Tag Archives: sin

Connect Four Sin Solution (Obj Lesson)


Time
15 minutes

Description
This object lesson demonstrates that the blood of Jesus paid for our sins – those we have done and those we have yet to do. It uses the Connect Four ® game by Milton Bradley.

Audience
Children, youth, adults

Materials
• Connect Four game
• Two sets of black checkers (Note: you may want to avoid the use of black checkers as a symbol for sin. It can sometimes send the wrong message to children of color. Most other colors will work if you can find them.)
• One red checker
• Bag
• Optional – 18 white checkers and 24 red checkers – only if you want to make the heart shape at the end

Preparation
• Put all the black checkers into the bag. Only use enough so that the black checkers can fill all but one space on the Connect Four ® frame. (Leave one spot empty for a red checker.)
• Put the red checker into your pocket.
• Set up the Connect Four ® frame (with no checkers in it).
• Practice the script.

Procedure
Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):
• “This is a Connect Four ® game. How many of you have played this game before?” (Look for responses.)
• “Well we are going to use the game to teach us something about God and how He has dealt with sin.” (Invite a volunteer to come help you demonstrate.)
• “The frame for the game represents your heart.”
• “The black checkers will represent sin, and the red checkers will represent the blood of Christ.”
• “I’ve put checkers into this bag, and I want you to draw them out and put them into the frame.” (Have volunteer draw out the first checker. As he/she drops it into the frame, mention a sin that kids his/her age might commit. Each time he/she drops a black checker in, mention a new sin. Some are suggested below.)
o Told a lie.
o Stole something from a friend.
o Picked on a younger kid.
o Fought with my brother.
o Didn’t tell my sister about the candy Mom bought for us.
o Never apologized for yelling at friend.
o Didn’t do my homework.
o Stayed up past my bedtime.
o Said something mean to my mom.
o Used something without asking.
o Pretended I was sick.
o Didn’t do my chores.
o Spent my offering on a Coke.
o Dented the car with my bike.
o Forgot to feed the dog.
o Showed disrespect to my teacher.
o Cheated on a test.
o Ate an extra desert when Dad wasn’t looking.
• (After the volunteer has put in 20 or so black checkers, secretly drop the red checker into the bag so that he/she will draw it out soon. When the volunteer draws the red checker and drops it in, stop him/her and remind everyone that it represents the blood of Christ.)
• “Remember, the red checker represents the blood of Christ.”
• “This is important, because the Bible says that the blood of Christ washes us of all our sin.”
• “Let’s look at a few Scriptures.” (Ask volunteers to read Matthew 26:28, Romans 5:9, Ephesians 2:13, Hebrews 9:22, 1 John 1:7-9.)
• “The blood of Christ earns us forgiveness, it justifies us and saves us from God’s wrath, it brings us near to God, and it purifies us from all sin.”
• “That’s powerful stuff!”
• “So, here’s a picture of what the blood of Christ does for our hearts when we accept Jesus as our Savior.” (Show the volunteer how to trigger the release at the bottom of the frame so that all the dominoes spill out.)
• “Our hearts become completely new! Cleaned out of all that sin!”
• “It’s like getting a fresh start. All our past sin is gone.”
• “But you know us…even when we are Christians, we still sin sometimes.” (Close the release at the bottom of the frame, and have volunteer begin to put black checkers back in.)
• “We can’t lose our salvation, but each time we sin, the sin takes the place in our hearts where Jesus should be.”
• “Hopefully, we should be sinning less often now, so our hearts don’t fill up as fast.”
• “But you don’t need to wait for it to fill up, because Jesus’ blood didn’t just pay for the sins we did in the past. It pays for the ones we haven’t even done yet.” (Have volunteer add the red checker and then release all the checkers from the bottom.)
• “Each time you sin, it’s paid for already. The only problem is, all those sins hurt your relationship with God.” (Have volunteer add black checkers back in after closing the release at the bottom.)
• “As quickly as you realize you have sinned, ask God for forgiveness so that you can make your relationship healthy again.” (Have volunteer add a red checker and then release all the checkers one last time. Thank and dismiss volunteer.)
• “It’s that easy! But it’s even better if we remember what Jesus did for us and don’t get into sin in the first place.” (OPTIONAL: As you are saying this, add red checkers to the frame (seal the bottom first) in the pattern of a heart. See image below. You will need a few white checkers to go under the red ones in a few columns.)

connect-four-heart

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The Race


Time

20 minutes

Description

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

Materials

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

Preparation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

· Practice the script.

Procedure

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

· “Let’s run a race today!”

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

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

· “Everyone ready?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Finding God’s Path


Time

30 minutes

Description

This object lesson teaches about the challenges involved in seeking God’s will as we do our daily walk.

Materials

  • Masking tape
  • 150 note cards
  • A marker or something to write with
  • Answer Keys for Facilitator and Volunteers (attached)
  • (Optional) A prize for the winner

Preparation

· Using the masking tape, mark off a grid with five columns and 20 rows (see Answer Keys at the end of this lesson for an illustration).

o If you have access to a tiled floor, you can just use the tiles as your grid.

· Number twenty of your note cards 1-20. (Do this twice.)

· Letter five of your note cards A to E. (Do this twice.)

· Tape these next to the outside borders of your grid. The numbers are for the rows, and the letters are for the columns. (See the Answer Keys for an illustration.)

· Place a large “X” on 25 of the remaining note cards. (Make sure that the ink doesn’t show through the paper.)

· Write the word “SIN” on 20 of the note cards. (Make sure that the ink doesn’t show through.)

· Using the “Answer Key – Facilitator’s Copy” page as a model, tape the 25 “X” note cards and the 20 “SIN” note cards face down in the appropriate spaces of the grid. (Only tape one edge, so that it is easy for kids to lift the note card and look for the “X.”)

· Tape the rest of the blank note cards face down in the empty grid spaces. Make sure that they look like the marked note cards so that kids will not be able to tell from looking at them which have an “X” and which do not.

Procedure

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

· “As we do our best to follow the Lord on the path that He has planned for us, it is often difficult to know what His will is and what next step He would have us take.”

· “One of the things that can help us is getting advice from godly people, like your parents or leaders in the church.”

· “We are going to do an activity that will help us understand this way of seeking God’s will in our lives.”

· “This grid represents the path that God has set before you.” (Point out the grid.)

· “Each square/rectangle in the grid represents a step that you could take.”

· “There are three types of steps indicated by the note cards that are taped face down in each space:

o Some of the note cards have an “X” on them. This is God’s best path for you, where you will receive His full blessing.

o Some of the note cards are blank. This is an okay step to take, but it’s not God’s best for you. You can still experience His blessing, but it won’t be as strong.

o Some of the note cards have the word, “SIN,” written on them. This is a step that leads you to do something you shouldn’t.”

· “To help you make the right decision which step to take, you will be able to get advice each turn from one godly person.”

· “I need four volunteers to help me by being our godly people.” (Select volunteers, and share the following instructions. If you don’t have enough kids to use four volunteers, you can give a volunteer more than one Answer Key and have him/her use their best judgment when giving advice.)

· “Each of these four volunteers is a godly person in your life – someone you can go to for advice about what the next step in your walk should be.”

· “Before you take a step, you can pick one (only one) and ask for his/her advice.”

· “Each of them will have an Answer Key for the grid.” (Hand out a different Answer Key to each volunteer, and ask them not to let anyone see it – not even the other volunteers.)

· “Their Answer Keys are all different. No one has all the correct answers, so who you choose to get godly advice from will be important.”

· “When you ask one of the volunteers for their advice, they will tell you what space they think you should step to using the column letter plus the row number. For example, ‘Space A-3.’”

· “If they don’t have any information for you on their sheet, they will simply say, ‘I don’t know,’ and you will have to guess which space to step onto.”

· “Once you touch a space in the grid, your choice is final.”

· “You should bend down and flip up the note card so that you can see what is on the other side.”

o “If you step on a space with an “X” note card, you get to go again.”

o “If you step on a space with a blank note card, you get to hold your place, but you cannot go again until everyone else has had a try.”

o “If you step on a space with a “SIN” note card, you lose your turn and have to start over after everyone else has had a try.”

· “Leave the note card flipped over so that others will benefit from your experience.”

· “The first person to step on the “X” space on Row 20 wins! (Blank spaces will not count as a win.)”

· “What questions do you have?” (Answer any questions. Then start the activity.)


Debrief Questions

Once the activity is complete, award a prize for the winner if you would like. Then, gather the kids and debrief with the following questions before ending the lesson.

o “How was this activity like trying to figure out God’s will for your life?”

o “How did you feel when you asked a godly person (volunteer) for advice, and he/she couldn’t give you any?”

§ “How is this like real life?”

o “How did you feel when you asked a godly person (volunteer) for advice, and he/she gave you the wrong answer?”

§ “How is this like real life?”

o “How did wrong answers make you feel about asking that person for advice the next time around?”

o “How do you know when to trust people’s advice and when not to?”

o “Why do some people have good advice to share about some things but not about others?”

o “What difference would it have made if you had been able to ask more than one godly person for advice before you took a step?”

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


Answer Key – Facilitator’s Copy

A

B

C

D

E

1

Sin

X

Sin

1

2

X

Sin

2

3

Sin

X

Sin

3

4

X

Sin

4

5

X

X

X

5

6

X

6

7

Sin

Sin

X

7

8

X

X

Sin

8

9

X

9

10

X

Sin

Sin

10

11

X

X

X

Sin

11

12

X

12

13

Sin

X

Sin

13

14

X

14

15

Sin

X

15

16

X

16

17

X

Sin

17

18

X

Sin

18

19

X

19

20

Sin

Sin

X

Sin

20

A

B

C

D

E


Answer Key – Volunteer #1

A

B

C

D

E

1

X

1

2

X

2

3

X

3

4

X

4

5

5

6

6

7

7

8

8

9

9

10

10

11

X

X

11

12

12

13

X

13

14

X

14

15

X

15

16

16

17

17

18

18

19

19

20

20

A

B

C

D

E


Answer Key – Volunteer #2

A

B

C

D

E

1

X

1

2

X

2

3

X

3

4

X

4

5

X

X

X

5

6

X

6

7

X

7

8

8

9

9

10

10

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11

12

X

12

13

X

13

14

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15

X

15

16

16

17

17

18

18

19

19

20

20

A

B

C

D

E


Answer Key – Volunteer #3

A

B

C

D

E

1

X

1

2

X

2

3

X

3

4

X

4

5

X

5

6

X

6

7

X

7

8

X

8

9

X

9

10

X

10

11

X

11

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X

13

14

X

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X

16

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X

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X

18

19

X

19

20

X

20

A

B

C

D

E


Answer Key – Volunteer #4

A

B

C

D

E

1

X

1

2

X

2

3

X

3

4

4

5

5

6

6

7

7

8

8

9

9

10

10

11

X

11

12

X

12

13

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14

14

15

15

16

X

16

17

17

18

X

18

19

19

20

20

A

B

C

D

E


Answer Key – Statistics

This page is just for the facilitator’s information and may be useful during the debrief. It shows how many of the “godly advisors” had correct and incorrect answers for each space.

A

B

C

D

E

1

4

1

2

4

2

3

4

3

4

2

1

4

5

1

2

1

5

6

1

1

6

7

2

7

8

0

1

8

9

0

1

9

10

0

1

10

11

1

1

2

11

12

2

12

13

3

13

14

1

1

14

15

2

15

16

2

16

17

1

17

18

2

18

19

1

19

20

1

20

A

B

C

D

E

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Filed under Christianity, Daily walk, God's Will, Hands-on, Obedience, Object Lesson, Trust

Radio Waves


Time

15-20 minutes

Description

This object lesson teaches about how both God and the devil are competing for our attention. It uses the metaphor of radio towers sending signals to a radio.

Materials

  • Old radio (doesn’t need to work)
  • Two wire hangers
  • Aluminum foil
  • Printouts from “Radio Waves Construction” slides (see “Lesson and Material Downloads” page.)
  • Tape

Preparation

· Make radio tower headpieces for two children. (Directions are in the “Radio Waves Construction” file on the “Lesson and Material Downloads” page.)

· Practice the script.

radio-waves-construction

Procedure

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

  • “Hey! I found this old radio at the house, and I thought I would see if it still works.” (Pretend to find a station while making a static sound effect.)
  • “Have you ever had this problem? You can’t find a clear station on the radio.” (Listen for responses.)
  • “It’s frustrating, right?”
  • “That reminds me of how we communicate with God.”
  • “A lot of people say that they have a difficult time hearing God speak to them. Do you ever have a hard time hearing God speak to you?” (Listen for responses.)
  • “I understand what you mean, because I have a hard time, too, sometimes.”
  • “Let’s explore what causes this.” (Ask for two volunteers to come up. Place one of the radio tower headpieces on each one of them. Then place them at either end of the stage or teaching area so that one is on your left, and one is on your right. Ask them to make hand motions toward you like they are sending you signals.)
  • “Let’s pretend that these two people are different radio station towers and that I’m a radio.”
  • “This one is W-I-A-M, which are the call letters for Yahweh Broadcasting. In other words, this is God.”
  • “This one is K-L-I-E, which are the call letters for Lucifer Radio. In other words, this is the devil.”
  • “Now, the way a regular radio works is that it picks up radio waves from a radio tower.”
  • “You can change which station the radio is listening to by turning the dial.” (Pretend to twist your nose and then lean toward the station you are “hearing” at that moment.)
  • “The different radio stations compete with each other to get your attention.”
  • “Our two radio stations are in competition with each other, too.” (Make sure that both your volunteers are still making hand motions toward you.)
  • “If the devil can get you to listen to his radio station, he knows you won’t be listening to God’s radio station.” (Twist your nose, and lean toward the KLIE radio tower.)
  • “Whenever you listen to the devil’s radio station, it tells you to do what you want to do – not what God is asking you to do.”
  • “In fact, if you listen to the devil’s station long enough, you start to move closer to it so that you can hear it more clearly.” (Move closer to the volunteer with the KLIE radio tower.)
  • “It begins to sound really good to you, and you want to listen to it more and more.” (Demonstrate that you are really enjoying what you are hearing from KLIE.)
  • “Notice that WIAM is still sending me signals, but I’m not tuned into God’s station, so I don’t hear them.”
  • “And even if I decide I should start listening to God’s station, it won’t come in clearly right away.” (Twist your nose and lean toward the WIAM radio tower. Make a static noise and look like you are having a hard time hearing the station.)
  • “The reason I’m having trouble hearing God’s station is because I’ve moved so far away from it and because there is a lot of sin in the way.” (Ask for four or five volunteers to come up, and position them between you and the WIAM radio tower.)
  • “These guys represent all the sin that has sprung up in my life. They get in the way of the signals that WIAM is sending me.”
  • “So, if you’re not hearing God talk to you, maybe it’s because you are listening to His competitor’s station.”
  • “Maybe it’s because you are too far away from His signal and have too much sin between the two of you.”
  • “Does anyone know how I can get rid of all this sin and get closer to WIAM?” (Listen for responses. Specifically, you want to hear that you need to repent (say you are sorry) and ask for forgiveness.)
  • “That doesn’t sound too tough. ‘God, I’m really sorry for listening to your competitor’s radio station. I want to listen to You again. Will you please forgive me?’” (After you’ve said this, have your WIAM volunteer push through all the volunteers representing your sin in order to get near to you. Dismiss these volunteers, and then follow the WIAM volunteer back over to his/her side of the stage. Demonstrate that you are enjoying listing to God’s station.)
  • “You know, the great part about listening to WIAM is that I don’t feel guilty after I tune in. I always feel guilty after listening to KLIE.”
  • “Now, how do I make sure that I stay tuned into God’s station?” (Listen for responses. You are listening for responses such as ‘read your Bible,’ ‘pray,’ ‘go to church’…)
  • “Exactly! Now, don’t be surprised if when you first start reading your Bible, you hear a lot of static at first.”
  • “The words might be difficult to understand, and even when you understand them, they just look like words.”
  • “That happens, but keep tuning in to God’s station every day, and something cool starts to happen…you start to fine-tune your ability to hear God in what you read, and the words start to jump to life for you!”
  • “You will start to enjoy tuning in each day, and then you will start moving closer and closer to his tower.” (Demonstrate moving closer to the tower.)
  • “Before long, you won’t be interested in picking up the devil’s station at all.”
  • “He can do his best to get your attention, but you won’t pay any attention to him.” (Have KLIE volunteer make desperate gestures to try to get your attention, but ignore him/her. Then thank your volunteers and dismiss them.)

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Filed under Bible study, Christianity, Focus, God's Will, Listening to God, Obedience, Object Lesson, prayer, Satan's tactics, spiritual disciplines

Character Jenga


Time

15-20 minutes

Description

This object lesson teaches how important it is to maintain godly character by using the popular Jenga ® game from Hasbro.

Materials

  • Jenga ® game (or a similar game that is played with a block tower)
  • Label maker or permanent marker

Preparation

  • Using the label maker or the permanent marker, label all the Jenga blocks with the following virtues, or choose some of your own. (It’s okay to use a virtue more than once; just mix up the identical virtues when you set up the block tower.) Bolded virtues are the “fruit of the Spirit” from Galatians 5:22 in case you want to just focus on these.


· Courage

· Dependability

· Fairness

· Faithfulness

· Friendliness

· Generosity

· Goodness

· Helpfulness

· Honesty

· Integrity

· Joy

· Kindness

· Love

· Loyalty

· Patience

· Peace

· Responsibility

· Self-control

· Selflessness


· Build the tower in the teaching area according to the instructions in the game. Each new level should have three blocks turned 90 degrees (perpendicular) to the level below it.

Procedure

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

  • “A person’s character is a very important thing.”
  • “Does anyone know what the word, ‘character,’ means?” (Listen for responses and add to the definition if necessary.)
  • “Character is your moral quality. It’s your virtue. A person’s character is reflected in the things that he/she does or does not do. If they do good things, we say he/she has good character. If they do bad things, we say he/she has bad character.”
  • “People with good character are honest, friendly, helpful, loyal, fair…and a lot of other good things. These are called virtues.”
  • “But good character is a hard thing to keep. You’ve really got to work to make sure your good character stays good.”
  • “Good character is like this Jenga ® tower.” (Point out tower.)
  • “It’s made up of lots of different virtues, all stacked together.” (Carefully remove one or two of the top blocks from the tower, and show the labels to the group. Then, return the block to the top of the tower.)
  • “If we take away one of these virtues, the tower will still be pretty sturdy.” (Allow one of the kids to carefully remove one of the blocks from the middle of the tower. Let the child read the label out loud.)
  • “We can even take away several of the virtues, and the tower will still stand.” (Allow several kids in turn to take out a block and read the label.)
  • “But if we keep losing virtues from our character tower, it won’t stand for long.” (Allow kids to keep playing in turn until the tower falls.)
  • “Our character only stays strong as we continue to honor God through virtuous actions.”
  • “The devil likes to poke holes in our tower one piece at a time.”
  • “First he tempts you to tell a lie or be mean to someone.”
  • “When you give into the temptation and sin, you lose a piece of your character tower. In this case the “Honesty” virtue or the “Kindness” virtue.”
  • “The devil will continue to poke holes in your character tower over and over until it crumbles.”
  • “So, keep your tower safe! Don’t fall for the devil’s temptations!”
  • “And if you do, tell God that you’re sorry right away. He will immediately forgive you and help you to start rebuilding the part of your tower that you lost.”

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Filed under Character, Christianity, Game, Hands-on, Kindness, Love, Obedience, Object Lesson, Satan's tactics, temptation

Pepper Chaser


Time

10 minutes


Description

This object lesson helps children understand how to deal with bad thoughts, fear and worry. It uses a simple water science trick that changes the surface tension of water in order to produce an impressive result. When you add soap to water, it displaces some of the water molecules (especially those on the surface). The water molecules on the outside of the bowl will pull the pepper away from the soap.

Materials

· Pepper (about a handful, but it’s better if it’s still in the container)

· Salt (just enough to shake some out once or twice)

· Dish soap (at least a few drops in the bottle)

· Clear bowl

· Water (enough to fill the bowl about ¾ full)

· Mirror

· Display table

Preparation

· Set up the bowl of water on the display table at the front of the teaching area.

· Set up the mirror behind the bowl so that it will show what is happening on top of the water to the kids in the audience. (You can prop it against a wall or between a few stacks of books. If you need to, get a volunteer to hold it during the demonstration.)

· Have the pepper, salt and dish soap ready on the table.

Procedure

  • “We are going to do a demonstration today, and I’m going to need a volunteer.” (Ask for a volunteer to come up to the front.)
  • “Let’s say that this bowl of water represents your mind.”
  • “And let’s say that this pepper represents bad thoughts, worry and fear.” (Hand pepper to volunteer.)
  • “Sometimes, you can’t stop thinking about bad stuff – like how much you are angry at your brother or sister.” (Have volunteer shake pepper into bowl).
  • “You try to think about something else, but those bad thoughts just keep coming back.” (Have volunteer shake pepper.)
  • “Or you might be worried about something, and you just keep thinking about it and thinking about it.” (Have volunteer shake pepper.)
  • “Or maybe you are afraid of something terrible.”
  • “You can’t even get to sleep at night, because it’s so awful and scary!” (Have volunteer shake pepper.)
  • “Before long, your mind is full of all these bad thoughts, worry and fear, and you can’t relax or get calm.”
  • “I’ve had that happen to me, and I’ve tried to focus on other things…” (Hand volunteer the salt and have him/her pour some in.)
  • “…but it didn’t make the bad thoughts go away.”
  • “You know what I’ve learned? There is one thing that always makes those bad thoughts, worry and fear go away. Anyone know what it is?” (Listen for responses. Share correct response if they don’t offer it.)
  • “Prayer! Prayer always takes care of it.”
  • “It’s like this soap.” (Hand volunteer the dish soap.)
  • “It washes my mind clean of those bad thoughts.”
  • “Watch what one little prayer can do to scary thoughts and bad thoughts.” (Have volunteer drop a single drop in – pepper will scatter.)
  • “Isn’t that the coolest!”
  • “So, remember – anytime your mind starts to fill up with bad thoughts, worry and fear, chase it away with a prayer.”
  • “God will wash your mind clean for you.” (Thank and dismiss volunteer.)

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Filed under Anxiety, Challenges, Christianity, Coping skills, Fear, Hands-on, Object Lesson, prayer, Science experiment, Worry

Mind Pollution


Time

15-20 minutes

Description

This object lesson teaches about how important it is to protect our mind from negative influences. It uses a simple visual aid of water and food coloring.

Materials

  • Display table
  • Red, green or blue food coloring
  • Large, clear (see-through) container
  • Two or three pitchers
  • Enough water to fill each of the pitchers and half the large container
  • (Optional) Bottle of bleach

Preparation

· Test the experiment to make sure you know how it works. (Note: if you use too much food coloring, it will be difficult to dilute. A drop at a time is best.)

· Set up the large, clear container (half-full with water) on a display table.

· Have the pitchers and food coloring nearby.

· Practice the script.

Procedure

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

· “Your mind is an incredible creation of God.”

· “It has over 100 billion neurons that send electrical pulses back and forth to each other. These are your thoughts, and you are capable of having more thoughts than the number of known atoms in the entire universe!” (Source: Tony Buzan, Head Strong 2001)

· “Your brain is incredible!”

· “And did you know, that your brain is approximately 75% water?”

· “That’s why I’m going to use this container of water to represent your brain in this lesson.”

· “We will say that this container represents your precious, incredible brain.”

· “The water inside it represents your thoughts.”

· “I have some pitchers of clean water here, and they are going to represent good things that you can put into your brain.”

· “Can anyone help me think of some good things that you can put into your brain?” (Take responses. If the kids need help, try to steer them toward things like Scripture, positive thoughts, encouragement/praise, positive music, learning, worship, thinking about God…)

· “Great, that’s exactly what I’m talking about!”

· “I also have some food coloring up here, and it represents some bad things you can put into your brain.”

· “Who can help me think of some bad things that we could put into our brains?” (Take responses. If the kids need help, try to steer them toward things like profanity, gossip, lies, music with bad lyrics, the Lord’s name used in vain, mean thoughts, self-defeating or limiting talk, hurtful talk, movies or TV with bad scenes, bad pictures, jokes with inappropriate themes…)

· “Exactly! We’ve got to watch out for that kind of stuff!”

· “For this demonstration, I’m going to need a volunteer. Who would like to come help me?” (Select volunteer.)

· “Okay, notice how clear this water is. It’s like our minds the way that God first created them – pure and beautiful.”

· “Let’s say that we are really careful, and we only allow good things into our brain.” (Have volunteer pour some water into container from one of the pitchers.)

· “See what happened? We got more brain!”

· “Okay, it doesn’t work exactly like that, but let’s say that this is like gaining wisdom.”

· “When we add good things, like Scripture, positive thoughts, encouragement/praise… we grow in wisdom and knowledge, and our mind stays clear and clean.”

· “But what if we aren’t so careful, and we allow in some jokes that are hurtful to other people.” (Have volunteer squirt a drop of food coloring into the water in the container. Then pause to allow the children to see the effect. Just one drop of food coloring will spread and spread throughout the water until it has tinted the whole thing.)

· “Wow! Did you see that? Just that one little drop of bad stuff changed the whole color of the water.”

· “And what if we still aren’t so careful, and we allow in some inappropriate pictures (have volunteer add drop) …and profanity (add drop) ….and music with negative lyrics (add drop) …and some negative self-talk about what a loser we are or how stupid we are at math (add drop).”

· “Look what happens then. Our minds are getting darker and darker.”

· “What should we do about that?” (Listen to responses. When someone suggests to add more good things, continue.)

· “Right! Exactly! We need to add more good stuff – more Scripture and positive thoughts and godly advice from our parents…Romans 12:2 says that we should stop doing what the rest of the world does and start being transformed by renewing our minds. That’s the same thing as adding in the good stuff.” (Have volunteer pour in more water.)

· “But do you see the problem I’m seeing?” (Listen for responses.)

· “The water (our minds) are not going back to clear again. We are diluting the bad stuff, but it’s taking a lot more water than it did food coloring to improve our mind here.”

· “That’s the way sin works. Both Jesus and the Apostle Paul warned that, ‘a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.’ (Matthew 13:33 and 1 Corinthians 5:6)

· “Yeast is an image of sin in the Bible, so Jesus and Paul are saying that a little sin will spread until it ruins everything.”

· “So, as soon as we realize the damage we are doing to our minds, we’ve got to stop adding yeast / sin.”

· “Then, we’ve got to add lots and lots of good stuff by going to church, hanging out with godly friends, listening to our parents, changing the music we listen to, changing the movies we watch, reading the Bible every day, memorizing Scripture, studying about God…” (As you are mentioning these things, have the volunteer pour more water into the container with each suggestion. Try to fill the container until it’s full – unless you plan to continue with the bleach part of the lesson.)

· “Good habits are going to be the best way to dilute the bad stuff that you already have in your minds.”

· “And it’s not going to be easy. You’re going to have to work at it every day.”

· “And when you allow bad stuff in, it’s going to take much longer to dilute it than it did to let it in there.”

· “It’s like when I eat too much food. It might take me an hour of exercise to burn the amount of calories I ate even though it only took me five minutes to eat it.”

· “Because our minds are so awesome, I don’t believe the bad stuff ever goes away.”

· “I think our brains have the ability to hold onto everything we’ve ever put in there (even though sometimes it’s hard to remember where you left your stuff).”

· “If you put lots of bad stuff in your mind, that’s the bad news. The good news is, that your mind will never be too full of good stuff, so you can keep on adding it in!” (Thank your volunteer, and allow him/her to return to his/her seat.)

Optional Section – Adding Bleach

· “Now, there is one more thing that you can do that we haven’t talked about.”

· “You can give all that bad stuff you put into your mind to God in prayer.”

· “This bleach represents our prayers to God. (By the way, kids, bleach is a powerful and dangerous chemical. You should never handle it unless you have an adult there with you.)”

· “I don’t think the bad stuff we’ve put in our minds ever goes away, but we can turn it over to God in prayer, and He will use it for good.” (Pour bleach into the tinted water. It might take quite a bit of bleach (and you may need to stir it), but it will eventually take the tint out of the water. The result will be a yellowish liquid – not perfect, but no longer tinted with the original colors.)

· “Romans 8:28 tells us that God will use ALL things for the good of those who love Him.”

· “That means that He will even take the bad stuff we’ve done or let into our brains and use it for His glory and His Kingdom.” (Give a personal example.)

· “But, hey! That’s not an excuse to put the bad stuff in there! Your best strategy is to keep the bad stuff out in the first place!”

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Filed under Brain, Christianity, Mind, Object Lesson, Scripture memory, spiritual disciplines