Tag Archives: adults

Stronger Together (LESSON)


Time
30 minutes

Audience

Children, youth, adults

Description

This lesson helps participants understand how important it is to have unity in the Body of Christ.

Scriptures

  • John 13:34-35; 17:20-23
  • Romans 15:5-6
  • Ephesians 4:1-6, 4:9-12, 4:25-32
  • Hebrews 10:23-25

Materials

  • Paper currency (enough bills so that you have one for every three or four participants and one for yourself – NOTE: you are going to have them tear the money into smaller pieces.  If this is considered disrespectful or illegal in your country, you may want to use pictures of currency instead of the real thing.  For that matter, you may not want to see your hard-earned cash being torn into pieces.  Feel free to substitute.)
  • Clear tape (like the kind for wrapping presents.  Enough for each group of three or four participants to have a roll and one for yourself.)
  • Optional – a flipchart or whiteboard and markers
  • Bible

Preparation

  • Write the Scriptures on slips of paper (one per slip) so that you can hand them out to participants.
  • Before you begin teaching, hand out the slips of paper to different participants, who brought their Bibles.
  • Practice the script.

Procedure

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

  • “Today is your lucky day!”
  • “I’ve got extra money, and I would like to share it with you!”
  • “But first, I need to put you into groups.”
  • “I want everyone to line up single-file in the order of how many pets you have ever owned.”  (Or you can choose a different sorting technique.)
  • “I want the person who has owned the most on this side of the room, and the person who has owned the least on this side of the room.  (Gesture to either side of the room as you give these instructions.  It doesn’t matter which side you choose for most or least.)
  • “Everyone else will line up between those two people in the order of the number of pets you’ve owned.”
  • “Any questions?” (Answer questions.) “GO!”
  • “Okay, now we need to see how many pets you’ve had and what kinds.”  (Go down the line and ask each person how many and what kind of pets they owned.  If anyone is in the wrong place based on number of pets, move them to the right place in the line.)
  • “Okay, now I need to put you into small teams to receive your money.”
  • “I am going to number you off – one to ___.”  (You will want three to four people in each group, so count the total number of participants, and divide that number by either three or four.  This will tell you how high they need to count off.  For example, if you have 24 people and want to divide them into groups of four, 24/4=6.  You would have them number off one to six, and that would give you six groups of four people each.  Once you’ve told them how high to count, number them off.)
  • “Now, I want all the ‘ones’ to get together and all the ‘twos’ to get together.”  (Do the same with each number group.)
  • “Great job!  Now here is your money!  Congratulations!”  (Hand out one bill of currency to each group.)
  • “I know, I know…we’ve got a small problem.”
  • “I only gave each group one bill, but there are three (or four) of you.”
  • “Don’t worry; I have a solution!”
  • “I want the person who has the money in each group to tear it into three (or four) equal pieces and hand them out to all the team members.”  (Encourage them to do this.  They may be reluctant.  If so, convince them you are serious by demonstrating with a bill at the front of the room.  Keep encouraging them until every team has torn the bill and shared it equally.)
  • “There!  Isn’t that great?  Everyone happy?”  (Participants will most likely not be too happy and will tell you so.  Act as if you can’t understand why they wouldn’t like your solution.)
  • “What’s wrong?  I just gave you free money!  You should be happy!”  (Listen to their feedback.)
  • “Oh, so you’re saying that the money isn’t worth anything when it’s torn up like that?” (Listen to responses.)
  • “You’re saying that the money is more effective at what it does when it is all together?”  (Listen to responses.)
  • “That’s really interesting!  And it reminds me of something I’ve read in the Bible.”  (Ask everyone to take a seat with his or her groups.  Then, have a volunteer read John 17:20-23.)
  • “This is Jesus’ prayer the night before He died on the cross.”
  • “It’s probably a very important prayer if it’s one of the last ones that He prayed.”
  • “Why do you think He prayed for ‘complete unity’ between the believers and with God?”  (There could be many answers, but one will be so that the world will know that God sent Jesus and loved the believers just as He loved Jesus, His Son.)
  • “That’s not all the Scriptures say about unity between the believers.”  (Have a volunteer read Romans 15:5-6.)
  • “What is Paul saying about unity to the Romans?”  (Answers may include that it enables us to glorify God with one heart and mouth.  Have a volunteer read Ephesians 4:9-12.)
  • “What do you think Paul is saying in this Scripture about unity?”  (Listen to responses.  A main idea that you want to bring out is that being alone isn’t good.  We need others to help us when we get into trouble.)
  • “If Jesus and Paul feel the need to pray for the believers and encourage them to keep unity, it probably isn’t so easy to do.”
  • “What do you think gets in the way of unity among believers?”  (Answers might include differences of opinion, different denominations, differences of beliefs, jealousy, unforgiveness, lack of time, distance, etc…  You may want to put these on a flipchart or whiteboard.  I recommend drawing a line down the middle of the space and writing a minus sign at the top of the left column and a plus sign at the top of the right column.)
  • “That’s quite a list, and I think it would definitely break the unity of a group of believers.”
  • “Unity is hard.  Human nature (our sinful nature) leads us to want to divide rather than do the hard work to stay together.”
  • “There’s an old saying: ‘People like people who are like them.’”
  • “This means that we are drawn to people who look the same, act the same, have the same opinions, have the same backgrounds, etc.”
  • “It’s easier to keep relationships with these people, because we have so much in common.”
  • “If I had let you make your own groups earlier, you probably would have divided up based on ‘dog people’ and ‘cat people’ and ‘fish people’ and ‘hamster people,’ and all of you would have thought that you were better than the other groups.  Am I right?”
  • “But when people are different than us in the way they look or act or think…, we have to work hard to keep the relationships strong.”
  • “In fact, we might have to make some changes in our own lives in order to keep the relationship together.”
  • “So, let’s make a list of things we can do or the changes we can make to preserve or build unity.”  (Have a volunteer read John 13:34-35.)
  • “What’s the ingredient this Scripture mentions that we need to have for unity?”  (Answer should be ‘love.’ .  If you are using the flipchart or whiteboard, write these down on the “plus” side.  Have a volunteer read Hebrews 10:23-25.)
  • “What ingredient does this Scripture mention?”  (Answers should include ‘meeting together’ and ‘encourage one another.’ Have a volunteer read Ephesians 4:1-6.)
  • “What ingredients does Paul mention in this Scripture?”  (Answers should include ‘humility,’ ‘gentleness,’ ‘patience’ and ‘bearing with one another in love.’  Have a volunteer read Ephesians 4:25-32.)
  • “Last one.  What is Paul telling the Ephesians to do in this Scripture in order to preserve unity?”  (Answers should include ‘put off falsehood’ (or ‘be honest with each other’), ‘speak truthfully,’ ‘be angry sometimes but don’t sin by holding onto your anger,’ ‘do not steal from each other,’ ‘do your share of the work,’ ‘share with those in need,’ ‘don’t gossip, spread rumors or criticize,’ ‘build others up,’ ‘get rid of bitterness, rage, anger, fighting, slander (or ’saying bad things about others’), and any kind of bad feelings for others,’ ‘be kind and compassionate,” and ‘forgive each other.’)
  • “Look at all the things we need to do to keep our unity!”
  • “How are we ever going to be successful at all this stuff?”
  • “The good news is, we don’t have to do it by ourselves.”
  • “In truth, we are a lot like the money you have in your hands.”
  • “It doesn’t have any power in itself to put itself back together.  Neither do we.”
  • “But we do have a power given to us by the Holy Spirit.”  (Bring out some of the tape, and use it to tape back together the bill that you tore earlier.)
  • “The Holy Spirit is a little like this tape.”
  • “He has the power to bring us back together.”
  • “All we have to do is surrender to God’s will and allow Him to mend us, to bring us back together.”  (Pass out rolls of tape to each of the groups.)
  • “Are you willing to allow the Holy Spirit bring you back together?”
  • “Then tape that money back together.”  (Give them a few moments to tape the money.)
  • “Now the money is powerful and effective again!”
  • “Know this: one of the Enemy’s favorite and most effective weapons against us is a strategy called ‘Divide and Conquer.’”
  • “The Scripture says that Satan is like a roaring lion watching for someone to devour.”
  • “If you have every watched Animal Planet, you probably know that lions don’t attack herds; they attack the animals that wander away from the herd.”
  • “They attack the weak ones, the sick ones, the lazy ones, the ones doing their own thing.”
  • “That’s because attacking the herd is dangerous; they could easily trample the lion or gore him or kick him in the head.”
  • “Satan wants to divide us from the herd – the rest of the Body of Christ – so that he can attack us and have a really good chance of taking us down.”
  • “Don’t give him the opportunity!  Stick with the herd!”
  • “We are stronger and more powerful together!”  (You can allow the participants to keep the money or you can collect it back.  It might be interesting to encourage them to pool their money in order to increase its buying ‘power.’  Maybe they could buy something with it that would benefit everyone.)
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Filed under Agape Love, Christianity, conflict management, Conflict Resolution, forgiveness, Relationships, Satan's tactics, teambuilding, unity

Christmas Story Bingo (GAME)


Time

30 minutes
Description

This game teaches the Christmas story through the game of Bingo.

Scriptures

Matthew 1:18-25, 2:1-23

Luke 1:5-67, 2:1-20

Materials

  • Copies of the eight different bingo cards (See the filed called, “Christmas Story Bingo Cards” on the “Lesson and Material Downloads” page of http://www.teachthem.wordpress.com.)  Each card has all the same pictures, but they have different placements.  You can choose whether or not you reveal this information to the children.
  • Something to act as blotters.  You can use coins, torn pieces of paper, poker chips…  You will need enough for all the children to use.  (I use candy and tell the kids that they get to keep the candy whenever they make a Bingo.)
  • Copy of the Christmas story at the end of this lesson.
  • Optional – Prizes for getting bingos.

Preparation

  • Practice the script.
  • Print copies of the eight different bingo cards.
  • Distribute them randomly to the children so that each child has one.

Procedure

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

  • “We’re going to play a game to tell the story of Christmas.”
  • “Each of you has received a ‘Christmas Story’ bingo sheet.  On it, you will see pictures that represent some of the events from the Christmas story.”
  • “I’m going to read the Christmas story out loud.”
  • “You have also received some blotters that you can use to put on the pictures as you hear me mention them in the story.”
  • “If you see a picture that represents something I mention in the story, put a blotter on top of that name.”
  • “The center space is marked, ‘G.R.A.C.E. Space.’  This one is free – like grace; you can put a blotter on it now.  It’s to remind you of God’s grace to us.  Grace is something that you get but didn’t earn, and the letters in the word stand for ‘God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.’”
  • “You see, we have all the wonderful blessings that God wants us to have, because Jesus paid for them on the cross.  We have God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.”
  • “So, make sure you have a blotter on that center space, because it is already paid for.”
  • “Now, if you get five boxes in a row, in a column or in a diagonal marked, you have a bingo, and you should shout out, ‘BINGO!’”
  • “If you get a BINGO, you can keep playing and see how many BINGOs you can make.”
  • “Does anyone have any questions about how to play?”  (Answer questions.)
  • “Okay, let’s play!”  (Begin telling the story.  Be sure to emphasize the picture words as you reach them.  They are emphasized in the text below in bold and enlarged font.  Several pictures will be mentioned more than once, so the kids have multiple chances of finding them.  (However, the words are not emphasized in the text the second time they are mentioned.)  All Scriptures are taken from The Message, because it is more lyrical.   I’ve skipped some passages in order to shorten the game for children with shorter attention spans, and I’ve changed a few words to make them more understandable for young ears.  Chapters and verses are noted, and both the books of Matthew and Luke are used in order to give a more complete picture of the story.)
  • (Optional Follow-Up: Ask the kids to take their Bingo cards home and to try to retell the story to their parents, siblings or friends using the pictures.)


THE CHRISTMAS STORY

Luke 1:5-67

A Childless Couple Becomes Pregnant

During the rule of Herod, King of Judea, there was a priest named Zachariah. His wife’s name was Elizabeth. Together they lived honorably before God, careful in keeping to the ways of the commandments and enjoying a clear conscience before God. But they were childless because Elizabeth could never have children, and now they were quite old.

It so happened that as Zachariah was carrying out his priestly duties before God, it came his one turn in life to enter the sanctuary of God and burn incense.

The congregation was gathered and praying outside the Temple at the hour of the incense offering. Unannounced, an angel of God appeared just to the right of the altar of incense. Zachariah was paralyzed in fear.

But the angel reassured him, “Don’t fear, Zachariah. Your prayer has been heard. Elizabeth, your wife, will bear a son by you. You are to name him John. You’re going to leap like a gazelle for joy, and not only you—many will delight in his birth. He’ll achieve great things for God.

“He’ll drink neither wine nor beer. He’ll be filled with the Holy Spirit from the moment he leaves his mother’s womb. He will turn many sons and daughters of Israel back to their God. He will announce God’s arrival in the style and strength of Elijah, soften the hearts of parents to children, and lead even hardened skeptics to believe—he’ll get the people ready for God.”

Zachariah said to the angel, “Do you expect me to believe this? I’m an old man and my wife is an old woman.”

But the angel said, “I am Gabriel, the messenger of God, sent especially to bring you this glad news. But because you won’t believe me, you’ll be unable to say a word until the day of your son’s birth. Every word I’ve spoken to you will come true in God’s time.”

Meanwhile, the congregation waiting for Zachariah was getting restless, wondering what was keeping him so long in the sanctuary. When he came out and couldn’t speak, they knew he had seen a vision. He continued speechless and had to use sign language with the people.

When the course of his priestly assignment was completed, he went back home. It wasn’t long before his wife, Elizabeth, became pregnant. She went off by herself for five months, relishing her pregnancy. “So, this is how God acts to remedy my unfortunate condition!” she said.

A Virgin Becomes Pregnant

In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to the Galilean village of Nazareth to a virgin engaged to be married to a man descended from David. His name was Joseph, and the virgin’s name, Mary. Upon entering, Gabriel greeted her:

“Good morning! You’re beautiful with God’s beauty, Beautiful inside and out! God be with you.”

Mary was thoroughly shaken, wondering what was behind a greeting like that. But the angel assured her, “Mary, you have nothing to fear. God has a surprise for you: You will become pregnant and give birth to a son and call his name Jesus.

“He will be great, be called ‘Son of the Highest.’ The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David; He will rule Jacob’s house forever— no end, ever, to his kingdom.”

Mary said to the angel, “But how? I’ve never had a husband.”

The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, the power of the Highest hover over you; Therefore, the child you bring to birth will be called Holy, Son of God.

“And did you know that your cousin Elizabeth is going to give birth to a son, old as she is? Everyone called her barren, and here she is six months pregnant! Nothing, you see, is impossible with God.”

And Mary said, “Yes, I see it all now: I’m the Lord’s maid, ready to serve.  Let it be with me just as you say.” Then the angel left her.

Mary didn’t waste a minute. She got up and traveled to a town in Judah in the hill country, straight to Zachariah’s house, and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby in her womb leaped. She was filled with the Holy Spirit, and sang out exuberantly…

Mary stayed with Elizabeth for three months and then went back to her own home.

The Birth of John

When Elizabeth was full-term in her pregnancy, she bore a son. Her neighbors and relatives, seeing that God had overwhelmed her with mercy, celebrated with her.

On the eighth day, they came to circumcise the child and were calling him Zachariah after his father. But his mother intervened: “No. He is to be called John.”

“But,” they said, “no one in your family is named that.” They used sign language to ask Zachariah what he wanted him named.

Asking for a tablet, Zachariah wrote, “His name is to be John.” That took everyone by surprise. Surprise followed surprise—Zachariah’s mouth was now open, his tongue loose, and he was talking, praising God!

A deep, reverential fear settled over the neighborhood, and in all that Judean hill country people talked about nothing else. Everyone who heard about it took it to heart, wondering, “What will become of this child? Clearly, God has his hand in this.”

Then Zachariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied…

Matthew 1:18-25

Joseph’s Struggle

Before they were married, Joseph discovered that Mary was pregnant. (It was by the Holy Spirit, but he didn’t know that.) Joseph, embarrassed but noble, determined to take care of things quietly so Mary would not be disgraced.

While he was trying to figure a way out, he had a dream. God’s angel spoke in the dream: “Joseph, son of David, don’t hesitate to get married. Mary’s pregnancy is from the Holy Spirit-conceived. God’s Holy Spirit has made her pregnant. She will bring a son to birth, and when she does, you, Joseph, will name him Jesus—’God saves’—because he will save his people from their sins.” This will fulfill what the prophet said:

‘Watch for this—a virgin will get pregnant and bear a son;

They will name him Immanuel (Hebrew for “God is with us”).’

Then Joseph woke up. He did exactly what God’s angel commanded in the dream: He married Mary. But they didn’t act like husband and wife until she had the baby. He named the baby Jesus.

Luke 2:1-20

The Birth of Jesus

About that time, Caesar Augustus ordered a census (count of the people) to be taken throughout the Empire. This was the first census when Quirinius was governor of Syria. Everyone had to travel to his own ancestral hometown to be accounted for. So Joseph went from the Galilean town of Nazareth up to Bethlehem in Judah, David’s town, for the census. As a descendant of David, he had to go there. He went with Mary, his fiancée, who was pregnant.

While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. She gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped him in a blanket and laid him in a manger, because there was no room in the inn.

An Event for Everyone

There were shepherds camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God’s angel stood among them and God’s glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you’re to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger.”

At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God’s praises: “Glory to God in the heavenly heights, Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.”

As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the shepherds talked it over. “Let’s get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us.”

They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. Seeing was believing. They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child. All who heard the shepherds were impressed.

Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself. The shepherds returned and let loose, glorifying and praising the Lord for everything they had heard and seen. It turned out exactly the way they’d been told!

Matthew 2:1-23

Scholars from the East

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem village, a band of scholars (wise men) arrived in Jerusalem from the East. They asked around, “Where can we find and pay homage to the newborn King of the Jews? We observed a star in the eastern sky that signaled his birth. We’re on pilgrimage to worship him.”

When word of their inquiry got to King Herod, he was terrified—and not Herod alone, but most of Jerusalem as well. Herod lost no time. He gathered all the high priests and religion scholars in the city together and asked, “Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?”

They told him, “Bethlehem, Judah territory. The prophet Micah wrote it plainly:

“It’s you, Bethlehem, in Judah’s land, no longer bringing up the rear.
From you will come the leader who will shepherd-rule my people, my Israel.”

Herod then arranged a secret meeting with the scholars from the East. Pretending to be as devout as they were, he got them to tell him exactly when the birth-announcement star appeared. Then he told them the prophecy about Bethlehem, and said, “Go find this child. Leave no stone unturned. As soon as you find him, send word and I’ll join you at once in your worship.”

Instructed by the king, they set off. Then the star appeared again, the same star they had seen in the eastern skies. It led them on until it hovered over the place of the child. They could hardly contain themselves: They were in the right place! They had arrived at the right time!

They entered the house and saw the child in the arms of Mary, his mother. Overcome, they kneeled and worshiped him. Then they opened their luggage and presented gifts: gold, frankincense, myrrh.

In a dream, they were warned not to report back to Herod. So they worked out another route, left the territory without being seen, and returned to their own country.

After the scholars were gone, God’s angel showed up again in Joseph’s dream and commanded, “Get up. Take the child and his mother and flee to Egypt. Stay until further notice. Herod is on the hunt for this child, and wants to kill him.”

Joseph obeyed. He got up, took the child and his mother under cover of darkness. They were out of town and well on their way by daylight. They lived in Egypt until Herod’s death. This Egyptian exile fulfilled what Hosea had preached: “I called my son out of Egypt.”

Herod, when he realized that the scholars had tricked him, flew into a rage. He commanded the murder of every little boy two years old and under who lived in Bethlehem and its surrounding hills. (He determined that age from information he’d gotten from the scholars.)

Later, when Herod died, God’s angel appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt: “Up, take the child and his mother and return to Israel. All those out to murder the child are dead.”

Joseph obeyed. He got up, took the child and his mother, and reentered Israel. When he heard, though, that Archelaus had succeeded his father, Herod, as king in Judea, he was afraid to go there. But then Joseph was directed in a dream to go to the hills of Galilee.

On arrival, he settled in the village of Nazareth. This move was a fulfillment of the prophetic words, “He shall be called a Nazarene.”

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Filed under Angels, Christianity, Christmas, Game, Games that Teach, Jesus, John the Baptist, Joseph, Mary

Cultural Continuums (GAME)


Time
40-60 minutes (or more, depending upon how many cultural dimensions you choose to use)

Audience

Teens or adults who interact with people of different cultures or are planning to do so

Description

This game illustrates the differences between the many different cultures of the world.  It borrows from the research of Geert Hofstede, Fons Trompenaars and Charles Hampden-Turner and the writings of Craig Storti.  Facilitators can benefit from having some familiarity with the different cultural dimensions before conducting the game.

The materials contain many more cultural dimensions than you probably want to cover in one game.  You can pick out the ones that are most relevant to your group, or you might want to run this game at different times during a multi-day meeting.

The “Cultural Continuums – Answers” file focuses largely on Europe and Asia, because that was the context for the group for which this game was developed.  However, additional flags are provided in the “Cultural Continuums – Flags” file, and the full statistics for each continuum are in the Notes section of the PowerPoint slide.  You can change the flags with this information.

Scriptures

  • Genesis 11:1-9

Materials

  • Flag cards – one set per team (These are available in the file “Cultural Continuums – Flags” on the Lessons and Downloads page at www.teachthem.wordpress.com.)
  • Answer key (This can be found in the file “Cultural Continuums – Answers” on the Lessons and Downloads page at www.teachthem.wordpress.com.)
  • Rolls of masking tape (one per team)
  • Projector
  • Screen
  • Computer
  • Flipchart
  • Markers
  • Bible

Preparation

  • Print out copies of the flag cards (one copy per team)
  • Review the facilitator notes on the Notes section under each slide in the “Cultural Continuums – Answers.”
  • Practice the script.

Procedure

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

  • “You may remember the story of the Tower of Babel.”  (Ask a volunteer to read it out loud from Genesis 11:1-9.)
  • “This Scripture is the birthplace of cultural diversity.”
  • “Never again would mankind all speak the same language or observe the same cultural practices – at least not until Christ returns, and probably not even then will we give up the cultural practices that make us unique.”
  • “So, let’s see how different we’ve become.”
  • “We are going to play a game to highlight the many differences among the various cultures of the world.”
  • “I will briefly describe a continuum of a cultural dimension. (A continuum is something that goes from one extreme on one end to the other extreme on the other end.)”
  • “After I’ve described it, you will take a group of flags (that I’m about to hand you) and stick them to the wall in the order that you think best represents where you think that country falls on the continuum.”  (Hand out sets of flag pictures and tape to each group.)
  • “Then, I will show you the ‘right answers’ on the screen at the front of the room.”
  • “Just so that you know, the ‘right answers’ are based on the work of some cultural experts who have been studying different cultures for many years.”
  • “You may not always agree with their findings, and that’s okay.  We can talk about it during the debrief.”
  • “Sometimes, countries had the same ranking or rating in their studies.  In this case, the countries will be shown in the same place on the continuum I show you at the front of the room.”
  • “Does anyone have any questions about how the game will work?”  (Answer questions.)
  • “Okay, let’s play.”  (Do as many cultural dimensions as you like.  After each one, you might want to ask the group members to explain why they ordered the flags in the way that they did.  There will always be at least one country that wasn’t part of the study.  You might want to focus on these and ask each group how they made their decision in regard to these countries.  When you are done with all the dimensions, have the groups discuss the following questions.  (You may want to post them on a flipchart.)  Allow 15-20 minutes for discussion, and then debrief as a large group.)

Debrief Questions

  1. What do you think about the different cultural dimensions, and where the countries landed on the continuums?
  2. What was surprising to you?
  3. Is there anything that you disagreed with?  Why?
  4. What do these differences mean for how we work with people from different cultures?
  5. What will you personally do differently as a result of what you have learned?

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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

Catch! (Obj Lesson)


Time
10-15 minutes

Description
This object lesson illustrates how Satan tries to fill our minds with worries, fears, doubts and many other things so that there is no room for God’s truth, peace and joy.

Audience
Children, youth and adults

Materials
•    Tennis balls (9-12)
•    Permanent marker
•    Posterboard (1 sheet should do)
•    Scissors or some other cutting device
•    Block pattern (You can find this in the file “Catch – Block Pattern.ppt” located on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at http://www.teachthem.wordpress.com.)
•    Clear tape

Preparation
•    Write a different label on each of the tennis balls.  They should read: Worry, Fear, Jealousy, Anger, Doubt, Entertainment, Video Games, Depression, Obsessions, Fatigue, Hatred, Self, Regret, Embarrassment, Cute Boy, Cute Girl (or whatever you think appropriate – they should be things that Satan might use to fill up our minds so that we don’t have room to think about things God wants us to think about)
•    Make several blocks out of posterboard using the block pattern mentioned above and the clear tape
•    Label the blocks: Truth, Love, Joy, Peace, Wisdom, Vision, Faith, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-Control, Righteousness, Hope (or whatever you think appropriate – they should be things that God wants to fill our mind with).  You could also focus on Philippians 4:8 and do blocks that say “True, Noble, Right, Pure, Lovely, Admirable.”  You will need 9-12 blocks.
•    Practice the script.

Procedure
Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):
o    “I want to show you an illustration of the battle for your mind.”
o    “Satan and God are in a war.  It’s evil against Good.”
o    “Your mind and heart are the battlefields on which this war is waged.”
o    “Satan knows that he can’t do anything to damage God, so He tries to hurt the Creator through his creation, and that’s us.”
o    “Satan first wants to hold as many of us prisoner as possible, so that we never get to join God’s army.”
o    “But even after we become Christians and join God’s side, Satan doesn’t give up.”
o    “If he can’t have us on his side, he will at least try to make us ineffective by pulling our minds and hearts away from God.”
o    “Satan knows that if he can win the battle for our mind, we will be ineffective for God.”
o    “So the tactic we are going to talk about is how Satan tries to fill our mind with lots of things so that there is no room for what God wants to put in there.”  (Ask for a volunteer to come forward.)
o    “Let’s pretend that this person represents our minds.”
o    “And let’s pretend that these tennis balls each represent something that Satan want to fill our mind with so that we don’t think about Godly things.”  (Read on of the balls out loud, and show it to the group.  Then hand it to your volunteer.)
o    “If that one doesn’t completely occupy our minds, Satan will give us more things to think about.  (Read several more balls, and hand them to the volunteer.)
o    “He will keep this up, filling our minds with all kinds of junk until they are completely full.”  (Read off the rest of the balls, and hand them to the volunteer, who should be having trouble holding them all.  If he/she drops any, pick them up, and hand them back to the volunteer.)
o    “When our minds are full like this, there is not room for what God wants to put in.”  (Pick up one of the blocks, and read it off.  Try to fit it into the volunteer’s hands, but give up in frustration.)
o    “But who ever said that we have to hold anything that Satan gives to us?”  (Instruct volunteer to drop all the balls and to take the block.)
o    “Now, without all the junk that Satan tries to fill our minds with, there is plenty of room for what God wants to fill our mind with.”  (Read off each of the blocks, and then stack them neatly in the volunteer’s hands.  Keep one for the next part of the lesson.)
o    “Notice how much easier it is to hold the things that God gives us rather than the things Satan tries to fill our minds with.”  (Pick up a few of the balls off the floor, and toss them at the volunteer while saying, “Catch!”  Hopefully, the volunteer will drop everything to catch the balls.  If he/she does, then ask, “Why did you drop all God’s good things to catch what Satan threw you?”  If the volunteer doesn’t fall for the trick, keep tossing balls in his/her direction.  Then say, “It was good that you didn’t fall for Satan’s trick.  He won’t give up.  He will keep tossing bad thoughts at you, and you have to be careful to not accept them.”
o    “If Satan does succeed in getting in one of his thought bombs, the Bible tells us clearly what to do about it.”  (Have volunteer read 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.)
o    “The war we fight is different than most wars.  It’s a thought war.”
o    “When one of Satan’s thought bombs gets in, we are to take it captive to Christ.”  (Have volunteer take one of the thought bombs and hold it up like he/she is giving it to God.)
o    “God will then take that thought bomb and replace it with one of His truths.” (Exchange the ball for a block.)
o    “This war is difficult, and it’s long.  You have to keep fighting all your life to keep your thoughts pure and true.” (Have volunteer read Romans 12:2.)
o    “God wants us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.  That means taking evil and ungodly thoughts captive every time we have them and exchanging them for truth and wisdom with God.”
o    “You see, when God saved us, he gave us a completely new heart, but we have the same mind that we had before we were saved.”
o    “In order to get a new mind, we have to exchange the bad thoughts one by one for good thoughts.”
o    “Maybe a good way to think about it is this: our hearts after trusting Christ are like moving into a brand new house, but our minds after trusting Christ are like moving into an old house that needs a lot of renovation work.”
o    “The good news is that God will help us with all the renovation.  He will be our general contractor, who guides us in all the work.”  (Thank volunteer, and let him/her have a seat.)

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Filed under Brain, Focus, Mind, Satan's tactics, Spiritual Warfare, Transformation

Ups and Downs of Teambuilding (GAME)


Time
25-45 minutes

Description
This is game that helps participants understand the dynamics of teams.  It uses Bruce Tuckman’s “Forming – Storming – Norming – Performing” model and combines it with the children’s game of Chutes and Ladders ® (a.k.a. Snakes and Ladders).

If you want to add a spiritual element to this lesson, you can have participants review the Scriptures at the end of the lesson and try to determine what stage of team building they represent.  Add 30-45 minutes to the lesson if you do this.

Audience
Anyone who leads teams (but usually adults or youth)

Materials
•    If you want to use a regularly-sized gameboard, you can find one on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at http://www.teachthem.wordpress.com.  It’s called: “Ups and Downs of Teambuilding – Gameboard.ppt.”  (You will need something to act as game pieces for each player – maybe candy or coins or something else that is small.)
•    For a life-sized game, you will need masking tape, rope or some other material to mark off the gameboard.  How much you need depends upon the size of the gameboard.  I like to make it big when I do the game outdoors, so I typically use 22 ropes of about 20 ft each.  (If you have access to a tile floor, you can use that and not have to mark off the spaces.)  For the life-sized version, the participants become the game pieces.
•    Tent stakes (44 – if you are outdoors and using rope to mark off your gameboard)
•    Dice (two – the bigger, the better, if you are playing this as a life-sized game)
•    Sticky notes (100) to number the game spaces (if you are indoors and playing on a smooth surface)
•    Note cards (100) to number the game spaces (if you are outdoors)
•    Golf tees (100) to hold the note cards to the ground (if you are outdoors)
•    Colored marker
•    Printed copy of “Ups and Downs of Teambuilding – Game Spaces.doc”  (Available on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at http://www.teachthem.wordpress.com.)
•    (Optional) Printed copy of “Ups and Downs of Teambuilding – Game Cards.doc” (Available on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at http://www.teachthem.wordpress.com.)

Preparation
•    Print or mark off your gameboard.  You need a 10 space by 10 space grid.  If you do the life-sized version, you should make the squares large enough for several people to fit in them, because it is possible for more than one person to land on the same space during a turn.
•    Number your spaces 1-100 using the sticky notes or the notecards and golf tees.  The numbering should go back and forth.  For example, the first row is numbered left to right (1-10).  The second row is numbered right to left so that the 11 space is right above the 10 space, and the 20 space is right above the 1 space.  The third row is then numbered left to right again, and so on.  (If this is confusing, take a look at the “Ups and Downs of Teambuilding – Gameboard.ppt” on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at http://www.teachthem.wordpress.com.)
•    Use the colored marker to put a dot on all the sticky notes or notecards that have a corresponding note in the “Ups and Downs of Teambuilding – Game Spaces.doc” file.  For example, space #3 has a note in the document that indicates that something good has happened and that the player can move up.  Put a green (or whatever color you chose) dot next to the number on the sticky note or notecard for space #3.  (You don’t need to do this step if you tape the game cards in the spaces.)
•    Print off the documents (mentioned above) that you need.
•    If you print out the “Ups and Downs of Teambuilding – Game Cards,” you can tape these in the squares designated by the number on the cards.  This will prevent you from having to read them yourself.  You can tape them right-side-up or upside-down.  It’s up to you.
•    Practice the script.

Procedure
Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):
•    “We’re going to play a game that will help you to understand how teams grow and develop.”
•    “Bruce Tuckman developed a model that involves four stages.  They are, “Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing.”
•    “Forming is the first stage, and it’s where everyone in a team comes together.  Everyone is on their best behavior and trying to make the new group work, but trust is low, because we don’t know each other yet.”
•    “Storming is the second stage, and it involves conflict and struggles.  Individuals may disagree over roles or methods or any number of things.  This can be a painful stage, but it’s necessary to help the team members get honest with each other and build trust.  If conflict is handled well, the team will be stronger when it comes through this stage.”
•    “Norming is the third stage.  The team is starting to understand and appreciate individuals more.  They are recognizing the strengths and weaknesses of each team member, and they are experiencing some success.”
•    “Performing is the forth stage.  The team now is at it’s highest level of productivity and synergy.  Team members are interdependent and work together to see tasks or projects completed well.  Leadership is often shared and assumed by the person who has the greatest strengths for each particular task.”
•    “If you look at any professional sport team that has won a championship, you can tell that maintaining the ‘Performing’ stage is very difficult.”
•    “Very few championship teams repeat the following year.  Fewer repeat the third year.  It’s just too difficult to stay in ‘Performing’ that long.”
•    “Factors outside the team may prevent the team from continuing.  Things like budget cuts, down economies, competitor tactics, new technology, time constraints, etc. can dethrone champion teams.”
•    “Likewise, factors inside the team also work against continued success.  Team members leave the team, experience personal crises, become dissatisfied, have conflicts and go through a long list of other problems and can’t continue to perform at the highest level.  There are also leadership changes, vision/mission changes, mistakes, failures, etc.”
•    “So, teams don’t stay at ‘Performing’ indefinitely once they get there.”
•    “More often what happens is that teams move up and down through the four stages – sometimes going from ‘Performing’ all the way back to ‘Forming’ (i.e., if an important team member leaves) or from ‘Storming’ to ‘Performing” (i.e., if a major breakthrough is experienced).”
•    “The game we are about to play will illustrate some of the factors (both inside and outside the team) that cause teams to move up and down through the levels.”
•    “It’s a game similar to the children’s game of Chutes and Ladders ® or Snakes and Ladders.”
•    “Have any of you played that before?”  (Listen to responses.)
•    “The gameboard has one hundred spaces.”
•    “The objective of the game is to be the first person to reach the 100th space.”
•    “Players will roll the dice (two) to see how many spaces they move.”
•    “On some spaces, there is a green dot (or whatever color you choose.  If you taped game cards in each space, you can skip this instruction and just have the participants read the card when they step on the space.)”
•    “This dot indicates that there is either an “UP” or a “DOWN” on the space.”
•    “I will read out a note related to that space, and the note will tell you about something that has happened to your team.  Sometimes it’s good; sometimes it’s bad.  If it’s good, you will get to move up to another space.  If it’s bad, you will have to move down.”
•    “Once you get close to the 100th space, you will need to get a perfect roll to win.  That means that if you are four spaces away, you have to roll a 4, a 3, a 2, or a 1 to move.  (You can choose to roll only one die at this time.)”
•    “If you roll higher than the number of spaces left, you lose your turn and must wait in your place.”
•    “Does anyone have any questions?”  (Answer questions.  Then start the game.  Everyone starts off the gameboard.  You can have them roll the dice to see who goes first.  Highest roll is first, second highest is second…  After someone wins, have the group answer the debrief questions (next page) together.)
•    NOTE: If you have a large group, you might want to divide them into pairs and have one person act as the game piece and another roll the dice.  If you have a really big group, divide them into teams, have one game piece, one dice roller and a large fan club.

Debrief Questions

1.    What can the game teach us about team building?

2.    Why is it so difficult to maintain the “Performing” stage?

3.    On your team, what internal influences (things inside your team) could send you back down? What can you do about it?

4.    On your team, what external influences (things outside your team) could send you back down?  What can you do about it?

5.    How can you move your team to the next level (or keep them at “Performing”)?

Biblical Reflection
Review these Scriptures, and try to determine which stage of teambuilding they represent.

o    Matthew 4:18-23
o    Matthew 8:23-27
o    Matthew 9:9
o    Matthew 10:5-10
o    Matthew 14:10
o    Matthew 14:15-21
o    Matthew 16:21-23
o    Matthew 17:1-8
o    Matthew 17:14-18
o    Matthew 18:1
o    Matthew 20:20-24
o    Matthew 26:6-9
o    Matthew 26:14-16
o    Matthew 26:31-34
o    Matthew 26:47
o    Matthew 26:56
o    Matthew 26:69-75
o    Matthew 27:35
o    Matthew 28:16-20
o    Mark 3:13-19
o    Mark 6:45-52
o    Mark 8:27-30
o    Mark 9:33-34
o    John 6:66-69
o    John 21:15-17
o    Acts 2:1-7
o    Acts 2:46-47
o    Acts 3:1-10

Biblical Reflection: ANSWERS
Review these Scriptures, and try to determine which stage of teambuilding they represent.

o    Matthew 4:18-23 (Forming)
o    Matthew 8:23-27 (Storming)
o    Matthew 9:9 (Forming)
o    Matthew 10:5-10 (Norming)
o    Matthew 14:10 (Storming)
o    Matthew 14:15-21 (Storming)
o    Matthew 16:21-23 (Performing then Storming)
o    Matthew 17:1-8 (Norming)
o    Matthew 17:14-18 (Storming)
o    Matthew 18:1 (Storming)
o    Matthew 20:20-24 (Storming)
o    Matthew 26:6-9 (Storming)
o    Matthew 26:14-16 (Storming)
o    Matthew 26:31-34 (Norming)

o    Matthew 26:47 (Storming)
o    Matthew 26:56 (Storming)
o    Matthew 26:69-75 (Storming)
o    Matthew 27:35 (Storming)
o    Matthew 28:16-20 (Norming)
o    Mark 3:13-19 (Forming)
o    Mark 6:45-52 (Storming)
o    Mark 8:27-30 (Norming or Performing)
o    Mark 9:33-34 (Storming)
o    John 6:66-69 (Forming)
o    John 21:15-17 (Norming)
o    Acts 2:1-7 (Performing and Forming)
o    Acts 2:46-47 (Performing)
o    Acts 3:1-10 (Performing)

Debrief

o    “What do you notice when you look at all the stages?”  (If they don’t mention it, point out that most of the examples are “Storming.”  This is from as fair a sampling of the Scriptures as I could do, so I think it is representative.)
o    “Why do you think that is?”  (Listen to responses. Then, add the next point if necessary.)
o    “Jesus often allowed his disciples to go through ‘Storming’ times.”
o    “Probably these experiences were designed as a tool and a test for them.”
o    “As a tool, the experiences shaped them to be more like Christ.  They cut away the pride and the selfishness.”
o    “As a test, they revealed the character of each disciple’s heart and indicated whether or not they were learning from their experiences.”
o    “The disciples didn’t experience extended periods of ‘Performing’ until after Pentecost, and even then, they still went back to the ‘Storming’ stage on occasion.”
o    “Failure is a much better teacher than success.”
o    “All these ‘Storming’ times prepared the disciples for the incredible ministries they would have one day.”
o    “So, when you are leading a team, don’t be afraid to allow them to make some mistakes or to experience failure.”
o    “It will most likely teach them more than any successes ever would.”

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Filed under Game, Games that Teach

Connect Four Sin Solution (Obj Lesson)


Time
15 minutes

Description
This object lesson demonstrates that the blood of Jesus paid for our sins – those we have done and those we have yet to do. It uses the Connect Four ® game by Milton Bradley.

Audience
Children, youth, adults

Materials
• Connect Four game
• Two sets of black checkers (Note: you may want to avoid the use of black checkers as a symbol for sin. It can sometimes send the wrong message to children of color. Most other colors will work if you can find them.)
• One red checker
• Bag
• Optional – 18 white checkers and 24 red checkers – only if you want to make the heart shape at the end

Preparation
• Put all the black checkers into the bag. Only use enough so that the black checkers can fill all but one space on the Connect Four ® frame. (Leave one spot empty for a red checker.)
• Put the red checker into your pocket.
• Set up the Connect Four ® frame (with no checkers in it).
• Practice the script.

Procedure
Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):
• “This is a Connect Four ® game. How many of you have played this game before?” (Look for responses.)
• “Well we are going to use the game to teach us something about God and how He has dealt with sin.” (Invite a volunteer to come help you demonstrate.)
• “The frame for the game represents your heart.”
• “The black checkers will represent sin, and the red checkers will represent the blood of Christ.”
• “I’ve put checkers into this bag, and I want you to draw them out and put them into the frame.” (Have volunteer draw out the first checker. As he/she drops it into the frame, mention a sin that kids his/her age might commit. Each time he/she drops a black checker in, mention a new sin. Some are suggested below.)
o Told a lie.
o Stole something from a friend.
o Picked on a younger kid.
o Fought with my brother.
o Didn’t tell my sister about the candy Mom bought for us.
o Never apologized for yelling at friend.
o Didn’t do my homework.
o Stayed up past my bedtime.
o Said something mean to my mom.
o Used something without asking.
o Pretended I was sick.
o Didn’t do my chores.
o Spent my offering on a Coke.
o Dented the car with my bike.
o Forgot to feed the dog.
o Showed disrespect to my teacher.
o Cheated on a test.
o Ate an extra desert when Dad wasn’t looking.
• (After the volunteer has put in 20 or so black checkers, secretly drop the red checker into the bag so that he/she will draw it out soon. When the volunteer draws the red checker and drops it in, stop him/her and remind everyone that it represents the blood of Christ.)
• “Remember, the red checker represents the blood of Christ.”
• “This is important, because the Bible says that the blood of Christ washes us of all our sin.”
• “Let’s look at a few Scriptures.” (Ask volunteers to read Matthew 26:28, Romans 5:9, Ephesians 2:13, Hebrews 9:22, 1 John 1:7-9.)
• “The blood of Christ earns us forgiveness, it justifies us and saves us from God’s wrath, it brings us near to God, and it purifies us from all sin.”
• “That’s powerful stuff!”
• “So, here’s a picture of what the blood of Christ does for our hearts when we accept Jesus as our Savior.” (Show the volunteer how to trigger the release at the bottom of the frame so that all the dominoes spill out.)
• “Our hearts become completely new! Cleaned out of all that sin!”
• “It’s like getting a fresh start. All our past sin is gone.”
• “But you know us…even when we are Christians, we still sin sometimes.” (Close the release at the bottom of the frame, and have volunteer begin to put black checkers back in.)
• “We can’t lose our salvation, but each time we sin, the sin takes the place in our hearts where Jesus should be.”
• “Hopefully, we should be sinning less often now, so our hearts don’t fill up as fast.”
• “But you don’t need to wait for it to fill up, because Jesus’ blood didn’t just pay for the sins we did in the past. It pays for the ones we haven’t even done yet.” (Have volunteer add the red checker and then release all the checkers from the bottom.)
• “Each time you sin, it’s paid for already. The only problem is, all those sins hurt your relationship with God.” (Have volunteer add black checkers back in after closing the release at the bottom.)
• “As quickly as you realize you have sinned, ask God for forgiveness so that you can make your relationship healthy again.” (Have volunteer add a red checker and then release all the checkers one last time. Thank and dismiss volunteer.)
• “It’s that easy! But it’s even better if we remember what Jesus did for us and don’t get into sin in the first place.” (OPTIONAL: As you are saying this, add red checkers to the frame (seal the bottom first) in the pattern of a heart. See image below. You will need a few white checkers to go under the red ones in a few columns.)

connect-four-heart

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Filed under Christianity, faith, forgiveness, heart, Jesus, Object Lesson, salvation