Tag Archives: test

Tool, Test or Territory? (CHALLENGE)


Time

15-20 minutes
Description

This Challenge looks at the events of Joseph’s life and asks whether God was using each one as a Tool (to shape Joseph), a Test (to reveal the quality of his heart) or new Territory (to give him more ministry for the Lord).

 

Scriptures

  • Genesis 37-50

 

Materials

  • Card stock paper – 1 sheet per person (Alternatively, you can use posterboard, but you will then need to glue the pyramid pattern to the posterboard.)
  • Printouts of the pyramid pattern – 1 per person (The file for printing is called, “JJ – Tool, Test or Territory? – Pyramid (CHALLENGE),” and it can be found on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at www.teachingthem.com.  It would be best if the pyramids were printed in color.)
  • Printouts of the Questions and Answers sheets for group leaders – 1 per group (The file for printing is called, “JJ – Tool, Test or Territory? – Questions and Answers Sheet (CHALLENGE),” and it can be found on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at www.teachingthem.com.  This can be printed in black and white on regular paper.)
  • Challenge Card (The file for printing is called, “JJ – Tool, Test or Territory? – Challenge Card (CHALLENGE),” and it can be found on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at www.teachingthem.com.  This can be printed in black and white on regular paper.  There are two Challenge Cards per page.)
  • Glue sticks – several per group
  • Envelope – 1 per group
  • Rulers – several per group (to help with creasing)
  • Ziplock bags – gallon size – 1 per group
  • Scissors or cutting tools – 1 per person

 

Preparation

  • Print out the pyramid patterns on card stock paper (or on regular paper and then glue them to posterboard).
  • Put enough pyramid patterns into each Ziplock bag for each participant in the group to have one.  (If you want to save time facilitating this challenge, you can cut out the pyramids yourself.)
  • Print out the Challenge Card document.
  • Cut the Challenge Card document in half (each half is identical), and put one in each Ziplock bag (one per group).
  • Print the Questions and Answers document out (one per group) and put it in an envelope.  Then add it to the Ziplock bag for each group.
  • Put glue sticks and scissors (or cutting tools) in each Ziplock bag (enough for sharing or for each participant in each group).
  • Practice the script.

 

Procedure

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

  • “We’re going to do a group Challenge today.”
  • “It’s called, “Tool, Test or Territory?” and it’s part of the Joseph’s Journey Series.”
  • “First, I’ll need to divide you into groups.”  (Divide the participants into the number of groups for which you have prepared kits.)
  • “Each group will have a Ziplock bag with a Challenge Card, some pyramid patterns, glue, scissors, rulers and an envelope.”
  • “When I tell you to go, open your Ziplock bags, and begin cutting out your pyramid patterns.  There are enough for everyone to have one.”
  • “After they are cut out, use the rulers to crease your pyramids along all the lines.”
  • “Then, put glue anywhere it says, ‘GLUE-GLUE-GLUE,’ and glue these tabs INSIDE your pyramid.  The square part is the bottom of the pyramid, and the four triangles are the top.”
  • “When you are done, your group leader will open the envelope to get the Questions and Answers sheet and ask you about different experiences in Joseph’s life.”
  • “Everyone in the group should vote about how you think God was using that experience in Joseph’s life.”
    • “If you think God was using it as a ‘Tool,’ show the ‘Tool’ side of the pyramid to your group leader.”
    • “A ‘Tool’ experience is when God uses it to shape our character to make us more like Jesus and develop skills / knowledge we can use to serve Him.”
    • “If you think God was using it as a “Test,’ show the ‘Test’ side of the pyramid to your group leader.”
    • “A ‘Test’ experience is when God uses it to test our hearts and show us our character and maturity.”
    • “If you think God was using it as a ‘Territory,’ show the ‘Territory’ side of the pyramid to your group leader.”
    • “A ‘Territory’ experience is when God uses it to invite us to take more territory (which is an area of influence or ministry) for His glory.”
    • “If you think God was using it for more than one reason, show the fourth side of your pyramid to your group leader.”
  • “Be ready…your group leader will probably ask you why you voted the way that you did.”
  • (Let them begin. When they finish making their pyramids, open the envelope and give them the quiz by reading off each experience and asking them to vote with their pyramids. After each vote, ask a few of the participants to tell you why they voted the way they did; then, share the correct answer and explanation from the sheet.  When they are finished with the quiz, have them answer the Debrief Questions below (also on their Challenge Cards.  The Rhyme Time is a reinforce to help them remember that the events of their lives can be used by God in a big way.)

 

Debriefing Questions

  1. What do you think about all these events in Joseph’s life?
  2. What did you learn about how God uses our experiences to prepare us for the future?
  3. What is a Tool, a Test or a new Territory God has recently used in your life?

 

Rhyme Time

Often what’s hard is a tool and a test;

God will help me to do what’s best!

 

 

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Filed under Challenges, Character, Choices, Coping skills, God's Plan, God's Will, Hardship, Joseph

Joseph’s Journey


For summer camp this year, I’ve written ten Challenges (Bible activities for small groups and a leader to do together – sometimes in competition with other groups) and some large group lessons on the story of Joseph. They are all located on the Lesson and Material Downloads page (see the link at the top of the screen), and you can find them alphabetically in the list. They all start with the letters “JJ” for “Joseph’s Journey.”

Hope you can find some lessons that will be useful for you!

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Conversation Starters for Teenage Girls (SCENARIOS)


Audience

Teen Girls

Time

30-45 minutes
Description

These scenarios are intended to provide conversation starters for teen girls and a skilled and caring mentor.  They can also be used in group settings, but an adult guide should still be present to provide perspective and wisdom.  The cards address many challenging situations in which young girls might find themselves.

 

Scriptures

o   N/A

 

Materials

o  Scenarios worksheets (attached – 1 per person) or “Conversation Starters for Teenage Girls – Cards” (a file that you can download at www.teachingthem.com on the Lesson and Material Downloads page.

o  Something to write with (if you use the worksheet – 1 per person)

o  Something to write on (if you use the worksheet – 1 per person)

o  Bible

Preparation

o  Review the scenarios and delete or pull out any that you don’t want to address.

o  Print the worksheets (1 per person) or the scenario cards (1 per group)

o  Practice the script.

Procedure

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

  • “There are many challenging situations facing teenage girls today.”
  • “If you haven’t thought about how you will prepare for them or respond to them, they could surprise you, and you might find yourself under pressure to make the wrong decision.”
  • “Today, we are going to ask you to think about some of these situations and give your opinion about how you should prepare for or respond to them.”  (If you are using the worksheet, pass it out now, and let the girls have 15-20 minutes to complete it.  You can then discuss their answers as a group, or you can have them turn them in so that you can review them before discussing them at your next meeting.  If you are using the cards, lay them face-down in the center of the group, and have the girls take turns drawing one and responding to it.  Then, allow the other girls to share their thoughts, as well.  Sometimes what they say will be enough on the topic, but at other times, you may need to redirect them by sharing your perspective.  Whenever possible, reference biblical principles.)

 

SCENARIO WORKSHEET

Take some time, and read through each of the following scenarios.  Write how you think you should handle each situation on a separate sheet of paper.  Be sure to number your answers.

 

1.     You and your boyfriend have been dating for three months.  Recently, he has begun to bring up the subject of sex to get your opinion on it.  He says that he wouldn’t ever want to do anything that you didn’t want to do, but you can tell that he is hoping you will say it is okay.

2.     One of your girlfriends confessed to you that she has been thinking about suicide.  Her parents have been fighting for years and are now going through a divorce.  She is unpopular at school, and the boys make fun of her because she is heavy.  Recently, she has even stopped turning in her homework, and her failing grades are getting her into trouble with her parents and with school administrators.

3.     At a party, a popular girl invites you to join her and her friends as they take hits of acid.  You initially say, “No, thanks….I’m okay,” but they begin to make fun of you for being so “straight” and “pure.”  They laugh at you and tell you it’s time to grow up and stop being such a little girl.

4.     You are out driving on a date with a cute boy, and he reaches across you to open the glove compartment of his car.  As he does so, his arm brushes your chest.  You are embarrassed, but he is very apologetic, so you say it was no big deal.  However, an hour later, he does the same thing at dinner as he reaches for the ketchup.

5.     You and a girlfriend are out at the mall.  As she reaches to pick out a bracelet that she likes, you see that she has several dark bruises on her arm under her shirtsleeve.  When you ask her about it, she says that she bumped into something, but you aren’t convinced.  The bruises look like finger marks from her arm being squeezed too hard. You keep asking her about it until she confesses that her boyfriend got angry the other day and shook her a little.  She assures you that it’s the first time anything like this has ever happened.

6.     The word is out all over school about a famous celebrity sex video, and you are surprised to find that someone has sent you the link through email.  Your friend is watching over your shoulder when you open the email and tells you that you should click on the link.  “Everyone has seen it except us,” she says.

7.     Report cards come out, and you are surprised to see that you got a “B” in a class that you should have failed.  You didn’t turn in three assignments this semester, and you’ve been dreading getting your grades.  What was even more surprising is that your teacher commented on how much you’ve improved in getting your homework done.  You’re pretty sure that he made some kind of mistake in his grade book, but you are reluctant to bring it up, because an “F” means you will be grounded and miss this weekend’s social.

8.     A friend has started to look tired all the time.  She has dark patches under her eyes, and she no longer seems to have any energy or spark.  She has also been losing a lot of weight, which is confusing, because she eats more than you or any of your other friends.  You’ve begun to wonder if she might be throwing up whenever she goes to the bathroom after you eat out together.

9.     It is obvious to you that the girls who wear the tightest clothing and the shortest skirts get the most attention from the guys.  You’ve always been modest in what you wear, but it hurts that none of the guys is ever interested in you.  One guy even asked you why you wear “old lady” clothes.

10.  You’re out at the movies with a guy.  When he opens his wallet to pay for your tickets, you notice that he has several condoms in it.

11.  You catch your older brother looking at a pornographic magazine in his room.  He first begs you not to tell, then threatens to get you back if you say anything to Mom or Dad.

12.  You wake up late one night when you hear a noise in the dark.  You look out your window and see your older sister sneaking back into her room.  You look at the clock and see that it’s 4:30 a.m. The next morning, your parents tell you to wake up your sister, and you smell alcohol on her breath when you go to get her.

13.  You’ve got a new teacher – a young guy just out of college, and he is really cute.  All the girls are talking about him.  One day, he asks you to stay for a few minutes after class so that he can talk to you about your last paper.  He is very excited about your writing abilities and tells you that you have talent.  This meeting is followed by several others, and he offers to coach you to help you really develop your writing skills.  You have been meeting a few times a week after school for several weeks, and one day at your meeting, he reaches out and puts his hand on yours.

14.  One of your girlfriends just found out that she is pregnant.  She says that there is no way she can have a baby.  Her parents would do something crazy like sending her to live with her aunt in another state.  Her boyfriend is trying to help her raise the money for the abortion pill, and she has asked if you can help out with a little money.

15.  One of the girls in your first period class is upset, because someone stole her iPod out of her backpack.  This girl is really irritating and has always been mean to you, and you are a little amused to see that something bad has finally happened to her.  Unfortunately, you know who stole the iPod.  You saw one of your good friends listening to it yesterday after school, and you know it is the same iPod because of a scratch that it has on the back cover.

16.  You are at a school social with some friends.  When it is time to leave, you realize that the friend who drove you there has been drinking and is in no condition to drive.  You offer to drive for her, but she refuses and says that she is just fine.

17.  You are at a concert with some friends, and someone passes a joint down the row of seats.  You expect your friends to pass it back the other way, but to your surprise, they all take a hit and then pass it to you.  When you start to refuse, they begin to tease you and put the joint in your face.  They say that you are going to get high off the second-hand smoke anyway – why not enjoy it all the way?

18.  You’ve told your parents that you are going to a sleepover at a friend’s house, but when you get there, you find out that the girls have planned a secret trip to a local dance club.  They are busy getting dressed and putting on make-up so that they look “legal,” and one of the girls says that she is a good friend with the gatekeeper at the door.  He promised that he would let them all in as long as they looked old enough.

19.  While at the mall one weekend, you and your girlfriend meet a couple of cute guys.  They are from your school, but you don’t really know them.  You eat together at one of the fast-food places, and then the guys ask if the two of you can give them a ride home.  When you hesitate, they say, “Come on, it’s not far from here.  It will only take you a few minutes.”

20.  You get a friend request from someone on Facebook.  You don’t recognize the name, but they have lots of the same friends as you, so you approve the request.  As soon as you do, the person starts to chat with you.  You start to chat while looking up his profile.  Unfortunately, you still don’t recognize him, but he looks pretty normal in his photos and he goes to the same high school as you.  He is asking you questions about what you like to do on the weekends and when you aren’t working on homework.

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Abraham’s Tests (Lesson)


Time

30-35 minutes
Description

This lesson teaches about how God tested Abraham when He asked him to sacrifice Isaac.

 

Scriptures

  • Genesis 12:1-3; 15:1-6; 17:19-20; 22:1-19
  • Hebrews 11:17-19

Materials

  • Whiteboard, chalkboard or flipchart
  • Marker
  • Bible

Preparation

  • Practice the script.

 

Procedure

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

  • “Raise your hand if your parents have ever tracked how tall you are growing by putting a mark on a wall right above your head.”  (Acknowledge raised hands.)
  • “My mom used to do that, too.”
  • “I want to see how quickly we can do it today up at this board (or flipchart).”
  • “Everyone line up over here, and then come up and let me mark your height on the board.”  (As each participant comes up, make a mark above their heads and put his/her name beside it.  Try to keep everyone’s marks clustered in the center, because you are going to draw a large heart around them.  You might even want to use the two tallest participants as the top of the heart and then taper the marks toward the bottom.  Don’t draw the heart shape yet, though. )
  • “Wow, we’ve got a lot of different heights in this room!”
  • “So, this is how your parents’ might have tracked your height.”
  • “God does something similar, but He’s not tracking your height; He tracking your heart.” (Draw a heart shape around all the measurements.)
  • “God is much less interested in your height than He is in your heart, so every once in a while, He measures your heart to see how spiritually mature it is.”
  • “You could say that if God measured you, and you were down here (put your hand near the bottom of the heart) that you are not very mature spiritually.”
  • “But if you were way up here (put your hand near the top of the heart), you would be very spiritually mature.”
  • “Does anyone know how God measures the spiritual maturity of our hearts?”  (Listen for responses.  What you want to hear is that He tests us.)
  • “Right!  God tests us to measure the spiritual maturity of our hearts!”
  • “The story I’m going to tell you about today is about a person who was VERY spiritually mature.”
  • “He was very old, and he had followed the Lord for a very long time.”
  • “His name was Abram, but you might know him better as Abraham.”
  • “Have any of you heard of him?”  (Look for a show of hands.)
  • “Great! Well, there is a lot to tell about the story of Abraham, but we are going to focus on one of the times in his life when God was giving him a test to measure the spiritual maturity of his heart.”
  • “This part of his story started when he was 75 years old.”
  • “God made him a very special but very surprising promise.”  (Ask a volunteer to read Genesis 12:1-3.)
  • “God promised to make Abraham (at this point, his name was just Abram) into a great nation.”
  • “This had to be surprising to Abraham, because he didn’t have any children at the age of 75.”
  • “His name, Abram, meant ‘exalted father,’ and it must have felt like a joke to him and may have even been a very painful reminder that he didn’t have anyone to carry on his name.”
  • “But Abraham believed God, and it’s a good thing he did, because this was one of God’s tests.” (Mark a line on the heart about one-third up from the bottom, and write “Abram” or “Abraham” beside it.)
  • “Abraham left his family and went to a place that God showed him.”
  • “Years later, Abraham still didn’t have any children when God appeared to him in a vision.”  (Have a volunteer read Genesis 15:1-6.)
  • “You see, it’s okay to tell God exactly how you feel.”
  • “Abraham complained to God that God had made a promise but nothing had changed.”
  • “So, God made His promise a little more clear and told him that he would definitely have a child..and not just one, but many, many, many…as many as the starts in the sky.”
  • “And Abraham believed him, and it was a good thing he did, because this was another one of God’s tests.” (Mark a line on the heart about halfway up from the bottom, and write “Abram” or “Abraham” beside it.)
  • “Years later, Abraham was 99 years old and had a son.”
  • “Abraham thought this boy, Ishmael, was God’s promise to him.”
  • “Unfortunately, it wasn’t the son that God had promised but a son that came from a mistake Abraham had made when he thought God needed his help making God’s promise come true.”
  • “So, God appeared to Abraham again to help him understand.”  (Have a volunteer read Genesis 17:19-20.)
  • “God got very specific this time and even told Abraham the name of the promised child.”
  • “This was actually the time that God gave Abram his new name, Abraham, which means ‘father of many nations.’”
  • “Abraham laughed at the promise at first (since he was 99, and his wife was 90 – pretty old to be having children), but then he believed God.”
  • “And it’s a good thing he did, because this was one of God’s tests.” (Mark a line on the heart about one-third down from the top, and write “Abraham” beside it.)
  • “One year later, Abraham and Sarah (his wife) had a baby boy, and they loved him very, very much!”
  • “Years passed, and Isaac grew strong and tall.”
  • “Probably about the time that he was a teenager, Abraham was tested by God again.”
  • “And since Abraham was spiritually mature, this test was a really tough one!”
  • “God wanted to know who was more important in Abraham’s heart – Isaac or God?”  (Have volunteer read Genesis 22:1-2.)
  • “This sounds like a terrible test!”
  • “How could God ask Abraham to sacrifice his promised son?”
  • “But Abraham trusted God and knew that even if Isaac died, God could raise him back to life.”
  • “We know that was what Abraham was thinking, because the Bible tells us so.”  (Have volunteer read Hebrews 11:17-19.)
  • “So Abraham obeyed God, and it’s a good thing he did, because this was one of God’s tests.” (Mark a line on the heart a little higher than the last one and write “Abraham” beside it.  Then have a volunteer read Genesis 22:3-5.)
  • “I know this had to be tearing Abraham up in side.  Three days walking with your son, knowing that you were going to offer him as a sacrifice!”
  • “But Abraham kept trusting God every step of the way.”  (Mark a line on the heart a little higher than the last one and write “Abraham” beside it.  Then, have a volunteer read Genesis 22:6-8.)
  • “Do you hear Abraham’s faith? ‘God Himself will provide the lamb…’” (Mark a line a little higher.  Then have a volunteer read Genesis 22:9-12.)
  • “Wow!  That was close!  But you have to understand that God never intended for Abraham to actually sacrifice Isaac.”
  • “God says in another part of Scripture that He must NOT be worshiped by human sacrifice.”  (Deuteronomy 12:31)
  • “God had his angel standing on the ready the entire time, but the test wasn’t complete until Abraham showed that he was actually willing to sacrifice his son.”
  • “Abraham proved that he loved God more than he loved Isaac and that he believed God could bring Isaac back from the dead.”  (Make a mark at the top of the heart, and write “Abraham” next to it.  Then have a volunteer read Genesis 22:13-19.)
  • “When Abraham passed God’s test, God provided a another way that Abraham hadn’t even imagined.”
  • “God provided a substitute for Isaac.”
  • “Instead of Isaac dying, the ram would die.”
  • “And because Abraham passed this test, he got to be part of a very special story – the story about Jesus.”
  • “This story of Abraham and Isaac is a lot like the story of Jesus, and there are clue all the way through.  Can anyone tell me something from this story that is like the story of Jesus?”  (Listen for responses.  Here are some possible answers that you might want to bring it if they aren’t mentioned:

o   Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son just like God was willing to sacrifice His Son, Jesus.

o   Isaac was going to be an offering for sin, just like Jesus.

o   The journey took three days, which reminds us that Jesus was buried for three days.

o   Isaac carried the wood that he was going to be sacrificed on, just like Jesus carried His cross.

o   Isaac asked where they would get the lamb for the sacrifice, and Abraham told him that God would provide the lamb.  God did provide Jesus as the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.

o   Isaac apparently was willing to die, just like Jesus, because there is no mention of a struggle (a struggle Isaac surely would have won, since his father was over 100 years old, and he would have been a teenager).

o   The ram was caught in the thickets, a thorny bush, which reminds us that Jesus wore a crown of thorns.

o   An angel was present at both this event and the resurrection of Jesus.  You could say that Isaac also had a type of resurrection, since he was meant to die on the altar.)

  • “You see, this story points us to Jesus.”
  • “Some people call it a type or a shadow of the story of Jesus.  I prefer ‘shadow,’ because a shadow lets you know ahead of time if someone is coming around a corner.  And this type of story tells us ahead of time that Jesus is coming.”
  • “Jesus died for us so that we don’t have to.”
  • “The Bible says that the wages (or payment) for sin is death, and Jesus paid that payment for us on the cross.”
  • “He was our substitute, like the ram in the thicket.”
  • “And because Jesus paid for our sins, we get to live for eternity, forever and ever with Jesus in heaven.”
  • “What I want you to remember from today’s lesson are these few things:

o   God will test the spiritual maturity of your heart many times during your life as a Christian.

o   This test is not really for God to know your maturity; he already knows.  They are for you to recognize how mature you have become.

o   The more mature you get, the bigger the tests God will give you.

o   When you pass a test, God blesses you and uses you to bless others.”

 

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Filed under Abraham, Abram, Belief, faith, God's Plan, God's Will, Obedience, Priorities, Trust

Don’t Fumble Your Faith


Time

30 minutes (or longer, depending upon how many rounds of play you allow)


Description

This object lesson helps children understand how much faith it took for Abraham (called “Abram” at the time) to leave his family and friends to go where God sent him. This is a good outdoor activity that gets everyone involved. It is more physical than typical object lessons, so please consider if it is appropriate for your group of children.

Materials

· Ball (preferably an American football if you are going to call the game, “Don’t Fumble Your Faith,” but most types of balls will do – it just needs to be large enough for the kids to try to pull it out of “Abraham’s” grip.)

· Tape or chalk

Preparation

· Use the tape or chalk to mark off a square on the floor or ground. The square should be four to five feet wide in all directions.

· Mark off an “X” in the center of the square.

· Practice the script.

Procedure

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

· “Who can tell me some things you know or remember about Abraham from the Bible?” (Listen to responses. Encourage and correct where appropriate.)

· “Abraham was the first father of the Hebrew people. He was originally named, ‘Abram,’ which means, ‘exalted father.’ But God promised him that he would be the father of a great nation and gave him a new name: ‘Abraham,’ which means, ‘father of a great number.’”

· “This promise had to be a little hard to believe, because Abraham and his wife Sarah had already learned that they were not able to have children.”

· “What made it tougher to believe was that Abraham was 75 years old, and Sarah was 65 years old when God made the promise!”

· “Let’s read about it.” (Ask a volunteer to read Genesis 12:1-8.)

· “So, there was more to it. God didn’t just promise to make Abraham the father of a great nation; He also promised to:

o Make Abraham’s name great.

o Make Abraham a blessing to other people.

o Bless those who bless Abraham.

o Curse those who curse Abraham.

o Bless all the peoples on the earth through Abraham.

o Give Abraham’s people the land where the Canaanites lived. (This was a later promise – v. 7.)”

· “That’s a pretty big promise! But it didn’t come completely free. God asked Abraham to do something first.”

· “God asked Abraham to, ‘Leave (his) country, (his) people and (his) father’s household and go to the land (God) would show (him).’”

· “God didn’t even tell Abraham where he was going. He basically said, ‘I’ll let you know when you get there.’”

· “That takes a lot of faith! To leave everything you know and go somewhere you don’t! Through wilderness with wild animals and possibly hostile people!”

· “But Abraham (‘Abram at the time’) did it. Right after he got the promise, the Bible says, ‘So Abram left, as the Lord had told him…’”

· “Let’s play a game to help us understand how much faith it took for Abraham to leave his country, his people and his father to go where God sent him.”

Don’t Fumble Your Faith: Game Set-up and Rules

· Pick one volunteer to be “Abraham.” Put this person on the “X” in the center of the square. Give this person the ball.

· Pick one volunteer to be “God.” Place him/her some distance away from the square – at least ten feet away.

· Line the other kids up on the tape or chalk line that you laid down. There should be at least a few on each side of the square, but they will probably want more kids on the side that is closest to “God.”

· Tell the rules of the game:

o Tell the kids that the ball represents Abraham’s faith in God.

o Abraham’s goal is to get to God without fumbling (letting go of) his faith.

o The square outline represents Abraham’s comfort zone. In it, he feels comfortable and safe. Outside it, things are scary and unknown.

o The kids standing on the square outline represent things that make Abraham’s comfort zone comfortable. They are things like:

§ Fear of the unknown (anything that is outside the comfort zone)

§ Family

§ Friends

§ Home / House

§ Familiar foods

§ Familiar customs

§ A comfortable routine

§ A good job

§ Physical safety

§ Favorite things to do

§ Favorite possessions, etc. (After you’ve listed a few of the things Abraham had, you might use things the kids would identify with, like video games, pizza, sports… It adds humor and helps the kids to connect the lesson to their own lives.)

o Tell the kids that these things make it difficult for Abraham to leave his home and go where God wants him to go.

o The goal of the kids standing on the square will be to keep Abraham in his comfort zone. They can do this by locking arms, forming a wall and not letting Abraham through.

o They can also try to make Abraham “fumble his faith” (drop the ball) by reaching in and trying to grab it or pull it out of his grip.

o They cannot, however, take their feet off the marked-off square. If Abraham gets past them, they cannot chase after him.

o If Abraham breaks free of “his comfort zone,” he has only one obstacle left to reaching God, and that’s you (the facilitator).

o Tell the kids that your role is to play Satan / the devil. If Abraham makes it out of his comfort zone, you will either try to catch him and take him back, or you will try to make him “fumble his faith.”

o The game ends when one of the following happens:

§ Abraham “fumbles his faith.”

§ Abraham is unsuccessful in his attempts to reach God after several minutes (you choose the time limit, but three to five minutes should be plenty).

§ Abraham reaches God with his “faith.”

o Whenever one of the Abrahams successfully reaches God, he/she gets to pick the next Abraham, and a new round ensues with the previous Abraham joining the “comfort zone.”

o Whenever an Abraham fails to reach God or fumbles his faith, the facilitator should select the next Abraham.

o Play as many rounds as you like. Most kids will enjoy a turn at being Abraham or God.

o Save some time at the end of game play to debrief using the following script:

§ “Help me remember what symbols we were working with in the game.”

§ “What did the ball represent?” (Listen for responses.)

§ “What did the square represent?” (Listen for responses.)

§ “What are some of the things that make our comfort zone comfortable?” (Listen for responses.)

§ “Who can share with us a step of faith that God has asked you to make in your life?” (Listen for responses, and encourage.)

§ “What do you think it means to ‘fumble your faith?’” (Listen for responses. The general idea you want to hear is that it means that you lose confidence that God will help you or protect you or that you lose confidence that He really asked you do something.)

§ “Has that ever happened to you or someone you know about?” (Listen for responses.)

§ “What can we do to make sure we hold onto our faith like Abraham did?” (Listen for responses.)

§ “Excellent, everyone! Remember this week to hold onto your faith!”

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Filed under Abraham, Abram, Belief, Challenges, Christianity, faith, Fear, Game, Games that Teach, God's Will, Hands-on, Hope, Obedience, Object Lesson, Sarah, struggles, test

Walking on Water


Time

30-45 minutes


Description

This object lesson is used as a highlight to the story of Peter walking on water.

The lesson is big and expensive. It takes lots of time to prepare, and it’s messy. It’s best reserved for large events. That said, there’s a lot of “wow factor.” This will be an activity that they will remember for years.

To see my blog and some video on when I did this object lesson, click here: They Walked on Water

Materials

· Drop cloth for the floor (if you do it indoors)

· Corn starch (8 lbs for every gallon)

· Water (1.5 gallons for every 8 lbs of corn starch)

· Kiddie swimming pool (90 gallons or more)

· Example: – if you use a 90 gallon pool, you will need 288 lbs of corn starch and 54 gallons of water

· Several buckets, water bottles, electric fans, rolls of blue wrapping paper

· Write out the following note cards with script for part of your enactment:

o Jesus: It’s all right. I am here! Don’t be afraid.

o Peter: Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you by walking on the water.

o Jesus: All right…come.

    • Peter: Save me, Lord!
    • Jesus: You don’t have much faith. Why did you doubt me?

Preparation

· It’s best to do this activity outside because of the potential mess, but if you do it inside, lay out a drop cloth.

· Several hours before you run the lesson, mix the corn starch and the water in the pool.

· It’s best to mix it in small quantities and then pour them into the pool. (I recommend mixing 4.5 gallons of water with 24 lbs of corn starch each time.)

· Test the consistency by slapping or punching the surface. It should harden up and resist your blows.

· If this works, you should be able to run across or even on top of the surface. Use very quick steps.

· Have a way for those who get stuck in the pool to wash off.

· Set up a place in the teaching area near the pool to be a “boat.” You can do this with some cardboard boxes or with masking tape, or you could just designate an area of the floor as the “boat.”

· Put the buckets in the “boat.”

· Fill the water bottles with water.

· Set up the electric fans so that they face the boat.

· Roll out the blue wrapping paper on the floor (blue side up) under the boat or across the area of the designated “boat.”

Procedure

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

  • “After Jesus fed the 5,000, He went to a quiet place and prayed to God, the Father, and the disciples got into a boat to head across the lake.”
  • “The disciples sailed away from the shore and were in the middle of the Sea of Galilee when a huge storm rolled in!” (Ask for 12 volunteers, and have them get into the “boat.” Select one of them to be Peter. As you tell the story, they should act out what you are saying. Then get volunteers to spray the water bottles, turn the fans on and off, turn the lights on and off and create waves with the wrapping paper by holding either end and waving it up and down.)
  • “It was dark. The wind was howling!” (Have your fan volunteers turn on the fans.) “Water sprayed over the sides of the boat and drenched the apostles!” (Have your water bottle volunteers spray the apostles, and have your wave volunteers wave the paper up and down.) “Lightning flashed across the sky.” (Have your lights volunteer flick the lights on and off.)
  • “They were afraid that they might sink, so they used buckets to try and bail water out of the boat.” (Have the apostle-volunteers pretend to bail water.)
  • “Hours went by, and the apostles grew very tired. About 3 o’clock in the morning, things got worse!”
  • ‘A ghost came walking across the water straight at them!” (Have a volunteer play Jesus and run across the pool of “water” toward the others.)
  • “This was one fast-moving ghost!”
  • “They screamed in terror!” (If the disciples don’t scream, say, “A-hem, I said that the apostles screamed in terror!”)
  • “Then, something totally incredible happened!” (Have your helpers say the following lines from their note cards.)
    • Jesus: It’s all right. I am here! Don’t be afraid.
    • Peter: Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you by walking on the water.
    • Jesus: All right…come.
  • “Peter went over the side of the boat and started walking on the water toward Jesus!” (Have Peter character run across the pool of “water.”)
  • “But then, he took his eyes off Jesus and looked around.”
  • “He saw the high waves! He noticed the howling wind!”
  • “He became terrified and began to sink under the water!” (Have character act this out running to the center of the pool, stopping and crying out.)
    • Peter: Save me, Lord!
  • “Jesus reached out His hand and grabbed Peter.” (Have character act this out by reaching in to grab “Peter” from outside the pool.)
    • Jesus: You don’t have much faith. Why did you doubt me?
  • “Jesus and Peter climbed back into the boat, and immediately, the wind stopped.” (Have “Peter” and “Jesus” join the other volunteers beside the pool.)
  • “Then the disciples worshipped Jesus.” (Have volunteers bow down to Jesus.)
  • “And they said, ‘You really are the Son of God!’”
  • “Peter walked on water! Can you believe that?”
  • “But then he began to sink.”
  • “Tell me…why did Peter start to sink into the water?” (He took his eyes off Jesus.)
  • “That’s right. He took his eyes of Jesus. He looked around at all the scary stuff around him, and he began to think, ‘I’m in big trouble. A person can’t walk on water! That’s impossible! I must have been crazy thinking I could have walked on water!’”
  • “Of course, Peter was right, but he forgot one very important thing…all things are possible with God!”
  • “When Peter began to sink under the water, he had a problem, but I’m learning that whenever I have a problem, I should give it to Jesus.”
  • “Anytime that I feel like I’m sinking under all my problems, I need to give them to Jesus.”
  • “As long as I keep my eyes on Him, He helps me with my problems.”
  • “But if I start to focus on the scary things that are happening around me, I’ll start to sink again.”
  • “Now you may think Peter looked pretty silly when he took his eyes off Jesus and began to sink under water, but I don’t.”
  • “I admire Peter for having the courage to get out of the boat.”
  • “Peter was a Water Walker!”
  • “You know what all the other guys were? They were Boat Huggers!”
  • “While Peter walked on the water, they hugged the boat in fear.”
  • “Jesus told Peter that he only had a little faith, but even his little faith was a lot more than the Boat Huggers had.”
  • “A Water Walker trusts in God.”
  • “A Water Walker does the scary things that God wants him to do.”
  • “A Water Walker gets out of the boat to get closer to Jesus.”
  • “If you want to get closer to Jesus, you’re going to have to get out of the boat and walk on water.”
  • “Any of you want to be Water Walkers for Jesus?” (Allow all that are interested to take a run across the pool of “water.”)

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Filed under Christianity, faith, Hands-on, Object Lesson, Peter, Simon-Peter, test, Trust

Fall of Faith


Time

10 minutes

Description

This object lesson teaches about faith and about doing things for God that are sometimes scary.

Materials

Box or some other sturdy object that children can fall off backward so that you can catch them. It should be tall enough that it presents a challenge but not so tall as to be unsafe.

Preparation

· Set up box on stage.

· Ask for someone strong and reliable to be your spotter.

· Practice the script.

Procedure

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

· “Sometimes God gives you a test to see if you are learning what He is trying to teach you.”

· “First, He teaches you a lesson. Then, He tests you on it to see if you learned it.”

· “One of the areas that He will regularly test you in is your faith. He wants to know if you trust Him.”

· “I would like to demonstrate. Can I get a really brave volunteer?” (Select volunteer and bring him/her up to stage. Have person stand on a sturdy box or some other object on the stage, facing away from audience.)

· “You may have heard of a leap of faith. That means you jump out to do something God wants you to do even when it’s scary. You do it because you believe God will catch you.”

· “We’re going to do a ‘Fall of Faith.’ I’ll play the part of God, and when (volunteer’s name) falls backward off this box, I’ll catch him/her.”

· “So, ready?” (talking to volunteer)

· “When I count to three, I want you to fall backward into my arms, and just like God, I will catch you if you put your trust in me.”

· (Draw this out in order to create suspense and add a little humor.) “Are you ready? ………Oh, hey….how are you feeling? Is it scary? But you trust me, right?”

· “Okay, count of three! One! Two!”

· (Suddenly turn away from the volunteer and face the audience. Make sure you have arranged for another adult – a “spotter” – to be standing near so that he or she can catch the child if he/she falls. Your spotter should not be obvious but should be close enough for safety.)

· “Oh! I forgot to tell you! Before you do a Fall of Faith, make sure you pray about it. Not everything that is scary is something God wants you to do. You’ve got to make sure this is really a test from God. You don’t want to take the fall if it isn’t God’s will, because you may get hurt. You can also talk to other godly people (like your parents) and read your Bible to make sure.”

· “All right! Let’s do this! (talking again to your volunteer) One! Two! Thr…!”

· (Suddenly turn away—same condition as before—and face audience.)

· “Can anyone give me an example of a time when you did something for God that was scary?”

· (Take a few ideas.)

· “Perfect! Exactly what I’m looking for! I think that helps us understand what I mean by a ‘Fall of Faith.’”

· “Okay, time to take the fall!”

· (To volunteer) “Are you ready?”

· (Assuming that you have lost the volunteer’s trust by now, say…) “Why not? No, really, you can trust me!” (If the volunteer still seems to trust you, you might need to draw this out some more.)

· “Okay—one, two, THREE!” (If volunteer doesn’t fall, reassure him/her that you are serious this time. After the volunteer takes the fall, and you safely catch him or her, thank your volunteer and send him/her back to seat.)

· “The good news is, God is more trustworthy than I am. He will always catch you if you are doing His will.”

· (If you have time, let other children experience the Fall of Faith.)

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Filed under Anxiety, Belief, Christianity, faith, Fear, God's Will, Obedience, Object Lesson, Trust, Worry