Tag Archives: glory

The Legend of the Candy Cane (GAME)


Time
15-20 minutes (or more, depending upon how many times you play)

Audience

Children & Youth

Description

This matching game is a fun one to play at Christmas.  It takes the elements of “The Legend of the Candy Cane” (apocryphal) and uses it to make connections between the popular Christmas candy and truths about Christ.  Even though the widely circulated story of how the candy cane originated is not true, we can still find meaning and symbolism in the candy that will help us to appreciate our Savior.

Scriptures

  • Exodus 12:22-23
  • Psalm 51:7
  • Isaiah 53:5
  • Matthew 1:23, 5:12, 26:28
  • John 10:11
  • Romans 6:4, 9:33
  • 2 Corinthians 5:21

Materials

  • Printouts of “Legend of the Candy Cane – Cards.ppt” (available at www.teachingthem.com on the Lesson and Material Downloads page).  There are enough cards in the printout for two teams.  If you will have more teams competing, you will need more copies.
  • Scissors or a paper cutter (to cut out the cards)
  • A simple, red-and-white candy cane to use as an example
  • Flipchart or whiteboard and markers
  • Optional: If it bothers you that participants will be able to see the images through the paper, you might want to use a heavy stock of paper, or you might even want to glue the cards to cardboard or posterboard before cutting them out.
  • Optional: Small prizes for the winners – I recommend candy canes to fit with the theme.
  • Bible

Preparation

  • Print out the cards.
  • Optional: Glue the cards on top of the cardboard or poster board (to prevent participants from being able to see the images through the paper).
  • Cut out the cards.
  • Sort the cards into sets.  (There are two identical sets in each printout.  Most matching games have you match identical cards, but in this matching game, participants will match a characteristic of the candy cane with its meaning/symbol.  So, each set will contain one of each of the following cards: “White,” “Red,” “The Rock,” “J-Shape,” “Stripes,” “Peppermint,” “Hard,” “Sweet,” “Hyssop,” “Sinless,” “Blood,” “Shepherd,” “Born of a Virgin,” “By His Stripes,” “Jesus,” “Wash Me Clean,” “New Life,” and “Heaven.”
  • Shuffle the cards, and lay them out in three rows of six cards each.  (The cards should be laid out face-down.”)
  • Practice the script.

Procedure

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

  • “Have any of you ever heard “The Legend of the Candy Cane?”  (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “It’s this story that has been sent around the internet and on different websites about how the candy cane was created and why.”
  • “It says that a man created the candy cane to be a witness to Jesus Christ and that each of the characteristics of the candy cane pointed to our Lord.”
  • “Unfortunately, some people checked out the story, and it turns out not to be true.”
  • “The candy cane has been around for about 300 years, and it started out as just a simple candy.”
  • “However, that doesn’t mean that we can’t find symbols of Christianity in the candy cane.”
  • “Many times, God uses something to bring glory to Himself even when mankind didn’t intend to give Him glory.”
  • “I think the candy cane can definitely bring glory to God.”
  • “Let’s look at it more closely.”  (Hold up a candy cane for the participants to see.)
  • “What are some of the things you notice about the candy cane?”  (Hold up you hand to show that you want them to raise their hands to be recognized one at a time.  As you call on them, you might want to write what they say on the flipchart or whiteboard.  Then, ask them to tell you what this characteristic might represent in the Christian faith.  Several characteristics will have two meanings.  You will have to give them some guidance, but let them come up with as many as they can.  The main responses you are looking for are written below.
    • White = Sinless (2 Corinthians 5:21); Born of a Virgin (Matthew 1:23)
    • Red = Blood (Matthew 26:28)
    • Hard = The Rock (Romans 9:33)
    • J-Shaped = Jesus, Shepherd’s staff (John 10:11)
    • Stripes = By His stripes… (Isaiah 53:5)
    • Peppermint = Hyssop (Exodus 12:22-23), Washes Me Clean (Psalm 51:7)
    • Sweet = New Life (Romans 6:4), Heaven (Matthew 5:12)

There may be additional connections that the participants can make, but they won’t be included in the matching game.  As you make the connections, you might want to have someone read the Scriptures listed above.  Some Scriptures may need a little background information to connect them to the symbol.)

  • “See!  We came up with at least eleven connections between Christianity and the candy cane!”
  • “That can’t be accidental.  God must have hidden these truths in the candy cane for us to find.”
  • “Now, let’s play a game to help us remember these connections.”
  • “It’s a matching game, like when you turn a face-down card over and then try to remember where its match might be.”
  • “How many of you have played a game like this before?”  (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “I’m going to divide you into teams before we play.”  (Divide participants into evenly-sized groups – as much as possible – based on how many sets of cards you prepared.)
  • “Here’s how it is played for those of you who haven’t played before.”
  • “Each team has a set of 18 cards, placed face-down in front of you.”
  • “Your goal is to match all the different sets before the other teams do.”
  • “You will do this by turning over two cards at a time.”
  • “You will take turns on your team being the person who turns over the cards.”
  • “Once you turn them over, you cannot change which cards you’ve chosen.”
  • “I will look at the two you’ve chosen and tell you if you have a match or not.”
  • “If you have a match, I will let you make a set and take the cards off the board.”
  • “Sometimes, you may match two cards that actually need a third card to make the set.”
  • “You will be able to tell if there is a third card when there is a #3 in the corner of the two cards you have turned over.”
  • “Whenever this happens, I will let you turn over one more card to see if you can make a full set.”
  • “If you turn over the third card, I will let you remove the cards from the board.”
  • “If you turn over two (or three) cards that don’t match, you will have to turn them back face-down in the same place you found them.”
  • “After I’ve looked at all the cards, we’ll go to the next turn, and someone else in your team will turn over the cards.”
  • “The first team to match all their sets wins!”
  • “Do you have any questions?”
  • “Are you ready to play?”  (Start the game.  Do one round at a time, so that you will be able to tell which team wins.  If you have a prize picked out for the winners, you can hand it out then.  If you finish quickly, you can shuffle the cards and play again.  For a more challenging game, you might want to combine two sets of the cards to make a total of 36 cards for each team.)

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Filed under Christianity, Christmas, Game, Games that Teach, Hands-on, Jesus

Man and the Moon


Time

20-25 minutes

Description

This object lesson makes an analogy between Jesus and the sun and Christians and the moon. It helps kids to learn what why Jesus didn’t take us straight to heaven as soon as we became Christians.

Materials

  • Several white shirts for kids to slip on (large undershirts are easy to get on an off over their other clothing).
  • Black light

Preparation

· Plug in the black light near your teaching area.

· Have shirts ready.

· Practice the script.

Procedure

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

  • “For this activity, I’m going to need four volunteers (or five or six…the number is not important).” (Select volunteers, and have them slip on the white shirts. Ask another volunteer to be in charge of turning off the lights when you ask.)
  • “I have a friend (Author’s note: I’m referring to me – you and I are friends, right?) whose son has a shirt that says, ‘Be the moon,’ on the front. On the back, it says, ‘Reflect the Son.’”
  • “It’s a great picture of our role within the world.”
  • “The moon, we know, sends out no light of its own.”
  • “These volunteers are going to represent the moon. Do any of you have any light of your own that you can show us?” (Take responses.)
  • “Right, because you are representing the moon, and the moon is really just a big, dead, gray rock…or maybe green cheese…but it doesn’t have the ability to send out light.”
  • “However, on clear nights, the moon can sometimes be so bright that you can see clearly by the light it reflects. How does that happen?” (Take responses.)
  • “Exactly! It reflects the light of the sun.”
  • “This black light is going to represent the sun for us.”
  • “When the sun sets… (have volunteer turn out the lights, and then turn on the black light. Try to put the light where the bulb cannot be seen by the audience. You just want them to see the reflection of the light on the white shirts.) …the moon rises, and it reflects the light of the sun.”
  • “’But how does that happen?’, you might ask. The sun is gone. Does anyone know how it works?” (Take responses, and add your own explanation if necessary.)
  • “Right, even when the people in the world can’t see the sun, the moon can (so to speak). The moon is just far enough away from the world that it always has a clear view of the sun.”
  • “Even when our part of the world has turned away from the sun, the moon stays where the light of the sun can still shine directly on it. That way, it can reflect the light back to the world.” (Have volunteer turn on lights, and turn off the black light.)
  • “When the sun comes back on a fresh, new morning, the moon is still there, but we don’t need its light anymore, because the light of the sun is far better than just a reflection of the light of the sun.”
  • “Our role as believers in Jesus is just like the moon’s role in the night sky.”
  • “You see, the Son (S-O-N….Jesus) has gone back to heaven, and the world can’t see Him.”
  • “But He left us here on earth to reflect His light.”
  • “That’s why God didn’t take you straight to heaven when you became a Christian.
  • “It would have been better for you to be in heaven, but God wanted you to stay here and reflect His light to those who can’t see Him.”
  • “We Christians have no light of our own, but it’s our job to shine light into dark places.” (Have volunteer read Matthew 5:14-16.)
  • “This world is like a house with all the lights shut off. You are like a lamp that shines light to everyone around you.” (Have volunteer turn off lights, and turn the black light back on.)
  • “Now, we live in bodies that are dead with sin, just like the moon is a big, dead rock.”
  • “If I turn off this light… (turn off black light) …they don’t shine any light to the rest of us.”
  • “But if they stay where they can see the light… (turn on black light) …then they will reflect the light to everyone else.”
  • “Our bodies are dead with sin, but our spirits are alive in Christ. It’s our spirit that is able to reflect the light of Jesus.”
  • “The people in the world don’t always know where the light is coming from, but it at least makes them curious.”
  • “They may not ask us about our light for a long time, so you might think they haven’t noticed it.”
  • “But I promise you, if you’ve done a good job of reflecting the light of Jesus, there is a time when they will come to you to find out where your light is coming from. Does anyone know when that time is?” (Take responses, and elaborate if necessary.)
  • “Sure, when the lights go out in their life….when something difficult happens to them like a fight with a good friend or failing a class at school or getting in big trouble with their parents…. Those are the times when things are darkest in their lives.”
  • “And when it’s dark, people naturally want to go toward the light. If they have seen your light before, they will come to you.”
  • “That is God giving you an opportunity to share what you know about Jesus.” (Have volunteer turn on lights, and turn off black light.)
  • “What we have to careful about is that we don’t allow the world to get between us and the Son of God.”
  • “Does anyone know what happens when the world gets between the sun and the moon?” (Take responses, and add your explanation if necessary.)
  • “Right, it causes an eclipse. An eclipse can happen when the world blocks the light from the sun so that it can’t reach the moon. Then the moon can’t shine the sun’s light.”
  • “This can happen to Christians, too. Watch this!” (Ask for several volunteers to come stand in between you and the volunteers representing the moon. Then have your volunteer turn off the lights, and turn on the black light.)
  • “These volunteers represent ‘the world,’ which is a name the Bible gives to sinfulness.”
  • “So, really, these volunteers represent sin in our lives.”
  • “When we are sinning, the light of the Son of God cannot reflect off of us.”
  • “A little sin blocks some of the light.” (Move volunteers around so that just one or two are standing in front of the ‘moon’ volunteers.)
  • “A lot of sin in our lives can block the light out completely. (Move volunteers around so that they completely block the ‘moon’ volunteers. Call up more volunteers if you need to.)
  • “Jesus is always shining His light, but it is only going to reflect off of us when we don’t allow ‘the world’ (sin) to get between Him and us.” (Have volunteer turn lights back on, turn off the black light and excuse volunteers to return to their seats.)
  • “One last analogy. If we understand where the moon gets its light, then we know that the moon serves as a reminder.”
  • “When the sun goes away at night, the moon reminds us that the sun is only gone for a little while before it returns.”
  • “Isn’t that really what we are supposed to be about as Christians?”
  • “The Church didn’t exist until Jesus rose again after His death and resurrection.”
  • “He created it, because He was going away, and He left us here to remind the world that He is coming back.”
  • “And He is coming back! The Bible says so. And on that day…” (Have volunteer read Revelation 22:4-5.)

They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 22:4-5)

  • “I can’t wait for that day, but until then, Genesis 1:16 says, “God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day (that’s Jesus) and the lesser light to govern the night (that’s us).”
  • “How do you think we are doing with our part of the job?” (Take responses, comment and then end the lesson.)

A Few More Scriptures That Might Be Helpful

  • “Once for all, I have sworn by my holiness— and I will not lie to David – that his line will continue forever and his throne endure before me like the sun; it will be established forever like the moon, the faithful witness in the sky.” Selah (Psalm 89:35-37)
  • “The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.” (Isaiah 60:19)
  • “The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.” (Romans 13:12)
  • “You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.” (1 Thessalonians 5:5)

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Filed under Christianity, Evangelism, Great Commandment, Great Commission, Intercession, Object Lesson, Relationships, Witness

Cracked Pots


Time

10 minutes

Description

This object lesson teaches about how God uses everything for His purposes – even the things we don’t like about ourselves. If you act out the story, it can get a little messy (just with water), so you should consider that when selecting your teaching space.

Materials

These materials are optional. They are props for you to use when you tell the story.

  • Broomstick or 3” dowel rod – approximately five feet long
  • Twine or rope
  • Drill and ¾” (or larger) drillbit
  • Hammer
  • Scissors
  • Water for your two flower pots
  • Two plastic flower pots
  • Several potted plants or flowers
  • Bible

Preparation

· Drill a hole in both ends of the broomstick or dowel rod

· Drill three holes (equally spaced) around the top rim of each flower pot

· Use the hammer to put a crack in the side of one of the flower pots about halfway up. It’s important that the crack leaks steadily, but you don’t want it so big that all your water will pour out at once.

· Cut the twine or rope into six, three foot pieces.

· Thread each piece of twine or rope through a different hole in the two buckets, and tie it off on the outside of the buckets.

· Thread the three lengths of twine or rope from each bucket into one end of the broomstick or dowel rod.

· Make sure that the three lengths are identical, then tie the three lengths or twine or rope together on the opposite side of the broomstick or dowel rod from where you threaded them in. (Do this to both buckets.)

· You should now have two water buckets on either end of the pole. During the storytelling, you will carry the pole on your shoulders.

· Set out your potted plants or flowers on one side of the room, where you will be able to walk by and spill water on them. Leave the other side of this “path” empty of flowers or plants.

· Practice the script with your props.


Procedure

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

· “Today, we are going to look at a story from the Bible about a Pharisee and a Tax Collector.”

· “During the first century when Jesus walked the earth, everyone thought Pharisee’s were ‘the best people.’ They were leaders in the church, who seemed to be very spiritual, and people thought that God must love them because they were rich.”

· “Tax collectors were considered to be ‘the worst people,’ because they were Jews who collected taxes for Rome and often stole money from the Jewish people.”

· “In this story, Jesus challenged peoples’ ideas about who were the most godly people.” (Get a volunteer to read Luke 18:9-14.)

· “So what do you think Jesus was trying to tell the people about being godly?” (Look for responses that involve the concepts of humility, pride, doing things just for show, authenticity, integrity, reprentance…)

· “You know, that story reminds me of another one…”

· “It is a story about a farmer who had to make a long walk for water each day down to the stream, where the clear water flowed.”

· “To carry the water back, he used two, large, pots that he had fashioned with his own hands. These he hung on either end of a long pole that he carried across his neck and shoulders.” (Show the pole with the two empty flower pots.)

· “Though both pots had seen some years, one was still in perfect condition.” (Show perfect pot.)

· “The other, however, had a large crack in it.” (Show cracked pot.)

· “Each day, the farmer went down the stream.” (Place the pole over your shoulders, and act out the story. Head to the place where you have your water waiting, and fill both pots full.)

· “And each day, he filled both his pots full of water. Then he headed back home.”

· “As he walked, the perfect pot kept all its water, but the cracked pot lost half its water on the path.”

· “The perfect pot was proud of its daily accomplishment, a full pot of water delivered to the farmer’s hut, and it had no respect for the cracked pot because of its inefficiency.”

· “The perfect pot thought to itself, ‘I am glad that I am not like this worthless pot beside me. I faithfully bring all that I’m given back to the hut of my master.’”

· “And to be sure, the cracked pot was ashamed of the way it wasted water on the way back to the hut each day.”

· “If only the crack were not so large or the distance from the stream not so far…”

· “It thought to itself, ‘My master has been so good to me, and I continue to fail him day after day. I’ll speak to my master and ask for his forgiveness.’”

· “So, the next morning, as the farmer was tying each of the pots to the long pole he used to carry them, the cracked pot spoke up.

· “’Master, forgive me; I’m a cracked pot.’”

· “Amused by this sudden revelation, the farmer responded, “’Why yes, you are! I’ve always known that you were cracked. I was there when it happened.’”

· “’Yes, but I’m ashamed that I’m only able to bring half a pot of water back to the hut each day. If I were whole like the other pot, I could bring back all that you trust me with each and every day.’”

· “’Little pot, if I had wanted two full pots of water,’” the farmer replied, “’I would have replaced you a long time ago.’”

· “’Have you not noticed the many, beautiful flowers on your side of the path as we make our way back to the hut each morning?’”

· “’I planted them on your side, because your crack makes it possible for me to water them each day as I walk. The other pot doesn’t share its water with the path, so nothing grows on its side.’”

The Moral of the Story

· “God is the farmer, and we are the pots.”

· “The cracks in the pot represent our sin, our imperfections, and some of our experiences.”

· “God takes our cracks (when we give them to Him) and uses them for His Kingdom and His glory.”

· “Through them, He pours Living Water on a spiritually dry and thirsty world.”

· “His Living Water brings life and beauty into peoples’ lives through us.”

· “No matter what mistakes we have made, no matter what our imperfections… God will use them if we let Him. Romans 8:28 tells us that:

‘And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.’ (emphasis mine)”

· “That’s ALL things!”

· “That includes that part of your body that you don’t like. It includes your scars. It includes your sicknesses. It includes the fact that you are small or big or skinny or fat. It includes the fact that you are not as smart as your brother or sister, that you aren’t good at sports, that you don’t know how to play a musical instrument, that you aren’t pretty or that you can’t read well.”

· “It even includes the bad things you do as long as you let God know you are sorry for them and let Him use them how He wants to.”

· “God uses everything – if we let Him.”

· “So whatever it is that you don’t like about yourself – get over it! God likes it, and He wants to use it to bless those around you. He wants to use your cracks.”

· “And don’t kid yourself. We are all ‘cracked pots.’ (I didn’t say, ‘crackpots,’ but I’m not excluding it, either.)”

· “Not one of us is perfect. The ‘perfect pots’ may look perfect on the outside, but they are cracked on the inside because of their pride or because of something else they are doing their best to hide.”

· “The difference between most of us and the ‘perfect pots’ is that we are giving God opportunities to use our cracks.”

· “He can’t use ‘perfect,’ because ‘perfect’ won’t admit that it needs God.”

· “Remember, God’s power is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).”

· “If we pretend that we can do it ourselves, we rob Him of an opportunity to work through us. If we do it in our own power, we get the glory.”

· “The ‘perfect pot’ was proud of what it accomplished in its own power.”

· “But what it missed was the chance to be part of something greater than itself – to share Living Water with the world!”

· “You won’t find anywhere in the Bible where God asked us to store His blessings. He asked us to pour them out as we walk with Him.”

· “So, be a cracked pot, and let God use those cracks for His glory!”

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