Tag Archives: David

Connecting the D.O.T.S. (Obj Lesson)


Time
15 minutes

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

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

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

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

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

Unfinished Puzzle

Unfinished Puzzle

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

Finished Puzzle

Finished Puzzle

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

Knocking Down Giants (Obj Lesson)


Time
15 minutes

Description
This object lesson teaches about our how to knock down the “giants” in our lives.  “Giants” represent the things we fear – the things that keep us from living fully for God.

Audience
Children, youth, adults

Materials
o    “Giant” silhouettes (6-8 – you can make these with plywood and a jigsaw)
o    Plywood – 4’ x 4’ sheet
o    ¾ “ wall trim (16’ – get the kind that looks like one-quarter of a round dowel rod)
o    Jigsaw
o    Hand saw
o    Black spray paint (one can)
o    Tape
o    Wood glue
o    Marker
o    3-6 ping pong balls
o    3 tennis balls
o    1 very large ball or bean bag
o    Computer, printer and paper
o    PowerPoint file – “Knocking Down Giants – Signs.ppt  (You can find this on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at http://www.teachthem.wordpress.com.)

Preparation
o    Draw a silhouette pattern of the heads and shoulders of a “giant” on paper, and cut it out.  The pattern should be about 12” wide at the shoulders (bottom of the pattern) and about 18” high.  You can be as creative as you want with the shape of the silhouette, but the more complicated you make it, the more sawing you will have to do.
o    Use this as your pattern for tracing the silhouettes on the plywood with the marker.
o    Cut out the silhouettes with a jigsaw.
o    Cut the wall strip into 12” segments (two per “giant”)
o    Paste these at the bottom of your silhouettes on both the front and back.  These will help the silhouette be free-standing.
o    Spray paint everything black, and allow it to dry.
o    Print out the signs in the “Knocking Down Giants – Signs” file, and cut them out.  (Feel free to change the labels on the signs to better fit your audience.)
o    Paste or tape these to the different signs (after they are dry from the painting).
o    Practice the script.

Procedure
Use the following script and instructions (or modify to suit your needs):
•    “Remember the story of David and Goliath?”
•    “David had to face a really big giant, but he found the courage to do it by trusting in God.”
•    “Even though there aren’t any giants left in the world, all of us have types of ‘giants’ in our lives.”
•    “Giants represent the things we fear and the things that keep us from achieving what God wants us to achieve.”
•    “Some of us fear ‘Losing Someone We Love.’” (As you mention these “giants,” put up the giant silhouettes all in one row at the front of the room.)
•    “Some of us fear ‘Not Having Friends.’”
•    “Some of us fear ‘The Dark.’”
•    “Some of us fear ‘Bad People.’”
•    “Some of us fear ‘Being Lost.’”
•    “Some of us fear ‘Getting Hurt.’”
•    “Some of us fear ‘Being Embarrassed.’”
•    “Some of us fear ‘Death.’”
•    “Can I get a volunteer to come up and help me with these giants?”  (Select volunteer, and have them stand about 8’-10’ away from the giants.)
•    “Here’s how we often try to attack the giants in our lives.”  (Hand volunteer some ping pong balls, and have them throw them at the giants to see if they can knock them down.)
•    “How is that working for you?”  (Get feedback from the volunteer.)
•    “Would it help if you had better ammunition to throw at the giants?”  (Hand the volunteer three tennis balls, and let him/her throw them at the giants.)
•    “The ammunition you’ve been using so far is like our human efforts at dealing with our fears, but what if you could access a more powerful ammunition?”
•    “Would you like to have access to ammunition that guaranteed you success when you attacked the giants in your life?”  (Listen to response.)
•    “Well, you do!  It’s called prayer, and it gives you the power of God.”  (Hand volunteer the large ball or bean bag, and have them throw it at the giants.)
•    “If you want guaranteed success dealing with your fears, stop trying to defeat them in your power, and pray for God to help you.”  (Thank volunteer and dismiss.)

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Filed under Bullying, Challenges, Christianity, Coping skills, courage, Daily walk, David, faith, Fear, Game, Goliath, Object Lesson, prayer, Spiritual Warfare

Facing Your Giants (QUICK DRAMA)


Time
10 minutes

Description
This Quick Drama teaches that we shouldn’t fear the giants in our lives but that we shouldn’t try to take them on alone, either.  (I’ve chosen giants who represent fears children might have, but feel free to change the type of giants to match your audience.)

Audience
Children, youth, adults

Materials
o    Life-size drawings of different giants (4 that are about 2 sheets of foam board-high each)

o    Foam board (10-12 pieces)

o    Different colored paints or markers

o    Paint brushes

o    Utility knife and razor

o    Tape
Preparation
o    Draw and color the giants on foam board, and make them free-standing by taping some “wings” near the bottom and on the back.  These wings should fold out so that they are perpendicular to the bottom of the foam board with the picture on it.
o    Razor the back side of the giants to weaken them, so that they will break apart easily when they are attacked.
o    Arrange the giants in different places around the room.
o    All the giants can be voiced by one or more people offstage.
o    Practice the script.

Script
Narrator:  All of us have mean, ugly giants in our lives…things we are afraid of dealing with.  Just like in King David’s time, God often leaves giants in our paths in order to teach us warfare.  Of course, we won’t ever fight a Goliath, but we will fight against other types of giants.

[Brad enters followed by God.  Brad sees the first giant and tries to run away.  God gently catches him and turns him back toward the giant.]

GOD:    [Whispers to Brad] Remember, you’re not alone.

Brad:     [Tentatively approaches giant] Wh-wh-what do you want?

Giant #1:     I am the giant of Darkness and Monsters!  FEAR ME!

Brad:     I-I-I-I-I…

GOD:    Remember, you’re not alone.

Brad:     [Turning to God] Can you help-help me, God?

GOD:     Yes, I can.  Please step aside.  [Cracks knuckles, stretches, then loudly karate chops the giant (e.g., “Hi-ya!”) until he is demolished – really hams it up for the kids.]

Brad:     Hey!  That was SO cool!  Will you teach me how to do that?

GOD:    Sure, Brad.  I see another giant over there.  [Points]

Brad:     Oh, uh, I didn’t mean so soon, but okay.  [Goes up to giant timidly.]

Brad:    What…What do you want?

Giant #2:    I am the giant of No Friends and Being Alone.  FEAR ME!

Brad:     God, what do I do?

GOD:    Are you asking for my help?

Brad:     Yes, please!

GOD:    Okay, watch this!  Hi-ya!  Hu-ya! [Saves a small piece for Brad]

Brad:     [Tentatively] Hi-ya! [Then cowers in case giant attacks.]

GOD:    Excellent!  Now you’re getting it! [Notices another giant] Hey, isn’t that another monster over there?

Brad:     [Confidently] Yeah!  Let’s get him!  [Goes up to giant]  What do you want?

Giant:     I am the giant of People Who Try to Hurt You!  FEAR ME!

Brad:     Oh yeah?  Well, take this!  [Karate chops with no effect]  Hi-ya!  [Tries again with no effect]  Hu-ya!  [Tries several more times with no effect]

Giant:     FEAR ME!

Brad:    [Turns back to God] God!  What happened?  I did everything you showed me!

GOD:    You forgot the most important part.

Brad:    What was that?

GOD:     Me.  You tried to do it all alone.

Brad:     [Sheepishly] God, will you help me with this one?

GOD:    Sure, Brad, and I’ll save a small part for you to do so that you can keep growing.  [God attacks giant but saves a piece for Brad.  Brad destroys it and genuinely enjoys attacking the giant with God.  They high five.]

Brad:    I see one more giant over there.  Let’s do this one together!  [Approaches giant]  Who are you?

Giant:     I am the Giant of Death.  FEAR ME!

Brad:    Death?  How do I fight this one, God?

GOD:    Brad, I have to do this one all by myself.  [Completely destroys giant]  Brad, there was only one way to destroy the Giant of Death.  I had to send my Son, Jesus, to die on the cross.  But when He died, He defeated death and rose back to life three days later.  Now, anyone that believes wht Jesus did and askes Him to be Lord of their life doesn’t have to fear the Giant of Death anymore.  Whenever a Christian dies, He immediately joins Jesus in heaven.

Brad:     Oh, God, I want that!  Will you help me make Jesus Lord of my life?

GOD:     You bet! [Both exit]

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Filed under Belief, Bullying, Challenges, Christianity, courage, David, drama, faith, Fear, Heaven, prayer, salvation, skit, Spiritual Warfare

God Chooses Me – David – Part 1 (LESSON)


Scriptures:    1 Samuel 9 – 1 Samuel 16

Description:    This lesson leads up to and covers David’s anointing to be king and focuses on how God looks at the heart of a person rather than his outward appearance.  It starts with Saul’s anointing as king and covers the history of what happens in the early years of his leadership.  The lesson is part of a series that deals with David, so you might want to cut parts to tighten it up if you are just focusing on how God chooses leaders.

Rhyme Time:    No matter how strong; no matter how smart;
God picks me; He knows my heart!

Time:    30-45 minutes

Materials:
o    Crown, scepter and cape for the king
o    “X-ray machine” (see instructions below for making it)
o    “X-ray images” from the “God Chooses Me – X-Ray Hearts.ppt” file (see the Lesson Materials and Downloads page on http://www.teachthem.wordpress.com).
o    PowerPoint file with maps and animations – called “God Chooses Me – Maps.ppt (see the Lesson Materials and Downloads page on http://www.teachthem.wordpress.com)
o    Laptop/desktop computer, projection screen and LCD projector (alternatively, you could draw a map of Israel on a flipchart or whiteboard and cut out the pictures mentioned in the lesson to stick to the map as you tell the story.  You can find the clip art pictures in the file named, “God Chooses Me – Pictures.ppt on the Lesson Materials and Downloads page on http://www.teachthem.wordpress.com)
o    Olive oil to anoint David.  (You can put it in a bowl or a flask, depending upon whether you want to pour it over the volunteer’s head or just smear it across his forehead.  If you pour it over his head, do so sparingly.  It’s difficult to get the oil off afterward, and you will want to be careful not to get it into carpeting.)
o    A towel or something that the David volunteer can use to wipe off the oil after the anointing.

Preparation:
o    Create “x-ray machine.”  Take a piece of poster board and cut an 8”x11” hole in it.  Draw some knobs and buttons on this frame to make it look like a machine.  Tape a clear, plastic sheet protector onto the backside so that it covers the hole.  Print the x-rays from the “God Chooses Me – X-Ray Hearts.ppt” file (see the Lesson Materials and Downloads page on http://www.teachthem.wordpress.com).  Organize these in the same order that they are in inside the PowerPoint file, and slip them into the sheet protector.
o    Put oil into a container and set it where you can get to it.
o    Put the towel somewhere close by.
o    Set up your LCD projector, screen and laptop/desktop or draw a map of Israel on a flipchart or whiteboard (In this lesson, when it talks about putting up pictures, it means you should advance the slide if you are using the PowerPoint.)
o    Print out the pictures to use while telling the story (if you are using a flipchart or whiteboard)

Procedure:
Use the following script or modify to suit your needs:
o    “We are going to talk about a story that happened in the land of Israel.”
o    “You may not know where Israel is, so I’ve brought a map.”  (Show map of the world, and point out places the kids might recognize.  Then show the general area where Israel is located.  When you advance the slide, it will magnify the Middle East and then put a circle around Israel.  When you advance the next time, it will magnify Israel even more and outline it in red.)
o    “Many years ago, a man named Samuel was a prophet and the leader of Israel.”
o    “He lived in Shiloh, where the tabernacle of the Lord was.”  (Put “Samuel” picture on Shiloh on the map.)
o    “But people weren’t happy with just a prophet leader.”
o    “The surrounding nations had kings, and that was what the Israelites thought that they needed to be strong and mighty as a people.”
o    “So, they asked Samuel for a king, and Samuel asked God.”
o    “God showed Samuel that he wanted a man named Saul to be the first king of Israel.”
o    “Saul was the tallest man in all of Israel.”  (Invite the tallest person in the room to come forward.)
o    “He was the tallest; he was strong, and he was good looking, too!”
o    “He really looked like a king!”
o    “Now, God doesn’t generally choose people because of how tall or how good looking or how smart they are, but He wanted to teach the Israelites a lesson.”
o    “They wanted a king who looked like a king, so God gave them what they wanted.”
o    “Remember this: be careful what you ask for!”
o    “Saul might have looked like a king, but he wasn’t what they were hoping for.”
o    “They had problems with him from the very beginning.”
o    “On the day that he was being crowned king in Mizpah, Saul went missing.”
o    “They found him hiding in some equipment – too afraid to come accept his responsibility as the new king.”  (Have your Saul hide behind something.)
o    “But they went and got him and crowned him king anyway.”  (Put the crown on his head, the cape around his neck and the scepter in his hand.  Then have him strut around like a proud king.  On the map, show the “crown” picture in Mizpah.)
o    “Samuel told Saul and all the people what king’s should do.  Then, he sent them all home.”
o    “Even Saul went to his home in Gibeah, and he kept living his life like normal.”  (Move “crown” picture to Gibeah on the map.  Have “Saul” sit back down.)
o    “But then, the Ammonites attacked Jabesh-Gilead!”  (Put an “explosion” to mark the battle at Jabesh-Gilead.)
o    “The Ammonites were one of Israel’s enemies, and they lived in the East.”  (Point out Ammonite territory in the eastern part of the map.)
o    “The people of Jabesh-Gilead sent messengers to Gibeah to beg for Saul’s help.”  (Draw dotted line from Jabesh-Gilead to Gibeah.)
o    “Saul came to their aid and defeated the Ammonites at Jabesh-Gilead.”  (Draw dotted line from Gibeah to Jabesh Gilead, and add another “explosion.”)
o    “This made him more confident as a king, so he set up his kingdom in Gilgal.”  (Put “king on throne” in Gilgal.)
o    “Here, he began to assemble his army, and he chose 3,000 fighting men.”  (Put pictures of soldiers near Gilgal.)
o    “Saul gave his son Jonathan an army of 1,000 men, and he kept 2,000 for himself.”
o    “After a few years, the Philistines began to threaten Israel.”  (Show Philistine territory in the southern part of the map.)
o    “They gathered 30,000 chariots and 6,000 horsemen and many fighters at a place called Michmash.”  (Put “soldiers” in Michmash on the map.)
o    “This was a major problem for the Israelites!”
o    “They only had 3,000 fighting men!”
o    “Even worse than that, they only had two swords in their entire army – one for Saul and one for Jonathan!”
o    “The reason for this is that the Philistines were much stronger than Israel and wouldn’t allow any Israelites to be blacksmiths.”
o    “If an Israelite wanted something done with metal, they had to go to the Philistine blacksmiths to get it done, and the Philistine blacksmiths would never make weapons for them – only farming tools.”
o    “So the Israelites are being threatened by an army much, much bigger than theirs.”
o    “It has chariots and horses and swords and other weapons that the Israelites don’t have.”
o    “Things looked bad for Israel.”
o    “But then Jonathan did a very courageous thing.”
o    “He took his armor bearer (the man who carried his shield and some of his weapons) and said, ‘Let’s go to Michmash and see what the Lord will do!’”  (Put picture of Jonathan and armor bearer at Michmash.)
o    “His armor bearer bravely followed, and they went to the pass at Michmash to challenge the 600 Philistines that were guarding the path through the mountains there.”
o    “Jonathan said to his armor bearer, ‘If the Philistines call us and ask us to come up to them when they see us, God has given us the victory, and we will climb up and attack them.  But if they tell us to wait where we are at for them to come down, we will not go up after them.’”
o    “When the Philistines saw them at the bottom of the pass, they called out, ‘Come up here!  We have something to show you!’”
o    “So Jonathan and his armor bearer climbed to the top of the pass.”
o    “When they got there, they began to fight against the Philistines and quickly killed 20 men.”  (Put an “explosion” at Michmash.)
o    “At that moment, God sent an earthquake that fiercely shook the ground, and the Philistines were terrified!”
o    “They began fighting each other in their confusion, and Jonathan and his armor bearer pursued them.”
o    “Saul and the Israelites were startled by the earthquake and looked across the valley to see the Philistine army melting away.”
o    “When Saul realized that his son was the reason for the Philistine retreat, he called all the Israelites to war.”
o    “They drove the Philistines back from Michmash all the way to Aijalon, picking up the weapons that the Philistines dropped as they retreated.”  (Move “soldiers” to Aijalon.)
o    “After defeating the Philistines in this battle, Saul and his army had many swords and other weapons.”
o    “Over the following months and years, Saul’s army grew.”
o    “He led his soldiers in wars against all the enemies of the Israelites – the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Amalekites and Philistines.”  (Show these nations on the map.)
o    “But then Saul made a huge mistake.”
o    “God told him to attack the Amalekites in s a very specific way, but Saul didn’t follow God’s directions.” (Put a dotted line from Gilgal to the Amalekites’ territory and then add an “explosion” on the Amalekites’ territory.)
o    “So, God sent Samuel, the prophet, to meet Saul in Gilgal.”  (Put “Samuel” on Gilgal on the map next to Saul on his throne.)
o    “Samuel told Saul that because he had not followed God’s directions, God would one day take the kingdom of Israel away from him.”
o    “Samuel returned home to Shiloh, where the tabernacle of the Lord was located, and he was sad that Saul was disobedient to God.” (Move “Samuel” to Shiloh on the map.)
o    “God spoke to Samuel and told him that He had selected the next king.”
o    “God told Samuel to fill his horn with oil and head to Bethlehem, where he would anoint the next king.”
o    “Anointing was a ceremony where someone was set apart to do God’s work.”
o    “It involved pouring oil over their heads or spreading oil over their foreheads.”
o    “It said to the person and to the world that this person had a special purpose for God.”
o    “So Samuel left for Bethlehem and went to the house of a man named Jesse.”  (Move “Samuel” to Bethlehem.  Ask for seven volunteers to come up.)
o    “He asked Jesse if he could see his sons, and Jesse brought out each of his sons one-by-one starting from the oldest.”  (Organize the volunteers in a line from tallest to shortest facing the rest of the kids.  The tallest one needs to be a boy, but the rest can be girls or boys.)
o    “Samuel inspected the first one (the oldest/tallest) and thought, ‘Ah! This is the king!  He’s handsome and strong!’”
o    “But God said, ‘Uh, uh….nope!  That’s not him.  Take a look at his heart.’”  (Use “x-ray machine” to look at his heart.  The first picture is of a chest x-ray with a Valentine’s Day candy that says, “Kiss Me.”)
o    “Nope, God’s right…this one only cares about the girls.  Let’s look at the next one.”   (Between volunteers, discreetly slip out the top page from the sheet protector in the “x-ray machine,” and lay it to the side.  The second picture has a very small heart.)
o    “Oh, this one’s heart is way too small.  He can’t be the king.  Let’s look at the next one.”  (Slip the top page out of the sheet protector.  The next picture is a cluster of party balloons.)
o    “No, this one just wants to party.  How about the next one.”  (Slip the top page out.  The next picture is a hamburger.”)
o    “This one has too much cholesterol in his diet.  I’m afraid he won’t last too long if he becomes king.”  (Go to the next volunteer.  Slip out the top page.  The next picture is a set of office equipment.)
o    “Wow!  This one is a workaholic!  He’s too busy to be king.”  (Slip the top page out.  The next picture is a piggy bank.)
o    “Just what I was afraid of…this one loves money too much.”  (Slip the top page out.  The next picture is a chicken.)
o    “This one’s too chicken to be king.  Oh, no!  That’s the last one, and none of them are qualified to be king.”
o    “After the last one, Samuel asked Jesse, ‘Is this it?  Don’t you have any other boys?’”
o    “Jesse said, ‘No, I have one more, but he’s my youngest, and he’s just a shepherd.’”
o    “Samuel thought he had to be better than the rest, so he had the boy sent for.”  (Call up one more volunteer from the audience.  Pick someone small.)
o    “When he saw him, he knew.  This was the boy God had chosen.”
o    “It wasn’t that he was the biggest or the strongest – he wasn’t.”
o    “Samuel could just tell that he was a boy after God’s own heart.”  (Pull out the top sheet from the “x-ray machine.”  The final picture is a big heart with a cross in the middle to signify that David has the heart of God.)
o    “So, recognizing David as the one God had chosen, Samuel anointed David with oil right there in front of his brothers.”  (Pour a little oil on the volunteer’s head or smear some across his forehead to signify his anointing.)
o    “Remember, this told everyone that David had been set aside for serving the Lord in a special way.” (Thank your volunteers, and let them return to their seats.)
o    “We often look at the outside of a person to judge how important or successful they are.”
o    “If they are tall and handsome or beautiful and talented, we often admire them.”
o    “Sometimes we even want to be like them, but God says in His Word that that’s not how he judges a person.”
o    “In 1 Samuel 16:7, God says to Samuel about Jesse’s oldest son, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.’”
o    “God looks at our hearts!  Isn’t that amazing!”
o    “He knows that many of us are not the most beautiful or the most talented or the strongest or the most popular, and it’s okay with Him.”
o    “He doesn’t care so much about what we are like on the outside – He cares about what we are like on the inside!”
o    “That’s where beauty really counts!  Beauty on the inside!”
o    “If you are beautiful on the inside, then it makes your outside beauty even more beautiful!”
o    “Saul was a mess as a king, because his heart was a mess!”
o    “His son Jonathan would have made a much better king than he did, because He had a heart for God and was willing to trust God with his life.”
o    “God allowed the people to have a king that was impressive looking first so that they would appreciate David as a king with the heart of God.”
o    “We will learn more about David as king in another lesson, but for now, I want you to remember that God cares much less about your outside than He does about your inside.”  (Have volunteer read 1 Corinthians 1:26-29.)
o    “God often chooses the people that no one else would think to choose, because then He gets the glory for what we do.”
o    “If God chose the most talented or the strongest or the most beautiful or the wealthiest, they might say that they accomplished on their own what really God accomplished through them.”
o    “So no matter how strong or beautiful or smart you are, be committed to God in your heart, and give Him the glory for all you do.”
o    “Then God will set you aside (will anoint you) for His purposes!”  (You might want to practice the Rhyme Time from the beginning of the lesson at this point.)

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Filed under David, heart, History, Israel

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