (….as you pretend to bow down to the volunteer. Then thank her, and send her back to her seat.)

Franz: “So, kids, when something bad happens to you, remember to ask God how He wants to grow your puny spiritual muscles.” (So several muscle flexes, and then end lesson.)

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Filed under Challenges, Christianity, faith, Object Lesson, Spiritual Growth, struggles, test, tool

That’s Not Fair!


Time

10 minutes


Description

This object lesson helps kids to understand that unfair things happen to all of us. We can’t always change that, but we can change how we respond to what happens to us. If we look for the positive aspects, we might find that God has really blessed us through what originally looked unfair.

Materials

· “Magic Coloring Book & Crayons” from www.stevespanglerscience.com (about $15)

Preparation

· Practice the trick. You’ll need to be very smooth with your hand movements in order to fool the kids.

· Practice the script.

Procedure

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

· “I have a magic trick to show you today, and I’m going to need a volunteer.” (Select volunteer to join you up front.)

· “I went to the store the other day and bought a new coloring book, but when I got home, I found that all the pages were blank!” (Help child flip through the pages while you hold the bottom corner of the spine. Make sure that the child stands to the side so that the audience can see the blank pages.)

· “That’s so unfair! I used my whole allowance on this!”

· “But then I realized that I had the coolest coloring book in the world!”

· “I mean, other kids have coloring books with pictures already in them.”

· “All they can do is color them. I had page after page of blank paper, and I could draw anything I wanted.”

· “So I drew pictures on every page.” (Help child flip through the pages while you hold the top corner of the spine. Black and white illustrations will appear.)

· “When I got done, I was really tired. So I put my cool coloring book under my pillow and I went to bed.”

· “In the morning, I got up, pulled out my cool coloring book, and flipped through the pictures.”

· “I was very surprised to see that I had colored in all the pages in my dreams!” (Help child flip through the pages while you hold the middle part of the spine. Colored pages will appear.)

· “At first, I thought this was really, really cool! But then I realized that there was nothing left to do with the book.”

· “I decided that I would try to un-color the book in my dreams.”

· “So I put it back under my pillow that night before I went to bed.”

· “When I got up the next morning, I was surprised to see that I had gone too far.”

· “Not only did I un-color the pages, but I un-drew them, too!” (Help child flip through the pages while you hold the bottom corner of the spine again.)

· “That may sound bad to you, but I thought it was really cool, because other kids have coloring books with pictures already in them. But I have a coloring book in which I can draw anything I want!” (Thank child and dismiss.)

· “Sometimes unfair things happen to us.”

· “We don’t get what we deserve. Someone gets more than us, or we get something bad that we didn’t deserve.”

· “Those things happen, but if we keep trusting God, He will bring good things out of bad. (Romans 8:28)”

· “We might even be surprised to find out that something that looked unfair at first really turned out to be a blessing in disguise!”

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Tool, Test or Territory


Time
30 minutes

Description
This object lesson teaches that God uses the people and the events in our lives as TOOLS (to shape us), TESTS (to help us see the condition of our hearts) or opportunities to take more TERRITORY for Him (to give us greater impact for His Kingdom). It focuses on the events in the life of Joseph, and it assumes that the children are familiar with the story. (If they aren’t, you may want to read it or give them the highlights before doing this activity.)

Materials

  • Optionally – a flip chart or whiteboard and markers (if you want to write the answers to the questions so that the children can see them)
  • A sheet of blank paper for every child.
  • Colored markers.

Preparation
Create “TOOL, TEST, TERRITORY” signs for each of the kids in your class. (You can also have the kids do this in class.)
• Take a normal sized sheet of paper, and fold it into thirds (It doesn’t matter if you start with the paper in either landscape or portrait orientation. Both will work.)
• Unfold the paper, and write one of each of the following words in each of the three panes you have created on the paper: TOOL, TEST, TERRITORY.
• Fold the paper so that it makes a triangle with the three words on the outside.
• Tape the edge of the triangle so that it will maintain its shape.
• Distribute these to the kids when they arrive.

Procedure
Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):
• “In our lives, we will have many experiences, and we will meet and get to know many people.”
• “I don’t believe that any of these experiences or people are in our lives on accident. God has a purpose for each one.”
• “How do you feel about that?” (Take responses.)
• “I believe that God uses these experiences and people in one of three ways:
o As TOOLS to shape us so that we look more like Him
o As TESTS to help us see the condition of our hearts
o As opportunities to take more TERRITORY for Him. This means that God gives us more responsibility to do His work here on earth. It’s like a promotion.”
• “Can you think of some times that God has used people and experiences in your life as TOOLS? What did that look like?” (Take responses.)
• “How about some TESTS God has given you?” (Take responses.)
• “How about opportunities to take more TERRITORY for Him?” (Take responses.)
• “When we start to realize that God uses everything in our lives for a purpose, it should change how we respond to what happens, shouldn’t it? How do you think we should respond?” (Take responses.)
• “I would like to take a look at the life of Joseph in the Bible and see if we can find some TOOLS, TESTS and TERRITORIES.”
• “I’m going to read a statement about Joseph’s life, and I want you to hold up your TOOL, TEST, TERRITORY triangles to show me which of the three you think the event represents.”
• “If you think it represents more than one of the three answers, flip your triangles back and forth like this.” (Demonstrate.)
• (Read the following statements. The answers are in bold and parentheses.)

o “God gave Joseph a dream to show him he would one day rule over his brothers and his parents.” (TOOL & TEST – Joseph didn’t receive the TERRITORY yet, but God gave him a sneak peak at it to see how he would respond (with pride, unfortunately) and to give Joseph a hope that would shape his decisions for years to come.)

o “Joseph’s father sent him to check on his brothers, who were supposed to be shepherding the flock.” (TEST – This was a test of obedience and determination, since Joseph’s brothers were not where they were supposed to be.)

o “Joseph’s brothers hated him and made fun of him.” (TOOL – Some of the tools God uses to shape us are not very enjoyable. God used the brothers’ hatred and mistreatment of Joseph to make him stronger for the difficult times ahead.)

o “Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery.” (TEST – God tested Joseph by taking away everything he had and allowing him to become a slave. How Joseph responded showed the condition of his heart.)

o “Joseph worked as a slave in Potiphar’s house.” (TOOL, TEST & TERRITORY – Being a slave is no easy assignment. Joseph had to get rid of his pride and do whatever he was asked to do. Even though he knew he would one day rule over many, he had to start as a servant. It was here that God shaped Joseph into a servant leader with incredible administrative and management skills. And it was here that God gave Joseph more TERRITORY. Whenever God puts you into a new place, He expects you to claim it for His Kingdom and to act accordingly.)

o “Joseph was promoted to be Potiphar’s chief servant.” (TOOL & TERRITORY – God gave Joseph even more TERRITORY by making him the leader of al the servants in Potiphar’s house, and God used this time to shape Joseph’s ability to lead at a high level.)

o “Potiphar’s wife tried to get Joseph to kiss her.” (TEST – You can bet that Potiphar’s wife was really pretty. God TESTED Joseph to see if he would show integrity and faithfulness.)

o “Joseph was thrown into prison for a crime he didn’t commit.” (TEST, TOOL & TERRITORY – God allowed Joseph to be punished for a crime he didn’t commit to TEST whether Joseph would continue to trust Him even when He didn’t seem to make sense. The prison was new TERRITORY for Joseph to claim for God’s Kingdom, and his time there shaped him into a more humble leader and administrator.)

o “Joseph was promoted to oversee the other prisoners.” (TOOL & TERRITORY – Joseph was given more responsibility – that’s TERRITORY – a promotion with more responsibility. God gave Joseph more practice at leading during this time.)

o “The chief baker forgot about Joseph.” (TEST – Would Joseph continue to trust God even when he faced such a big disappointment?)

o “Joseph had to stay in prison for two more years.” (TOOL – Joseph wasn’t ready for the giant leadership role God had in mind for him, so God continued to shape him during these difficult times.)

o “Pharaoh told Joseph that he heard about Joseph’s power to interpret dreams.” (TEST – Would Joseph try to take the credit for what God enabled him to do?)

o “Joseph was promoted to rule over Egypt.” (TERRITORY – Joseph had been faithful with small things; now God gave him larger things!)

o “Joseph’s brothers came to Egypt to buy grain from Pharaoh.” (TEST – After all these years of suffering, how would Joseph react toward those who had sold him into slavery? Would he be able to forgive them?)

o “Joseph’s family came to Egypt.” (TERRITORY – The prophetic dreams finally came true! Joseph now ruled over his entire family in addition to the land of Egypt.)

• “Can you see how God uses TOOLS, TESTS and TERRITORY to help us accomplish great things for Him?”
• “Next time something weird or frustrating or scary happens to you, ask God, ‘Is this a TOOL, a TEST or new TERRITORY?’ and ‘How do you want me to respond?’”

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