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Bloom Where You Are Planted (CHALLENGE)


Time

10-15 minutes
Description

This Challenge makes the point that we can make a choice to honor God even if difficult situations.  Joseph was sold into slavery by his own brothers, but he was such a trustworthy slave, that Potiphar put him in charge of everything in the house.  When Joseph was accused by Potiphar’s wife and thrown into prison, the prison warden soon put everything under Joseph’s authority, because Joseph was so faithful in how he handled his responsibilities.  Participants will plant flowers in a mixture of gravel and water jelly crystals to show that you can still bloom when you are in a bad place.

Scriptures

  • Genesis 37-50
  • John 4:10-14

 

Materials

  • Water Jelly Crystals – (You can order them from Steve Spangler Science for approximately $40 plus shipping and handling. (2.27 kg (5 pounds)
    Item #: WSAC-900) Order early, because they may take up to two weeks to receive. It’s important that the crystals are clear and not colored.  You can find these crystals at http://www.stevespanglerscience.com/product/1283.
  • Challenge Card (The file for printing is called, “JJ – Bloom Where You Are Planted – 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.)
  • Small, potted flowers (preferably seedlings with some leaves but before they bloom, but this is flexible) – 1 per person
  • Small, clear, plastic cups – 1 per person
  • Gravel – enough to fill each plastic cup about ¾ full
  • Ziplock bags – gallon size – 1 per group
  • Scoops or large plastic spoons – 1 per group
  • Gallon jug of water – 1 per group

 

Preparation

  • Divide the water jelly crystals evenly so that you have the same amount for each group, and place them in Ziplock bags.
  • Add a scoop or large plastic spoon to each bag for scooping out crystals.
  • Add enough plastic cups for each person in each group.
  • Divide the gravel evenly among the groups, and put it into a bag or some other container for each group.
  • Set aside enough flowers for each person in each group.
  • Print out the Challenge Card document.
  • Cut the Challenge Card document in half (each half is identical), and put one in each Ziplock bag (one per group).
  • Practice the script.

Procedure

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

  • “We’re going to do a group Challenge today.”
  • “It’s called, “Bloom Where You Are Planted” 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, water jelly crystals, and a scoop or spoon.”
  • “Each group will also have some flowers, gravel and water.”
  • “When I tell you to go, open your Ziplock bags, and read the Challenge Card.”
  • “You will then take the small seedlings out of their planter and shake off the soil so that all you have is the plant with exposed roots.”
  • “This represents Joseph, who was taken out of the good soil of his home and family.”
  • “Next, take a handful of gravel rocks and a handful of water jelly crystals, and mix them together.”
  • “Then, put them into your clear, plastic cup.”
  • “This represents the bad soil that Joseph was planted in when he was sold into slavery by his brothers and then again later when he was thrown into prison for something he didn’t do.”
  • “Plants can’t usually grow in rocks, because they need nutrients from the soil and something to hold the water when it rains.”
  • “That’s why we added water jelly crystals.  They hold water and help the roots to get the refreshing water that they need to grow.”
  • “So here’s the secret reason why Joseph was able to continue to grow even though he was in a bad place.”
  • “God was with him.”
  • “The water jelly crystals represent God’s presence in Joseph’s life.”
  • “Plants need normal water to thrive, but people need LIVING WATER, which is God’s Word and presence, to thrive.”
  • “Jesus says in John 4:10 that we can ask Him, and he will give us living water.”
  • “Then, He says in John 4:13-14 that ‘Everyone who drinks (regular) water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water (Jesus) gives them will never thirst. Indeed, the water (Jesus) gives them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’”
  • “That means that if you depend on Jesus, you will have eternal life with Him in heaven.”
  • “Put your finger into the gravel and water jelly crystals and make a hole for the seedling to be planted in.”
  • “Then, plant the seedling in the gravel, and move the gravel and water jelly crystals around the root.”
  • “Finally, add some water to about halfway up the cup.”
  • “Now, let’s set these aside.  We’ll watch them during the week (or weeks) to see if they thrive in their new soil.  They may even bloom!”
  • (When you are finished, have them answer the Debrief Questions below (also on their Challenge Cards.  The Rhyme Time is a reinforce to help them remember that if they continue to trust God, He will make even difficult situations a blessing for them.)

 

Debriefing Questions

 

  1. Do you think the flower will bloom where you planted it?  Why or why not?
  2. Why do you think Joseph was able to succeed in difficult situations?
  3. How could you “bloom” when you find yourself in a difficult place?

 

Rhyme Time

If we trust Him and obey,

God makes bad things go OUR way!

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Filed under Abundance, acceptance, activity, Challenges, Character, Choices, Coping skills, courage, Daily walk, Hands-on, Hope, Joseph, Object Lesson, Overcoming obstacles, Scarcity, struggles, Transformation, Waiting on the Lord

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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Filed under Christianity, Daily walk, Healing, heart, Object Lesson, sanctification, Transformation

Heavenly Bodies (OBJ LESSON)


Time

20-30 minutes

Description

This object lesson teaches about our new, resurrection bodies by using a simple science experiment. You will demonstrate how ultraviolet rays change the color of UV-sensitive beads and how medicine bottles block UV rays. The beads will represent our spirit, and the bottles will represent our earthly bodies (which keep our spirit from showing its full potential).

Materials

  • Color Changing UV Beads (available from www.stevespanglerscience.com for about $7 per 250 beads) – you will want enough so that each child can have at least 8-10 beads.
  • Prescription medicine bottles (the translucent, brown type) – enough so that each child can have one. It’s best if the bottles have lids that aren’t child-proof, since the kids will be opening and closing them on their own. However, if you can only get bottles with child-proof lids, you can still use them if you help the kids open their bottles when it comes time.

Preparation

· Order Color Changing UV Beads

· Obtain prescription medicine bottles. (If you are using bottles that have previously contained medicine, be sure to sterilize them to get rid of all medicine residue. Some pharmacies will be willing to give you unused bottles if you tell them what you are using them for.)

· Put at least 8-10 beads in each of the bottles, and then close the lids.

· Keep one bottle for demonstration, and put the rest to the side. You’ll probably want to wait until the end of the lesson to pass them out, because they can become a noisy distraction if you pass them out too soon.

· Practice the script.

Procedure

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

· “How many of you know that you will get a new body in heaven?” (Demonstrate that you are looking for a show of hands.)

· “Well, you will! Let’s look at the Scripture that tells us about it.” (Have volunteer read 1 Corinthians 15:42-44.)

· “This Scripture is a little hard to understand, so let me help with it.”

· “The Apostle Paul is talking about our bodies by comparing them to seeds.”

· “He says earlier that the bodies we have now will die one day, but they will be replaced with new bodies.”

· “Someone will bury our old bodies, but our new bodies will rise to be with Jesus in heaven.”

· “This is like when you plant a seed in the ground. The seed is dead, but when you bury it, it comes back to life and grows into a plant of some sort.”

· “And Paul is saying that what grows out of the seed is very different from the seed itself, just like your new, heavenly bodies will be very different from your current earthly bodies.”

· “Your earthly body is ‘perishable,’ which means that it can die. But your new body will be ‘imperishable,’ which means that it cannot die.”

· “Your earthly body is ‘sown in dishonor,’ which means that it was sinful up to the time it will be buried in the ground. But your new body will be ‘raised in glory,’ which means that it will have no sin in it at all.”

· “Your earthly body is ‘sown in weakness,’ which means that even when you try to do good things, you sometimes do bad things. You aren’t strong enough to always do good things. But your new body will be ‘raised in power,’ which means that your spirit and your body will both be free of sin so that you are able to always do good things.”

· “Finally, Paul says that your earthly body is ‘sown a natural body,’ which means that it has to obey the physical laws of the natural world. But your heavenly body will be ‘raised a spiritual body,’ which means that it will be free of the limitations of the natural world. I think it means that we will be able to walk through walls and fly and stuff like that, because Jesus was able to do those things when He came back from the dead.”

· “Still, it’s hard to understand exactly what your new body will be like in heaven.”

· “We have a hard time imagining a body free from sickness, that never gets old and that can do incredible things, but let me give you this word picture – maybe it will help.” (Show a prescription medicine bottle with UV color-changing beads inside.)

· “This medicine bottle represents your body.”

· “Inside the medicine bottle are some white beads, and those represent your spirit.” (Open the bottle, and pour out a few beads to show the class. Then return them to the bottle, and close the top.)

· “Your spirit is different from your earthly body, but it has to stay inside it for now.”

· “Unfortunately, your earthly body is sick with sin. It has been since before you were born, because that’s how all people since Adam and Eve have been.”

· “Your spirit doesn’t like being trapped inside your body, because the Bible says that your body and your spirit are in constant conflict with each other.” (Have volunteer read Galatians 5:17.)

· “Your body wants things that your spirit doesn’t want, and your spirit wants things that your body doesn’t want.”

· “Now, these beads that I have in this bottle are not normal beads. They are color-changing beads that turn different colors when the ultraviolet rays (UV rays) of the sun shine on them.”

· “What’s sad is that they can’t change colors while they are trapped inside these bottles, because medicine bottles are made of a special material that blocks the UV rays of the sun from getting into the bottle.”

· “The beads inside the medicine bottle are like your spirit inside your earthly body.”

· “They want to get free so that they can be beautiful, but they are trapped inside the medicine bottle.”

· “Your spirit wants to get free, but it’s trapped inside your earthly body.”

· “But here’s the good news. If you have asked Jesus to come into your heart, there will come a day when your spirit will be free of your body.”

· “It might be on the day that you die and go to be with Jesus in heaven, or it might be the day that Jesus comes back to rule over the earth, but one day, your spirit will be free.”

· “Jesus is going to give your spirit a new body that isn’t sick with sin.”

· “In your new, sinless body, your spirit will be exposed to the unfiltered Son-light of Jesus Christ, and something incredible will happen.”

· “Your new spirit-body won’t fight against itself anymore, and it will show its true potential.” (Go to a window or outside, and take the beads out of demonstration bottle to show the kids how they change colors in the sun. It will take just a few seconds for them to react – even on a cloudy day.)

· “I can’t tell you exactly how incredible your new body will be, because some of it is still a mystery that God wants to surprise us with later.”

· “But your new spirit-body is going to be something special, just like these beads.”

· “And believe me, the change will be even more dramatic than what you see here!” (Pass out bottles with beads in them to each child, and let them play with them to see the difference between being in the bottle and being out of the bottle.)

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Filed under Christianity, Eternity, Hands-on, Heaven, Object Lesson, Rapture, Resurrection