Tag Archives: life

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

God’s Dream


Time

45-60 minutes

Description

This is game that helps participants understand that God’s dream for their lives has to be discovered and that it usually requires the help of others to complete.  It was developed for adults but can be modified for use with children (see ideas at the end of the lesson).

 

Materials

  • Large puzzles with at least 50 pieces each (The puzzles can be different, but they should be similar in size and shape.)
  • Masking tape
  • Ziplock bags (optional)
  • Signs that say, “MENTOR.” (One per table group.)
  • Prizes for the winning team (optional)
  • Flipchart, whiteboard (and markers) or LCD projector and screen

 

Preparation

·      Teams should be arranged at tables with 6-8 participants each.

·      Open each puzzle and remove 10-12 pieces.

·      Mix these up.

·      Carefully tape four pieces (each) to the bottom of different chairs around the room.  (You might want to put them in a Ziplock bag to protect the pieces.)  Make sure that they cannot be seen.  Each of these chairs should have pieces from several different puzzles taped underneath.

·      Label the back of these chairs, “MENTOR” (just one per table – if you have more pieces than will fit under the “MENTOR” chairs, tape them under other chairs, but don’t label those chairs, “MENTOR.”)

·      Take any remaining pieces (that you pulled from the puzzles) and mix them in with other puzzles around the room.

·      Put the rest of the puzzle pieces in a bag or box (but not a box with the picture on it) in the center of each table.

·      Keep the pictures of the completed puzzle in the teaching area at the front of the room.

·      Flipchart the Debrief Questions at the end of this lesson (but keep them hidden until the activity is done).

·      Practice the script.

 

Procedure

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

·      “We’re going to put some puzzles together.”

·      “These puzzles represent God’s dream for your life.”

·      “At your tables, one of the chairs says, “MENTOR,” on the back.  Those of you sitting in those seats are now the “Mentors” for your teams.”

·      “Can I see the “Mentors” outside the room for a minute?”  (Go outside room with “Mentors” and tell them about the hidden pieces under their chairs.  Ask them not to reveal this secret unless someone (from any table) specifically asks them about the missing pieces.  If they are asked any other question, they can answer it as long as it doesn’t reveal that there are hidden pieces under their chairs.  They are not to participate in the puzzle building unless asked to do so.  Also, let the “Mentors” know that you have the pictures of the completed puzzles at the teaching area in the front.  If anyone asks about them, the “Mentors” can come get the pictures and take them back to their tables.  Allow the “Mentors” to return to their groups.)

·      “Okay, you can start putting your puzzles together.  The first team to finish wins!”  (Allow at least 30 minutes for puzzle building.  If a team finishes, observe whether or not they try to help other teams.  If no one asks the “Mentors” about the missing pieces after 20 minutes, you can drop some hints until they catch on.  When everyone is done, award prizes (optional) and ask the teams to work through the debrief questions on the flipchart.  Allow 15 minutes.  Then do a large group debrief on what lessons they will take away from the activity.)

 

Debrief Questions

o   “What helped or hindered your team’s success?”

o   “What might you do differently if you had it to do over again?”

o   “Were the mentors important in completing the puzzle?  Why or why not?”

o   “If the puzzles represent God’s dream for your life, what do the pieces under the chairs represent?”

§  “How could this be a metaphor for the way God reveals His will?”

§  “What do the pieces at other tables represent?”

§  “What do the pieces that didn’t fit into your puzzle represent?”

o   “Did anyone try to determine if someone at the table was actually skilled at putting puzzles together?” 

§  “Why or why not?”

§  “Does this say anything about the way we approach the subject of mentors?  Explain.”

o   “How important are other people in solving our problems?”

o   “What lessons can you take away from this activity?”

 

Possible Modifications for Children

·      When working with children, consider the following changes to make it more relevant for them:

o   Instead of having “MENTORS,” you might label the chairs “PARENTS,” “TEACHERS,” or “CHRISTIAN FRIENDS.”

o   Rather than do a debrief at table groups, you might prefer to lead the questions from the front of the room in order to keep the children focused.

o   Some other debriefing questions you might ask could be:

§  “How does God show us His plan for our lives?”

§  “Why doesn’t God just tell us His whole plan when we are young?”

§  “Why does God give some of the pieces of our puzzle to other people?”

§  “Have you ever helped someone discover a piece of their own puzzle?” 

·      “How did that feel?”

·      “How did you find out that you had a piece of their puzzle?”

o   You might have the children finish by drawing pictures of God’s dream for their lives.

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Filed under Christianity, Game, Games that Teach, God's dream, God's Plan, God's Will, Hands-on

The Dot and the Line


Time

10 minutes


Description

This object lesson teaches about the importance of living for eternity rather than just for today.

Materials

None

Preparation

Practice the script.

Procedure

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

  • “We’re going to do an activity to show the difference between our life on earth and our life in heaven.” (Have kids line up, single-file in a spiral. Put the last kid at door to the room. The kid in the center (beginning of the line) is “The Dot,” and the rest of the kids are “The Line.”)
  • “This person is the ‘The Dot.’ S/He represents our lifetime here on earth.”
  • “Everyone else is ‘The Line.’ You represent our life in heaven, in etermity.”
  • “Most of us think life on earth is more like The Line, but God says it isn’t.”
  • “Life on earth is short – maybe 80-90 years – maybe less.”
  • “Then it ends, and The Dot is over, and The Line starts.”
  • “The Line goes and goes and goes.”
  • “You see (child’s name) is at the door – that’s to show that the line never stops.”
  • “Imagine a line of kids out that door that goes on forever! That’s eternity!”
  • “Now, this doesn’t mean that The Dot isn’t important – it’s hugely important!”
  • “The Dot is a test and a tool.”
  • “Say it with me, ‘a test and a tool.’”
  • “What do I mean by that?”
  • “It’s a test, because your life will be full of tests, and these tests reveal the quality of your heart. Will you cheat on the test like your friend? Will you tell untrue stories about other kids? Will you lie to your mom and dad about where your friends are going? Will you take more than your fair share?”
  • “Test, test, test, test, test”
  • “Each time, your decision reveals the quality of your heart.”
  • “If you fail a test, God will give it to you again.”
  • “If you continue to fail it, God will let you follow the evil desires of your heart.”
  • “And trust me, that leads nowhere good.”
  • “If you follow the evil desires of your heart for too long, all you get is unhappiness and pain.”
  • “But if you pass the test, God will be pleased. He will keep testing you, but it might be in other areas for a while.”
  • “So, that’s why The Dot is a test. Why is The Dot a tool?”
  • “Because God uses our lives on earth to shape us to be more like him. He cuts away the bad stuff until we look more like him.”
  • “How silly would it be for us to focus all our attention on The Dot?”
  • “Compared to The Line, it’s nothing right?”
  • “So anything we do in The Dot should be focused on improving The Line.”
  • “You could have a really fancy Dot (dress up the kid who is “The Dot” with some fake jewelry or clothes) with lots of riches and fame and toys, but if the way you got those things was through dishonesty or greed or jealousy, you’re going to have a really crummy Line.” (Have kids in The Line fall to floor in domino pattern).
  • “But if you use your Dot to honor God (give child salt and light or a cross or picture of Jesus), your Line will ROCK!” (Have kids in The Line jump up!)
  • “So, do you want to live for The Dot (have kids in The Line crumple) or for The Line?” (Have kids in The Line jump up!)
  • “Me, too!”

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Filed under Christianity, Eternity, God's Will, Heaven, Hell, Object Lesson