This fun energizer gets people up and moving in a mad dash to grab an available chair. It works well to increase the energy in the room, and it could also be used to randomly sort participants into new groups. Use the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control instead of normal fruits to reinforce a message on the Fruits of the Spirit.
- Chairs – one per participant at the beginning
- Flipchart and markers (Optional)
Use the following procedure:
- Have all the participants sit in a circle of chairs. If necessary, they should bring their chairs with them from the tables back to an open area.
- Ask the first FOUR participants for their favorite kind of fruit. They cannot repeat a fruit. If someone says their favorite fruit has been mentioned, prompt them to give their second favorite kind of fruit. (You may want to flipchart the fruits so that participants don’t forget them.)
- For example, participant #1 may say apple, #2 says orange, #3 says kiwi, and #4 says mango. (Alternative: If you have a large group, you can also use the Fruit of the Spirit – Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-Control.)
- Once all the fruits have been named, go around the rest of the participants, assigning them a fruit in the same order, e.g., apple, orange, kiwi, mango.
- Make sure all participants are assigned one of the four fruits.
- Then tell participants that you are going to announce a fruit, and all the people who were assigned that fruit have to stand up and switch chairs.
- Tell them that while they are up, you will take one of these chairs out of the circle.
- The person that is left standing must then announce a new fruit.
- At any time, a person in the middle can say “Fruit Salad,” and it will force everyone to switch chairs.
- Answer any questions participants might have.
- Then, begin a round. Play several rounds.
- If you are using the activity to randomly sort participants, have them number off the number of groups you want after the final round. Then have all “ones” get together, all “twos” get together, and so on.
This object lesson teaches about what we miss out on when we take shortcuts in reaching God’s will for our life. It uses a maze and the life of David.
o PowerPoint file – “Don’t Take Shortcuts – Maze (You can find this on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at www.teachingthem.com.) Make one copy for each participant. The file also includes answer keys with three different paths. You might want to print one copy of these for your reference.
o Pens or pencils to work the maze. (One per participant)
o A package of gummy fruit for each participant.
o 1 Samuel 16:1, 11-13
o 1 Samuel 24:1-7
o 1 Samuel 26:1-25
o Print copies of the maze for each participant.
o Practice the script.
Use the following script and instructions (or modify to suit your needs):
- “When we know what God’s will is for our life, we sometimes want to take shortcuts.”
- “David knew God’s will for his life from an early age – maybe from about fifteen years old.” (Have participant read 1 Samuel 16:1, 11-13.)
- “If you knew that God wanted you to be king, you might want to make that happen as fast as possible.”
- “However, David was different.”
- “He didn’t want God’s will for him until God wanted him to have it.”
- “Even though God had Samuel tell David he would be king of Israel some day, David let King Saul chase him around the desert for fifteen years.”
- “David had two opportunities to kill King Saul.” (Have volunteer read 1 Samuel 24:1-7 and then summarize the story from 1 Samuel 26:1-25.)
- “David didn’t kill Saul either time, because he didn’t want God’s will for his life until it was God’s time.”
- “That was smart, because it helped David grow more like God as he waited.”
- “When he was finally made king fifteen years after he was anointed to be king, he was ready!”
- “Let’s do a maze that will help you see what I’m talking about.” (Pass out copies of the maze to each participant. Hand out a package of gummy fruit to each participant, and tell them that they can eat a gummy candy anytime they cross a picture on the maze. Give them 5 minutes to try and solve it. Let them know that the rules are that they can’t cross lines or go over the same space twice. There are three possible solutions (shown in the PowerPoint file). When they finish, debrief with the following questions:
- Why do you think it is better to take the harder path?
- What do you miss if you take the short-cut?
- Why does God want you to be patient and wait for His will for your life?
- Review the Rhyme Time below to reinforce the main message of the lesson.)
It may be a test,
But we should wait for God’s best!
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.
- 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.)
- 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.
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.)
- How difficult was it to wait for “God’s timing” (the ketchup)?
- Have you ever had to wait for God to do something in your life? How did that feel?
- Why do you think it’s important to wait for God to work in His time?
- How can you be better about waiting for God in the future?
If we trust Him and obey,
God makes bad things go OUR way!
Children, Teens, Adults
This object lesson teaches about how God brings good things out of bad and uses the metaphor of turning lemons into lemonade.
- Romans 8:28
- Galatians 5:22
- Several cow patties if you can find them. If you can’t, use a bag of fertilizer and just explain that many fertilizers include animal waste.
- A pot of fragrant flowers
- A piece of fruit that most people would enjoy eating
- Lay out materials for the lesson.
- Practice the script.
Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):
- “Who knows what this is?” (Hold up dry cow patty.)
- “Right? It’s a cow patty.” (Pass it around to kids.)
- “Now, it doesn’t smell too bad right now, but who has ever smelled a fresh one?” (Acknowledge responses.)
- “They’re stinky, aren’t they?”
- “So, you probably wouldn’t go around smelling them, would you?”
- “But would you smell this?” (Hold up flowers in a pot.)
- “Sure, because it smells good, right?”
- “Did you know that this (hold up another cow patty) was used to make this (hold up flowers) smell so good?”
- “How did that happen?” (Take responses until someone mentions fertilizer.)
- “Right! Cow manure is one of the most common ways to fertilize plants and flowers.”
- “How many of you would eat this?” (Hold up cow patty.)
- “But would you eat this?” (Hold up fruit.)
- “Believe it or not, there’s some of this (hold up cow patty) in this (hold up fruit).”
- “God made it so that plants and flowers take the nutrients out of the manure and reuse them to help the fruit and the flowers grow.”
- “God doesn’t waste anything. He even takes bad stuff (hold up cow patty) and turns it into good stuff (hold up or point to fruit and flowers).”
- “If God can do that with cow poop, He can do that with the bad stuff in your life, too.”
- “Some of the stuff that happens to us really stinks, but God will use it to do good stuff in our lives so that we come out smelling like a rose.”
- “He can use those bad things to create fruit in our lives like the fruit He talks about in the Bible.” (Have volunteer read Galatians 5:22).
- “So, whatever bad stuff happens in your life, give it to God to use as fertilizer, and He will bring good fruit out of it.” (Have volunteer read Romans 8:28.)
- “God will use everything to bless you if you trust Him with it!” (You can use the Rhyme Time below to reinforce the lesson.)
If we trust Him and obey, God makes bad things go OUR way!
Filed under blessing, Challenges, Change, Choices, Conflict Resolution, Fruit of the Spirit, God's Plan, Healing, Hope, Object Lesson, Problem solving, Solutions, test, tool, Training
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!
Filed under Abraham, Abundance, acceptance, activity, Agape Love, Annointing, Belief, Bible study, blessing, Challenges, Change, Character, Christianity, Comfort Zone, Coping skills, courage, Discipline, distractions, drama, exercise, faith, Fear, forgiveness, Future, Game, Games that Teach, God's dream, God's favor, God's Plan, God's Will, Hands-on, Healing, heart, Hope, Humility, Jesus, Joseph, Kindness, leadership, Lesson, Listening to God, Love, Obedience, Object Lesson, Overcoming obstacles, Pride, purity, Relationships, Repentance, Salt of the earth, sanctification, spiritual disciplines, Spiritual Growth, Spiritual Health, Spiritual Warfare, Strengths, struggles, team, temptation, territory, test, tool, Transformation, Trust, unconditional love, Waiting on the Lord
This object lesson teaches that you need to stay connected to Jesus in order to have the power to live a godly life and produce the fruit of the Spirit.
- John 7:37-39, 15:1-5
- Galatians 5:22
- Garden hose (long enough to reach your teaching area from the water spigot
- Short garden hose (a hose reel leader hose works well)
- Two quick connect adapters for the hose – need to have an automatic stopper so that the water doesn’t continue to flow after you disconnect it
- Water nozzle (as small as you can find so that you can use it to fill water balloons)
- Water supply that you can hook the hose to
- Nine large balloons (purple is the best color for the lesson if you can find it – you may want to have extra balloons in case any pop or have a leak)
- Posterboard – one sheet of any light color or white
- Permanent marker to label nine, small signs with the name of the nine fruits of the Spirit
- Lanyard or twine
- Clear, plastic tub to hold the balloons as they fill with water
- Thin piece of plywood or piece of plastic or metal (4 ft long) with nine 3/4 in holes drilled in it about 5 inches apart and 5 inches from the end of either side of the board. (You can often find a piece of metal that has pre-drilled holes in it that will work just fine near the shelving part of your local hardware store.)
- Drill and ¾ inch drillbit (if you need to make the board mentioned above)
- Nine, large washers with a ½ inch hold in the center (the washers must be big enough that they won’t fall out of the balloon once you put them in the opening)
- (SEE DIAGRAMS AT END OF LESSON)
- Connect the hose to the water spigot.
- Connect the quick connect adapter (the one with the automatic stopper) to the end of the hose, and turn on the water. Use a steady stream of water but not full force – maybe about 1/4-1/2 turn.
- Connect the short hose to the quick connect adapter at the end of the longer hose.
- Connect the other quick connect adapter to the end of the short hose, and screw on the water nozzle.
- Run the hose segments and the nozzle into the teaching area.
- Make a large sign that says, “DISOBEDIENCE,” and put it on the lanyard/twine so that someone can wear it around their neck.
- Ask a volunteer to be your “DISOBEDIENCE” volunteer and to be ready when you call them. Give him/her the sign to wear when the time is right.
- Put a washer in the opening of each balloon.
- Push each balloon through one of the nine holes in your board. The opening of the balloon and the washer should be on top of the hole with the rest of the balloon below the board.
- Put the board with the balloons across the clear, plastic tub so that the balloons hang down into the tub.
- Cut out nine, small rectangles from the posterboard (each about 4 in long and 2 in tall).
- Write the nine fruits of the Spirit (Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-Control) on these.
- Tape the signs to the bottom of the tub on the outside, facing the audience. Each sign should be in front of a different balloon.
Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):
- “I’m going to show you why it is so important for you to stay close to God.”
- “The night before Jesus was crucified, he said something very important to his closest disciples.” (Have volunteer read John 15:1-5.)
- “Jesus was making a comparison between His relationship with His disciples and a grapevine.”
- “Jesus said that He is the grapevine. That’s the thickest part of the plant that is rooted to the ground.”
- “He said that the disciples are branches and that the branches hold the fruit.”
- “We know from Galatians 5:22 that the fruit that Jesus is talking about is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (If the kids are not familiar with the fruit of the Spirit, you might want to take a moment to describe each one for them.)
- “And He says that if we (as the branches) don’t stay connect to Him (the vine), we won’t have any of this fruit.”
- “But….if we stay connected to Jesus, we will have LOTS of fruit.” (Ask for a volunteer to come to the front, and allow him/her to help you in the following demonstration.)
- “I don’t have a grapevine here today, and even if I did, we don’t have an entire season to watch the grapes grow on the vine.”
- “So, instead of using a real grapevine, I’m going to use this hose, this nozzle and these balloons to demonstrate what Jesus is talking about.” (Ask volunteer to hold the nozzle at the end of the hose.)
- “Imagine that this hose represents Jesus as the vine.”
- “Through Him comes a steady flow of living water, which the Bible tells us is the Holy Spirit according to John 7:39.” (Turn on the nozzle (if it isn’t already) and have the volunteer point it into the tub. Have another volunteer read John 7:37-39.)
- “This nozzle represents us as the branches, and these nine balloons represent the fruit of the spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. They are like the grapes on the vine.”
- “Now, the goal is to produce fruit and lots of it.”
- “We produce fruit by filling the balloons with the water. This is like the Holy Spirit flowing through us (the nozzle) to do the good works that the fruit represents.” (Allow your volunteer to begin to fill one of the balloons. Turn off the nozzle when the balloon is full enough that the water doesn’t come shooting back out the top – over half-way.)
- “But by itself, this nozzle is pretty useless. It has no water of its own to share.”
- “We can’t connect just the nozzle to a balloon and fill it.” (Disconnect the nozzle from the hose and give it to the volunteer. Ask them to try to fill the balloons with just the nozzle.)
- “That’s what it’s like if we try to do God’s work without God.”
- “There is just no power in it.”
- “So we have to stay connected to the hose if we want to have the power to do the work that God has given us to do.” (Reconnect the nozzle, and let the volunteer continue filling the first balloon. When it gets about full, start filling up another balloon.)
- “What does it mean to be connected to the hose? In other words, how can we stay connected to Jesus so that His Spirit flows through us and produces fruit?”
- “There are two things we need to do in order to stay connected to the hose/to Jesus.”
- “We need to spend time with God, and we need to obey God.”
- “If we do these two things, we will stay connected to Jesus, and His power will flow through us and produce lots of fruit.” (Allow volunteer to keep filling balloons slowly. Don’t allow them to fill all the balloons before you finish the next part.)
- “How can we spend time with God?” (Listen to answers. You are looking for things like, “Go to church, worship, praise, pray, read your Bible…”)
- “Excellent! During those times, God will tell us what He wants us to do in our lives.”
- “But spending time with Him is not enough. We have to also do what He says.”
- “Sometimes, we know what God wants us to do, but we don’t want to do it.”
- “That’s called ‘DISOBEDIENCE’ (bring your “DISOBEDIENCE” volunteer forward), and it’s disconnecting the hose so that the living water won’t pass through.” (Have “DISOBEDIENCE” volunteer disconnect the hose so that the water stops.)
- “Disobedience stops the flow of the living water coming through your nozzle.”
- “Another word for ‘disobedience’ is ‘sin.’”
- “Sin stops the flow of God’s power, which He sends through His Holy Spirit, through you.”
- “But it’s easy to get the living water flowing again. What do you think you have to do?” (Listen to responses. You are looking for someone to say, “obey.”)
- “That’s right! Obey, and living water flows through you again to create more fruit.” (Have “DISOBEDIENCE” volunteer reconnect hose, and allow volunteer to fill in the rest of the balloons. Then dismiss the volunteer.)
- “So what are the two things we need to do to stay connected to God?” (Listen for the answers, “spend time with Him” and “obey Him.”)
- “Fantastic! Let’s all go and produce lots of fruit!”
Filed under Annointing, Daily walk, Fruit of the Spirit, Hands-on, Listening to God, Obedience, Object Lesson, sanctification, spiritual disciplines, Spiritual Growth, Spiritual Health, Transformation