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Exceeding Abundantly (OBJ LESSON)


Time
25 minutes

Description
This object lesson teaches about greed and selfishness and how God wants us to deal with the blessings that He gives us.  It uses a metaphor based on the two seas in Israel.

Scriptures
•    Luke 6:38, 12:13-21
•    Ephesians 3:20-21

Materials
•    Small, plastic cups (about 50)
•    Big, plastic cups (two)
•    Pitcher
•    Bucket
•    Water (enough to fill the pitcher)
•    Cookie sheet with a lip around the edge
•    Table
•    Bible

Preparation
•    Fill the pitcher with water
•    Practice the script.

Procedure
Use the following script and instructions (or modify to suit your needs):
•    “Let’s read a story that Jesus told about a greedy man.”  (Ask volunteer to read Luke 12:13-21.)
•    “Why do you think Jesus told them this story?”  (Listen to responses.  The main idea is that Jesus wanted them to see that greed and the desire for earthly things were not the most important things for those in the Kingdom of God.)
•    “What do you think about the rich man in this story?”  (Listen to responses.)
•    “What else do you think the man could have done with all his extra crop?”  (Listen to responses.  The one you are looking for to begin the object lesson is that he could have shared the food with people who didn’t have very much.)
•    “I’m going to give you a picture of how God wants us to handle the blessings He gives us.”
•    “I need everyone to stand up and form a single-file line.”  (Help them get into a line.  It doesn’t have to be straight.  If you have a large number of participants, you can wrap the line around the room.)
•    “This line represents some very important bodies of water in the land of Israel.”
•    “At this end (designate one end of the line) is the Sea of Galilee.”  (Hand the participant on that end one of the large cups, and ask him/her to hold it.)
•    “And at this end (designate the other end of the line) is the Dead Sea.”  (Hand the participant on the other end the second large cup, and ask him/her to hold it.  Place the bucket nearby.  If you have a Bible with maps in it, you might want to show the group what Israel looks like and point out the two seas with the Jordan River between them.)
•    “The two seas are connected by the Jordan River.”  (Hand all the remaining participants one small cup each and ask them to hold it.)
•    “Now, even though these two seas are connected by the same river, they are very different from one another.”
•    “The Sea of Galilee contains 27 species of fish, some found nowhere else in the world.”
•    “Its sweet waters serve as the main water supply for Israel, and its shores are lush with vegetation.”
•    “Many people make their living from its waters, fishing or planting crops near the shore.”
•    “The Dead Sea, on the other hand, didn’t get its name for nothing.”
•    “There are no fish, no fishermen, no vegetation on its shores.”
•    “It’s twice as wide and almost four times as long as the Sea of Galilee, but the Dead Sea is toxic and bitter.”
•    “There is no life in it or around it except bacteria and one type of algea.”
•    “Why is it dead?  There are several reasons.”
•    “For one, it’s the point of lowest elevation on the planet outside of the ocean depths.”
•    “The Jordan River brings water and minerals into the Dead Sea, but it’s so low that the only way the water gets out is by evaporation.”
•    “And it’s so hot in this part of the world that seven million gallons of water evaporate from the Dead Sea every day!”
•    “So the water evaporates, but the minerals (like salt) stay.”
•    “In fact, the Dead Sea is six times saltier than the ocean!”
•    “You are probably wondering why I gave you the cups.”
•    “We are going to pretend like we are the two seas and the Jordan River to make a point about sharing what God blesses you with.”  (Go to the end of the line with the person representing the Sea of Galilee, and use the pitcher to pour water into his/her cup.  Then instruct him/her to pour water into the next person’s cup and so on down the line until the water reaches the “Dead Sea” participant.  Each time the “Sea of Galilee” participant’s cup of water is emptied, fill it back up.  Each time the “Dead Sea” participant’s cup fills up, have him/her empty it into the bucket.)
•    “In this demonstration, I represent the top of the Jordan River, which starts before the Sea of Galilee.”
•    “I’m sending water and fish and minerals into the Sea of Galilee, and those are travelling down through the Jordan River to the Dead Sea.”  (Keep pouring out water whenever necessary.)
•    “As a result, the Jordan River Valley is considered to be one of the most fertile places on the planet.
•    “It takes all these minerals and water down, down to the Dead Sea, but the fish know not to get too close or they will die.”
•    “Then, the water evaporates from the Dead Sea, leaving all the salt and minerals behind.”  (Have “Dead Sea” volunteer pour water into the bucket to demonstrate evaporation.)
•    “Now, the water is like God’s blessings, and I’m like God, pouring out blessings to this person.”
•    “He/she is then sharing those blessings with someone.”
•    “As long as he/she keeps sharing those blessings, I’ll keep more blessings coming.”
•    “But do you see what the Dead Sea person is doing?”
•    “He/she is keeping all the blessings for himself/herself!”
•     “That doesn’t work with God.”
•    “Just like in the story, God says, ‘You fool!  I’m taking to take those blessings away from you and give them to someone else.’”
•    “And so, just like that, when we try to keep all the blessings for ourselves, they evaporate!”
•    “Do you want to be a ‘Sea of Galilee’ person or a ‘Dead Sea’ person?”  (Listen to responses.)
•    “’Sea of Galilee’ people keep getting new blessings from God.”
•    “They enjoy those blessings and then pass them on to someone else, which gives them the blessing of the joy of sharing.”
•    “Okay, pass the last of your blessings down to the Dead Sea, and then bring your cups over here.”  (Move to the table, and set out the cookie sheet.)
•    “Everyone who has small cups, place them on this cookie sheet right-side-up.”  (Have them make a single layer of cups with each cup as close to the others as possible.  All sides should touch other cups if possible.  Once you have a bottom layer down, start stacking cups (use extras when you need to) on top to make a second layer.  Each cup should rest on top of three different cups beneath it.  When the second layer is done, add a third and a fourth until you have just one cup the very top of the pyramid you’ve created.)
•    “Let’s pretend these cups represent each one of us, and this pitcher represents God.”
•    “God pours his blessings out to you, and He wants you to enjoy them.”  (Demonstrate by pouring water into the top cup slowly and evenly.)
•    “But God never intends for you to keep that blessing all for yourself.”
•    “God will bless you more than you can handle all by yourself, and He wants you to share your overflow with those people He has put in your life.”  (Allow the water to overflow the top cup into the cups beneath it.  Ask volunteer to read Ephesians 3:20-21.)
•    “This Scripture says that God is able to bless us immeasurably more than we ask for or than we even imagine.”
•    “In the King James version of the Bible, it says that God is able to do exceeding abundantly more than we ask for or imagine.”
•    “Isn’t that cool?”
•    “The blessings will just keep coming and coming!”  (Keep pouring until the cups on the bottom level start to overflow.  It’s likely that not all the cups will receiver water from the upper rows.  That’s okay.)
•    “You just keep blessing those around you with your overflow, and God will keep blessing you.”
•    “Now, you know these people in the second row, but maybe you don’t know the people in the third row.”
•    “When you bless those close to you, it gives them the ability to bless those who are close to them who you don’t even know.”
•    “Then those in this third row can bless those in the fourth row!”
•    “When people get blessed, it’s easier for them to bless others.”
•    “And maybe some of them know God as their Lord, too.”
•    “God will bless them directly in addition to the blessings they get from knowing you.”  (Start filling the emptier cups on the second, third or fourth rows, and allow them to overflow to the rows beneath them.  Ask volunteer to read Luke 6:38.)
•    “God wants to bless you so much that it just runs over like this water, but He says that He will use the same measure you use to bless others.”
•    “In other words, the size of cup you use to pour our blessings on others is the same size cup God will use to bless you.”
•    “What size cup do you want to use to bless others?”  (Listen to responses.)
•    “I’m going to use the biggest cup I can find, because I want God’s blessings to keep coming and coming in huge amounts.”  (Thank everyone and let them take their seats.)

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Filed under Agape Love, generosity, Hands-on, Kindness, Love, Object Lesson, Relationships, sharing, unconditional love

Light of the World


Time

10-15 minutes

Description

This object lesson teaches about our role as light of the world until Jesus returns. In it, you will be giving birthday candles to children and lighting them, so you may need to consider the age-appropriateness of this lesson for your group.

Materials

  • Birthday candles (enough for each child)
  • Larger candle with a candle holder (for you)
  • Lighter or matches to light your candle
  • Finger protectors made from paper or poster board

Preparation

· Cut out enough finger protectors for each child.

o 3” to 4” square should be about the right size.

o Cut an “X” or a star in the middle of each finger protector for the candle to slip through.

· Before class starts, light your candle, and put it in its candle holder somewhere out of the way. You can even conceal it behind something as long as it doesn’t present a fire hazard.

· Practice the script.

Procedure

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

· “Matthew 5:14-16 says that we are the light of the world.” (Have volunteer read Scripture.)

· “What do you think it means to be the light of the world?” (Listen for responses, and make comments as appropriate.)

· “You know, Jesus is the Light of the world, but after He died on the cross, He went back up into heaven.”

· “We who believe in Him are now supposed to reflect His light to the world.”

· “That’s why God doesn’t take you straight to heaven when you become a Christian.”

· “Christians are important in the earth as reflectors of God’s light until He comes back again.”

· “So, according to the Scripture we just read, we are supposed to give light to everyone in the house (which means “the earth.”)”

· “Let’s read verse 16 again.” (Have volunteer read Matthew 5:16.)

· “What does it mean to let your light shine before men?” (Listen for responses, and make comments as appropriate. Some ideas you can include if they aren’t mentioned are: doing nice things for others, speaking kindly to others, showing love to others, giving to the church and to missions, helping the poor, avoiding the temptation to do bad things, being a friend to those who have no friends, taking good care of the things God blesses you with, telling others about God.)

· “So, let’s practice letting our light shine. I’m going to hand out some candles to each of you.”

· “They have a finger protector on them, so you should hold them underneath that piece of poster board/paper.”

· “Even though they have a finger protector, these candles can still be dangerous, so I need you to be extra careful with them once they are lit.”

· “Can everyone do that?” (Hand out candles with finger protectors.)

· “Now that everyone has a candle, we just need to turn out the lights and light them.” (Have a volunteer turn out the lights.)

· “Hmmm…. I don’t have a lighter. Does anyone have an idea how we could light these?” (Children should notice the light coming from the candle that you concealed before class. If they don’t, walk over to it in order to draw their attention there.)

· “Hey! There’s a candle over here already!”

· “How many of you noticed that the candle was over here before the lights went out?” (Look for a show of hands.)

· “Looks like most of us didn’t notice it when the lights were on.”

· “I think we can learn something from this.”

· “Let’s say that having the lights on is like when things are going well for people and that having the lights out is like when bad or difficult things happen to them.”

· “When the lights are on in someone’s life, they may not notice that you are a Christian who is reflecting God’s light.”

· “But when the lights go off in their life (like when a pet or someone they love dies, or they lose a friend, or they get into some trouble…), your light really shows up.”

· “Your light sometimes shines even brighter if the lights have gone out in your life, and you are going through a difficult time, too.”

· “When they see how you handle a difficult situation by trusting in God and giving your fear or worry or pain to Him, those who don’t have His light will be attracted to it.”

· “That’s when they will come and ask you about your light, and that will be your signal that God has opened their heart to hearing about Him.”

· “Do you know what you should do then?” (Listen for responses. You want to hear that you should share your light with them. When you get this response, use your candle to light one of the children’s candles. Then, ask that child to light someone else’s candle. Have the next child pass his/her light on to the next person and so on until all candles are lit.)

· “Amazing, huh? Look at all the light we have generated!”

· “And did you notice? We were all able to share our light with someone else without losing any of our own light.”

· “That’s God’s miracle when we can give something away without losing any of it!”

· “You know what else? The light pushes back the darkness.”

· “The darkness represents the evil that Satan wants to do in the world.”

· “It’s our job to reflect God’s light to push back Satan’s darkness.”

· “The more people we share God’s light with, the further back we push Satan’s darkness.”

· “I have a cheer for us that will help us to remember to keep pushing back Satan’s darkness.”

· “I’ll say it the first time, and then I want you to join me in saying it.”

· “We’ll start quietly – almost a whisper – and then we’ll get louder and louder until we are shouting it.”

· “Are you ready?”

· “Okay, it’s very simple. This is what we are going to do to the darkness…

Push it back! Push it back!

Waaaaaaaay back!

· “Say it with me.” (Start with a whisper, and get progressively louder until the children are shouting it with you.)

· “Excellent! I feel like going out and sharing God’s light with someone right away. I hope you do, too!” (Have the lights turned back on, and have the kids extinguish the candles.)

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Filed under Challenges, Christianity, Evangelism, Hands-on, light, Light of the world, Object Lesson, Witness