Tag Archives: Rhyme Time

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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God Doesn’t Waste Anything (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
  • Galatians 5:22

Materials

  • 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

Preparation

  • Lay out materials for the lesson.
  • Practice the script.

Procedure

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.)

 

Rhyme Time

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

 

 

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In But Not Of (LESSON)


Scriptures:

Proverbs 16:7
Daniel 1:1-20

Philippians 3:20

1 Peter 2:11-12

Description: Nebuchadnezzar’s armies invade Jerusalem and take away the best and brightest teenagers to Babylon to make them aides in the king’s court.  Daniel and his friends choose to honor God by not eating food from the king’s table.  Like Daniel and his friends, kids today will often be faced with circumstances that challenge their commitment to following the Lord.  Christians are called to be in the world, but not of the world.

This is a big lesson with lots of moving parts.  Feel free to scale it down to suit your teaching style, available time or resources.

Rhyme Time:

Not everything that others do
Is what God wants to see from you.

Time: 45 minutes

Materials:
o  Ping-pong / Table Tennis ball

  • Table
  • Something to act as a border on either side of the table (to keep the ball from falling off the edge – I used erasers.)
  • Signs for kids to wear (You can find these on the Lesson Materials and Downloads page on www.teachingthem.com.  The file is called, “In But Not Of – Signs.ppt.”  You can also make your own signs that say things like, “Too Busy, Too Tired, No Time, Some Leaders, Peer Pressure, Temptations, Movies/TV, Music, Things You Like to Do, Things You Are Taught, Culture…”  – anything that might make it difficult for kids to live the life that God wants them to live.)
  • Hole punch or something to make holes in the signs
  • Yarn or string to make lanyards for signs
  • Clear bottle with lid
  • Water (enough to fill bottle almost ¾ full) and some extra in a separate container to use later in the lesson.
  • Food coloring
  • Vegetable oil (enough to fill bottle ¼ full) in a separate container.
  • Two serving platters with covers (or something like them)
  • Junk food (enough to make a sizeable mound on one of the platters)
  • Vegetables (real or artificial – enough to make a sizeable mound on one of the platters)
  • Costumes for the waiters (something like a white shirt, a black bow tie made from construction paper and a hand towel to go over their arms)
  • A copy of the answers for the Game Show.  These are at the end of this document.
  • Cardboard boxes or a table decorated to look like three contestant booths on a Jeopardy-type game show.
  • Three sheets of flipchart paper (one for each contestant booth).
  • A flip chart marker.
  • Masking tape.
  • LCD projector, computer, screen and PowerPoint file “In But Not Of – Charts and Game Show” (can be found at www.teachingthem.com on the “Lesson and Material Downloads” page.  If you prefer, some of the lesson can be sketched on a whiteboard or flipchart.)
  • Put one hole in each end of each sign (along the top)
  • Thread the yarn or string through each hole, and tie it off to make a lanyard to go around the kids’ heads.
  • Pour water into bottle, and drop in several drops of food coloring.
  • Put the lid on the bottle, and shake thoroughly to mix the coloring throughout.
  • Keep the vegetable oil separate.  (You will add it during the lesson.)
  • Get two volunteers to act as your waiters.  Have them dress in costume and be ready to appear with one of the platters (each of them) when you call on them.
  • Prepare both of your platters – one should be piled high with junk food, the other with vegetables, and then covered.
  • Load the PowerPoint slides for “In But Not Of – Charts and Game Show,” and black the screen by pressing “b” on your keyboard while you are in Slide Show View.
  • Create and decorate your three contestant booths.  Tape a sheet of flipchart paper to the front of each booth.  Position these somewhere in the room where they will be in front of the kids but also able to see the projection screen.
  • Hide the answer sheet in the booth that you will assign to your “Daniel” volunteer.  You don’t want the other kids to be able to see it from where they are standing, but it has to be easy for “Daniel” to see without drawing attention to himself/herself.
  • Select a “Daniel” volunteer (might be best to use another adult), and explain that you would like his/her help with a “game show.”  Show him/her the booth and where you’ve hidden the answers.  Tell him/her that you want them to get most or all questions right but that he/she shouldn’t allow anyone to know that he/she has the answers.
  • Practice the lesson.
  • Also see: http://wallbuilder.wordpress.com/2009/11/05/taking-a-stand/ for additional sermon illustrations.

o  Bible

Preparation:

o  Print signs for kids to wear

Procedure:

Use the following script or modify to suit your needs:

  • (Gather kids together around the table, and pass out the signs for some of them to wear.)
  • “Let’s start today’s lesson with a demonstration.”
  • “I need a volunteer.”  (Select a volunteer, and give him or her the ping-pong ball.)
  • “This ball this person has represents a Christian trying to live the life that God wants him/her to live.”
  • “The rest of you are people or things that make it difficult for the volunteer to follow God.”
  • “Our volunteer with the ball is going to try to blow the ball to the other end of the table without falling off the table.”
  • “That will represent living a life that pleases God.”
  • “The rest of you (even those without signs) are going to try to prevent the ball from reaching the other end of the table by blowing it in the other direction.”
  • “Does anyone have any questions?”  (Answer questions.  Then let them begin blowing.  If the ball drops off the table, the volunteer should start over.  You can stop the demonstration either when the volunteer succeeds or after enough time has passed for the kids to understand the lesson.)
  • “So, what do you think this demonstration is supposed to teach us?”  (Listen to responses.  If it isn’t mentioned, be sure to point out that it can be very difficult to live a life pleasing to God in today’s culture. Many different things and even people work against the Christian, and Christians need God’s help to be able to move in the opposite direction of the world around them.  Allow kids to take a seat as you begin the lesson.)
  • “We are going to talk about a story that happened in the land of Israel.”
  • “It’s from the Old Testament times, and you can read about some of what I’m going to tell you in the books of Daniel, 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles.”
  • “Israel, at the time of our story, was not very powerful.”
  • “They were controlled by the kingdom of Egypt in the south and then later by the kingdom of Babylon in the north.”
  • “A man named Jehoiakim was put on the throne by Pharaoh Nechoh of Egypt.”
  • “But in the third year of his reign, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon attacked and besieged Jerusalem (606 B.C.).”
  • “It took him two years to conquer Jerusalem, but Nebuchadnezzar finally won.”
  • “He chose not to destroy Jerusalem at that time, but he did take some of the gold, silver and bronze items from God’s Temple.”
  • “He also stole many of the brightest and most promising of Israel’s youth from Judah’s royal family and other noble families.”
  • “These young men were strong, healthy, intelligent and attractive young men, who were well-versed in every branch of learning.”
  • “Nebuchadnezzar wanted them for two very important reasons:
  1. By stealing Israel’s smartest and most promising youth, Nebuchadnezzar kept Israel from growing stronger after he returned to Babylon.  The Jews would have no strong leaders to lead them in battle against Babylon.
  2. By bringing Israel’s best and brightest to Babylon, the king hoped to make his kingdom even stronger by training them to become aides in his court.”
  • “Nebuchadnezzar’s plan was very smart, because it not only stole the best from his enemies; it added the best to his own people.”
  • “But for his plan to work, he first had to get the Jews to commit to Babylonian ways and give their loyalty to the king.”
  • “This was tricky, because Nebuchadnezzar was the enemy of the Jewish people.”
  • “He had just held Jerusalem under siege for two years while he tried to starve the people inside so that they would grow weak and give up.”
  • “Then, he had taken these boys away from their families and friends and marched them 800 miles (1300 km) to a strange place, where they would live for the rest of their lives.”
  • “Nebuchadnezzar was a very smart king, though, and he had already done this before with other people.”
  • “He had his servants put the boys into a special school, where they would learn the new customs, languages, religion, laws and other practices of the Babylonians.”
  • “For three years, Nebuchadnezzar did something called “brainwashing” on these boys.”
  • “Brainwashing is what happens with someone powerful tries to wash out everything you already know so that he can replace it with what he wants you to think.”  (Show first slide with the picture of a brain on it.  For each click, one of the following phrases will appear inside the brain: “Hebrew language, Hebrew laws and rules, Hebrew teachings, Hebrew culture, Hebrew customs, Hebrew foods, Israel, Hebrew friends, Jehovah.”)
  • “All their lives, these boys had been trained by their parents, their teachers and their priests how to speak the Hebrew language, obey the Hebrew laws and rules, follow the Hebrew teachings, culture and customers, eat the Hebrew foods, love the land of Israel, love the Hebrew people and worship the one, true God, whom they called Jehovah.”
  • “But Nebuchadnezzar needed them to forget about all that stuff if he was ever going to get them to become loyal Babylonians.”
  • “So, he had his servants ‘wash’ their brains at his royal school and replace the old information with new information about Babylonian languages, laws, rules, teachings, culture, customs, foods, land, friends and gods.”  (Advance the slide, and all the words will fall out of the brain.   Advance the slide again, and the terms will reappear, but this time “Israel” will be replaced with “Babylon,” “Hebrew” with “Babylonian” and “Jehovah” with “gods of Babylon.”  After this slide, there is a black slide before the next slide.  This is to allow you to black out the screen if you like.)
  • “This is where we meet Daniel and his friends.”
  • “You probably know them as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, but those weren’t their real names.”
  • “As part of his brainwashing, Nebuchadnezzar gave them all new names.”
  • “Their old names honored Jehovah, so Nebuchadnezzar changed their names so that they would honor his gods instead.”  (Advance the slide to show the following chart.  Each time you advance the slide, it will reveal another box of the chart, moving from left to right on each row.  This will allow you to talk about each one at a time.  After this slide, there is a black slide before the next slide.  This is to allow you to black out the screen if you like.)
Hebrew Name Hebrew Meaning Babylonian Name Babylonian Meaning
Daniel “God is my judge” Belteshazzar “Bel protect his life”
Hananiah “The Lord shows grace” Shadrach “Command of Aku” (the moon-god)
Mishael “Who is like God?” Meshack “Who is as Aku is?”
Azariah “The Lord is my help” Abednego “Servant of Nebo”
  • “Even Daniel had a new name, but we don’t use it much today – probably because he didn’t use it much when he wrote the book of Daniel.”
  • “The boys were about 17 years old when Nebuchadnezzar took them away from their families.”
  • “They were assigned to three years of training to make them court aides to the king.”
  • “As part of their training/brainwashing, they were served best food and wine from the king’s kitchen.”  (Have volunteer come out dressed as a waiter with a covered serving platter.  With a flourish, remove the cover, and show all the junk food that you have under it.)
  • “Daniel and his friends hadn’t forgotten the one, true God, and this food caused them a problem.”
  • “They knew that it had been offered as sacrifices to Babylonian gods, and Hebrew law forbade them from eating it.”
  • “This was their first test in this new land.  Would they eat the king’s food?
  • “What would you do?”  (Get responses from the kids.)
  • “Well Daniel and his friends decided not to eat it even though it could get them into a lot of trouble.”
  • “Daniel went to the chief official who watched over them and asked for permission to eat just vegetables and water.” (Have second volunteer come out dressed as a waiter with a covered serving platter.  With a flourish, remove the cover, and show all the vegetables you have under it.)
  • “The chief official liked Daniel and his friends.”
  • “He could tell that they were different than the others, and he wanted to help them, but he was afraid that Nebuchadnezzar would cut off his head if Daniel and his friends weren’t as healthy as the other kids.”
  • “So, Daniel asked the chief office if he would allow them to try it for just ten days.”
  • “Because God had given the chief official great respect for Daniel, the chief official gave them permission to try it.”
  • “At the end of 10 days, they looked healthier and better nourished than all the other kids.”
  • “If fact, they just kept getting better and better, as these charts show.”  (Advance slide to show the “Strength Comparison” slide in the “In But Not Of – Charts and Game Show” PowerPoint.)
  • “They kept getting stronger…” (Show next slide.)
  • “Healthier…” (Show next slide.)
  • “Wiser…” (Show next slide.)
  • “And even funnier than all the other guys!”  (After this slide, there is a black slide in case you want to black out the screen before you get to the Game Show.)
  • “I guess Daniel and his friends were right to trust God!”
  • “The chief official was so impressed, he let them eat vegetables and water every meal.”
  • “That may not sound very good to you, but it allowed Daniel and his friends to honor Jehovah, so they liked it very much.”
  • “This was their first test in Babylon, and God gave them an A+!”
  • “He gave them favor with not only the chief official but also with Nebuchadnezzar.”
  • “God made Daniel and his friends smarter than any of the other kids, and He gave Daniel the ability to understand visions and dreams.”
  • “This was an excellent gift from God, because a king needed someone who could interpret dreams and visions to help him understand the times and the future of his kingdom.”
  • “After three years of training, all the young men (no longer boys) were brought before the king and tested.”
  • “They all had to compete on King Nebuchadnezzar’s favorite game show, ‘Your Life Is In Jeopardy.’” (Ask for three volunteers.  Make sure one of the ones you choose is your “Daniel” volunteer.   Point out the three contestant booths for the game show, and assign them their places behind each one.  Make sure Daniel goes to the one that has the answers.  Ask for one more volunteer to be your scorekeeper, and give him/her the flipchart marker.  Have this volunteer write the names of the three contestants at the top of each flipchart.  The two ordinary volunteers can use their real names.  The “Daniel” volunteer needs to use “Daniel” as his/her name.)
  • “Welcome to ‘Your Life’s in Jeopardy!’  I’m King Nebuchadnezzar, and I’ll be your host.”  (Show first game show slide.)
  • “If you’re not familiar with the way the game is played, here are the rules:
    • Each round, one of you will select one of the five categories. (Say each category out loud so that they know what they are.)
    • I will show an problem, and you will need to give me the answer in the form of a question. (The ‘form of a question’ rule is optional, because it is often too difficult for kids to remember.)
    • The person who raises their hand the fastest is the one who gets to answer.
    • If you get the question right, our scorekeeper will add the points for that question to your scoreboard.
    • However, if you get the question wrong, the scorekeeper will subtract those points from your score.
    • The winner will become my most trusted advisor, and the losers will become doggie treats for my attack dogs.
    • If anyone has any questions, I will boil him in oil.  Any questions?
    • Good, I didn’t think there would be.
  • “Let’s get started.”  (Select someone to pick the first category.  It doesn’t matter who you choose, and it doesn’t matter what category they select.  When you advance the slide, the order of the questions is predetermined (in order to keep it simple for you).  If the person’s choice doesn’t match the actual question, just remind them that you are the king and tell them about how hungry your attack dogs are.  Go through all the questions, or cut it short based on the time you have.  Each time, Daniel should be able to get the right answer, so he should be the clear winner in the end.)
  • “Excellent job, Daniel!  I see that you and your friends, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are much wiser than any of the others.”
  • “You will be added to my regular staff of advisors!”
  • “The rest of you will be taken to play with my attack doggies.”  (Allow all the volunteers to return to their seats, and ‘step out’ of your role as King Nebuchadnezzar.)
  • “So, back to the story….Nebuchadnezzar soon found them ten times smarter than all his magicians and enchanters within the entire kingdom!”  (Have a volunteer read Proverbs 16:7.)
  • “This Scripture means that when we are obedient to God, even our enemies will like us.”
  • “That’s pretty amazing!”
  • “So, what does this mean for you?”
  • “How many of you know that earth is not your home if you are a Christian?”  (Look for a show of hands.  Then, have a volunteer read Philippians 3:20.)
  • “Our home is in heaven.  We are citizens of heaven, not of earth.”
  • “So, we are IN the world – meaning, we live here – but we are not OF the world – meaning that we are not part of the world’s family anymore.”
  • “Jesus tells us in another place that those who don’t follow him are sons of the Devil (John 8:44).”
  • “But our Father is God in heaven, and there should be some family resemblance.”
  • “People should be able to tell who our Father is by how we act.”
  • “If we act like those who don’t know Jesus as Lord, people will think that Satan is our father.”
  • “But if we act like Jesus, people will know that God is our Father.” (Have a volunteer read 1 Peter 2:11-12.)
  • “Peter tells us that we are aliens and strangers here, and he says that we should be careful to stay away from sin and live such good lives that everyone who sees us will glorify God.” (Show the bottle with the colored water in it, and ask for a volunteer to come up.)
  • “Let’s say that this bottle represents the world.”  (Hand bottle to volunteer.)
  • “Inside are all the people who are part of this world.”
  • “They don’t know Jesus as their Lord.”
  • “The coloring represents their sinfulness.  They do things that God has told us not to do.”  (Show separate container with water in it.)
  • “In this container, I have some clean and clear water.”
  • “It represents some Christians and how they live their lives.”  (Ask your volunteer to pour the separate container of clear water into the dark water that is colored by the food coloring.  Then, have the volunteer put the lid back on the bottle and shake it.)
  • “What happened to the clean water that our volunteer put into the ‘world?’”  (Accept responses.)
  • “Right!  It took on the color of the water around it.”
  • “Sometimes, this is just how Christians act.”
  • “They mix with the world and start doing the sinful things that those in the world are doing.”
  • “Then, they look just like everyone else, and you can’t tell who is a Christian and who is not.”
  • “They are both IN the world and OF the world.”  (Show separate container with oil in it.)
  • “But this container has oil in it, and it represents Christians who are committed to following Jesus.”  (Ask volunteer to pour oil into original bottle and then to cap and shake it thoroughly.)
  • “We put these Christians in the world just like the others, but watch and you will see something different happen.”  (As the volunteer holds the bottle where everyone can see it, the oil will rise to the top.  It will not stain with the food coloring, so you will be able to see a clear layer of oil on top of the darker water.)
  • “What do you notice this time?”  (Accept responses.)
  • “Exactly!  The oil didn’t become like the colored water.”
  • “This represents Christians who live IN the world but do not allow themselves to become OF the world.”
  • “In the Bible, oil often represents the Holy Spirit, so these Christians are Christians who are submitting to the leadership of the Holy Spirit in their lives.”
  • “They still look different from the rest, because they didn’t do the sins of the people around them.”
  • “They are like Daniel and his friends, who refused to eat the same foods as everyone else.”
  • “They made a hard decision to be different, even though that might make some people not like them and some people become jealous of them.”
  • “But we have a problem.”
  • “Do you notice that all the oil rose to the top?”
  • “It isn’t mixed in with the water.”
  • “Sometimes Christians act like this.”
  • “They find that it’s easier to just be around other Christians all the time, so they start to group together.”
  • “It’s good to group together for church and at other times, but we shouldn’t always spend time with other Christians.”
  • “If we do, we won’t be able to help other people get to know Jesus.”
  • “So what should we do?”  (Take responses.  You are looking for someone to say that you need to keep mixing with the people in the world.)
  • “That’s right!  That’s what we need to do!”  (Have volunteer shake bottle again.)
  • “We should come together as Christians to encourage and support one another, but then we need to get back out there in the world and interact with those who don’t know Jesus.”
  • “As long as we act like Jesus and not like those in the world, we will continue to look different from the world.”
  • “And when we look different from the world, we give glory to God.”  (Thank volunteer and allow him/her to be seated.)
  • “I have a Rhyme Time that will help us remember the lesson.”
  • “I’ll say it a few times, and then you can say it with me.”  (Recite the Rhyme Time several times, and then let the kids say it with you.  If you have time, allow them to come up and do it individually, as well.)
    • It would be easy, after all.
    • Everyone else was doing it.
    • The king might do terrible things to them if they didn’t.
    • God would understand, wouldn’t He?”

“Not everything that others do is what God wants to see from you!”


Daniel’s Answer Key

King’s Future – 100 Nowhere
King’s Places – 100 Hole-land
King’s Places – 200 The Neverlands
King’s Secrets – 100 His subjects are a royal pain.
Happy King – 100 None – TV hasn’t been invented
Happy King – 200 Dominate the world
King’s Future – 200 Because he will feed everyone else to the lions
King’s Enemies – 100 Tickle Torcher
King’s Enemies – 200 Sends them straight to DEAD without dinner
King’s Enemies – 300 He throws them in the Lyin’s den
King’s Enemies – 400 He throws them in the fiery FURnace
King’s Secrets – 200 They are all wearing camel-flage
King’s Secrets – 300 Because he tends to babble on
Happy King – 300 They have a good sense of RUMOR
King’s Secrets – 400 His nose runs but his feet only smell
King’s Enemies – 500 Because they have nothing left to go on
King’s Future – 300 Da bunnies, da bunnies, Oh, I love da bunnies!
King’s Future – 400 Da Persians, da Persians, Oh, I hate da Persians!
King’s Future – 500 Nebbie K. Nezzar
King’s Places – 300 Booty-pest
Happy King – 400 It had a little boogey on it
Happy King – 500 Its rear end
King’s Secrets – 500 Never could net her
King’s Places – 400 Gone-ah
King’s Places – 500 Germ-many

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Strongholds (Obj Lesson)


Time
15 minutes

Description
This object lesson teaches about strongholds, what they are, where they come from and how to defeat the ones that are created by the Enemy.

Audience
Children, youth, adults

Scriptures
o    John 8:44
o    2 Corinthians 10:3-5

Materials
o    PowerPoint file – “Strongholds – Bricks.ppt  (You can find this on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at http://www.teachthem.wordpress.com.)
o    A board or wall of some sort to stick the bricks to.
o    Glue, paste or tape for making “bricks”
o    Tape or push pins for sticking the “bricks” to the wall (depending upon whether or not you use a cork board)

o     Scissors

Preparation
o    Print the bricks from the “Strongholds – Bricks.ppt” file.  (You can also create your own if these don’t suit your audience.  The positive sides of the bricks represent the Fruit of the Spirit.  The negative sides of the bricks represent the opposite of the Fruit of the Spirit.  I’ve included many different options for the negative sides so that you can pick the ones that the audience will identify with most, but you may also want to have several different words for the negative sides.  You might also want to print several copies of each brick so that you can build an impressively big “stronghold.”)
o    Fold each “brick” page in half along the dotted line, and then tape or paste them together.
o    Trim the bricks along their borders, and discard the white space that’s left over.
o    Make tape “donuts” (circles of tape), and put them where the volunteers can get to them quickly.
o    Arrange all the bricks with the negative side facing up, and put them in easy reach of the volunteers.
o    Practice the script.

Procedure
Use the following script and instructions (or modify to suit your needs):
•    “We are in a spiritual war between God and Satan, and the battlefield is our minds.”
•    “Satan wants to control and destroy our minds, and God wants our minds completely devoted to Him.”
•    “Satan wants to control and destroy our minds, because it is the only way he can hurt an all-powerful, all-knowing, everywhere God.”
•    “He tries to wound the Creator through His creation.”
•    “If we want to help God win the war, we need to know how the battle is fought.”  (Ask volunteer to read 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.)
•    “We do not wage war as the world does.  We have different weapons.”
•    “We don’t use bazookas or fighter jets or nuclear missiles to fight this war, because it’s not a physical war – it’s a thought war!”
•    “We are fighting to give control of our minds and thoughts to God.”
•    “Regular weapons won’t do anything against thoughts.”
•    “But this Scripture says that our weapons have divine power to demolish strongholds!”
•    “That sounds pretty powerful!”
•    “What are these weapons that this Scripture is talking about?  Does anyone know?”  (Listen to responses.  If no one mentions them, let them know that our main spiritual weapons are prayer, the Word and the name of Jesus Christ.)
•    “Okay, so now we know our weapons.  What about strongholds?  Does anyone know what those might be?”  (Listen to responses.  You are looking for the idea of a fort or a military position that is very strong – a “strong hold” on some territory.)
•    “In war, a stronghold is a place that one side has built up and fortified.”
•    “They have a ‘strong hold’ on that place, so it’s an effective place for them to use to wage war against their enemies.”
•    “Whether it’s a good or bad stronghold depends upon whose stronghold it is.”
•    “You can find examples in Scripture of both positive strongholds (held by the allies of God) and negative strongholds (held by the allies of Satan).”
•    “In the thought war between God and Satan, spiritual strongholds are habits of thinking.”
•    “There are three ways for thoughts to get into your mind: you can think them yourself, God can put the thought into your mind through His Spirit, or Satan can put the thought into your mind.”
•    “Even when you think the thoughts yourself, they are heavily influenced by the habits of thinking you have developed by listening to either God or Satan when they gave you thoughts.”
•    “By the way, if you want to hear God’s thoughts in your mind, you have to listen carefully.  He rarely shouts them like Satan does.”
•    “So, it’s really important to know where the thought came from.”
•    “If they come from Satan, we don’t want to listen to them.”
•    “Jesus said that Satan is ‘the father of lies,’ that ‘when he lies, he speaks his native language,’ and that ‘there is no truth in him.’” (John 8:44)
•    “Everything Satan says to you is a lie, and everything God says to you is the truth.”
•    “Satan starts lying to you when you are a very young child, because he wants to build strongholds of lies in you mind.  He wants you in the habit of believing his lies.”
•    “Let me give you a picture of what this looks like.”  (Ask for three or four volunteers to come up front, and tell them that you want them to use the tape donuts to stick the “bricks” to the wall or board you are using for this lesson.  Tell them to stick them so that they look like bricks in a wall, and ask them to show only the red lettering on the bricks.  If you didn’t print them in color, you may need to mark the bricks in some way so that your volunteers can tell which side is the lie and which side is the truth.  While they are working, continue with the lesson.)
•    “When Satan gives you a thought, you have a choice whether or not to agree with it.”
•    “If you agree with it, or if you choose to just passively receive it and not evaluate whether it is right or wrong, it becomes a brick in Satan’s stronghold of lies.”
•    “Once Satan finds a lie that you will agree with or passively allow into your mind, he works full time to reinforce that particular lie until it forms a ‘strong hold’ on the way you think.”
•    “The volunteers are showing us how Satan builds his stronghold.”
•    “All of these are lies that he wants us to believe.”  (Read some of the bricks out loud.)
•    “Brick-by-brick, lie-by-lie, he builds up this stronghold, and it changes the way we think and how we see the world around us.”
•    “The worst part is, once we develop the habit of thinking in this way, we start to do Satan’s work for him.”
•    “We add bricks to the wall without him even having to lift a finger, and it gets stronger and stronger.”
•    “Now, when God’s truth comes into your mind, Satan will attack it from his stronghold.”
•    “You could be sitting in church and listening to a sermon or talking to a godly friend or reading something with truth in it.”
•    “God will often use these things to give you a truth He wants you to hear.”
•    “It enters your mind, but Satan attacks it from his stronghold of lies and convinces you it’s not true.”
•    “As long as Satan has this stronghold in your mind, it will be difficult for God’s truth to survive.”
•    “But I have some good news for you!”  (Ask volunteer to read 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 again.)
•    “The Scriptures say that we can demolish the strongholds with our weapons that have divine power.”
•    “Here’s how to do it!”
•    “First, stop allowing thoughts to come into your mind unsupervised.”
•    “You’re at war!  No military commander allows some stranger to enter his base of operations without an armed escort!” (Ask for a volunteer to come join you at the front.)
•    “Let’s pretend this person is a thought and that I’m your mind.”
•    “If I recognize that I’m in a thought war, am I going to do this… (have volunteer approach you while you act out the following)  Yo! Whassup, man?  Don’t know who you are and don’t care.  Come join the party!”  (Have volunteer pass you by.)
•    “What do you think, is that how I should greet this thought?”  (Listen to responses.)
•    “Of course not!  He could be a terrorist bringing in a mind bomb!”
•    “Let’s do this again the right way.”  (Have volunteer go back to his/her original place and then try to pass by you.)
•    “Halt!  Who goes there?  Are you friend or foe?”  (Tell your volunteer to say he/she is a friend.)
•    “Oh, yeah?  Well, we will see about that!  I’m taking you to my General!”  (Gently, but playfully grab the volunteer’s arm and lead him/her to another place in the room.  Then look up as if you are praying and say…)
•    “General Jesus, I found this thought trying to gain access to our military command.  Is he friend or foe?”  (Pretend that Jesus tells you he is a foe.)
•    “He’s the enemy?  Thank you, sir.  I will dispose of him right away.”  (Playfully escort the volunteer back to his/her original starting point.  If he/she resists, you might need to ask another adult in the room to help you escort him/her.)
•    “Now that you know that thought is a lie, never let it back into your mind.”
•    “Each time Satan tries to sneak it through, reject it.”
•    “You might say something like, ‘I know that’s a lie, and I reject it in the name of Jesus!’”
•    “Whenever you reject a lie, you’ve got to replace it with the truth.”
•    “It’s not enough to say, ‘That’s not true!’  You’ve also got to replace it with what is true.”
•    “For example, take a look that the Enemy’s stronghold that these volunteers have been building.”  (Point to board or wall where the volunteers have been adding the bricks.)
•    “It’s good to say that this isn’t true about me.”  (Read off one of the bricks.)
•    “But then I also need to replace it with a similar truth.”  (Turn the brick over, and move the tape or pin to the other side so that you can stick it back to the board on the green / Fruit of the Spirit side.)
•    “So I ask God what is really true about me, and He gives me the truth He wants to occupy my mind.”  (Stick brick to the board.)
•    “Touch your neighbor and say, ‘Ask God what HE wants you to think!’”  (Allow a moment for them to do this.)
•    “The more I do this, the more I trade Satan’s lies for the truth of God.”  (Have your volunteers start flipping the bricks to the positive side.)
•    “And when you do this, you’ve got to believe what you hear God say.”
•    “It isn’t always easy, because God’s truth sometimes looks wrong compared to what is going on around us and what we thought was true before.”
•    “You may have to pray, ‘This is hard to believe, Lord, but I trust You.  Help me to see the truth in this.’”
•    “This is called taking every thought captive before Christ, and it demolishes strongholds.”
•    “In fact, it replaces Satan’s strongholds with God’s strongholds in your mind!”
•    “Then, when Satan tries to send a lie your way, God’s truth will attack it from God’s strong hold in your thinking.”  (Even if they haven’t completely finished flipping bricks, thank your volunteers, and let them return to their seats.)
•    “Let’s recite a Rhyme Time that will help us remember today’s lesson:

Satan’s strongholds really stink!
I’m letting God choose what I think!

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Filed under Belief, Brain, Christianity, demons, Jesus, Mind, Object Lesson, Spiritual Warfare, thinking, Thought war, thoughts

Heart Garden (Obj Lesson)


Time
15-20 minutes

Description
This object lesson teaches about our hearts and how God works in them to produce something beautiful.  It’s preferable to do it outside.

Audience
Children, youth, adults

Materials
o    Landscaping edging (I used 20 ft, but that is quite big.)
o    Stakes for the edging (8-10 should do if you create the 20 ft heart.)
o    Hammer
o    Potting soil
o    Spade or some other gardening tool
o    (Optional) Gardening gloves and hat
o    Watering can with water in it
o    Assorted garbage – plastic, peelings, etc.  (Be careful not to put anything in the soil that might cut fingers.)
o    Hard soil to spread over the top of the heart (enough to cover the surface)
o    Rocks – several dozen of assorted sizes to mix in with the soil
o    Manure/fertilizer – actual manure is good for shock value, but fertilizer will make the point.
o    Sprouts – a few small plants just beginning to show above the soil
o    Beautiful flowers or ground cover – enough to cover most or all of the heart
o    Marker
o    Packages of seeds (4 or more)

Preparation
o    Create a heart shape with the landscaping edging, and stake it down.  (Cut the edging in half to make this easier.)
o    Fill the shape almost to the top with potting soil.
o    Mix some garbage and rocks into the soil.
o    Cover the soil and the garbage with hard soil clods that you’ve dug up from somewhere else
o    Label the seed packages using the marker so that they say, “Answered Prayer,” “Truth,”  “Kindness and Love,” and “Hope.”  If you have more than four packages, you can label them with other “seeds from God” that you can think of.
o    Practice the script.

Procedure
Use the following script and instructions (or modify to suit your needs):
•    “I’m going to give you a picture of what our hearts are like.”
•    “Think of your heart like a garden.”
•    “Before we know Jesus as our Lord and Savior, the soil in our heart is hard and dead.  Nothing will grow there except weeds.”  (Show hard soil in heart.)
•    “But God wants to make our hearts beautiful, so the first thing He does is to break up all that hard soil.”  (Ask a volunteer to come break up the soil with a spade or some other tool.  Hand them the gloves and the gardening hat if you have them.)
•    “This isn’t very fun for us.  Our hard hearts are difficult to break up, and the tools that God uses are sometimes very sharp.”
•    “He might allow us to go through some difficult experiences or lose something we love, but He only does this to break up the hard soil and start planting good seeds on the inside.”
•    “Thankfully, God will also pour in some Living Water to help break up the soil.”  (Have volunteer pour in some water.)
•    “Living Water is the Word of God.  It’s the Bible.  The Scriptures are like water to a thirsty soul, and we need to drink deeply of them every day to stay spiritually healthy.”
•    “Sometimes breaking up the hard soil takes a very long time.  The harder the soil in our hearts, the longer it will take God to make it usable for His purposes.”
•    “Once the hard soil is broken up, God will remove the parts that are unusable.”  (Have volunteer pull our chunks that don’t break down into the soil.)
•    “By breaking up the hard soil, God can give you a new heart.”
•    “If you are willing to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior, your heart will be made new.”  (Make sure audience can see the potting soil.)
•    “The Scriptures say that God will remove our heart of stone and give us a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 11:19)
•    “Now, when a gardener is preparing soil, he mixes in some nasty stuff like this manure.”  (Give manure/fertilizer to volunteer, and have him/her mix it into the soil.)
•    “It stinks, it’s gross, you really don’t want to deal with it, but it’s the best way to make the soil rich and ready to grow healthy plants and flowers.”
•    “Romans 8:28 tells us that when you give your heart to God, He will use even the bad stuff in your past to enrich your heart ‘soil.’”
•    “In other words, He will use the times you’ve been hurt, the times bad things happened to you and the bad decisions you made to bless you.”
•    “That’s great news!!!!”
•    “God then plants some seeds in your heart.”  (Have volunteer sprinkle in some seeds and work them in with the spade.)
•    “Actually, God plants seeds even before you become a Christian, when your heart is hard, but many of them don’t make it into the soil.”
•    “When Jesus taught about this, He said that the birds of the air will steal the seeds before they have a chance to take root in the hard soil.”
•    “He told his disciples that the birds of the air represent our enemy, Satan, who doesn’t want God’s truth to get into your heart.”
•    “God’s seeds can represent times when He answered prayers for you or times when He spoke some truth into your life through a friend or teacher or parent or event a stranger.”  (Have volunteer show the labels on these packages of seeds.)
•    “Sometime an act of kindness or love can plant a seed.”  (Have volunteer show the label on this package and pour in some seeds.)
•    “And sometimes God gives you hope in difficult situation.”  (Have volunteer show label on this package and pour in some seeds.)
•    “When God plants His seeds, He is faithful to continue to water the seeds with His Living Word and shine the light of His Son on them.”  (Have volunteer water the seeds.)
•    “Eventually, some of those seeds will start to grow in our hearts.”  (Have volunteer plant a few spouts in the soil.)
•    “God will continue to water and care for these while He plants even more seeds.”  (Have volunteer water soil and plant a few more seeds.)
•    “But just because we got new hearts doesn’t mean that our hearts are completely pure.”  (Have volunteer sift through soil until he/she finds trash or rocks.)
•    “We probably still have trash that we allowed into our hearts before we became Christians, and it’s likely that we still have some hard places in our hearts.”
•    “The trash represents sinfulness that we haven’t dealt with yet, and the rocks represent emotional hard places – hurts, pains, disappointments, hatreds, fears… that we haven’t allowed God into.”
•    “God can plant beautiful things in the parts of our hearts that we give to Him, but He can’t do anything with the areas we won’t trust Him with.”
•    “The trash and the hard places will stay in our hearts until we allow God to help us get rid of them.”
•    “While other parts of our heart are showing new life and the evidence of God’s work, these places are in danger of hardening back up if we don’t turn them over to God.”
•    “The more we trust God, the more beautiful our hearts will become.”  (Have the volunteer replace the sprouts with some beautiful flowers.)
•    “And when our hearts are beautiful, God will use them to bring joy and happiness to other people who see them.”
•    “That’s beautiful, isn’t it?”  (Thank and dismiss volunteer.)
•    “So, are we done?  Can we just let it alone and enjoy it?”  (Listen for responses.)
•    “No.  If we leave it alone, what will happen?”  (Listen for responses.)
•    “Right!  It will die.  These flowers need watering and sunshine every day.”
•    “In the same way, you need to meet with God every day – to enjoy His Son and to get the Living Water that comes from the Bible.”
•    “And even if we do that everyday, is that enough to keep our heart garden healthy?”  (Listen to responses.)
•    “No, because we have an enemy, and his name is Satan.”
•    “Satan plants seeds, too, but they grow into weeds that will choke out the beauty from our garden.”
•    “Satan’s seeds are bad thoughts, worries, fears, resentments and other things that keep us from loving God, loving our neighbor and loving ourselves.”
•    “Whenever you notice a weed in your heart garden, what should you do?”  (Listen to responses.)
•    “Right, pull it out!  Don’t let those bad thoughts or worries or fears stay.  Yank them out!”
•    “Okay, let’s practice the Rhyme Time for this lesson to help us remember it:”

My heart is the garden
Where God plants His seeds.
We tend it together
And pull all the weeds!

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God Cares for Me – Psalm 23 (LESSON)


Audience: Children, (possibly youth if you ham it up quite a bit to engage them)

Scriptures:    Psalm 23

Description:    This lesson teaches about a shepherd and how he cares for his sheep.  It makes comparisons to Jesus as The Shepherd who cares for His sheep (those who believe in Him).  It also briefly introduces David as a shepherd in anticipation of beginning his story during the next lesson.

Rhyme Time:    God loves me; I’m under His care.
Wherever I go; He’s always there!

Time:    30-45 minutes

Materials:
o    Shepherd’s costume (sheet with a hole for your head to go through, belt made out of a piece of fabric, 3 ft x 2 ft piece of fabric to go over your head, headband made out of fabric)
o    Something to act as a shepherd’s staff  (The size and shape of the staff are important, because it will be part of the lesson.  It should be a long, slender stick (maybe 6 ft or longer), with a hook on one end.  It can be natural or manmade.)
o    Something to act as a shepherd’s rod (The size and shape of the rod are important, because it will be part of the lesson.  It should be a straight, long (4 ft or longer) and about 2 inches in diameter, with a knob at one end.  This knob helps the shepherd use the rod for defense.)
o    Sheep hats (can be as simple as headbands with cotton ball ears) for the kids who will help you with your lesson.  (I recommend 6-8.)
o    Snake, wolf, bear, lion and fly hats (differently colored headbands with ears that represent each animal – one of each)
o    A Ziplock bag full of good, green grass and a Ziplock bag full of dead grass or weeds.
o    A glass off clean water and a glass of muddy water.
o    Olive oil (one bottle)
o    Mustard powder (one can / bottle)
o    Cinnamon or other powder in spice form (one can / bottle)
o    Bowl for mixing oil and powders
o    Spoon for mixing oil and powders
o    A bag with some rock salt in it.
o    Optional – A “wool coat” – a large piece of fabric with cotton balls on it to represent wool.

Preparation:
o    Most of the information for this lesson was taken from a book entitled, A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 by Phillip Keller (1970, HarperCollinsPublishers).  It’s a good read and a good story if you have the time and can find a copy.
o    Make costumes, and have them on-hand.
o    Set out bowl, spoon, oil and powders.  You will mix them during the lesson.
o    Find all the Scriptures from the lesson and bookmark them in a Bible for your reading volunteer.
o    Gather some good grass and some bad grass, and fill two Ziplock bags with them.
o    Pour some clean water in two glasses, and make one of them dirty with a little dirt.
o    Optional – if you use the “wool coat,” you will need to make it out of a piece of fabric with some cotton balls glued to it.  After you’ve made it, drag it through the soil and grass to make it dirty and clogged.

Procedure:
Use the following script or modify to suit your needs:
o    “There is a very famous psalm that many people have memorized, because it gives them peace and calm when they are going through difficult times.”
o    “Does anyone know which psalm it is?”  (Take responses if there are any.)
o    “Right, it’s Psalm 23.  It’s very short, but it has a lot of meaning.”
o    “It was written by David, the most famous and loved king of the Israelites.”
o    “It’s a poem about God that describes Him as a Shepherd watching over a flock of sheep.”
o    “David, of course, knew all about shepherds and sheep, because he was a shepherd boy until the time that he killed Goliath, the giant.”
o    “So, using everything David knew about being a shepherd, he tells us what God is like.”
o    “Jesus liked the metaphor, too, because He said to His disciples in John 10:11, ‘I am the good Shepherd.  The good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.’”
o    “So, let’s take a look at Psalm 23 and see what it tells us about God from a shepherd’s point of view.”  (Ask for several volunteers to come up and be your sheep.  Put the hats on them, and have them get down on all fours in a “flock.”  Ask other volunteers to act as a wolf, lion and bear.  Put the hats on them, and tell them that their job is to go to the edges of the room and only come to attack the sheep if they wander away from the others.  Then, have a volunteer read Psalm 23:1.)
o    “The first part of that scripture says, ‘the Lord is my Shepherd.’  Sheep can’t just take care of themselves.  They need a shepherd.”
o    “If they are left alone, they wander off and get into trouble.”  (Ask your volunteers to wander around by crawling to different places in the room.  When one wanders near the “snake,” the “wolf,” the “bear” or the “lion,” rush to save it.  The “snake,” “wolf,” “bear,” and “lion” should pretend to attack the sheep.)
o    “We are like those sheep.  We often get ourselves into trouble when we go wandering away from our Good Shepherd, Jesus.”
o    “It’s also important to follow only the Good Shepherd.  We must know His voice so that we don’t follow the wrong shepherd.  Jesus talked to His disciples about this.”  (Have volunteer read John 10:1-5.)
o    “The LORD is my Shepherd – not Satan or anyone working for him.  We only listen to the voice of the Good Shepherd, and we only follow Him.”  (Have volunteer read Psalm 23:1 again.)
o    “The Scripture says ‘I shall not be in want.’  That means that, because the Lord is my Shepherd, I will have everything I need.”
o    “It doesn’t mean that I’ll get everything that I want to have – just that I’ll have everything I need to have.”
o    “A good shepherd gets up early every morning and goes to inspect his flock.”
o    “He examines them to make sure that they are healthy and happy and able to stay on their feet.”  (Pretend to look over your sheep to make sure they are okay.)
o    “He can easily tell if they are sick or if they need special attention.”
o    “His sheep don’t need anything, because a good shepherd takes care of everything that is necessary for them.”  (Have volunteer read Psalm 23:2.)
o    “It is almost impossible for sheep to be made to lie down unless four needs are met.”
o    “#1 – They must not be afraid.”
o    “Sheep are afraid of many things and for good reason.”
o    “They have no way to defend themselves.”
o    “Their only means of protection is to run.”  (Allow wild animals to attack, and have the sheep run away in all directions.  Then have the wild animals return to their places, and go gather up your flock.)
o    “Nothing makes sheep feel more secure than to see their good shepherd in the field with them.”
o    “For us, we can be calm and free from fear, because we know that Jesus, the Good Shepherd, is always with us.”  (Have volunteer read Deuteronomy 31:6.)
o    “God says that He will never leave us nor forsake us.  In other words, He will never give up on us, even if we mess up sometimes.”
o    “Because of this, we can be strong and courageous!  God is all-powerful, and He will protect us!”
o    “#2 – If you want your sheep to lie down, they can’t be in fights with other sheep.”
o    “Sheep are mean to each other.”
o    “You would think that with all their other enemies, they would be nice to one another, but they aren’t.”
o    “Older sheep stiffen their legs, tilt their heads, arch their necks and butt the young ones as hard as they can.”  (Demonstrate this behavior playfully with your flock.)
o    “And rams are even worse.  When they are fighting over girlfriends, their necks swell and get strong.”
o    “They furiously butt their heads and horns together to see who is the strongest, and some even die this way.”
o    “When the young sheep are worried about bullies, they start to get edgy and lose weight, so a good shepherd will defend the weaker ones.”
o    “With the rams, he puts grease on their heads so that they slip off each other when they collide.  That way, none of them get hurt.”  (Playfully demonstrate this with two of your flock.)
o    “Our Good Shepherd knows about the bullies in our live, but He says in His Word that He will take care of us.”  (Have volunteer read Ezekiel 34:15-16 and then Ezekiel 34:20-22.)
o    “The third thing that needs to happen for sheep to lie down and rest is that the sheep must be free from flies and other insects.”  (Ask for a volunteer to come up and put on the fly hat.)
o    “There is a certain type of insect, called a nose fly.  They love sheep and buzz all around their heads, trying to deposit their eggs in the wet places on the sheeps’ noses.”
o    “If the flies lay their eggs in the sheeps’ noses, worms will hatch and crawl up into the sheeps’ heads, causing irritation and inflammation.”  (Have fly volunteer ‘buzz’ around the sheep and pester them.)
o    “It drives the sheep crazy!  To get relief, they will beat their heads against trees, rocks, posts, bushes…anything.  They will rub them on the ground, and some even kill themselves just to get rid of the feeling.”
o    “A good shepherd will dip the sheep in chemicals and coat their heads in oil to keep the flies off of them.”   (Shoo away your fly volunteer, but don’t have them sit down just yet.)
o    “For us, the flies represent our worries, our fears, and our frustrations that keep us from resting and having peace.”
o    “They buzz around in our heads, looking for a place to land and lay their eggs.”  (Have your fly volunteer buzz around you.)
o    “If we allow them to stay, these fears and worries will paralyze us and keep us from doing all the things God wants us to do.”
o    “Our Good Shepherd knows about these, and He offers us perfect peace if we will just trust in Him.”  (Have volunteer read 2 Corinthians 10:5.)
o    “Every time we have a negative thought, He asks us to capture it and take it prisoner until our thinking becomes obedient to God.”  (“Capture” your fly volunteer, and hold him/her still for a moment.)
o    “You see, Satan is the father of lies.  He lies to us all the time.  In fact, he can’t even tell the truth, because his native language is lying.”
o    “But God will always tell us the truth.”
o    “When we have a negative thought, we should ask God about it.  He will tell us if it is true or not.”  (Have fly volunteer have a seat.)
o    “The fourth and final thing that a good shepherd has to do to help the sheep rest is to make sure they aren’t hungry.”
o    “Sheep will eat bad grass and drink bad water even when good grass and good water are available, because….well….they just aren’t that smart.”  (Offer your flock a choice between the Ziplock bags of good grass and bad grass.  Then offer them a choice between the clean water and the dirty water.  Try to really sell the bad stuff.)
o    “I’m sorry to say this, but we are a lot like those dumb sheep.”
o    “Our spirit is thirsty for what God calls ‘living water.’”
o    “Living Water is the Word of God – the Bible.”
o    “It satisfies our spiritual thirst and gives us peace and joy.”  (Take a drink of the clean water.)
o    “Unfortunately, we will drink just about anything but Living Water in order to satisfy our thirst.”
o    “We want sticky, sweet things, and we try to satisfy our spiritual thirst with money or entertainment or other things that can sometimes be bad for us.”
o    “We drink lots and lots of them, because even after we drink, we are still thirsty.”
o    “The only thing that can satisfy our spiritual thirst is God and His Word.”  (Have volunteer read Psalm 23:2 again.)
o    “The second part of that verse talks about quiet waters.  Some Bible translations call them ‘still’ waters.”
o    “You see, sheep need quiet or still waters, because rivers and streams are dangerous for a 300 lb washcloth with ears.”
o    “If the sheep slips into the water, it will start soaking up water and sink to the bottom.”  (You might sprinkle some water on the sheep just for laughs at this point.)
o    “So the shepherd would go to the stream and use stones to divert some of the water into a pool.” (Pretend to use rocks to divert a stream.)
o    “There, the sheep could drink without being afraid.”  (Have your flock pretend to drink.)
o    Water in Scripture often points to God’s Word.  I told you that it is sometimes called, ‘Living Water.’”
o    “We need to drink deeply of God’s Living Water every day during the still hours of the morning.”
o    “If we will make the time for Him, He will divert some special truths for us and teach us wonderful things.” (Have volunteer read Psalm 23:3.)
o    “Sheep sometimes get ‘cast down,’ a term that means they get turned upside down like a turtle.”  (Demonstrate with one of your flock.)
o    “Sheep get cast down when their wool gets too heavy or when they lie down in a place that isn’t level.”
o    “When they realize that they can’t get up, they panic and start kicking their legs frantically.”  (Demonstrate with your flock.)
o    “This causes gasses to build up in its body and cut off the blood supply to its legs.”
o    “If the shepherd doesn’t ‘restore’ the sheep to its feet soon, it will die.”
o    “He restores it by gently rolling it on its side and massaging its legs.” (Demonstrate.)
o    “Sometimes, we get ‘cast down.’”
o    “We feel sad, depressed or hopeless, but we can’t get back on our feet.”
o    “God comes along during those times and encourages us through prayer, His Word or through other people.”
o     “I mentioned that a sheep would often get cast down because of the heavy weight of his wool coat.”  (If you have it, put the imitation wool coat on one of your flock.)
o    “To prevent this, the shepherd would shear the sheep.”  (Pretend to shear your flock.)
o    “Sheep hate being sheared, and they will fight it with all their energy sometimes.”
o    “But once it’s over, they feel so good, because their wool coat is always caked with mud and poo and fleas and ticks and burrs.”
o    “Wool represents our sinful nature.  Priests were not allowed to wear it into the Temple of God for this reason.”
o    “Our sinful nature gets so clogged up with dirt and nasty stuff that it’s a huge relief when God takes the shearing clippers to us, but we don’t like to be sheared.”  (Show children the clogged wool coat.)
o    “Shearing represents God’s discipline in our lives.  It’s uncomfortable and sometimes painful, but it is very necessary to help us get free from our sin.”  (Have volunteer read Psalm 23:3 again.)
o    “Sheep are creatures of habit, and they will blindly follow a sheep in front of them even if they are going in the wrong direction.”  (Have flock demonstrate by getting a “lead” sheep to walk in circles.)
o    “We do that sometimes, too, but God will lead us down new, righteous paths that honor Him.”  (Have volunteer read Psalm 23:4.)
o    “Sheep are low on the food chain, and almost everything is a threat to them.”
o    “Wherever they go, they are surrounded by enemies.”  (Have “enemies” circle in close to the sheep.)
o    “Christians, too, have enemies everywhere.  Satan attacks us whenever he sees a chance.”
o    “But God is with us, and we never need to be afraid.”  (Have volunteer read Psalm 23:4 again.)
o    “A shepherd has two main tools for leading the sheep – a rod and a staff.”
o    “A rod looked like this.”  (Show rod.)
o    “It was typically cut from a young tree and carved to specifically fit a young shepherd’s hand.”
o    “A young shepherd boy would spend hours and hours practicing his throw with his club, learning how to send it whistling through the air with speed and accuracy.”
o    “This way, he could defend the sheep from their enemies (pretend to scare away some of the enemies with the rod) and keep the sheep from going into places they shouldn’t.” (Demonstrate how you could use the rod to scare a sheep away from a place where one of their enemies (i.e., a snake) could be hiding.)
o    “The shepherd’s staff was entirely different.”
o    “It was designed like this (show staff) in order to be of the most help to the sheep.”
o    “It was a long, slender stick with a hook at the end.”
o    “The hook was used to bring sheep closer for inspection or to unite a new lamb with its mother without getting the scent of a man on it.”  (Demonstrate.)
o    “It was used to guide the sheep along the right path or as a gentle way to let the sheep know that the shepherd was near.”  (Demonstrate.)
o    “This is a picture of God’s justice and His mercy – of His discipline and His grace – of His protection and His care.”
o    “The rod represents God’s authority, power and discipline, and the staff represents His grace and unconditional love.”
o    “Some people think of God as only power, justice and discipline; some think of Him as only love.”
o    “Neither are a complete picture.  God is both justice and mercy – both discipline and grace – and all of it is done because of His love for us.” (Have volunteer read Psalm 23:5.)
o    “A table to a shepherd is a table mesa – a high place in mountain country, where sheep are led to graze in the summer months.”
o    “The shepherd goes ahead of the sheep and prepares the area by pulling poisonous weeds and scouting the area for dangers.”
o    “He takes salt and minerals and spreads them over the whole area so that the sheep will eat them and improve their diet.”  (Pretend to spread the minerals, and then have your sheep graze.)
o    “God does the same for us.  He blesses us even in the middle of all our enemies.”
o    “And Jesus told us in John 14:1-4 that He is preparing a place for us in heaven.”
o    “He said that He’s coming back to get us and that He will lead us to that place He has prepared.”  (Have volunteer read Psalm 23:5 again.)
o     “David, the writer of the psalm, is talking about a few things in the last part of this verse.”
o    “When guests came to your home for dinner in Israel, your responsibility to them included anointing their heads with oil and to making sure they had plenty to drink.”
o    “The anointing was to moisten the skin, since Israel is surrounded by desert.”
o    “But it was also a token to say that this person is special.”
o    “Shepherds used anointing, too.”
o    “Remember about the nose flies I told you about?”
o    “Remember how the shepherd would put oil on the sheep’s head to keep the flies away?”
o    “The shepherd would mix olive oil or linseed oil with sulfur and tar.”  (Mix oil, cinnamon and mustard powder in the bowl, and then smear a little on the forehead of each of your sheep.)
o    “The flies couldn’t land, so the sheep stayed calm.”
o    “God anoints us – not with oil typically but with the Holy Spirit.”
o    “This anointing sets us apart as special to God.  It marks us as His children, and it protects us from Satan’s evil plans.”  (Have volunteer read Psalm 23:6.)
o    “Sheep have really good poo.  It’s so good that they are sometimes called, ‘the animals with the golden hooves.’”
o    “After they have left a grazing place, all their poo fertilizes the ground and makes it even better for growing things.”
o    “So when David talks about ‘goodness following him all the days of his life, it’s kinda funny.”
o    “The sheep poo; everything grows – goodness follows them everywhere they go.”  (Have your flock walk around, and follow them.  Say, ‘A little goodness here; a little goodness there.  Goodness, goodness, everywhere.  Thanks, little guys!’)
o    “For us as Christians, we ought to leave everything better than we found it.  By doing that, we leave goodness and mercy everywhere.”
o    “Finally, David tells us that he will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
o    “This will be true for any Christian – especially when we get to heaven.”
o    “But with the sheep, this last line tells about how sheep are safe if they stay with the good shepherd.”
o    “As they dwell in his house (a shelter from the weather), they can be sure of their safety.”  (Dismiss volunteers, and thank them.)
o    “We are all a lot like sheep.  The Bible says that we are all like sheep who go astray (Isaiah 53:6).  That’s why we need a Good Shepherd to lead us and to help us in this world.”

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Filed under Christianity, Daily walk, David, Joseph, Sheep, Shepherd

Ugly Fruit


rambutan

Time

10 minutes

Description

This object lesson helps children understand that it’s not the outside that is most important; it’s the inside. God looks at their heart and sees the best in them.

Materials

  • Several uncut fruits that are ugly on the outside. (Some fruits that would work would be: ugli fruit, rambuttan, dragon fruit, passion fruit, jackfruit, durian.)
  • Several of the same fruits cut for you to taste
  • Enough pieces of the cut fruits for all the kids to have a piece
  • If you can’t find a fruit ugly enough, feel free to use the slide show I prepared for this lesson. (It’s on the Lesson and Material Downloads page.) It has my daughter trying a piece of rambuttan, a fruit common in south and southeast Asia. (It’s quite tasty and makes a nice piece of perishable jewelry, as you’ll see in the slideshow.)

Preparation

  • Cut up fruit – have pieces available for you and pieces available for all the kids.
  • Practice script.

Procedure

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

  • (Hold up one of the ugly fruits and say…) ”Anyone interested in eating something like this?”
  • “Looks pretty nasty, doesn’t it?”
  • “Okay, so it’s not the prettiest fruit out there, but have you ever tasted it?” (Eat a piece.)
  • “Mmmmmm…. That’s really sweet!”
  • “I bet some of you would like a piece, huh?” (Have someone pass out fruit pieces.)
  • “Now, how can something that’s so good on the inside be so ugly on the outside?”
  • “I think there is a lesson for us here.”
  • “Just because something – or someone – isn’t beautiful on the outside doesn’t mean they can’t be wonderful on the inside.”
  • “It’s hard to see inside someone, isn’t it?”
  • “But you know who can always see the wonderful things inside us?” (Listen for responses.)
  • “Right, Jesus!”
  • “He sees the best in you!”
  • “So even if some people have told you that you are an ‘ugly fruit,’ remember that Jesus can always see what’s good inside of you!”
  • “It’s ‘Rhyme Time! Here’s our rhyme for today’s lesson:” (Post this on a poster or project it using an overhead or LCD projector, and have the kids repeat it after you several times to reinforce the lesson.)

He loves me like I am today

And sees what others cannot see.

While others only see my faults,

Jesus sees the best in me!

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Filed under acceptance, Christianity, Object Lesson, Value