Tag Archives: Christianity

Win-Lose (GAME)


Time
20-30 minutes

Description
This game helps participants understand different responses to conflict.  (You can also use this as a game to illustrate the different strategies in negotiation.)

Audience
Children, youth, adults

Materials
•    Beads (20 per person plus 40 per group – in other words, if you have six people in a group, you will need 160 beads – 20 per person and 40 to go in the middle).  You can also use coins, rice, beans… anything that you have lots and lots of.
•    Dice (one per group – I recommend fuzzy dice.  They are more fun to play with.)
•    Flipchart or whiteboard
•    Marker
•    Copies of the “Debrief Questions” page at the end of this lesson
•    (Optional) A prizes(s) for the winning team(s)

Preparation
•    Make copies of the “Debrief Questions” page at the end of this lesson (one copy per table group).
•    Count out the beads, and put enough for the gate at each table.
•    Put a die at each table.
•    Write the following on a flipchart or whiteboard:
o    1 – Win-Win (Everyone gets 1 bead from center.)
o    2 – Win-Lose (Everyone gives you 1 bead.)
o    3 – Lose-Win (You give everyone 1 bead.)
o    4 – Lose-Lose (Everyone puts 1 bead in the center.)
o    5 – Compromise (You give 1 bead to the center and pick 2 other people to put one bead in the center.)
o    6 – You Choose (Choose your own conflict response, and do what it says.)
•    Practice the script.

Procedure
Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):
•    (Divide the participants into table groups of 4-6 people each.)
•    “We’re going to play a game that will illustrate peoples’ different responses to conflict.”
•    “Different people respond in different ways when they come into conflict.”
•    “Many go for ‘Win-Lose.’  ‘I win; you lose.’  They want to win the conflict even if it means that the other person has to lose.”
•    “Many others go for ‘Lose-Win.’  ‘I lose; you win.’  They just let the other person win, because they don’t like conflict or confrontation.  It’s easier just to give up the fight.”
•    “Some go for ‘Compromise.’  ‘We both lose some of what we wanted, but at least we get a resolution to the conflict.’  Neither party gets exactly what they wanted in ‘Compromise,’ but the conflict gets resolved or the task gets done.  Sometimes that’s enough.”
•    “Some even go for ‘Lose-Lose.’ ‘I lose; you lose.’  This one seems crazy, but people will often choose this response when they are upset that they can’t win.  It’s like they are saying, ‘If I can’t have what I want, I’ll make sure no one gets what they want!’”
•    “And a very few people go for ‘Win-Win.’  ‘I win; you win.’  I say very few people go for it, because it’s very difficult to do.  It takes patience, creativity and a willingness to truly listen and understand to the other person before making a decision.  However, this is usually the best response to conflict, because everyone gets what they want (or even something better).”
•    “On your table, you have lots of beads.”
•    “I would like for everyone at the table to count out 20 beads for himself or herself.”  (Wait for everyone to count out his or her beads.  There should be at least 40 left in the middle of the table.)
•    “The game we are about to play is called, ‘Win-Lose,’ and your objective is to win.”
•    “The person at the table who first collects 40 beads is the winner.”
•    “You gain or lose beads by rolling the die (singular for dice) and doing one of six things listed on the flipchart / whiteboard.”
•    “If you roll a one, you choose a Win-Win response to conflict, and everyone at the table benefits by getting a bead from the center.”
•    “If you roll a two, you choose a Win-Lose response to conflict, and everyone gives you one of their beads.”
•    “If you roll a three, you choose a Lose-Win response to conflict, and you give everyone at the table one bead.”
•    “If you roll a four, you choose a Lose-Lose response to conflict, and everyone had to put a bead back into the center.”
•    “If you roll a five, you choose a Compromise response to conflict, and you need to put a bead in the center.  You will also pick two other people to put a bead in the center.”
•    “If you roll a six, you get to pick your conflict response.  You then have to do what the flipchart / whiteboard says for that conflict response.  For example, if you choose ‘Win-Lose,’ then you should collect a bead from everyone at the table.”
•    “To determine who goes first, you will each roll the die.  The highest roll goes first.  If you have a tie for the highest roll, have just those people continue to roll to determine who goes first.”
•    “After the first person goes, the person on his/her left will go next, and play will continue clockwise around the table.”
•    “Play continues until someone accumulates 40 beads.  That person is the winner.”
•    “Does anyone have any questions about how to play?”  (Answer questions.)
•    “Okay, then you can start rolling the die to see who goes first.”  (If they finish the first round quickly and you have the time, let them play several rounds.  Then, award a prize to the winners if you choose.  Pass out the Debrief Questions sheet to each group, and allow them 10-15 minutes to talk about the questions.  Then ask the large group for any general insights from the activity.”

Debrief Questions

o    How does this game reflect real conflict situations?
o    When people got to choose the conflict response they used, what did they usually choose?  Why?  What can you learn from this?
o    What consequences are there for people who always use the following approaches to conflict?
•    Win-Lose
•    Lose-Win
•    Lose-Lose
•    Compromise
o    How do people generally feel about others who use these conflict responses on a regular basis?
o    Why don’t more people approach conflict from a Win-Win perspective?
o    What are the benefits of using a Win-Win approach?
o    What could you do to increase the frequency with which you use Win-win?

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Filed under conflict management, Conflict Resolution, Coping skills, Game, Games that Teach, Relationships

Fortunately – Unfortunately (Obj Lesson)


Time
20 minutes

Description
This object lesson helps us to understand that what happens to us is not as important as how we respond to what happens to us.  If we trust God with even our “unfortunate” events and circumstances, He can use everything for our good.

Materials
•    None

Preparation
•    Practice the script.

Procedure
Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):
•    “We’re going to play a short game called, “Fortunately – Unfortunately.”
•    “First, I need to divide you into small groups.”  (Divide kids into smaller groups of 3-6 people.)
•    “Now, we have to select the person who will start the game.  I want everyone to hold up one finger.”  (Make sure everyone holds up a finger, then have them do the following.)
•    “Now point that finger straight up in the air as high as you can make it go.”
•    “I’m going to count to three.  When I say, ‘three,’ I want everyone in the group to point at the person you think should start the game.”
•    “Ready?  Okay, One….Two….Three!”  (If any groups end up with a tie for the number of fingers pointed at different people, have them do it again until the tie is broken.)
•    “Alright, this person is going to start you off by telling the first part of a story.”
•    “They will tell you about 15-20 words about any topic they want, but the story has to start with, ‘Once upon a time…’”
•    “For example, ‘Once upon a time, there was a man who liked to eat pickled porcupines…’”
•    “Then, that person will stop right there, and the person on their right will pick up the story where they left off.”
•    “But before they tell anymore of the story, they have to say, ‘Unfortunately…’ and then share something unfortunate about the situation or person.”
•    “They will tell about 15 words of why things are so unfortunate, and then they will stop.”
•    “The next person will pick up the story where they left off, but he/she will start by saying, ‘Fortunately…’  Then they will tell us what is so fortunate about the situation.”
•    “This keeps going with each person alternating their stories to be ‘fortunate’ or ‘unfortunate.’”
•    “You will keep going around your group until I say to stop, so you will probably have several tries at making up ‘fortunate’ and ‘unfortunate’ parts of the story.”
•    “The only other rule is that you can’t kill anyone in the stories.”
•    “Does anyone have any questions before we get started?”
•    “Alright, those of you who were picked to start, begin your stories!”  (Allow three to five minutes for storytelling, then ask them to finish the part they are on and turn their attention back to you.)
•    “The point of this game is that there are always two ways of looking at the things that happen in our lives.  You can view almost anything as either fortunate or unfortunate.”
•    “If you search for it, even something very bad can have a fortunate side, particularly if you are willing to trust God with it.”
•    “Romans 8:28 says, ‘And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”
•    “The Scripture says that God will works in ‘some’ things for our good, right?”  (The kids should answer, ‘NO!’)
•    “Oh, it says, God works in just the fortunate things, right?” (The kids should answer, ‘NO!’)
•    “In just the things where we make good decisions?”  (‘NO!’)
•    “…where we stay out of sin?” (‘NO!’)
•    “…where we pray about it ahead of time?” (‘NO!’)
•    “…where we do everything our pastor tells us to do?” (‘NO!’)
•    “What does it say?  …God works in ALL things for the good of those who love Him.”
•    “Sometimes when ‘unfortunate’ stuff happens to us, it’s God’s discipline in our lives, because the Bible says in Proverbs 3:11:  ‘My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent His rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those He loves, as a father the son he delights in.’”
•    “But that means that even when God is disciplining you for your sin, He is doing it for your good!”
•    “And it’s even better if you admit that you sinned and ask for forgiveness.  Then God can really use it for your good!”
•    “He uses EVERYTHING that happens in your life to be a blessing to you!”
•    “So, even when something happens that looks bad, it’s a great idea to praise God for it.  That shows that you trust Him to use it for your good.”
•    “So, let’s try this out.  Who can think of something bad that could happen to us?”  (Listen for examples.)
•    “Alright everyone, how could God use that for that person’s good?”  (Do this several times to make the point that God can use everything to bless us.)
•    “You see, just because it looks unfortunate doesn’t mean it is.”
•    “It’s less important what happens to you than how you respond to what happens to you.”
•    “Praise God for anything and everything that happens in your life – whether it looks fortunate or unfortunate!”

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Filed under acceptance, blessing, Challenges, Christianity, Coping skills, Discipline, faith, Game, Games that Teach, God's Plan, Hope, Object Lesson, Praise, Trust, Worry

Easter Story Bingo (GAME)


Time
30 minutes

Description
This game teaches the Easter story through the game of Bingo.

Materials
•    Copies of the eight different bingo cards (See the filed called, “Easter 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 Easter 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 Easter.”
•    “Each of you has received a ‘Easter Story’ bingo sheet.  On it, you will see pictures that represent some of the events from the Easter story.”
•    “I’m going to read the Easter 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.  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.  Chapters and verses are noted, and all four Gospels 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 EASTER STORY

Matthew 26
Anointed for Burial
1-2 When Jesus finished saying these things, he told his disciples, “You know that Passover comes in two days. That’s when the Son of Man will be betrayed and handed over for crucifixion.”

3-5 At that very moment, the party of high priests and religious leaders was meeting in the chambers of the Chief Priest named Caiaphas, conspiring to seize Jesus by stealth and kill him. They agreed that it should not be done during Passover Week. “We don’t want a riot on our hands,” they said.

6-9 When Jesus was at Bethany, a guest of Simon the Leper, a woman came up to him as he was eating dinner and anointed him with a bottle of very expensive perfume. When the disciples saw what was happening, they were furious. “That’s criminal! This could have been sold for a lot and the money handed out to the poor.”

10-13 When Jesus realized what was going on, he intervened. “Why are you giving this woman a hard time? She has just done something wonderfully significant for me. You will have the poor with you every day for the rest of your lives, but not me. When she poured this perfume on my body, what she really did was anoint me for burial. You can be sure that wherever in the whole world the Message is preached, what she has just done is going to be remembered and admired.”

14-16 That is when one of the Twelve, the one named Judas Iscariot, went to the cabal of high priests and said, “What will you give me if I hand him over to you?” They settled on thirty silver pieces. He began looking for just the right moment to hand him over.

Luke 22
The Passover Meal
7-8 The Day of Unleavened Bread came, the day the Passover lamb was butchered. Jesus sent Peter and John off, saying, “Go prepare the Passover for us so we can eat it together.”

9 They said, “Where do you want us to do this?”

10-12 He said, “Keep your eyes open as you enter the city. A man carrying a water jug will meet you. Follow him home. Then speak with the owner of the house: The Teacher wants to know, ‘Where is the guest room where I can eat the Passover meal with my disciples?’ He will show you a spacious second-story room, swept and ready. Prepare the meal there.”

13 They left, found everything just as he told them, and prepared the Passover meal.

John 13
Washing His Disciples’ Feet
1-2 Just before the Passover Feast, Jesus knew that the time had come to leave this world to go to the Father. Having loved his dear companions, he continued to love them right to the end. It was suppertime. The Devil by now had Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, firmly in his grip, all set for the betrayal.

3-6 Jesus knew that the Father had put him in complete charge of everything, that he came from God and was on his way back to God. So he got up from the supper table, set aside his robe, and put on an apron. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the disciples, drying them with his apron. When he got to Simon Peter, Peter said, “Master, you wash my feet?”

7 Jesus answered, “You don’t understand now what I’m doing, but it will be clear enough to you later.”

8 Peter persisted, “You’re not going to wash my feet—ever!”

Jesus said, “If I don’t wash you, you can’t be part of what I’m doing.”

9 “Master!” said Peter. “Not only my feet, then. Wash my hands! Wash my head!”

Luke 22
14-16 When it was time, he sat down, all the apostles with him, and said, “You’ve no idea how much I have looked forward to eating this Passover meal with you before I enter my time of suffering. It’s the last one I’ll eat until we all eat it together in the kingdom of God.”

17-18 Taking the cup, he blessed it, then said, “Take this and pass it among you. As for me, I’ll not drink wine again until the kingdom of God arrives.”

19 Taking bread, he blessed it, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, given for you. Eat it in my memory.”

20 He did the same with the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant written in my blood, blood poured out for you.

31-32 “Simon, stay on your toes. Satan has tried his best to separate all of you from me, like chaff from wheat. Simon, I’ve prayed for you in particular that you not give in or give out. When you have come through the time of testing, turn to your companions and give them a fresh start.”

33 Peter said, “Master, I’m ready for anything with you. I’d go to jail for you. I’d die for you!”

34 Jesus said, “I’m sorry to have to tell you this, Peter, but before the rooster crows you will have three times denied that you know me.”

A Dark Night
39-40 Leaving there, he went, as he so often did, to Mount Olives. The disciples followed him. When they arrived at the place, he said, “Pray that you don’t give in to temptation.”

41-44 He pulled away from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and prayed, “Father, remove this cup from me. But please, not what I want. What do you want?” At once an angel from heaven was at his side, strengthening him. He prayed on all the harder. Sweat, wrung from him like drops of blood, poured off his face.

45-46 He got up from prayer, went back to the disciples and found them asleep, drugged by grief. He said, “What business do you have sleeping? Get up. Pray so you won’t give in to temptation.”

47-48 No sooner were the words out of his mouth than a crowd showed up, Judas, the one from the Twelve, in the lead. He came right up to Jesus to kiss him. Jesus said, “Judas, you would betray the Son of Man with a kiss?”

49-50 When those with him saw what was happening, they said, “Master, shall we fight?” One of them took a swing at the Chief Priest’s servant and cut off his right ear.

51 Jesus said, “Let them be. Even in this.” Then, touching the servant’s ear, he healed him.

A Rooster Crowed
54-56 Arresting Jesus, they marched him off and took him into the house of the Chief Priest. Peter followed, but at a safe distance. In the middle of the courtyard some people had started a fire and were sitting around it, trying to keep warm. One of the serving maids sitting at the fire noticed him, then took a second look and said, “This man was with him!”

57 He denied it, “Woman, I don’t even know him.”

58 A short time later, someone else noticed him and said, “You’re one of them.”

But Peter denied it: “Man, I am not.”

59 About an hour later, someone else spoke up, really adamant: “He’s got to have been with him! He’s got ‘Galilean’ written all over him.”

60-62 Peter said, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about.” At that very moment, the last word hardly off his lips, a rooster crowed. Just then, the Master turned and looked at Peter. Peter remembered what the Master had said to him: “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” He went out and cried and cried and cried.

Mark 15
Standing Before Pilate
1 At dawn’s first light, the high priests, with the religious leaders and scholars, arranged a conference with the entire Jewish Council. After tying Jesus securely, they took him out and presented him to Pilate.

2-3 Pilate asked him, “Are you the ‘King of the Jews’?”
He answered, “If you say so.” The high priests let loose a barrage of accusations.

4-5 Pilate asked again, “Aren’t you going to answer anything? That’s quite a list of accusations.” Still, he said nothing. Pilate was impressed, really impressed.

Luke 23
4 Pilate told the high priests and the accompanying crowd, “I find nothing wrong here. He seems harmless enough to me.”

5 But they were vehement. “He’s stirring up unrest among the people with his teaching, disturbing the peace everywhere, starting in Galilee and now all through Judea. He’s a dangerous man, endangering the peace.”

13-16 Then Pilate called in the high priests, rulers, and the others and said, “You brought this man to me as a disturber of the peace. I examined him in front of all of you and found there was nothing to your charge.  It’s clear that he’s done nothing wrong, let alone anything deserving death. I’m going to warn him to watch his step and let him go.”

18-20 At that, the crowd went wild: “Kill him! Give us Barabbas!” (Barabbas had been thrown in prison for starting a riot in the city and for murder.) Pilate still wanted to let Jesus go, and so spoke out again.

21 But they kept shouting back, “Crucify! Crucify him!”

22 He tried a third time. “But for what crime? I’ve found nothing in him deserving death. I’m going to warn him to watch his step and let him go.”

23-25 But they kept at it, a shouting mob, demanding that he be crucified. And finally they shouted him down.

Matthew 27
24 When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere and that a riot was imminent, he took a basin of water and washed his hands in full sight of the crowd, saying, “I’m washing my hands of responsibility for this man’s death. From now on, it’s in your hands. You’re judge and jury.”

25 The crowd answered, “We’ll take the blame, we and our children after us.”

26 Then he pardoned Barabbas. But he had Jesus whipped, and then handed over for crucifixion.

Mark 15
16-20 The soldiers took Jesus into the palace (called Praetorium) and called together the entire brigade. They dressed him up in purple and put a crown plaited from a thornbush on his head. Then they began their mockery: “Bravo, King of the Jews!” They banged on his head with a club, spit on him, and knelt down in mock worship. After they had had their fun, they took off the purple cape and put his own clothes back on him. Then they marched out to nail him to the cross.

The Crucifixion
21 There was a man walking by, coming from work, Simon from Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus. They made him carry Jesus’ cross.

22-24 The soldiers brought Jesus to Golgotha, meaning “Skull Hill.” They offered him a mild painkiller (wine mixed with myrrh), but he wouldn’t take it. And they nailed him to the cross. They divided up his clothes and threw dice to see who would get them.

25-30 They nailed him up at nine o’clock in the morning. The charge against him—the King of the Jews—was printed on a poster. Along with him, they crucified two criminals, one to his right, the other to his left. People passing along the road jeered, shaking their heads in mock lament: “You bragged that you could tear down the Temple and then rebuild it in three days—so show us your stuff! Save yourself! If you’re really God’s Son, come down from that cross!”

Luke 23
34-35 Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them; they don’t know what they’re doing.”

Mark 15
33-34 At noon the sky became extremely dark. The darkness lasted three hours. At three o’clock, Jesus groaned out of the depths, crying loudly, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”

35-36 Some of the bystanders who heard him said, “Listen, he’s calling for Elijah.” Someone ran off, soaked a sponge in sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down.”

37-39 But Jesus, with a loud cry, gave his last breath. At that moment the Temple curtain ripped right down the middle. When the Roman captain standing guard in front of him saw that he had quit breathing, he said, “This has to be the Son of God!”

Luke 23
50-54 There was a man by the name of Joseph, a member of the Jewish High Council, a man of good heart and good character. He had not gone along with the plans and actions of the council. His hometown was the Jewish village of Arimathea. He lived in alert expectation of the kingdom of God. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Taking him down, he wrapped him in a linen shroud and placed him in a tomb chiseled into the rock, a tomb never yet used. It was the day before Sabbath, the Sabbath just about to begin.

Mark 16
The Resurrection
1-3 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so they could embalm him. Very early on Sunday morning, as the sun rose, they went to the tomb. They worried out loud to each other, “Who will roll back the stone from the tomb for us?”

4-5 Then they looked up, saw that it had been rolled back—it was a huge stone—and walked right in. They saw a young man (angel) sitting on the right side, dressed all in white. They were completely taken aback, astonished.

6-7 He said, “Don’t be afraid. I know you’re looking for Jesus the Nazarene, the One they nailed on the cross. He’s been raised up; he’s here no longer. You can see for yourselves that the place is empty. Now—on your way. Tell his disciples and Peter that he is going on ahead of you to Galilee. You’ll see him there, exactly as he said.”

Luke 24
9-11 They left the tomb and broke the news of all this to the Eleven and the rest. Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them kept telling these things to the apostles, but the apostles didn’t believe a word of it, thought they were making it all up.

John 20
19-20 Later on that day, the disciples had gathered together, but, fearful of the Jews, had locked all the doors in the house. Jesus entered, stood among them, and said, “Peace to you.” Then he showed them his hands and side.

20-21 The disciples, seeing the Master with their own eyes, were exuberant. Jesus repeated his greeting: “Peace to you. Just as the Father sent me, I send you.”

22-23 Then he took a deep breath and breathed into them. “Receive the Holy Spirit,” he said. “If you forgive someone’s sins, they’re gone for good. If you don’t forgive sins, what are you going to do with them?”

24-25 But Thomas, sometimes called the Twin, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples told him, “We saw the Master.”

But he said, “Unless I see the nail holes in his hands, put my finger in the nail holes, and stick my hand in his side, I won’t believe it.”

26 Eight days later, his disciples were again in the room. This time Thomas was with them. Jesus came through the locked doors, stood among them, and said, “Peace to you.”

27 Then he focused his attention on Thomas. “Take your finger and examine my hands. Take your hand and stick it in my side. Don’t be unbelieving. Believe.”

28 Thomas said, “My Master! My God!”

29 Jesus said, “So, you believe because you’ve seen with your own eyes. Even better blessings are in store for those who believe without seeing.”

Luke 24
50-51He then led them out of the city over to Bethany. Raising his hands he blessed them, and while blessing them, took his leave, being carried up to heaven.

52-53 And they were on their knees, worshiping him. They returned to Jerusalem bursting with joy. They spent all their time in the Temple praising God. Yes.

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Filed under Agape Love, Angels, Christianity, Easter, Game, Games that Teach, Jesus, Joseph of Arimathea, Love, Object Lesson, Resurrection, Simon-Peter, Spiritual Warfare, Thomas, unconditional love

Point to Christ Relay


Time

15-25 minutes

Description

This is game that helps participants understand how difficult it can be sometimes to keep our lives pointed toward Christ.

 

Materials

  • Blindfolds (one for each team)
  • Prizes for “enemies or demons.”
  • Prizes for the winning team (optional)
  • Flipchart and markers

 

Preparation

·      Find a wide-open space in which to run the race.  Make sure that there are no obstacles that the runners might stumble over.

·      Select a point in the room or outside that can represent “Christ.”

·      Select starting points around the room or outside that are equidistant from the “Christ” point.

·      Mark off the starting points and three to four relay points of equal distance.  In other words, you want to divide each path to “Christ” into three to four segments.

·      Post the debrief questions on a flipchart, but keep it concealed until the activity is over.  (See the end of this lesson for questions.)

·      Practice the script.

 

Procedure

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

·      “We’re going to run a race today, but it’s going to be a different kind of race.”

·      “This race will be a relay race, which may or may not be familiar to you.”

·      “But in this race, you will be blindfolded!”

·      “AND…each racer will have an enemy who tries to keep you from finishing your race!”

·      “Interested?”

·      “Okay, I’m going to divide you into teams.”  (Divide group into teams of 5-6.  Each team needs to be equally sized.  Extras can serve as additional “enemies/demons.”) 

·      “Now I need a volunteer from each team to be the ‘enemies or demons.’” 

·      “Your job will be to try to prevent the runners on the other teams from reaching their goal, and if you help your team win because you confused the other teams, your team will get a prize (optional).”

·      “So, here’s how this race works.”

·      “Each team will start from their starting point.”  (Indicate starting points for each team.)

·      “One team member will line up on each of your team’s relay points (including the starting point).”  (Indicate relay points for each team, and have the team members take their positions.)

·      When it’s your turn to race, you will have to put on a blindfold.”  (Indicate blindfold and how to put it on.)

·      “If your blindfold is not on correctly, your team can be disqualified, so make sure you get it on so that you can’t see.”

·      “The first racer will put on his blindfold and run to the first relay point.”

·      “Once there, he will take off the blindfold and give it to the next runner, who will then put on the blindfold before starting to run.”

·      “The first team to reach this point, which we are calling ‘Christ,’ wins!”

·      “But remember the enemies/demons?  These enemies/demons will run up to you as soon as you put your blindfold on, and they will spin you around 3-5 times.  When they are done spinning you, they may point you in the wrong direction.”  (Assign “enemies/demons” to opponents’ teams.  Extra “enemies/demons” should be instructed that they can are to stand off to the side and shout confusing directions to the runners to keep them from reaching the goal.  Be sure to reward these extra “enemies/demons” after the race, since they aren’t part of a team.)

·      “One team member is your “Holy Spirit.”  He or she will stand off to the side and call out directions to you about which way you should go.”

·      “You will have to listen very carefully to hear your “Holy Spirit” telling you how to face toward ‘Christ’ and to separate the voice of your “Holy Spirit’ from the voice of any demons.”

·      “Is everyone clear on the instructions?”  (Answer any questions.)

·      “Okay, everyone get on your places.  First runners, put on your blindfolds.  “Enemies/demons,” get ready to spin them.  Ready, get set….GO!”  (Help everyone to follow the rules, but try not to interfere in the race.  When the race is over, award prizes if you choose and have the teams reassemble to answer the debrief questions, listed below.)

 

Debrief Questions

o   “What made that difficult?”

o   “Even if you didn’t win, how were you able to succeed in running the race?”

o   “How is this like real life for a Christian?”

o   (Have a volunteer read 1 Corinthians 9:24-27.)

o   “How was running this race like the race Paul describes?”

o   “Why do you think Paul compares our Christian life to a race?”

o   “What does Paul mean by ‘running aimlessly’ and ‘fight(ing) like a man beating the air?’  How do these apply to us?”

o   “Why would Paul need to ‘beat (his) body and make it (his) slave?’”

§  “Do we need to do this, too?  If so, how?”

o   “What other lessons can you take away from this activity?”

 

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Filed under Challenges, Christianity, Daily walk, demons, Focus, Game, Games that Teach, Hands-on, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Listening to God, Satan's tactics, Spiritual Warfare, struggles

God’s Dream


Time

45-60 minutes

Description

This is game that helps participants understand that God’s dream for their lives has to be discovered and that it usually requires the help of others to complete.  It was developed for adults but can be modified for use with children (see ideas at the end of the lesson).

 

Materials

  • Large puzzles with at least 50 pieces each (The puzzles can be different, but they should be similar in size and shape.)
  • Masking tape
  • Ziplock bags (optional)
  • Signs that say, “MENTOR.” (One per table group.)
  • Prizes for the winning team (optional)
  • Flipchart, whiteboard (and markers) or LCD projector and screen

 

Preparation

·      Teams should be arranged at tables with 6-8 participants each.

·      Open each puzzle and remove 10-12 pieces.

·      Mix these up.

·      Carefully tape four pieces (each) to the bottom of different chairs around the room.  (You might want to put them in a Ziplock bag to protect the pieces.)  Make sure that they cannot be seen.  Each of these chairs should have pieces from several different puzzles taped underneath.

·      Label the back of these chairs, “MENTOR” (just one per table – if you have more pieces than will fit under the “MENTOR” chairs, tape them under other chairs, but don’t label those chairs, “MENTOR.”)

·      Take any remaining pieces (that you pulled from the puzzles) and mix them in with other puzzles around the room.

·      Put the rest of the puzzle pieces in a bag or box (but not a box with the picture on it) in the center of each table.

·      Keep the pictures of the completed puzzle in the teaching area at the front of the room.

·      Flipchart the Debrief Questions at the end of this lesson (but keep them hidden until the activity is done).

·      Practice the script.

 

Procedure

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

·      “We’re going to put some puzzles together.”

·      “These puzzles represent God’s dream for your life.”

·      “At your tables, one of the chairs says, “MENTOR,” on the back.  Those of you sitting in those seats are now the “Mentors” for your teams.”

·      “Can I see the “Mentors” outside the room for a minute?”  (Go outside room with “Mentors” and tell them about the hidden pieces under their chairs.  Ask them not to reveal this secret unless someone (from any table) specifically asks them about the missing pieces.  If they are asked any other question, they can answer it as long as it doesn’t reveal that there are hidden pieces under their chairs.  They are not to participate in the puzzle building unless asked to do so.  Also, let the “Mentors” know that you have the pictures of the completed puzzles at the teaching area in the front.  If anyone asks about them, the “Mentors” can come get the pictures and take them back to their tables.  Allow the “Mentors” to return to their groups.)

·      “Okay, you can start putting your puzzles together.  The first team to finish wins!”  (Allow at least 30 minutes for puzzle building.  If a team finishes, observe whether or not they try to help other teams.  If no one asks the “Mentors” about the missing pieces after 20 minutes, you can drop some hints until they catch on.  When everyone is done, award prizes (optional) and ask the teams to work through the debrief questions on the flipchart.  Allow 15 minutes.  Then do a large group debrief on what lessons they will take away from the activity.)

 

Debrief Questions

o   “What helped or hindered your team’s success?”

o   “What might you do differently if you had it to do over again?”

o   “Were the mentors important in completing the puzzle?  Why or why not?”

o   “If the puzzles represent God’s dream for your life, what do the pieces under the chairs represent?”

§  “How could this be a metaphor for the way God reveals His will?”

§  “What do the pieces at other tables represent?”

§  “What do the pieces that didn’t fit into your puzzle represent?”

o   “Did anyone try to determine if someone at the table was actually skilled at putting puzzles together?” 

§  “Why or why not?”

§  “Does this say anything about the way we approach the subject of mentors?  Explain.”

o   “How important are other people in solving our problems?”

o   “What lessons can you take away from this activity?”

 

Possible Modifications for Children

·      When working with children, consider the following changes to make it more relevant for them:

o   Instead of having “MENTORS,” you might label the chairs “PARENTS,” “TEACHERS,” or “CHRISTIAN FRIENDS.”

o   Rather than do a debrief at table groups, you might prefer to lead the questions from the front of the room in order to keep the children focused.

o   Some other debriefing questions you might ask could be:

§  “How does God show us His plan for our lives?”

§  “Why doesn’t God just tell us His whole plan when we are young?”

§  “Why does God give some of the pieces of our puzzle to other people?”

§  “Have you ever helped someone discover a piece of their own puzzle?” 

·      “How did that feel?”

·      “How did you find out that you had a piece of their puzzle?”

o   You might have the children finish by drawing pictures of God’s dream for their lives.

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Filed under Christianity, Game, Games that Teach, God's dream, God's Plan, God's Will, Hands-on

The Race


Time

20 minutes

Description

This object lesson teaches that the Bible compares our lives to a race. Our sin and our past often become like heavy clothing or baggage to us, but God wants us to throw these off and run freely.

Materials

  • Lots of heavy clothing – boots, shoes, coats, sweaters….
  • Several backpacks, pieces of luggage (preferably without rollers), and bags loaded with heavy stuff.
  • Lots of wadded balls of paper or soft balls
  • Candy that will tempt the kids. Candy bars will work better than small candy.
  • A few small prizes for the racers.  It’s best to have prizes for everyone for both races, since it’s not important who finishes first in the race of life.
  • (Optional) Whistle to start the race.
  • (Optional) Water guns and/or water balloons
  • (Optional) Tape or twine to mark the finish line

Preparation

· This can be an indoor or an outdoor activity. Outdoors is preferable, because you can let the kids really get into the lesson, but either will work.

· Find a good starting place and finish line for your race, and make sure they are well marked.

· Put all your heavy clothing in a box and set it to the side.

· Put all your bags and luggage off to the side.

· Wad up your paper balls, or fill your water guns / water balloons.

· Put the candy in your pockets, or conceal it in some other way.

· If you have other creative ideas for encumbering the runners, use them. The idea is to make the first part of the race a frustrating experience.

· Practice the script.

Procedure

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

· “Let’s run a race today!”

· “Who is interested in competing for the prize?” (Take up to six volunteers, depending on your class size. You will need several kids to stay in the role of spectator.)

· “Okay, the race will be from here (designate starting point) to there (designate finish line).”

· “Everyone ready?”

· “Okay! On your mark, get set…….oh, hold on a minute. You guys aren’t ready yet.”

· “If we want to make this race more realistic, I’m going to need you guys to wear these.” (Set out the box with all the clothes, heavy shoes, etc., and start handing them out to the volunteers. They should all get dressed up.)

· “Okay, that’s more like it. On your mark, get set……hmmmm….something’s still not right.”

· “Oh, I know! You need some of this!” (Hand out backpacks, luggage, bags, other articles for them to drag.)

· “Yes, that’s it! Okay, on your mark, get set…..Wait! Wait!”

· “I completely forgot to prepare the spectators on the sidelines and in the stands!” (Hand out wadded paper, soft balls (or if you’re brave) water guns or water balloons.)

· (To the spectators in a low voice so that the runners don’t hear…) “You guys are going to throw (squirt) these things at the runners as they run.”

· “I also need you to try to get them to leave the race to come and get these from you.” (Secretly hand them the candy.)

· (Still to the spectators…) “You guys are also going to boo at them and tell them things like, ‘You’ll never be able to win! Why are you even trying? My grandmother runs faster than you!…’ – Okay, you guys ready?” (Check to make sure that they understand what they are supposed to do.)

· “Okay, is everyone ready? On your mark, get set……GO!” (Blow whistle if you have it. Despite all the obstacles you’ve set up, it’s likely that a competitive spirit will drive kids to finish the race anyway. But whether they do finish or not is not too important on the first race. Just modify your questions for the runners to match what happened.  Award prizes for anyone who finished.)

· (After they’ve run the race or given up…) “So, how did that feel?” (Listen to responses.)

· “Do you feel like you were able to run your best race?….Why or why not?” (Listen for responses.)

· “What would have made the race easier to run?” (Listen for responses.)

· In today’s lesson, the race represents our life as Christians.”

· We are the runners.  The starting line indicate the moment we accepted Christ.  The finish line is heaven.”

· The heavy clothes and baggage represent the burdens that we bring into the race – our sin, bad stuff that has happened in our past, our weaknesses, our misunderstandings about God…”

· The spectators represent the demons, who are watching God’s plan for your life play out as we run the race.”

· The things they throw are fears, worries and doubts.”

· The candy they try to tempt you with represents Satan’s armies doing whatever they can to distract you from your mission.”

· “You see, most of us are not equipped to run this race we call life.”

· “We bring so much junk with us to the starting line, and we have no idea how to deal with Satan’s attacks.”

· “But as odd as it may seem, we do our training while we round the track.”

· “If we carry our Bible with us and pray and try to learn as we run, these strategies will help us get rid of the junk, ignore the distractions and make us faster.”

· “So, we need to start our race every day with our Bible, and we need to quit listening to all the voices that want to discourage us.”

· “They aren’t the only ones watching us run, by the way.”

· “God and the angels are also there, and if we listen carefully, we can hear their cheers for us above the discouraging shouts of our enemy.” (Have a volunteer read Hebrews 12:1.)

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” (Hebrews 12:1)

· “That ‘great cloud of witnesses’ refers to all the angels – the heavenly host – that are watching us and cheering for us and even helping us at times while we run our race of life.”

· “So, what do you say we run that race again?”

· “This time, I want you to throw off everything that hinders you or slows you down.”

· “And this time, spectators, I want you to represent the angels in heaven, and I want you to cheer on the runners and encourage them to run their best!”

· “Okay, runners….On your mark, get set……GO!” (Blow whistle if you have one.)

· (After the race… Award prizes to everyone, and then ask…) “So, how did that feel? Was it different?” (Listen for responses.)

· “That’s the way God wants us to feel when we are running the race of life.”

· “But in order to feel that free, we’ve got to throw off our sin, our fears, our worries, and our doubts. We’ve got to get to know God better and refuse to believe the lies of the Enemy.”

· “As you go through your life, I want you to remember this lesson.”

· “Every time you sin, I want you to think of it like it’s putting on heavy clothing or boots or picking up a heavy bag that you’ll have to carry or drag through your race of life.”

· “And when you ask God for forgiveness, I want you to think of it like it’s throwing off that heavy clothing or dropping that heavy bag.”

· “That’s the way God wants us to run our race!”

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Filed under Angels, Challenges, Christianity, Daily walk, demons, Fear, Focus, forgiveness, Hands-on, Obedience, Object Lesson, Spiritual Warfare, struggles, temptation

On Jesus’ Team – A Baptism Lesson


Time

15-20 minutes


Description

This object lesson helps children understand what it means to be on Jesus’ team and why they should get baptized.

Materials

· Sports jersey

· Pitcher of water

· Optional – large bin or bucket for volunteer to stand in when getting wet

· Towel

Preparation

· Find a space where it’s okay to get things wet, or set up a bucket or bin to catch the water. Pouring water on the volunteer is optional, but the kids will really enjoy it, so I recommend it.

· Place the pitcher of water, towel and jersey nearby.

· Practice the script.

Procedure

Use the following script, or modify to suit your needs:

· Once you’ve accepted Jesus as your Savior, God has something He wants you to do.”

· “He wants you to tell others that you’re on His team now.” (Ask for volunteer who doesn’t mind getting wet to come up.  If you have a bucket or bin set up, have him/her stand inside it.)

· “Let me explain it this way. If you joined a sports team, you would wear their jersey, right?” (Put jersey on volunteer.)

· “You wouldn’t wear the other team’s jersey, would you?”

· “No, you would wear your team’s jersey and be proud to do it, right?”

· “And your jersey would tell everyone whose team you were on.”

· “That’s what baptism is. It’s putting on God’s jersey.”

· “When you get baptized, you are letting everyone know that you’re on God’s team.” (Optional – pour water over volunteer’s head for comedic effect.)

· “Now, the truth is, when I put on this jersey, it didn’t really make me a member of the (name sports team represented by jersey), did it?”

· “I can’t join the team just by wearing their clothes, can I?”

· “Right. I can’t. And just like that, getting baptized doesn’t make you a member of God’s team. If you haven’t asked Jesus to be your Savior, you can’t be on the team, even if you take a bath every day in the baptismal.” (Optional – pour more water over volunteer’s head.)

· “But what if I really was a (name sports team represented by jersey), but I never wore the jersey? Could I be on the team without wearing the jersey?” (Take jersey off volunteer.)

· “Sure I could. If the coach says I’m on the team, I’m on the team. If I don’t wear the team’s jersey, the coach will probably get frustrated with me, but he’s not going to kick me off the team for that.”

· “You see, you don’t have to get baptized to be on God’s team. As long as you call on Jesus to be your Savior, He lets you on the team. You don’t ever have to do anything else.”

· “But you should want to. If you’re proud of being on Jesus’ team, you should wear His jersey. If you’re thankful that He let you be on the team, you should wear His jersey.” (Put jersey back on volunteer.)

· “Getting baptized tells everyone, “I’m proud to be on Jesus’ team!” (Optional – pour more water over volunteer’s head.)

· “You see, Jesus wants to be more than just your Savior. He wants to be your Lord, too!”

· “But for Jesus to be your Lord, you have to do what He says to do, and He says that the first thing He wants you to do after you ask Him to be your Savior is to get baptized.” (Optional – pour more water over volunteer’s head.)

· “That tells the world that Jesus is both your Savior and your Lord!”

· “But it does even more than that. This is so cool!”

· “I’m a leader, and this person is my follower.” (Indicate your volunteer.)

· “A follower is someone who does what he sees his leader doing, so (speaking to your volunteer) I want you to do exactly what you see me doing.” (Walk around the room in a funny way with exaggerated movements. The funnier the better. Make sure your volunteer mimics what he sees you doing.)

· “Now, if you saw the two of us walking down the street like this, would it be hard to tell that we were together?”

· “Could you tell that he was my follower?”

· “Not hard, right, because he’s doing exactly what he sees me doing.” (Thank and dismiss the volunteer. Have towel ready for him/her to dry off.)

· “That’s what baptism is. You are telling everyone that you are on Jesus’ team by doing exactly what you see Him doing.”

· “What do I mean by that?” (Take responses if anyone thinks they know.)

· “How many of you remember that the first thing Jesus did when He started His ministry was to get baptized by John the Baptizer?” (Look for a show of hands.)

· “Right! He was setting the example. We should do what we see Jesus doing in the Bible.”

· “Also, remember how Jesus paid for our sins?” (He died on the cross.)

· “What happened next?” (He was buried in the ground for three days.)

· “Then what happened? (He rose from the dead on the third day.)

· “That’s great news! If Jesus had died and stayed dead, He sure wouldn’t have been God. And if He’s not God, we shouldn’t follow Him.”

· “But He did rise again! He died and then defeated death by bringing Himself back to life! Amazing! Incredible!”

· “So, watch this! Jesus died, was buried and rose again.” (Use the following motions while you are sharing this. Place one arm in front of you parallel to the floor. Put the elbow of your other arm on the hand of this arm so that they make a right angle. As you say that Jesus was buried, lower your top arm like you are closing a lid. Then, when you say Jesus rose again, lift your forearm back to it’s original position.)

· “Let’s do it together.” (Have kids do arm motions.) “Jesus died, was buried and rose again. Good!”

· “Now, when we get baptized, we are doing what we saw our leader doing.”

· “We go down into the water and come back out again.” (Do arm motions.)

· “Baptism is a picture of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection (which means to rise again).”

· “So when you get baptized in front of the church, you are saying, ‘I’m on Jesus’ team! I’m doing what I saw my Leader do!’”

· “Touch your neighbor and say, ‘I’m on Jesus’ team!’”

· “Touch your other neighbor and say, ‘I’m doing what I saw my Leader do!’”

· “If you’ve already told Jesus you want to be on His team, you should talk to your parents about getting baptized. If they think the time is right, they can arrange it with the church.”

· “And if you haven’t told Jesus you want to be on His team, talk to your parents about that, too!”

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Filed under Baptism, Christianity, Jesus, John the Baptist, Obedience, Object Lesson

Trust God When Things Look Bad (OBJ LESSON)


Time

10-15 minutes for the icebreaker (the recommended lessons will take longer.)

Description

This object lesson is a fun visual that reminds kids to trust God even when circumstances are looking bad. Use it as an icebreaker for a larger lesson. There is a little bit of “magic” and a little bit of science in this lesson that gives it some “Wow!” factor.

Materials

· Canning jar (“Mason jar”) with a screw-top lid and a removable insert

· Small piece of screening (like what covers your windows – enough to cover the top of the canning jar)

· Pitcher of water

· Piece of poster board – 3” x 3”

· If you don’t want to make your own jar, you can order one for approximately $10 from Steve Spangler Science (www.stevespanglerscience.com). It’s called the “Mysterious Water Suspension Trick.”

Preparation

· Cut the piece of screening so that it fits over the opening of the jar. You want some overlap so that the lid will hold the screening securely to the jar.

· Screw on the band part of the lid, but leave the removable insert out.

· You might want to laminate your poster board square but only if you plan on using it multiple times.

· Practice the trick. Flipping the jar upside down is the most challenging part.

· Practice the script.

Procedure

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

  • “Hey, everybody! Who’s having a great day?” (Listen for responses, and select the most enthusiastic child to come up to the front.)
  • (To the child…) “Have you had a pretty good day so far?” (While you are asking, pour water from the pitcher into the jar. Don’t let them see the screening over the top.)
  • “Would you say that you’ve been a really good kid today?” (While you are asking, place the poster board square on top of the jar.)
  • “Would you say that you have you been really, really good today?” (While you are asking, flip the jar and the poster board square upside down, and hold them over the child’s head. Keep your hand under the poster board square so that it looks like you are supporting it. In reality, the water droplets inside the screening and the air pressure pushing up on the poster board will hold the card in place.)
  • (Ask the audience…) “What do you think? Has he/she been really, really good? …or should I pull away the card?” (Most will typically encourage you to pull it away, so with as much drama as you can muster, pull the card away. The water will stay in the jar. The water droplets develop surface tension inside the tiny holes in the screen. This and the fact that if you hold the jar perfectly level, no air can get in to replace and water that leaves, will hold the water in.)
  • “I guess you have been really, really good!” (Tilt jar just a little, and some water will pour out until you level out the jar again. The kids usually get a big kick out of their peer getting wet.)
  • “Oops. Maybe you weren’t quite that good.” (You can thank your volunteer and send him/her back to his/her seat. If you want, you can have other kids come up and try. Finish with the following tie-ins to your lesson.)
  • “Sometimes, things look really bad, like when I held the jar of water over his/her head.”
  • “Remember during those times to trust God.”
  • “He has the ability to do the impossible in your life (like stopping gravity), and He can turn the bad stuff into good.”
  • “The Bible says that God will make everything work for you if you know Him as your heavenly father.” (Romans 8:28)
  • “Things might look bad, and you may not be able to see a way for things to turn out okay, but God knows all things. He can make a way out where there seems to be no way.” (After your lesson, you can tell the kids how the trick works. They might even enjoy making their own water suspension jars to try out on their friends at home.)
  • Some recommended lessons on trusting God when things look bad that will work with this icebreaker:
    • Joseph (anything from Genesis 37 to 45)
    • Ruth (you might need to give a summary of the entire story)
    • David and Goliath (1 Samuel 17)
    • Elisha and the Widow’s Oil (2 Kings 4)
    • Elisha and the Shunammite’s Son (2 Kings 4)
    • Hezekiah and Sennacherib (2 Chronicles 32)
    • Esther (you might need to give a summary of the entire story)
    • Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego (Daniel 3)
    • Daniel and the Lion’s Den (Daniel 6)
    • Jesus’ Arrest and Crucifixion (any of the Gospels)
    • Peter in Prison (Acts 12)

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Filed under faith, Fear, Hope, illusion, Magic, test, Witness

No More Than We Can Bear (OBJ LESSON)


Time

10-15 minutes


Description

This object lesson helps children understand that God will help them get through difficult times and situations. He never allows us to go through more than we can bear, and He never leaves us alone.

Materials

· Large balloons (at least 5-6, but you might want more just in case)

· Wood skewers (available in the barbeque area of the supermarket)

· Duct tape

Preparation

· Practice the trick several times before you go live. It can be tricky to get it right.

· Inflate five or more balloons. (Inflate the first three until they are taut. You are going to pop these. Don’t fill the last two until they are taut. You want the rubber to have a little give to it.)

· Practice the script.

Procedure

Use the following script, or modify to suit your needs:

· “How many of you have had bad stuff happen to you before?” (Demonstrate that you are looking for a show of hands.)

· “Yeah, me, too.”

· “Bad stuff even happens to Christians, but God won’t ever allow you to go through more than you can handle, because He loves you.”

· “Here’s how I know.” (Have volunteer read 1 Corinthians 10:13.)

· “God always provides a way out of difficult situations.”

· “I’m going to demonstrate this, but I’ll need a volunteer.” (Select volunteer from the group.)

· “Okay, let’s say that you are this balloon.” (Hand volunteer the balloon, and have him or her hold it at arm’s length so that it won’t pop in his/her face.)

· “And let’s say that this skewer is a bad thing that’s about to happen to you.”

· “Now, even though the skewer is going to go right through you…” (Try to put skewer through the balloon. The balloon should pop.)

· “Oops! That wasn’t supposed to happen. Let’s say that this balloon is you. And this skewer…” (Give a second balloon to your volunteer, and have him/her hold it at arm’s length again. Then pop it with the skewer.)

· “Wow! That almost never happens! Okay, let’s say that this balloon is you. And…” (Do the same procedure to pop the third balloon.)

· “Something’s really wrong here! Hmmm….. What’s wrong? What’s wrong…Oh! I’ve got it! These balloons don’t have the covering of the Holy Spirit.”

· “I can help with that. You see, in the Bible, oil often represents the anointing of God. Let’s anoint this skewer so that it can be used of God.” (Dip skewer into oil. Then insert it into a balloon through the tie-off area and out the very top. These are the areas where the rubber of the balloon stretches the least, so they are more likely to receive the skewer without popping. If the balloon pops, laugh nervously and grab another balloon – kids love it when things don’t go the way an adult plans them.)

· “Look at that! God’s anointing was all it took.”

· “You see, if God allows bad stuff to happen to us, He anoints it so that it ends up doing His work in our lives. God knows where you can handle the bad stuff, just like I knew just where the balloon could handle the skewer.”

· “Now, sometimes, God allows bad stuff to happen to you where you are weak, but He won’t allow it to happen unless He has reinforced you in that area.” (Grab a new a balloon, and put a piece of duct tape across both the front and back sides of balloon. Then slowly poke a skewer though – not the one with the oil. You can repeat this several times for dramatic effect.)

· “Sometimes during tough situations, you might feel like you could just burst.”

· “But remember that God knows just how much you can take, and He won’t let you go through any more than that.” (Thank and dismiss volunteer.)

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Filed under Anxiety, Belief, Challenges, Coping skills, faith, Fear, Hands-on, Science experiment, struggles, Trust, Worry

Garbage In – Garbage Out


Time

20-25 minutes


Description

This object lesson helps children understand how they can pollute their hearts and minds by allowing things in that don’t glorify God. It’s a messy lesson that the kids will enjoy, and the clean-up is kept to a minimum.

Materials

· Garbage bag or shopping bag

· Some “garbage” for filling up the bag (you can choose how messy you make it)

· Some other items to squeeze (recommended are: toothpaste, orange, lemon, grapes, shampoo, baby powder…the messier, the better)

· Clear, plastic tub or bin that the kids can squeeze the items into to keep the mess manageable but also so that the kids can see what is happening

· Wet wipes to clean up the kids hands after all the squeezing is done

· Two large sponges

· Two plates or bowls for the sponges to rest on (if you use a plate, you will want a lip that can hold in some of the overflow from the sponges)

· A pitcher of water

· A pitcher of a dark liquid (grape juice, prune juice or simply water with food coloring)

· Display table

Preparation

· Put your squeezable items on the display table. (You may or may not want to conceal them to add some suspense for “What will be squeezed next?” In the script below, I’ve listed the items in a suggested order, but you can choose any items in any order that you like.)

· Put your clear, plastic tub or bin on the display table.

· Fill your bag full of trash, and cut a slit in the bottom of the bag so that the contents will fall out when squeezed.

· If you are using citrus fruits, you might want to cut a slit on the top and the bottom for the juice to flow out when they are squeezed.

· Practice the script.

Procedure

Use this script, or modify to suit your needs:

· “I want to teach you something important today, and I’m going to need some volunteers to help me.” (Select volunteers – one for each of your squeezable items.)

· “Here’s a bottle of baby powder.” (Hand it to your first volunteer.)

· “If our first volunteer squeezes it, what do you think will come out?” (Listen for responses. Then have the volunteer squeeze the bottle into the clear tub.)

· “You were right! Baby powder did come out.” (Hand the next volunteer the bottle of shampoo.)

· “Here’s a bottle of shampoo. If he squeezes it, what do you think will come out?” (Listen for responses. Then have the volunteer squeeze the bottle into the clear tub.)

· “Right again! It was shampoo!” (Hand the third volunteer a bunch of grapes.)

· “What will come out if she squeezes these grapes?” (Listen for responses. Then have the volunteer squeeze the grapes into the clear tub.)

· “You guys are amazing!” (Hand the fourth volunteer an orange.)

· “What will come out this time?” (Listen for responses. Then have the volunteer squeeze the orange into the clear tub.)

· “I just can’t get anything by you.” (Hand the next volunteer a tube of toothpaste.)

· “What’s your guess?” (Listen for responses. Then have the volunteer squeeze the toothpaste into the clear tub.)

· “Yep. Let’s do another.” (Hand the next volunteer a banana.)

· “This will be fun – what’s coming out this time?” (Listen for responses. Then have the volunteer squeeze the banana into the clear tub.)

· “Oooo-that’s gross.”

· “So, would you ever get toothpaste out of a banana?” (Listen for response.)

· “How about shampoo out of a grape?” (Listen for response.)

· “Of course not, right? You only get what’s been put inside. Sometimes God puts it in there (like in the fruit), and sometimes people do (like with the baby powder).”

· “So what do you think will come out if we squeeze this?” (Hand last volunteer the bag of trash.)

· “Well, let’s see.” (Have the volunteer squeeze the trash bag over the clear tub.)

· “Isn’t that interesting?”

· “The same principle applies – whatever you put in is going to come out.” (Thank and dismiss volunteers.)

· “Guess what…your minds and hearts are just like that bag.”

· “If you put garbage in, you’re going to get garbage out.”

· “You might be able to keep it in for a while, but when you’re under pressure… (squeeze the garbage bag again) …out comes all the garbage.”

· “For example, if you spend hours listening to bad language in movies and T.V. shows, you can bet that it’s going to come out at the worst time – like when you’re helping your dad fix something and hit your thumb with a hammer. Or when you are helping your mom and burn yourself on a hot pan.” (Bring out sponges and pitchers of clear and dark liquid.)

· “You see, your heart and mind are like these sponges.”

· “If you pour good things into them like God’s Word, truth, praise music, and love (pour some of the clear liquid onto the sponge), then when you are under pressure, those good things will come back out again through your mouth and your actions.” (Squeeze the sponge into the plastic bin.)

· “But if you pour bad things into them like bad language, gossip, meanness, violence or lack of respect for authority (pour some of the dark liquid onto the sponge), then when you are under pressure, those bad things will come back out again.” (Squeeze the sponge into the plastic bin.)

· “There’s a saying that computer programmers use. It’s “G-I-G-O, and it means Garbage In – Garbage Out.”

· “It means, if you put bad stuff into the computer, you can’t expect to get anything other than bad stuff out.”

· “Remember G-I-G-O, and only let good stuff into your hearts and minds.”

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Filed under Brain, Character, Hands-on, heart, Object Lesson, spiritual disciplines