Tag Archives: Bible

Connecting the D.O.T.S. (Obj Lesson)


Time
15 minutes

Description
This object lesson teaches about how God’s plan for us can be difficult to see at times.  Even so, we should do our best to follow the path He has set out for us.

Scriptures
•    Psalm 37:23-24
•    Proverbs 3:5-6, 16:9
•    Romans 8:28

Materials
•    Dot-to-dot pattern (You can find this on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at http://www.teachthem.wordpress.com in the file named Connect the D-O-T-S – Pattern.ppt)
•    Posterboard or flipchart paper (2-4, depending upon how large you want to make the dot-to-dot pattern)
•    LCD or overhead projector (or photo copy machine, depending upon how you choose to enlarge the pattern)
•    Marker

Preparation
•    Enlarge the dot-to-dot pattern.  (In the file mentioned above, it is the first slide.  The second slide shows the completed dot-to-dot picture, and the third slide shows a more stylized dot-to-dot picture of the same pattern in case you want to project it.  You can enlarge it a few different ways – print it and then photo copy it using the magnification settings on the copier, use either an LCD or overhead projector to project the image on several posterboards or flipchart pages and then trace the image onto the paper.)
•    Hang the dot-to-dot pattern where your volunteer will be able to reach it.
•    Practice the script.

Procedure
Use the following script and instructions (or modify to suit your needs):
•    “Let’s do a dot-to-dot puzzle!”

Unfinished Puzzle

Unfinished Puzzle

•    “I’m going to need a volunteer.”  (Select a volunteer from the audience.)
•    (To volunteer) “You know how to do these, right
•    “You connect the dots with a line in the order of the numbers next to the dot.”
•    “Start with number “1;” then go to “2;” then to “3” and so on.  (Let the volunteer begin to connect the dots with a marker.)
•    (To audience) “You know, doing a dot-to-dot puzzle is a lot like trying to follow God’s plan for your life.”
•    “When you first get started, it’s hard to see what He’s doing in your life.”
•    “It can look like just a bunch of dots.”
•    “But each of those dots is an event in your life.”
•    “Some are big events; most are small.”
•    “Some are so small that you wouldn’t even think they would matter, but Romans 8:28 tells us that God uses ALL things for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose.”
•    “Some dots represent good choices that you made, and some represent bad choices, but God uses everything!”
•    “He just keeps connecting those dots.”  (By this time, your volunteer should have run into at least one of the following problems:  a) There is no dot or label for “10;” b) Dots “13, 14, 15 and 16” are not labeled; c) Many of the dots have more than one number associated with them.)
•    (To volunteer) “Is there a problem?”  (Listen for response.)
•    (To group) “Sometimes, God’s next step for you won’t be clear.”
•    “What do you think you should do when this happens?”  (Take responses, and listen for ideas like “pray, read the Bible, ask other Christians, wait for the Lord.”  Offer these if the kids don’t.)
•    “Right!  Eventually, the Lord will usually show you the next step.”
•    “Sometimes, though, He is testing you to see which path you will take.”
•    “And sometimes, He doesn’t have a specific next move for you to take.  He is fine with you making the best decision you can that honors Him.  In this case, He is fine with any of your choices and is giving you some freedom to select the one that you think is best.”
•    “Often during these times, God doesn’t move quickly, so you may have to be patient.”  (Show volunteer the order of the missing dots.  They are labeled on both the second and third slide in the PowerPoint file.)
•    (To group and volunteer) “Has anyone noticed that some of the dots have more than one number associated with them?”  (Demonstrate that you are looking for a show of hands.)
•    “What do you think this might represent in God’s plan for your life?”  (Listen to responses.  The group may come up with some creative ideas, but one possibility is that God might ask you to go through some experiences multiple times – especially if they were tests that you didn’t pass the first time through.)
•    “There are a few lines and squares already drawn into the pattern.  What do you think these might represent in God’s plan for your life?”  (Listen to responses.  Again, they might have creative answers other than this one, but one possibility is that these could represent resources and helps that God provides in our lives.  Another possibility is that these could represent times when God had to carry us through a difficult time.)
•    “Can any of you tell what the picture is yet?”  (Listen to responses, but neither confirm nor deny at this point.)
•    “You know, sometimes when we think we can tell where God is going, we want to jump ahead and skip some of the dots.”
•    “You can see examples of this in Scripture when:
o    Abram had a son with Hagar instead of with Sarai.
o    Jacob stole his brother’s blessing and birthright.
o    David tried to carry the Ark of the Covenant on a cart instead of the shoulders of the priests.
o    James and John offered to call down fire on a village that had rejected Jesus.
o    Peter often tried to take leadership of the apostles before it was time.”
•    “But what does it do if I jump from this dot to this dot and skip the ones in-between?”  (Demonstrate by pointing to dots in the pattern.  Then listen for responses.)
•    “It messes up the picture, right?”
•    “Then, God has to lead me back to the right dot so that I can go back through the right steps again.”
•    “It’s hard to do, but we should be patient and go at the Lord’s pace.”  (Have a volunteer read Psalm 37:23-24, Proverbs 3:5-6 and Proverbs 16:9.)
•    “God cares about the steps we take, and He wants us to walk in His path.”  (Watch the volunteer, and help him/her whenever he/she gets stuck.  When the puzzle is complete, thank and dismiss the volunteer.)
•    “Who can read it now?”  (Listen to responses.  The correct answer is “D.O.T.S. – Disciples of the Savior,” and there is a cross behind the text.)
•    “If we continue to follow God’s path, He will make us into what He truly wants us to be: D.O.T.S. – Disciples of the Savior!”

Finished Puzzle

Finished Puzzle

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Filed under Christianity, Daily walk, faith, God's Will, Listening to God, Obedience, Object Lesson

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

Feed Your Spirit


Time

15-20 minutes

Description

This object lesson teaches that you need to take care of your spirit each day, just like you need to take care of your body. Some assembly is required.

Materials

  • Two fans that can pivot to blow towards the ceiling
  • 3-4 wind socks or plastic table cloth (Windbags from Steve Spangler Science also work great. You can order them online at www.stevespanglerscience.com.)
  • Packaging tape or duct tape
  • Permanent marker
  • Electric power strip or extension cord
  • A few sheets of paper

Preparation

· You are going to create two mini-air dancers (like what were used at the Olympics in Atlanta or commonly in front of retail establishments).

Wind Sock or Windbag

· If you are using a wind sock or a Windbag, cut the cylinder down so that it is no more than three feet tall.

· You will need to tape up the hole at one end and cut two slits about 2/3rd of the way along the windsock for the arms.

· Do this with two of the wind socks. These are your “body” pieces.

· With the remaining two wind socks, cut them each in half to make the arms.

· Tape one end of the “arms” so that air can’t escape.

· Tape the open end over one of the slits in the “body” piece.

· Use the permanent marker to draw a smiling face near the top of the “body” piece.

· Tape the open end of the “body” piece over one of the fans so that air will blow directly into the body.

· Label one air dancer, “Body,” and one, “Spirit.”

· Practice the script, and test your air dancers for leaks and proper inflation.

Table Cloth

· If you are using a table cloth, you will follow all the same instructions as above with a few exceptions.

· Cut out your air dancer – 3 feet long by 18 inches wide.

· Roll it into a cylinder (the 18-inch wide part) and tape up the seam.

· Follow all the other instructions.


Procedure

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

  • (Start with your air dancers on a table next to each other – with a little elbow room for their soon-to-be-inflated arms. The fans should be off (but plugged in!), and the dancers should be deflated. Invite two volunteers up to the table.)
  • “Hi, guys! I’m wondering if you can help me with an object lesson.”
  • “Do you see these two balloon-like bags taped to these fans?”
  • “Well they are actually balloon people, and they represent the two major parts of each one of us.” (Ask volunteers to each read out loud the label on the front of the air dancer in front of them – one is “Body” and the other is “Spirit.”)
  • “Right! This one represents our Body, and this one represents our Spirit.”
  • “Would you say that those are two pretty important parts of each one of us?”
  • “Me, too!”
  • “We’ve got a problem, though. Neither one of these guys is doing so good right now. They are really low on energy.”
  • (Turn to the volunteer in front of the “Body” air dancer.)
  • “What do you think the balloon person representing our Body needs in order to feel better?” (Take ideas, and fill in any that are missed.)
  • “Right! It needs food, rest and exercise to feel good.”
  • “If you don’t get enough food, how do you feel?” (Encourage response.)
  • “How about if you don’t get enough rest?” (Encourage response.)
  • “You feel kinda like this balloon, don’t you?”
  • “Well, let’s say that this fan underneath the balloon person represents those things – food, rest and exercise.”
  • “Could you turn that fan on for me?” (Allow volunteer to turn on fan. Air dancer should inflate.)
  • “Wow! That’s better! When our Body gets food, rest and exercise, it feels good. It has energy.”
  • “But what would happen if you stop feeding it or if you stopped getting enough rest or exercise?” (Encourage response. Then have volunteer turn off fan to demonstrate.)
  • “Exactly! Our Bodies start to feel bad, and they lose energy. If you go too long without these things, your Body gets sick, right?”
  • “You’ve got to give it more food, rest and exercise for it to feel good again.” (Have volunteer turn on fan.)
  • (Turn to the volunteer in front of the “Spirit” air dancer.)
  • “Now, how about our Spirit? It doesn’t need food or rest or exercise to feel good. What do you think it needs?” (Take ideas, and fill in any that are missed.)
  • “That’s right! It needs prayer, Scripture, worship, fellowship and other good spiritual disciplines.”
  • “How do you think our Spirit feels when it isn’t getting those things?” (Encourage response.)
  • “Right! It feels terrible – maybe like this balloon person.”
  • “How do you think it feels when it does get prayer and Scripture and worship and fellowship?” (Encourage response. Then have volunteer turn on fan to demonstrate.)
  • “When it gets those things, it feels really good!”
  • “But I’m a little confused. I know when my body needs food or rest (and sometimes exercise), because it tells me.”
  • (Turn to the volunteer in front of the “Body” air dancer.)
  • “How would you say our body tells us what it needs?” (Encourage responses like “hunger pains,” “yawning” or “sleepiness.”)
  • “But how do I know when my Spirit needs prayer and Scripture and worship and fellowship? Does it tell me somehow?” (Encourage responses, but you will probably have to help with this one.)
  • “This one is tougher, because we aren’t as used to paying attention to our Spirit as we are to paying attention to our Body, but here’s what I think.”
  • “When our Spirit is feeling weak, we can tell because sometimes:
    • We are tempted by more bad things.
    • It is harder to say “no” to temptation.
    • We feel bad about ourselves.
    • We want to hide from God.
    • We worry a lot and are afraid.
    • We aren’t very nice to other people.”
  • “Have any of you ever felt like any of these examples?” ?” (Encourage responses from the entire class.)
  • “If you’re like me, sometimes you let days go by without praying or reading Gods’ Word.” (Have volunteer turn fan off.)
  • “I can go for a little while on the prayer and Bible reading that I did last week, but eventually, my Spirit starts to sag.”
  • “Then maybe I miss a week of going to church or do some things I know that I shouldn’t have done.”
  • “Before long, my Spirit gets sick, and it becomes harder and harder for me to say “no” to the things that I am tempted to do.”
  • “I’ve known people whose Spirits were really sick, because they never fed them.”
  • “They knew that something was wrong in their life, but they tried to fix it by feeding their Spirit the wrong things – like money or expensive things or too much entertainment or sometimes even drugs and alcohol.”
  • “But none of those things helps your Spirit to feel better.”
  • (Turn to the volunteer in front of the “Spirit” air dancer.)
  • “Remind me again. What does our Spirit need to stay healthy?” (Encourage responses. Then have the volunteer turn on the fan.)
  • “Exactly! We need prayer, Scripture, worship, fellowship and other good spiritual disciplines.”
  • “If we’re going to do good things for God, we need a healthy Spirit like this one.” (Pointing to air dancer.)
  • “So, let’s all try to feed our Spirit the things it wants before it even has to ask us for them!” (Thank and dismiss volunteers.)

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Filed under Christianity, Coping skills, Fear, Object Lesson, spiritual disciplines, temptation, Worry