Tag Archives: comparison

Taste Test (DEMO)


LuakAudience

Teens, Adults

Time

10 minutes
Description

This demonstration uses a fake coffee taste test (between Nescafe and Kopi Luak) to make the point that expectations are higher for our customers when we ask them to invest more.  This can be used to talk about meeting customer expectations.

 

Scriptures

  • Matthew 21:18-20 (Jesus’ disappointment with the fig tree that wasn’t bearing fruit in season)
  • John 2:6-10 (The head of ceremonies’ delight at the unexpected surprise of the best wine served last.)
  • Revelation 3:15-16 (Jesus’ disappointment with the church of Laodicea for being lukewarm)

 

Materials

  • Two cups (optional – one ordinary and one elegant)
  • Two spoons (optional – one plastic and one nicer)
  • Hot water (possibly in a pitcher or carafe)
  • Instant coffee (enough for two cups)
  • Copy paper (one sheet, cut in half)
  • Marker
  • Table
  • Optional – other ways to make a distinction between the two cups of coffee (i.e., a doily or handkerchief, a mint or chocolate, etc.)

Preparation

  • Label one half-sheet of paper, “Nescafe.”
  • Label the other half-sheet of paper, “Kopi Luak.”
  • Put the same instant coffee in each of the cups.
  • Prepare your hot water so that it will be ready (and still hot when you do the demo).
  • Set your table with the cups of coffee, and label each with one of the two signs.
  • Decorate the table however you like to make a distinction between the two cups of coffee.

 

Procedure

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

  • “I would like to do a taste test, and I need a volunteer who knows the difference between a regular cup of coffee and an exceptional cup of coffee.”  (Ask a volunteer to come to the front, and then direct your questions to him or her.)
  • “Have you ever heard of a type of coffee called ‘Kopi Luak?’”  (Acknowledge response.  Whether or not the volunteer is familiar with the coffee, you will need to explain for the audience.)
  • “Kopi Luak is a coffee that originates from Indonesia.”
  • “It is said by some that it is the best coffee in the world.”
  • “Kopi Luak means ‘coffee Luak.’”
  • “A luak (pictured above) is a type of cat that lives in Indonesia and eats a large amount of coffee beans.”
  • “After the cat digests the coffee beans and passes them as waste, workers harvest the beans for the Kopi Luak coffee.”  (Ask your volunteer is he/she still wants to be your volunteer for this taste test.  Keep it light, but find another volunteer if this one no longer wants to participate.)
  • “There is something about the acids in the digestive system of the cat that make the coffee beans especially good and flavorful.”
  • “As you can imagine, you have to pay a high price for drinking coffee that has been through a cat’s digestive system!”
  • “A single, small cup of Kopi Luak coffee often sells for over $10 USD.”
  • “I would like to see if this famous coffee is as good as they say, so I’ve brought some in for this taste test.”  (Pour the hot water, and stir your two cups of coffee.)
  • “On the left, I have a normal cup of Nescafe.”
  • “On the right, I have a cup of Kopi Luak.” (Now, address the volunteer again.)
  • “Would you please take a sip of each cup of coffee and let us know what you think of the difference?”  (Have the volunteer describe the difference.  There is a potential here that the volunteer may think there is a difference in taste because you have built up the ‘Kopi Luak’ coffee so much.  If so, try not to embarrass him/her by pointing out that both cups are really just Nescafe.  Focus more on whether or not the volunteer thinks the difference is really worth the difference in price.)
  • “How much would you be willing to pay for the cup of coffee on the left?”  (Allow volunteer to respond.)
  • “And how much would you be willing to pay for a cup of the Kopi Luak?” (Allow volunteer to respond.  Hopefully, the difference in what the volunteer is willing to pay is not as dramatic as the price difference you described.)
  • “It doesn’t taste like the difference between a $1 and a $10 cup of coffee, does it?”
  • “When you pay $10 for a cup of coffee, you expect something spectacular and life-changing!”
  • “It’s disappointing when something is built up and doesn’t deliver on the promises made about it.”
  • “But what if I told you that I was playing a bit of a trick and that both coffee cups have nothing more than Nescafe in them?”  (Acknowledge volunteer’s response, and keep it light to prevent embarrassing him or her.  Then thank the volunteer and let him/her take a seat.)
  • “It’s even worse, isn’t it, when I promise something so different and remarkable but really just repackage the same old, ordinary stuff?”
  • “It’s even more disappointing than if I had told you from the beginning that they were the same.”
  • “There is a lesson in this about how we deal with our customers.”
  • “It’s much better to under-promise and over-deliver than to over-promise and under-deliver.”  (If you want to go deeper with this lesson, have the participants read through the three Scriptures at the top of this lesson and discuss the Debrief Questions below.)

 

Debrief Questions

  1. Why was Jesus so upset in the first two Scriptures?
  2. Why was the master of the banquet so delighted?
  3. How does this apply to how we deal with our customers?
  4. What should we strive to do?
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Joseph and Jesus (CHALLENGE)


Time

10-15 minutes
Description

This Challenge uses a two-sided puzzle, with the image of Joseph on one side and the image of Jesus on the other.  It makes comparisons between Joseph (of Genesis) and Jesus and shows how Joseph was a preview (or “type” or “shadow”) of Jesus that helps us to understand the events of Jesus’ life better.  There are 26 comparisons, which are listed for your reference in the table at the end of this lesson.

Scriptures

  • Genesis 37-50

 

Materials

  • Card stock paper – 2 sheets per group (Alternatively, you can use posterboard, but you will then need to glue the puzzles to the posterboard.  This might cause you challenges with aligning the front and back puzzles.)
  • Puzzle sets – 1 per group (The file for printing is called, “JJ – Joseph & Jesus – Puzzle,” and it can be found on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at www.teachingthem.com.  It would be best if these documents were printed in color.)
  • Challenge Card (The file for printing is called, “JJ – Joseph & Jesus – Challenge Card,” and it can be found on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at www.teachingthem.com.  This can be printed in black and white on regular paper.  There are two Challenge Cards per page.)
  • Glue
  • Ziplock bags – 1 per group
  • Scissors or cutting tool
  • Transparent contact paper (or laminating paper – 2 sheets per group (approx. 12”x10”) – OPTIONAL
  • Single hole punch – 1 to share – OPTIONAL
  • Twine – 1 roll to share – OPTIONAL
  • Prizes for the winning group – OPTIONAL

 

Preparation

  • Print out the puzzle pages.
  • Print out the Challenge Card document.
  • Glue a “Jesus” puzzle to a “Joseph” puzzle back-to-back, and allow them to dry fully.  (Do your best to get them exactly aligned. You might want to place a heavy object on them while they are drying to prevent curling – especially if you live in a humid environment.)
  • Cut out the puzzle pieces along the lines on the puzzle pages.  (The lines should match up front-to-back.)
  • Mix the pieces up, and place each set of puzzle pieces into a different Ziplock bag.
  • Cut the Challenge Card document in half (each half is identical), and put one in each Ziplock bag.
  • Cut the contact paper or laminating pages to the approximate size listed above, and put two sheets into each Ziplock bag. (OPTIONAL)
  • Practice the script.

Procedure

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

  • “We’re going to do a group Challenge today.”
  • “It’s called, “Joseph and Jesus” and it’s part of the Joseph’s Journey Series.”
  • “First, I’ll need to divide you into groups.”  (Divide the participants into the number of groups for which you have prepared puzzles.)
  • “Each group will have a Ziplock bag with a puzzle in it.”
  • “This puzzle is tricky, though, because there are pictures on both sides!”
  • “When I tell you to go, open your Ziplock bags, and begin putting your puzzles together.”
  • “Be sure to read the words on each side of the puzzle out loud before you add it to your puzzle.”  (Let them begin.  You can offer a prize for the fastest team to get their puzzle together if you want, but you might not want to because it could make them rush through and fail to read the descriptions on each side of the puzzle pieces.  When they finish, you can help them laminate the puzzle pieces if you want to.  Just peal off the protective paper, and carefully lay a sheet of the clear contact paper on top of the puzzle.  Then, flip it over and do the same for the backside.  Punch a hole in the top, and use the twine to add a loop that you can use to hang the puzzle.  This will allow them to see both sides.  When they are finished with the puzzle, have them answer the Debrief Questions below (also on their Challenge Cards.  The Rhyme Time is a reinforce to help them remember that the events of their lives can be used by God in a big way.)

 

Debriefing Questions.

  1. What do you think about all the comparisons between Joseph and Jesus?
  2. Why do you think God made them so much alike?
  3. God used Joseph’s life in a big way to tell us about what Jesus would be like.  Do you think God could use your life like that?  Why or why not?

 

Rhyme Time

God has a purpose, a plan and a dream.

My present struggles are more than they seem.


 

JOSEPH

JESUS

A Miraculous Birth

Joseph’s mother, Rachel, wasn’t able to have children until God answered her prayers. (Gen 30:22-24)

A Miraculous Birth

Jesus’ mother, Mary, was visited first by an angel and then by the Holy Spirit.  She gave birth to God’s only Son. (Luke 1:26:38)

A Shepherd

Joseph tended his father’s sheep. (Gen 37:2)

A Shepherd

Jesus said he was the Good Shepherd. (John 10:11)

His Father’s Favorite Child

Jacob gave his son Joseph a colorful robe. (Gen 37:3)

His Father’s Favorite Child

Jesus was the son in whom the Father was well pleased. (Matt 3:17)

His Greatness Was Prophesied

Joseph had two dreams about his brothers bowing down to him. (Gen 37:5-7, 9)

His Greatness Was Prophesied

The Old Testament tells us over 100 prophesies about Jesus.

Obedient to His Father

Joseph obeyed his father and went to check on his brothers. (Gen 37:12-14)

Obedient to His Father

Jesus obeyed His Father by coming to earth as a man. (John 7:28-29)

Sent to His Brothers, But They Weren’t Where They Were Supposed to Be

Joseph looked for his brothers in Shechem, but they were in Dothan. (Gen 37:14-17)

Sent to His Brothers, But They Weren’t Where They Were Supposed to Be

Jesus came to earth for the Jewish people, but they were living sinful lives. (Rom 3:9-20)

Hated by His Brothers Because He Claimed to Have Authority Over Them

Joseph’s brothers hated him, because he had dreams about ruling over them.  (Gen 37:8)

Hated by His Brothers Because He Claimed to Have Authority Over Them

The Jewish leaders hated Jesus, because He claimed to be the Son of God. (John 15:25)

Brothers Plotted to Kill Him

Joseph’s brothers wanted to kill “the dreamer.” (Gen 37:18-20)

Brothers Plotted to Kill Him

The Jews at the head of the church pressured Pilate to crucify Jesus. (Mark 15:11-14)

Robe Taken from Him by His Enemies

Joseph’s robe was taken by his brothers. (Gen 37:23)

Robe Taken from Him by His Enemies

Soldiers took Jesus’ robe and gambled to see who would get it. (Matt 27:35)

Put Into the Earth

Joseph was thrown into an empty well. (Gen 37:24)

Put Into the Earth

Jesus was laid in an empty tomb. (Matt 27:59-60)

Visited by Foreigners Carrying Resin and Myrrh

While Joseph was in the well, a caravan of Ishmaelites came from Gilead with spices, balm (a resin) and myrrh. (Gen 37:25)

Visited by Foreigners Carrying Resin and Myrrh

Jesus was visited by wise men from the East who brought gold, frankincense (a resin) and myrrh. (Matt 2:11)

JOSEPH

JESUS

Sold for Silver Pieces – the Price of a Slave

Joseph’s brothers sold him to the Ishmaelites for 20 pieces of silver. (Gen 37:28)

Sold for Silver Pieces – the Price of a Slave

The chief priests paid Judas 30 pieces of silver to betray Jesus. (Matt 26:14-15, Exodus 21:32)

Robe Dipped in Blood

Joseph’s brothers dipped his robe in blood to fool their father. (Gen 37:31-33)

Robe Dipped in Blood

Revelation pictures Jesus as a warrior with a robe dipped in blood. (Rev 19:13)

Taken to Egypt

Joseph was taken to Egypt by slave traders. (Gen 37:28)

Taken to Egypt

Jesus was taken to Egypt by his parents.  (Matt 2:13-15)

Tempted by the Evil One

Joseph was tempted by Potiphar’s wife. (Gen 39:7-12)

Tempted by the Evil One

Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness. (Matt 4:1-11)

Accused of a Crime He Didn’t Commit

Joseph was accused of flirting with Potiphar’s wife. (Gen 39:13-19)

Accused of a Crime He Didn’t Commit

Jesus was accused of blasphemy. (John 10:30-39)

Punished with Two Criminals

Joseph was thrown into prison, where he met two men who had offended Pharaoh. (Gen 40:1-4)

Punished with Two Criminals

Jesus was crucified between two thieves. (Luke 23:32-33)

Given Authority Over Everything

Joseph was given authority over everything in Potiphar’s house and in the prison.  (Gen 39:4-6, 22-23)

Given Authority Over Everything

Jesus has been given authority over everything in heaven and on earth. (Matt 28:18)

Exalted to the Second-Highest Place

Joseph was raised to sit at the right hand of Pharaoh and rule Egypt. (Gen 41:41-44)

Exalted to the Second-Highest Place

Jesus was raised to sit at the right hand of God, the Father. (Heb 1:1-4)

Began His Greatest Work at the Age of 30

Joseph began ruling Egypt at the age of 30. (Gen 41:46)

Began His Greatest Work at the Age of 30

Jesus began His ministry at the age of 30. (Luke 3:23)

Became the Source of Bread for the World

Joseph provided grain for Egypt and other nations during the famine. (Gen 41:53-57)

Became the Source of Bread for the Whole World

Jesus is the Bread of Life, given for all people. (John 6:35)

JOSEPH

JESUS

Took a Gentile (non-Jewish) Bride

Joseph married Asenath, daughter of Potiphera.  (Gen 41:45)

Took a Gentile (non-Jewish) Bride

Jesus is the bridegroom, and the Church (made up of all believers) is His bride. (Eph 5:22-33)

Alive After “Death”

Joseph’s brothers and father thought he was dead, but they were surprised to learn that he was actually alive! (Gen 45:25-28)

Alive After “Death”

Jesus died and was buried, but He rose again on the third day.  (Matt 28:5-7)

Not Recognized By His Own People

Joseph’s brothers did not recognize him when they first met him in Egypt.  (Gen 42: 8)

Not Recognized By His Own People

Jesus was not recognized as Savior by the Jews.  (Rom 11:1-21)

 

Forgave Those Who Mistreated Him

Joseph forgave his brothers. (Gen 50:19-21)

Forgave Those Who Mistreated Him

Jesus forgave those who nailed Him to the cross. (Luke 23:34)

Saved Many Lives

Joseph told his brothers that God allowed him to suffer so that he could save many lives.  (Gen 50:20)

Saved Many Lives

Jesus came into the world to save sinners. (1 Timothy 1:15)

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Joseph’s Journey


For summer camp this year, I’ve written ten Challenges (Bible activities for small groups and a leader to do together – sometimes in competition with other groups) and some large group lessons on the story of Joseph. They are all located on the Lesson and Material Downloads page (see the link at the top of the screen), and you can find them alphabetically in the list. They all start with the letters “JJ” for “Joseph’s Journey.”

Hope you can find some lessons that will be useful for you!

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Finding Measures (GAME)


Audience

Teens and Adults

Time

15-20 minutes
Description

This game challenges team members to find ways to measure their progress towards a goal when the way to measure their progress is unclear.

Scriptures

2 Corinthians 10:12

 

Materials

  • Graduated pitcher (or any container for liquid that shows measurements along the side)
  • Unmarked pitcher or water bottle that holds 30 or more oz (one per team)
  • Multiple containers for liquid of various sizes
  • Water source or pitchers filled with water (one per team)
  • Permanent marker
  • Prizes for the winning team (optional)

 

Preparation

  • Find out how much water each of your various containers of different sizes can hold, and write it down somewhere.
  • Place these containers around the room inconspicuously.
  • Put the unmarked pitcher or water bottle and the pitcher of water at each table.
  • Practice the script.

Procedure

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

  • “We’re going to play a game that deals with measuring your progress.”
  • “At each of your tables, I have place a pitcher of water and an empty water bottle (or pitcher).”
  • “Your goal is to fill the empty container with exactly 29 oz of water.”
  • “I have a graduated pitcher here at the front that I will use to test whether or not you have been successful.”
  • “However, it’s not enough just to measure your final result.”
  • “You also have to measure your progress at the following increments:
    • 5, 8, 15, 21, 24, 29 oz”
  • “When you think you have measured out each of the increments, come to me, and I’ll test it with the graduated pitcher.”
  • “You have to successfully measure out each increment before you can move on to the next one.”
  • “The first team to successfully measure out all the increments and reach 29 oz wins.”
  • “What questions do you have?”  (Answer questions, but don’t answer any questions that deal with how much different containers in the room hold yet.  You can let them know that they can use any containers they can find but only if they ask.  Then, allow them to start the game.  Provide no direction unless directly asked, and only tell how much the different containers hold to individuals.  One of the lessons that you are trying to teach is the need for them to take initiative to determine their own way of measuring their success.  When a team has successfully finished the challenge, stop the game and have teams answer the following debrief questions.)

 

Debrief Questions & Discussion

  1. What was challenging about the game?
  2. How did you solve the problem of measuring your progress?
  3. Were you guessing, or did you know for sure what your progress was?
  4. What about this game was similar to trying to find ways to measure your progress with your work or ministry?
  5. What lessons can you apply to your work or your ministry?
  6. (If you want to work in the Scripture from above:  What happens when we try to measure our progress by comparing ourselves with others?)

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God Cares for Me – Psalm 23 (LESSON)


Audience: Children, (possibly youth if you ham it up quite a bit to engage them)

Scriptures:    Psalm 23

Description:    This lesson teaches about a shepherd and how he cares for his sheep.  It makes comparisons to Jesus as The Shepherd who cares for His sheep (those who believe in Him).  It also briefly introduces David as a shepherd in anticipation of beginning his story during the next lesson.

Rhyme Time:    God loves me; I’m under His care.
Wherever I go; He’s always there!

Time:    30-45 minutes

Materials:
o    Shepherd’s costume (sheet with a hole for your head to go through, belt made out of a piece of fabric, 3 ft x 2 ft piece of fabric to go over your head, headband made out of fabric)
o    Something to act as a shepherd’s staff  (The size and shape of the staff are important, because it will be part of the lesson.  It should be a long, slender stick (maybe 6 ft or longer), with a hook on one end.  It can be natural or manmade.)
o    Something to act as a shepherd’s rod (The size and shape of the rod are important, because it will be part of the lesson.  It should be a straight, long (4 ft or longer) and about 2 inches in diameter, with a knob at one end.  This knob helps the shepherd use the rod for defense.)
o    Sheep hats (can be as simple as headbands with cotton ball ears) for the kids who will help you with your lesson.  (I recommend 6-8.)
o    Snake, wolf, bear, lion and fly hats (differently colored headbands with ears that represent each animal – one of each)
o    A Ziplock bag full of good, green grass and a Ziplock bag full of dead grass or weeds.
o    A glass off clean water and a glass of muddy water.
o    Olive oil (one bottle)
o    Mustard powder (one can / bottle)
o    Cinnamon or other powder in spice form (one can / bottle)
o    Bowl for mixing oil and powders
o    Spoon for mixing oil and powders
o    A bag with some rock salt in it.
o    Optional – A “wool coat” – a large piece of fabric with cotton balls on it to represent wool.

Preparation:
o    Most of the information for this lesson was taken from a book entitled, A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 by Phillip Keller (1970, HarperCollinsPublishers).  It’s a good read and a good story if you have the time and can find a copy.
o    Make costumes, and have them on-hand.
o    Set out bowl, spoon, oil and powders.  You will mix them during the lesson.
o    Find all the Scriptures from the lesson and bookmark them in a Bible for your reading volunteer.
o    Gather some good grass and some bad grass, and fill two Ziplock bags with them.
o    Pour some clean water in two glasses, and make one of them dirty with a little dirt.
o    Optional – if you use the “wool coat,” you will need to make it out of a piece of fabric with some cotton balls glued to it.  After you’ve made it, drag it through the soil and grass to make it dirty and clogged.

Procedure:
Use the following script or modify to suit your needs:
o    “There is a very famous psalm that many people have memorized, because it gives them peace and calm when they are going through difficult times.”
o    “Does anyone know which psalm it is?”  (Take responses if there are any.)
o    “Right, it’s Psalm 23.  It’s very short, but it has a lot of meaning.”
o    “It was written by David, the most famous and loved king of the Israelites.”
o    “It’s a poem about God that describes Him as a Shepherd watching over a flock of sheep.”
o    “David, of course, knew all about shepherds and sheep, because he was a shepherd boy until the time that he killed Goliath, the giant.”
o    “So, using everything David knew about being a shepherd, he tells us what God is like.”
o    “Jesus liked the metaphor, too, because He said to His disciples in John 10:11, ‘I am the good Shepherd.  The good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.’”
o    “So, let’s take a look at Psalm 23 and see what it tells us about God from a shepherd’s point of view.”  (Ask for several volunteers to come up and be your sheep.  Put the hats on them, and have them get down on all fours in a “flock.”  Ask other volunteers to act as a wolf, lion and bear.  Put the hats on them, and tell them that their job is to go to the edges of the room and only come to attack the sheep if they wander away from the others.  Then, have a volunteer read Psalm 23:1.)
o    “The first part of that scripture says, ‘the Lord is my Shepherd.’  Sheep can’t just take care of themselves.  They need a shepherd.”
o    “If they are left alone, they wander off and get into trouble.”  (Ask your volunteers to wander around by crawling to different places in the room.  When one wanders near the “snake,” the “wolf,” the “bear” or the “lion,” rush to save it.  The “snake,” “wolf,” “bear,” and “lion” should pretend to attack the sheep.)
o    “We are like those sheep.  We often get ourselves into trouble when we go wandering away from our Good Shepherd, Jesus.”
o    “It’s also important to follow only the Good Shepherd.  We must know His voice so that we don’t follow the wrong shepherd.  Jesus talked to His disciples about this.”  (Have volunteer read John 10:1-5.)
o    “The LORD is my Shepherd – not Satan or anyone working for him.  We only listen to the voice of the Good Shepherd, and we only follow Him.”  (Have volunteer read Psalm 23:1 again.)
o    “The Scripture says ‘I shall not be in want.’  That means that, because the Lord is my Shepherd, I will have everything I need.”
o    “It doesn’t mean that I’ll get everything that I want to have – just that I’ll have everything I need to have.”
o    “A good shepherd gets up early every morning and goes to inspect his flock.”
o    “He examines them to make sure that they are healthy and happy and able to stay on their feet.”  (Pretend to look over your sheep to make sure they are okay.)
o    “He can easily tell if they are sick or if they need special attention.”
o    “His sheep don’t need anything, because a good shepherd takes care of everything that is necessary for them.”  (Have volunteer read Psalm 23:2.)
o    “It is almost impossible for sheep to be made to lie down unless four needs are met.”
o    “#1 – They must not be afraid.”
o    “Sheep are afraid of many things and for good reason.”
o    “They have no way to defend themselves.”
o    “Their only means of protection is to run.”  (Allow wild animals to attack, and have the sheep run away in all directions.  Then have the wild animals return to their places, and go gather up your flock.)
o    “Nothing makes sheep feel more secure than to see their good shepherd in the field with them.”
o    “For us, we can be calm and free from fear, because we know that Jesus, the Good Shepherd, is always with us.”  (Have volunteer read Deuteronomy 31:6.)
o    “God says that He will never leave us nor forsake us.  In other words, He will never give up on us, even if we mess up sometimes.”
o    “Because of this, we can be strong and courageous!  God is all-powerful, and He will protect us!”
o    “#2 – If you want your sheep to lie down, they can’t be in fights with other sheep.”
o    “Sheep are mean to each other.”
o    “You would think that with all their other enemies, they would be nice to one another, but they aren’t.”
o    “Older sheep stiffen their legs, tilt their heads, arch their necks and butt the young ones as hard as they can.”  (Demonstrate this behavior playfully with your flock.)
o    “And rams are even worse.  When they are fighting over girlfriends, their necks swell and get strong.”
o    “They furiously butt their heads and horns together to see who is the strongest, and some even die this way.”
o    “When the young sheep are worried about bullies, they start to get edgy and lose weight, so a good shepherd will defend the weaker ones.”
o    “With the rams, he puts grease on their heads so that they slip off each other when they collide.  That way, none of them get hurt.”  (Playfully demonstrate this with two of your flock.)
o    “Our Good Shepherd knows about the bullies in our live, but He says in His Word that He will take care of us.”  (Have volunteer read Ezekiel 34:15-16 and then Ezekiel 34:20-22.)
o    “The third thing that needs to happen for sheep to lie down and rest is that the sheep must be free from flies and other insects.”  (Ask for a volunteer to come up and put on the fly hat.)
o    “There is a certain type of insect, called a nose fly.  They love sheep and buzz all around their heads, trying to deposit their eggs in the wet places on the sheeps’ noses.”
o    “If the flies lay their eggs in the sheeps’ noses, worms will hatch and crawl up into the sheeps’ heads, causing irritation and inflammation.”  (Have fly volunteer ‘buzz’ around the sheep and pester them.)
o    “It drives the sheep crazy!  To get relief, they will beat their heads against trees, rocks, posts, bushes…anything.  They will rub them on the ground, and some even kill themselves just to get rid of the feeling.”
o    “A good shepherd will dip the sheep in chemicals and coat their heads in oil to keep the flies off of them.”   (Shoo away your fly volunteer, but don’t have them sit down just yet.)
o    “For us, the flies represent our worries, our fears, and our frustrations that keep us from resting and having peace.”
o    “They buzz around in our heads, looking for a place to land and lay their eggs.”  (Have your fly volunteer buzz around you.)
o    “If we allow them to stay, these fears and worries will paralyze us and keep us from doing all the things God wants us to do.”
o    “Our Good Shepherd knows about these, and He offers us perfect peace if we will just trust in Him.”  (Have volunteer read 2 Corinthians 10:5.)
o    “Every time we have a negative thought, He asks us to capture it and take it prisoner until our thinking becomes obedient to God.”  (“Capture” your fly volunteer, and hold him/her still for a moment.)
o    “You see, Satan is the father of lies.  He lies to us all the time.  In fact, he can’t even tell the truth, because his native language is lying.”
o    “But God will always tell us the truth.”
o    “When we have a negative thought, we should ask God about it.  He will tell us if it is true or not.”  (Have fly volunteer have a seat.)
o    “The fourth and final thing that a good shepherd has to do to help the sheep rest is to make sure they aren’t hungry.”
o    “Sheep will eat bad grass and drink bad water even when good grass and good water are available, because….well….they just aren’t that smart.”  (Offer your flock a choice between the Ziplock bags of good grass and bad grass.  Then offer them a choice between the clean water and the dirty water.  Try to really sell the bad stuff.)
o    “I’m sorry to say this, but we are a lot like those dumb sheep.”
o    “Our spirit is thirsty for what God calls ‘living water.’”
o    “Living Water is the Word of God – the Bible.”
o    “It satisfies our spiritual thirst and gives us peace and joy.”  (Take a drink of the clean water.)
o    “Unfortunately, we will drink just about anything but Living Water in order to satisfy our thirst.”
o    “We want sticky, sweet things, and we try to satisfy our spiritual thirst with money or entertainment or other things that can sometimes be bad for us.”
o    “We drink lots and lots of them, because even after we drink, we are still thirsty.”
o    “The only thing that can satisfy our spiritual thirst is God and His Word.”  (Have volunteer read Psalm 23:2 again.)
o    “The second part of that verse talks about quiet waters.  Some Bible translations call them ‘still’ waters.”
o    “You see, sheep need quiet or still waters, because rivers and streams are dangerous for a 300 lb washcloth with ears.”
o    “If the sheep slips into the water, it will start soaking up water and sink to the bottom.”  (You might sprinkle some water on the sheep just for laughs at this point.)
o    “So the shepherd would go to the stream and use stones to divert some of the water into a pool.” (Pretend to use rocks to divert a stream.)
o    “There, the sheep could drink without being afraid.”  (Have your flock pretend to drink.)
o    Water in Scripture often points to God’s Word.  I told you that it is sometimes called, ‘Living Water.’”
o    “We need to drink deeply of God’s Living Water every day during the still hours of the morning.”
o    “If we will make the time for Him, He will divert some special truths for us and teach us wonderful things.” (Have volunteer read Psalm 23:3.)
o    “Sheep sometimes get ‘cast down,’ a term that means they get turned upside down like a turtle.”  (Demonstrate with one of your flock.)
o    “Sheep get cast down when their wool gets too heavy or when they lie down in a place that isn’t level.”
o    “When they realize that they can’t get up, they panic and start kicking their legs frantically.”  (Demonstrate with your flock.)
o    “This causes gasses to build up in its body and cut off the blood supply to its legs.”
o    “If the shepherd doesn’t ‘restore’ the sheep to its feet soon, it will die.”
o    “He restores it by gently rolling it on its side and massaging its legs.” (Demonstrate.)
o    “Sometimes, we get ‘cast down.’”
o    “We feel sad, depressed or hopeless, but we can’t get back on our feet.”
o    “God comes along during those times and encourages us through prayer, His Word or through other people.”
o     “I mentioned that a sheep would often get cast down because of the heavy weight of his wool coat.”  (If you have it, put the imitation wool coat on one of your flock.)
o    “To prevent this, the shepherd would shear the sheep.”  (Pretend to shear your flock.)
o    “Sheep hate being sheared, and they will fight it with all their energy sometimes.”
o    “But once it’s over, they feel so good, because their wool coat is always caked with mud and poo and fleas and ticks and burrs.”
o    “Wool represents our sinful nature.  Priests were not allowed to wear it into the Temple of God for this reason.”
o    “Our sinful nature gets so clogged up with dirt and nasty stuff that it’s a huge relief when God takes the shearing clippers to us, but we don’t like to be sheared.”  (Show children the clogged wool coat.)
o    “Shearing represents God’s discipline in our lives.  It’s uncomfortable and sometimes painful, but it is very necessary to help us get free from our sin.”  (Have volunteer read Psalm 23:3 again.)
o    “Sheep are creatures of habit, and they will blindly follow a sheep in front of them even if they are going in the wrong direction.”  (Have flock demonstrate by getting a “lead” sheep to walk in circles.)
o    “We do that sometimes, too, but God will lead us down new, righteous paths that honor Him.”  (Have volunteer read Psalm 23:4.)
o    “Sheep are low on the food chain, and almost everything is a threat to them.”
o    “Wherever they go, they are surrounded by enemies.”  (Have “enemies” circle in close to the sheep.)
o    “Christians, too, have enemies everywhere.  Satan attacks us whenever he sees a chance.”
o    “But God is with us, and we never need to be afraid.”  (Have volunteer read Psalm 23:4 again.)
o    “A shepherd has two main tools for leading the sheep – a rod and a staff.”
o    “A rod looked like this.”  (Show rod.)
o    “It was typically cut from a young tree and carved to specifically fit a young shepherd’s hand.”
o    “A young shepherd boy would spend hours and hours practicing his throw with his club, learning how to send it whistling through the air with speed and accuracy.”
o    “This way, he could defend the sheep from their enemies (pretend to scare away some of the enemies with the rod) and keep the sheep from going into places they shouldn’t.” (Demonstrate how you could use the rod to scare a sheep away from a place where one of their enemies (i.e., a snake) could be hiding.)
o    “The shepherd’s staff was entirely different.”
o    “It was designed like this (show staff) in order to be of the most help to the sheep.”
o    “It was a long, slender stick with a hook at the end.”
o    “The hook was used to bring sheep closer for inspection or to unite a new lamb with its mother without getting the scent of a man on it.”  (Demonstrate.)
o    “It was used to guide the sheep along the right path or as a gentle way to let the sheep know that the shepherd was near.”  (Demonstrate.)
o    “This is a picture of God’s justice and His mercy – of His discipline and His grace – of His protection and His care.”
o    “The rod represents God’s authority, power and discipline, and the staff represents His grace and unconditional love.”
o    “Some people think of God as only power, justice and discipline; some think of Him as only love.”
o    “Neither are a complete picture.  God is both justice and mercy – both discipline and grace – and all of it is done because of His love for us.” (Have volunteer read Psalm 23:5.)
o    “A table to a shepherd is a table mesa – a high place in mountain country, where sheep are led to graze in the summer months.”
o    “The shepherd goes ahead of the sheep and prepares the area by pulling poisonous weeds and scouting the area for dangers.”
o    “He takes salt and minerals and spreads them over the whole area so that the sheep will eat them and improve their diet.”  (Pretend to spread the minerals, and then have your sheep graze.)
o    “God does the same for us.  He blesses us even in the middle of all our enemies.”
o    “And Jesus told us in John 14:1-4 that He is preparing a place for us in heaven.”
o    “He said that He’s coming back to get us and that He will lead us to that place He has prepared.”  (Have volunteer read Psalm 23:5 again.)
o     “David, the writer of the psalm, is talking about a few things in the last part of this verse.”
o    “When guests came to your home for dinner in Israel, your responsibility to them included anointing their heads with oil and to making sure they had plenty to drink.”
o    “The anointing was to moisten the skin, since Israel is surrounded by desert.”
o    “But it was also a token to say that this person is special.”
o    “Shepherds used anointing, too.”
o    “Remember about the nose flies I told you about?”
o    “Remember how the shepherd would put oil on the sheep’s head to keep the flies away?”
o    “The shepherd would mix olive oil or linseed oil with sulfur and tar.”  (Mix oil, cinnamon and mustard powder in the bowl, and then smear a little on the forehead of each of your sheep.)
o    “The flies couldn’t land, so the sheep stayed calm.”
o    “God anoints us – not with oil typically but with the Holy Spirit.”
o    “This anointing sets us apart as special to God.  It marks us as His children, and it protects us from Satan’s evil plans.”  (Have volunteer read Psalm 23:6.)
o    “Sheep have really good poo.  It’s so good that they are sometimes called, ‘the animals with the golden hooves.’”
o    “After they have left a grazing place, all their poo fertilizes the ground and makes it even better for growing things.”
o    “So when David talks about ‘goodness following him all the days of his life, it’s kinda funny.”
o    “The sheep poo; everything grows – goodness follows them everywhere they go.”  (Have your flock walk around, and follow them.  Say, ‘A little goodness here; a little goodness there.  Goodness, goodness, everywhere.  Thanks, little guys!’)
o    “For us as Christians, we ought to leave everything better than we found it.  By doing that, we leave goodness and mercy everywhere.”
o    “Finally, David tells us that he will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
o    “This will be true for any Christian – especially when we get to heaven.”
o    “But with the sheep, this last line tells about how sheep are safe if they stay with the good shepherd.”
o    “As they dwell in his house (a shelter from the weather), they can be sure of their safety.”  (Dismiss volunteers, and thank them.)
o    “We are all a lot like sheep.  The Bible says that we are all like sheep who go astray (Isaiah 53:6).  That’s why we need a Good Shepherd to lead us and to help us in this world.”

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Filed under Christianity, Daily walk, David, Joseph, Sheep, Shepherd

More Powerful Together



Time

20 minutes


Description

This object lesson helps children understand that Christians are more powerful when they work together and show love for one another. It’s important that we don’t quarrel with one another and destroy the unity that shows the world we are Jesus’ disciples.

Materials

· Two bills of paper currency (use the same denomination for both)

· Bible

· Tape

Preparation

· Tear one of the bills of currency in half, and conceal it until the end of the lesson.

· Leave the other bill intact so that you can use it for demonstration.

· Practice script.

Procedure

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

  • “Does anyone remember the story of Joseph from the Bible?” (Allow a volunteer to share what he/she knows about the story, and add in anything that he/she misses.)

    • “Joseph was one of Jacob’s twelve sons and his father’s favorite child. His brothers hated that he was the favorite so much that they sold him into slavery. For several years, he was a slave in Egypt until he was thrown into prison for a crime he didn’t commit. After many years of life in a dungeon, he was released and given the second-highest position in Pharoah’s kingdom because of his wisdom and ability to interpret dreams. Then, during a terrible, seven-year drought, his brothers came to Egypt looking for food. Joseph forgave them, and the family was reunited.”
  • “Our lesson is about Joseph’s advice to his brothers when they were going back to get their father and other family members to come live in Egypt.”
  • Have volunteer read Genesis 45:16-24. (The NIV translation’s final verse includes the quote, “…don’t quarrel on the way.”)
  • “Why do you think Joseph told them not to quarrel?” (Listen to responses.)
  • “I bet Joseph knew something about his brothers from the time they were growing up together.”
  • “He knew about their tendency to fight with each other, so he was telling them to try to get along on the way back to get their father.”
  • “He wanted them to have unity – to be a strong family.”
  • “What’s so important about unity?” (Listen to responses, and add in any that you can think of that aren’t mentioned.)
  • “Exactly! I can think of another reason, too, but I’m going to need two volunteers to help me demonstrate it.” (Ask for two volunteers to come up front.)
  • “I have this bill of paper money.” (Show bill.)
  • “And I would like for both of you to have it!” (Tear bill in half, and give one half to each of them.)
  • “Congratulations! Don’t spend it all in one spot!….Wait, is something wrong?” (Allow volunteers to respond.)
  • “You mean you can’t spend these anymore? What’s wrong? I only had the one bill, but there were two of you and I had to split it.” (Allow responses.)
  • “So, you’re telling me that you can only spend this if these two parts are together?” (Allow responses.)
  • “Hmmm….seems like there might be a lesson in here somewhere. Can anyone help me figure out what the point of this demonstration is?” (Allow for responses and add you own explanation if necessary.)

    • “The two pieces of the bill are more powerful and effective together than apart. In the same way, Christians are more powerful and effective when we work together.” (Take back the two pieces of the bill. Then thank and dismiss the volunteers.)
  • “Do you think Christians work well together today in the Church?…..Why or why not?” (Allow for responses. If you need to, point out some examples of how Christians work well together and what happens when they do. You might also want to point out how many different denominations we have and how little they collaborate with each other most of the time.)
  • “What do you think would happen if Christians were better at working together?” (Allow for responses.)
  • “I started this lesson by reminding you of the story of Joseph.”
  • “I think that Joseph from the Bible is a picture of Jesus. God allowed Joseph’s life to reflect what Jesus’ life would be like so that people in Old Testament times would know what to look for in the coming Savior.”
  • “There are many similarities between Joseph and Jesus:

    • Both would have called themselves shepherds.
    • Both were their fathers’ favorite children.
    • Both were sold for some coins.
    • Both were accused of crimes they didn’t commit.
    • Both were put into the earth.
    • Both came out of the earth to be elevated to the second-highest position in their respective kingdoms.
    • Both suffered so that they could save many.”
  • “If you study Joseph’s story, I bet you can find even more similarities.”
  • “I tell you those things to point out that when Joseph told his brothers not to quarrel, it was very similar to some discussions Jesus had with his twelve apostles.”
  • “They were always arguing about who was the greatest, but Jesus wanted them to have unity.” (Have volunteer read John 13:34-35.)
  • “Jesus said that everyone in the world would know that we are following Him by the love that we show to one another.”
  • “That means that our unity as Christians is a very powerful way to help the people around us know about Jesus.”
  • “How can we show our love and unity to other Christians around us?” (Listen to responses, and comment as appropriate.)
  • “Those are some excellent ideas! I hope every one of you will commit to showing more love to your Christian brothers and sisters this week.”
  • “Just remember, we are more powerful together than apart.” (Call your original two volunteers back up, and give one of them the two pieces of the bill you used for demonstration and some tape. Give the other the two pieces of the other bill you kept concealed and some tape. Let them both tape up the bills and keep the money as a reminder that we are more powerful together than apart.

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Filed under Agape Love, Christianity, Great Commandment, Jesus, Joseph, Kindness, Love, Object Lesson, Relationships, unconditional love, unity