Tag Archives: Object Lesson

God Is There When It’s More Than We Can Bear (OBJ LESSON)


Time

10-15 minutes

Description

This Challenge teaches that God will help us get through difficult times and temptations.  He never leaves us alone when we suffer.  The lesson is made by sticking wooden skewers through balloons without popping them.

Scriptures

  • 1 Corinthians 10:13

 

Materials

  • Large balloons – 2-3 per person
  • Wooden skewers – 2-3 per person
  • Vegetable oil – 1 small container per group
  • Duct tape – 1 roll per group

 

Preparation

  • Practice doing the exercise.
  • Practice the script.

 

Procedure

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

  • “We’re going to do an object lesson today to learn how God helps us during difficult times.”
  • “Bad stuff even happens to Christians, but God will never leave you alone when you suffer.”
  • “I know that because 1 Corinthians 10:13 in the Bible says, ‘No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.’” (The Message)
  • “Let’s demonstrate this.”
  • “Okay, let’s say that you are one of the balloons in our kit.”
  • “Let’s blow it up, and tie it off.” (Help participants if they have trouble with this.  Don’t blow the balloons up fully.  You want there to be some thickness of the rubber at the nipple and at the place where you tied off the balloon.)
  • “Now, let’s say that one of those skewers is a bad thing or a temptation that’s about to happen to you.”
  • “What would happen if you put the skewer (the bad thing or temptation) through the balloon (the you)?” (Listen to responses.)
  • “Right! It’s going to pop us!”
  • “But I know a way that we can keep ourselves from being popped by these bad things and temptations.”
  • “When you face something bad, you need the covering of the Holy Spirit.”
  • “That’s God’s covering over your life, and it will protect you during bad times.”
  • “In the Bible, oil often represents the anointing of God. Let’s anoint this skewer so that it can be used by God.”  (Dip the skewers into the oil.  Then instruct them to insert them slowly into a balloon through the tie-off area and out the very top (the nipple).  These are the areas where the rubber of the balloon stretches the least, so they are more likely to receive the skewer without popping.  If the balloon pops, laugh nervously and grab another balloon – kids love it when things don’t go the way an adult plans them.)
  • “Look at that! God’s anointing was all it took!”
  • “You see, if God allows bad stuff to happen to us, He anoints it so that it ends up doing His work in our lives. God knows where you can handle the bad stuff, just like I knew just where the balloon could handle the skewer.”
  • “Now, sometimes, God allows bad stuff and temptations to happen to you, but he provides grace and strength for going through those things.”
  • “Let’s pretend that this duct tape represents God’s covering of grace and strength for us.” (Have everyone blow up new balloons.  Then, put pieces of duct tape across both the front and back sides of balloon.  Then, have them slowly twist and poke a skewer though – dry ones, not the ones with the oil.  You can repeat this several times for dramatic effect.)
  • “Sometimes during tough situations, you might feel like you could just burst.”
  • “But remember that God is with you during those times. Pray for His covering, and He will help you through them.”
  • (When you are finished, have them answer the Debrief Questions below (also on their Challenge Cards). The Rhyme Time is to help them recognize that God can cover them during times of temptation and testing.  They need to trust in Him for His protection.)

  

Debriefing Questions

  1. Why didn’t the balloons pop when the skewers went through them?
  2. How is this like how God protects us during times of suffering?
  3. If you have to go through a time of suffering in the future, how will you handle it?

 

Rhyme Time

God is there when it’s more than we can bear!

 

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Filed under Annointing, Challenges, Coping skills, courage, Failure, Fear, God's Protection, Hardship, Joseph, Object Lesson

Joseph and Jesus (CHALLENGE)


Time

10-15 minutes
Description

This Challenge uses a two-sided puzzle, with the image of Joseph on one side and the image of Jesus on the other.  It makes comparisons between Joseph (of Genesis) and Jesus and shows how Joseph was a preview (or “type” or “shadow”) of Jesus that helps us to understand the events of Jesus’ life better.  There are 26 comparisons, which are listed for your reference in the table at the end of this lesson.

Scriptures

  • Genesis 37-50

 

Materials

  • Card stock paper – 2 sheets per group (Alternatively, you can use posterboard, but you will then need to glue the puzzles to the posterboard.  This might cause you challenges with aligning the front and back puzzles.)
  • Puzzle sets – 1 per group (The file for printing is called, “JJ – Joseph & Jesus – Puzzle,” and it can be found on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at www.teachingthem.com.  It would be best if these documents were printed in color.)
  • Challenge Card (The file for printing is called, “JJ – Joseph & Jesus – Challenge Card,” and it can be found on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at www.teachingthem.com.  This can be printed in black and white on regular paper.  There are two Challenge Cards per page.)
  • Glue
  • Ziplock bags – 1 per group
  • Scissors or cutting tool
  • Transparent contact paper (or laminating paper – 2 sheets per group (approx. 12”x10”) – OPTIONAL
  • Single hole punch – 1 to share – OPTIONAL
  • Twine – 1 roll to share – OPTIONAL
  • Prizes for the winning group – OPTIONAL

 

Preparation

  • Print out the puzzle pages.
  • Print out the Challenge Card document.
  • Glue a “Jesus” puzzle to a “Joseph” puzzle back-to-back, and allow them to dry fully.  (Do your best to get them exactly aligned. You might want to place a heavy object on them while they are drying to prevent curling – especially if you live in a humid environment.)
  • Cut out the puzzle pieces along the lines on the puzzle pages.  (The lines should match up front-to-back.)
  • Mix the pieces up, and place each set of puzzle pieces into a different Ziplock bag.
  • Cut the Challenge Card document in half (each half is identical), and put one in each Ziplock bag.
  • Cut the contact paper or laminating pages to the approximate size listed above, and put two sheets into each Ziplock bag. (OPTIONAL)
  • Practice the script.

Procedure

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

  • “We’re going to do a group Challenge today.”
  • “It’s called, “Joseph and Jesus” and it’s part of the Joseph’s Journey Series.”
  • “First, I’ll need to divide you into groups.”  (Divide the participants into the number of groups for which you have prepared puzzles.)
  • “Each group will have a Ziplock bag with a puzzle in it.”
  • “This puzzle is tricky, though, because there are pictures on both sides!”
  • “When I tell you to go, open your Ziplock bags, and begin putting your puzzles together.”
  • “Be sure to read the words on each side of the puzzle out loud before you add it to your puzzle.”  (Let them begin.  You can offer a prize for the fastest team to get their puzzle together if you want, but you might not want to because it could make them rush through and fail to read the descriptions on each side of the puzzle pieces.  When they finish, you can help them laminate the puzzle pieces if you want to.  Just peal off the protective paper, and carefully lay a sheet of the clear contact paper on top of the puzzle.  Then, flip it over and do the same for the backside.  Punch a hole in the top, and use the twine to add a loop that you can use to hang the puzzle.  This will allow them to see both sides.  When they are finished with the puzzle, have them answer the Debrief Questions below (also on their Challenge Cards.  The Rhyme Time is a reinforce to help them remember that the events of their lives can be used by God in a big way.)

 

Debriefing Questions.

  1. What do you think about all the comparisons between Joseph and Jesus?
  2. Why do you think God made them so much alike?
  3. God used Joseph’s life in a big way to tell us about what Jesus would be like.  Do you think God could use your life like that?  Why or why not?

 

Rhyme Time

God has a purpose, a plan and a dream.

My present struggles are more than they seem.


 

JOSEPH

JESUS

A Miraculous Birth

Joseph’s mother, Rachel, wasn’t able to have children until God answered her prayers. (Gen 30:22-24)

A Miraculous Birth

Jesus’ mother, Mary, was visited first by an angel and then by the Holy Spirit.  She gave birth to God’s only Son. (Luke 1:26:38)

A Shepherd

Joseph tended his father’s sheep. (Gen 37:2)

A Shepherd

Jesus said he was the Good Shepherd. (John 10:11)

His Father’s Favorite Child

Jacob gave his son Joseph a colorful robe. (Gen 37:3)

His Father’s Favorite Child

Jesus was the son in whom the Father was well pleased. (Matt 3:17)

His Greatness Was Prophesied

Joseph had two dreams about his brothers bowing down to him. (Gen 37:5-7, 9)

His Greatness Was Prophesied

The Old Testament tells us over 100 prophesies about Jesus.

Obedient to His Father

Joseph obeyed his father and went to check on his brothers. (Gen 37:12-14)

Obedient to His Father

Jesus obeyed His Father by coming to earth as a man. (John 7:28-29)

Sent to His Brothers, But They Weren’t Where They Were Supposed to Be

Joseph looked for his brothers in Shechem, but they were in Dothan. (Gen 37:14-17)

Sent to His Brothers, But They Weren’t Where They Were Supposed to Be

Jesus came to earth for the Jewish people, but they were living sinful lives. (Rom 3:9-20)

Hated by His Brothers Because He Claimed to Have Authority Over Them

Joseph’s brothers hated him, because he had dreams about ruling over them.  (Gen 37:8)

Hated by His Brothers Because He Claimed to Have Authority Over Them

The Jewish leaders hated Jesus, because He claimed to be the Son of God. (John 15:25)

Brothers Plotted to Kill Him

Joseph’s brothers wanted to kill “the dreamer.” (Gen 37:18-20)

Brothers Plotted to Kill Him

The Jews at the head of the church pressured Pilate to crucify Jesus. (Mark 15:11-14)

Robe Taken from Him by His Enemies

Joseph’s robe was taken by his brothers. (Gen 37:23)

Robe Taken from Him by His Enemies

Soldiers took Jesus’ robe and gambled to see who would get it. (Matt 27:35)

Put Into the Earth

Joseph was thrown into an empty well. (Gen 37:24)

Put Into the Earth

Jesus was laid in an empty tomb. (Matt 27:59-60)

Visited by Foreigners Carrying Resin and Myrrh

While Joseph was in the well, a caravan of Ishmaelites came from Gilead with spices, balm (a resin) and myrrh. (Gen 37:25)

Visited by Foreigners Carrying Resin and Myrrh

Jesus was visited by wise men from the East who brought gold, frankincense (a resin) and myrrh. (Matt 2:11)

JOSEPH

JESUS

Sold for Silver Pieces – the Price of a Slave

Joseph’s brothers sold him to the Ishmaelites for 20 pieces of silver. (Gen 37:28)

Sold for Silver Pieces – the Price of a Slave

The chief priests paid Judas 30 pieces of silver to betray Jesus. (Matt 26:14-15, Exodus 21:32)

Robe Dipped in Blood

Joseph’s brothers dipped his robe in blood to fool their father. (Gen 37:31-33)

Robe Dipped in Blood

Revelation pictures Jesus as a warrior with a robe dipped in blood. (Rev 19:13)

Taken to Egypt

Joseph was taken to Egypt by slave traders. (Gen 37:28)

Taken to Egypt

Jesus was taken to Egypt by his parents.  (Matt 2:13-15)

Tempted by the Evil One

Joseph was tempted by Potiphar’s wife. (Gen 39:7-12)

Tempted by the Evil One

Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness. (Matt 4:1-11)

Accused of a Crime He Didn’t Commit

Joseph was accused of flirting with Potiphar’s wife. (Gen 39:13-19)

Accused of a Crime He Didn’t Commit

Jesus was accused of blasphemy. (John 10:30-39)

Punished with Two Criminals

Joseph was thrown into prison, where he met two men who had offended Pharaoh. (Gen 40:1-4)

Punished with Two Criminals

Jesus was crucified between two thieves. (Luke 23:32-33)

Given Authority Over Everything

Joseph was given authority over everything in Potiphar’s house and in the prison.  (Gen 39:4-6, 22-23)

Given Authority Over Everything

Jesus has been given authority over everything in heaven and on earth. (Matt 28:18)

Exalted to the Second-Highest Place

Joseph was raised to sit at the right hand of Pharaoh and rule Egypt. (Gen 41:41-44)

Exalted to the Second-Highest Place

Jesus was raised to sit at the right hand of God, the Father. (Heb 1:1-4)

Began His Greatest Work at the Age of 30

Joseph began ruling Egypt at the age of 30. (Gen 41:46)

Began His Greatest Work at the Age of 30

Jesus began His ministry at the age of 30. (Luke 3:23)

Became the Source of Bread for the World

Joseph provided grain for Egypt and other nations during the famine. (Gen 41:53-57)

Became the Source of Bread for the Whole World

Jesus is the Bread of Life, given for all people. (John 6:35)

JOSEPH

JESUS

Took a Gentile (non-Jewish) Bride

Joseph married Asenath, daughter of Potiphera.  (Gen 41:45)

Took a Gentile (non-Jewish) Bride

Jesus is the bridegroom, and the Church (made up of all believers) is His bride. (Eph 5:22-33)

Alive After “Death”

Joseph’s brothers and father thought he was dead, but they were surprised to learn that he was actually alive! (Gen 45:25-28)

Alive After “Death”

Jesus died and was buried, but He rose again on the third day.  (Matt 28:5-7)

Not Recognized By His Own People

Joseph’s brothers did not recognize him when they first met him in Egypt.  (Gen 42: 8)

Not Recognized By His Own People

Jesus was not recognized as Savior by the Jews.  (Rom 11:1-21)

 

Forgave Those Who Mistreated Him

Joseph forgave his brothers. (Gen 50:19-21)

Forgave Those Who Mistreated Him

Jesus forgave those who nailed Him to the cross. (Luke 23:34)

Saved Many Lives

Joseph told his brothers that God allowed him to suffer so that he could save many lives.  (Gen 50:20)

Saved Many Lives

Jesus came into the world to save sinners. (1 Timothy 1:15)

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Filed under Jesus, Joseph, Lesson, Object Lesson, Teaching

God’s Timing (CHALLENGE)


Time

10-15 minutes
Description

This Challenge makes the point that God’s timing often seems slow to us but that we have to be careful not to rush ahead of God.  Things work out best when we follow closely behind Him.  The challenge is accomplish by staging a “race” between pouring a bottle of ketchup and pouring cups of water.

 

Scriptures

  • Genesis 37-50

 

Materials

  • Bottles of ketchup – 1 per group (The glass bottles are best, because the ketchup comes out much more slowly, and you can’t squeeze them.  However, if you can’t find glass bottles, plastic will work.)
  • Challenge Card (The file for printing is called, “JJ – God’s Timing – Challenge Card (CHALLENGE),” and it can be found on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at www.teachingthem.com.  This can be printed in black and white on regular paper.  There are two Challenge Cards per page.)
  • Prizes – 1 per person – recommend candy or something sweet to eat (The prize is used to create urgency for completing the task.  It should be something the participants are eager to get so that they will want to try to rush the task they are given.  This is to show that we often have to be patient and wait for the good things God has planned for us.)
  • Large, clear, plastic cups – 2 per person and one extra for the group leader (These are to pour the liquid into and from.  Each participant will need one, and one group leader will need one for each group.  The cups can have color, but the kids should be able to see through the plastic so that they can judge their progress against the leader’s cup.)
  • Ziplock bags – gallon size – 1 per group
  • Gallon jug of water – 1 per group
  • Red food coloring – 1 per group (OPTIONAL – used to make the water similar to the ketchup in color but not change the consistency of the liquid.  If you want, you can use this to illustrate that we are like God in some ways, but He is much better and worth waiting for – or so the ketchup commercials used to say.)

 


Preparation

  • Put enough plastic cups (2 for each person in each group plus one extra for the leader) in each of the Ziplock bag.
  • Put a bottle of ketchup in each of the Ziplock bag.
  • Put a bottle of red food coloring in each of the Ziplock bags. (OPTIONAL)
  • Print out the Challenge Card document.
  • Set aside the gallon jugs of water where each group can get them.
  • Cut the Challenge Card document in half (each half is identical), and put one in each Ziplock bag (one per group).
  • Practice the script.

 

Procedure

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

  • “We’re going to do a group Challenge today.”
  • “It’s called, “God’s Timing” and it’s part of the Joseph’s Journey Series.”
  • “First, I’ll need to divide you into groups.”  (Divide the participants into the number of groups for which you have prepared kits.)
  • “Each group will have a Ziplock bag with a Challenge Card, cups, and a bottle of ketchup (and possibly a bottle of red food coloring).”
  • “When I tell you to go, open your Ziplock bags, and read the Challenge Card.” (Allow them to read the Challenge Card.)
  • “Now, you will then have a race!”
  • “Your group leader will pour ketchup out into one of the cups.”
  • “The ketchup represents God’s timing – how fast or slow He chooses to move.”
  • “The ketchup cup represents God’s will.  When it is full, God’s will has been fully accomplished.”
  • “The rest of you will each get two cups and fill one full with water.”
  • “Then you will pour your water from that cup into your empty cup.”
  • “When everyone’s empty cups are full, you will each get a prize.”
  • “Sounds easy, right?”
  • “But here’s the hard part!”
  • “You can’t ever fill your cup faster than the cup that is being filled with ketchup.”
  • “In life, we often want to go faster than God’s timing, but this is a very bad thing to do.”
  • “We have to be patient and wait for the good things God has planned for us.”
  • “In the Bible, Joseph knew when he was 17 years old that he would one day rule over his brothers, but he had to patiently wait for 13 years before God’s will was accomplished in his life.”
  • “Back to our race – If one of your leaders notices that you have gotten ahead of the ketchup, you will have to pour the water back into your first cup and start all over.”
  • “Does anyone have any questions before we race?”  (Answer their questions.)
  • (Then, allow them to fill up their cups and add red food coloring (optional).  You can then begin the “race.”  If anyone’s cup becomes fuller than the ketchup cup, have them empty it and start over again.  If the ketchup just isn’t moving, try slightly tipping the bottle to let more air in to replace the ketchup that is coming out.  (If you have a squeezable bottle, try to squeeze it without being noticed.)  When you are finished, have them answer the Debrief Questions below (also on their Challenge Cards.  The Rhyme Time is to help them remember that God is using even the times when we are waiting on Him.  If we trust Him and obey Him during these times, God will use them to make us ready for His blessings.)

 

Debriefing Questions

 

  1. How difficult was it to wait for “God’s timing” (the ketchup)?
  2. Have you ever had to wait for God to do something in your life?  How did that feel?
  3. Why do you think it’s important to wait for God to work in His time?
  4. How can you be better about waiting for God in the future?

 

Rhyme Time

If we trust Him and obey,

God makes bad things go OUR way!

 

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Filed under Change, Discipline, Expectations, God's Plan, God's Will, Obedience, Object Lesson, Progress, Teaching, Waiting on the Lord

Center of God’s Will (CHALLENGE)


Time

10-15 minutes
Description

This Challenge teaches that the safest place for us is in the center of God’s will.  Groups will create a board (representing God’s will) with handles and then attempt to spin it upside down with a cup of water on it.  If they do it correctly, centrifugal force will keep the water in the cup.  The metaphor is that when everything is “spinning” around us, the center of God’s will is the best place to keep us from being “upset.”

 

Scriptures

  • Genesis 37-50
  • Isaiah 26:3

 

Materials

  • Future board – 1 square per group – about 18”x18” (You can substitute other materials, such as plywood or heavy cardboard.)
  • Note card – 1 per group
  • Marker – (just 1 for the Preparation stage)
  • Tape – (just 1 roll for the Preparation stage)
  • Something sharp that can be used to put a small hole in the four corners of the board (just 1 for the Preparation stage)
  • Plastic cups – 2 per group (They only need one, but it’s possible that it might break.)
  • Twine – 4 lengths of about 2.5 ft per group (These will provide handles for the board so that it can be spun.)
  • Gallon jug of water – 1 per group
  • Challenge Card (The file for printing is called, “JJ – Center of God’s Will – Challenge Card (CHALLENGE),” and it can be found on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at www.teachingthem.com.  This can be printed in black and white on regular paper.  There are two Challenge Cards per page.)
  • Ziplock bags – gallon size – 1 per group

 

Preparation

  • Write, “GOD’S WILL” on the note card, and tape it to the center of the board.
  • Put a small hole in each corner of the boards so that the groups can thread twine through it and tie a knot on the bottom side.  (These will provide handles for spinning the boards.)
  • Put all the materials in a Ziplock bag. – 1 per group (This should include two plastic cups and four lengths of twine.)
  • Print out the Challenge Card document.
  • Cut the Challenge Card document in half (each half is identical), and put one in each Ziplock bag (one per group).
  • Tape the future board to the Ziplock bag, and put the water where groups can reach it.
  • Practice the script.

 

Procedure

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

  • “We’re going to do a group Challenge today.”
  • “It’s called, “Center of God’s Will” and it’s part of the Joseph’s Journey Series.”
  • “First, I’ll need to divide you into groups.”  (Divide the participants into the number of groups for which you have prepared kits.)
  • “Each group will have a Ziplock bag with a Challenge Card, some cups, some string, a board and some water.”
  • “When I tell you to go, open your Ziplock bags, and read the Challenge Card.” (Allow them to read the Challenge Card.)
  • “This challenge is about staying in the center of God’s will.”
  • “You will have to create your ‘God’s Will’ board.”
  • “Here are the instructions – you can build as I share them with you.”
  • “Tie a knot at one end of each piece of twine.”
  • “Thread one piece of twine through each of the four holes in the future board.”
  • “Pull the twine through until the knot stops the rope from continuing through the hole.”
  • “Tie the unknotted ends of the twine together in one, big knot above the board (on the God’s Will side).  (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.”
  • “The water represents you.”
  • “Your challenge is to place the cup of water on the board, hold the top of all four strings where you tied them together, and spin the board with the water in a circle so that the water goes upside down several times before you stop spinning.”
  • “This represents the challenging times in our lives when everything seems to be spinning around us.”
  • “It’s difficult to keep from getting ‘upset,’ but if we stay in the center of God’s will, it’s a lot easier than if we are outside of His will.”  (Let several participants try to spin the board and the water.  Whenever they spill the water, refill the cup, and let them try again.  Give them some help if they need it.  Speed is important to take advantage of the centrifugal force.)
  • “Isaiah 26:3 says, ‘(God) will keep in perfect peace all who trust in (Him), all whose thoughts are fixed on (Him)!’” (NLT)
  • “That means that if we keep our trust in God and keep thinking about Him, we will have peace in difficult times.”
  • (When you are finished, have them answer the Debrief Questions below (also on their Challenge Cards).  The Rhyme Time is to help them recognize that when they trust and obey God, they stay in the center of His will.  Then, He makes bad things work for their good.)

 

Debriefing Questions

  1. What usually happens if the water cup is near the edge of the board when you spin it?
  2. What usually happens if it is near the center of the board?
  3. What do you think it means to be in the “center of God’s will” in your life?
  4. How can you do this more often?

 

Rhyme Time

If we trust Him and obey, God makes bad things go OUR way!

 

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Filed under Challenges, Daily walk, God's Will, Obedience, Object Lesson, Science, Science experiment, Teaching

Lemons Into Lemonade (OBJ LESSON)


Time

10-15 minutes
Audience

Children, Teens, Adults

 

Description

This object lesson teaches about how God brings good things out of bad and uses the metaphor of turning lemons into lemonade.

Scriptures

  •   Romans 8:28

Materials

  • Lemons – enough for everyone to have a wedge after you cut them up and 5 or 6 for you to juice at the front of the room
  • Lemonade – enough for everyone to have some (I recommend Capri Sun Lemonade pouches for the ease of preparation, distribution and clean-up.)
  • Knife (to cut the lemons)
  • Juicer (manual or electric)
  • Bowl or Ziplock bag to hold the lemon wedges
  • Cup or bowl to catch the juice
  • Sugar (1 cup should be enough for the amount of lemonade you are making)
  • Water (approximately 2 quarts)
  • Pitcher (one)
  • Spoon (for stirring the lemonade)
  • Table to work on

Preparation

  • Slice lemons into wedges.
  • Set up all your materials on a table at the front.
  • Enlist a few helpers to help you pass out lemons and lemonade at different times during the lesson.
  • Practice the script.

Procedure

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

  • “How many of you have tasted a lemon before?” (As you talk, juice five or six lemons into your cup or bowl, and have someone pass around the lemon wedges to everyone in the audience.)
  •  “Why don’t we all take a taste of the lemons you’ve been given.” (Demonstrate what you want them to do, and observe them tasting their lemons.  Comment on the sour faces.)
  • “They are pretty sour, aren’t they?”  (Continue juicing your lemons as you talk.)
  • “They make you think twice before taking a second bite, I bet.”
  • “You know, sometimes life is pretty sour. I bet this is not the first time you made that face.”
  • “The truth is, bad things sometimes happen to good people.”
  • “Sometimes it’s not your fault.”
  • “You may not have done anything to deserve it, but you are suffering anyway.”
  • “Maybe a bully picks on you or your brother takes your stuff or your sister tells a lie about you…”
  • “Those could be pretty sour experiences, and they might make you want to make the same face you made a minute ago.”
  • “But you know what? When life gives you lemons, God makes lemonade!”
  • “Yep, He uses the bad stuff that happens to us to make us better. He doesn’t always take the bad stuff away. Often, He sweetens it.” (Pour the juice, water and some of your sugar into the pitcher and stir.)
  • “One day, the same bully who picked on you may become your friend.”
  • “Your brother took your old stuff, but you got something better.”
  • “Your sister told a lie about you, but she apologized later.”
  • “God takes lemons and makes lemonade.” (Taste, make sour face, add more sugar and stir.)
  • “It may take some time for God to sweeten up your lemon juice, but I promise He will if you will trust him with your lemons.” (Taste and smile.)
  • “Ahhh! That’s good stuff! How’s your lemonade?”  (Show mock surprise when they protest that they only have lemons.)
  • “What? All you’ve got are sour lemons?”
  • “Let’s ask God to make those lemons into some lemonade.” (Signal some helpers to get ready to pass out lemonade as you pray.)
  • (PRAY) “Lord, all of these kids have gotten some lousy lemons in their lives. Will you please take those sour lemons and turn them into sweet lemonade for each person in this room? We thank you for your faithful hand in our lives, and we give you every lemon that’s ever happened to us. We love you, Lord. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”  (Signal your helpers to pass out the lemonade.)
  • “Now, let’s have some lemonade to celebrate what God’s going to do with our lemons one day.”  (The Rhyme Time below can be used to reinforce the message of the lesson.  You can also have a volunteer read Romans 8:28 to show how God promises to make all things work for the good of those who love Him.)

 

Rhyme Time

If we trust Him and obey, God makes bad things go OUR way!

 

 

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Do Clothes Really Make the Man? (OBJ LESSON)


Time

30 minutes
Description

This object lesson looks at the different clothing Joseph wore and asks the question, “do clothes really make the man?”  The old adage means that how you dress says a lot about you, but in Joseph’s case, he was the same person in any costume.  However, no matter how good Joseph was, he couldn’t be good enough to impress God just through his good works.  God isn’t interested in what we DO until He changes WHO we are, and that only happens when we accept Jesus as our Savior.

 

Scriptures

  • Genesis 37-50
  • Isaiah 64:5-6
  • Isaiah 61:10

 

Materials

  • Several smocks (Loose-fitting fabrics that simply have a hole in the middle to fit over the head (for quick changing during the lesson) and a belt to tie them off.  You can do more elaborate costumes if you want, but these simple outfits will work.)
    • One plain white smock (to start the story)
    • One “coat of many colors”
    • Two dingy-colored or burlap smocks (for slavery before being sold and for prison)
    • One nicer white smock (for serving Potiphar)
    • Two even nicer smocks (for when Potiphar put Joseph in charge of his entire estate and for when Joseph comes up from prison)
    • One even nicer, nicer smock (for when Joseph was put in charge of Egypt – “robes of fine linen”)
    • One “filthy rags” smock (to represent our “righteousness”)
    • One “golden” smock (to represent the righteousness of Christ)
    • Gold chains costume jewelry
    • Ring costume jewelry

 

Preparation

  • Practice the script.

 

Procedure

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

  • “There is famous saying that ‘Clothes make the man.’”
  • “It means that what you wear says a lot about you and that people will judge you based on the clothes that you wear.”
  • “I think we ought to be careful about judging people based on the clothes that they wear.”
  • “They could be a great person inside of terrible clothes.”
  • “For example, Joseph wore many clothes in his lifetime, but for most of his life, Joseph was the same person underneath those clothes.”  (Ask for volunteer to come to the front, and put the plain, white smock on him or her.)
  • “Here’s Joseph, a young man of 17 years.”
  • “Look closely at him.  I want you to tell me if he changes when he gets his new clothes.”
  • “Joseph had 11 brothers, ten older than him.”
  • “In Hebrew culture, the oldest son was supposed to get the best treatment, but Joseph’s father loved him more than all the others, because he was the firstborn son of Rachel, Jacob’s favorite wife.)
  • “To show his love for Joseph, Jacob gave him a fancy coat to wear.”  (Put coat of many colors on volunteer.)
  • “Look closely; is it the same person or a different person underneath?” (Acknowledge responses.  Hopefully, the participants will agree that Joseph was the same person no matter what he was wearing.)
  • “This made Joseph’s brothers really jealous and angry with him, and they got even angrier when Joseph started having dreams about ruling over his brothers.”
  • “The next time the brothers were out shepherding their sheep, Joseph’s father sent him to check on them.”
  • “He made the mistake of wearing his fancy robe to go and find them.”
  • “The brothers were all wearing the clothes of smelly, dirty shepherds, and here came Joseph, wearing the clothes of someone who didn’t have to work because he was so special.”
  • “When they saw Joseph with his fancy coat, they were furious with him and talked about killing him.”
  • “In the end, they decided to sell him to a passing group of slave traders.”  (Put the dingy-colored smock on the volunteer.)
  • “What do you think now?  Is it the same Joseph, or did the clothes change him?”  (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “The slave traders took Joseph to Egypt and sold him to an Egyptian, named Potiphar.  There, he was given the clothes of a servant.”  (Put nicer white smock on volunteer.)
  • “Same Joseph or different?”  (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “Joseph served Potiphar so well that Potiphar soon promoted him and put him in charge of everything in his household.”  (Put even nicer white smock on volunteer.)
  • “Is he different yet, or is he the same Joseph he was when we started the story?”  (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “But then a terrible and unfair thing happened!  Potiphar’s wife accused Joseph of doing something he didn’t do, and Potiphar was so angry that he threw Joseph into prison.”  (Put second dingy smock on volunteer.)
  • “Do these clothes make him someone different?”  (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “Joseph was in prison for years, but he served the prison warden so well that the warden put him in charge of everything in the prison.”
  • “There came a day when Pharaoh (the king of Egypt) had a few dreams that bothered him.”
  • “No one could interpret the dreams for him, but he learned from one of his servants that Joseph had the power to interpret dreams.”
  • “Pharaoh called Joseph up from prison, and they dressed him in nicer clothes to prepare him to meet Pharaoh.”  (Put second even nicer white smock on volunteer.)
  • “Has he changed?”  (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams for him, and Pharaoh was so impressed that he promoted Joseph to the 2nd highest level within Egypt.  Only Pharaoh was more powerful than Joseph.”
  • “Pharaoh had Joseph dressed in robes of fine linen and put gold chains around his neck and an important ring on his finger.”  (Put even nicer, nicer smock, gold chains and ring on volunteer.)
  • “Even in this really nice set of clothes, isn’t Joseph still the same person underneath?”  (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “In this new role, Joseph did even better than he did in all his other roles.”
  • “He helped the Egyptians to save some food during the good years when there was lots of food, and when the famine came, there was plenty of food for everyone in Egypt and in the surrounding nations.”
  • “So, here we have Joseph with his eight different sets of clothes.”  (Show all eight smocks.)
  • “But the Joseph underneath is the same Joseph no matter what he is wearing.”
  • “Joseph always did his best and served those in authority faithfully, and in the end, he was recognized as a great and wise leader by Pharaoh.”
  • “Joseph was a pretty impressive guy!”
  • “When we read about him, most of us think it would be pretty cool to be like Joseph.”
  • “But you know what?  No matter how impressive Joseph is to us, he doesn’t impress God just because he was a good person.”
  • “The Bible tells us in Isaiah 64:5-6, ‘How then can we be saved? All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags.’”
  • “What that means is that even the ‘best’ person in the world – the one who does the most good things – looks like he is dressed in filthy rags to God.”  (Put filthy rags smock on volunteer.)
  • “We can’t save ourselves from Hell just by being good – not even if we are as a good as Joseph was.”
  • “You see, God doesn’t care what you DO until you change WHO you are, and there is only one way to change WHO you are in God’s eyes…you have to accept Jesus (God’s Son) as your Savior.”
  • “Two thousand years ago, Jesus died on a cross to save us from our sins.”
  • “He had to do that because we sin.”
  • “You sin, I sin…everyone who has ever lived sins.”
  • “The Bible says that the penalty for sin is death.  That means separation from God.”
  • “But God loved us so much that he didn’t want us to be separate from Him.”
  • “So He sent His Son, Jesus, to take the penalty of our sin for us.”
  • “Jesus died on a cross to pay for our sins.  Then He rose from the dead to give us new life!”
  • “But you have to accept what Jesus did for you.  It’s a gift, and He won’t make you take it.”
  • “If you want to, you can still pay the penalty for your own sins, but that would be a terrible waste of the gift Jesus bought for you when He died on the cross.”
  • “But here’s what’s cool about accepting Jesus’ gift!”  (Have someone read Isaiah 61:10)
  • “This Scripture is talking about two of the things Jesus did for us by dying on the cross.”
  • “The first is that He clothed us with salvation.  In other words, we get to go to heaven.”
  • “The second is that He dressed us up in a robe of righteousness.  In other words, He covered our unrighteousness (our filthy rags) with His righteousness.”  (Put golden smock on volunteer.)
  • “Now THIS impresses God!”
  • “When we accept Jesus as our Savior, He covers our sinfulness with His perfection.”
  • “Then, whenever God, the Father, looks at us, He sees the righteousness of His Son, Jesus.”
  • “This is the only set of clothes that will ever change WHO you are, because it makes you a child of God.”
  • “It has nothing to do with what you DO, because it’s a gift from Jesus.”
  • “You can’t earn it.  You can only accept it.”
  • “So in a sense, clothes really do make the man, but in God’s eyes, there are only two types of clothes that say anything about WHO you are.”
  • “Are you wearing the filthy rags of sinfulness? (Show the filthy rag smock.) ….or the righteous robe of a child of God?”  (Show the golden smock.)
  • “I hope you will accept the wonderful gift Jesus bought for you.  He really wants you to have it!”  (Thank and dismiss volunteer.  At this point (depending on your tradition), you might want to make an invitation for the audience to accept the gift of salvation and the robe of righteousness that Jesus has purchased for each of us.)

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Comfort Zone (OBJECT LESSON)


Audience

Children, Teens, Adults

Time

10-15 minutes
Description

This game helps participants to understand how important it is to step our of our comfort zones in order to grow.  You can use the story of Abraham (Abram at the time) leaving his country and his family and everything he knew as a reinforcement of the lesson.

Scriptures

o  Genesis 12:1-9

Materials

o  Rope (about 30 feet or more) or a garden hose

o  Balls (about 5 – alternatively, you can just wad up scrap pieces of paper)

o  Laundry basket or trash can

o  Bible

Preparation

o  Tie the rope or garden hose into a loop.

o  Use the rope or garden hose to make a small circle on the ground (about 1 ft – 1 ½ ft in diameter).

o  Coil the excess rope or garden hose on top of this circle so that you have only one circle.

o  Set up the trashcan or laundry basket about 20 ft away from the circle (further if you want to increase the difficulty).

o  Practice the script.

Procedure

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

  • “How many of you know what a comfort zone is?” (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “A comfort zone is a place or situation where you feel safe, comfortable.”
  • “When you are in your comfort zone, you don’t take risks.”
  • “Those are uncomfortable, so they can’t be in the zone.”
  • “In your comfort zone, there is no progress or growth, because progress and growth only occur when you take risks and step out of your comfort zone.”
  • “God asked Abraham (Abram at the time) to leave his comfort zone.” (Have a volunteer read Genesis 12:1-9.)
  • “Abraham had to leave everything that he knew (his family, his friends, his country, his home….) in order to follow God’s leading into a strange country.”
  • “The trip would take months, and it would be full of risk to Abraham, his wife, his nephew, Lot, and their servants.”
  • “They would face dangers from animals, thieves, foreign kings, fatigue, potential starvation and other threats.”
  • “But Abraham could not experience God’s blessing from inside his comfort zone in his home in Haran.”
  • “To experience God’s blessing, Abraham had to take a risk.”
  • “Let me show you a demonstration that will help you understand comfort zones better.”
  • “I’m going to need a volunteer.”  (Select a volunteer from the group.)
  • “Let’s pretend that this is your comfort zone.”  (Position volunteer inside the coil of ropes or garden hose.)
  • “Don’t you feel all comfy in there?”
  • “Now, let’s pretend that you have a goal that you want to achieve.”
  • “Your goal is to get five (or more if you like) shots in a row in that basket/trash can.”
  • “You can take shots only from inside your comfort zone this first time.”
  • “How many shots do you think you will make?”  (Listen to response, and share it with the audience if it was too quiet for them to hear.)
  • “Well, let’s try.  Take your shots.”  (Allow volunteer to take all his/her shots. Share the score with the audience.)
  • “Not so good.”
  • (Ask volunteer…) “What do you think would help you to be more successful?”  (Listen to response, and shear it with the audience if it was too quiet for them to hear. If the volunteer doesn’t mention stepping out of their comfort zone, prompt them.)
  • “Let’s try that.”  (Allow volunteer to take one step, as big as they can, out of their comfort zone.)
  • “But wait.  That wasn’t very scary.  Stepping out of your comfort zone has to have some risk involved.”
  • “Otherwise, every place on earth would be your comfort zone.”
    “Let’s make it more scary.”
  • “Can I get another volunteer?”  (Select another volunteer.  Make him (or her) stand five feet away from the first volunteer.)
  • “This person represents the risk of stepping out of your comfort zone.”
  • “He (or she) has to stand right here and count to ten slowly (“one, one thousand, two, one thousand, three, one thousand….”).”
  • “When he gets to ten, he can try to tag our first volunteer, the shooter, as long as he is out of his comfort zone.”
  • “But if the shooter goes back into his comfort zone, he can’t be tagged there.”
  • “However, he still has to make all five shots, either from within the comfort zone if he hasn’t don’t it already or out of his comfort zone if he is brave enough to come out one step.”
  • “Do both my volunteers understand how this works?”  (Answer any questions they have.  Then, let your shooter try to make the shots, stepping no more than one step out of the comfort zone. If the risk person tags the shooter, the shooter can’t shoot anymore shots.)
  • “That looked challenging.”
  • “But something interesting happens when you step out of your comfort zone.”  (Uncoil the rope or garden hose to make it twice as big as it was.)
  • “Your comfort zone grows!”
  • “Now you feel comfortable going further than you went before.”
  • “So, let’s try it again.”
  • “Our risk person will count to ten slowly before he tries to tag our shooter.”
  • “Our shooter can step one, big step outside of his comfort zone and take five shots without getting tagged.”  (Allow them to try this.)
  • “It’s getting easier.  Let’s do it again!”
  • “The comfort zone increases, because our shooter took a step out of it during the last round.” (Uncoil the rope or garden hose another loop or even two (depending on how fast you want to finish the exercise) to make it bigger. Then let the shooter try to make his shots again.  If the shooter makes all his shots, you’re done.  If he doesn’t, you might want to run the exercise a time or two again.  When you are finished, thank and dismiss your volunteers and close with the following comments.)
  • “So, you can see how a comfort zone works.”
  • “Whenever you take a risk and step out of it, it grows.”
  • “The more you do it, the easier it will be to accomplish your goals.”
  • “Remember our story about Abraham?”
  • “He took a huge risk, but every step out of his comfort zone helped him to grow in his faith in the Lord.”
  • “By the time Abraham reached the Promised Land, he had learned to put his complete faith in the Lord.”
  • “He needed that faith to help him wait the 25 years for God’s promise of a son to come true.”
  • “He would need it again to pass the test of almost offering Isaac as a sacrifice to the Lord.”
  • “Abraham could never have the faith to do those things if he had stayed in Haran.”
  • “If you want to experience God’s greatest blessings, you’ve got to follow Him out of your comfort zone.”

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Out of Orbit (Obj Lesson)


Time

10-15 minutes
Description

This object lesson teaches about how difficult it can be for us to stay focused on following Jesus.

 

Scriptures

  • Philippians 3:12-14

Materials

  • A toy rocket or spaceship (or if you don’t have anything like that, improvise with a cardboard tube or just about anything else – the kids won’t mind)
  • One large ball (preferably yellow or orange)
  • Several smaller balls of varying sizes
  • Permanent marker
  • Index cards (one for each ball)
  • Tape
  • Bible

Preparation

  • Write the following words on different index cards, “SON,” “WORLD,” “Jealousy,” “Bitterness,” “Selfishness,” “Unkindness,” “Worry,” “Doubt,” “Foolishness,” “Pride,” “Fear,” “Greed,” “Ignorance,” or any others that you want to use.  The only ones that are required are the “SON” card and the “WORLD” card.
  • Tape these cards onto different balls.  The “SON” card should be taped to the largest ball.
  • Practice the script.

 

Procedure

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

  • “Do any of you ever have trouble staying focused on following God?”  (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “Me, too!  It’s so hard to always do what is right and stay on the path toward Him.”
  • “We are kind of like a rocket ship heading toward the sun (but actually, we are headed to the S-O-N, because we won’t burn up when we reach Him!)”  (Ask for enough volunteers to hold all the props you’ve brought – one for the rocket ship and one for each ball.  Put the person holding the “SON” ball at one end of the room, and place the person with the “WORLD” ball and the person with the rocket ship at the other end of the room.  Space those with the balls along either side of the path between the large ball and the rocket ship.)
  • “Before we know Jesus, we are stuck in the WORLD’s orbit.”  (Guide the person with the rocket ship by the shoulders to make several orbits around the person with the “WORLD” ball.”
  • “But then, we catch a glimpse of the SON and decide we want to follow Him.”
  • “We break free from the WORLD’s orbit and start heading toward the SON.”  (Guide the person with the rocket ship slowly toward the SON, but as soon as you get to the first person with a ball on the path, break off and orbit around that person.”
  • “Unfortunately, on the way to the SON, we get distracted by ________ (name whatever is printed on the card on the ball), and we go into orbit around it for a while.” (Keep going around this person.)
  • “The more times we go around _____________ (say what is on the ball again), the more we hate it, but it is soooooooo hard to break free from its gravitational pull!”  (Keep going around this person.)
  • “We keep seeing the SON every time we pass around __________________ (say the name of the ball), and eventually, His power pulls us free of the orbit of the dead planet we have been circling.”  (Break free and start back toward the SON.)
  • “Not everything is a temptation for us, so we will be able to pass some of these dead planets without any problem, but our Enemy, Satan, is not going to give us up without a fight.
  • “He will put a very tempting planet in our path, and sure enough, we will get distracted looking at it and get sucked into its gravitational pull!” (Guide the person with rocket to begin orbiting this new dead planet.)
  • “Even though the planet looked tempting from a distance, when we get close to it, we find that it is empty and lifeless.  It doesn’t satisfy.”
  • “The SON won’t let us forget Him.  We will see Him on every orbit, and eventually, He will pull us free from that dead planet and set us back on the path toward Him.”  (Guide the person with the rocket to break away and head toward the Son.)
  • “This keeps happening over and over and over again.  It’s very frustrating!”  (Guide the person with the rocket to get sucked into one orbit and then break away and then get sucked into another orbit and so on….)
  • “But there is good news!  The closer we get to the SON, the easier it gets to break free from these temptations.”
  • “We get stronger and stronger in our faith and our ability to resist temptation, and we stay longer and longer on the path toward the SON.”
  • “We just need to keep striving to reach the SON.  Paul says in his letter to the Philippians, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12-14)
  • “Paul was saying that he doesn’t look back at what’s behind him; he just keeps straining toward what is ahead of him.”
  • “He keeps his ship pointed toward the SON, and when he gets off-course, he gets back on-course as soon as possible to follow the SON.”
  • “One day, it will be time, and the SON will bring us the rest of the way to Him when we join Him in heaven (or when He comes back to join us on earth).  (Guide the person with the rocket ship to the SON and have him orbit the SON several times before ending the lesson.)

 

 

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Scattered (Obj Lesson)


Time

20-25 minutes
Description

This object lesson teaches about why God scattered the people after they tried to build the Tower of Babel.

 

Scriptures

  • Genesis 11:1-9
  • Nehemiah 8:1
  • Proverbs 3:11-12
  • Proverbs 29:23
  • Ezekiel 34:11-16

Materials

  • Stackable items (e.g., blocks, sugar cubes, cups, etc.) You will need at least enough for each person to have one, and you may want to have enough for everyone to have more than one to increase the level of difficulty.
  • A timer, stopwatch or watch/clock with a second hand
  • Table (optional)
  • Small prize for everyone after finishing the challenge (optional)
  • A set of dice (2)
  • Bible

Preparation

  • Spread the stackable items out on a table or floor
  • Practice the script.

 

Procedure

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

  • “Let’s do a group challenge, called ‘Scattered.’”
  • “I will need a volunteer to roll the dice and keep time.” (Select a volunteer.  You could have two separate people doing these roles if you like.)
  • “Everyone else come and grab one (or more) of the blocks (or other stackable items) on the table (or floor).”
  • “Your goal is to work together to build a tower using all of the blocks (or other stackable items).”
  • “You will have a time limit, and your tower must be finished before time runs out.”
  • “We will find out how much time you have by rolling the dice and multiplying the total by five.”
  • “So, for example, if we roll a six and a three, that equals nine. Multiply that times five, and you get 45.  Then, you would have 45 seconds to finish your tower.”
  • “If we roll a two and a four, you will only get six times five seconds, which equals 30 seconds.”
  • “If you are not finished when the time runs out, I will call out, ‘SCATTER!’ and everyone will have to grab their block(s) and scatter away from the building area.”
  • “Then, we will roll the dice again, and you will get another chance to build your tower.”
  • “Does everyone understand how to do the challenge?”  (Answer any questions.  Then, go through several rounds of the challenge.  If they are really struggling, take a moment between rounds to show them how to build a step pyramid.  It looks like the pyramids of Egypt.  The first level is the biggest.  The second level is smaller and goes on top.  This is a stable way to build the tower, and it is easy to make the pyramid bigger by adding another row to the first level and then building on top.  If they just can’t get the tower built in the time, consider doubling it by multiplying the dice roll by ten instead of five.  When participants have successfully built the tower in the time limit, congratulate them and offer a prize (if you want).  Then, have them return to their seats.)
  • “Did you think that was easy or difficult?”  (Take responses.)
  • “For those of you who thought it was difficult, what made it hard to do?” (Take responses.  One of the responses you are hoping to hear is that they had to keep scattering.)
  • “I think so, too.  It’s hard to finish something if you have to keep taking it apart and scattering.  That leads me to our lesson for today.”
  • “Today’s lesson is going to be about the story of the Tower of Babel.”
  • “How many of you remember the story?”  (Allow someone to share it if they feel confident.  Then ask a volunteer to read it out loud from Genesis 11:1-9.)
  • “This story happened after Noah had built the ark and the floods had come, killing everyone on earth except the eight members of his family.”
  • “When the flood dried up, and the ark landed on a mountain, Noah, his wife, their children and their spouses all got off the ark.”
  • “Before long, their families started to grow, and when there were too many people to live in the same place, they began to move eastward.”
  • “When they came to the plain of Shinar, they thought it looked like a good place to live and got the idea to build a huge tower.”
  • “So, why do you think the people scattered?”  (Response should include that they spoke different languages and could no longer understand each other.)
  • “Right!  Think how difficult it would be to work together if you couldn’t understand what the other people were saying.”  (You might want to act out the story at this point to get a laugh.  Mimic the actions of a bricklayer laying bricks and spreading mortar.  Begin to ask someone to bring you more bricks, and begin speaking gibberish in midsentence.  Continue for a few moments, acting like you are getting increasingly frustrated by your inability to communicate.)
  • “This is where we get the word, ‘babel,’ which means a confusing noise.”
  • “God made the people babel (make a confusing noise) at the Tower of Babel.”
  • “Probably after a few hours of that, they gave up trying to talk with people who couldn’t understand them and started to form groups with people who did understand them.”
  • “Then, those groups separated from the other groups and went to different places around the earth.”
  • “So, why do you think God changed their language and scattered them?” (The reason you are looking for is that they were building the tower for the wrong reasons.  They built it to “make a name for ourselves.”)
  • “In other words, they were building a tower to show how great they were.  This is a motive called pride.”
  • “God hates pride.  In Proverbs 29:23, He says, ‘A man’s pride brings him low, but a man of lowly spirit gains honor.’”
  • “God hates pride, because it means that we are taking credit for everything and giving no credit to God.”
  • “Do you think these people could have built the tower without the mud and straw that God provided for the bricks?”  (Listen for responses.)
  • “Do you think they could have built it without the strength in their arms and legs that God gave them to carry and stack the bricks?”  (Listen for responses.)
  • “Do you think they could have built it without the intelligence that God gave them to create a plan for how to build the tower?”   (Listen for responses.)
  • “We can’t take credit for any good thing that we are able to do without giving credit to God for giving us the materials, the strength and the intelligence to do it.”
  • “Everything good comes from the Lord, so He deserves our appreciation.”
  • “These people building the Tower of Babel didn’t appreciate what the Lord had done for them.”
  • “They thought that they could do everything in their own power, so God changed their language to show them that without the blessing of a common language, they really didn’t have as much power as they thought.”
  • “When they couldn’t understand each other, they found people who they could understand and scattered over the earth in these groups.”
  • “This isn’t the only time God scattered people.  In Nehemiah 1:8, the Scriptures tell us that God threatened to scatter His people if they were unfaithful to him.” (Have a volunteer read Nehemiah 1:8.)
  • “You see, God knew that the Israelites would get proud and think that they didn’t need God.”
  • “He threatened to scatter them as discipline for their pride.”
  • “But discipline is a good thing.  God says that He disciplines those He loves and calls His children, so while it might not sound great to get scattered, it really means that God loved them.” (Proverbs 3:11-12)
  • “The Israelites disobeyed God and got scattered for many years.”
  • “But God promised He would also bring them back to their land.”  (Have volunteer read Nehemiah 1:9.)
  • “And God did bring them back.  In fact, Nehemiah (the one who wrote the book from which we are reading the Scripture) was one of the ones God gathered back.”
  • “When he wrote this book of the Bible, he was rebuilding the ruined wall of Jerusalem.”
  • “God scattered the people multiple times throughout the Bible as a way of disciplining them and reminding them that need Him – that they can’t do everything by themselves.”
  • “But God didn’t leave them scattered.  Like a good shepherd gathering his lost sheep, God brought His people back home.”  (Ezekiel 34:11-16)

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Filed under Discipline, Humility, Pride

Salt of the Earth (Obj Lesson)


Time

10 minutes
Description

This object lesson teaches what it means when God calls us to be the salt of the earth.

Scriptures

  • Matthew 5:13
  • 2 Kings 2:20-22

Materials

  • Salt that you can pass around for the kids to taste
  • Small, draw-string bag with salt in it
  • Salt shaker
  • Piece of meat (fish, chicken or beef – real or fake – I used Play Doh) with salt on it
  • Medicine bottle filled with salt
  • Bottle of water
  • Bible

Preparation

  • Put salt in the draw-string bag.
  • Salt the piece of meat on all sides.
  • Fill the medicine bottle with salt.

Procedure

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

  • “Jesus says that we are the salt of the earth.”  (Have volunteer read Matthew 5:13.  Then begin passing the salt around, and encourage everyone to taste some.)
  • “Salt was very important during the time that Jesus was here on earth.”
  • “Roman soldiers often received part of their pay in salt.”  (Set out bag with salt in it.  As an alternative, you can put all these props into a bag and let a volunteer try to figure out which prop you want put out each time.  You can coach them if they run into trouble.)
  • “In fact, the word we use for what you get paid for working is ‘salary,’ and ‘salary’ actually means ‘salt money.’”
  • “Salt was also important for making things taste better, just like it is today.”  (Set out the salt shaker.)
  • “What would potato chips or French fries be like without salt?”
  • “When Jesus compares us to salt, He is saying that we should make things better.”
  • “We should make life better for others.  They should enjoy being around us.”
  • “But Jesus asks, ‘What good is salt if it has lost its flavor?’”
  • “He says that it will be thrown out and trampled underfoot.”
  • “The Romans use to make roads out of bad salt that wasn’t salty anymore.”
  • “In fact, one of their greatest military roads was the Via Salaria, or the Salt Road.”
  • “Jesus was saying that if we aren’t salty any more as Christians, we are no longer making life better for those around us.”
  • “And so He asks, if you aren’t making things better anymore, what good are we?”
  • “He doesn’t have any use for us here on earth unless we are going to make things better, because that is the work He has for us to do.”
  • “But salt was good for more than just salaries and making things taste better.”
  • “People also used it to preserve meat.” (Set out piece of meat with salt on it.)
  • “You see, they didn’t have refrigerators back then, so if they wanted their fish, chicken or their beef to not go bad, they covered it with salt.”
  • “The salt kept bacteria from growing on the meat and spoiling it, and it kept the flies from laying their eggs in it.”
  • “When Jesus says that we are the salt of the earth, He is saying that we should be preserving (which means saving) the earth.”
  • “We should be saving those who are lost and headed towards Hell.”
  • “Without us, the bacteria of sin would grow unchallenged in the hearts of those who don’t know Jesus, and Satan, who is also known as Beelzebub (or the Lord of the Flies) would plant evil in their hearts.”
  • “But that’s not all that salt can do.”
  • “Salt also heals.”  (Set out medicine bottle filled with salt.)
  • “When you get a sore throat, one of the best things you can do for it is to gargle with hot, salty water.”
  • “Elijah used salt in 2 Kings 2:20-22 to heal poisonous water.”
  • “When Jesus says we are the salt of the earth, He is saying that we should bring healing to those who are sick with sin.”
  • “But that’s not all that salt can do.”
  • “Salt also creates thirst.” (Set out a bottle of water.)
  • “If you eat something salty, you immediately want something to drink.”
  • “When you buy popcorn at the movies, I bet you always get a drink, because you know that you are going to be thirsty after eating it.”
  • “When Jesus is saying that we are the salt of the earth, He is saying that we should create thirst for the living water (which is the Holy Spirit) that God offers to every person on earth.”
  • “When people see how much God has blessed us, they will want to know Jesus as their Savior, too.”
  • “So, salt may have seemed pretty ordinary to you, but now I hope you see how important it is.”
  • “Salt has value. It makes things better; it saves; it heals and it creates thirst.”
  • “That’s what we should do as followers of Jesus.”

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Filed under Authenticity, blessing, Character, Christianity, Daily walk, Evangelism, Healing, impact, Love, Object Lesson