Tag Archives: kids

Christmas Story Bingo (GAME)


Time

30 minutes
Description

This game teaches the Christmas story through the game of Bingo.

Scriptures

Matthew 1:18-25, 2:1-23

Luke 1:5-67, 2:1-20

Materials

  • Copies of the eight different bingo cards (See the filed called, “Christmas Story Bingo Cards” on the “Lesson and Material Downloads” page of http://www.teachthem.wordpress.com.)  Each card has all the same pictures, but they have different placements.  You can choose whether or not you reveal this information to the children.
  • Something to act as blotters.  You can use coins, torn pieces of paper, poker chips…  You will need enough for all the children to use.  (I use candy and tell the kids that they get to keep the candy whenever they make a Bingo.)
  • Copy of the Christmas story at the end of this lesson.
  • Optional – Prizes for getting bingos.

Preparation

  • Practice the script.
  • Print copies of the eight different bingo cards.
  • Distribute them randomly to the children so that each child has one.

Procedure

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

  • “We’re going to play a game to tell the story of Christmas.”
  • “Each of you has received a ‘Christmas Story’ bingo sheet.  On it, you will see pictures that represent some of the events from the Christmas story.”
  • “I’m going to read the Christmas story out loud.”
  • “You have also received some blotters that you can use to put on the pictures as you hear me mention them in the story.”
  • “If you see a picture that represents something I mention in the story, put a blotter on top of that name.”
  • “The center space is marked, ‘G.R.A.C.E. Space.’  This one is free – like grace; you can put a blotter on it now.  It’s to remind you of God’s grace to us.  Grace is something that you get but didn’t earn, and the letters in the word stand for ‘God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.’”
  • “You see, we have all the wonderful blessings that God wants us to have, because Jesus paid for them on the cross.  We have God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.”
  • “So, make sure you have a blotter on that center space, because it is already paid for.”
  • “Now, if you get five boxes in a row, in a column or in a diagonal marked, you have a bingo, and you should shout out, ‘BINGO!’”
  • “If you get a BINGO, you can keep playing and see how many BINGOs you can make.”
  • “Does anyone have any questions about how to play?”  (Answer questions.)
  • “Okay, let’s play!”  (Begin telling the story.  Be sure to emphasize the picture words as you reach them.  They are emphasized in the text below in bold and enlarged font.  Several pictures will be mentioned more than once, so the kids have multiple chances of finding them.  (However, the words are not emphasized in the text the second time they are mentioned.)  All Scriptures are taken from The Message, because it is more lyrical.   I’ve skipped some passages in order to shorten the game for children with shorter attention spans, and I’ve changed a few words to make them more understandable for young ears.  Chapters and verses are noted, and both the books of Matthew and Luke are used in order to give a more complete picture of the story.)
  • (Optional Follow-Up: Ask the kids to take their Bingo cards home and to try to retell the story to their parents, siblings or friends using the pictures.)


THE CHRISTMAS STORY

Luke 1:5-67

A Childless Couple Becomes Pregnant

During the rule of Herod, King of Judea, there was a priest named Zachariah. His wife’s name was Elizabeth. Together they lived honorably before God, careful in keeping to the ways of the commandments and enjoying a clear conscience before God. But they were childless because Elizabeth could never have children, and now they were quite old.

It so happened that as Zachariah was carrying out his priestly duties before God, it came his one turn in life to enter the sanctuary of God and burn incense.

The congregation was gathered and praying outside the Temple at the hour of the incense offering. Unannounced, an angel of God appeared just to the right of the altar of incense. Zachariah was paralyzed in fear.

But the angel reassured him, “Don’t fear, Zachariah. Your prayer has been heard. Elizabeth, your wife, will bear a son by you. You are to name him John. You’re going to leap like a gazelle for joy, and not only you—many will delight in his birth. He’ll achieve great things for God.

“He’ll drink neither wine nor beer. He’ll be filled with the Holy Spirit from the moment he leaves his mother’s womb. He will turn many sons and daughters of Israel back to their God. He will announce God’s arrival in the style and strength of Elijah, soften the hearts of parents to children, and lead even hardened skeptics to believe—he’ll get the people ready for God.”

Zachariah said to the angel, “Do you expect me to believe this? I’m an old man and my wife is an old woman.”

But the angel said, “I am Gabriel, the messenger of God, sent especially to bring you this glad news. But because you won’t believe me, you’ll be unable to say a word until the day of your son’s birth. Every word I’ve spoken to you will come true in God’s time.”

Meanwhile, the congregation waiting for Zachariah was getting restless, wondering what was keeping him so long in the sanctuary. When he came out and couldn’t speak, they knew he had seen a vision. He continued speechless and had to use sign language with the people.

When the course of his priestly assignment was completed, he went back home. It wasn’t long before his wife, Elizabeth, became pregnant. She went off by herself for five months, relishing her pregnancy. “So, this is how God acts to remedy my unfortunate condition!” she said.

A Virgin Becomes Pregnant

In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to the Galilean village of Nazareth to a virgin engaged to be married to a man descended from David. His name was Joseph, and the virgin’s name, Mary. Upon entering, Gabriel greeted her:

“Good morning! You’re beautiful with God’s beauty, Beautiful inside and out! God be with you.”

Mary was thoroughly shaken, wondering what was behind a greeting like that. But the angel assured her, “Mary, you have nothing to fear. God has a surprise for you: You will become pregnant and give birth to a son and call his name Jesus.

“He will be great, be called ‘Son of the Highest.’ The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David; He will rule Jacob’s house forever— no end, ever, to his kingdom.”

Mary said to the angel, “But how? I’ve never had a husband.”

The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, the power of the Highest hover over you; Therefore, the child you bring to birth will be called Holy, Son of God.

“And did you know that your cousin Elizabeth is going to give birth to a son, old as she is? Everyone called her barren, and here she is six months pregnant! Nothing, you see, is impossible with God.”

And Mary said, “Yes, I see it all now: I’m the Lord’s maid, ready to serve.  Let it be with me just as you say.” Then the angel left her.

Mary didn’t waste a minute. She got up and traveled to a town in Judah in the hill country, straight to Zachariah’s house, and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby in her womb leaped. She was filled with the Holy Spirit, and sang out exuberantly…

Mary stayed with Elizabeth for three months and then went back to her own home.

The Birth of John

When Elizabeth was full-term in her pregnancy, she bore a son. Her neighbors and relatives, seeing that God had overwhelmed her with mercy, celebrated with her.

On the eighth day, they came to circumcise the child and were calling him Zachariah after his father. But his mother intervened: “No. He is to be called John.”

“But,” they said, “no one in your family is named that.” They used sign language to ask Zachariah what he wanted him named.

Asking for a tablet, Zachariah wrote, “His name is to be John.” That took everyone by surprise. Surprise followed surprise—Zachariah’s mouth was now open, his tongue loose, and he was talking, praising God!

A deep, reverential fear settled over the neighborhood, and in all that Judean hill country people talked about nothing else. Everyone who heard about it took it to heart, wondering, “What will become of this child? Clearly, God has his hand in this.”

Then Zachariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied…

Matthew 1:18-25

Joseph’s Struggle

Before they were married, Joseph discovered that Mary was pregnant. (It was by the Holy Spirit, but he didn’t know that.) Joseph, embarrassed but noble, determined to take care of things quietly so Mary would not be disgraced.

While he was trying to figure a way out, he had a dream. God’s angel spoke in the dream: “Joseph, son of David, don’t hesitate to get married. Mary’s pregnancy is from the Holy Spirit-conceived. God’s Holy Spirit has made her pregnant. She will bring a son to birth, and when she does, you, Joseph, will name him Jesus—’God saves’—because he will save his people from their sins.” This will fulfill what the prophet said:

‘Watch for this—a virgin will get pregnant and bear a son;

They will name him Immanuel (Hebrew for “God is with us”).’

Then Joseph woke up. He did exactly what God’s angel commanded in the dream: He married Mary. But they didn’t act like husband and wife until she had the baby. He named the baby Jesus.

Luke 2:1-20

The Birth of Jesus

About that time, Caesar Augustus ordered a census (count of the people) to be taken throughout the Empire. This was the first census when Quirinius was governor of Syria. Everyone had to travel to his own ancestral hometown to be accounted for. So Joseph went from the Galilean town of Nazareth up to Bethlehem in Judah, David’s town, for the census. As a descendant of David, he had to go there. He went with Mary, his fiancée, who was pregnant.

While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. She gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped him in a blanket and laid him in a manger, because there was no room in the inn.

An Event for Everyone

There were shepherds camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God’s angel stood among them and God’s glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you’re to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger.”

At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God’s praises: “Glory to God in the heavenly heights, Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.”

As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the shepherds talked it over. “Let’s get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us.”

They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. Seeing was believing. They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child. All who heard the shepherds were impressed.

Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself. The shepherds returned and let loose, glorifying and praising the Lord for everything they had heard and seen. It turned out exactly the way they’d been told!

Matthew 2:1-23

Scholars from the East

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem village, a band of scholars (wise men) arrived in Jerusalem from the East. They asked around, “Where can we find and pay homage to the newborn King of the Jews? We observed a star in the eastern sky that signaled his birth. We’re on pilgrimage to worship him.”

When word of their inquiry got to King Herod, he was terrified—and not Herod alone, but most of Jerusalem as well. Herod lost no time. He gathered all the high priests and religion scholars in the city together and asked, “Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?”

They told him, “Bethlehem, Judah territory. The prophet Micah wrote it plainly:

“It’s you, Bethlehem, in Judah’s land, no longer bringing up the rear.
From you will come the leader who will shepherd-rule my people, my Israel.”

Herod then arranged a secret meeting with the scholars from the East. Pretending to be as devout as they were, he got them to tell him exactly when the birth-announcement star appeared. Then he told them the prophecy about Bethlehem, and said, “Go find this child. Leave no stone unturned. As soon as you find him, send word and I’ll join you at once in your worship.”

Instructed by the king, they set off. Then the star appeared again, the same star they had seen in the eastern skies. It led them on until it hovered over the place of the child. They could hardly contain themselves: They were in the right place! They had arrived at the right time!

They entered the house and saw the child in the arms of Mary, his mother. Overcome, they kneeled and worshiped him. Then they opened their luggage and presented gifts: gold, frankincense, myrrh.

In a dream, they were warned not to report back to Herod. So they worked out another route, left the territory without being seen, and returned to their own country.

After the scholars were gone, God’s angel showed up again in Joseph’s dream and commanded, “Get up. Take the child and his mother and flee to Egypt. Stay until further notice. Herod is on the hunt for this child, and wants to kill him.”

Joseph obeyed. He got up, took the child and his mother under cover of darkness. They were out of town and well on their way by daylight. They lived in Egypt until Herod’s death. This Egyptian exile fulfilled what Hosea had preached: “I called my son out of Egypt.”

Herod, when he realized that the scholars had tricked him, flew into a rage. He commanded the murder of every little boy two years old and under who lived in Bethlehem and its surrounding hills. (He determined that age from information he’d gotten from the scholars.)

Later, when Herod died, God’s angel appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt: “Up, take the child and his mother and return to Israel. All those out to murder the child are dead.”

Joseph obeyed. He got up, took the child and his mother, and reentered Israel. When he heard, though, that Archelaus had succeeded his father, Herod, as king in Judea, he was afraid to go there. But then Joseph was directed in a dream to go to the hills of Galilee.

On arrival, he settled in the village of Nazareth. This move was a fulfillment of the prophetic words, “He shall be called a Nazarene.”

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Filed under Angels, Christianity, Christmas, Game, Games that Teach, Jesus, John the Baptist, Joseph, Mary

Kingdom Tag (GAME)


Time
15 minutes (or more, depending upon how many rounds of tag you play)
Description

This game illustrates evangelism in a high-energy, fun way through a game of tag.  It’s a very quick game, so you will probably want to play it several times.  The game works best with larger groups of kids, but it can still be played with small groups.

Optionally, you can play the game outdoors with water (for “baptizing”), but if you do, it needs to be okay for the  kids to get really wet!

Scriptures

  • Matthew 28:18-20

Materials

  • OPTIONAL: Paper or plastic cups for each child
  • OPTIONAL: A tub or bucket of water
  • Bible

Preparation

  • OPTIONAL: Fill the tub with water (You only need the tub of water and the cups if you plan to do the “baptizing” option.)
  • Practice the script.

Procedure

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

  • “Today, we are going to talk about the last words that Jesus said before he rose back into heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father.”
  • “Last words are important.”
  • “If a leader is leaving his followers, and he has one more opportunity to talk to them, he’s going to say something important, don’t you think?”
  • “Sure he is…and Jesus was no different.  He had something very important He wanted to say to His disciples.”
  • “So, He had over 500 of His followers meet Him at the Mount of Olives, and He said this to them.”  (Ask volunteer to read Matthew 28:18-20.)
  • “What did Jesus tell them to do?”  (Answer: go and make disciples, baptize them and teach them)
  • “So, one of the most important things Jesus ever said to His followers was, ‘Go, Make Disciples, Baptize Them and Teach Them.’”
  • “Do you think this is still important for us to do as followers of Jesus today?”  (Listen for responses.)
  • “Sure it is!”
  • “It’s just as important today as it was when Jesus originally said it.”
  • “We need to tell as many people as we can about Jesus, so that they can go to heaven, too.”
  • “And the neat thing is, every time a new person becomes a follower of Jesus, they can then tell all their friends and family about Jesus, too!”
  • “Now, there are millions and millions of Christians in the world.”
  • “If all the Christians were telling as many people as they could find about Jesus, how long do you think it would be before the whole world knew about Him?”  (Listen for responses.)
  • “Not too long, huh?”
  • “Well, let’s try this out.”
  • “We are going to play a game, called Kingdom Tag.”
  • “It’s played like regular tag, but there are a few differences.”
  • “First, you start with one person who is ‘IT,’ and that person represents a Christian.”
  • “Everyone else represents someone who doesn’t know Jesus, and each person can live in different parts of the world.”
  • “If you get tagged by the Christian (the person who is ‘IT’), you become a Christian, and then you are also ‘IT!’”
  • “Then, instead of running away, your new job will be to try to tag other people.”
  • “They will then become Christians, too, and their new jobs will be to tag other people.”
  • “We will keep playing until everyone has been tagged and becomes a Christian.”  (If you want to do the “baptizing” option, then anyone who is “IT” should run and get a cup filled with water.  They tag people by “baptizing” them with the water.)
  • “Every few minutes, I’ll ask you to raise your hand if you still haven’t been tagged yet, so be honest and raise your hand if you still haven’t been tagged.”
  • “Does anyone have any questions about how to play the game?”  (Answer questions.)
  • “Okay, I’m going to need one volunteer to be it.”  (Select volunteer.  Then define what is out-of-bounds and where they are welcome to run and hide.)
  • “I’m going to give you a five second head-start before I let the Christian go.”
  • “Ready?  Go!”  (Count to five slowly before letting your “IT” person go.  Every few minutes, ask everyone to raise their hands who has not been tagged.  The game is over when everyone has been tagged.  If it goes quickly, play several rounds, if you like.  Then, call the kids back to talk about the Debrief Questions listed below.)

Debrief Questions

  1. What did you think about the game?
  2. How long did it take to tag everyone?  Does that surprise you?
  3. Why do you think it happened so quickly?
  4. Could we do the same thing by sharing about Jesus with other people we meet?
  5. How did you know if someone had already been tagged or not?
  6. Is that anything like how hard it is to know if someone is a Christian in real life?
  7. So what do you think we should do if we can’t tell if someone is a Christian or not?
  8. What will you commit to doing this week about sharing Jesus with other people?

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Filed under Baptism, Christianity, discipleship, Evangelism, Game, Games that Teach, Great Commission, salvation, Witness

F.E.A.R. (Obj Lesson)


Time
15 minutes

Description
This object lesson teaches about fear and how to deal with it.

Audience
Children, youth, adults

Materials
o    F.E.A.R. Acronym Cards (You can find these on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at http://www.teachthem.wordpress.com in the file named F-E-A-R – Acronym Cards.ppt)
o    Flipchart or whiteboard (or you could project the Scriptures with an LCD projector)
o    Marker

Preparation
o    Print the F.E.A.R. Acronym Cards, and arrange them face-up on a table.
o    Write the “fear” Scriptures on a flipchart or whiteboard, and cover them until you need them.
o    Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.  (Psalm 23:4)
o    The LORD is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear?  The LORD is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1)
o    I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.  (Psalm 34:4)
o    He (the man who fears the Lord) will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD.  (Psalm 112:7)
o    Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.  (Proverbs 29:25)
o    So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.  (Isaiah 41:10)
o    Practice the script.

Procedure
Use the following script and instructions (or modify to suit your needs):
•    “When was the last time you did something really scary? The kind of scary that knots your stomach and weakens your knees? The kind of scary that makes you feel like everything is out of control?”  (Take responses.)
•    “Fear is an interesting emotion.”
•    “It protects us from doing the really dumb stuff that would win us a Darwin Award (a pretend award given out to people who do dumb, life-threatening things).”
•    “But it also keeps us from taking important risks and doing what we know we should.”
•    “I’ve come to think of fear as an acronym.”
•    “Which acronym you use says a lot about how you approach scary things.”
•    “I need four volunteers for this lesson.”  (Select volunteers, and have them come up front.)
•    “On the table, there are 52 different words that all start with the letters ‘F,’ ‘E,’ ‘A,’ or ‘R.’”
•    “Most of the words will fit into an acronym that will tell us what some people thing about fear.”
•    “I would like for you to represent words that begin with the letter ‘F.’”  (Appoint one of the volunteers to always choose a word beginning with ‘F.’)
•    “I would like for you to represent words that begin with the letter ‘E.’” Appoint one of the volunteers to always choose a word beginning with ‘E.’)
•    “I would like for you to represent words that begin with the letter ‘A.’” Appoint one of the volunteers to always choose a word beginning with ‘A.’)
•    “I would like for you to represent words that begin with the letter ‘R.’” Appoint one of the volunteers to always choose a word beginning with ‘R.’)
•    “As a group, select four words that fit together to make an acronym for the word fear.”
•    “You can only use each word once.”
•    “Let’s do the first few together.  Find the words, ‘Forget Everything And Run,’ and come show them to us.”  (Wait for them to find these words and then show them to the audience.)
•    “Some people think F.E.A.R. means that they should Forget Everything And Run, but this isn’t very helpful.  It doesn’t solve your problem.”
•    “Let’s try another one.  Find the words, “Forget Everything and Relax.”  (Wait for them to find these.)
•    “This isn’t anymore helpful.  Your F.E.A.R.s might actually happen, and you won’t be ready for them.”
•    “Now find these words, ‘Failure Expected and Received.’” (Wait for them to find these.)
•    “You get what you expect.  If you expect to fail, you probably will.  This is not the best approach to fear.”
•    “One more together – find ‘Finding excuses and Reasons.’”  (Wait for them to find these.)
•    “Often people use F.E.A.R. to find excuses and reasons for not doing what they should be doing.”
•    “Now, you try it on your own.”  (Allow them a few minutes to select their first acronym.  Then have them show the audience.  If the acronym makes sense, ask the audience the following question.  If it doesn’t, challenge your volunteers to try again.)
•    “What do you think this acronym says about people who approach fear in this way?”  (Allow the volunteers to make five or six different acronyms, and ask the audience about what it says about the people who approach fear in that way.  Then, dismiss your volunteers.)
•    “Once, when General George Patton was praised for his bravery in battle, he said, ‘Sir, I am not a brave man — the truth is, I am an utter craven coward.  I have never been within the sound of gunshot or in sight of battle in my whole life that I wasn’t so scared that I had sweat in the palms of my hands, but I have learned early in my life never to take counsel of my fears.’”
•    “Fear is a normal feeling at times, but we shouldn’t allow it to control us.”
•    “We should find ways of dealing with our fear so that it doesn’t prevent us from accomplishing God’s purposes in our lives.”
•    “One great way to deal with fear is to memorize Scriptures about it.”
•    “I’ve written some on the board.”
•    “Read through them, and then pick a few that you want to memorize this week.”
•    (Some of the acronyms you can make from the words in the card file are:
o    False Expectations Appearing Real
o    False Evidence Appearing Real
o    For Everything A Reason
o    Face Everything And Recover
o    Faith Erases All Reservations
o    Forgetting Everything’s All Right
o    Focus Energy And Respond)

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Filed under Belief, Christianity, Coping skills, courage, Fear, Object Lesson, Trust, Worry

God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense (GAME)


God's Riches at Christ's Expense Gameboard

Time
30 minutes

Description
This game teaches that we have God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense (G.R.A.C.E.), but we have to keep returning to God every time we sin in order to keep the relationship strong.  If we don’t, we wander further and further from God.

Audience
Children, youth

Materials
•    Copies of the Grace or Guilt Gameboard (See the file, “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense – Gameboard.ppt” on the “Lesson and Material Downloads” page.)
•    Copies of “Grace Cards” (included at the end of this lesson text) – You will need a set for every group of six.
•    A copy of the “Debrief Questions” at the end of this lesson.  You will need one printout per group.
•    Something to act as game pieces.  You can use coins, torn pieces of paper, poker chips…  You will need enough for all the children to have one.
•    Dice (one per group)
•    Optional – Prizes for the winners.

Preparation
•    Print the “Grace or Guilt – Gameboard,” and tape the two pages end-to-end.  You will need one gameboard for each group of up to six children.
•    Print out a copy of the “Grace Cards” at the end of the lesson, and cut them out. Place them face down beside the gameboard.
•    Print out a copy of the Debrief Question (one per group).
•    Practice the script

Procedure
Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):
•    “We’re going to play a game to help us understand how sin takes us away from God and the many blessings He wants us to have.”
•    “It’s called, ‘God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.”
•    “First, I’ll need to divide you into small groups.”  (Divide children into small groups of no more than six each.  Then, hand out the gameboards and game pieces.)
•    “Here’s the way this game is played.
o    First, you will all roll the die (singular for dice) to see who goes first.  The highest role wins and goes first.  The next-highest roll goes second and so on.  If you get a tie, those people should re-roll until someone rolls a higher number.
o    Players should put their game pieces on the paths that match their playing order.  For example, Path 1 for the first player, Path 2 for the second, and so on.
o    Next, you will roll the die to see how many spaces to move your game piece.
o    Each player starts in the “God’s Riches” space.
o    At the end of every turn, you will draw a card.
o    The card has a letter (or letters) on it.
o    You want to collect all the letters in the word, “GRACE.”
o    It’s okay if you have extra letters, but you need to have at least one of each of the letters on your cards.
o    If you get the right letters to spell, “GRACE,” you can return to the “God’s Riches” space.
o    You should put any cards you used to spell “GRACE” in a discard pile.  If the group draws all the card in the draw pile, the discard pile will be shuffled and used as the new draw pile.
o    The game ends when someone rolls a number that forces them to move more spaces than are left on the path.
o    The winner of the game is the person who is closest to “God’s Riches.”
o    In the event of a tie, you can let the tied players roll again to see who is the closest to “God’s Riches” after the roll.”
•    “Does anyone have questions about how you will play?”  (Answer questions.  Then, let them get started.  When they are done, award a prize for the winners if you like, and hand out a copy of the Debrief Questions on the next page.  Give groups ten minutes to discuss the debrief questions, and then talk with the entire group about their answers.)

Debrief Questions

o    Why is the game called, “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense?
o    What are “God’s Riches?”
o    What does “Christ’s Expense” mean?
o    How is this game like our Christian walk?
o    Read Proverbs 4:14-15.  What do you think the spaces represented?
o    Read Proverbs 4:26-27.  What do you think it means?
o    Grace allows us to return to God after we have sinned, but what do we actually need to do to return to Him?

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Filed under Christianity, Confession, Daily walk, forgiveness, Game, Games that Teach, Obedience, Repentance, Spiritual Health

Connect Four Sin Solution (Obj Lesson)


Time
15 minutes

Description
This object lesson demonstrates that the blood of Jesus paid for our sins – those we have done and those we have yet to do. It uses the Connect Four ® game by Milton Bradley.

Audience
Children, youth, adults

Materials
• Connect Four game
• Two sets of black checkers (Note: you may want to avoid the use of black checkers as a symbol for sin. It can sometimes send the wrong message to children of color. Most other colors will work if you can find them.)
• One red checker
• Bag
• Optional – 18 white checkers and 24 red checkers – only if you want to make the heart shape at the end

Preparation
• Put all the black checkers into the bag. Only use enough so that the black checkers can fill all but one space on the Connect Four ® frame. (Leave one spot empty for a red checker.)
• Put the red checker into your pocket.
• Set up the Connect Four ® frame (with no checkers in it).
• Practice the script.

Procedure
Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):
• “This is a Connect Four ® game. How many of you have played this game before?” (Look for responses.)
• “Well we are going to use the game to teach us something about God and how He has dealt with sin.” (Invite a volunteer to come help you demonstrate.)
• “The frame for the game represents your heart.”
• “The black checkers will represent sin, and the red checkers will represent the blood of Christ.”
• “I’ve put checkers into this bag, and I want you to draw them out and put them into the frame.” (Have volunteer draw out the first checker. As he/she drops it into the frame, mention a sin that kids his/her age might commit. Each time he/she drops a black checker in, mention a new sin. Some are suggested below.)
o Told a lie.
o Stole something from a friend.
o Picked on a younger kid.
o Fought with my brother.
o Didn’t tell my sister about the candy Mom bought for us.
o Never apologized for yelling at friend.
o Didn’t do my homework.
o Stayed up past my bedtime.
o Said something mean to my mom.
o Used something without asking.
o Pretended I was sick.
o Didn’t do my chores.
o Spent my offering on a Coke.
o Dented the car with my bike.
o Forgot to feed the dog.
o Showed disrespect to my teacher.
o Cheated on a test.
o Ate an extra desert when Dad wasn’t looking.
• (After the volunteer has put in 20 or so black checkers, secretly drop the red checker into the bag so that he/she will draw it out soon. When the volunteer draws the red checker and drops it in, stop him/her and remind everyone that it represents the blood of Christ.)
• “Remember, the red checker represents the blood of Christ.”
• “This is important, because the Bible says that the blood of Christ washes us of all our sin.”
• “Let’s look at a few Scriptures.” (Ask volunteers to read Matthew 26:28, Romans 5:9, Ephesians 2:13, Hebrews 9:22, 1 John 1:7-9.)
• “The blood of Christ earns us forgiveness, it justifies us and saves us from God’s wrath, it brings us near to God, and it purifies us from all sin.”
• “That’s powerful stuff!”
• “So, here’s a picture of what the blood of Christ does for our hearts when we accept Jesus as our Savior.” (Show the volunteer how to trigger the release at the bottom of the frame so that all the dominoes spill out.)
• “Our hearts become completely new! Cleaned out of all that sin!”
• “It’s like getting a fresh start. All our past sin is gone.”
• “But you know us…even when we are Christians, we still sin sometimes.” (Close the release at the bottom of the frame, and have volunteer begin to put black checkers back in.)
• “We can’t lose our salvation, but each time we sin, the sin takes the place in our hearts where Jesus should be.”
• “Hopefully, we should be sinning less often now, so our hearts don’t fill up as fast.”
• “But you don’t need to wait for it to fill up, because Jesus’ blood didn’t just pay for the sins we did in the past. It pays for the ones we haven’t even done yet.” (Have volunteer add the red checker and then release all the checkers from the bottom.)
• “Each time you sin, it’s paid for already. The only problem is, all those sins hurt your relationship with God.” (Have volunteer add black checkers back in after closing the release at the bottom.)
• “As quickly as you realize you have sinned, ask God for forgiveness so that you can make your relationship healthy again.” (Have volunteer add a red checker and then release all the checkers one last time. Thank and dismiss volunteer.)
• “It’s that easy! But it’s even better if we remember what Jesus did for us and don’t get into sin in the first place.” (OPTIONAL: As you are saying this, add red checkers to the frame (seal the bottom first) in the pattern of a heart. See image below. You will need a few white checkers to go under the red ones in a few columns.)

connect-four-heart

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Filed under Christianity, faith, forgiveness, heart, Jesus, Object Lesson, salvation

Win-Lose (GAME)


Time
20-30 minutes

Description
This game helps participants understand different responses to conflict.  (You can also use this as a game to illustrate the different strategies in negotiation.)

Audience
Children, youth, adults

Materials
•    Beads (20 per person plus 40 per group – in other words, if you have six people in a group, you will need 160 beads – 20 per person and 40 to go in the middle).  You can also use coins, rice, beans… anything that you have lots and lots of.
•    Dice (one per group – I recommend fuzzy dice.  They are more fun to play with.)
•    Flipchart or whiteboard
•    Marker
•    Copies of the “Debrief Questions” page at the end of this lesson
•    (Optional) A prizes(s) for the winning team(s)

Preparation
•    Make copies of the “Debrief Questions” page at the end of this lesson (one copy per table group).
•    Count out the beads, and put enough for the gate at each table.
•    Put a die at each table.
•    Write the following on a flipchart or whiteboard:
o    1 – Win-Win (Everyone gets 1 bead from center.)
o    2 – Win-Lose (Everyone gives you 1 bead.)
o    3 – Lose-Win (You give everyone 1 bead.)
o    4 – Lose-Lose (Everyone puts 1 bead in the center.)
o    5 – Compromise (You give 1 bead to the center and pick 2 other people to put one bead in the center.)
o    6 – You Choose (Choose your own conflict response, and do what it says.)
•    Practice the script.

Procedure
Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):
•    (Divide the participants into table groups of 4-6 people each.)
•    “We’re going to play a game that will illustrate peoples’ different responses to conflict.”
•    “Different people respond in different ways when they come into conflict.”
•    “Many go for ‘Win-Lose.’  ‘I win; you lose.’  They want to win the conflict even if it means that the other person has to lose.”
•    “Many others go for ‘Lose-Win.’  ‘I lose; you win.’  They just let the other person win, because they don’t like conflict or confrontation.  It’s easier just to give up the fight.”
•    “Some go for ‘Compromise.’  ‘We both lose some of what we wanted, but at least we get a resolution to the conflict.’  Neither party gets exactly what they wanted in ‘Compromise,’ but the conflict gets resolved or the task gets done.  Sometimes that’s enough.”
•    “Some even go for ‘Lose-Lose.’ ‘I lose; you lose.’  This one seems crazy, but people will often choose this response when they are upset that they can’t win.  It’s like they are saying, ‘If I can’t have what I want, I’ll make sure no one gets what they want!’”
•    “And a very few people go for ‘Win-Win.’  ‘I win; you win.’  I say very few people go for it, because it’s very difficult to do.  It takes patience, creativity and a willingness to truly listen and understand to the other person before making a decision.  However, this is usually the best response to conflict, because everyone gets what they want (or even something better).”
•    “On your table, you have lots of beads.”
•    “I would like for everyone at the table to count out 20 beads for himself or herself.”  (Wait for everyone to count out his or her beads.  There should be at least 40 left in the middle of the table.)
•    “The game we are about to play is called, ‘Win-Lose,’ and your objective is to win.”
•    “The person at the table who first collects 40 beads is the winner.”
•    “You gain or lose beads by rolling the die (singular for dice) and doing one of six things listed on the flipchart / whiteboard.”
•    “If you roll a one, you choose a Win-Win response to conflict, and everyone at the table benefits by getting a bead from the center.”
•    “If you roll a two, you choose a Win-Lose response to conflict, and everyone gives you one of their beads.”
•    “If you roll a three, you choose a Lose-Win response to conflict, and you give everyone at the table one bead.”
•    “If you roll a four, you choose a Lose-Lose response to conflict, and everyone had to put a bead back into the center.”
•    “If you roll a five, you choose a Compromise response to conflict, and you need to put a bead in the center.  You will also pick two other people to put a bead in the center.”
•    “If you roll a six, you get to pick your conflict response.  You then have to do what the flipchart / whiteboard says for that conflict response.  For example, if you choose ‘Win-Lose,’ then you should collect a bead from everyone at the table.”
•    “To determine who goes first, you will each roll the die.  The highest roll goes first.  If you have a tie for the highest roll, have just those people continue to roll to determine who goes first.”
•    “After the first person goes, the person on his/her left will go next, and play will continue clockwise around the table.”
•    “Play continues until someone accumulates 40 beads.  That person is the winner.”
•    “Does anyone have any questions about how to play?”  (Answer questions.)
•    “Okay, then you can start rolling the die to see who goes first.”  (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 real conflict situations?
o    When people got to choose the conflict response they used, what did they usually choose?  Why?  What can you learn from this?
o    What consequences are there for people who always use the following approaches to conflict?
•    Win-Lose
•    Lose-Win
•    Lose-Lose
•    Compromise
o    How do people generally feel about others who use these conflict responses on a regular basis?
o    Why don’t more people approach conflict from a Win-Win perspective?
o    What are the benefits of using a Win-Win approach?
o    What could you do to increase the frequency with which you use Win-win?

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Filed under conflict management, Conflict Resolution, Coping skills, Game, Games that Teach, Relationships

Fortunately – Unfortunately (Obj Lesson)


Time
20 minutes

Description
This object lesson helps us to understand that what happens to us is not as important as how we respond to what happens to us.  If we trust God with even our “unfortunate” events and circumstances, He can use everything for our good.

Materials
•    None

Preparation
•    Practice the script.

Procedure
Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):
•    “We’re going to play a short game called, “Fortunately – Unfortunately.”
•    “First, I need to divide you into small groups.”  (Divide kids into smaller groups of 3-6 people.)
•    “Now, we have to select the person who will start the game.  I want everyone to hold up one finger.”  (Make sure everyone holds up a finger, then have them do the following.)
•    “Now point that finger straight up in the air as high as you can make it go.”
•    “I’m going to count to three.  When I say, ‘three,’ I want everyone in the group to point at the person you think should start the game.”
•    “Ready?  Okay, One….Two….Three!”  (If any groups end up with a tie for the number of fingers pointed at different people, have them do it again until the tie is broken.)
•    “Alright, this person is going to start you off by telling the first part of a story.”
•    “They will tell you about 15-20 words about any topic they want, but the story has to start with, ‘Once upon a time…’”
•    “For example, ‘Once upon a time, there was a man who liked to eat pickled porcupines…’”
•    “Then, that person will stop right there, and the person on their right will pick up the story where they left off.”
•    “But before they tell anymore of the story, they have to say, ‘Unfortunately…’ and then share something unfortunate about the situation or person.”
•    “They will tell about 15 words of why things are so unfortunate, and then they will stop.”
•    “The next person will pick up the story where they left off, but he/she will start by saying, ‘Fortunately…’  Then they will tell us what is so fortunate about the situation.”
•    “This keeps going with each person alternating their stories to be ‘fortunate’ or ‘unfortunate.’”
•    “You will keep going around your group until I say to stop, so you will probably have several tries at making up ‘fortunate’ and ‘unfortunate’ parts of the story.”
•    “The only other rule is that you can’t kill anyone in the stories.”
•    “Does anyone have any questions before we get started?”
•    “Alright, those of you who were picked to start, begin your stories!”  (Allow three to five minutes for storytelling, then ask them to finish the part they are on and turn their attention back to you.)
•    “The point of this game is that there are always two ways of looking at the things that happen in our lives.  You can view almost anything as either fortunate or unfortunate.”
•    “If you search for it, even something very bad can have a fortunate side, particularly if you are willing to trust God with it.”
•    “Romans 8:28 says, ‘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.”
•    “The Scripture says that God will works in ‘some’ things for our good, right?”  (The kids should answer, ‘NO!’)
•    “Oh, it says, God works in just the fortunate things, right?” (The kids should answer, ‘NO!’)
•    “In just the things where we make good decisions?”  (‘NO!’)
•    “…where we stay out of sin?” (‘NO!’)
•    “…where we pray about it ahead of time?” (‘NO!’)
•    “…where we do everything our pastor tells us to do?” (‘NO!’)
•    “What does it say?  …God works in ALL things for the good of those who love Him.”
•    “Sometimes when ‘unfortunate’ stuff happens to us, it’s God’s discipline in our lives, because the Bible says in Proverbs 3:11:  ‘My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent His rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those He loves, as a father the son he delights in.’”
•    “But that means that even when God is disciplining you for your sin, He is doing it for your good!”
•    “And it’s even better if you admit that you sinned and ask for forgiveness.  Then God can really use it for your good!”
•    “He uses EVERYTHING that happens in your life to be a blessing to you!”
•    “So, even when something happens that looks bad, it’s a great idea to praise God for it.  That shows that you trust Him to use it for your good.”
•    “So, let’s try this out.  Who can think of something bad that could happen to us?”  (Listen for examples.)
•    “Alright everyone, how could God use that for that person’s good?”  (Do this several times to make the point that God can use everything to bless us.)
•    “You see, just because it looks unfortunate doesn’t mean it is.”
•    “It’s less important what happens to you than how you respond to what happens to you.”
•    “Praise God for anything and everything that happens in your life – whether it looks fortunate or unfortunate!”

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Filed under acceptance, blessing, Challenges, Christianity, Coping skills, Discipline, faith, Game, Games that Teach, God's Plan, Hope, Object Lesson, Praise, Trust, Worry