Category Archives: Waiting on the Lord

Potiphar Says (CHALLENGE)


Time

10-15 minutes
Description

This Challenge teaches that we don’t always get to choose our circumstances, but we always get to choose our attitude about those circumstances.  It highlights Joseph’s way of handling his enslavement to Potiphar in Genesis 39:1-20.  The activity is based on the game of Simon Says.

 

Scriptures

  • Genesis 39:1-20

 

Materials

  • Egyptian headdress for participants to wear as they play the role of Potiphar (1 per group) – OPTIONAL
  • Challenge Card (The file for printing is called, “JJ – Potiphar Says – Challenge Card (CHALLENGE),” and it can be found on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at www.teachingthem.com.  This can be printed in black and white on regular paper.  There are two Challenge Cards per page.)
  • Ziplock bags – gallon size – 1 per group

 

Preparation

  • Create the headdress (OPTIONAL)
  • Print out the Challenge Card document.
  • Cut the Challenge Card document in half (each half is identical), and put one in each Ziplock bag (one per group).
  • Put the headdress in the Ziplock if it will fit or tape it to the bag if needed.
  • Practice the script.

 

Procedure

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

  • “We’re going to do a group Challenge today.”
  • “It’s called, “Potiphar Says” and it’s part of the Joseph’s Journey Series.”
  • “First, I’ll need to divide you into groups.”  (Divide the participants into the number of groups for which you have prepared kits.)
  • “Each group will have a Ziplock bag with a Challenge Card, and an Egyptian headdress.”
  • “When I tell you to go, open your Ziplock bags, and read the Challenge Card.” (Allow them to read the Challenge Card.)
  • “This challenge is about Joseph from the Bible.”
  • “He was his father’s favorite son but his brothers’ least favorite sibling.”
  • “In fact, they hated him so much that they sold him into slavery!”
  • “A passing band of Ishmaelites bought Joseph and took him to Egypt, where they sold him to a man named Potiphar, one of Pharoah’s officials.”
  • “How many of you think being a slave would be really unfair and not much fun?”  (Take responses.)
  • “Let’s play a game like ‘Simon Says’ that will help us understand a little bit what it’s like to be a slave.  It’s called ‘Potiphar Says.’”
  • “Everyone stand up.”
  • “I’m going to be Potiphar for the first round.”  (Or pick one of the participants to be Potiphar. Have “Potiphar” put on the Egyptian Headdress.)
  • “Potiphar is going to ask you to do several things.  If he says ‘Potiphar says’ before the thing you are asked to do, then you should do it.”
  • “However, if he doesn’t say ‘Potiphar says’ before the thing he asks you to do, you shouldn’t do it.”
  • “If you do something when he doesn’t say ‘Potiphar says,’ you have to sit down.”
  • “The last person standing gets to be ‘Potiphar.’”
  • “Is everyone clear on the rules?”  (Check to make sure everyone is clear.)
  • “Okay, let’s play:”  (Play a round of ‘Potiphar Says.’ If you are leading, you can ask the participants to touch their noses, raise their hands above their heads, hop on one foot, etc…  Mix up the times you say, ‘Potiphar says,’ to try to catch them off guard.  The rounds will go quickly, so let several participants be “Potiphar” before you finish.)
  • “That was fun!  Probably a lot more fun than Joseph had following Potiphar’s orders, don’t you think?”
  • “But you know what really impresses me about Joseph?”
  • “Even though the whole thing was unfair…even though he had lost his family and his home and his country and his freedom, Joseph still had a great attitude about the whole thing.”
  • “He could have kicked the dirt and complained about how unfair it all was, but he didn’t.”
  • “He did his job the best he could.  In fact, he did it so well that Potiphar put him in charge of everything!”
  • “Joseph kept trusting in God and doing the best he could.  He made the best of a bad situation, and God blessed him.”
  • “And because Joseph was blessed, Potiphar’s entire household was blessed.”
  • “And you know what?  The same thing can happen with you!”
  • “In your life, you will be in bad situations sometimes.  You will be in unfair situations sometimes.”
  • “You may not be able to do much about the bad situation, but you can choose your attitude.”
  • “If you choose to keep trusting in God when things are bad, He will bless you and everything and everyone around you!”
  • “When someone has a great attitude in a bad situation, it really gets peoples’ attention.”
  • “They wonder why you have such a great attitude, and they will probably even ask you about it.”
  • “When they do, that is your opportunity to tell them about how wonderful God is and how you can trust in him to use ALL things in your life for your benefit.”
  • “So, everyone try to be like Joseph in Potiphar’s house – keep doing your best and trusting in God, and then watch and see how He will bless you and those around you!”  (When you are finished, have them answer the Debrief Questions below (also on their Challenge Cards).  The Rhyme Time is to help them recognize that even when life isn’t fair, God is watching over them.  He won’t allow more struggles that they are able to handle with His help, and if they do their best, they will have His blessing.)

Debriefing Questions

  1. What would be the most difficult thing about being a slave?
  2. Do you ever have to do things you don’t want to do, because someone makes you do them?
  3. How can you be more like Joseph in those situations?

 

Rhyme Time

Even when life is so unfair,

God won’t allow more than I can bear.

 

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Filed under Attitude, Challenges, Choices, Coping skills, Energizer, Game, Hardship, Joseph, Object Lesson, Overcoming obstacles, Waiting on the Lord

God’s Timing (CHALLENGE)


Time

10-15 minutes
Description

This Challenge makes the point that God’s timing often seems slow to us but that we have to be careful not to rush ahead of God.  Things work out best when we follow closely behind Him.  The challenge is accomplish by staging a “race” between pouring a bottle of ketchup and pouring cups of water.

 

Scriptures

  • Genesis 37-50

 

Materials

  • Bottles of ketchup – 1 per group (The glass bottles are best, because the ketchup comes out much more slowly, and you can’t squeeze them.  However, if you can’t find glass bottles, plastic will work.)
  • Challenge Card (The file for printing is called, “JJ – God’s Timing – Challenge Card (CHALLENGE),” and it can be found on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at www.teachingthem.com.  This can be printed in black and white on regular paper.  There are two Challenge Cards per page.)
  • Prizes – 1 per person – recommend candy or something sweet to eat (The prize is used to create urgency for completing the task.  It should be something the participants are eager to get so that they will want to try to rush the task they are given.  This is to show that we often have to be patient and wait for the good things God has planned for us.)
  • Large, clear, plastic cups – 2 per person and one extra for the group leader (These are to pour the liquid into and from.  Each participant will need one, and one group leader will need one for each group.  The cups can have color, but the kids should be able to see through the plastic so that they can judge their progress against the leader’s cup.)
  • Ziplock bags – gallon size – 1 per group
  • Gallon jug of water – 1 per group
  • Red food coloring – 1 per group (OPTIONAL – used to make the water similar to the ketchup in color but not change the consistency of the liquid.  If you want, you can use this to illustrate that we are like God in some ways, but He is much better and worth waiting for – or so the ketchup commercials used to say.)

 


Preparation

  • Put enough plastic cups (2 for each person in each group plus one extra for the leader) in each of the Ziplock bag.
  • Put a bottle of ketchup in each of the Ziplock bag.
  • Put a bottle of red food coloring in each of the Ziplock bags. (OPTIONAL)
  • Print out the Challenge Card document.
  • Set aside the gallon jugs of water where each group can get them.
  • Cut the Challenge Card document in half (each half is identical), and put one in each Ziplock bag (one per group).
  • Practice the script.

 

Procedure

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

  • “We’re going to do a group Challenge today.”
  • “It’s called, “God’s Timing” and it’s part of the Joseph’s Journey Series.”
  • “First, I’ll need to divide you into groups.”  (Divide the participants into the number of groups for which you have prepared kits.)
  • “Each group will have a Ziplock bag with a Challenge Card, cups, and a bottle of ketchup (and possibly a bottle of red food coloring).”
  • “When I tell you to go, open your Ziplock bags, and read the Challenge Card.” (Allow them to read the Challenge Card.)
  • “Now, you will then have a race!”
  • “Your group leader will pour ketchup out into one of the cups.”
  • “The ketchup represents God’s timing – how fast or slow He chooses to move.”
  • “The ketchup cup represents God’s will.  When it is full, God’s will has been fully accomplished.”
  • “The rest of you will each get two cups and fill one full with water.”
  • “Then you will pour your water from that cup into your empty cup.”
  • “When everyone’s empty cups are full, you will each get a prize.”
  • “Sounds easy, right?”
  • “But here’s the hard part!”
  • “You can’t ever fill your cup faster than the cup that is being filled with ketchup.”
  • “In life, we often want to go faster than God’s timing, but this is a very bad thing to do.”
  • “We have to be patient and wait for the good things God has planned for us.”
  • “In the Bible, Joseph knew when he was 17 years old that he would one day rule over his brothers, but he had to patiently wait for 13 years before God’s will was accomplished in his life.”
  • “Back to our race – If one of your leaders notices that you have gotten ahead of the ketchup, you will have to pour the water back into your first cup and start all over.”
  • “Does anyone have any questions before we race?”  (Answer their questions.)
  • (Then, allow them to fill up their cups and add red food coloring (optional).  You can then begin the “race.”  If anyone’s cup becomes fuller than the ketchup cup, have them empty it and start over again.  If the ketchup just isn’t moving, try slightly tipping the bottle to let more air in to replace the ketchup that is coming out.  (If you have a squeezable bottle, try to squeeze it without being noticed.)  When you are finished, have them answer the Debrief Questions below (also on their Challenge Cards.  The Rhyme Time is to help them remember that God is using even the times when we are waiting on Him.  If we trust Him and obey Him during these times, God will use them to make us ready for His blessings.)

 

Debriefing Questions

 

  1. How difficult was it to wait for “God’s timing” (the ketchup)?
  2. Have you ever had to wait for God to do something in your life?  How did that feel?
  3. Why do you think it’s important to wait for God to work in His time?
  4. How can you be better about waiting for God in the future?

 

Rhyme Time

If we trust Him and obey,

God makes bad things go OUR way!

 

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Filed under Change, Discipline, Expectations, God's Plan, God's Will, Obedience, Object Lesson, Progress, Teaching, Waiting on the Lord

Bloom Where You Are Planted (CHALLENGE)


Time

10-15 minutes
Description

This Challenge makes the point that we can make a choice to honor God even if difficult situations.  Joseph was sold into slavery by his own brothers, but he was such a trustworthy slave, that Potiphar put him in charge of everything in the house.  When Joseph was accused by Potiphar’s wife and thrown into prison, the prison warden soon put everything under Joseph’s authority, because Joseph was so faithful in how he handled his responsibilities.  Participants will plant flowers in a mixture of gravel and water jelly crystals to show that you can still bloom when you are in a bad place.

Scriptures

  • Genesis 37-50
  • John 4:10-14

 

Materials

  • Water Jelly Crystals – (You can order them from Steve Spangler Science for approximately $40 plus shipping and handling. (2.27 kg (5 pounds)
    Item #: WSAC-900) Order early, because they may take up to two weeks to receive. It’s important that the crystals are clear and not colored.  You can find these crystals at http://www.stevespanglerscience.com/product/1283.
  • Challenge Card (The file for printing is called, “JJ – Bloom Where You Are Planted – Challenge Card (CHALLENGE),” and it can be found on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at www.teachingthem.com.  This can be printed in black and white on regular paper.  There are two Challenge Cards per page.)
  • Small, potted flowers (preferably seedlings with some leaves but before they bloom, but this is flexible) – 1 per person
  • Small, clear, plastic cups – 1 per person
  • Gravel – enough to fill each plastic cup about ¾ full
  • Ziplock bags – gallon size – 1 per group
  • Scoops or large plastic spoons – 1 per group
  • Gallon jug of water – 1 per group

 

Preparation

  • Divide the water jelly crystals evenly so that you have the same amount for each group, and place them in Ziplock bags.
  • Add a scoop or large plastic spoon to each bag for scooping out crystals.
  • Add enough plastic cups for each person in each group.
  • Divide the gravel evenly among the groups, and put it into a bag or some other container for each group.
  • Set aside enough flowers for each person in each group.
  • Print out the Challenge Card document.
  • Cut the Challenge Card document in half (each half is identical), and put one in each Ziplock bag (one per group).
  • Practice the script.

Procedure

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

  • “We’re going to do a group Challenge today.”
  • “It’s called, “Bloom Where You Are Planted” and it’s part of the Joseph’s Journey Series.”
  • “First, I’ll need to divide you into groups.”  (Divide the participants into the number of groups for which you have prepared kits.)
  • “Each group will have a Ziplock bag with a Challenge Card, cups, water jelly crystals, and a scoop or spoon.”
  • “Each group will also have some flowers, gravel and water.”
  • “When I tell you to go, open your Ziplock bags, and read the Challenge Card.”
  • “You will then take the small seedlings out of their planter and shake off the soil so that all you have is the plant with exposed roots.”
  • “This represents Joseph, who was taken out of the good soil of his home and family.”
  • “Next, take a handful of gravel rocks and a handful of water jelly crystals, and mix them together.”
  • “Then, put them into your clear, plastic cup.”
  • “This represents the bad soil that Joseph was planted in when he was sold into slavery by his brothers and then again later when he was thrown into prison for something he didn’t do.”
  • “Plants can’t usually grow in rocks, because they need nutrients from the soil and something to hold the water when it rains.”
  • “That’s why we added water jelly crystals.  They hold water and help the roots to get the refreshing water that they need to grow.”
  • “So here’s the secret reason why Joseph was able to continue to grow even though he was in a bad place.”
  • “God was with him.”
  • “The water jelly crystals represent God’s presence in Joseph’s life.”
  • “Plants need normal water to thrive, but people need LIVING WATER, which is God’s Word and presence, to thrive.”
  • “Jesus says in John 4:10 that we can ask Him, and he will give us living water.”
  • “Then, He says in John 4:13-14 that ‘Everyone who drinks (regular) water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water (Jesus) gives them will never thirst. Indeed, the water (Jesus) gives them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’”
  • “That means that if you depend on Jesus, you will have eternal life with Him in heaven.”
  • “Put your finger into the gravel and water jelly crystals and make a hole for the seedling to be planted in.”
  • “Then, plant the seedling in the gravel, and move the gravel and water jelly crystals around the root.”
  • “Finally, add some water to about halfway up the cup.”
  • “Now, let’s set these aside.  We’ll watch them during the week (or weeks) to see if they thrive in their new soil.  They may even bloom!”
  • (When you are finished, have them answer the Debrief Questions below (also on their Challenge Cards.  The Rhyme Time is a reinforce to help them remember that if they continue to trust God, He will make even difficult situations a blessing for them.)

 

Debriefing Questions

 

  1. Do you think the flower will bloom where you planted it?  Why or why not?
  2. Why do you think Joseph was able to succeed in difficult situations?
  3. How could you “bloom” when you find yourself in a difficult place?

 

Rhyme Time

If we trust Him and obey,

God makes bad things go OUR way!

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Filed under Abundance, acceptance, activity, Challenges, Character, Choices, Coping skills, courage, Daily walk, Hands-on, Hope, Joseph, Object Lesson, Overcoming obstacles, Scarcity, struggles, Transformation, Waiting on the Lord

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