Tag Archives: overcoming obstacles

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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Joseph’s Journey


For summer camp this year, I’ve written ten Challenges (Bible activities for small groups and a leader to do together – sometimes in competition with other groups) and some large group lessons on the story of Joseph. They are all located on the Lesson and Material Downloads page (see the link at the top of the screen), and you can find them alphabetically in the list. They all start with the letters “JJ” for “Joseph’s Journey.”

Hope you can find some lessons that will be useful for you!

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God Gives Me Courage – David: Part 2 (LESSON)


Scriptures:    1 Samuel 17:1-51

Description:    This lesson tells the story of David & Goliath and focuses on how we can defeat the “giants” in our lives.

Rhyme Time:    Knocking down giants isn’t so tough.
God will help when things get rough!

Time:     30-45 minutes

Materials:
o    Computer, LCD projector and screen
o    PowerPoint file – “God Gives Me Courage – Maps.ppt” (available on Lesson and Material Downloads page at http://www.teachthem.wordpress.com )
o    Roll of wide masking tape
o    Tape measure
o    Thick black, red and green permanent markers
o    Stilt blocks for Goliath character (made with three 2”x4”s)
o    Tools for making stilts (saw, screws, drill)
o    Costume for Goliath character (adult size)
o    Costume for David character (child size)
o    Sling for David.
o    Five smooth stones.
o    Harp for David.
o    Shepherd’s staff for David.
o    Bags of “food” for David.
o    Armor for Saul
o    Notecards
o    Something (like a bean bag or a large pillow) to make a soft place for Goliath to land when he falls.

Preparation:
o    Use the wide masking tape to tape off a 10-foot vertical bar against the tallest point in the room.  (You may need to continue to tape across the ceiling if your room is shorter than 10 feet.)  Then, use the tape measure and a black permanent marker to mark off and label each foot, one to ten.  Use the red permanent marker to mark off and label Goliath’s height at 9.75 feet.  Use the green permanent marker to mark off other heights for comparison.  I recommend: Robert Pershing Wadlow – Tallest Man in the Guinness Book of World Records at 8’11”, Yao Ming – Tallest NBA player at 7’6”, Chewbacca – from Star Wars movies – 7’3”, Shaqille O’Neal – NBA player – 7’1”, Darth Vader – from Star Wars movies – 6’7”, Michael Jordan – NBA legend – 6’6”, The Rock – wrestler/actor – 6’5”, Abraham Lincoln – President of the U.S. – 6’4”.
o    To make the stilt blocks, drill three 2”x4” boards together (so that you now have the equivalent of a 6”x4” board) and cut them into 12” lengths. .  Screw a strap of belt to each one, and punch new holes through the leather so that the belt can be tied over Goliath’s feet.
o    Make a costume for Goliath.  You will need a shield, armor, spear, sword, helmet and shin guards (these can be made out of cardboard or cardboard tubing and painted).  You might also want a tunic (shirt) and skirt to complete the look.
o    Write Goliath’s lines on notecards.  You will want him to say, “Choose a man to come and fight me!” and then later “Am I a dog that you come at me with sticks? Come here, and I’ll feed you to the birds of the air!”
o    Ask a tall adult to be Goliath for you.  Have him dress in the costume.  Make sure he practices with the stilts.  When he comes into the room, try to have him walk in where his legs will be obscured by a table or some other obstacle so that the kids won’t see the stilts.  Give him his script on notecards.
o    Ask some adults or some of the older kids to be ready to help you with a chant when the Israelites come out to battle.  It’s the same chant as the football players used in the movie Remember the Titans, but you will exchange the word “Titans” with “Israelites.”  All they will need to know is that they should echo whatever you chant and that they should do it loudly from wherever they are in the room.
o    Make a costume for David.  A simple body-length piece of fabric with a hole cut in the middle to fit over his head will work.  He will need a belt to tie around his waste, and this can be a remnant from the fabric.  Sandals would be a plus, but he could go barefoot.  He will need a sling and five smooth stones.  The sling should be a strap of something leather-like with a wider piece in the middle to hold the stones.  It should be about 2 feet long when folded in half.
o    Make harp for David.  It can be a simple cardboard cutout with yarn or twine taped to one side to represent strings.
o    Make a shepherd’s staff for David.  It can be a long pole with a hook at the end.
o    Fill a few grocery bags with food – something anachronistic might get a laugh (like Fruit Loops or Pop Tarts.)
o    Make armor for Saul. You will need a shield, armor, spear, sword, helmet and shin guards (these can be made out of cardboard or cardboard tubing and painted).  Make them big so that they look huge on a child.
o    Write David’s lines on notecards, One should say, “I’ve killed the bear and the lion, and I’ll do the same to this Philistine.” Another should say, “You come against me with sword and spear, but I come in the name of the Lord!  Today, the Lord will hand you over to me, and I will strike you down.  Everyone will know that this battle belongs to the Lord.”
o    Put the five smooth stones somewhere where David can pick them up later.
o    Set up a soft landing place for Goliath to fall on.

Procedure:
Use the following script or modify to suit your needs:
o    “We are going to talk about a story that happened in the land of Israel.”
o    “You may not know where Israel is, so I’ve brought a map.”  (Show map of the world, and point out places the kids might recognize.  Then show the general area where Israel is located.  When you advance the slide, it will magnify the Middle East and then put a circle around Israel.  When you advance the next time, it will magnify Israel even more and outline it in red.)
o     “This is a map of Israel.”  (Show next slide in PowerPoint presentation.)
o    “In our story today, the army of Israel was at war with the Philistines, as usual.”  (Click PowerPoint slide to advance to next slide.)
o    “All of the activity in the story will take place in this part of Israel.”  (Click slide to show the red oval.)
o    “The Philistines had set up camp in a town called Sochoh.”  (Click to highlight Sochoh and bring in a Philistine soldier.)
o    “The armies of Israel were close by in the Valley of Elam.”  (Click to highlight the Valley of Elam and bring in an Israelite soldier.)
o    “Israel was on one hill and the Philistines were on another.”
o    “I said that they were at war, but there wasn’t much fighting going on.”
o    “Neither side wanted to get into a huge battle that would kill most of their men, so the Philistines offered an alternative.”
o    “They sent out their strongest warrior and offered to decide the winner of the war with a single battle the champions from each army.”
o    “But the Philistine’s champion was no ordinary warrior.”  (Click to bring out Goliath.)
o    “His name was Goliath, and he was over nine feet tall – a giant!”  (Point out the marked off masking tape you prepared earlier, and allow a few volunteers to come stand next to it in order to give it perspective.  Read off the heights of a few of the famous people you chose to label on the tape.)
o    “He was so big and strong that he could wear 125 lbs of armor, a helmet made of bronze, bronze shin guards (“greaves”), a bronze javelin and a huge spear that weighed over 30 lbs!  Just the iron point of the spear weighed 15 lbs!”  (Have your Goliath volunteer enter the room and say, ‘Choose a man to come and fight me!’  Have him wait for a few moments and then leave the room.)
o    “Now, you would think that King Saul would jump up and run to fight Goliath.”
o    “Saul was bigger and stronger than any other Israelite.  He had the best armor and the best weapons, but he was afraid.”
o    “When Goliath issued his challenge, Saul hid in his tent with the rest of the Israelites.”
o    “Day after day, Goliath would come out and issue the challenge again.”  (Have Goliath return and issue his challenge again, wait a few moments and then leave.)
o    “Morning and evening for 40 days – that’s 80 times Goliath dared the Israelites to a fight!”
o    “But no one was brave enough to go…at least….no one in the army was brave enough.”
o    “Do you remember the shepherd boy named David?  …the one that Samuel anointed to be the next king after Saul?”
o    “Well, a lot had happened in his life since that time.”
o    “After David’s anointing, he went back to shepherding his flock, but God had other plans for him.”
o    “King Saul began to lose his mind after he disobeyed God and the Spirit of the Lord left him.”
o    “The Bible says that he was tormented by a spirit, and he couldn’t find any relief from it.”
o    “But one of his servants had once heard a boy named David play the harp, and he was so impressed that he thought of David when the king complained of his distress.”  (Ask for volunteer to play David.  Put his costume on him, and give him the harp and the shepherd’s staff.)
o    “He suggested that King Saul call for the boy to come and play for him when he was feeling the worst, and Saul did.”
o    “He sent a messenger to David’s father, Jesse, and asked for David to be sent with his harp.”   (Have David set the shepherd’s staff down and go to another part of the room to pretend to visit Saul.)
o    “You see, David was a wonderful musician.  He wrote over 100 songs about his love for God and for His Word.”   (Have David pretend to play the harp.)
o    “They are published in the Bible in the book of Psalms so that we can still enjoy them today.”
o    “David would play songs about his love for God whenever Saul was having trouble, and the beautiful sounds would calm Saul’s spirit.”
o    “When Saul felt better, he would send David back to his father to watch the sheep, but whenever he wasn’t feeling well, he would call for David again.”  (Lead David by the shoulders to another part of the room, and give him the shepherd’s staff.)
o    “So, back to the story.  David’s father asked David to go see his three oldest brothers, who were in the Israelite army, and see how they were doing.  He sent him with a gift of food for their captain.”
o    “David was excited to get a break from tending sheep, and he was thrilled to see what was going on in the war, so he left right away.”  (Have David lay down his harp and pick up the bags of food.)
o    “When he arrived at the Israelite camp, he dropped off the food that his father had sent with him as a gift, and he rushed to talk to the soldiers.”  (Have David go to another part of the room and drop the food off – then rush to another part of the room.)
o    “He arrived just as they were going out to their battle positions shouting their war cry to get themselves ready for battle.”  (Lead the volunteers you spoke with earlier in the following chant.  They should echo what you chant.  If you know the movements from the movie, you might add those in, too.)
o    Everywhere we go (Everywhere we go)
o    People wanna know (People wanna know)
o    Who we are (Who we are)
o    So we tell them (So we tell them)
o    We Are The Israelites! (We Are The Israelites!)
o    The Mighty, mighty Israelites! (The Mighty, mighty Israelites!)
o    “But just as soon as they finished their chant, out came Goliath, issuing his daily challenge.”  (Have Goliath come out and issue his challenge.  He should stay this time.)
o    “And just like every other day, all the Israelites ran back to their tents.”  (Have all your volunteers sit down or run somewhere in the room to indicate their fear.)
o    “You might ask, why were they shouting a war cry when for 40 days, they had been hiding in their tents?”
o    “Touch your neighbor and say, ‘they were shoutin’ on the outside, but they were shakin’ on the inside.’”
o    “They hoped that all the shouting would give them courage to fight, but the only fighting this army was doing was in the lunch line.”
o    “So, Goliath issues his challenge, everyone runs for their tents, and David is left alone.”  (Tell your David to sniff his underarms just in case that’s the problem.)
o    “David couldn’t believe it!  God’s army was running from someone who didn’t even believe in God?”
o    “He started asking questions.  ‘What will the king do for the person who kills the giant?’”
o    “They told him that Saul would make him a prince and give him his daughter in marriage and never charge him taxes again.”
o    “When Saul heard that David was asking about Goliath, he called for him.”
o    “Imagine Saul’s surprise when he realized that it was David, the boy who would occasionally come to play harp for him?”
o    “Saul looked at David and said, ‘What are you thinking!?’” (Playfully knock David on the head.)
o    “’That giant is going to skewer you with that spear of his and roast you like a marshmallow!’”
o    “But David said…” (Give David the first notecard, and have him say, ‘I’ve killed the bear and the lion, and I’ll do the same to this Philistine.’)
o    “’Okey-dokey….but at least take my armor.’”  (Help David get suited up in the armor for Saul.)
o    “David tried it on, but it just didn’t fit.”
o    “You see, David wasn’t ready to be king yet.  He still had some growing to do.”
o    “So David made a very wise decision.  He decided to put his trust in God rather than a set of armor.”  (Help David get out of the armor.)
o    “He decided to just be himself rather than trying to someone else.”
o    “Goliath had strength, size, training, armor and deadly weapons.”
o    “His armor alone weighed more than David’s whole body.”
o    “But David had God on his side, and God plus one is always a majority!”
o    “Touch your neighbor and say, ‘All you need is God + one.’”
o    “David took his shepherd’s staff and went to the stream.  He chose five smooth stones and started toward Goliath.”  (Have David pick up five smooth stones.)
o    “Goliath saw that he was just a boy and hated him.”
o    “He saw David’s shepherd’s staff and said…”  (Have Goliath say the words on the second note card, “Am I a dog that you come at me with sticks?  Come here, and I’ll feed you to the birds of the air!”)
o    “Then David said…”  (Show David the second notecard, and have him say, “You come against me with sword and spear, but I come in the name of the Lord!  Today, the Lord will hand you over to me, and I will strike you down.  Everyone will know that this battle belongs to the Lord.”)
o    “Goliath was ticked!  He started to move closer to David.”  (Have Goliath stomp around to signify he’s coming for David.)
o    “David ran (not walked) toward the battle line.” (Have David run in place.)
o    “He reached into his bag, drew out a stone and put it in his sling.”  (Have David pretend to do this and then swing the sling around his head.)
o    “He slung it at Goliath, and it struck him in the forehead – one of the few places where he didn’t have armor – and he fell down dead.”  (Have David release the sling, and have Goliath pretend to get hit in the head and fall over (preferably onto something soft).)
o    “David ran and stood over the giant (OPTIONAL – and cut off his head).”
o    “All the Philistines realized that God was on the side of Israel, and they ran for their lives.”
o    “The Israelites chased them as far as Gath, Goliath’s home town.”  (Allow all your volunteers to take a seat.)
o    “So, who really won the battle? – God, of course!”
o    “All of Israel had God on their side, but only a shepherd boy trusted God enough to take the risk to fight the giant.”
o    “Here’s something else to think about.  If the armor had fit, and David had gone to fight Goliath wearing it, people might have said, ‘Of course he won.  He had on the king’s armor.’”
o    “When God joins someone in battle, He ties both hands behind His back, He stacks the deck against Himself, He takes away all excuses.  He wants to make sure that the odds are in favor of the enemy.”
o    “Then, when God’s man or woman wins, God gets the glory….not David, not Saul, not ‘Goliath was having a bad hair day’….God gets the glory!”
o    “God will use you in the same way if you trust him!”
o    “The sooner you trust Him, the sooner He will give you the victory against the giants in your life!”
o    “How many of you are going to trust God with the next problem in your life?” (Review the Rhyme Time for the day.)
o    “Let God help you with those giants!”

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Point to Christ Relay


Time

15-25 minutes

Description

This is game that helps participants understand how difficult it can be sometimes to keep our lives pointed toward Christ.

 

Materials

  • Blindfolds (one for each team)
  • Prizes for “enemies or demons.”
  • Prizes for the winning team (optional)
  • Flipchart and markers

 

Preparation

·      Find a wide-open space in which to run the race.  Make sure that there are no obstacles that the runners might stumble over.

·      Select a point in the room or outside that can represent “Christ.”

·      Select starting points around the room or outside that are equidistant from the “Christ” point.

·      Mark off the starting points and three to four relay points of equal distance.  In other words, you want to divide each path to “Christ” into three to four segments.

·      Post the debrief questions on a flipchart, but keep it concealed until the activity is over.  (See the end of this lesson for questions.)

·      Practice the script.

 

Procedure

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

·      “We’re going to run a race today, but it’s going to be a different kind of race.”

·      “This race will be a relay race, which may or may not be familiar to you.”

·      “But in this race, you will be blindfolded!”

·      “AND…each racer will have an enemy who tries to keep you from finishing your race!”

·      “Interested?”

·      “Okay, I’m going to divide you into teams.”  (Divide group into teams of 5-6.  Each team needs to be equally sized.  Extras can serve as additional “enemies/demons.”) 

·      “Now I need a volunteer from each team to be the ‘enemies or demons.’” 

·      “Your job will be to try to prevent the runners on the other teams from reaching their goal, and if you help your team win because you confused the other teams, your team will get a prize (optional).”

·      “So, here’s how this race works.”

·      “Each team will start from their starting point.”  (Indicate starting points for each team.)

·      “One team member will line up on each of your team’s relay points (including the starting point).”  (Indicate relay points for each team, and have the team members take their positions.)

·      When it’s your turn to race, you will have to put on a blindfold.”  (Indicate blindfold and how to put it on.)

·      “If your blindfold is not on correctly, your team can be disqualified, so make sure you get it on so that you can’t see.”

·      “The first racer will put on his blindfold and run to the first relay point.”

·      “Once there, he will take off the blindfold and give it to the next runner, who will then put on the blindfold before starting to run.”

·      “The first team to reach this point, which we are calling ‘Christ,’ wins!”

·      “But remember the enemies/demons?  These enemies/demons will run up to you as soon as you put your blindfold on, and they will spin you around 3-5 times.  When they are done spinning you, they may point you in the wrong direction.”  (Assign “enemies/demons” to opponents’ teams.  Extra “enemies/demons” should be instructed that they can are to stand off to the side and shout confusing directions to the runners to keep them from reaching the goal.  Be sure to reward these extra “enemies/demons” after the race, since they aren’t part of a team.)

·      “One team member is your “Holy Spirit.”  He or she will stand off to the side and call out directions to you about which way you should go.”

·      “You will have to listen very carefully to hear your “Holy Spirit” telling you how to face toward ‘Christ’ and to separate the voice of your “Holy Spirit’ from the voice of any demons.”

·      “Is everyone clear on the instructions?”  (Answer any questions.)

·      “Okay, everyone get on your places.  First runners, put on your blindfolds.  “Enemies/demons,” get ready to spin them.  Ready, get set….GO!”  (Help everyone to follow the rules, but try not to interfere in the race.  When the race is over, award prizes if you choose and have the teams reassemble to answer the debrief questions, listed below.)

 

Debrief Questions

o   “What made that difficult?”

o   “Even if you didn’t win, how were you able to succeed in running the race?”

o   “How is this like real life for a Christian?”

o   (Have a volunteer read 1 Corinthians 9:24-27.)

o   “How was running this race like the race Paul describes?”

o   “Why do you think Paul compares our Christian life to a race?”

o   “What does Paul mean by ‘running aimlessly’ and ‘fight(ing) like a man beating the air?’  How do these apply to us?”

o   “Why would Paul need to ‘beat (his) body and make it (his) slave?’”

§  “Do we need to do this, too?  If so, how?”

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

 

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The Race


Time

20 minutes

Description

This object lesson teaches that the Bible compares our lives to a race. Our sin and our past often become like heavy clothing or baggage to us, but God wants us to throw these off and run freely.

Materials

  • Lots of heavy clothing – boots, shoes, coats, sweaters….
  • Several backpacks, pieces of luggage (preferably without rollers), and bags loaded with heavy stuff.
  • Lots of wadded balls of paper or soft balls
  • Candy that will tempt the kids. Candy bars will work better than small candy.
  • A few small prizes for the racers.  It’s best to have prizes for everyone for both races, since it’s not important who finishes first in the race of life.
  • (Optional) Whistle to start the race.
  • (Optional) Water guns and/or water balloons
  • (Optional) Tape or twine to mark the finish line

Preparation

· This can be an indoor or an outdoor activity. Outdoors is preferable, because you can let the kids really get into the lesson, but either will work.

· Find a good starting place and finish line for your race, and make sure they are well marked.

· Put all your heavy clothing in a box and set it to the side.

· Put all your bags and luggage off to the side.

· Wad up your paper balls, or fill your water guns / water balloons.

· Put the candy in your pockets, or conceal it in some other way.

· If you have other creative ideas for encumbering the runners, use them. The idea is to make the first part of the race a frustrating experience.

· Practice the script.

Procedure

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

· “Let’s run a race today!”

· “Who is interested in competing for the prize?” (Take up to six volunteers, depending on your class size. You will need several kids to stay in the role of spectator.)

· “Okay, the race will be from here (designate starting point) to there (designate finish line).”

· “Everyone ready?”

· “Okay! On your mark, get set…….oh, hold on a minute. You guys aren’t ready yet.”

· “If we want to make this race more realistic, I’m going to need you guys to wear these.” (Set out the box with all the clothes, heavy shoes, etc., and start handing them out to the volunteers. They should all get dressed up.)

· “Okay, that’s more like it. On your mark, get set……hmmmm….something’s still not right.”

· “Oh, I know! You need some of this!” (Hand out backpacks, luggage, bags, other articles for them to drag.)

· “Yes, that’s it! Okay, on your mark, get set…..Wait! Wait!”

· “I completely forgot to prepare the spectators on the sidelines and in the stands!” (Hand out wadded paper, soft balls (or if you’re brave) water guns or water balloons.)

· (To the spectators in a low voice so that the runners don’t hear…) “You guys are going to throw (squirt) these things at the runners as they run.”

· “I also need you to try to get them to leave the race to come and get these from you.” (Secretly hand them the candy.)

· (Still to the spectators…) “You guys are also going to boo at them and tell them things like, ‘You’ll never be able to win! Why are you even trying? My grandmother runs faster than you!…’ – Okay, you guys ready?” (Check to make sure that they understand what they are supposed to do.)

· “Okay, is everyone ready? On your mark, get set……GO!” (Blow whistle if you have it. Despite all the obstacles you’ve set up, it’s likely that a competitive spirit will drive kids to finish the race anyway. But whether they do finish or not is not too important on the first race. Just modify your questions for the runners to match what happened.  Award prizes for anyone who finished.)

· (After they’ve run the race or given up…) “So, how did that feel?” (Listen to responses.)

· “Do you feel like you were able to run your best race?….Why or why not?” (Listen for responses.)

· “What would have made the race easier to run?” (Listen for responses.)

· In today’s lesson, the race represents our life as Christians.”

· We are the runners.  The starting line indicate the moment we accepted Christ.  The finish line is heaven.”

· The heavy clothes and baggage represent the burdens that we bring into the race – our sin, bad stuff that has happened in our past, our weaknesses, our misunderstandings about God…”

· The spectators represent the demons, who are watching God’s plan for your life play out as we run the race.”

· The things they throw are fears, worries and doubts.”

· The candy they try to tempt you with represents Satan’s armies doing whatever they can to distract you from your mission.”

· “You see, most of us are not equipped to run this race we call life.”

· “We bring so much junk with us to the starting line, and we have no idea how to deal with Satan’s attacks.”

· “But as odd as it may seem, we do our training while we round the track.”

· “If we carry our Bible with us and pray and try to learn as we run, these strategies will help us get rid of the junk, ignore the distractions and make us faster.”

· “So, we need to start our race every day with our Bible, and we need to quit listening to all the voices that want to discourage us.”

· “They aren’t the only ones watching us run, by the way.”

· “God and the angels are also there, and if we listen carefully, we can hear their cheers for us above the discouraging shouts of our enemy.” (Have a volunteer read Hebrews 12:1.)

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” (Hebrews 12:1)

· “That ‘great cloud of witnesses’ refers to all the angels – the heavenly host – that are watching us and cheering for us and even helping us at times while we run our race of life.”

· “So, what do you say we run that race again?”

· “This time, I want you to throw off everything that hinders you or slows you down.”

· “And this time, spectators, I want you to represent the angels in heaven, and I want you to cheer on the runners and encourage them to run their best!”

· “Okay, runners….On your mark, get set……GO!” (Blow whistle if you have one.)

· (After the race… Award prizes to everyone, and then ask…) “So, how did that feel? Was it different?” (Listen for responses.)

· “That’s the way God wants us to feel when we are running the race of life.”

· “But in order to feel that free, we’ve got to throw off our sin, our fears, our worries, and our doubts. We’ve got to get to know God better and refuse to believe the lies of the Enemy.”

· “As you go through your life, I want you to remember this lesson.”

· “Every time you sin, I want you to think of it like it’s putting on heavy clothing or boots or picking up a heavy bag that you’ll have to carry or drag through your race of life.”

· “And when you ask God for forgiveness, I want you to think of it like it’s throwing off that heavy clothing or dropping that heavy bag.”

· “That’s the way God wants us to run our race!”

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Filed under Angels, Challenges, Christianity, Daily walk, demons, Fear, Focus, forgiveness, Hands-on, Obedience, Object Lesson, Spiritual Warfare, struggles, temptation

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!”

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