Tag Archives: heart

Heart, Head, Hands (REVIEW)


Time

10-15 minutes
Audience

Children, youth, adults

 

Description

This is a simple review process that you can use in almost any situation.  Participants first talk about how they feel about what they just experienced (HEART), then about what they learned (HEAD), and finally about what they are going to do as a result of what they experienced and learned (HANDS).  You can have the participants discuss this is groups, or you can do a facilitated discussion.

 

Materials

  • None

 

Preparation

  • Practice the script.

 

Procedure

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

  • “Let’s review what you’ve just experienced.”
  • “We will use a simple process, called ‘Heart, Head, Hands.’”
  • “First, I would like you to share how you feel about the experience.  That’s the HEART part.”
  • “Then, I want you to discuss what you learned from it.  That’s the HEAD part.”
  • “Finally, discuss what you will do as a result of what you experienced and what you learned.  That’s the HANDS part.”
  • “HEART, HEAD, HANDS is just a simple way to help you remember the process for the debrief.”
  • “Does anyone have any questions about what we are about to do?” (Answer any questions.  Then, let them discuss the three aspects of the debrief.  Finish with a large-group debrief and ask for volunteers to share any insights or commitments that they made.)

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Filed under learning, Review, Teaching, Training

Under the Radar (GAME)


Audience

Teens, Adults

Time

30-35 minutes
Description

This game helps participants to understand how challenging it is to get feedback “in under the radar” without raising the intended recipient’s defensiveness.  Participants will enjoy trying to get beanbags into a target.  The beanbags represent their feedback, and the target represents the recipient’s heart.

Scriptures

o  Proverbs 15:1, 18; 21:23

Materials

o  Beanbags (three per team – if you can’t find beanbags to buy, you can make simple ones with small ziplock bags or drawstring bags filled with beans or rice)

o  Posterboard (1 sheet per team)

o  Markers (2-3 – Red, Green and Black if you want it)

o  Masking tape

o  Note cards (3 per team)

o  A bag or pouch with material that you cannot see through (1 per team)

o  Scissors

o  Bible

Preparation

o  Create a target on the posterboard.  Start with a 6” x 6” circle in the middle.  Then draw concentric circles around it, making each new one about 6” bigger all around.

o  Write point values in each of the circles.  The center circle is worth 50 points.  The next, bigger circle is worth 25.  The next, bigger circle is worth 15.  The next one is worth 10, and if you have any edge left on the poserboard, you can mark that worth 5 points.

o  Buy or make your bean bags.

o  Place the posterboard targets on the ground, and mark a boundary for the throwers with a piece of tape on the floor.  It should be about 8-10 feet away from the target.

o  Mark three more lines of tape on the floor at 25%, 50% and 75% of the way between the throwing line and the target.

o  Cut the notecards in half, and put a large, colored dot on each one (Make 3 with RED dots and 3 with GREEN dots for each group.)

o  Mix up the 6 half-cards, and put them into a bag/pouch.

o  Practice the script.

Procedure

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

  • “Giving feedback isn’t easy.”
  • “We want our feedback to be taken to heart by the person we are giving it to.”
  • “Their heart is our target.”
  • “If the feedback doesn’t make it to their heart, they won’t do anything about it.”
  • “And even when we give feedback with a pure heart and a desire to help the other person, there is no guarantee that our feedback will hit its target.”
  • “There are many things that can rise up and block our feedback from reaching its target, and one of the most common obstacles is defensiveness.”  (Ask a volunteer to come to the front and represent the person to whom you want to give feedback.)
  • “When we are trying to send our feedback to its target…”  (Demonstrate “feedback” flying through the air in the direction of the volunteer with your hand.) “…if we don’t skillfully send it into the target area, the person’s defensiveness radar will see it coming….”  (Have the volunteer make a beeping sound to represent a radar system, and ask them to speed up their beeping as you get closer.) “…and the defensive walls will go up!”  (Have the volunteer put up their hands and block your feedback from reaching its target.  Then, thank and dismiss the volunteer.)
  • “So, let’s play a game that demonstrates this difficulty.”
  • “It’s called ‘Under the Radar,’ and your goal is to throw a beanbag onto a target to earn points.”
  • “You will have to stand here at this line to make your throw and try to hit that target.”  (Demonstrate so that participants get the idea.)
  • “That would be challenging by itself, but it’s more difficult than that.”
  • “I’m going to divide you into a team of three and then make you compete against another team of three.”
  • “Three people will get a chance to throw their ‘feedback’ onto the target, and the team that they are competing against will get a chance to block them.”
  • “Here’s how it will work.”
  • “Each person throwing will get three chances to hit the target, but before they throw, they have to draw three cards out of this bag.”
  • “Inside the bag are eight (6) notecards – three with RED dots and three with GREEN dots.”
  • “If they draw a card with a RED dot, the other team gets to put a person on one of the strips of tape between the throwing line and the target.“
  • “This person represents defensiveness on the part of the person receiving the feedback.”
  • “They have to stand on the tape, but they can do whatever they can from that point to try to block your ‘feedback’ from reaching its target.”
  • “If the person throwing draws two RED dots, two of the opposing team get to stand on the tape marks (different ones).”
  • “If he/she draw three RED dots, three of the opposing team get to stand on the tape marks.”
  • “If less than three RED dots are drawn in the three draws, not all opposing team members will get to stand on the tape marks.”
  • “Those not on tape marks are not allowed to interfere with the throws.”
  • “GREEN cards are good for the throwing team and keep the opposing team off the tape marks.”
  • “After drawing three cards from the bag, the thrower should make three throws and see how close to the center of the target that he/she can get while trying to avoid the defenses of the opposing team members on the tape marks.”
  • “After that team member has made their three shots, add up the total points.”
  • “Then, move the opposing team members off the tape marks, and let the other two team members take turns drawing three cards and take three throws while avoiding the defenses of any opposing players who get onto tape marks because of RED dot cards.”
  • “When all three team members have thrown, the opposing team gets their turn to throw and see how many points they can accumulate.”
  • “The team that has the most total points (from all nine throws) wins.”
  • “Any questions?” (After addressing questions, divide the group into groups of three and pair up the teams of three against each other.  Then, have them choose who will throw first and let them play.  When they are done, recognize or reward the winning teams, and have them return to their seats to work through the following debrief questions.)

Debrief Questions

1. What was challenging about the game?

2. If you compare the game to giving someone feedback, what comparisons can you make?

3. What types of things make people’s defensiveness go up?

4. How can you give feedback in a way that won’t make people defensive?

5. Read Proverbs 15:1, 18 and 21:23.  Do these Scriptures give you any additional ideas?

Summary

  • “Sometimes, you only get once chance to send that feedback in there, so you want to make sure that it has the best chance possible of hitting it’s target.”

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Filed under acceptance, conflict management, Conflict Resolution, discipleship, Evaluation, Game, Games that Teach, Hands-on, heart, Humility, leadership, Relationships, self-image, Spiritual Growth, team, Transformation

Abraham’s Tests (Lesson)


Time

30-35 minutes
Description

This lesson teaches about how God tested Abraham when He asked him to sacrifice Isaac.

 

Scriptures

  • Genesis 12:1-3; 15:1-6; 17:19-20; 22:1-19
  • Hebrews 11:17-19

Materials

  • Whiteboard, chalkboard or flipchart
  • Marker
  • Bible

Preparation

  • Practice the script.

 

Procedure

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

  • “Raise your hand if your parents have ever tracked how tall you are growing by putting a mark on a wall right above your head.”  (Acknowledge raised hands.)
  • “My mom used to do that, too.”
  • “I want to see how quickly we can do it today up at this board (or flipchart).”
  • “Everyone line up over here, and then come up and let me mark your height on the board.”  (As each participant comes up, make a mark above their heads and put his/her name beside it.  Try to keep everyone’s marks clustered in the center, because you are going to draw a large heart around them.  You might even want to use the two tallest participants as the top of the heart and then taper the marks toward the bottom.  Don’t draw the heart shape yet, though. )
  • “Wow, we’ve got a lot of different heights in this room!”
  • “So, this is how your parents’ might have tracked your height.”
  • “God does something similar, but He’s not tracking your height; He tracking your heart.” (Draw a heart shape around all the measurements.)
  • “God is much less interested in your height than He is in your heart, so every once in a while, He measures your heart to see how spiritually mature it is.”
  • “You could say that if God measured you, and you were down here (put your hand near the bottom of the heart) that you are not very mature spiritually.”
  • “But if you were way up here (put your hand near the top of the heart), you would be very spiritually mature.”
  • “Does anyone know how God measures the spiritual maturity of our hearts?”  (Listen for responses.  What you want to hear is that He tests us.)
  • “Right!  God tests us to measure the spiritual maturity of our hearts!”
  • “The story I’m going to tell you about today is about a person who was VERY spiritually mature.”
  • “He was very old, and he had followed the Lord for a very long time.”
  • “His name was Abram, but you might know him better as Abraham.”
  • “Have any of you heard of him?”  (Look for a show of hands.)
  • “Great! Well, there is a lot to tell about the story of Abraham, but we are going to focus on one of the times in his life when God was giving him a test to measure the spiritual maturity of his heart.”
  • “This part of his story started when he was 75 years old.”
  • “God made him a very special but very surprising promise.”  (Ask a volunteer to read Genesis 12:1-3.)
  • “God promised to make Abraham (at this point, his name was just Abram) into a great nation.”
  • “This had to be surprising to Abraham, because he didn’t have any children at the age of 75.”
  • “His name, Abram, meant ‘exalted father,’ and it must have felt like a joke to him and may have even been a very painful reminder that he didn’t have anyone to carry on his name.”
  • “But Abraham believed God, and it’s a good thing he did, because this was one of God’s tests.” (Mark a line on the heart about one-third up from the bottom, and write “Abram” or “Abraham” beside it.)
  • “Abraham left his family and went to a place that God showed him.”
  • “Years later, Abraham still didn’t have any children when God appeared to him in a vision.”  (Have a volunteer read Genesis 15:1-6.)
  • “You see, it’s okay to tell God exactly how you feel.”
  • “Abraham complained to God that God had made a promise but nothing had changed.”
  • “So, God made His promise a little more clear and told him that he would definitely have a child..and not just one, but many, many, many…as many as the starts in the sky.”
  • “And Abraham believed him, and it was a good thing he did, because this was another one of God’s tests.” (Mark a line on the heart about halfway up from the bottom, and write “Abram” or “Abraham” beside it.)
  • “Years later, Abraham was 99 years old and had a son.”
  • “Abraham thought this boy, Ishmael, was God’s promise to him.”
  • “Unfortunately, it wasn’t the son that God had promised but a son that came from a mistake Abraham had made when he thought God needed his help making God’s promise come true.”
  • “So, God appeared to Abraham again to help him understand.”  (Have a volunteer read Genesis 17:19-20.)
  • “God got very specific this time and even told Abraham the name of the promised child.”
  • “This was actually the time that God gave Abram his new name, Abraham, which means ‘father of many nations.’”
  • “Abraham laughed at the promise at first (since he was 99, and his wife was 90 – pretty old to be having children), but then he believed God.”
  • “And it’s a good thing he did, because this was one of God’s tests.” (Mark a line on the heart about one-third down from the top, and write “Abraham” beside it.)
  • “One year later, Abraham and Sarah (his wife) had a baby boy, and they loved him very, very much!”
  • “Years passed, and Isaac grew strong and tall.”
  • “Probably about the time that he was a teenager, Abraham was tested by God again.”
  • “And since Abraham was spiritually mature, this test was a really tough one!”
  • “God wanted to know who was more important in Abraham’s heart – Isaac or God?”  (Have volunteer read Genesis 22:1-2.)
  • “This sounds like a terrible test!”
  • “How could God ask Abraham to sacrifice his promised son?”
  • “But Abraham trusted God and knew that even if Isaac died, God could raise him back to life.”
  • “We know that was what Abraham was thinking, because the Bible tells us so.”  (Have volunteer read Hebrews 11:17-19.)
  • “So Abraham obeyed God, and it’s a good thing he did, because this was one of God’s tests.” (Mark a line on the heart a little higher than the last one and write “Abraham” beside it.  Then have a volunteer read Genesis 22:3-5.)
  • “I know this had to be tearing Abraham up in side.  Three days walking with your son, knowing that you were going to offer him as a sacrifice!”
  • “But Abraham kept trusting God every step of the way.”  (Mark a line on the heart a little higher than the last one and write “Abraham” beside it.  Then, have a volunteer read Genesis 22:6-8.)
  • “Do you hear Abraham’s faith? ‘God Himself will provide the lamb…’” (Mark a line a little higher.  Then have a volunteer read Genesis 22:9-12.)
  • “Wow!  That was close!  But you have to understand that God never intended for Abraham to actually sacrifice Isaac.”
  • “God says in another part of Scripture that He must NOT be worshiped by human sacrifice.”  (Deuteronomy 12:31)
  • “God had his angel standing on the ready the entire time, but the test wasn’t complete until Abraham showed that he was actually willing to sacrifice his son.”
  • “Abraham proved that he loved God more than he loved Isaac and that he believed God could bring Isaac back from the dead.”  (Make a mark at the top of the heart, and write “Abraham” next to it.  Then have a volunteer read Genesis 22:13-19.)
  • “When Abraham passed God’s test, God provided a another way that Abraham hadn’t even imagined.”
  • “God provided a substitute for Isaac.”
  • “Instead of Isaac dying, the ram would die.”
  • “And because Abraham passed this test, he got to be part of a very special story – the story about Jesus.”
  • “This story of Abraham and Isaac is a lot like the story of Jesus, and there are clue all the way through.  Can anyone tell me something from this story that is like the story of Jesus?”  (Listen for responses.  Here are some possible answers that you might want to bring it if they aren’t mentioned:

o   Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son just like God was willing to sacrifice His Son, Jesus.

o   Isaac was going to be an offering for sin, just like Jesus.

o   The journey took three days, which reminds us that Jesus was buried for three days.

o   Isaac carried the wood that he was going to be sacrificed on, just like Jesus carried His cross.

o   Isaac asked where they would get the lamb for the sacrifice, and Abraham told him that God would provide the lamb.  God did provide Jesus as the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.

o   Isaac apparently was willing to die, just like Jesus, because there is no mention of a struggle (a struggle Isaac surely would have won, since his father was over 100 years old, and he would have been a teenager).

o   The ram was caught in the thickets, a thorny bush, which reminds us that Jesus wore a crown of thorns.

o   An angel was present at both this event and the resurrection of Jesus.  You could say that Isaac also had a type of resurrection, since he was meant to die on the altar.)

  • “You see, this story points us to Jesus.”
  • “Some people call it a type or a shadow of the story of Jesus.  I prefer ‘shadow,’ because a shadow lets you know ahead of time if someone is coming around a corner.  And this type of story tells us ahead of time that Jesus is coming.”
  • “Jesus died for us so that we don’t have to.”
  • “The Bible says that the wages (or payment) for sin is death, and Jesus paid that payment for us on the cross.”
  • “He was our substitute, like the ram in the thicket.”
  • “And because Jesus paid for our sins, we get to live for eternity, forever and ever with Jesus in heaven.”
  • “What I want you to remember from today’s lesson are these few things:

o   God will test the spiritual maturity of your heart many times during your life as a Christian.

o   This test is not really for God to know your maturity; he already knows.  They are for you to recognize how mature you have become.

o   The more mature you get, the bigger the tests God will give you.

o   When you pass a test, God blesses you and uses you to bless others.”

 

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Filed under Abraham, Abram, Belief, faith, God's Plan, God's Will, Obedience, Priorities, Trust

Heart Garden (Obj Lesson)


Time
15-20 minutes

Description
This object lesson teaches about our hearts and how God works in them to produce something beautiful.  It’s preferable to do it outside.

Audience
Children, youth, adults

Materials
o    Landscaping edging (I used 20 ft, but that is quite big.)
o    Stakes for the edging (8-10 should do if you create the 20 ft heart.)
o    Hammer
o    Potting soil
o    Spade or some other gardening tool
o    (Optional) Gardening gloves and hat
o    Watering can with water in it
o    Assorted garbage – plastic, peelings, etc.  (Be careful not to put anything in the soil that might cut fingers.)
o    Hard soil to spread over the top of the heart (enough to cover the surface)
o    Rocks – several dozen of assorted sizes to mix in with the soil
o    Manure/fertilizer – actual manure is good for shock value, but fertilizer will make the point.
o    Sprouts – a few small plants just beginning to show above the soil
o    Beautiful flowers or ground cover – enough to cover most or all of the heart
o    Marker
o    Packages of seeds (4 or more)

Preparation
o    Create a heart shape with the landscaping edging, and stake it down.  (Cut the edging in half to make this easier.)
o    Fill the shape almost to the top with potting soil.
o    Mix some garbage and rocks into the soil.
o    Cover the soil and the garbage with hard soil clods that you’ve dug up from somewhere else
o    Label the seed packages using the marker so that they say, “Answered Prayer,” “Truth,”  “Kindness and Love,” and “Hope.”  If you have more than four packages, you can label them with other “seeds from God” that you can think of.
o    Practice the script.

Procedure
Use the following script and instructions (or modify to suit your needs):
•    “I’m going to give you a picture of what our hearts are like.”
•    “Think of your heart like a garden.”
•    “Before we know Jesus as our Lord and Savior, the soil in our heart is hard and dead.  Nothing will grow there except weeds.”  (Show hard soil in heart.)
•    “But God wants to make our hearts beautiful, so the first thing He does is to break up all that hard soil.”  (Ask a volunteer to come break up the soil with a spade or some other tool.  Hand them the gloves and the gardening hat if you have them.)
•    “This isn’t very fun for us.  Our hard hearts are difficult to break up, and the tools that God uses are sometimes very sharp.”
•    “He might allow us to go through some difficult experiences or lose something we love, but He only does this to break up the hard soil and start planting good seeds on the inside.”
•    “Thankfully, God will also pour in some Living Water to help break up the soil.”  (Have volunteer pour in some water.)
•    “Living Water is the Word of God.  It’s the Bible.  The Scriptures are like water to a thirsty soul, and we need to drink deeply of them every day to stay spiritually healthy.”
•    “Sometimes breaking up the hard soil takes a very long time.  The harder the soil in our hearts, the longer it will take God to make it usable for His purposes.”
•    “Once the hard soil is broken up, God will remove the parts that are unusable.”  (Have volunteer pull our chunks that don’t break down into the soil.)
•    “By breaking up the hard soil, God can give you a new heart.”
•    “If you are willing to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior, your heart will be made new.”  (Make sure audience can see the potting soil.)
•    “The Scriptures say that God will remove our heart of stone and give us a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 11:19)
•    “Now, when a gardener is preparing soil, he mixes in some nasty stuff like this manure.”  (Give manure/fertilizer to volunteer, and have him/her mix it into the soil.)
•    “It stinks, it’s gross, you really don’t want to deal with it, but it’s the best way to make the soil rich and ready to grow healthy plants and flowers.”
•    “Romans 8:28 tells us that when you give your heart to God, He will use even the bad stuff in your past to enrich your heart ‘soil.’”
•    “In other words, He will use the times you’ve been hurt, the times bad things happened to you and the bad decisions you made to bless you.”
•    “That’s great news!!!!”
•    “God then plants some seeds in your heart.”  (Have volunteer sprinkle in some seeds and work them in with the spade.)
•    “Actually, God plants seeds even before you become a Christian, when your heart is hard, but many of them don’t make it into the soil.”
•    “When Jesus taught about this, He said that the birds of the air will steal the seeds before they have a chance to take root in the hard soil.”
•    “He told his disciples that the birds of the air represent our enemy, Satan, who doesn’t want God’s truth to get into your heart.”
•    “God’s seeds can represent times when He answered prayers for you or times when He spoke some truth into your life through a friend or teacher or parent or event a stranger.”  (Have volunteer show the labels on these packages of seeds.)
•    “Sometime an act of kindness or love can plant a seed.”  (Have volunteer show the label on this package and pour in some seeds.)
•    “And sometimes God gives you hope in difficult situation.”  (Have volunteer show label on this package and pour in some seeds.)
•    “When God plants His seeds, He is faithful to continue to water the seeds with His Living Word and shine the light of His Son on them.”  (Have volunteer water the seeds.)
•    “Eventually, some of those seeds will start to grow in our hearts.”  (Have volunteer plant a few spouts in the soil.)
•    “God will continue to water and care for these while He plants even more seeds.”  (Have volunteer water soil and plant a few more seeds.)
•    “But just because we got new hearts doesn’t mean that our hearts are completely pure.”  (Have volunteer sift through soil until he/she finds trash or rocks.)
•    “We probably still have trash that we allowed into our hearts before we became Christians, and it’s likely that we still have some hard places in our hearts.”
•    “The trash represents sinfulness that we haven’t dealt with yet, and the rocks represent emotional hard places – hurts, pains, disappointments, hatreds, fears… that we haven’t allowed God into.”
•    “God can plant beautiful things in the parts of our hearts that we give to Him, but He can’t do anything with the areas we won’t trust Him with.”
•    “The trash and the hard places will stay in our hearts until we allow God to help us get rid of them.”
•    “While other parts of our heart are showing new life and the evidence of God’s work, these places are in danger of hardening back up if we don’t turn them over to God.”
•    “The more we trust God, the more beautiful our hearts will become.”  (Have the volunteer replace the sprouts with some beautiful flowers.)
•    “And when our hearts are beautiful, God will use them to bring joy and happiness to other people who see them.”
•    “That’s beautiful, isn’t it?”  (Thank and dismiss volunteer.)
•    “So, are we done?  Can we just let it alone and enjoy it?”  (Listen for responses.)
•    “No.  If we leave it alone, what will happen?”  (Listen for responses.)
•    “Right!  It will die.  These flowers need watering and sunshine every day.”
•    “In the same way, you need to meet with God every day – to enjoy His Son and to get the Living Water that comes from the Bible.”
•    “And even if we do that everyday, is that enough to keep our heart garden healthy?”  (Listen to responses.)
•    “No, because we have an enemy, and his name is Satan.”
•    “Satan plants seeds, too, but they grow into weeds that will choke out the beauty from our garden.”
•    “Satan’s seeds are bad thoughts, worries, fears, resentments and other things that keep us from loving God, loving our neighbor and loving ourselves.”
•    “Whenever you notice a weed in your heart garden, what should you do?”  (Listen to responses.)
•    “Right, pull it out!  Don’t let those bad thoughts or worries or fears stay.  Yank them out!”
•    “Okay, let’s practice the Rhyme Time for this lesson to help us remember it:”

My heart is the garden
Where God plants His seeds.
We tend it together
And pull all the weeds!

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Filed under Christianity, Daily walk, Healing, heart, Object Lesson, sanctification, Transformation

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

Capture Every Thought (GAME)


Time
30-45 minutes

Description
This game helps participants understand how important it is to capture every thought and take it captive before Christ.  It is loosely based on the game of Othello ® (Gabriel Industries, Inc.) or Reversi.

Audience
Children, youth

Materials
•    Gameboard (can be printed from the file “Capture Every Thought – Game Board and Pieces.ppt” located on the Lesson and Material Downloads page of http://www.teachthem.wordpress.com.)
•    Game pieces (can be printed from the file “Capture Every Thought – Game Board and Pieces.ppt” located on the Lesson and Material Downloads page of http://www.teachthem.wordpress.com.)
•    “Starting Positions” Gameboard (can be printed from the file “Capture Every Thought – Game Board and Pieces.ppt” located on the Lesson and Material Downloads page of http://www.teachthem.wordpress.com.)
•    “Move #1, #2 & #3” slide (can be printed from the file “Capture Every Thought – Game Board and Pieces.ppt” located on the Lesson and Material Downloads page of http://www.teachthem.wordpress.com.)
•    Glue stick
•    Scissors or cutting board
•    (Optional) Prizes for winners

Preparation
•    Make copies of the “Debrief Questions” page at the end of this lesson (one copy per table group).
•    Print copies of the game boards (1 for every two people)
•    Print copies of the game pieces (60 for ever two people – 1 page makes 60 pieces)
•    Print one copy each of the “Starting Positions” slide and the “Move #1, #2 & #3” example slide.
•    Fold the game piece pages along the blue line that divides the two colors.  Crease the page well along this fold.
•    Use a glue stick to stick the two pages together.  Make sure that the entire surface is covered.
•    Use the scissors or the cutting board to cut out each of the rectangular game pieces.  (They should now be a different color on each side.  Cut closely to the rectangles, because if the pieces are too big, they are difficult to flip on the gamebaord.)
•    Practice the script.

Procedure
Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):
•    “The Bible has a lot to say about what we think.”
•    “Our minds are a major battlefield for the spiritual war between Satan and God.”
•    “God wants our minds to be filled with good things that honor Him, because He knows that these things will bless us and help us live fulfilling lives.”
•    “Satan wants our minds to be filled with bad things that dishonor God, because he hates God and hates that we are made in God’s image.”
•    “Satan knows that he can’t do anything to diminish God, so he tries to hurt the Creator through His creation – and that’s us.”
•    “Let’s read a few of the Scriptures related to our thoughts.”  (Have volunteers read the following Scriptures out loud.)
o    Romans 8:6 (mind of sinful man is death; mind of the Spirit is life)
o    Proverbs 15:26 (the Lord detests thoughts of the wicked but is pleased by thoughts of the pure)
o    Isaiah 55:8-9 (God’s thoughts are higher than our thoughts)
o    Colossians 3:2 (set minds on things above, not on earthly things)
o    Philippians 4:8 (think about excellent, praiseworthy….things)
o    2 Corinthians 10:5 (take every thought captive)
•    “So, we are to think about the things God thinks about and not about sinful things.”
•    “This is really hard to do, and it takes a lot of prayer and practice, because Satan is going to try to mess up our thoughts as much as possible.”
•    “He whispers evil thoughts to us from the spiritual realm, and if we aren’t careful, we accept his thoughts as our own.”
•    “That’s terribly dangerous, because the Bible says that everything Satan ever says is a lie.  Lying is his native language and the only language he speaks.”  (John 8:44)
•    “2 Corinthians 10:5 says that we are to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ.”
•    “This means that when we have a bad thought or even a thought we aren’t sure about, we should ask God about it.”
•    “If is something true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy, God will confirm it for you.”
•    “But if it’s a lie from Satan, God will replace it with the truth.”
•    “We’re going to play a game that will help us to remember to take every thought captive to Christ.”  (Divide group into pairs, and hand out the gameboards and game pieces for each pair.)
•    “You have a gameboard in front of you.  It has 64 spaces on it.”
•    “You also have 64 colored game pieces.  They are blue on one side and yellow on the other.”
•    “Each person should take 30 game pieces for himself and decide if he wants to be either blue or yellow.”  (Have them divide the pieces and pick a color.)
•    “Alright, everyone who chose blue, raise your hands.”  (Demonstrate.)
•    “In this battle, you represent the devil.  Sorry about that.”
•    “Everyone who chose yellow, you represent God.”
•    “The gameboard represents a human mind, and the game pieces each represent thoughts.”
•    “Dark blue pieces represent the bad thoughts and lies Satan tries to get us to believe and take as our own.”
•    “Yellow pieces represent the good thoughts and truth God wants us to believe and act on.”
•    “Each player starts with two thoughts (game pieces) on the board in the center squares.  They should look like this.”  (Show the “Starting Positions” slide.  Have all players put two of their game pieces down.)
•    “The goal of each player is to trap your opponents pieces between two of your own.”
•    “If you have one piece down already and then lay another one, you capture all of your opponent’s pieces that are between your two pieces.  You can then flip all those captured pieces over so that they are now your color.”  (Show “Move #1, #2 and #3” slide to give them examples.)
•    “You can capture pieces diagonally, horizontally or vertically.”
•    “You capture all the opponents’ pieces between your two pieces, so as the game progresses, you should be able to capture two, three, four or more pieces at a time.”
•    “You can even capture pieces in two or more directions at the same time as long as they are all between two of your pieces.”
•    “It’s important to know that you cannot play on spaces unless it allow you to capture at least one of your opponent’s pieces.”
•    “The winner is the person who has the most of their colored pieces on the board when it gets to a point that no one can make a move.”
•    “Dark blue pieces get to go first.”
•    “Do you have any questions about how to play?”  (Answer questions, and then allow them to play a round.  If they finish the first round quickly and you have the time, let them play several rounds.  Then, award a prize to the winners if you choose.  Pass out the Debrief Questions sheet to each group, and allow them 10-15 minutes to talk about the questions.  Then ask the large group for any general insights from the activity.)

Debrief Questions

o    How does this game reflect the battle between God and Satan for your mind?
o    Why would some bad thoughts from Satan change your good thoughts to bad ones (like capturing pieces in the game)?
o    The corners are the most strategic spaces on the gameboard, because they cannot be trapped once they belong to someone.  What might these represent in the battle for your mind?
o    Why is it important to guard your mind against Satan’s influence?  How can you do this?
o    How could you capture more thoughts for Christ?

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Filed under Christianity, Daily walk, Game, Games that Teach, Listening to God, Mind, Object Lesson, Satan's tactics, Spiritual Health, Spiritual Warfare, thinking, Thought war, thoughts

Ugly Fruit


rambutan

Time

10 minutes

Description

This object lesson helps children understand that it’s not the outside that is most important; it’s the inside. God looks at their heart and sees the best in them.

Materials

  • Several uncut fruits that are ugly on the outside. (Some fruits that would work would be: ugli fruit, rambuttan, dragon fruit, passion fruit, jackfruit, durian.)
  • Several of the same fruits cut for you to taste
  • Enough pieces of the cut fruits for all the kids to have a piece
  • If you can’t find a fruit ugly enough, feel free to use the slide show I prepared for this lesson. (It’s on the Lesson and Material Downloads page.) It has my daughter trying a piece of rambuttan, a fruit common in south and southeast Asia. (It’s quite tasty and makes a nice piece of perishable jewelry, as you’ll see in the slideshow.)

Preparation

  • Cut up fruit – have pieces available for you and pieces available for all the kids.
  • Practice script.

Procedure

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

  • (Hold up one of the ugly fruits and say…) ”Anyone interested in eating something like this?”
  • “Looks pretty nasty, doesn’t it?”
  • “Okay, so it’s not the prettiest fruit out there, but have you ever tasted it?” (Eat a piece.)
  • “Mmmmmm…. That’s really sweet!”
  • “I bet some of you would like a piece, huh?” (Have someone pass out fruit pieces.)
  • “Now, how can something that’s so good on the inside be so ugly on the outside?”
  • “I think there is a lesson for us here.”
  • “Just because something – or someone – isn’t beautiful on the outside doesn’t mean they can’t be wonderful on the inside.”
  • “It’s hard to see inside someone, isn’t it?”
  • “But you know who can always see the wonderful things inside us?” (Listen for responses.)
  • “Right, Jesus!”
  • “He sees the best in you!”
  • “So even if some people have told you that you are an ‘ugly fruit,’ remember that Jesus can always see what’s good inside of you!”
  • “It’s ‘Rhyme Time! Here’s our rhyme for today’s lesson:” (Post this on a poster or project it using an overhead or LCD projector, and have the kids repeat it after you several times to reinforce the lesson.)

He loves me like I am today

And sees what others cannot see.

While others only see my faults,

Jesus sees the best in me!

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Filed under acceptance, Christianity, Object Lesson, Value