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On Jesus’ Team – A Baptism Lesson


Time

15-20 minutes


Description

This object lesson helps children understand what it means to be on Jesus’ team and why they should get baptized.

Materials

· Sports jersey

· Pitcher of water

· Optional – large bin or bucket for volunteer to stand in when getting wet

· Towel

Preparation

· Find a space where it’s okay to get things wet, or set up a bucket or bin to catch the water. Pouring water on the volunteer is optional, but the kids will really enjoy it, so I recommend it.

· Place the pitcher of water, towel and jersey nearby.

· Practice the script.

Procedure

Use the following script, or modify to suit your needs:

· Once you’ve accepted Jesus as your Savior, God has something He wants you to do.”

· “He wants you to tell others that you’re on His team now.” (Ask for volunteer who doesn’t mind getting wet to come up.  If you have a bucket or bin set up, have him/her stand inside it.)

· “Let me explain it this way. If you joined a sports team, you would wear their jersey, right?” (Put jersey on volunteer.)

· “You wouldn’t wear the other team’s jersey, would you?”

· “No, you would wear your team’s jersey and be proud to do it, right?”

· “And your jersey would tell everyone whose team you were on.”

· “That’s what baptism is. It’s putting on God’s jersey.”

· “When you get baptized, you are letting everyone know that you’re on God’s team.” (Optional – pour water over volunteer’s head for comedic effect.)

· “Now, the truth is, when I put on this jersey, it didn’t really make me a member of the (name sports team represented by jersey), did it?”

· “I can’t join the team just by wearing their clothes, can I?”

· “Right. I can’t. And just like that, getting baptized doesn’t make you a member of God’s team. If you haven’t asked Jesus to be your Savior, you can’t be on the team, even if you take a bath every day in the baptismal.” (Optional – pour more water over volunteer’s head.)

· “But what if I really was a (name sports team represented by jersey), but I never wore the jersey? Could I be on the team without wearing the jersey?” (Take jersey off volunteer.)

· “Sure I could. If the coach says I’m on the team, I’m on the team. If I don’t wear the team’s jersey, the coach will probably get frustrated with me, but he’s not going to kick me off the team for that.”

· “You see, you don’t have to get baptized to be on God’s team. As long as you call on Jesus to be your Savior, He lets you on the team. You don’t ever have to do anything else.”

· “But you should want to. If you’re proud of being on Jesus’ team, you should wear His jersey. If you’re thankful that He let you be on the team, you should wear His jersey.” (Put jersey back on volunteer.)

· “Getting baptized tells everyone, “I’m proud to be on Jesus’ team!” (Optional – pour more water over volunteer’s head.)

· “You see, Jesus wants to be more than just your Savior. He wants to be your Lord, too!”

· “But for Jesus to be your Lord, you have to do what He says to do, and He says that the first thing He wants you to do after you ask Him to be your Savior is to get baptized.” (Optional – pour more water over volunteer’s head.)

· “That tells the world that Jesus is both your Savior and your Lord!”

· “But it does even more than that. This is so cool!”

· “I’m a leader, and this person is my follower.” (Indicate your volunteer.)

· “A follower is someone who does what he sees his leader doing, so (speaking to your volunteer) I want you to do exactly what you see me doing.” (Walk around the room in a funny way with exaggerated movements. The funnier the better. Make sure your volunteer mimics what he sees you doing.)

· “Now, if you saw the two of us walking down the street like this, would it be hard to tell that we were together?”

· “Could you tell that he was my follower?”

· “Not hard, right, because he’s doing exactly what he sees me doing.” (Thank and dismiss the volunteer. Have towel ready for him/her to dry off.)

· “That’s what baptism is. You are telling everyone that you are on Jesus’ team by doing exactly what you see Him doing.”

· “What do I mean by that?” (Take responses if anyone thinks they know.)

· “How many of you remember that the first thing Jesus did when He started His ministry was to get baptized by John the Baptizer?” (Look for a show of hands.)

· “Right! He was setting the example. We should do what we see Jesus doing in the Bible.”

· “Also, remember how Jesus paid for our sins?” (He died on the cross.)

· “What happened next?” (He was buried in the ground for three days.)

· “Then what happened? (He rose from the dead on the third day.)

· “That’s great news! If Jesus had died and stayed dead, He sure wouldn’t have been God. And if He’s not God, we shouldn’t follow Him.”

· “But He did rise again! He died and then defeated death by bringing Himself back to life! Amazing! Incredible!”

· “So, watch this! Jesus died, was buried and rose again.” (Use the following motions while you are sharing this. Place one arm in front of you parallel to the floor. Put the elbow of your other arm on the hand of this arm so that they make a right angle. As you say that Jesus was buried, lower your top arm like you are closing a lid. Then, when you say Jesus rose again, lift your forearm back to it’s original position.)

· “Let’s do it together.” (Have kids do arm motions.) “Jesus died, was buried and rose again. Good!”

· “Now, when we get baptized, we are doing what we saw our leader doing.”

· “We go down into the water and come back out again.” (Do arm motions.)

· “Baptism is a picture of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection (which means to rise again).”

· “So when you get baptized in front of the church, you are saying, ‘I’m on Jesus’ team! I’m doing what I saw my Leader do!’”

· “Touch your neighbor and say, ‘I’m on Jesus’ team!’”

· “Touch your other neighbor and say, ‘I’m doing what I saw my Leader do!’”

· “If you’ve already told Jesus you want to be on His team, you should talk to your parents about getting baptized. If they think the time is right, they can arrange it with the church.”

· “And if you haven’t told Jesus you want to be on His team, talk to your parents about that, too!”

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Filed under Baptism, Christianity, Jesus, John the Baptist, Obedience, Object Lesson

Peter – The Rock


Time

20 minutes (for the lesson – if you do the part about hardening the goo, you will need to bring the “Peter rocks” back to the kids during the next lesson)

Description

This object lesson teaches about Peter both before and after Pentecost. It focuses on his transformation into “the rock.” It’s very tactile and can be quite a bit messy without good supervision, but the kids will really enjoy getting to work with the cornstarch and water mixture.

Materials

  • NOTE: When I originally did this lesson, I found some Styrofoam containers at a restaurant supply store that worked perfectly. They are the type that fast food chains sometimes put hamburgers into and have a top and bottom that fold together to close. Instead of the bowls and measuring cups listed below, you can use these containers to hold the water and the cornstarch (one on each side of the container when it is opened. This way, your measurements are done before the kids arrive, and you don’t need so many measuring cups.)
  • Corn starch (about 4 oz per child – but have extra at the front for children to use to thicken the consistency)
  • Water (about ½ cup – but have extra at the front for children to use to weaken the consistency)
  • Cookie sheets or wax paper for the children to work on
  • Small bowls for each of the children
  • Spoons for stirring the mixture (optional – the children could use their hands)
  • ½ cup measuring cups (one for every two or three children)
  • Drop cloth to go under all the work areas
  • Molds that represent Peter – some ideas are a rock or the letters “P-E-T-E-R.” You can also use a muffin tin.
  • Paper towels and/or a nearby sink for clean up
  • Masking tape and a marker so that you can label the “rocks” with the children’s names while they dry
  • Paints and brushes or markers for decorating the “rocks” after they have hardened
  • (Optional) Ziplock bags for each child if you prefer to let them take their goo home with them.

Preparation

· Lay out the drop cloth under all the areas where the children will be working.

· Divide up the supplies so that each child has the amounts described above.

· Use the masking tape and marker to label the molds or muffin tin spaces so that you’ll know later whose rock is whose.

· Practice the script.


Procedure

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

  • “We’re going to do a fun experiment today that will teach us about Peter and God.”
  • “In front of you, you have some things from a kitchen.” (Hold each up as you describe it.)
  • “You’ve got a cookie sheet (or wax paper), and that’s to keep from making a mess that will be hard to clean up.”
  • “You have a bowl, a spoon, some water, a measuring cup and some powder.”
  • “The powder is called cornstarch.”
  • “We’re going to mix the water and the cornstarch together to make a paste that’s like ‘Peter,’ and we have to do it in the right amounts, so do exactly what I do, okay.”
  • “Pour the cornstarch into the bowl.”
  • “Then, pour in about ½ cup of water.”
  • “Now, use the spoon (or your hands) to mix the cornstarch and the water together.”
  • “When it’s good and mixed, it should ooze like honey. If yours doesn’t, let me know, and I’ll bring you some extra ingredients to help you get it there.” (Add water to soften the paste; add cornstarch to thicken it.)
  • “Now, pour it from your bowl onto the cookie sheet.”
  • “Kind of gooey, right? It just oozes.”
  • “That’s like Simon-Peter before he spent so much time with Jesus.”
  • “You see, Simon-Peter was first called just ‘Simon,’ which means ‘listens and obeys.’”
  • “But Simon wasn’t very good at either of those things.”
  • “When Jesus first met him, He gave Simon the name ‘Peter,’ which means ‘rock.’”
  • “But Peter wasn’t much of a rock, either.”
  • “Jesus gave him the new name, because He wanted Peter to start acting more like a rock.”
  • “A rock is solid. If it’s a big rock, you can’t push it around. It takes a stand and doesn’t move.”
  • “But Peter wasn’t anything like a rock.”
  • “He would take a stand for something, but when it got difficult, he would give up or run away.”
  • “Or maybe we should say, he would ‘ooze’ away like this goo.”
  • “But then one day that we’ve come to call ‘Pentecost,’ Peter was with all the other Apostles waiting in Jerusalem because Jesus had told them to wait there.” (The story is found in Acts 2.)
  • “Jerusalem was full of Jews and people who converted to Judaism from all over the world.”
  • “There were Parthians, Medes, Elamites, Mesopotamians, Judeans, Capadocians, Pontusians, Asians, Phrygians, Pamphylians, Egyptians, Romans, Cretans and Arabs, and they all spoke different languages.”
  • “Suddenly, the Apostles all heard a sound like a rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were waiting.”
  • “They looked at each other and saw little tongues of fire on everyone, but it wasn’t the kind of fire that burns.”
  • “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit, who is the third Person of God, and they began to speak in languages that they didn’t even know.”
  • “They went outside, and people start to look at them in amazement.”
  • “The people could tell that these men were just normal men who lived nearby, so they couldn’t understand how they could speak so many different languages.”
  • “In fact, they spoke all the languages of the people who had come to visit Jerusalem.”
  • “And that’s when it happened! Peter became a rock right there in front of everyone!”
  • “He jumped up where everyone could see him and began to preach to everyone about Jesus.”
  • “He told them to stop sinning and to give their hearts to Jesus.”
  • “He preached so powerfully that 3,000 people became Christians that day!”
  • “And from that day on, Peter was a rock.”
  • “He was no longer afraid of what other people thought about him, and he didn’t run away from anyone. He stood firm!”
  • “I told you that this goo is like Peter. Well it’s like him both before and after he became the rock.”
  • “Try to roll your goo between your hands, and see what happens.”
  • “It hardens up, doesn’t it?”
  • “But let it drip between your fingers, and it turns back into a liquid.”
  • “You see, Peter became the “rock” only when he was in God’s hand.”
  • “When he wasn’t resting in God’s powerful hand, Peter was more like the goo, but when he listened to God and obeyed Him, Peter became the rock!” (Let kids play with the goo for some time, and then say the following.)
  • “Okay, now that we’ve seen what Peter is like, we’re going to harden him up into the “rock” for good just like what happened at Pentecost.”
  • “Pour your Peter goo into these molds (or muffin tins).” (Have each child pour their goo into the mold or tin labeled with his or her name.)
  • “Do you remember what the Apostles saw on each other after they heard the rushing wind?” (Flames of fire)
  • “Right! Well, I’m going to add some fire to our Peter goo, and next time we meet, it will be hardened into a rock.”
  • “You know, what’s true for Peter is true for us, too.”
  • “When we are in God’s hand (meaning that we are trusting God and not just ourselves), we are like a rock. We will have the courage to stand our ground for God.”
  • “But when we try to do things our own way, we leave God’s hand and make a mess.”
  • “So, whenever you are going through a tough time, and you’re feeling gooey, remember to pray to God and ask Him to cover you with His hand.”

Take the goo in the molds/tins and either bake it or put it in the sun until hardened. When you meet with the children again, give them their “Peter Rocks,” and let them decorate them with paint or markers. Ask them questions about the lesson from the previous meeting, and see if they can answer them.

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Filed under Character, Christianity, Daily walk, God's Will, Hands-on, Listening to God, Obedience, Object Lesson, Peter, Science experiment, Simon-Peter, Transformation

Garbage In – Garbage Out


Time

20-25 minutes


Description

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

Materials

· Garbage bag or shopping bag

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

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

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

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

· Two large sponges

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

· A pitcher of water

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

· Display table

Preparation

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

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

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

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

· Practice the script.

Procedure

Use this script, or modify to suit your needs:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

· “Oooo-that’s gross.”

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

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

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

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

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

· “Isn’t that interesting?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In God’s Hands



Time

20 minutes


Description

This object lesson can be a fun way to drive home some lessons about Peter. It’s very messy, so you will want to have a place for the kids to clean up afterward (a garden hose is recommended, because you won’t want to wash large amounts of the baking soda down the drain).

Materials

· Drop cloth for the floor

· Corn starch (1 cup per child)

· Water (1.5 cups per child)

· Plastic cups (2 for each child)

· Bowls (1 for each child)

· Plastic place mat or disposable table cloth

Preparation

Lay down your drop cloth, and set a table with bowls for each child. Measure out the corn starch and water in plastic cups. Have some extra water and cornstarch on hand in case you need to adjust the consistency of the mixture.

Procedure

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

· “Who’s ready to get messy?”

  • “Me, too! Everyone, put yourself in front of one of the bowls on the table.”
  • “In the Bible, the New Testament tells the story about Simon, Andrew’s brother.”
  • “When Simon met Jesus, Jesus changed his name to Peter, which means “rock.”
  • “Simon means “listening and obeying,” but Simon spent too much time talking to listen.”
  • “Jesus gave Simon the name Peter, because He wanted Simon to act like a rock. That means that Jesus wanted Peter to be a leader, who was firm in his convictions and stood strong for the Lord.”
  • “Peter wanted to be a rock for the Lord, but he wasn’t very consistent at that, either.”
  • “But God knows what He is doing. He changed Simon’s name, because He saw who Jesus would help him to be one day.”
  • “It was a reminder of God’s call on Peter’s life. Every time Peter heard his new name, it reminded him that he needed to act like a rock.”
  • “So, that brings us to our experiment. We’re going to make Peter!”
  • “Here’s what we need to do. Take the cup with the powder in it (this is called corn starch) and pour it into your bowl.”
  • “Now, take the cup that has water in it, and pour it into your bowl.”
  • “Mix these together with your fingers – and, yes, it is going to be messy!” (As they mix, the corn starch should turn into a thick liquid. But, it’s not just a liquid. It’s also a solid when you put pressure on it. Check to make sure that all the kids’ mixtures are turning out right. If not, add water to thin or cornstarch to thicken.)
  • “That’s some gooey stuff, isn’t it?”
  • “Let’s try a few things with it. Pick some up in your hand, and quickly roll it into a ball between your hands.” (You may need to demonstrate.)
  • “Now, stop rolling and watch what happens.” (The ball will melt in their hands.)
  • “Weird, huh? Okay, now try tapping on the liquid in the bowl with your finger.’ (Demonstrate if needed. The liquid should harden when you tap it.)
  • “Now, let’s pick it up, and squeeze it in our hands. Then let it go.” (It should go from solid to liquid.)
  • “I told you we were going to make Peter. Peter is like the liquid, and we are playing the part of God.”
  • “You see, Peter was also talking about how he was the best and how he would defend Jesus with his life. But when Jesus was taken by the religious rulers, Peter ran away. Then, he denied that he even knew Jesus three times.”
  • “Whenever Peter acted the way Jesus wanted him to, he was right in the middle of God’s hands. During those times he was solid like a rock.” (Demonstrate by putting some of the liquid in your hand and rolling it into a ball.)
  • “But when things got scary, Peter ran away.” (Allow ball to melt.)
  • “Now, I don’t want to make Peter into a bad guy. He was trying, but he just couldn’t be as strong as he wanted to be.”
  • “And neither can we. None of us are strong enough without God. The best place to be is in the middle of His hand.”

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Filed under Christianity, God's Will, Hands-on, Obedience, Object Lesson, Peter, Simon-Peter, Trust