Tag Archives: teaching

God Is There When It’s More Than We Can Bear (OBJ LESSON)


Time

10-15 minutes

Description

This Challenge teaches that God will help us get through difficult times and temptations.  He never leaves us alone when we suffer.  The lesson is made by sticking wooden skewers through balloons without popping them.

Scriptures

  • 1 Corinthians 10:13

 

Materials

  • Large balloons – 2-3 per person
  • Wooden skewers – 2-3 per person
  • Vegetable oil – 1 small container per group
  • Duct tape – 1 roll per group

 

Preparation

  • Practice doing the exercise.
  • Practice the script.

 

Procedure

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

  • “We’re going to do an object lesson today to learn how God helps us during difficult times.”
  • “Bad stuff even happens to Christians, but God will never leave you alone when you suffer.”
  • “I know that because 1 Corinthians 10:13 in the Bible says, ‘No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.’” (The Message)
  • “Let’s demonstrate this.”
  • “Okay, let’s say that you are one of the balloons in our kit.”
  • “Let’s blow it up, and tie it off.” (Help participants if they have trouble with this.  Don’t blow the balloons up fully.  You want there to be some thickness of the rubber at the nipple and at the place where you tied off the balloon.)
  • “Now, let’s say that one of those skewers is a bad thing or a temptation that’s about to happen to you.”
  • “What would happen if you put the skewer (the bad thing or temptation) through the balloon (the you)?” (Listen to responses.)
  • “Right! It’s going to pop us!”
  • “But I know a way that we can keep ourselves from being popped by these bad things and temptations.”
  • “When you face something bad, you need the covering of the Holy Spirit.”
  • “That’s God’s covering over your life, and it will protect you during bad times.”
  • “In the Bible, oil often represents the anointing of God. Let’s anoint this skewer so that it can be used by God.”  (Dip the skewers into the oil.  Then instruct them to insert them slowly into a balloon through the tie-off area and out the very top (the nipple).  These are the areas where the rubber of the balloon stretches the least, so they are more likely to receive the skewer without popping.  If the balloon pops, laugh nervously and grab another balloon – kids love it when things don’t go the way an adult plans them.)
  • “Look at that! God’s anointing was all it took!”
  • “You see, if God allows bad stuff to happen to us, He anoints it so that it ends up doing His work in our lives. God knows where you can handle the bad stuff, just like I knew just where the balloon could handle the skewer.”
  • “Now, sometimes, God allows bad stuff and temptations to happen to you, but he provides grace and strength for going through those things.”
  • “Let’s pretend that this duct tape represents God’s covering of grace and strength for us.” (Have everyone blow up new balloons.  Then, put pieces of duct tape across both the front and back sides of balloon.  Then, have them slowly twist and poke a skewer though – dry ones, not the ones with the oil.  You can repeat this several times for dramatic effect.)
  • “Sometimes during tough situations, you might feel like you could just burst.”
  • “But remember that God is with you during those times. Pray for His covering, and He will help you through them.”
  • (When you are finished, have them answer the Debrief Questions below (also on their Challenge Cards). The Rhyme Time is to help them recognize that God can cover them during times of temptation and testing.  They need to trust in Him for His protection.)

  

Debriefing Questions

  1. Why didn’t the balloons pop when the skewers went through them?
  2. How is this like how God protects us during times of suffering?
  3. If you have to go through a time of suffering in the future, how will you handle it?

 

Rhyme Time

God is there when it’s more than we can bear!

 

6 Comments

Filed under Annointing, Challenges, Coping skills, courage, Failure, Fear, God's Protection, Hardship, Joseph, Object Lesson

Zing, Zang, Zowie! (ICEBREAKER)


Time

10 minutes
Description

This fun icebreaker energizes and adds some silliness to a workshop.  It requires focus and concentration.

Materials

·      None

Preparation

·      None

Procedure

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

  • “Let’s do an icebreaker!”
  • “I need everyone to come stand in a circle.”
  • “Now, place your hands together like this (demonstrate) as if you were about to say a prayer.”
  • “This is your ‘Zinger!’”
  • “You use it to point to someone and say a word.”
  • “There are three words that you must say in the right order; they are ‘Zing,’ ‘Zang,’ and ‘Zowie!’”
  • “Everyone say them with me….’Zing!’….’Zang!’…..’Zowie!’”
  • “Excellent!”
  • “Here’s how this icebreaker is done…I’ll start and point to someone with my Zinger.”
  • “I’ll say, ‘Zing!’”
  • “Then that person has to quickly point to someone and say, ‘Zang!’”
  • “Then that third person has to quickly point to someone and say, ‘Zowie!’”
  • “The fourth person now starts over, quickly points to someone and says, ‘Zing!’”
  • “It’s okay to point right back at the person who pointed to you if you want to try to catch them by surprise.”
  • “This keeps going until one of two things happens:
    • Someone gets confused and says the wrong word (or a correct word in the wrong order).
    • Someone takes too long to respond.”
  • “If either of these two things happens, that person is out, and whoever used their Zinger on them starts off the new round.”
  • “What questions do you have?”  (Answer questions.  Then, begin a round, or have someone else begin it.  Play continues until you are down to two or three people.  Announce them as the winners!)

Leave a comment

Filed under Comfort Zone, competition, Energizer, Facilitation, Fun, Game, Icebreaker, Teaching, Training

I’m Alive, Awake, Alert, Enthusiastic! (ENERGIZER)


Time

5 minutes
Description

This energizer is fast, easy and takes little preparation, and it’s ideal for right after lunch or when you can sense the energy is draining out of the room.

Materials

  • Flipchart
  • Marker

Preparation

·      Write the words of the song on the flipchart.  They are:

  • “I’m alive, awake, alert, enthusiastic!”
  • “I’m alive, awake, alert, enthusiastic!”
  • “I’m alive, awake, alert…”
  • “Alert, awake, alive…”
  • “I’m alive, awake, alert, enthusiastic!”

Procedure

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

  • “Time for an energizer!”
  • “I’m going to sing through this song, and then I’m going to have you do it with me.”  (Sing the song all the way through.  It is sung to the tune of ‘If You’re Happy and You Know It, Clap Your Hands!’)
  • “Okay, everyone now!”  (Sing it all the way through.)
  • “Let’s do it again, but this time, I’m going to divide you into four groups.”  (Divide participants into four groups of roughly similar size.)
  • “This group is the ‘Alive’ group.” (Point out which group you mean.)
  • “This group is the ‘Awake” group.” (Point out which group you mean.)
  • “This group is the ‘Alert’ group.” (Point out which group you mean.)
  • “This group is the ‘Enthusiastic’ group.” (Point out which group you mean.)
  • “When we get to the part of the song with your word, you will say it as loud as you can, but the rest of the group will be silent.”
  • “Any questions?”  (Answer questions.  Then, have them sing the song again.  Point to the appropriate groups at the Alive, Awake, Alert and Enthusiastic words in the song.)
  • “One more time, but this time, you have to stand and yell your word.”  (Take them through it one more time and have them stand as they yell their word.  Then they should sit again until their word comes back up in the song.)

1 Comment

Filed under Energizer, Fun, Icebreaker

Learning Transfer (EXERCISE)


Audience
Children, Teens or Adults

Time
30 minutes

Description
This activity helps teachers, presenters, facilitators and trainers recognize the inherent challenges in teaching as we compete against our audiences’ or participants’ mental barriers to learning transfer.  This exercise can be presented as a “game,” but it is more of a “gotcha” in which participants are set up to fail in order to emphasize the learning point.

Materials
•    Notecards (approximately 30 for every two people)
•    Marker or pen (one for every two people)
•    Article (There is one at the end of this lesson.  You may want to choose a different article better suited to your participants’ level of knowledge.  It should be written with unfamiliar vocabulary in order to provide a challenge in understanding the message.)
•    Quiz with 10-15 questions and answers (There is one at the end of this lesson, or you can prepare your own based on the article that you choose.)
•    Prizes (optional)

Preparation
•    Read through the article to make sure you are familiar with it.
•    Create your quiz if you are using a different article than the one provided.
•    Divide the group into pairs, and give each pair a marker/pen and a stack of the notecards.
•    Ask someone to be your ‘Distractor’ – the person who will steal ideas from Short-Term Memory

Procedure
Use the following script, or modify to suit your needs:
•    “Brain research shows that the short-term memory is only able to hold seven pieces of information at any one time and that it can only hold each piece of information for about 20 seconds.”
•    “In that 20 seconds, your short-term memory is doing three things:

1.    Trying to understand (“decode”) the message
2.    Dealing with distractions
3.    Learning and transferring the information to long-term memory”

•    “In order to learn new things, you have to overcome challenges in understanding the message and dealing with distractions, and you only have 20 seconds to do it with each piece of information.”
•    “If you don’t learn that information and transfer it to long-term memory in 20 seconds, your brain dumps it and replaces it with something else.”
•    “If more than seven pieces of new information are presented to you at one time, your short-term memory will dump new information even faster as new information replaces ‘old’ information.”
•    “It’s amazing that we ever learn anything, right?”
•    “For teachers, presenters, facilitators and trainers, this is a challenge to how we typically present things we want people to learn.”
•    “If we cover the information too quickly, they won’t get it.”
•    “If we don’t make it simple enough for them to quickly understand it, they won’t get it.”
•    “If they are distracted by fellow students, personal problems, discomfort, irritating habits that the trainer has, etc…, they won’t get it.”
•    “Let’s play a game that will demonstrate how tough this really is.”
•    “I’ve divided you into pairs and given each pair a stack of notecards and a pen/marker.”
•    “In your pairs, select one person to be ‘Short-Term Memory (STM)’ and one person to be ‘Long-Term Memory (LTM).’” (Allow time for them to select roles.)
•    “I’m going to read an article out loud.”
•    “As I read, STM will use the pen/marker and the notecards to write down the most important ideas from the article.”
•    “I won’t tell you what those ideas are.  You have to decide for yourself.”
•    “Once STM has written the idea down, he/she will hand it to LTM.”
•    “LTM will take the idea, read it and place it face-down in front of him/her.”
•    “It doesn’t matter how LTM chooses to organize the ideas.  That’s up to him/her.”
•    “When STM writes down an idea, that represents understanding the information (decoding).”
•    “When STM hands the idea to LTM, that represents learning transfer.”
•    “That alone will be challenging, but there’s one additional challenge you will have to deal with.”
•    “I’ve asked ______ to be our ‘Distractor.’”
•    “His/her job is to walk around the room and steal ideas away from STM.”
•    “Distractor can take the idea when it’s being written or when it’s being passed.”
•    “The idea isn’t safe until it is face-down in front of LTM.”
•    “If Distractor tries to steal an idea, you have to give it to him/her – he/she is much too powerful for you!”
•    “If Distractor steals and idea, STM can rewrite it if he/she wants to, or he/she can skip it and move on to the next idea.”
•    “At the end of the game, you will be given a test.”
•    “After I ask each question about the article, LTM will have three chances to find the card that has that information on it.”
•    “STM is not allowed to help.”
•    “It’s possible that LTM won’t even have the answer, since LTM was dependent on STM to write down the correct ideas.”
•    “If LTM picks up the wrong card, he/she should return it face-down to the table.”
•    “If
•    LTM picks up the right card, he/she can put it to the side.  It counts as one point.”
•    “The team with the most points at the end of the test wins.”
•    “What questions do you have?”  (Answer any questions.)
•    “Okay, let’s play!”  (Read the article at a normal pace as the STMs write down the most important parts.  ‘Distractor’ should roam around the pairs stealing ideas when possible but not taking so many that it completely discourages the participants.  When you are done, give the test.  After the test, find out which team has the most points, and award a prize if you wish.  Then, have the participants discuss the following debrief questions in their original groups or in their pairs.  Debrief as a large group.)

Debrief
o    What made that difficult?
o    How was that like the challenge a learner faces when he/she hears new information?
o    What could we do to help more information move successfully between STM and LTM?

Quiz
1)    What do shadow puppet craftsmen typically use to smooth out the puppets? (a glass bottle)
2)    What is the Indonesian term for ‘shadow puppets?’ (wayang kulit)
3)    Less expensive puppets that are sold to children during shows are typically made of what? (cardboard)
4)    The Punakawan is a family of characters in Javanese shadow puppets, and they are often referred to as what?  (clown-servants)
5)    What are three sources for the shadow puppet stories? (the Ramayana, the Mahabharata or the Serat Menak)
6)    What tools did shadow puppet theater traditionally use to project and display the image of the puppets? (cotton screen and an oil lamp)
7)    What is the most common light sources used today to project the shadow puppets’ images in Java? (halogen electric lights)
8)    What is the Indonesian word for ‘skin?’  (kulit)
9)    Which city in Central Java is most famous for its style of puppets? (Surakarta or Solo)
10)    Which parts on the shadow puppet typically move? (upper and lower arms)
11)    How long does it take a crew of craftsmen to make ten shadow puppets? (one week)
12)    Puppets are supported with carefully shaped __________ and control rods. (buffalo horn handles)

ARTICLE – “Wayang Kulit”
(Source – Wikipedia)

Wayang kulit, shadow puppets prevalent in Java and Bali in Indonesia, are without a doubt the best known of the Indonesian wayang. Kulit means skin, and refers to the leather construction of the puppets that are carefully chiselled with very fine tools and supported with carefully shaped buffalo horn handles and control rods.

The stories are usually drawn from the Ramayana, the Mahabharata or the Serat Menak.

There is a family of characters in Javanese wayang called Punakawan; they are sometimes referred to as “clown-servants” because they normally are associated with the story’s hero, and provide humorous and philosophical interludes. Semar is the father of Gareng (oldest son), Petruk, and Bagong (youngest son). These characters did not originate in the Hindu epics, but were added later, possibly to introduce mystical aspects of Islam into the Hindu-Javanese stories. They provide something akin to a political cabaret, dealing with gossip and contemporary affairs.

The puppet figures themselves vary from place to place. In Central Java the city of Surakarta (Solo) is most famous and is the most commonly imitated style of puppets. Regional styles of shadow puppets can also be found in West Java, Banyumas, Cirebon, Semarang, and East Java. Bali produces more compact and naturalistic figures, and Lombok has figures representing real people. Often modern-world objects as bicycles, automobiles, airplanes and ships will be added for comic effect, but for the most part the traditional puppet designs have changed little in the last 300 years.

Historically, the performance consisted of shadows cast on a cotton screen and an oil lamp. Today, the source of light used in wayang performance in Java is most often a halogen electric light. Some modern forms of wayang such as Wayang Sandosa created in the Art Academy at Surakarta (STSI) has employed spotlights, colored lights and other innovations.

The handwork involved in making a wayang kulit figure that is suitable for a performance takes several weeks, with the artists working together in groups. They start from master models (typically on paper) which are traced out onto kulit (skin or parchment), providing the figures with an outline and with indications of any holes that will need to be cut (such as for the mouth or eyes). The figures are then smoothed, usually with a glass bottle, and primed. The structure is inspected and eventually the details are worked through. A further smoothing follows before individual painting, which is undertaken by yet another craftsman. Finally, the movable parts (upper arms, lower arms with hands and the associated sticks for manipulation) mounted on the body, which has a central staff by which it is held. A crew makes up to ten figures at a time, typically completing that number over the course of a week.

The painting of less expensive puppets is handled expediently with a spray technique, using templates, and with a different person handling each color. Less expensive puppets, often sold to children during performances, are sometimes made on cardboard instead of leather.

Leave a comment

Filed under activity, distractions, exercise, Game, Games that Teach, learning, memory, Mind, Overcoming obstacles, thinking, thoughts

Stronger Together (LESSON)


Time
30 minutes

Audience

Children, youth, adults

Description

This lesson helps participants understand how important it is to have unity in the Body of Christ.

Scriptures

  • John 13:34-35; 17:20-23
  • Romans 15:5-6
  • Ephesians 4:1-6, 4:9-12, 4:25-32
  • Hebrews 10:23-25

Materials

  • Paper currency (enough bills so that you have one for every three or four participants and one for yourself – NOTE: you are going to have them tear the money into smaller pieces.  If this is considered disrespectful or illegal in your country, you may want to use pictures of currency instead of the real thing.  For that matter, you may not want to see your hard-earned cash being torn into pieces.  Feel free to substitute.)
  • Clear tape (like the kind for wrapping presents.  Enough for each group of three or four participants to have a roll and one for yourself.)
  • Optional – a flipchart or whiteboard and markers
  • Bible

Preparation

  • Write the Scriptures on slips of paper (one per slip) so that you can hand them out to participants.
  • Before you begin teaching, hand out the slips of paper to different participants, who brought their Bibles.
  • Practice the script.

Procedure

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

  • “Today is your lucky day!”
  • “I’ve got extra money, and I would like to share it with you!”
  • “But first, I need to put you into groups.”
  • “I want everyone to line up single-file in the order of how many pets you have ever owned.”  (Or you can choose a different sorting technique.)
  • “I want the person who has owned the most on this side of the room, and the person who has owned the least on this side of the room.  (Gesture to either side of the room as you give these instructions.  It doesn’t matter which side you choose for most or least.)
  • “Everyone else will line up between those two people in the order of the number of pets you’ve owned.”
  • “Any questions?” (Answer questions.) “GO!”
  • “Okay, now we need to see how many pets you’ve had and what kinds.”  (Go down the line and ask each person how many and what kind of pets they owned.  If anyone is in the wrong place based on number of pets, move them to the right place in the line.)
  • “Okay, now I need to put you into small teams to receive your money.”
  • “I am going to number you off – one to ___.”  (You will want three to four people in each group, so count the total number of participants, and divide that number by either three or four.  This will tell you how high they need to count off.  For example, if you have 24 people and want to divide them into groups of four, 24/4=6.  You would have them number off one to six, and that would give you six groups of four people each.  Once you’ve told them how high to count, number them off.)
  • “Now, I want all the ‘ones’ to get together and all the ‘twos’ to get together.”  (Do the same with each number group.)
  • “Great job!  Now here is your money!  Congratulations!”  (Hand out one bill of currency to each group.)
  • “I know, I know…we’ve got a small problem.”
  • “I only gave each group one bill, but there are three (or four) of you.”
  • “Don’t worry; I have a solution!”
  • “I want the person who has the money in each group to tear it into three (or four) equal pieces and hand them out to all the team members.”  (Encourage them to do this.  They may be reluctant.  If so, convince them you are serious by demonstrating with a bill at the front of the room.  Keep encouraging them until every team has torn the bill and shared it equally.)
  • “There!  Isn’t that great?  Everyone happy?”  (Participants will most likely not be too happy and will tell you so.  Act as if you can’t understand why they wouldn’t like your solution.)
  • “What’s wrong?  I just gave you free money!  You should be happy!”  (Listen to their feedback.)
  • “Oh, so you’re saying that the money isn’t worth anything when it’s torn up like that?” (Listen to responses.)
  • “You’re saying that the money is more effective at what it does when it is all together?”  (Listen to responses.)
  • “That’s really interesting!  And it reminds me of something I’ve read in the Bible.”  (Ask everyone to take a seat with his or her groups.  Then, have a volunteer read John 17:20-23.)
  • “This is Jesus’ prayer the night before He died on the cross.”
  • “It’s probably a very important prayer if it’s one of the last ones that He prayed.”
  • “Why do you think He prayed for ‘complete unity’ between the believers and with God?”  (There could be many answers, but one will be so that the world will know that God sent Jesus and loved the believers just as He loved Jesus, His Son.)
  • “That’s not all the Scriptures say about unity between the believers.”  (Have a volunteer read Romans 15:5-6.)
  • “What is Paul saying about unity to the Romans?”  (Answers may include that it enables us to glorify God with one heart and mouth.  Have a volunteer read Ephesians 4:9-12.)
  • “What do you think Paul is saying in this Scripture about unity?”  (Listen to responses.  A main idea that you want to bring out is that being alone isn’t good.  We need others to help us when we get into trouble.)
  • “If Jesus and Paul feel the need to pray for the believers and encourage them to keep unity, it probably isn’t so easy to do.”
  • “What do you think gets in the way of unity among believers?”  (Answers might include differences of opinion, different denominations, differences of beliefs, jealousy, unforgiveness, lack of time, distance, etc…  You may want to put these on a flipchart or whiteboard.  I recommend drawing a line down the middle of the space and writing a minus sign at the top of the left column and a plus sign at the top of the right column.)
  • “That’s quite a list, and I think it would definitely break the unity of a group of believers.”
  • “Unity is hard.  Human nature (our sinful nature) leads us to want to divide rather than do the hard work to stay together.”
  • “There’s an old saying: ‘People like people who are like them.’”
  • “This means that we are drawn to people who look the same, act the same, have the same opinions, have the same backgrounds, etc.”
  • “It’s easier to keep relationships with these people, because we have so much in common.”
  • “If I had let you make your own groups earlier, you probably would have divided up based on ‘dog people’ and ‘cat people’ and ‘fish people’ and ‘hamster people,’ and all of you would have thought that you were better than the other groups.  Am I right?”
  • “But when people are different than us in the way they look or act or think…, we have to work hard to keep the relationships strong.”
  • “In fact, we might have to make some changes in our own lives in order to keep the relationship together.”
  • “So, let’s make a list of things we can do or the changes we can make to preserve or build unity.”  (Have a volunteer read John 13:34-35.)
  • “What’s the ingredient this Scripture mentions that we need to have for unity?”  (Answer should be ‘love.’ .  If you are using the flipchart or whiteboard, write these down on the “plus” side.  Have a volunteer read Hebrews 10:23-25.)
  • “What ingredient does this Scripture mention?”  (Answers should include ‘meeting together’ and ‘encourage one another.’ Have a volunteer read Ephesians 4:1-6.)
  • “What ingredients does Paul mention in this Scripture?”  (Answers should include ‘humility,’ ‘gentleness,’ ‘patience’ and ‘bearing with one another in love.’  Have a volunteer read Ephesians 4:25-32.)
  • “Last one.  What is Paul telling the Ephesians to do in this Scripture in order to preserve unity?”  (Answers should include ‘put off falsehood’ (or ‘be honest with each other’), ‘speak truthfully,’ ‘be angry sometimes but don’t sin by holding onto your anger,’ ‘do not steal from each other,’ ‘do your share of the work,’ ‘share with those in need,’ ‘don’t gossip, spread rumors or criticize,’ ‘build others up,’ ‘get rid of bitterness, rage, anger, fighting, slander (or ’saying bad things about others’), and any kind of bad feelings for others,’ ‘be kind and compassionate,” and ‘forgive each other.’)
  • “Look at all the things we need to do to keep our unity!”
  • “How are we ever going to be successful at all this stuff?”
  • “The good news is, we don’t have to do it by ourselves.”
  • “In truth, we are a lot like the money you have in your hands.”
  • “It doesn’t have any power in itself to put itself back together.  Neither do we.”
  • “But we do have a power given to us by the Holy Spirit.”  (Bring out some of the tape, and use it to tape back together the bill that you tore earlier.)
  • “The Holy Spirit is a little like this tape.”
  • “He has the power to bring us back together.”
  • “All we have to do is surrender to God’s will and allow Him to mend us, to bring us back together.”  (Pass out rolls of tape to each of the groups.)
  • “Are you willing to allow the Holy Spirit bring you back together?”
  • “Then tape that money back together.”  (Give them a few moments to tape the money.)
  • “Now the money is powerful and effective again!”
  • “Know this: one of the Enemy’s favorite and most effective weapons against us is a strategy called ‘Divide and Conquer.’”
  • “The Scripture says that Satan is like a roaring lion watching for someone to devour.”
  • “If you have every watched Animal Planet, you probably know that lions don’t attack herds; they attack the animals that wander away from the herd.”
  • “They attack the weak ones, the sick ones, the lazy ones, the ones doing their own thing.”
  • “That’s because attacking the herd is dangerous; they could easily trample the lion or gore him or kick him in the head.”
  • “Satan wants to divide us from the herd – the rest of the Body of Christ – so that he can attack us and have a really good chance of taking us down.”
  • “Don’t give him the opportunity!  Stick with the herd!”
  • “We are stronger and more powerful together!”  (You can allow the participants to keep the money or you can collect it back.  It might be interesting to encourage them to pool their money in order to increase its buying ‘power.’  Maybe they could buy something with it that would benefit everyone.)

Leave a comment

Filed under Agape Love, Christianity, conflict management, Conflict Resolution, forgiveness, Relationships, Satan's tactics, teambuilding, unity

Kingdom Tag (GAME)


Time
15 minutes (or more, depending upon how many rounds of tag you play)
Description

This game illustrates evangelism in a high-energy, fun way through a game of tag.  It’s a very quick game, so you will probably want to play it several times.  The game works best with larger groups of kids, but it can still be played with small groups.

Optionally, you can play the game outdoors with water (for “baptizing”), but if you do, it needs to be okay for the  kids to get really wet!

Scriptures

  • Matthew 28:18-20

Materials

  • OPTIONAL: Paper or plastic cups for each child
  • OPTIONAL: A tub or bucket of water
  • Bible

Preparation

  • OPTIONAL: Fill the tub with water (You only need the tub of water and the cups if you plan to do the “baptizing” option.)
  • Practice the script.

Procedure

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

  • “Today, we are going to talk about the last words that Jesus said before he rose back into heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father.”
  • “Last words are important.”
  • “If a leader is leaving his followers, and he has one more opportunity to talk to them, he’s going to say something important, don’t you think?”
  • “Sure he is…and Jesus was no different.  He had something very important He wanted to say to His disciples.”
  • “So, He had over 500 of His followers meet Him at the Mount of Olives, and He said this to them.”  (Ask volunteer to read Matthew 28:18-20.)
  • “What did Jesus tell them to do?”  (Answer: go and make disciples, baptize them and teach them)
  • “So, one of the most important things Jesus ever said to His followers was, ‘Go, Make Disciples, Baptize Them and Teach Them.’”
  • “Do you think this is still important for us to do as followers of Jesus today?”  (Listen for responses.)
  • “Sure it is!”
  • “It’s just as important today as it was when Jesus originally said it.”
  • “We need to tell as many people as we can about Jesus, so that they can go to heaven, too.”
  • “And the neat thing is, every time a new person becomes a follower of Jesus, they can then tell all their friends and family about Jesus, too!”
  • “Now, there are millions and millions of Christians in the world.”
  • “If all the Christians were telling as many people as they could find about Jesus, how long do you think it would be before the whole world knew about Him?”  (Listen for responses.)
  • “Not too long, huh?”
  • “Well, let’s try this out.”
  • “We are going to play a game, called Kingdom Tag.”
  • “It’s played like regular tag, but there are a few differences.”
  • “First, you start with one person who is ‘IT,’ and that person represents a Christian.”
  • “Everyone else represents someone who doesn’t know Jesus, and each person can live in different parts of the world.”
  • “If you get tagged by the Christian (the person who is ‘IT’), you become a Christian, and then you are also ‘IT!’”
  • “Then, instead of running away, your new job will be to try to tag other people.”
  • “They will then become Christians, too, and their new jobs will be to tag other people.”
  • “We will keep playing until everyone has been tagged and becomes a Christian.”  (If you want to do the “baptizing” option, then anyone who is “IT” should run and get a cup filled with water.  They tag people by “baptizing” them with the water.)
  • “Every few minutes, I’ll ask you to raise your hand if you still haven’t been tagged yet, so be honest and raise your hand if you still haven’t been tagged.”
  • “Does anyone have any questions about how to play the game?”  (Answer questions.)
  • “Okay, I’m going to need one volunteer to be it.”  (Select volunteer.  Then define what is out-of-bounds and where they are welcome to run and hide.)
  • “I’m going to give you a five second head-start before I let the Christian go.”
  • “Ready?  Go!”  (Count to five slowly before letting your “IT” person go.  Every few minutes, ask everyone to raise their hands who has not been tagged.  The game is over when everyone has been tagged.  If it goes quickly, play several rounds, if you like.  Then, call the kids back to talk about the Debrief Questions listed below.)

Debrief Questions

  1. What did you think about the game?
  2. How long did it take to tag everyone?  Does that surprise you?
  3. Why do you think it happened so quickly?
  4. Could we do the same thing by sharing about Jesus with other people we meet?
  5. How did you know if someone had already been tagged or not?
  6. Is that anything like how hard it is to know if someone is a Christian in real life?
  7. So what do you think we should do if we can’t tell if someone is a Christian or not?
  8. What will you commit to doing this week about sharing Jesus with other people?

Leave a comment

Filed under Baptism, Christianity, discipleship, Evangelism, Game, Games that Teach, Great Commission, salvation, Witness

Catch! (Obj Lesson)


Time
10-15 minutes

Description
This object lesson illustrates how Satan tries to fill our minds with worries, fears, doubts and many other things so that there is no room for God’s truth, peace and joy.

Audience
Children, youth and adults

Materials
•    Tennis balls (9-12)
•    Permanent marker
•    Posterboard (1 sheet should do)
•    Scissors or some other cutting device
•    Block pattern (You can find this in the file “Catch – Block Pattern.ppt” located on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at http://www.teachthem.wordpress.com.)
•    Clear tape

Preparation
•    Write a different label on each of the tennis balls.  They should read: Worry, Fear, Jealousy, Anger, Doubt, Entertainment, Video Games, Depression, Obsessions, Fatigue, Hatred, Self, Regret, Embarrassment, Cute Boy, Cute Girl (or whatever you think appropriate – they should be things that Satan might use to fill up our minds so that we don’t have room to think about things God wants us to think about)
•    Make several blocks out of posterboard using the block pattern mentioned above and the clear tape
•    Label the blocks: Truth, Love, Joy, Peace, Wisdom, Vision, Faith, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-Control, Righteousness, Hope (or whatever you think appropriate – they should be things that God wants to fill our mind with).  You could also focus on Philippians 4:8 and do blocks that say “True, Noble, Right, Pure, Lovely, Admirable.”  You will need 9-12 blocks.
•    Practice the script.

Procedure
Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):
o    “I want to show you an illustration of the battle for your mind.”
o    “Satan and God are in a war.  It’s evil against Good.”
o    “Your mind and heart are the battlefields on which this war is waged.”
o    “Satan knows that he can’t do anything to damage God, so He tries to hurt the Creator through his creation, and that’s us.”
o    “Satan first wants to hold as many of us prisoner as possible, so that we never get to join God’s army.”
o    “But even after we become Christians and join God’s side, Satan doesn’t give up.”
o    “If he can’t have us on his side, he will at least try to make us ineffective by pulling our minds and hearts away from God.”
o    “Satan knows that if he can win the battle for our mind, we will be ineffective for God.”
o    “So the tactic we are going to talk about is how Satan tries to fill our mind with lots of things so that there is no room for what God wants to put in there.”  (Ask for a volunteer to come forward.)
o    “Let’s pretend that this person represents our minds.”
o    “And let’s pretend that these tennis balls each represent something that Satan want to fill our mind with so that we don’t think about Godly things.”  (Read on of the balls out loud, and show it to the group.  Then hand it to your volunteer.)
o    “If that one doesn’t completely occupy our minds, Satan will give us more things to think about.  (Read several more balls, and hand them to the volunteer.)
o    “He will keep this up, filling our minds with all kinds of junk until they are completely full.”  (Read off the rest of the balls, and hand them to the volunteer, who should be having trouble holding them all.  If he/she drops any, pick them up, and hand them back to the volunteer.)
o    “When our minds are full like this, there is not room for what God wants to put in.”  (Pick up one of the blocks, and read it off.  Try to fit it into the volunteer’s hands, but give up in frustration.)
o    “But who ever said that we have to hold anything that Satan gives to us?”  (Instruct volunteer to drop all the balls and to take the block.)
o    “Now, without all the junk that Satan tries to fill our minds with, there is plenty of room for what God wants to fill our mind with.”  (Read off each of the blocks, and then stack them neatly in the volunteer’s hands.  Keep one for the next part of the lesson.)
o    “Notice how much easier it is to hold the things that God gives us rather than the things Satan tries to fill our minds with.”  (Pick up a few of the balls off the floor, and toss them at the volunteer while saying, “Catch!”  Hopefully, the volunteer will drop everything to catch the balls.  If he/she does, then ask, “Why did you drop all God’s good things to catch what Satan threw you?”  If the volunteer doesn’t fall for the trick, keep tossing balls in his/her direction.  Then say, “It was good that you didn’t fall for Satan’s trick.  He won’t give up.  He will keep tossing bad thoughts at you, and you have to be careful to not accept them.”
o    “If Satan does succeed in getting in one of his thought bombs, the Bible tells us clearly what to do about it.”  (Have volunteer read 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.)
o    “The war we fight is different than most wars.  It’s a thought war.”
o    “When one of Satan’s thought bombs gets in, we are to take it captive to Christ.”  (Have volunteer take one of the thought bombs and hold it up like he/she is giving it to God.)
o    “God will then take that thought bomb and replace it with one of His truths.” (Exchange the ball for a block.)
o    “This war is difficult, and it’s long.  You have to keep fighting all your life to keep your thoughts pure and true.” (Have volunteer read Romans 12:2.)
o    “God wants us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.  That means taking evil and ungodly thoughts captive every time we have them and exchanging them for truth and wisdom with God.”
o    “You see, when God saved us, he gave us a completely new heart, but we have the same mind that we had before we were saved.”
o    “In order to get a new mind, we have to exchange the bad thoughts one by one for good thoughts.”
o    “Maybe a good way to think about it is this: our hearts after trusting Christ are like moving into a brand new house, but our minds after trusting Christ are like moving into an old house that needs a lot of renovation work.”
o    “The good news is that God will help us with all the renovation.  He will be our general contractor, who guides us in all the work.”  (Thank volunteer, and let him/her have a seat.)

2 Comments

Filed under Brain, Focus, Mind, Satan's tactics, Spiritual Warfare, Transformation

Ups and Downs of Teambuilding (GAME)


Time
25-45 minutes

Description
This is game that helps participants understand the dynamics of teams.  It uses Bruce Tuckman’s “Forming – Storming – Norming – Performing” model and combines it with the children’s game of Chutes and Ladders ® (a.k.a. Snakes and Ladders).

If you want to add a spiritual element to this lesson, you can have participants review the Scriptures at the end of the lesson and try to determine what stage of team building they represent.  Add 30-45 minutes to the lesson if you do this.

Audience
Anyone who leads teams (but usually adults or youth)

Materials
•    If you want to use a regularly-sized gameboard, you can find one on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at http://www.teachthem.wordpress.com.  It’s called: “Ups and Downs of Teambuilding – Gameboard.ppt.”  (You will need something to act as game pieces for each player – maybe candy or coins or something else that is small.)
•    For a life-sized game, you will need masking tape, rope or some other material to mark off the gameboard.  How much you need depends upon the size of the gameboard.  I like to make it big when I do the game outdoors, so I typically use 22 ropes of about 20 ft each.  (If you have access to a tile floor, you can use that and not have to mark off the spaces.)  For the life-sized version, the participants become the game pieces.
•    Tent stakes (44 – if you are outdoors and using rope to mark off your gameboard)
•    Dice (two – the bigger, the better, if you are playing this as a life-sized game)
•    Sticky notes (100) to number the game spaces (if you are indoors and playing on a smooth surface)
•    Note cards (100) to number the game spaces (if you are outdoors)
•    Golf tees (100) to hold the note cards to the ground (if you are outdoors)
•    Colored marker
•    Printed copy of “Ups and Downs of Teambuilding – Game Spaces.doc”  (Available on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at http://www.teachthem.wordpress.com.)
•    (Optional) Printed copy of “Ups and Downs of Teambuilding – Game Cards.doc” (Available on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at http://www.teachthem.wordpress.com.)

Preparation
•    Print or mark off your gameboard.  You need a 10 space by 10 space grid.  If you do the life-sized version, you should make the squares large enough for several people to fit in them, because it is possible for more than one person to land on the same space during a turn.
•    Number your spaces 1-100 using the sticky notes or the notecards and golf tees.  The numbering should go back and forth.  For example, the first row is numbered left to right (1-10).  The second row is numbered right to left so that the 11 space is right above the 10 space, and the 20 space is right above the 1 space.  The third row is then numbered left to right again, and so on.  (If this is confusing, take a look at the “Ups and Downs of Teambuilding – Gameboard.ppt” on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at http://www.teachthem.wordpress.com.)
•    Use the colored marker to put a dot on all the sticky notes or notecards that have a corresponding note in the “Ups and Downs of Teambuilding – Game Spaces.doc” file.  For example, space #3 has a note in the document that indicates that something good has happened and that the player can move up.  Put a green (or whatever color you chose) dot next to the number on the sticky note or notecard for space #3.  (You don’t need to do this step if you tape the game cards in the spaces.)
•    Print off the documents (mentioned above) that you need.
•    If you print out the “Ups and Downs of Teambuilding – Game Cards,” you can tape these in the squares designated by the number on the cards.  This will prevent you from having to read them yourself.  You can tape them right-side-up or upside-down.  It’s up to you.
•    Practice the script.

Procedure
Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):
•    “We’re going to play a game that will help you to understand how teams grow and develop.”
•    “Bruce Tuckman developed a model that involves four stages.  They are, “Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing.”
•    “Forming is the first stage, and it’s where everyone in a team comes together.  Everyone is on their best behavior and trying to make the new group work, but trust is low, because we don’t know each other yet.”
•    “Storming is the second stage, and it involves conflict and struggles.  Individuals may disagree over roles or methods or any number of things.  This can be a painful stage, but it’s necessary to help the team members get honest with each other and build trust.  If conflict is handled well, the team will be stronger when it comes through this stage.”
•    “Norming is the third stage.  The team is starting to understand and appreciate individuals more.  They are recognizing the strengths and weaknesses of each team member, and they are experiencing some success.”
•    “Performing is the forth stage.  The team now is at it’s highest level of productivity and synergy.  Team members are interdependent and work together to see tasks or projects completed well.  Leadership is often shared and assumed by the person who has the greatest strengths for each particular task.”
•    “If you look at any professional sport team that has won a championship, you can tell that maintaining the ‘Performing’ stage is very difficult.”
•    “Very few championship teams repeat the following year.  Fewer repeat the third year.  It’s just too difficult to stay in ‘Performing’ that long.”
•    “Factors outside the team may prevent the team from continuing.  Things like budget cuts, down economies, competitor tactics, new technology, time constraints, etc. can dethrone champion teams.”
•    “Likewise, factors inside the team also work against continued success.  Team members leave the team, experience personal crises, become dissatisfied, have conflicts and go through a long list of other problems and can’t continue to perform at the highest level.  There are also leadership changes, vision/mission changes, mistakes, failures, etc.”
•    “So, teams don’t stay at ‘Performing’ indefinitely once they get there.”
•    “More often what happens is that teams move up and down through the four stages – sometimes going from ‘Performing’ all the way back to ‘Forming’ (i.e., if an important team member leaves) or from ‘Storming’ to ‘Performing” (i.e., if a major breakthrough is experienced).”
•    “The game we are about to play will illustrate some of the factors (both inside and outside the team) that cause teams to move up and down through the levels.”
•    “It’s a game similar to the children’s game of Chutes and Ladders ® or Snakes and Ladders.”
•    “Have any of you played that before?”  (Listen to responses.)
•    “The gameboard has one hundred spaces.”
•    “The objective of the game is to be the first person to reach the 100th space.”
•    “Players will roll the dice (two) to see how many spaces they move.”
•    “On some spaces, there is a green dot (or whatever color you choose.  If you taped game cards in each space, you can skip this instruction and just have the participants read the card when they step on the space.)”
•    “This dot indicates that there is either an “UP” or a “DOWN” on the space.”
•    “I will read out a note related to that space, and the note will tell you about something that has happened to your team.  Sometimes it’s good; sometimes it’s bad.  If it’s good, you will get to move up to another space.  If it’s bad, you will have to move down.”
•    “Once you get close to the 100th space, you will need to get a perfect roll to win.  That means that if you are four spaces away, you have to roll a 4, a 3, a 2, or a 1 to move.  (You can choose to roll only one die at this time.)”
•    “If you roll higher than the number of spaces left, you lose your turn and must wait in your place.”
•    “Does anyone have any questions?”  (Answer questions.  Then start the game.  Everyone starts off the gameboard.  You can have them roll the dice to see who goes first.  Highest roll is first, second highest is second…  After someone wins, have the group answer the debrief questions (next page) together.)
•    NOTE: If you have a large group, you might want to divide them into pairs and have one person act as the game piece and another roll the dice.  If you have a really big group, divide them into teams, have one game piece, one dice roller and a large fan club.

Debrief Questions

1.    What can the game teach us about team building?

2.    Why is it so difficult to maintain the “Performing” stage?

3.    On your team, what internal influences (things inside your team) could send you back down? What can you do about it?

4.    On your team, what external influences (things outside your team) could send you back down?  What can you do about it?

5.    How can you move your team to the next level (or keep them at “Performing”)?

Biblical Reflection
Review these Scriptures, and try to determine which stage of teambuilding they represent.

o    Matthew 4:18-23
o    Matthew 8:23-27
o    Matthew 9:9
o    Matthew 10:5-10
o    Matthew 14:10
o    Matthew 14:15-21
o    Matthew 16:21-23
o    Matthew 17:1-8
o    Matthew 17:14-18
o    Matthew 18:1
o    Matthew 20:20-24
o    Matthew 26:6-9
o    Matthew 26:14-16
o    Matthew 26:31-34
o    Matthew 26:47
o    Matthew 26:56
o    Matthew 26:69-75
o    Matthew 27:35
o    Matthew 28:16-20
o    Mark 3:13-19
o    Mark 6:45-52
o    Mark 8:27-30
o    Mark 9:33-34
o    John 6:66-69
o    John 21:15-17
o    Acts 2:1-7
o    Acts 2:46-47
o    Acts 3:1-10

Biblical Reflection: ANSWERS
Review these Scriptures, and try to determine which stage of teambuilding they represent.

o    Matthew 4:18-23 (Forming)
o    Matthew 8:23-27 (Storming)
o    Matthew 9:9 (Forming)
o    Matthew 10:5-10 (Norming)
o    Matthew 14:10 (Storming)
o    Matthew 14:15-21 (Storming)
o    Matthew 16:21-23 (Performing then Storming)
o    Matthew 17:1-8 (Norming)
o    Matthew 17:14-18 (Storming)
o    Matthew 18:1 (Storming)
o    Matthew 20:20-24 (Storming)
o    Matthew 26:6-9 (Storming)
o    Matthew 26:14-16 (Storming)
o    Matthew 26:31-34 (Norming)

o    Matthew 26:47 (Storming)
o    Matthew 26:56 (Storming)
o    Matthew 26:69-75 (Storming)
o    Matthew 27:35 (Storming)
o    Matthew 28:16-20 (Norming)
o    Mark 3:13-19 (Forming)
o    Mark 6:45-52 (Storming)
o    Mark 8:27-30 (Norming or Performing)
o    Mark 9:33-34 (Storming)
o    John 6:66-69 (Forming)
o    John 21:15-17 (Norming)
o    Acts 2:1-7 (Performing and Forming)
o    Acts 2:46-47 (Performing)
o    Acts 3:1-10 (Performing)

Debrief

o    “What do you notice when you look at all the stages?”  (If they don’t mention it, point out that most of the examples are “Storming.”  This is from as fair a sampling of the Scriptures as I could do, so I think it is representative.)
o    “Why do you think that is?”  (Listen to responses. Then, add the next point if necessary.)
o    “Jesus often allowed his disciples to go through ‘Storming’ times.”
o    “Probably these experiences were designed as a tool and a test for them.”
o    “As a tool, the experiences shaped them to be more like Christ.  They cut away the pride and the selfishness.”
o    “As a test, they revealed the character of each disciple’s heart and indicated whether or not they were learning from their experiences.”
o    “The disciples didn’t experience extended periods of ‘Performing’ until after Pentecost, and even then, they still went back to the ‘Storming’ stage on occasion.”
o    “Failure is a much better teacher than success.”
o    “All these ‘Storming’ times prepared the disciples for the incredible ministries they would have one day.”
o    “So, when you are leading a team, don’t be afraid to allow them to make some mistakes or to experience failure.”
o    “It will most likely teach them more than any successes ever would.”

1 Comment

Filed under Game, Games that Teach

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.”

10 Comments

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

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Christianity, faith, forgiveness, heart, Jesus, Object Lesson, salvation