Tag Archives: Focus

Priorities – Mary vs. Martha (DEVOTION)


Read the following Scriptures, and discuss the questions below as a table group.

  • Luke 10:38-42
  • John 11:1-3, 17-44
  • John 12:1-8
  1. Compare and contrast the two sisters.
  2. What is Mary doing that is similar in each of these Scriptures?
  3. What is Martha doing that is similar in each of these Scriptures?
  4. Why do you think Jesus said that Mary’s choice was better in the passage from Luke?
  5. How are you sometimes like Martha?
  6. What is the danger of living our lives like Martha all the time?
  7. What is the best combination of Mary-type priorities and Martha-type priorities for your life?
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Filed under activity, Character, Devotion, Martha, Mary, Priorities, spiritual disciplines, Spiritual Growth, Spiritual Health

Learning Transfer (EXERCISE)


Audience
Children, Teens or Adults

Time
30 minutes

Description
This activity helps teachers, presenters, facilitators and trainers recognize the inherent challenges in teaching as we compete against our audiences’ or participants’ mental barriers to learning transfer.  This exercise can be presented as a “game,” but it is more of a “gotcha” in which participants are set up to fail in order to emphasize the learning point.

Materials
•    Notecards (approximately 30 for every two people)
•    Marker or pen (one for every two people)
•    Article (There is one at the end of this lesson.  You may want to choose a different article better suited to your participants’ level of knowledge.  It should be written with unfamiliar vocabulary in order to provide a challenge in understanding the message.)
•    Quiz with 10-15 questions and answers (There is one at the end of this lesson, or you can prepare your own based on the article that you choose.)
•    Prizes (optional)

Preparation
•    Read through the article to make sure you are familiar with it.
•    Create your quiz if you are using a different article than the one provided.
•    Divide the group into pairs, and give each pair a marker/pen and a stack of the notecards.
•    Ask someone to be your ‘Distractor’ – the person who will steal ideas from Short-Term Memory

Procedure
Use the following script, or modify to suit your needs:
•    “Brain research shows that the short-term memory is only able to hold seven pieces of information at any one time and that it can only hold each piece of information for about 20 seconds.”
•    “In that 20 seconds, your short-term memory is doing three things:

1.    Trying to understand (“decode”) the message
2.    Dealing with distractions
3.    Learning and transferring the information to long-term memory”

•    “In order to learn new things, you have to overcome challenges in understanding the message and dealing with distractions, and you only have 20 seconds to do it with each piece of information.”
•    “If you don’t learn that information and transfer it to long-term memory in 20 seconds, your brain dumps it and replaces it with something else.”
•    “If more than seven pieces of new information are presented to you at one time, your short-term memory will dump new information even faster as new information replaces ‘old’ information.”
•    “It’s amazing that we ever learn anything, right?”
•    “For teachers, presenters, facilitators and trainers, this is a challenge to how we typically present things we want people to learn.”
•    “If we cover the information too quickly, they won’t get it.”
•    “If we don’t make it simple enough for them to quickly understand it, they won’t get it.”
•    “If they are distracted by fellow students, personal problems, discomfort, irritating habits that the trainer has, etc…, they won’t get it.”
•    “Let’s play a game that will demonstrate how tough this really is.”
•    “I’ve divided you into pairs and given each pair a stack of notecards and a pen/marker.”
•    “In your pairs, select one person to be ‘Short-Term Memory (STM)’ and one person to be ‘Long-Term Memory (LTM).’” (Allow time for them to select roles.)
•    “I’m going to read an article out loud.”
•    “As I read, STM will use the pen/marker and the notecards to write down the most important ideas from the article.”
•    “I won’t tell you what those ideas are.  You have to decide for yourself.”
•    “Once STM has written the idea down, he/she will hand it to LTM.”
•    “LTM will take the idea, read it and place it face-down in front of him/her.”
•    “It doesn’t matter how LTM chooses to organize the ideas.  That’s up to him/her.”
•    “When STM writes down an idea, that represents understanding the information (decoding).”
•    “When STM hands the idea to LTM, that represents learning transfer.”
•    “That alone will be challenging, but there’s one additional challenge you will have to deal with.”
•    “I’ve asked ______ to be our ‘Distractor.’”
•    “His/her job is to walk around the room and steal ideas away from STM.”
•    “Distractor can take the idea when it’s being written or when it’s being passed.”
•    “The idea isn’t safe until it is face-down in front of LTM.”
•    “If Distractor tries to steal an idea, you have to give it to him/her – he/she is much too powerful for you!”
•    “If Distractor steals and idea, STM can rewrite it if he/she wants to, or he/she can skip it and move on to the next idea.”
•    “At the end of the game, you will be given a test.”
•    “After I ask each question about the article, LTM will have three chances to find the card that has that information on it.”
•    “STM is not allowed to help.”
•    “It’s possible that LTM won’t even have the answer, since LTM was dependent on STM to write down the correct ideas.”
•    “If LTM picks up the wrong card, he/she should return it face-down to the table.”
•    “If
•    LTM picks up the right card, he/she can put it to the side.  It counts as one point.”
•    “The team with the most points at the end of the test wins.”
•    “What questions do you have?”  (Answer any questions.)
•    “Okay, let’s play!”  (Read the article at a normal pace as the STMs write down the most important parts.  ‘Distractor’ should roam around the pairs stealing ideas when possible but not taking so many that it completely discourages the participants.  When you are done, give the test.  After the test, find out which team has the most points, and award a prize if you wish.  Then, have the participants discuss the following debrief questions in their original groups or in their pairs.  Debrief as a large group.)

Debrief
o    What made that difficult?
o    How was that like the challenge a learner faces when he/she hears new information?
o    What could we do to help more information move successfully between STM and LTM?

Quiz
1)    What do shadow puppet craftsmen typically use to smooth out the puppets? (a glass bottle)
2)    What is the Indonesian term for ‘shadow puppets?’ (wayang kulit)
3)    Less expensive puppets that are sold to children during shows are typically made of what? (cardboard)
4)    The Punakawan is a family of characters in Javanese shadow puppets, and they are often referred to as what?  (clown-servants)
5)    What are three sources for the shadow puppet stories? (the Ramayana, the Mahabharata or the Serat Menak)
6)    What tools did shadow puppet theater traditionally use to project and display the image of the puppets? (cotton screen and an oil lamp)
7)    What is the most common light sources used today to project the shadow puppets’ images in Java? (halogen electric lights)
8)    What is the Indonesian word for ‘skin?’  (kulit)
9)    Which city in Central Java is most famous for its style of puppets? (Surakarta or Solo)
10)    Which parts on the shadow puppet typically move? (upper and lower arms)
11)    How long does it take a crew of craftsmen to make ten shadow puppets? (one week)
12)    Puppets are supported with carefully shaped __________ and control rods. (buffalo horn handles)

ARTICLE – “Wayang Kulit”
(Source – Wikipedia)

Wayang kulit, shadow puppets prevalent in Java and Bali in Indonesia, are without a doubt the best known of the Indonesian wayang. Kulit means skin, and refers to the leather construction of the puppets that are carefully chiselled with very fine tools and supported with carefully shaped buffalo horn handles and control rods.

The stories are usually drawn from the Ramayana, the Mahabharata or the Serat Menak.

There is a family of characters in Javanese wayang called Punakawan; they are sometimes referred to as “clown-servants” because they normally are associated with the story’s hero, and provide humorous and philosophical interludes. Semar is the father of Gareng (oldest son), Petruk, and Bagong (youngest son). These characters did not originate in the Hindu epics, but were added later, possibly to introduce mystical aspects of Islam into the Hindu-Javanese stories. They provide something akin to a political cabaret, dealing with gossip and contemporary affairs.

The puppet figures themselves vary from place to place. In Central Java the city of Surakarta (Solo) is most famous and is the most commonly imitated style of puppets. Regional styles of shadow puppets can also be found in West Java, Banyumas, Cirebon, Semarang, and East Java. Bali produces more compact and naturalistic figures, and Lombok has figures representing real people. Often modern-world objects as bicycles, automobiles, airplanes and ships will be added for comic effect, but for the most part the traditional puppet designs have changed little in the last 300 years.

Historically, the performance consisted of shadows cast on a cotton screen and an oil lamp. Today, the source of light used in wayang performance in Java is most often a halogen electric light. Some modern forms of wayang such as Wayang Sandosa created in the Art Academy at Surakarta (STSI) has employed spotlights, colored lights and other innovations.

The handwork involved in making a wayang kulit figure that is suitable for a performance takes several weeks, with the artists working together in groups. They start from master models (typically on paper) which are traced out onto kulit (skin or parchment), providing the figures with an outline and with indications of any holes that will need to be cut (such as for the mouth or eyes). The figures are then smoothed, usually with a glass bottle, and primed. The structure is inspected and eventually the details are worked through. A further smoothing follows before individual painting, which is undertaken by yet another craftsman. Finally, the movable parts (upper arms, lower arms with hands and the associated sticks for manipulation) mounted on the body, which has a central staff by which it is held. A crew makes up to ten figures at a time, typically completing that number over the course of a week.

The painting of less expensive puppets is handled expediently with a spray technique, using templates, and with a different person handling each color. Less expensive puppets, often sold to children during performances, are sometimes made on cardboard instead of leather.

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StrengthsFinder Theme Sorting (GAME)


Audience

Teens, Adults

Time

15-20 minutes
Description

This game helps participants to become familiar with and remember the 34 Clifton StrengthsFinder Themes through a competitive sorting activity.  Participants should have taken the Clifton StrengthsFinder or StrengthsQuest assessment at http://www.strengthsfinder.com.  You can get an access code by purchased their books, StrengthsFinder 2.0 or Strengths Based Leadership.

Scriptures

o  Romans 12:4-5

Materials

o  Cards with each of the StrengthsFinder Themes and their definitions (one set per team – you can find the file with these cards at www.teachingthem.com on the Lesson and Material Downloads page in the file “Strengths Finder Theme Sorting – Cards.ppt.”

o  Scissors or other cutting tool

o  Envelopes (one per team)

o  Answer Key (at the bottom of this lesson and also in the file “Strengths Finder Theme Sorting – Answer Key.ppt” on the Lesson and Material Downloads page.)

o  Flipchart or whiteboard

o  Marker

o  Prizes for the winning team (optional)

o  Bible

Preparation

o  Cut out the cards for sorting, and put one set per envelope (one per team).  You might want to number or name the envelopes to correspond to team designations.
o  Write the Debrief Question on a flipchart or whiteboard, and have them ready for the groups to review and discuss after the game.
o  Practice the script.

Procedure

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

  • “Let’s do a competition that will help you to become more familiar with and to remember the 34 StrengthsFinder Themes.”
  • “I’m giving each team an envelope with all 34 Themes and their definitions.”  (Pass out the envelopes, but instruct them not to open the envelopes until you give the signal.)
  • “When I say go, work with your team members to match each Theme to its definition.”
  • “The team that finishes earliest with the least number of mistakes wins.”
  • “I will only check your answers once, so make sure that they are correct before you ask me to check them.”
  • “When you say you are done, I will tell you what order you finished in, i.e., 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc…”
  • “Finishing first doesn’t mean you win.  You have to have the least amount of mistakes.”
  • “If there is a tie for least amount of mistakes, the team that finished earliest will win.”
  • “Any questions?” (After addressing questions, let the teams open their envelopes and start sorting.  When they finish, they should notify you, and you will tell them what place they finished in.  This doesn’t guarantee a win.  The most important thing is that they have the fewest mistakes, but if there is a tie for fewest mistakes, the team who finished earlier will win.  After you have checked their answers using the Answer Key below, declare a winner and offer them a prize if you wish.  Then, have the teams work through the Debrief Questions below.)

Debrief Questions

1. Read Romans 12:4-5.  This Scripture continues to talk about spiritual gifts.  Do you think its truth also applies to our Strengths?  Why or why not?

2. Why do you think God made us so differently?

3. What does it mean, “each part of the body belongs to all the other parts?”

4. How can we live this Scripture more intentionally in the future?


Answer Key

A. Developer

B. Competition

C. Belief

D. Adaptability

E. Arranger

F. Communication

G. Context

H. Discipline

I. Empathy

J. Achiever

K. Command

L. Deliberative

M. Focus

N. Consistency

O. Connectedness

P. Activator

Q. Analytical

R. Woo

S. Relator

T. Includer

U. Input

V. Restorative

W. Learner

X. Strategic

Y. Positivity

Z. Significance

AA. Responsibility

BB. Harmony

CC. Intellection

DD. Maximizer

EE. Ideation

FF. Individualization

GG. Self-Assurance

HH. Futuristic

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Filed under diversity, Game, Games that Teach, Icebreaker, memory, Strengths

Out of Orbit (Obj Lesson)


Time

10-15 minutes
Description

This object lesson teaches about how difficult it can be for us to stay focused on following Jesus.

 

Scriptures

  • Philippians 3:12-14

Materials

  • A toy rocket or spaceship (or if you don’t have anything like that, improvise with a cardboard tube or just about anything else – the kids won’t mind)
  • One large ball (preferably yellow or orange)
  • Several smaller balls of varying sizes
  • Permanent marker
  • Index cards (one for each ball)
  • Tape
  • Bible

Preparation

  • Write the following words on different index cards, “SON,” “WORLD,” “Jealousy,” “Bitterness,” “Selfishness,” “Unkindness,” “Worry,” “Doubt,” “Foolishness,” “Pride,” “Fear,” “Greed,” “Ignorance,” or any others that you want to use.  The only ones that are required are the “SON” card and the “WORLD” card.
  • Tape these cards onto different balls.  The “SON” card should be taped to the largest ball.
  • Practice the script.

 

Procedure

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

  • “Do any of you ever have trouble staying focused on following God?”  (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “Me, too!  It’s so hard to always do what is right and stay on the path toward Him.”
  • “We are kind of like a rocket ship heading toward the sun (but actually, we are headed to the S-O-N, because we won’t burn up when we reach Him!)”  (Ask for enough volunteers to hold all the props you’ve brought – one for the rocket ship and one for each ball.  Put the person holding the “SON” ball at one end of the room, and place the person with the “WORLD” ball and the person with the rocket ship at the other end of the room.  Space those with the balls along either side of the path between the large ball and the rocket ship.)
  • “Before we know Jesus, we are stuck in the WORLD’s orbit.”  (Guide the person with the rocket ship by the shoulders to make several orbits around the person with the “WORLD” ball.”
  • “But then, we catch a glimpse of the SON and decide we want to follow Him.”
  • “We break free from the WORLD’s orbit and start heading toward the SON.”  (Guide the person with the rocket ship slowly toward the SON, but as soon as you get to the first person with a ball on the path, break off and orbit around that person.”
  • “Unfortunately, on the way to the SON, we get distracted by ________ (name whatever is printed on the card on the ball), and we go into orbit around it for a while.” (Keep going around this person.)
  • “The more times we go around _____________ (say what is on the ball again), the more we hate it, but it is soooooooo hard to break free from its gravitational pull!”  (Keep going around this person.)
  • “We keep seeing the SON every time we pass around __________________ (say the name of the ball), and eventually, His power pulls us free of the orbit of the dead planet we have been circling.”  (Break free and start back toward the SON.)
  • “Not everything is a temptation for us, so we will be able to pass some of these dead planets without any problem, but our Enemy, Satan, is not going to give us up without a fight.
  • “He will put a very tempting planet in our path, and sure enough, we will get distracted looking at it and get sucked into its gravitational pull!” (Guide the person with rocket to begin orbiting this new dead planet.)
  • “Even though the planet looked tempting from a distance, when we get close to it, we find that it is empty and lifeless.  It doesn’t satisfy.”
  • “The SON won’t let us forget Him.  We will see Him on every orbit, and eventually, He will pull us free from that dead planet and set us back on the path toward Him.”  (Guide the person with the rocket to break away and head toward the Son.)
  • “This keeps happening over and over and over again.  It’s very frustrating!”  (Guide the person with the rocket to get sucked into one orbit and then break away and then get sucked into another orbit and so on….)
  • “But there is good news!  The closer we get to the SON, the easier it gets to break free from these temptations.”
  • “We get stronger and stronger in our faith and our ability to resist temptation, and we stay longer and longer on the path toward the SON.”
  • “We just need to keep striving to reach the SON.  Paul says in his letter to the Philippians, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12-14)
  • “Paul was saying that he doesn’t look back at what’s behind him; he just keeps straining toward what is ahead of him.”
  • “He keeps his ship pointed toward the SON, and when he gets off-course, he gets back on-course as soon as possible to follow the SON.”
  • “One day, it will be time, and the SON will bring us the rest of the way to Him when we join Him in heaven (or when He comes back to join us on earth).  (Guide the person with the rocket ship to the SON and have him orbit the SON several times before ending the lesson.)

 

 

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Point to Christ Relay


Time

15-25 minutes

Description

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

 

Materials

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

 

Preparation

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

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

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

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

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

·      Practice the script.

 

Procedure

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

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

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

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

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

·      “Interested?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Debrief Questions

o   “What made that difficult?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Where You Focus



Time

15 minutes


Description

This object lesson helps children (and adults) understand that sometimes we don’t give people a fair chance and that it’s important to look at the good things about people, too.

Materials

PowerPoint file, “Where You Focus.ppt,.” a projector and a screen or blank wall.  (This PowerPoint is available on the “Downloads” page.”

Preparation

Set up projector and load file.

Procedure

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

· “I’m going to show you a magic trick.”

· “On the next slide, there will be 8 cards.” (Show slide 2.)

· “I want you to pick one and memorize it… Have you memorized it?” (Show slide 3).

· “O.K., on the next slide your card is going to be turned face down.”

· “Was I right?” (Show slide 4.)

· “Pretty impressive, huh? Want to do it again?” (Show slide 5.)

· “OK, same thing – pick a card on the next slide and memorize it.” (Show slide 6.)

· “Got it?” (Show slide 7.)

· “On the next slide, it will be turned upside down.” (Show slide 8.)

· “I did it again, didn’t I?” (Show slide 9.)

· “Now a magician’s not supposed to reveal his secrets, but I think I’ll make an exception this time.”

· “How many of you want to know how I did that?”

· “Ok, watch this!” (Show slide 10, and ask one child to pick a card and tell you what it is. Flip to slide 11.)

· “Do you see it? Nope, not there – maybe it’s the upside down one.”

· “Let’s try again.” (Flip back to slide 10.)

· “Pick a different card this time, and tell me what it is.” (Show slide 10.)

· “Not there. Hmmm… We can’t have two cards turned down.”

· “Can anyone figure out how I did it?”

· “Right! None of the cards are the same.”

· “I know, it’s a dirty trick, but I showed it to you to make an important point.”

· “When you focus on just one thing, you usually miss everything around it.”

· “Sometimes, we do this with people. We focus on just one part about them and miss all the other stuff.” (For an example, pick on an adult or yourself.


· “If I focus on ______’s big nose, I might miss that he’s really funny.”

· “Or, if I focus on his ______, I might miss that he’s really smart.”

· “Does this ever happen to you?”

· “Do people notice just one thing and miss the rest?”

· “That hurts sometimes, doesn’t it?”

· “And it doesn’t feel very fair.”

· “You’ve got so many wonderful things about you.”

· “Well, God never sees just one thing about you!”

· “He always sees all the wonderful things.”

· “He sees the best in you and loves you just like you are.”

· “Can we make an agreement?”

· “Touch your neighbor and say, ‘I’m not going to focus on the bad stuff.’”

· “Touch your other neighbor and say, ‘I’m going to focus on the good stuff.’”

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Filed under Agape Love, Christianity, Focus, illusion, Kindness, Love, Magic, Object Lesson, Relationships