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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

Cord of Three Strands


Time

10-15 minutes

Description

This object lesson teaches the old maxim that there is safety in numbers. Ecclesiastes 4:12 says that “A cord of three strands is not easily broken.” This lesson will demonstrate that.

Materials

  • A skein of yarn
  • Scissors
  • Several pairs of gloves
  • Whiteboard or flipchart and markers

Preparation

· Write Ecclesiastes 4:12 on whiteboard or flipchart (see below).

· Cut the yarn into 13 lengths of approximately five feet.

· Keep one length unbraided.

· Braid three strands into one length.

· Do this three more times so that you now have four lengths of braided yarn.

· Braid three of the braided strands together so that you now have nine strands of yarn in this one length.

· You should now have:

o A single strand of yarn.

o Three strands of yarn braided into one length.

o Nine strands of yarn braided into one length.

· Practice the script.

Procedure

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

  • “One of the most common and most successful strategies that Satan uses against us is called ‘Divide and Conquer.’”
  • “Does anyone know what that means?” (Take responses, but if they don’t know for sure, continue with script.)
  • “Divide and Conquer is Satan’s strategy to separate you and me from other Christians in our lives.”
  • “He knows that if he can get you alone, you are no match for him.”
  • “I’m not saying that Satan is all-powerful. He’s not. But he has had thousands of years to practice tempting us, and we are not all that difficult to figure out.”
  • “All by yourself, you are no match against Satan in a spiritual battle. Let me demonstrate.” (Ask your two biggest / strongest children (or even adults) to come up front. Give them each a pair of gloves to put on.)
  • “Okay, let’s say that these two guys are Satan’s henchmen. And let’s say that this strand of yarn (use single strand) is you.” (Give one end of the yarn to each of the “henchmen,” and ask them to wrap it around their hand to get a secure hold.)
  • “In a spiritual battle, these guys are going to do everything they can to break you.” (Have the “henchmen” pull on the yarn until they break it. Make sure that the room is clear of anything that could harm them if the yarn breaks and they fall backward.)
  • “Oh! Look at that! That’s not good! They broke you!”
  • “But you’ve got a defense. The Bible says that:” (Put on board or flipchart.)

“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:12)

· “In a spiritual battle, two are better than one, and three are better than two.”

· “You shouldn’t try to go it alone. You need Christian friends and Christian family members who can help you.”

· “How can Christian friends and family help you in your Christian walk?” (Take responses. Some ideas might be: encouragement when you are struggling, advice when you don’t know what to do, a positive example, sharing your burdens…)

· “Those are great reasons not to be a cord of one strand!”

· “ So let’s try this again with three strands braided together.” (Give the “henchmen” the three-strand braided yarn, and ask them to pull on it as hard as they can. Again, make sure that they won’t fall into anything if the yarn breaks. Depending on the size of your “henchmen,” it’s likely that they will not be able to break the three strands.)

· (If they break it…) “Hmmm. They were able to break the three strands, but it was much harder, wasn’t it? ‘A cord of three strands is not quickly broken,’ but sometimes even it needs more…” (Pull out the nine strands of yarn.)

· (If they don’t break it…) “Hmmm. They weren’t able to break it this time. It looks like “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Now, what if you had even more strands…” (Pull out the nine strands of yarn.)

· “What if instead of two friends or family members, you had eight friends or family to help you resist Satan’s temptations or to encourage you in the spiritual battle? Do you think you would be strong then?” (Take responses.)

· “You bet you would! But let’s check just to make sure.” (Give the “henchmen” the nine-strand braided yarn, and ask them to pull on it as hard as they can. For effect, call up more volunteers to help. They shouldn’t be able to break it.)

· “That’s impressive, isn’t it? So what do you think you need to do after seeing this demonstration?” (Take responses, and listen for things like: build relationships, go to church, make Christian friends, share my struggles with my Christian friends and family, help others who are struggling…)

· “Fantastic! Let’s strengthen your strands right now! Find two other people, and practice memorizing this verse together.” (Allow them to practice and then recite for the group.)

“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:12)

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Filed under Christianity, Coping skills, Hands-on, Object Lesson, Satan's tactics, Scripture memory, Spiritual Warfare

Comp-HEART-ments


Time

20 minutes


Description

This object lesson teaches about our hearts – how we let Jesus in and how he wants access to every room in them.

Materials

  • Slide show (“Comp-HEART-ments” – see Downloads page)
  • Computer and LCD projector
  • Screen

Preparation

Practice the script.

Procedure

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

  • “Your spiritual heart is different from your physical heart.  Your physical heart pumps blood throughout your body and keeps you alive.  It’s very important.  But believe it or not, it’s not quite as important as your spiritual heart.” (Show slide 1.)

  • “You can’t actually find your spiritual heart in your body.  It’s part of your mind, but no one is really sure what part.  Most likely, it’s a combination of parts that all work together.  In your spiritual heart, you store the things that are most important to you.  These can be people, places and things, and each one gets its own special room.” (Show slide 2.)

  • “Everyone has a door on the outside of their heart. Sometimes people decide what important things they let into their hearts through this door, but sometimes things force their way in. Anything that is very emotional for us has a way to get past the door to our heart and take over a room on the inside.”
  • “More than anything, Jesus wants to come into our hearts, but He will never force his way in. He stands outside and knocks on our door, and even though He is powerful enough to come in without our permission, He always waits to be invited. In the book of Revelation, Jesus says:”

‘Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in..’. (Revelation 3:20)

  • “If we open the door to Him, He comes into the first rooms in our heart, which are the places God reserved for Eternity when He created us.” (Show slide 3.)

  • “Every human being was created with these rooms in his or her heart, because God didn’t want us to be satisfied living without Him. Unfortunately, many people don’t ever answer the door when Jesus knocks. Instead, they try to fill these rooms with other things (like money, relationships and things) so that they won’t feel so empty.”
  • “But if we do allow Jesus to come into these rooms, the first thing He does is turn on the lights. This gives us hope and excitement for the things Jesus is ready and willing to do in our lives. Often, this leads us to invite Jesus into other rooms, like the one that determines who (or what) we worship.” (Show slide 4.)

  • “Once Jesus enters that room, He starts to show us what we’ve been worshipping instead of Him. He starts to “rearrange the furniture” in our rooms. In other words, He evaluates what’s in there and either asks us to get rid of it (if it’s junk) or to put it in the right place (if it’s worth keeping but getting more attention than it deserves).”
  • “When those rooms are in pretty good shape, Jesus will knock on doors to other rooms. He never barges in. We have to open the door for Him.”
  • “Sometimes opening the doors is very scary for us. We worry about what Jesus will think of us when He sees what we’ve put in the rooms, and we worry that He will make us get rid of some of the things we really, really like. As a result of our fears, we don’t always let Jesus into all our rooms.”
  • “We may only let Him into a few rooms at a time, and He might have to do a lot of knocking to get into them. While He stands on the other side of the door, we sometimes have a conversation with Him that goes something like this:”

JESUS: “I would like to meet your friends. Will you let me into that room?”

US: “Oh, uh, my friends? Well, some of them aren’t the kind of people you would like very much.”

JESUS: “Really? Why would you think that?”

US: “Well, they use bad language and do things they shouldn’t do sometimes.”

JESUS: “So did you before you let Me into your heart.”

US: “Hmmm… well, that makes sense. Okay, I’ll try to find a good time to introduce You.” (Show slide 5.)

JESUS: “Thanks for introducing me to them. I’ve been knocking on the doors to their hearts for years, but I think they are just now starting to hear Me.”

US: “Yeah, that wasn’t so tough. I’m going to start praying for them every day.”

JESUS: “Say, what about the friends in that other room?”

US: “Oh, I can’t introduce You to them. They hate it when anyone talks about You. They make fun of Christians, and they definitely will make fun of me if they find out I’m one.”

JESUS: “Still, I would really like to meet them, and I wish you weren’t ashamed of Me around them. If they don’t like you because of Me, maybe you should find some other friends. Why don’t you introduce Me, and we’ll see how it turns out?”

US: “Okay, but that scares me to death. Please give me courage.” (Show slide 6.)

US: “That wasn’t easy, but I can see now how those friends were hurting my spiritual growth. I’m glad I let You in that room.”

JESUS: “Keep praying for them. I’ve got plans for their lives, too. You’ve taken a really big step by opening that room to Me. Now let’s talk about all these other places you could open up.”

  • “And the conversation continues, Jesus knocking, us choosing whether or not to respond to His knock. Sometimes we have a major spiritual breakthrough and start throwing many doors open to Jesus. We let Him into our family relationships, our crushes and dating relationships, how we spend our free time, how we spend our money, the things we desire for ourselves and others…” (Show slide 7.)

  • “Jesus sanctifies each room (that’s a big word that means setting something aside for God). He claims each room for His purposes and begins to show us His will for those things that are so important to us. Sometimes He completely empties a room and replaces what was in it with something better, like when He introduces us to new people and helps us care for them or like when He shows us the ministry where He wants us to use our time, talents and treasure.” (Show slide 8.)

  • “Room-by-room, Jesus brings light to our heart. He will go anywhere we invite Him, but He knows that some rooms will take more time for us to open. The rooms that hold our Fears, Disappointments, Hates and Hurts are particularly difficult. We didn’t invite these things; they forced their way in and claimed rooms in the deepest, darkest corners of our heart. Over the years, they have become strongholds for Satan. He uses them as his bases of operation as he leads us into sin and prevents us from becoming all that God wants us to be.”

  • “It takes incredible courage to open the doors of these rooms to Jesus. Each one is filled with so much fear and pain that the doors can only open a fraction at first. If our courage fails us, we slam them shut again, but if we release these rooms to Jesus, He enters boldly, throws the light switch and evicts the Enemy!”

  • “In the light, Jesus shows us the lies that Satan has been telling us about these rooms while we were too afraid to open them and inspect them carefully. Under His loving care, we begin to see how we can turn these Fears, Disappointments, Hates and Hurts into New Hope, New Acceptance, New Love and New Strength.” (Show slide 9.)

  • “Jesus is patient, but He isn’t satisfied with only part of our heart.  He’ll keep knocking until we open every door to every room.  He’s persistent with a purpose.  Jesus wants us to know that those things we don’t release to Him end up owning us.  They lead to unhappiness and failure, and they give Satan a hold on our hearts.  It’s only the heart completely open to God that can fully shine His light.”

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Filed under Christianity, Eternity, heart, Religion, Spiritual Growth