Tag Archives: Obedience

Spotlight Effect


Time

20 minutes

Description

This object lesson teaches that when God shines His favor on us, it blesses other people around us, as well. It uses the story of Joseph to illustrate this principle.

Materials

· Powerful flashlight or spotlight

Preparation

· Make sure you can get the room dark with the lights turned off. You may need to cover up some windows or pull the blinds.

· Make sure that flashlight/spotlight is fully charged or has new batteries. You want a powerful beam of light for the whole lesson.

· Practice the script.

Procedure

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

· “When you look at the life of Joseph in the Bible, one of the things you will notice is that he blessed those around him.”

· “Joseph had a hard early life. His brothers hated him so much that they sold him into slavery, but even in slavery, Joseph blessed others.” (Have a volunteer read Genesis 39:1-6)

· “It says that ‘the Lord blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph’ and ‘The blessing of the Lord was on everything Potiphar had, both in the house and in the field…’”

· “Just having Joseph in his house was a blessing to Potiphar.”

· “Because Joseph followed God, God blessed him. And because God blessed Joseph, everyone around him was blessed.”

· “But Joseph’s misfortune wasn’t over. He was wrongly accused of a crime, and Potiphar threw him into prison.”

· “It wasn’t fair for an innocent man to be arrested, but even in prison, Joseph blessed those around him.” (Have volunteer read Genesis 40:20-23.)

· “The prison warden didn’t have to worry about anything while Joseph was there. Joseph took care of everything, and God blessed all the work of his hands.”

· “Finally, Joseph was released from prison, and God rewarded him for his continued trust and obedience by making him the second highest official in all of Egypt.”

· “In this role, too, Joseph blessed those around him.” (Have volunteer read Genesis 41:46-49.)

· “Joseph was in charge of saving food in preparation for a famine, and God blessed him so much that Joseph couldn’t even keep records of how much food he had saved.”

· “He was able to save all of Egypt and neighboring countries from starving to death.”

· “So, let me give you a picture of what was happening with Joseph.”

· “To do this, I’m going to need to turn off the lights, but I’ll have this flashlight/spotlight on.” (Turn on flashlight/spotlight, and ask a volunteer to turn off the lights.)

· “Let’s say this flashlight/spotlight is God’s favor.”

· “And, let’s say this is Joseph.” (Pick a kid in the audience who is close to other kids.)

· “Because Joseph was always doing his best to be obedient to the Lord, God’s favor was always on him.” (Hold flashlight/spotlight above volunteer’s head so that the light shines down on him/her.)

· “Notice that while ‘Joseph’ is getting most of the light of God’s favor, there is still some that spills over onto those around him.” (Point out kids that are also in the light.)

· “We can call this the ‘Spotlight Effect.’ When God shines His light on you, it ends up blessing more than just you – it blesses everyone around you!”

· “Wherever Joseph goes, he takes God’s favor with him.” (Have volunteer get up and slowly move around the room to be closer to other kids. Follow him/her with the flashlight/spotlight.)

· “When Joseph was working for Potiphar, Potiphar’s entire house was blessed!”

· “When Joseph was in prison, the whole prison was blessed!”

· “When Joseph was the prime minister of Egypt, all the land of Egypt and all the surrounding nations were blessed!”

· “That brings up another point. As God shines His light on you, He will lift you up so that you can provide light for more and more people.” (Have ‘Joseph’ volunteer sit on the floor near some other kids. Shine the flashlight/spotlight on him/her just above his/her head, and point out how the light touches just a few people. Then have ‘Joseph’ stand, and raise the flashlight/spotlight. Point out how the light now touches even more people. Then, thank your volunteer, and have the lights turned back on. Leave the flashlight/spotlight on.)

· “Jesus talks about this in the New Testament.” (Have volunteer read Matthew 5:14-16.)

· “Jesus is saying that we are supposed to be a light in a dark place (the world), and He will put us on a stand – up high where we can give light to everyone around us.”

· “That’s exactly what He did with Joseph. God raised him up to the second-highest position in Egypt so that the light of God’s favor could bless many people and save many lives.”

· “Now, here’s something interesting. How many of you knew that I never turned off the flashlight/spotlight?” (Listen for responses.)

· “Right! It’s still on! You see, God blesses us in good times and in bad times.” (Shine light back on ‘Joseph’ volunteer.)

· “During good times, it’s like all the lights are on, so not many people may notice God’s favor on us.”

· “But during bad times, it’s like the lights go out for people.” (Have volunteer turn out lights.)

· “That’s when everyone notices where God’s favor is!”

· “It becomes so obvious who God is blessing when the lights go out.”

· “When all of Egypt was facing starvation, everyone could tell that Joseph was really blessed by God, because He had the wisdom and the skills to save all the peoples’ lives.”

· “Once God has His light on us, He will sometimes let the lights go out (bad times happen) in order to get their attention.”

· “That’s when people will start coming to you to find out why you’ve got so much blessing in your life, and that’s when you can tell them about your love for Jesus.”

· “Oh, but there’s something you’ve got to remember.”

· “You’ve got to stay inside God’s light if you want to have His favor and be able to bless others.”

· “Let me show you what I mean.” (Ask the ‘Joseph’ volunteer to take a step out of the light, but don’t follow him/her this time.)

· “It’s possible for you to step out of God’s favor and blessings by sinning.”

· “If Joseph had not been so obedient to God during his time with Potiphar and in the prison, he would not have had God’s light on him.”

· “You’ve got to stay in the center of God’s blessings and favor by doing what He tells you to do in the Bible.” (Thank volunteer again, and have the lights turned on. You can turn off the flashlight/spotlight at this point.)

· “So there it is! The ‘Spotlight Effect!’”

· “Follow God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength, and His blessings will follow you wherever you go!”

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Belief, blessing, Challenges, God's favor, Obedience, Object Lesson, struggles, Trust

Finding God’s Path


Time

30 minutes

Description

This object lesson teaches about the challenges involved in seeking God’s will as we do our daily walk.

Materials

  • Masking tape
  • 150 note cards
  • A marker or something to write with
  • Answer Keys for Facilitator and Volunteers (attached)
  • (Optional) A prize for the winner

Preparation

· Using the masking tape, mark off a grid with five columns and 20 rows (see Answer Keys at the end of this lesson for an illustration).

o If you have access to a tiled floor, you can just use the tiles as your grid.

· Number twenty of your note cards 1-20. (Do this twice.)

· Letter five of your note cards A to E. (Do this twice.)

· Tape these next to the outside borders of your grid. The numbers are for the rows, and the letters are for the columns. (See the Answer Keys for an illustration.)

· Place a large “X” on 25 of the remaining note cards. (Make sure that the ink doesn’t show through the paper.)

· Write the word “SIN” on 20 of the note cards. (Make sure that the ink doesn’t show through.)

· Using the “Answer Key – Facilitator’s Copy” page as a model, tape the 25 “X” note cards and the 20 “SIN” note cards face down in the appropriate spaces of the grid. (Only tape one edge, so that it is easy for kids to lift the note card and look for the “X.”)

· Tape the rest of the blank note cards face down in the empty grid spaces. Make sure that they look like the marked note cards so that kids will not be able to tell from looking at them which have an “X” and which do not.

Procedure

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

· “As we do our best to follow the Lord on the path that He has planned for us, it is often difficult to know what His will is and what next step He would have us take.”

· “One of the things that can help us is getting advice from godly people, like your parents or leaders in the church.”

· “We are going to do an activity that will help us understand this way of seeking God’s will in our lives.”

· “This grid represents the path that God has set before you.” (Point out the grid.)

· “Each square/rectangle in the grid represents a step that you could take.”

· “There are three types of steps indicated by the note cards that are taped face down in each space:

o Some of the note cards have an “X” on them. This is God’s best path for you, where you will receive His full blessing.

o Some of the note cards are blank. This is an okay step to take, but it’s not God’s best for you. You can still experience His blessing, but it won’t be as strong.

o Some of the note cards have the word, “SIN,” written on them. This is a step that leads you to do something you shouldn’t.”

· “To help you make the right decision which step to take, you will be able to get advice each turn from one godly person.”

· “I need four volunteers to help me by being our godly people.” (Select volunteers, and share the following instructions. If you don’t have enough kids to use four volunteers, you can give a volunteer more than one Answer Key and have him/her use their best judgment when giving advice.)

· “Each of these four volunteers is a godly person in your life – someone you can go to for advice about what the next step in your walk should be.”

· “Before you take a step, you can pick one (only one) and ask for his/her advice.”

· “Each of them will have an Answer Key for the grid.” (Hand out a different Answer Key to each volunteer, and ask them not to let anyone see it – not even the other volunteers.)

· “Their Answer Keys are all different. No one has all the correct answers, so who you choose to get godly advice from will be important.”

· “When you ask one of the volunteers for their advice, they will tell you what space they think you should step to using the column letter plus the row number. For example, ‘Space A-3.’”

· “If they don’t have any information for you on their sheet, they will simply say, ‘I don’t know,’ and you will have to guess which space to step onto.”

· “Once you touch a space in the grid, your choice is final.”

· “You should bend down and flip up the note card so that you can see what is on the other side.”

o “If you step on a space with an “X” note card, you get to go again.”

o “If you step on a space with a blank note card, you get to hold your place, but you cannot go again until everyone else has had a try.”

o “If you step on a space with a “SIN” note card, you lose your turn and have to start over after everyone else has had a try.”

· “Leave the note card flipped over so that others will benefit from your experience.”

· “The first person to step on the “X” space on Row 20 wins! (Blank spaces will not count as a win.)”

· “What questions do you have?” (Answer any questions. Then start the activity.)


Debrief Questions

Once the activity is complete, award a prize for the winner if you would like. Then, gather the kids and debrief with the following questions before ending the lesson.

o “How was this activity like trying to figure out God’s will for your life?”

o “How did you feel when you asked a godly person (volunteer) for advice, and he/she couldn’t give you any?”

§ “How is this like real life?”

o “How did you feel when you asked a godly person (volunteer) for advice, and he/she gave you the wrong answer?”

§ “How is this like real life?”

o “How did wrong answers make you feel about asking that person for advice the next time around?”

o “How do you know when to trust people’s advice and when not to?”

o “Why do some people have good advice to share about some things but not about others?”

o “What difference would it have made if you had been able to ask more than one godly person for advice before you took a step?”

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


Answer Key – Facilitator’s Copy

A

B

C

D

E

1

Sin

X

Sin

1

2

X

Sin

2

3

Sin

X

Sin

3

4

X

Sin

4

5

X

X

X

5

6

X

6

7

Sin

Sin

X

7

8

X

X

Sin

8

9

X

9

10

X

Sin

Sin

10

11

X

X

X

Sin

11

12

X

12

13

Sin

X

Sin

13

14

X

14

15

Sin

X

15

16

X

16

17

X

Sin

17

18

X

Sin

18

19

X

19

20

Sin

Sin

X

Sin

20

A

B

C

D

E


Answer Key – Volunteer #1

A

B

C

D

E

1

X

1

2

X

2

3

X

3

4

X

4

5

5

6

6

7

7

8

8

9

9

10

10

11

X

X

11

12

12

13

X

13

14

X

14

15

X

15

16

16

17

17

18

18

19

19

20

20

A

B

C

D

E


Answer Key – Volunteer #2

A

B

C

D

E

1

X

1

2

X

2

3

X

3

4

X

4

5

X

X

X

5

6

X

6

7

X

7

8

8

9

9

10

10

11

11

12

X

12

13

X

13

14

14

15

X

15

16

16

17

17

18

18

19

19

20

20

A

B

C

D

E


Answer Key – Volunteer #3

A

B

C

D

E

1

X

1

2

X

2

3

X

3

4

X

4

5

X

5

6

X

6

7

X

7

8

X

8

9

X

9

10

X

10

11

X

11

12

12

13

X

13

14

X

14

15

15

16

X

16

17

X

17

18

X

18

19

X

19

20

X

20

A

B

C

D

E


Answer Key – Volunteer #4

A

B

C

D

E

1

X

1

2

X

2

3

X

3

4

4

5

5

6

6

7

7

8

8

9

9

10

10

11

X

11

12

X

12

13

13

14

14

15

15

16

X

16

17

17

18

X

18

19

19

20

20

A

B

C

D

E


Answer Key – Statistics

This page is just for the facilitator’s information and may be useful during the debrief. It shows how many of the “godly advisors” had correct and incorrect answers for each space.

A

B

C

D

E

1

4

1

2

4

2

3

4

3

4

2

1

4

5

1

2

1

5

6

1

1

6

7

2

7

8

0

1

8

9

0

1

9

10

0

1

10

11

1

1

2

11

12

2

12

13

3

13

14

1

1

14

15

2

15

16

2

16

17

1

17

18

2

18

19

1

19

20

1

20

A

B

C

D

E

1 Comment

Filed under Christianity, Daily walk, God's Will, Hands-on, Obedience, Object Lesson, Trust

Don’t Fumble Your Faith


Time

30 minutes (or longer, depending upon how many rounds of play you allow)


Description

This object lesson helps children understand how much faith it took for Abraham (called “Abram” at the time) to leave his family and friends to go where God sent him. This is a good outdoor activity that gets everyone involved. It is more physical than typical object lessons, so please consider if it is appropriate for your group of children.

Materials

· Ball (preferably an American football if you are going to call the game, “Don’t Fumble Your Faith,” but most types of balls will do – it just needs to be large enough for the kids to try to pull it out of “Abraham’s” grip.)

· Tape or chalk

Preparation

· Use the tape or chalk to mark off a square on the floor or ground. The square should be four to five feet wide in all directions.

· Mark off an “X” in the center of the square.

· Practice the script.

Procedure

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

· “Who can tell me some things you know or remember about Abraham from the Bible?” (Listen to responses. Encourage and correct where appropriate.)

· “Abraham was the first father of the Hebrew people. He was originally named, ‘Abram,’ which means, ‘exalted father.’ But God promised him that he would be the father of a great nation and gave him a new name: ‘Abraham,’ which means, ‘father of a great number.’”

· “This promise had to be a little hard to believe, because Abraham and his wife Sarah had already learned that they were not able to have children.”

· “What made it tougher to believe was that Abraham was 75 years old, and Sarah was 65 years old when God made the promise!”

· “Let’s read about it.” (Ask a volunteer to read Genesis 12:1-8.)

· “So, there was more to it. God didn’t just promise to make Abraham the father of a great nation; He also promised to:

o Make Abraham’s name great.

o Make Abraham a blessing to other people.

o Bless those who bless Abraham.

o Curse those who curse Abraham.

o Bless all the peoples on the earth through Abraham.

o Give Abraham’s people the land where the Canaanites lived. (This was a later promise – v. 7.)”

· “That’s a pretty big promise! But it didn’t come completely free. God asked Abraham to do something first.”

· “God asked Abraham to, ‘Leave (his) country, (his) people and (his) father’s household and go to the land (God) would show (him).’”

· “God didn’t even tell Abraham where he was going. He basically said, ‘I’ll let you know when you get there.’”

· “That takes a lot of faith! To leave everything you know and go somewhere you don’t! Through wilderness with wild animals and possibly hostile people!”

· “But Abraham (‘Abram at the time’) did it. Right after he got the promise, the Bible says, ‘So Abram left, as the Lord had told him…’”

· “Let’s play a game to help us understand how much faith it took for Abraham to leave his country, his people and his father to go where God sent him.”

Don’t Fumble Your Faith: Game Set-up and Rules

· Pick one volunteer to be “Abraham.” Put this person on the “X” in the center of the square. Give this person the ball.

· Pick one volunteer to be “God.” Place him/her some distance away from the square – at least ten feet away.

· Line the other kids up on the tape or chalk line that you laid down. There should be at least a few on each side of the square, but they will probably want more kids on the side that is closest to “God.”

· Tell the rules of the game:

o Tell the kids that the ball represents Abraham’s faith in God.

o Abraham’s goal is to get to God without fumbling (letting go of) his faith.

o The square outline represents Abraham’s comfort zone. In it, he feels comfortable and safe. Outside it, things are scary and unknown.

o The kids standing on the square outline represent things that make Abraham’s comfort zone comfortable. They are things like:

§ Fear of the unknown (anything that is outside the comfort zone)

§ Family

§ Friends

§ Home / House

§ Familiar foods

§ Familiar customs

§ A comfortable routine

§ A good job

§ Physical safety

§ Favorite things to do

§ Favorite possessions, etc. (After you’ve listed a few of the things Abraham had, you might use things the kids would identify with, like video games, pizza, sports… It adds humor and helps the kids to connect the lesson to their own lives.)

o Tell the kids that these things make it difficult for Abraham to leave his home and go where God wants him to go.

o The goal of the kids standing on the square will be to keep Abraham in his comfort zone. They can do this by locking arms, forming a wall and not letting Abraham through.

o They can also try to make Abraham “fumble his faith” (drop the ball) by reaching in and trying to grab it or pull it out of his grip.

o They cannot, however, take their feet off the marked-off square. If Abraham gets past them, they cannot chase after him.

o If Abraham breaks free of “his comfort zone,” he has only one obstacle left to reaching God, and that’s you (the facilitator).

o Tell the kids that your role is to play Satan / the devil. If Abraham makes it out of his comfort zone, you will either try to catch him and take him back, or you will try to make him “fumble his faith.”

o The game ends when one of the following happens:

§ Abraham “fumbles his faith.”

§ Abraham is unsuccessful in his attempts to reach God after several minutes (you choose the time limit, but three to five minutes should be plenty).

§ Abraham reaches God with his “faith.”

o Whenever one of the Abrahams successfully reaches God, he/she gets to pick the next Abraham, and a new round ensues with the previous Abraham joining the “comfort zone.”

o Whenever an Abraham fails to reach God or fumbles his faith, the facilitator should select the next Abraham.

o Play as many rounds as you like. Most kids will enjoy a turn at being Abraham or God.

o Save some time at the end of game play to debrief using the following script:

§ “Help me remember what symbols we were working with in the game.”

§ “What did the ball represent?” (Listen for responses.)

§ “What did the square represent?” (Listen for responses.)

§ “What are some of the things that make our comfort zone comfortable?” (Listen for responses.)

§ “Who can share with us a step of faith that God has asked you to make in your life?” (Listen for responses, and encourage.)

§ “What do you think it means to ‘fumble your faith?’” (Listen for responses. The general idea you want to hear is that it means that you lose confidence that God will help you or protect you or that you lose confidence that He really asked you do something.)

§ “Has that ever happened to you or someone you know about?” (Listen for responses.)

§ “What can we do to make sure we hold onto our faith like Abraham did?” (Listen for responses.)

§ “Excellent, everyone! Remember this week to hold onto your faith!”

Leave a comment

Filed under Abraham, Abram, Belief, Challenges, Christianity, faith, Fear, Game, Games that Teach, God's Will, Hands-on, Hope, Obedience, Object Lesson, Sarah, struggles, test

Center of His Will (OBJ LESSON)


Time

10 minutes

Description

This object lesson teaches about the need to stay in the center of God’s will. Doing so will help us withstand the craziness that happens around us.

Materials

  • Square plywood board (2 ft. x 2 ft. or larger)
  • Twelve foot of rope cut into four, 3 ft pieces
  • Drill and 3/4” drill bit
  • Plastic cup
  • Pitcher of water
  • Water

Preparation

· Drill holes in each corner of the square board.

· Tie a knot at one end of each piece of rope.

· Thread one piece of rope through each of the four holes. Pull through until the knot stops the rope from continuing through the hole.

· Tie the unknotted ends of the ropes together in one, big knot. (Make sure that each rope is the same length from the knot to the board. Otherwise, your board will not hang flat.)

· Fill the cup ¾ full of water.

· Have a pitcher of water nearby so that you can refill the cup after it spills.

· Practice putting the cup in the center of the board and swinging the board in a 360 degree circle. If you do it fast enough, the water will not spill out.

· Practice the script.

Procedure

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

· “Sometimes in life we feel like everything is out of control.”

· “Imagine that you are this cup of water.” (Show cup of water.)

· “And pretend that this board is God’s will for your life.” (Show board, and put it on any edge of the board – not in the center.)

· “Sometimes in our lives, everything starts spinning around us, and it really messes us up!” (Dramatically swing board back and forth until the cup falls off and the water spills. Be far enough from the children that you don’t hit any of them with the board.)

· “Can anyone give me some examples of times that it feels like life is spinning out of control around you?” (Take examples from the children.)

· “Does anyone know why the water spilled when I started swinging it?” (See if the children can guess that the cup of water needed to be in the center of the board.)

· “Right! The problem is that the cup needs to be in the center of the board. That’s the safest place.” (Refill cup with water, and place it at the center of the board. Dramatically swing the board back and forth in wider and wider arcs. Then swing it in a complete circle several times. Centrifugal force will keep the cup in the center and the water in the cup. The children will often be suitably impressed.)

· “Remember that I said that the board represents God’s will for your life?”

· “When you’re not in the center of God’s will, the craziness that happens in your life is really going to upset you.”

· “But if you’ll get to the center of His will (that means doing the things He asks you to do in the Bible), even when things spin out of control, you’ll be remarkably calm. Watch! (Swing the board in full circles several more times.)

· “So, what are some things you can do to keep you at the center of God’s will?” (Take ideas.)

· “Excellent ideas! Hey! Want to see it again?” (Swing the board and the cup of water again. If you are brave and have practiced the move beforehand, you can do a dramatic finish. Let the board come to a rest. Then, pop the board upward. The cup of water will pop up in the air, and you can catch it with your free hand.)

Leave a comment

Filed under Anxiety, Christianity, Coping skills, Fear, God's Will, Obedience, Object Lesson, Worry

Fall of Faith


Time

10 minutes

Description

This object lesson teaches about faith and about doing things for God that are sometimes scary.

Materials

Box or some other sturdy object that children can fall off backward so that you can catch them. It should be tall enough that it presents a challenge but not so tall as to be unsafe.

Preparation

· Set up box on stage.

· Ask for someone strong and reliable to be your spotter.

· Practice the script.

Procedure

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

· “Sometimes God gives you a test to see if you are learning what He is trying to teach you.”

· “First, He teaches you a lesson. Then, He tests you on it to see if you learned it.”

· “One of the areas that He will regularly test you in is your faith. He wants to know if you trust Him.”

· “I would like to demonstrate. Can I get a really brave volunteer?” (Select volunteer and bring him/her up to stage. Have person stand on a sturdy box or some other object on the stage, facing away from audience.)

· “You may have heard of a leap of faith. That means you jump out to do something God wants you to do even when it’s scary. You do it because you believe God will catch you.”

· “We’re going to do a ‘Fall of Faith.’ I’ll play the part of God, and when (volunteer’s name) falls backward off this box, I’ll catch him/her.”

· “So, ready?” (talking to volunteer)

· “When I count to three, I want you to fall backward into my arms, and just like God, I will catch you if you put your trust in me.”

· (Draw this out in order to create suspense and add a little humor.) “Are you ready? ………Oh, hey….how are you feeling? Is it scary? But you trust me, right?”

· “Okay, count of three! One! Two!”

· (Suddenly turn away from the volunteer and face the audience. Make sure you have arranged for another adult – a “spotter” – to be standing near so that he or she can catch the child if he/she falls. Your spotter should not be obvious but should be close enough for safety.)

· “Oh! I forgot to tell you! Before you do a Fall of Faith, make sure you pray about it. Not everything that is scary is something God wants you to do. You’ve got to make sure this is really a test from God. You don’t want to take the fall if it isn’t God’s will, because you may get hurt. You can also talk to other godly people (like your parents) and read your Bible to make sure.”

· “All right! Let’s do this! (talking again to your volunteer) One! Two! Thr…!”

· (Suddenly turn away—same condition as before—and face audience.)

· “Can anyone give me an example of a time when you did something for God that was scary?”

· (Take a few ideas.)

· “Perfect! Exactly what I’m looking for! I think that helps us understand what I mean by a ‘Fall of Faith.’”

· “Okay, time to take the fall!”

· (To volunteer) “Are you ready?”

· (Assuming that you have lost the volunteer’s trust by now, say…) “Why not? No, really, you can trust me!” (If the volunteer still seems to trust you, you might need to draw this out some more.)

· “Okay—one, two, THREE!” (If volunteer doesn’t fall, reassure him/her that you are serious this time. After the volunteer takes the fall, and you safely catch him or her, thank your volunteer and send him/her back to seat.)

· “The good news is, God is more trustworthy than I am. He will always catch you if you are doing His will.”

· (If you have time, let other children experience the Fall of Faith.)

Leave a comment

Filed under Anxiety, Belief, Christianity, faith, Fear, God's Will, Obedience, Object Lesson, Trust, Worry

Tool, Test or Territory


Time
30 minutes

Description
This object lesson teaches that God uses the people and the events in our lives as TOOLS (to shape us), TESTS (to help us see the condition of our hearts) or opportunities to take more TERRITORY for Him (to give us greater impact for His Kingdom). It focuses on the events in the life of Joseph, and it assumes that the children are familiar with the story. (If they aren’t, you may want to read it or give them the highlights before doing this activity.)

Materials

  • Optionally – a flip chart or whiteboard and markers (if you want to write the answers to the questions so that the children can see them)
  • A sheet of blank paper for every child.
  • Colored markers.

Preparation
Create “TOOL, TEST, TERRITORY” signs for each of the kids in your class. (You can also have the kids do this in class.)
• Take a normal sized sheet of paper, and fold it into thirds (It doesn’t matter if you start with the paper in either landscape or portrait orientation. Both will work.)
• Unfold the paper, and write one of each of the following words in each of the three panes you have created on the paper: TOOL, TEST, TERRITORY.
• Fold the paper so that it makes a triangle with the three words on the outside.
• Tape the edge of the triangle so that it will maintain its shape.
• Distribute these to the kids when they arrive.

Procedure
Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):
• “In our lives, we will have many experiences, and we will meet and get to know many people.”
• “I don’t believe that any of these experiences or people are in our lives on accident. God has a purpose for each one.”
• “How do you feel about that?” (Take responses.)
• “I believe that God uses these experiences and people in one of three ways:
o As TOOLS to shape us so that we look more like Him
o As TESTS to help us see the condition of our hearts
o As opportunities to take more TERRITORY for Him. This means that God gives us more responsibility to do His work here on earth. It’s like a promotion.”
• “Can you think of some times that God has used people and experiences in your life as TOOLS? What did that look like?” (Take responses.)
• “How about some TESTS God has given you?” (Take responses.)
• “How about opportunities to take more TERRITORY for Him?” (Take responses.)
• “When we start to realize that God uses everything in our lives for a purpose, it should change how we respond to what happens, shouldn’t it? How do you think we should respond?” (Take responses.)
• “I would like to take a look at the life of Joseph in the Bible and see if we can find some TOOLS, TESTS and TERRITORIES.”
• “I’m going to read a statement about Joseph’s life, and I want you to hold up your TOOL, TEST, TERRITORY triangles to show me which of the three you think the event represents.”
• “If you think it represents more than one of the three answers, flip your triangles back and forth like this.” (Demonstrate.)
• (Read the following statements. The answers are in bold and parentheses.)

o “God gave Joseph a dream to show him he would one day rule over his brothers and his parents.” (TOOL & TEST – Joseph didn’t receive the TERRITORY yet, but God gave him a sneak peak at it to see how he would respond (with pride, unfortunately) and to give Joseph a hope that would shape his decisions for years to come.)

o “Joseph’s father sent him to check on his brothers, who were supposed to be shepherding the flock.” (TEST – This was a test of obedience and determination, since Joseph’s brothers were not where they were supposed to be.)

o “Joseph’s brothers hated him and made fun of him.” (TOOL – Some of the tools God uses to shape us are not very enjoyable. God used the brothers’ hatred and mistreatment of Joseph to make him stronger for the difficult times ahead.)

o “Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery.” (TEST – God tested Joseph by taking away everything he had and allowing him to become a slave. How Joseph responded showed the condition of his heart.)

o “Joseph worked as a slave in Potiphar’s house.” (TOOL, TEST & TERRITORY – Being a slave is no easy assignment. Joseph had to get rid of his pride and do whatever he was asked to do. Even though he knew he would one day rule over many, he had to start as a servant. It was here that God shaped Joseph into a servant leader with incredible administrative and management skills. And it was here that God gave Joseph more TERRITORY. Whenever God puts you into a new place, He expects you to claim it for His Kingdom and to act accordingly.)

o “Joseph was promoted to be Potiphar’s chief servant.” (TOOL & TERRITORY – God gave Joseph even more TERRITORY by making him the leader of al the servants in Potiphar’s house, and God used this time to shape Joseph’s ability to lead at a high level.)

o “Potiphar’s wife tried to get Joseph to kiss her.” (TEST – You can bet that Potiphar’s wife was really pretty. God TESTED Joseph to see if he would show integrity and faithfulness.)

o “Joseph was thrown into prison for a crime he didn’t commit.” (TEST, TOOL & TERRITORY – God allowed Joseph to be punished for a crime he didn’t commit to TEST whether Joseph would continue to trust Him even when He didn’t seem to make sense. The prison was new TERRITORY for Joseph to claim for God’s Kingdom, and his time there shaped him into a more humble leader and administrator.)

o “Joseph was promoted to oversee the other prisoners.” (TOOL & TERRITORY – Joseph was given more responsibility – that’s TERRITORY – a promotion with more responsibility. God gave Joseph more practice at leading during this time.)

o “The chief baker forgot about Joseph.” (TEST – Would Joseph continue to trust God even when he faced such a big disappointment?)

o “Joseph had to stay in prison for two more years.” (TOOL – Joseph wasn’t ready for the giant leadership role God had in mind for him, so God continued to shape him during these difficult times.)

o “Pharaoh told Joseph that he heard about Joseph’s power to interpret dreams.” (TEST – Would Joseph try to take the credit for what God enabled him to do?)

o “Joseph was promoted to rule over Egypt.” (TERRITORY – Joseph had been faithful with small things; now God gave him larger things!)

o “Joseph’s brothers came to Egypt to buy grain from Pharaoh.” (TEST – After all these years of suffering, how would Joseph react toward those who had sold him into slavery? Would he be able to forgive them?)

o “Joseph’s family came to Egypt.” (TERRITORY – The prophetic dreams finally came true! Joseph now ruled over his entire family in addition to the land of Egypt.)

• “Can you see how God uses TOOLS, TESTS and TERRITORY to help us accomplish great things for Him?”
• “Next time something weird or frustrating or scary happens to you, ask God, ‘Is this a TOOL, a TEST or new TERRITORY?’ and ‘How do you want me to respond?’”

Leave a comment

Filed under Christianity, God's Will, heart, Joseph, Obedience, Object Lesson, territory, test, tool, Trust

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.”

Leave a comment

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