Tag Archives: Guard your gates

Garbage In – Garbage Out


Time

20-25 minutes


Description

This object lesson helps children understand how they can pollute their hearts and minds by allowing things in that don’t glorify God. It’s a messy lesson that the kids will enjoy, and the clean-up is kept to a minimum.

Materials

· Garbage bag or shopping bag

· Some “garbage” for filling up the bag (you can choose how messy you make it)

· Some other items to squeeze (recommended are: toothpaste, orange, lemon, grapes, shampoo, baby powder…the messier, the better)

· Clear, plastic tub or bin that the kids can squeeze the items into to keep the mess manageable but also so that the kids can see what is happening

· Wet wipes to clean up the kids hands after all the squeezing is done

· Two large sponges

· Two plates or bowls for the sponges to rest on (if you use a plate, you will want a lip that can hold in some of the overflow from the sponges)

· A pitcher of water

· A pitcher of a dark liquid (grape juice, prune juice or simply water with food coloring)

· Display table

Preparation

· Put your squeezable items on the display table. (You may or may not want to conceal them to add some suspense for “What will be squeezed next?” In the script below, I’ve listed the items in a suggested order, but you can choose any items in any order that you like.)

· Put your clear, plastic tub or bin on the display table.

· Fill your bag full of trash, and cut a slit in the bottom of the bag so that the contents will fall out when squeezed.

· If you are using citrus fruits, you might want to cut a slit on the top and the bottom for the juice to flow out when they are squeezed.

· Practice the script.

Procedure

Use this script, or modify to suit your needs:

· “I want to teach you something important today, and I’m going to need some volunteers to help me.” (Select volunteers – one for each of your squeezable items.)

· “Here’s a bottle of baby powder.” (Hand it to your first volunteer.)

· “If our first volunteer squeezes it, what do you think will come out?” (Listen for responses. Then have the volunteer squeeze the bottle into the clear tub.)

· “You were right! Baby powder did come out.” (Hand the next volunteer the bottle of shampoo.)

· “Here’s a bottle of shampoo. If he squeezes it, what do you think will come out?” (Listen for responses. Then have the volunteer squeeze the bottle into the clear tub.)

· “Right again! It was shampoo!” (Hand the third volunteer a bunch of grapes.)

· “What will come out if she squeezes these grapes?” (Listen for responses. Then have the volunteer squeeze the grapes into the clear tub.)

· “You guys are amazing!” (Hand the fourth volunteer an orange.)

· “What will come out this time?” (Listen for responses. Then have the volunteer squeeze the orange into the clear tub.)

· “I just can’t get anything by you.” (Hand the next volunteer a tube of toothpaste.)

· “What’s your guess?” (Listen for responses. Then have the volunteer squeeze the toothpaste into the clear tub.)

· “Yep. Let’s do another.” (Hand the next volunteer a banana.)

· “This will be fun – what’s coming out this time?” (Listen for responses. Then have the volunteer squeeze the banana into the clear tub.)

· “Oooo-that’s gross.”

· “So, would you ever get toothpaste out of a banana?” (Listen for response.)

· “How about shampoo out of a grape?” (Listen for response.)

· “Of course not, right? You only get what’s been put inside. Sometimes God puts it in there (like in the fruit), and sometimes people do (like with the baby powder).”

· “So what do you think will come out if we squeeze this?” (Hand last volunteer the bag of trash.)

· “Well, let’s see.” (Have the volunteer squeeze the trash bag over the clear tub.)

· “Isn’t that interesting?”

· “The same principle applies – whatever you put in is going to come out.” (Thank and dismiss volunteers.)

· “Guess what…your minds and hearts are just like that bag.”

· “If you put garbage in, you’re going to get garbage out.”

· “You might be able to keep it in for a while, but when you’re under pressure… (squeeze the garbage bag again) …out comes all the garbage.”

· “For example, if you spend hours listening to bad language in movies and T.V. shows, you can bet that it’s going to come out at the worst time – like when you’re helping your dad fix something and hit your thumb with a hammer. Or when you are helping your mom and burn yourself on a hot pan.” (Bring out sponges and pitchers of clear and dark liquid.)

· “You see, your heart and mind are like these sponges.”

· “If you pour good things into them like God’s Word, truth, praise music, and love (pour some of the clear liquid onto the sponge), then when you are under pressure, those good things will come back out again through your mouth and your actions.” (Squeeze the sponge into the plastic bin.)

· “But if you pour bad things into them like bad language, gossip, meanness, violence or lack of respect for authority (pour some of the dark liquid onto the sponge), then when you are under pressure, those bad things will come back out again.” (Squeeze the sponge into the plastic bin.)

· “There’s a saying that computer programmers use. It’s “G-I-G-O, and it means Garbage In – Garbage Out.”

· “It means, if you put bad stuff into the computer, you can’t expect to get anything other than bad stuff out.”

· “Remember G-I-G-O, and only let good stuff into your hearts and minds.”

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Filed under Brain, Character, Hands-on, heart, Object Lesson, spiritual disciplines

Mind Pollution


Time

15-20 minutes

Description

This object lesson teaches about how important it is to protect our mind from negative influences. It uses a simple visual aid of water and food coloring.

Materials

  • Display table
  • Red, green or blue food coloring
  • Large, clear (see-through) container
  • Two or three pitchers
  • Enough water to fill each of the pitchers and half the large container
  • (Optional) Bottle of bleach

Preparation

· Test the experiment to make sure you know how it works. (Note: if you use too much food coloring, it will be difficult to dilute. A drop at a time is best.)

· Set up the large, clear container (half-full with water) on a display table.

· Have the pitchers and food coloring nearby.

· Practice the script.

Procedure

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

· “Your mind is an incredible creation of God.”

· “It has over 100 billion neurons that send electrical pulses back and forth to each other. These are your thoughts, and you are capable of having more thoughts than the number of known atoms in the entire universe!” (Source: Tony Buzan, Head Strong 2001)

· “Your brain is incredible!”

· “And did you know, that your brain is approximately 75% water?”

· “That’s why I’m going to use this container of water to represent your brain in this lesson.”

· “We will say that this container represents your precious, incredible brain.”

· “The water inside it represents your thoughts.”

· “I have some pitchers of clean water here, and they are going to represent good things that you can put into your brain.”

· “Can anyone help me think of some good things that you can put into your brain?” (Take responses. If the kids need help, try to steer them toward things like Scripture, positive thoughts, encouragement/praise, positive music, learning, worship, thinking about God…)

· “Great, that’s exactly what I’m talking about!”

· “I also have some food coloring up here, and it represents some bad things you can put into your brain.”

· “Who can help me think of some bad things that we could put into our brains?” (Take responses. If the kids need help, try to steer them toward things like profanity, gossip, lies, music with bad lyrics, the Lord’s name used in vain, mean thoughts, self-defeating or limiting talk, hurtful talk, movies or TV with bad scenes, bad pictures, jokes with inappropriate themes…)

· “Exactly! We’ve got to watch out for that kind of stuff!”

· “For this demonstration, I’m going to need a volunteer. Who would like to come help me?” (Select volunteer.)

· “Okay, notice how clear this water is. It’s like our minds the way that God first created them – pure and beautiful.”

· “Let’s say that we are really careful, and we only allow good things into our brain.” (Have volunteer pour some water into container from one of the pitchers.)

· “See what happened? We got more brain!”

· “Okay, it doesn’t work exactly like that, but let’s say that this is like gaining wisdom.”

· “When we add good things, like Scripture, positive thoughts, encouragement/praise… we grow in wisdom and knowledge, and our mind stays clear and clean.”

· “But what if we aren’t so careful, and we allow in some jokes that are hurtful to other people.” (Have volunteer squirt a drop of food coloring into the water in the container. Then pause to allow the children to see the effect. Just one drop of food coloring will spread and spread throughout the water until it has tinted the whole thing.)

· “Wow! Did you see that? Just that one little drop of bad stuff changed the whole color of the water.”

· “And what if we still aren’t so careful, and we allow in some inappropriate pictures (have volunteer add drop) …and profanity (add drop) ….and music with negative lyrics (add drop) …and some negative self-talk about what a loser we are or how stupid we are at math (add drop).”

· “Look what happens then. Our minds are getting darker and darker.”

· “What should we do about that?” (Listen to responses. When someone suggests to add more good things, continue.)

· “Right! Exactly! We need to add more good stuff – more Scripture and positive thoughts and godly advice from our parents…Romans 12:2 says that we should stop doing what the rest of the world does and start being transformed by renewing our minds. That’s the same thing as adding in the good stuff.” (Have volunteer pour in more water.)

· “But do you see the problem I’m seeing?” (Listen for responses.)

· “The water (our minds) are not going back to clear again. We are diluting the bad stuff, but it’s taking a lot more water than it did food coloring to improve our mind here.”

· “That’s the way sin works. Both Jesus and the Apostle Paul warned that, ‘a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.’ (Matthew 13:33 and 1 Corinthians 5:6)

· “Yeast is an image of sin in the Bible, so Jesus and Paul are saying that a little sin will spread until it ruins everything.”

· “So, as soon as we realize the damage we are doing to our minds, we’ve got to stop adding yeast / sin.”

· “Then, we’ve got to add lots and lots of good stuff by going to church, hanging out with godly friends, listening to our parents, changing the music we listen to, changing the movies we watch, reading the Bible every day, memorizing Scripture, studying about God…” (As you are mentioning these things, have the volunteer pour more water into the container with each suggestion. Try to fill the container until it’s full – unless you plan to continue with the bleach part of the lesson.)

· “Good habits are going to be the best way to dilute the bad stuff that you already have in your minds.”

· “And it’s not going to be easy. You’re going to have to work at it every day.”

· “And when you allow bad stuff in, it’s going to take much longer to dilute it than it did to let it in there.”

· “It’s like when I eat too much food. It might take me an hour of exercise to burn the amount of calories I ate even though it only took me five minutes to eat it.”

· “Because our minds are so awesome, I don’t believe the bad stuff ever goes away.”

· “I think our brains have the ability to hold onto everything we’ve ever put in there (even though sometimes it’s hard to remember where you left your stuff).”

· “If you put lots of bad stuff in your mind, that’s the bad news. The good news is, that your mind will never be too full of good stuff, so you can keep on adding it in!” (Thank your volunteer, and allow him/her to return to his/her seat.)

Optional Section – Adding Bleach

· “Now, there is one more thing that you can do that we haven’t talked about.”

· “You can give all that bad stuff you put into your mind to God in prayer.”

· “This bleach represents our prayers to God. (By the way, kids, bleach is a powerful and dangerous chemical. You should never handle it unless you have an adult there with you.)”

· “I don’t think the bad stuff we’ve put in our minds ever goes away, but we can turn it over to God in prayer, and He will use it for good.” (Pour bleach into the tinted water. It might take quite a bit of bleach (and you may need to stir it), but it will eventually take the tint out of the water. The result will be a yellowish liquid – not perfect, but no longer tinted with the original colors.)

· “Romans 8:28 tells us that God will use ALL things for the good of those who love Him.”

· “That means that He will even take the bad stuff we’ve done or let into our brains and use it for His glory and His Kingdom.” (Give a personal example.)

· “But, hey! That’s not an excuse to put the bad stuff in there! Your best strategy is to keep the bad stuff out in the first place!”

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Filed under Brain, Christianity, Mind, Object Lesson, Scripture memory, spiritual disciplines

Guard Your Gates! (OBJ LESSON)


Time

20 minutes

Description

This object lesson teaches about the need to protect our hearts and minds from the evil things that might get in them.

Materials

  • Small box
  • Heart-shaped object
  • A handful of candy or a few candy bars

Preparation

·You might need a confederate when you try to tempt the “gate-keepers” to let you into the city.Talk to one of the older children ahead of time, and let them know you want them to let you in the gate after you’ve tempted them some – maybe when you offer the candy.Ask the child to keep this a secret.

·Practice the script.

Procedure

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

  • “I am going to tell you a story from the book of Nehemiah.”
  • “In the time of Nehemiah, there was a temple in Jerusalem, but there were no walls around the city.”(Ask for a few children to volunteer to come be your temple.Have them stand together and hold the small box in the center.)
  • “This box represents the Ark of the Covenant.”
  • “The Ark was the most important thing in all of Israel.It represented where God came to meet with His people.”
  • “Now, without walls around the city, the temple was unprotected.”
  • “At any time, the enemy could just walk in and steal the Ark of the Covenant, because there was nothing to keep the enemy out.”(Pretend to be the enemy, and show how easy it is for you to come in and steal the Ark.)
  • “Now, the Ark of the Covenant is gone today.No one knows for sure what happened to it.”
  • “I think that’s because we don’t need it anymore.You see, God replaced the building that was called “The Temple,” with our hearts.He now meets with us in our hearts instead of in a building.”
  • “The Bible says that God removed our ‘heart of stone and gave (us) a heart of flesh.’” (Ezekiel 11:19 – Replace the box with the heart-shaped container.)
  • “And our enemy is Satan.He wants to steal our hearts so that God can’t use us for His purposes.”
  • “So, the temple is like our heart today.What did Nehemiah need to protect the temple?”(Walls)
  • “Right!And Nehemiah was smart.He put together a team of people, and they began building those walls.”
  • “But if Nehemiah needs physical walls to protect the temple, what do you think we need to protect our hearts?”(Spiritual walls)
  • “Exactly!We need spiritual walls!Well, just like you build physical walls stone by stone, you build spiritual walls piece by piece when you do good things for God.”
  • “Can anyone give me an example of a ‘stone’ you might put in your spiritual wall?”(Look for examples of spiritual disciplines and good works for God.As kids mention them, have them come up to be part of the wall around the temple.Examples include: Bible study, giving, helping others, prayer, meditating on God’s word, solitude, going to church, worship…Keep taking examples until you have a complete wall around the temple.)
  • “There!We have our spiritual wall to protect us from Satan’s attacks.If we didn’t have our spiritual walls up, Satan could come right in and steal our hearts.”
  • “Walls are good to have, but we are missing something.We also need gates!”
  • “Without gates in the wall of Jerusalem, the good stuff, like food and supplies couldn’t come into the city.”
  • “In the same way, without gates in our spiritual walls, there is no way to let in good things like God’s Word.”
  • “So, we need gates – can anyone think of what our gates might be?Where does the good stuff come into our minds and hearts?” (Ears, eyes, mouth)
  • “I’m going to make these people our gates keepers.”(Pick two or three pairs of children and have them hold hands to designate that they are the gates.Make sure you include your confederate if you are using one.)
  • “Having gates is good, because they let the good stuff in, but they can also let in bad stuff.Your gates are the weakest part of your spiritual wall, and Satan will try really hard to get in through them.”
  • “Can anyone give me some examples of things Satan might try to get past your ear gates, your eye gates or your mouth gate?”(Take examples, and if needed, supply the following:

omusic with bad lyrics

obad scenes in movies

oprofanity

opictures in magazines

ogossip

orumors

othings you might feel jealous about

omean words

othings that might make you feel bad about yourself

odrugs or alcohol (because they make you do things you wouldn’t ordinarily do – like open your ear gates and eye gates to really bad stuff)

oother peoples’ personal things that are not to be shared (like a diary)

oviolent scenes)

  • “Wow!Satan has thought of a lot of stuff to try to get in through our ear gates, eye gates and mouth gate.”
  • “Let me show you how he works.”(Go to one of your gate-keeper pairs and try to tempt them to open the gate to let you in.)
  • “Hey, guys!How are you today?Say, I would really like to get into that gate.Would you mind opening it for me?”(Assuming they say, “no,” try some of these temptations.)

o“Aw, c’mon, do it for your friend!We’re friends right?You don’t want to be uncool do you?”

o“Wait until everyone hears what a loser you are!”

o“What if I offered you this candy?Would you open it for me then?”

o“You would be my best friend ever!”

o“Those guys over there let me in all the time.”

o“If you let me in, I’ll give you something really cool!”

o(Add other temptations that you think might work.If no one succumbs to the temptations, use your confederate to get into the city.)

  • “HA!I knew I could get in!Now that I’m in here, I think I’m going to set up camp.”
  • “When Satan gets into your heart and sets up camp, the Bible calls it a stronghold.A stronghold is the place in your heart that Satan holds, and it’s where he attacks you from.”
  • “There is a story in the last chapter of Nehemiah in the Bible that tells about when one of Nehemiah’s enemies came to live inside the temple!”
  • “Nehemiah had left the country for some time, and while he was gone, some of the people who were friends with Nehemiah’s enemies let a man named Tobiah move in!”
  • “That’s like letting Satan live in your heart!Who wants that?”
  • “The good news is that Nehemiah was a man of God.When he found out that Tobiah had moved into the temple, he kicked him out of the temple and out of the city.Then, he bleached the place and filled it up with temple furniture and offerings.”(Nehemiah 13:4-9)
  • “So if Satan gets past our gates with his junk, what do you think we ought to do?”(Throw him out just like Nehemiah did!)
  • “That’s right!Kick him out of your heart and mind!Then close those gates, and don’t let him in again, because if you keep letting him in, he’s not just going to want to live in your heart – he’s going to want to steal it for himself!”(Demonstrate stealing the heart-shaped container from the temple.If, as often happens when I conduct this object lesson, you are mauled by the children, it’s best to give up the heart before you incite a riot.)
  • “So, how many of you are going to be careful to build your walls and guard your gates from now on?”

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Filed under Christianity, Coping skills, Hands-on, Obedience, Object Lesson, Satan's tactics, Spiritual Growth, Spiritual Warfare, temptation