Tag Archives: Christianity

Salt of the Earth (Obj Lesson)


Time

10 minutes
Description

This object lesson teaches what it means when God calls us to be the salt of the earth.

Scriptures

  • Matthew 5:13
  • 2 Kings 2:20-22

Materials

  • Salt that you can pass around for the kids to taste
  • Small, draw-string bag with salt in it
  • Salt shaker
  • Piece of meat (fish, chicken or beef – real or fake – I used Play Doh) with salt on it
  • Medicine bottle filled with salt
  • Bottle of water
  • Bible

Preparation

  • Put salt in the draw-string bag.
  • Salt the piece of meat on all sides.
  • Fill the medicine bottle with salt.

Procedure

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

  • “Jesus says that we are the salt of the earth.”  (Have volunteer read Matthew 5:13.  Then begin passing the salt around, and encourage everyone to taste some.)
  • “Salt was very important during the time that Jesus was here on earth.”
  • “Roman soldiers often received part of their pay in salt.”  (Set out bag with salt in it.  As an alternative, you can put all these props into a bag and let a volunteer try to figure out which prop you want put out each time.  You can coach them if they run into trouble.)
  • “In fact, the word we use for what you get paid for working is ‘salary,’ and ‘salary’ actually means ‘salt money.’”
  • “Salt was also important for making things taste better, just like it is today.”  (Set out the salt shaker.)
  • “What would potato chips or French fries be like without salt?”
  • “When Jesus compares us to salt, He is saying that we should make things better.”
  • “We should make life better for others.  They should enjoy being around us.”
  • “But Jesus asks, ‘What good is salt if it has lost its flavor?’”
  • “He says that it will be thrown out and trampled underfoot.”
  • “The Romans use to make roads out of bad salt that wasn’t salty anymore.”
  • “In fact, one of their greatest military roads was the Via Salaria, or the Salt Road.”
  • “Jesus was saying that if we aren’t salty any more as Christians, we are no longer making life better for those around us.”
  • “And so He asks, if you aren’t making things better anymore, what good are we?”
  • “He doesn’t have any use for us here on earth unless we are going to make things better, because that is the work He has for us to do.”
  • “But salt was good for more than just salaries and making things taste better.”
  • “People also used it to preserve meat.” (Set out piece of meat with salt on it.)
  • “You see, they didn’t have refrigerators back then, so if they wanted their fish, chicken or their beef to not go bad, they covered it with salt.”
  • “The salt kept bacteria from growing on the meat and spoiling it, and it kept the flies from laying their eggs in it.”
  • “When Jesus says that we are the salt of the earth, He is saying that we should be preserving (which means saving) the earth.”
  • “We should be saving those who are lost and headed towards Hell.”
  • “Without us, the bacteria of sin would grow unchallenged in the hearts of those who don’t know Jesus, and Satan, who is also known as Beelzebub (or the Lord of the Flies) would plant evil in their hearts.”
  • “But that’s not all that salt can do.”
  • “Salt also heals.”  (Set out medicine bottle filled with salt.)
  • “When you get a sore throat, one of the best things you can do for it is to gargle with hot, salty water.”
  • “Elijah used salt in 2 Kings 2:20-22 to heal poisonous water.”
  • “When Jesus says we are the salt of the earth, He is saying that we should bring healing to those who are sick with sin.”
  • “But that’s not all that salt can do.”
  • “Salt also creates thirst.” (Set out a bottle of water.)
  • “If you eat something salty, you immediately want something to drink.”
  • “When you buy popcorn at the movies, I bet you always get a drink, because you know that you are going to be thirsty after eating it.”
  • “When Jesus is saying that we are the salt of the earth, He is saying that we should create thirst for the living water (which is the Holy Spirit) that God offers to every person on earth.”
  • “When people see how much God has blessed us, they will want to know Jesus as their Savior, too.”
  • “So, salt may have seemed pretty ordinary to you, but now I hope you see how important it is.”
  • “Salt has value. It makes things better; it saves; it heals and it creates thirst.”
  • “That’s what we should do as followers of Jesus.”
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Filed under Authenticity, blessing, Character, Christianity, Daily walk, Evangelism, Healing, impact, Love, Object Lesson

In But Not Of (LESSON)


Scriptures:

Proverbs 16:7
Daniel 1:1-20

Philippians 3:20

1 Peter 2:11-12

Description: Nebuchadnezzar’s armies invade Jerusalem and take away the best and brightest teenagers to Babylon to make them aides in the king’s court.  Daniel and his friends choose to honor God by not eating food from the king’s table.  Like Daniel and his friends, kids today will often be faced with circumstances that challenge their commitment to following the Lord.  Christians are called to be in the world, but not of the world.

This is a big lesson with lots of moving parts.  Feel free to scale it down to suit your teaching style, available time or resources.

Rhyme Time:

Not everything that others do
Is what God wants to see from you.

Time: 45 minutes

Materials:
o  Ping-pong / Table Tennis ball

  • Table
  • Something to act as a border on either side of the table (to keep the ball from falling off the edge – I used erasers.)
  • Signs for kids to wear (You can find these on the Lesson Materials and Downloads page on www.teachingthem.com.  The file is called, “In But Not Of – Signs.ppt.”  You can also make your own signs that say things like, “Too Busy, Too Tired, No Time, Some Leaders, Peer Pressure, Temptations, Movies/TV, Music, Things You Like to Do, Things You Are Taught, Culture…”  – anything that might make it difficult for kids to live the life that God wants them to live.)
  • Hole punch or something to make holes in the signs
  • Yarn or string to make lanyards for signs
  • Clear bottle with lid
  • Water (enough to fill bottle almost ¾ full) and some extra in a separate container to use later in the lesson.
  • Food coloring
  • Vegetable oil (enough to fill bottle ¼ full) in a separate container.
  • Two serving platters with covers (or something like them)
  • Junk food (enough to make a sizeable mound on one of the platters)
  • Vegetables (real or artificial – enough to make a sizeable mound on one of the platters)
  • Costumes for the waiters (something like a white shirt, a black bow tie made from construction paper and a hand towel to go over their arms)
  • A copy of the answers for the Game Show.  These are at the end of this document.
  • Cardboard boxes or a table decorated to look like three contestant booths on a Jeopardy-type game show.
  • Three sheets of flipchart paper (one for each contestant booth).
  • A flip chart marker.
  • Masking tape.
  • LCD projector, computer, screen and PowerPoint file “In But Not Of – Charts and Game Show” (can be found at www.teachingthem.com on the “Lesson and Material Downloads” page.  If you prefer, some of the lesson can be sketched on a whiteboard or flipchart.)
  • Put one hole in each end of each sign (along the top)
  • Thread the yarn or string through each hole, and tie it off to make a lanyard to go around the kids’ heads.
  • Pour water into bottle, and drop in several drops of food coloring.
  • Put the lid on the bottle, and shake thoroughly to mix the coloring throughout.
  • Keep the vegetable oil separate.  (You will add it during the lesson.)
  • Get two volunteers to act as your waiters.  Have them dress in costume and be ready to appear with one of the platters (each of them) when you call on them.
  • Prepare both of your platters – one should be piled high with junk food, the other with vegetables, and then covered.
  • Load the PowerPoint slides for “In But Not Of – Charts and Game Show,” and black the screen by pressing “b” on your keyboard while you are in Slide Show View.
  • Create and decorate your three contestant booths.  Tape a sheet of flipchart paper to the front of each booth.  Position these somewhere in the room where they will be in front of the kids but also able to see the projection screen.
  • Hide the answer sheet in the booth that you will assign to your “Daniel” volunteer.  You don’t want the other kids to be able to see it from where they are standing, but it has to be easy for “Daniel” to see without drawing attention to himself/herself.
  • Select a “Daniel” volunteer (might be best to use another adult), and explain that you would like his/her help with a “game show.”  Show him/her the booth and where you’ve hidden the answers.  Tell him/her that you want them to get most or all questions right but that he/she shouldn’t allow anyone to know that he/she has the answers.
  • Practice the lesson.
  • Also see: http://wallbuilder.wordpress.com/2009/11/05/taking-a-stand/ for additional sermon illustrations.

o  Bible

Preparation:

o  Print signs for kids to wear

Procedure:

Use the following script or modify to suit your needs:

  • (Gather kids together around the table, and pass out the signs for some of them to wear.)
  • “Let’s start today’s lesson with a demonstration.”
  • “I need a volunteer.”  (Select a volunteer, and give him or her the ping-pong ball.)
  • “This ball this person has represents a Christian trying to live the life that God wants him/her to live.”
  • “The rest of you are people or things that make it difficult for the volunteer to follow God.”
  • “Our volunteer with the ball is going to try to blow the ball to the other end of the table without falling off the table.”
  • “That will represent living a life that pleases God.”
  • “The rest of you (even those without signs) are going to try to prevent the ball from reaching the other end of the table by blowing it in the other direction.”
  • “Does anyone have any questions?”  (Answer questions.  Then let them begin blowing.  If the ball drops off the table, the volunteer should start over.  You can stop the demonstration either when the volunteer succeeds or after enough time has passed for the kids to understand the lesson.)
  • “So, what do you think this demonstration is supposed to teach us?”  (Listen to responses.  If it isn’t mentioned, be sure to point out that it can be very difficult to live a life pleasing to God in today’s culture. Many different things and even people work against the Christian, and Christians need God’s help to be able to move in the opposite direction of the world around them.  Allow kids to take a seat as you begin the lesson.)
  • “We are going to talk about a story that happened in the land of Israel.”
  • “It’s from the Old Testament times, and you can read about some of what I’m going to tell you in the books of Daniel, 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles.”
  • “Israel, at the time of our story, was not very powerful.”
  • “They were controlled by the kingdom of Egypt in the south and then later by the kingdom of Babylon in the north.”
  • “A man named Jehoiakim was put on the throne by Pharaoh Nechoh of Egypt.”
  • “But in the third year of his reign, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon attacked and besieged Jerusalem (606 B.C.).”
  • “It took him two years to conquer Jerusalem, but Nebuchadnezzar finally won.”
  • “He chose not to destroy Jerusalem at that time, but he did take some of the gold, silver and bronze items from God’s Temple.”
  • “He also stole many of the brightest and most promising of Israel’s youth from Judah’s royal family and other noble families.”
  • “These young men were strong, healthy, intelligent and attractive young men, who were well-versed in every branch of learning.”
  • “Nebuchadnezzar wanted them for two very important reasons:
  1. By stealing Israel’s smartest and most promising youth, Nebuchadnezzar kept Israel from growing stronger after he returned to Babylon.  The Jews would have no strong leaders to lead them in battle against Babylon.
  2. By bringing Israel’s best and brightest to Babylon, the king hoped to make his kingdom even stronger by training them to become aides in his court.”
  • “Nebuchadnezzar’s plan was very smart, because it not only stole the best from his enemies; it added the best to his own people.”
  • “But for his plan to work, he first had to get the Jews to commit to Babylonian ways and give their loyalty to the king.”
  • “This was tricky, because Nebuchadnezzar was the enemy of the Jewish people.”
  • “He had just held Jerusalem under siege for two years while he tried to starve the people inside so that they would grow weak and give up.”
  • “Then, he had taken these boys away from their families and friends and marched them 800 miles (1300 km) to a strange place, where they would live for the rest of their lives.”
  • “Nebuchadnezzar was a very smart king, though, and he had already done this before with other people.”
  • “He had his servants put the boys into a special school, where they would learn the new customs, languages, religion, laws and other practices of the Babylonians.”
  • “For three years, Nebuchadnezzar did something called “brainwashing” on these boys.”
  • “Brainwashing is what happens with someone powerful tries to wash out everything you already know so that he can replace it with what he wants you to think.”  (Show first slide with the picture of a brain on it.  For each click, one of the following phrases will appear inside the brain: “Hebrew language, Hebrew laws and rules, Hebrew teachings, Hebrew culture, Hebrew customs, Hebrew foods, Israel, Hebrew friends, Jehovah.”)
  • “All their lives, these boys had been trained by their parents, their teachers and their priests how to speak the Hebrew language, obey the Hebrew laws and rules, follow the Hebrew teachings, culture and customers, eat the Hebrew foods, love the land of Israel, love the Hebrew people and worship the one, true God, whom they called Jehovah.”
  • “But Nebuchadnezzar needed them to forget about all that stuff if he was ever going to get them to become loyal Babylonians.”
  • “So, he had his servants ‘wash’ their brains at his royal school and replace the old information with new information about Babylonian languages, laws, rules, teachings, culture, customs, foods, land, friends and gods.”  (Advance the slide, and all the words will fall out of the brain.   Advance the slide again, and the terms will reappear, but this time “Israel” will be replaced with “Babylon,” “Hebrew” with “Babylonian” and “Jehovah” with “gods of Babylon.”  After this slide, there is a black slide before the next slide.  This is to allow you to black out the screen if you like.)
  • “This is where we meet Daniel and his friends.”
  • “You probably know them as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, but those weren’t their real names.”
  • “As part of his brainwashing, Nebuchadnezzar gave them all new names.”
  • “Their old names honored Jehovah, so Nebuchadnezzar changed their names so that they would honor his gods instead.”  (Advance the slide to show the following chart.  Each time you advance the slide, it will reveal another box of the chart, moving from left to right on each row.  This will allow you to talk about each one at a time.  After this slide, there is a black slide before the next slide.  This is to allow you to black out the screen if you like.)
Hebrew Name Hebrew Meaning Babylonian Name Babylonian Meaning
Daniel “God is my judge” Belteshazzar “Bel protect his life”
Hananiah “The Lord shows grace” Shadrach “Command of Aku” (the moon-god)
Mishael “Who is like God?” Meshack “Who is as Aku is?”
Azariah “The Lord is my help” Abednego “Servant of Nebo”
  • “Even Daniel had a new name, but we don’t use it much today – probably because he didn’t use it much when he wrote the book of Daniel.”
  • “The boys were about 17 years old when Nebuchadnezzar took them away from their families.”
  • “They were assigned to three years of training to make them court aides to the king.”
  • “As part of their training/brainwashing, they were served best food and wine from the king’s kitchen.”  (Have volunteer come out dressed as a waiter with a covered serving platter.  With a flourish, remove the cover, and show all the junk food that you have under it.)
  • “Daniel and his friends hadn’t forgotten the one, true God, and this food caused them a problem.”
  • “They knew that it had been offered as sacrifices to Babylonian gods, and Hebrew law forbade them from eating it.”
  • “This was their first test in this new land.  Would they eat the king’s food?
  • “What would you do?”  (Get responses from the kids.)
  • “Well Daniel and his friends decided not to eat it even though it could get them into a lot of trouble.”
  • “Daniel went to the chief official who watched over them and asked for permission to eat just vegetables and water.” (Have second volunteer come out dressed as a waiter with a covered serving platter.  With a flourish, remove the cover, and show all the vegetables you have under it.)
  • “The chief official liked Daniel and his friends.”
  • “He could tell that they were different than the others, and he wanted to help them, but he was afraid that Nebuchadnezzar would cut off his head if Daniel and his friends weren’t as healthy as the other kids.”
  • “So, Daniel asked the chief office if he would allow them to try it for just ten days.”
  • “Because God had given the chief official great respect for Daniel, the chief official gave them permission to try it.”
  • “At the end of 10 days, they looked healthier and better nourished than all the other kids.”
  • “If fact, they just kept getting better and better, as these charts show.”  (Advance slide to show the “Strength Comparison” slide in the “In But Not Of – Charts and Game Show” PowerPoint.)
  • “They kept getting stronger…” (Show next slide.)
  • “Healthier…” (Show next slide.)
  • “Wiser…” (Show next slide.)
  • “And even funnier than all the other guys!”  (After this slide, there is a black slide in case you want to black out the screen before you get to the Game Show.)
  • “I guess Daniel and his friends were right to trust God!”
  • “The chief official was so impressed, he let them eat vegetables and water every meal.”
  • “That may not sound very good to you, but it allowed Daniel and his friends to honor Jehovah, so they liked it very much.”
  • “This was their first test in Babylon, and God gave them an A+!”
  • “He gave them favor with not only the chief official but also with Nebuchadnezzar.”
  • “God made Daniel and his friends smarter than any of the other kids, and He gave Daniel the ability to understand visions and dreams.”
  • “This was an excellent gift from God, because a king needed someone who could interpret dreams and visions to help him understand the times and the future of his kingdom.”
  • “After three years of training, all the young men (no longer boys) were brought before the king and tested.”
  • “They all had to compete on King Nebuchadnezzar’s favorite game show, ‘Your Life Is In Jeopardy.’” (Ask for three volunteers.  Make sure one of the ones you choose is your “Daniel” volunteer.   Point out the three contestant booths for the game show, and assign them their places behind each one.  Make sure Daniel goes to the one that has the answers.  Ask for one more volunteer to be your scorekeeper, and give him/her the flipchart marker.  Have this volunteer write the names of the three contestants at the top of each flipchart.  The two ordinary volunteers can use their real names.  The “Daniel” volunteer needs to use “Daniel” as his/her name.)
  • “Welcome to ‘Your Life’s in Jeopardy!’  I’m King Nebuchadnezzar, and I’ll be your host.”  (Show first game show slide.)
  • “If you’re not familiar with the way the game is played, here are the rules:
    • Each round, one of you will select one of the five categories. (Say each category out loud so that they know what they are.)
    • I will show an problem, and you will need to give me the answer in the form of a question. (The ‘form of a question’ rule is optional, because it is often too difficult for kids to remember.)
    • The person who raises their hand the fastest is the one who gets to answer.
    • If you get the question right, our scorekeeper will add the points for that question to your scoreboard.
    • However, if you get the question wrong, the scorekeeper will subtract those points from your score.
    • The winner will become my most trusted advisor, and the losers will become doggie treats for my attack dogs.
    • If anyone has any questions, I will boil him in oil.  Any questions?
    • Good, I didn’t think there would be.
  • “Let’s get started.”  (Select someone to pick the first category.  It doesn’t matter who you choose, and it doesn’t matter what category they select.  When you advance the slide, the order of the questions is predetermined (in order to keep it simple for you).  If the person’s choice doesn’t match the actual question, just remind them that you are the king and tell them about how hungry your attack dogs are.  Go through all the questions, or cut it short based on the time you have.  Each time, Daniel should be able to get the right answer, so he should be the clear winner in the end.)
  • “Excellent job, Daniel!  I see that you and your friends, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are much wiser than any of the others.”
  • “You will be added to my regular staff of advisors!”
  • “The rest of you will be taken to play with my attack doggies.”  (Allow all the volunteers to return to their seats, and ‘step out’ of your role as King Nebuchadnezzar.)
  • “So, back to the story….Nebuchadnezzar soon found them ten times smarter than all his magicians and enchanters within the entire kingdom!”  (Have a volunteer read Proverbs 16:7.)
  • “This Scripture means that when we are obedient to God, even our enemies will like us.”
  • “That’s pretty amazing!”
  • “So, what does this mean for you?”
  • “How many of you know that earth is not your home if you are a Christian?”  (Look for a show of hands.  Then, have a volunteer read Philippians 3:20.)
  • “Our home is in heaven.  We are citizens of heaven, not of earth.”
  • “So, we are IN the world – meaning, we live here – but we are not OF the world – meaning that we are not part of the world’s family anymore.”
  • “Jesus tells us in another place that those who don’t follow him are sons of the Devil (John 8:44).”
  • “But our Father is God in heaven, and there should be some family resemblance.”
  • “People should be able to tell who our Father is by how we act.”
  • “If we act like those who don’t know Jesus as Lord, people will think that Satan is our father.”
  • “But if we act like Jesus, people will know that God is our Father.” (Have a volunteer read 1 Peter 2:11-12.)
  • “Peter tells us that we are aliens and strangers here, and he says that we should be careful to stay away from sin and live such good lives that everyone who sees us will glorify God.” (Show the bottle with the colored water in it, and ask for a volunteer to come up.)
  • “Let’s say that this bottle represents the world.”  (Hand bottle to volunteer.)
  • “Inside are all the people who are part of this world.”
  • “They don’t know Jesus as their Lord.”
  • “The coloring represents their sinfulness.  They do things that God has told us not to do.”  (Show separate container with water in it.)
  • “In this container, I have some clean and clear water.”
  • “It represents some Christians and how they live their lives.”  (Ask your volunteer to pour the separate container of clear water into the dark water that is colored by the food coloring.  Then, have the volunteer put the lid back on the bottle and shake it.)
  • “What happened to the clean water that our volunteer put into the ‘world?’”  (Accept responses.)
  • “Right!  It took on the color of the water around it.”
  • “Sometimes, this is just how Christians act.”
  • “They mix with the world and start doing the sinful things that those in the world are doing.”
  • “Then, they look just like everyone else, and you can’t tell who is a Christian and who is not.”
  • “They are both IN the world and OF the world.”  (Show separate container with oil in it.)
  • “But this container has oil in it, and it represents Christians who are committed to following Jesus.”  (Ask volunteer to pour oil into original bottle and then to cap and shake it thoroughly.)
  • “We put these Christians in the world just like the others, but watch and you will see something different happen.”  (As the volunteer holds the bottle where everyone can see it, the oil will rise to the top.  It will not stain with the food coloring, so you will be able to see a clear layer of oil on top of the darker water.)
  • “What do you notice this time?”  (Accept responses.)
  • “Exactly!  The oil didn’t become like the colored water.”
  • “This represents Christians who live IN the world but do not allow themselves to become OF the world.”
  • “In the Bible, oil often represents the Holy Spirit, so these Christians are Christians who are submitting to the leadership of the Holy Spirit in their lives.”
  • “They still look different from the rest, because they didn’t do the sins of the people around them.”
  • “They are like Daniel and his friends, who refused to eat the same foods as everyone else.”
  • “They made a hard decision to be different, even though that might make some people not like them and some people become jealous of them.”
  • “But we have a problem.”
  • “Do you notice that all the oil rose to the top?”
  • “It isn’t mixed in with the water.”
  • “Sometimes Christians act like this.”
  • “They find that it’s easier to just be around other Christians all the time, so they start to group together.”
  • “It’s good to group together for church and at other times, but we shouldn’t always spend time with other Christians.”
  • “If we do, we won’t be able to help other people get to know Jesus.”
  • “So what should we do?”  (Take responses.  You are looking for someone to say that you need to keep mixing with the people in the world.)
  • “That’s right!  That’s what we need to do!”  (Have volunteer shake bottle again.)
  • “We should come together as Christians to encourage and support one another, but then we need to get back out there in the world and interact with those who don’t know Jesus.”
  • “As long as we act like Jesus and not like those in the world, we will continue to look different from the world.”
  • “And when we look different from the world, we give glory to God.”  (Thank volunteer and allow him/her to be seated.)
  • “I have a Rhyme Time that will help us remember the lesson.”
  • “I’ll say it a few times, and then you can say it with me.”  (Recite the Rhyme Time several times, and then let the kids say it with you.  If you have time, allow them to come up and do it individually, as well.)
    • It would be easy, after all.
    • Everyone else was doing it.
    • The king might do terrible things to them if they didn’t.
    • God would understand, wouldn’t He?”

“Not everything that others do is what God wants to see from you!”


Daniel’s Answer Key

King’s Future – 100 Nowhere
King’s Places – 100 Hole-land
King’s Places – 200 The Neverlands
King’s Secrets – 100 His subjects are a royal pain.
Happy King – 100 None – TV hasn’t been invented
Happy King – 200 Dominate the world
King’s Future – 200 Because he will feed everyone else to the lions
King’s Enemies – 100 Tickle Torcher
King’s Enemies – 200 Sends them straight to DEAD without dinner
King’s Enemies – 300 He throws them in the Lyin’s den
King’s Enemies – 400 He throws them in the fiery FURnace
King’s Secrets – 200 They are all wearing camel-flage
King’s Secrets – 300 Because he tends to babble on
Happy King – 300 They have a good sense of RUMOR
King’s Secrets – 400 His nose runs but his feet only smell
King’s Enemies – 500 Because they have nothing left to go on
King’s Future – 300 Da bunnies, da bunnies, Oh, I love da bunnies!
King’s Future – 400 Da Persians, da Persians, Oh, I hate da Persians!
King’s Future – 500 Nebbie K. Nezzar
King’s Places – 300 Booty-pest
Happy King – 400 It had a little boogey on it
Happy King – 500 Its rear end
King’s Secrets – 500 Never could net her
King’s Places – 400 Gone-ah
King’s Places – 500 Germ-many

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Filed under Abednego, Challenges, Character, Christianity, courage, culture, sanctification

The Legend of the Candy Cane (GAME)


Time
15-20 minutes (or more, depending upon how many times you play)

Audience

Children & Youth

Description

This matching game is a fun one to play at Christmas.  It takes the elements of “The Legend of the Candy Cane” (apocryphal) and uses it to make connections between the popular Christmas candy and truths about Christ.  Even though the widely circulated story of how the candy cane originated is not true, we can still find meaning and symbolism in the candy that will help us to appreciate our Savior.

Scriptures

  • Exodus 12:22-23
  • Psalm 51:7
  • Isaiah 53:5
  • Matthew 1:23, 5:12, 26:28
  • John 10:11
  • Romans 6:4, 9:33
  • 2 Corinthians 5:21

Materials

  • Printouts of “Legend of the Candy Cane – Cards.ppt” (available at www.teachingthem.com on the Lesson and Material Downloads page).  There are enough cards in the printout for two teams.  If you will have more teams competing, you will need more copies.
  • Scissors or a paper cutter (to cut out the cards)
  • A simple, red-and-white candy cane to use as an example
  • Flipchart or whiteboard and markers
  • Optional: If it bothers you that participants will be able to see the images through the paper, you might want to use a heavy stock of paper, or you might even want to glue the cards to cardboard or posterboard before cutting them out.
  • Optional: Small prizes for the winners – I recommend candy canes to fit with the theme.
  • Bible

Preparation

  • Print out the cards.
  • Optional: Glue the cards on top of the cardboard or poster board (to prevent participants from being able to see the images through the paper).
  • Cut out the cards.
  • Sort the cards into sets.  (There are two identical sets in each printout.  Most matching games have you match identical cards, but in this matching game, participants will match a characteristic of the candy cane with its meaning/symbol.  So, each set will contain one of each of the following cards: “White,” “Red,” “The Rock,” “J-Shape,” “Stripes,” “Peppermint,” “Hard,” “Sweet,” “Hyssop,” “Sinless,” “Blood,” “Shepherd,” “Born of a Virgin,” “By His Stripes,” “Jesus,” “Wash Me Clean,” “New Life,” and “Heaven.”
  • Shuffle the cards, and lay them out in three rows of six cards each.  (The cards should be laid out face-down.”)
  • Practice the script.

Procedure

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

  • “Have any of you ever heard “The Legend of the Candy Cane?”  (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “It’s this story that has been sent around the internet and on different websites about how the candy cane was created and why.”
  • “It says that a man created the candy cane to be a witness to Jesus Christ and that each of the characteristics of the candy cane pointed to our Lord.”
  • “Unfortunately, some people checked out the story, and it turns out not to be true.”
  • “The candy cane has been around for about 300 years, and it started out as just a simple candy.”
  • “However, that doesn’t mean that we can’t find symbols of Christianity in the candy cane.”
  • “Many times, God uses something to bring glory to Himself even when mankind didn’t intend to give Him glory.”
  • “I think the candy cane can definitely bring glory to God.”
  • “Let’s look at it more closely.”  (Hold up a candy cane for the participants to see.)
  • “What are some of the things you notice about the candy cane?”  (Hold up you hand to show that you want them to raise their hands to be recognized one at a time.  As you call on them, you might want to write what they say on the flipchart or whiteboard.  Then, ask them to tell you what this characteristic might represent in the Christian faith.  Several characteristics will have two meanings.  You will have to give them some guidance, but let them come up with as many as they can.  The main responses you are looking for are written below.
    • White = Sinless (2 Corinthians 5:21); Born of a Virgin (Matthew 1:23)
    • Red = Blood (Matthew 26:28)
    • Hard = The Rock (Romans 9:33)
    • J-Shaped = Jesus, Shepherd’s staff (John 10:11)
    • Stripes = By His stripes… (Isaiah 53:5)
    • Peppermint = Hyssop (Exodus 12:22-23), Washes Me Clean (Psalm 51:7)
    • Sweet = New Life (Romans 6:4), Heaven (Matthew 5:12)

There may be additional connections that the participants can make, but they won’t be included in the matching game.  As you make the connections, you might want to have someone read the Scriptures listed above.  Some Scriptures may need a little background information to connect them to the symbol.)

  • “See!  We came up with at least eleven connections between Christianity and the candy cane!”
  • “That can’t be accidental.  God must have hidden these truths in the candy cane for us to find.”
  • “Now, let’s play a game to help us remember these connections.”
  • “It’s a matching game, like when you turn a face-down card over and then try to remember where its match might be.”
  • “How many of you have played a game like this before?”  (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “I’m going to divide you into teams before we play.”  (Divide participants into evenly-sized groups – as much as possible – based on how many sets of cards you prepared.)
  • “Here’s how it is played for those of you who haven’t played before.”
  • “Each team has a set of 18 cards, placed face-down in front of you.”
  • “Your goal is to match all the different sets before the other teams do.”
  • “You will do this by turning over two cards at a time.”
  • “You will take turns on your team being the person who turns over the cards.”
  • “Once you turn them over, you cannot change which cards you’ve chosen.”
  • “I will look at the two you’ve chosen and tell you if you have a match or not.”
  • “If you have a match, I will let you make a set and take the cards off the board.”
  • “Sometimes, you may match two cards that actually need a third card to make the set.”
  • “You will be able to tell if there is a third card when there is a #3 in the corner of the two cards you have turned over.”
  • “Whenever this happens, I will let you turn over one more card to see if you can make a full set.”
  • “If you turn over the third card, I will let you remove the cards from the board.”
  • “If you turn over two (or three) cards that don’t match, you will have to turn them back face-down in the same place you found them.”
  • “After I’ve looked at all the cards, we’ll go to the next turn, and someone else in your team will turn over the cards.”
  • “The first team to match all their sets wins!”
  • “Do you have any questions?”
  • “Are you ready to play?”  (Start the game.  Do one round at a time, so that you will be able to tell which team wins.  If you have a prize picked out for the winners, you can hand it out then.  If you finish quickly, you can shuffle the cards and play again.  For a more challenging game, you might want to combine two sets of the cards to make a total of 36 cards for each team.)

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Filed under Christianity, Christmas, Game, Games that Teach, Hands-on, Jesus

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

Kingdom Tag (GAME)


Time
15 minutes (or more, depending upon how many rounds of tag you play)
Description

This game illustrates evangelism in a high-energy, fun way through a game of tag.  It’s a very quick game, so you will probably want to play it several times.  The game works best with larger groups of kids, but it can still be played with small groups.

Optionally, you can play the game outdoors with water (for “baptizing”), but if you do, it needs to be okay for the  kids to get really wet!

Scriptures

  • Matthew 28:18-20

Materials

  • OPTIONAL: Paper or plastic cups for each child
  • OPTIONAL: A tub or bucket of water
  • Bible

Preparation

  • OPTIONAL: Fill the tub with water (You only need the tub of water and the cups if you plan to do the “baptizing” option.)
  • Practice the script.

Procedure

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

  • “Today, we are going to talk about the last words that Jesus said before he rose back into heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father.”
  • “Last words are important.”
  • “If a leader is leaving his followers, and he has one more opportunity to talk to them, he’s going to say something important, don’t you think?”
  • “Sure he is…and Jesus was no different.  He had something very important He wanted to say to His disciples.”
  • “So, He had over 500 of His followers meet Him at the Mount of Olives, and He said this to them.”  (Ask volunteer to read Matthew 28:18-20.)
  • “What did Jesus tell them to do?”  (Answer: go and make disciples, baptize them and teach them)
  • “So, one of the most important things Jesus ever said to His followers was, ‘Go, Make Disciples, Baptize Them and Teach Them.’”
  • “Do you think this is still important for us to do as followers of Jesus today?”  (Listen for responses.)
  • “Sure it is!”
  • “It’s just as important today as it was when Jesus originally said it.”
  • “We need to tell as many people as we can about Jesus, so that they can go to heaven, too.”
  • “And the neat thing is, every time a new person becomes a follower of Jesus, they can then tell all their friends and family about Jesus, too!”
  • “Now, there are millions and millions of Christians in the world.”
  • “If all the Christians were telling as many people as they could find about Jesus, how long do you think it would be before the whole world knew about Him?”  (Listen for responses.)
  • “Not too long, huh?”
  • “Well, let’s try this out.”
  • “We are going to play a game, called Kingdom Tag.”
  • “It’s played like regular tag, but there are a few differences.”
  • “First, you start with one person who is ‘IT,’ and that person represents a Christian.”
  • “Everyone else represents someone who doesn’t know Jesus, and each person can live in different parts of the world.”
  • “If you get tagged by the Christian (the person who is ‘IT’), you become a Christian, and then you are also ‘IT!’”
  • “Then, instead of running away, your new job will be to try to tag other people.”
  • “They will then become Christians, too, and their new jobs will be to tag other people.”
  • “We will keep playing until everyone has been tagged and becomes a Christian.”  (If you want to do the “baptizing” option, then anyone who is “IT” should run and get a cup filled with water.  They tag people by “baptizing” them with the water.)
  • “Every few minutes, I’ll ask you to raise your hand if you still haven’t been tagged yet, so be honest and raise your hand if you still haven’t been tagged.”
  • “Does anyone have any questions about how to play the game?”  (Answer questions.)
  • “Okay, I’m going to need one volunteer to be it.”  (Select volunteer.  Then define what is out-of-bounds and where they are welcome to run and hide.)
  • “I’m going to give you a five second head-start before I let the Christian go.”
  • “Ready?  Go!”  (Count to five slowly before letting your “IT” person go.  Every few minutes, ask everyone to raise their hands who has not been tagged.  The game is over when everyone has been tagged.  If it goes quickly, play several rounds, if you like.  Then, call the kids back to talk about the Debrief Questions listed below.)

Debrief Questions

  1. What did you think about the game?
  2. How long did it take to tag everyone?  Does that surprise you?
  3. Why do you think it happened so quickly?
  4. Could we do the same thing by sharing about Jesus with other people we meet?
  5. How did you know if someone had already been tagged or not?
  6. Is that anything like how hard it is to know if someone is a Christian in real life?
  7. So what do you think we should do if we can’t tell if someone is a Christian or not?
  8. What will you commit to doing this week about sharing Jesus with other people?

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Filed under Baptism, Christianity, discipleship, Evangelism, Game, Games that Teach, Great Commission, salvation, Witness

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

Strongholds (Obj Lesson)


Time
15 minutes

Description
This object lesson teaches about strongholds, what they are, where they come from and how to defeat the ones that are created by the Enemy.

Audience
Children, youth, adults

Scriptures
o    John 8:44
o    2 Corinthians 10:3-5

Materials
o    PowerPoint file – “Strongholds – Bricks.ppt  (You can find this on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at http://www.teachthem.wordpress.com.)
o    A board or wall of some sort to stick the bricks to.
o    Glue, paste or tape for making “bricks”
o    Tape or push pins for sticking the “bricks” to the wall (depending upon whether or not you use a cork board)

o     Scissors

Preparation
o    Print the bricks from the “Strongholds – Bricks.ppt” file.  (You can also create your own if these don’t suit your audience.  The positive sides of the bricks represent the Fruit of the Spirit.  The negative sides of the bricks represent the opposite of the Fruit of the Spirit.  I’ve included many different options for the negative sides so that you can pick the ones that the audience will identify with most, but you may also want to have several different words for the negative sides.  You might also want to print several copies of each brick so that you can build an impressively big “stronghold.”)
o    Fold each “brick” page in half along the dotted line, and then tape or paste them together.
o    Trim the bricks along their borders, and discard the white space that’s left over.
o    Make tape “donuts” (circles of tape), and put them where the volunteers can get to them quickly.
o    Arrange all the bricks with the negative side facing up, and put them in easy reach of the volunteers.
o    Practice the script.

Procedure
Use the following script and instructions (or modify to suit your needs):
•    “We are in a spiritual war between God and Satan, and the battlefield is our minds.”
•    “Satan wants to control and destroy our minds, and God wants our minds completely devoted to Him.”
•    “Satan wants to control and destroy our minds, because it is the only way he can hurt an all-powerful, all-knowing, everywhere God.”
•    “He tries to wound the Creator through His creation.”
•    “If we want to help God win the war, we need to know how the battle is fought.”  (Ask volunteer to read 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.)
•    “We do not wage war as the world does.  We have different weapons.”
•    “We don’t use bazookas or fighter jets or nuclear missiles to fight this war, because it’s not a physical war – it’s a thought war!”
•    “We are fighting to give control of our minds and thoughts to God.”
•    “Regular weapons won’t do anything against thoughts.”
•    “But this Scripture says that our weapons have divine power to demolish strongholds!”
•    “That sounds pretty powerful!”
•    “What are these weapons that this Scripture is talking about?  Does anyone know?”  (Listen to responses.  If no one mentions them, let them know that our main spiritual weapons are prayer, the Word and the name of Jesus Christ.)
•    “Okay, so now we know our weapons.  What about strongholds?  Does anyone know what those might be?”  (Listen to responses.  You are looking for the idea of a fort or a military position that is very strong – a “strong hold” on some territory.)
•    “In war, a stronghold is a place that one side has built up and fortified.”
•    “They have a ‘strong hold’ on that place, so it’s an effective place for them to use to wage war against their enemies.”
•    “Whether it’s a good or bad stronghold depends upon whose stronghold it is.”
•    “You can find examples in Scripture of both positive strongholds (held by the allies of God) and negative strongholds (held by the allies of Satan).”
•    “In the thought war between God and Satan, spiritual strongholds are habits of thinking.”
•    “There are three ways for thoughts to get into your mind: you can think them yourself, God can put the thought into your mind through His Spirit, or Satan can put the thought into your mind.”
•    “Even when you think the thoughts yourself, they are heavily influenced by the habits of thinking you have developed by listening to either God or Satan when they gave you thoughts.”
•    “By the way, if you want to hear God’s thoughts in your mind, you have to listen carefully.  He rarely shouts them like Satan does.”
•    “So, it’s really important to know where the thought came from.”
•    “If they come from Satan, we don’t want to listen to them.”
•    “Jesus said that Satan is ‘the father of lies,’ that ‘when he lies, he speaks his native language,’ and that ‘there is no truth in him.’” (John 8:44)
•    “Everything Satan says to you is a lie, and everything God says to you is the truth.”
•    “Satan starts lying to you when you are a very young child, because he wants to build strongholds of lies in you mind.  He wants you in the habit of believing his lies.”
•    “Let me give you a picture of what this looks like.”  (Ask for three or four volunteers to come up front, and tell them that you want them to use the tape donuts to stick the “bricks” to the wall or board you are using for this lesson.  Tell them to stick them so that they look like bricks in a wall, and ask them to show only the red lettering on the bricks.  If you didn’t print them in color, you may need to mark the bricks in some way so that your volunteers can tell which side is the lie and which side is the truth.  While they are working, continue with the lesson.)
•    “When Satan gives you a thought, you have a choice whether or not to agree with it.”
•    “If you agree with it, or if you choose to just passively receive it and not evaluate whether it is right or wrong, it becomes a brick in Satan’s stronghold of lies.”
•    “Once Satan finds a lie that you will agree with or passively allow into your mind, he works full time to reinforce that particular lie until it forms a ‘strong hold’ on the way you think.”
•    “The volunteers are showing us how Satan builds his stronghold.”
•    “All of these are lies that he wants us to believe.”  (Read some of the bricks out loud.)
•    “Brick-by-brick, lie-by-lie, he builds up this stronghold, and it changes the way we think and how we see the world around us.”
•    “The worst part is, once we develop the habit of thinking in this way, we start to do Satan’s work for him.”
•    “We add bricks to the wall without him even having to lift a finger, and it gets stronger and stronger.”
•    “Now, when God’s truth comes into your mind, Satan will attack it from his stronghold.”
•    “You could be sitting in church and listening to a sermon or talking to a godly friend or reading something with truth in it.”
•    “God will often use these things to give you a truth He wants you to hear.”
•    “It enters your mind, but Satan attacks it from his stronghold of lies and convinces you it’s not true.”
•    “As long as Satan has this stronghold in your mind, it will be difficult for God’s truth to survive.”
•    “But I have some good news for you!”  (Ask volunteer to read 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 again.)
•    “The Scriptures say that we can demolish the strongholds with our weapons that have divine power.”
•    “Here’s how to do it!”
•    “First, stop allowing thoughts to come into your mind unsupervised.”
•    “You’re at war!  No military commander allows some stranger to enter his base of operations without an armed escort!” (Ask for a volunteer to come join you at the front.)
•    “Let’s pretend this person is a thought and that I’m your mind.”
•    “If I recognize that I’m in a thought war, am I going to do this… (have volunteer approach you while you act out the following)  Yo! Whassup, man?  Don’t know who you are and don’t care.  Come join the party!”  (Have volunteer pass you by.)
•    “What do you think, is that how I should greet this thought?”  (Listen to responses.)
•    “Of course not!  He could be a terrorist bringing in a mind bomb!”
•    “Let’s do this again the right way.”  (Have volunteer go back to his/her original place and then try to pass by you.)
•    “Halt!  Who goes there?  Are you friend or foe?”  (Tell your volunteer to say he/she is a friend.)
•    “Oh, yeah?  Well, we will see about that!  I’m taking you to my General!”  (Gently, but playfully grab the volunteer’s arm and lead him/her to another place in the room.  Then look up as if you are praying and say…)
•    “General Jesus, I found this thought trying to gain access to our military command.  Is he friend or foe?”  (Pretend that Jesus tells you he is a foe.)
•    “He’s the enemy?  Thank you, sir.  I will dispose of him right away.”  (Playfully escort the volunteer back to his/her original starting point.  If he/she resists, you might need to ask another adult in the room to help you escort him/her.)
•    “Now that you know that thought is a lie, never let it back into your mind.”
•    “Each time Satan tries to sneak it through, reject it.”
•    “You might say something like, ‘I know that’s a lie, and I reject it in the name of Jesus!’”
•    “Whenever you reject a lie, you’ve got to replace it with the truth.”
•    “It’s not enough to say, ‘That’s not true!’  You’ve also got to replace it with what is true.”
•    “For example, take a look that the Enemy’s stronghold that these volunteers have been building.”  (Point to board or wall where the volunteers have been adding the bricks.)
•    “It’s good to say that this isn’t true about me.”  (Read off one of the bricks.)
•    “But then I also need to replace it with a similar truth.”  (Turn the brick over, and move the tape or pin to the other side so that you can stick it back to the board on the green / Fruit of the Spirit side.)
•    “So I ask God what is really true about me, and He gives me the truth He wants to occupy my mind.”  (Stick brick to the board.)
•    “Touch your neighbor and say, ‘Ask God what HE wants you to think!’”  (Allow a moment for them to do this.)
•    “The more I do this, the more I trade Satan’s lies for the truth of God.”  (Have your volunteers start flipping the bricks to the positive side.)
•    “And when you do this, you’ve got to believe what you hear God say.”
•    “It isn’t always easy, because God’s truth sometimes looks wrong compared to what is going on around us and what we thought was true before.”
•    “You may have to pray, ‘This is hard to believe, Lord, but I trust You.  Help me to see the truth in this.’”
•    “This is called taking every thought captive before Christ, and it demolishes strongholds.”
•    “In fact, it replaces Satan’s strongholds with God’s strongholds in your mind!”
•    “Then, when Satan tries to send a lie your way, God’s truth will attack it from God’s strong hold in your thinking.”  (Even if they haven’t completely finished flipping bricks, thank your volunteers, and let them return to their seats.)
•    “Let’s recite a Rhyme Time that will help us remember today’s lesson:

Satan’s strongholds really stink!
I’m letting God choose what I think!

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Filed under Belief, Brain, Christianity, demons, Jesus, Mind, Object Lesson, Spiritual Warfare, thinking, Thought war, thoughts