Tag Archives: truth

Solid Foundation (OBJ LESSON)


Building with LegosTime

20 minutes
Description

When you are building a house, it’s essential to have a strong foundation.  Jesus illustrated this in the parable about the wise and foolish builders and made it clear that the “house” is a metaphor for our life.  If we build on the Rock (Jesus), our lives will withstand every storm of life.  In this object lesson, children will build three different foundations and then test them to see if they will stand the test.

 

Scriptures

  • Luke 6:46-49

 

Materials

  • Sugar cubes (1 box per group – make sure they are fresh so that they will dissolve quickly in water)
  • Marshmallows (1 bag of large marshmallows per group)
  • Legos or Duplo building blocks (about 100 small blocks or 50 large blocks per group)
  • A small house made from half of the Lego’s or Duplo blocks
  • Watering can or 3 bottles of water
  • Water (enough to fill you can or bottle)
  • Clear plastic containers (3  – about 8-10 inches tall and large enough for kids to build their foundations in)
  • Bible

 

Preparation

  • Build a small house out of the Legos or Duplo blocks, but save about half of your blocks for building one of the foundations.
  • Put the sugar cubes in one plastic container, the marshmallows in another and the rest of the Legos or Duplo blocks in another.
  • Fill the watering can with water (if you are using one)
    • Practice the script.

 

Procedure

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

  • “Jesus told a story about a wise and a foolish builder.”  (Have a volunteer read Luke 6:46-49.)
  • “Jesus isn’t really talking about houses.  He’s talking about something much more important.  When He says ‘house,’ He really means life.”
  • “Jesus is saying that we should build our life on a strong foundation so that when bad things happen (like the flood and the torrent, which is a fast-moving stream), our house – our life – will not be destroyed.”
  • “So what is this foundation that Jesus is speaking about?  Does anyone know?” (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “In Scripture, the term ‘foundation’ is often used to mean truth.”
  • “In the story Jesus told, He said that the wise builder dug down deep and laid his foundation on the rock.”
  • “In the Bible, rocks are usually references to Jesus, the Rock.”
  • “So, what Jesus was saying is that the wise builder built his life (his ‘house’) on the truth (the ‘foundation’) that Jesus (‘the Rock’) is Lord and Savior.”
  • “If you build your life on any other foundation, it won’t stand up during the storms of life – the difficult times.”
  • “Let’s do an activity that will show what Jesus means.”  (Divide the group into three small groups, and give each group a container with different building materials. Give them 3 minutes to build a foundation out of their materials.  When everyone is finished, set the small house on top of the sugar cubes.)
  •  “Let’s see what happens when the storms of life happen to a house built on this kind of foundation.”  (Get a volunteer to poor water over the house to simulate a storm and flood.)
  • “What is happening to this foundation?” (Acknowledge responses.  Get another volunteer to shake the plastic container to simulate an earthquake.)
  • “Now what’s happening?” (Acknowledge response. Repeat the process for the marshmallow and Lego/Duplo foundation, but when you put the house on the Lego/Duplo foundation, attach it so that it sits firmly and will withstand the “earthquake.”  After you’ve finished the activity, discuss the Debrief questions below.  You can use the Rhyme Time to reinforce the main teaching point.)

 

Debriefing Questions

 

  1. If the Legos/Duplo blocks represent the Truth that Jesus is Lord and Savior, what do you think the sugar cubes and marshmallows represented?  (An answer that you are looking for is that they represent what the world says is true.  These are fake truths.)
  2. What are some examples of fake truths that some people build their lives on?  (Some responses might include “money, power, fame, pleasure… are the most important things in life” or “other religions” or “if you are good enough, you can get to heaven.”)
  3. What happens when people build their lives on these truths?
  4. What truth do you want to build your life on?

 

Rhyme Time

A life built on the Rock

Will withstand every shock!

 

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Why Jesus Came to Earth (BIBLE LESSON)


Time

25-30 minutes
Description

This lesson teaches about why Jesus came to earth.  It’s a good lesson to do around Christmas time, and it includes a game to keep things light.

 

Scriptures

  • Matthew 5:17, 20:28
  • Luke 4:18, 5:32, 19:10
  • John 3:17, 6:38-40, 6:51, 10:10, 12:46, 18:37
  • 1 John 3:8, 4:9-10

Materials

  • Cups (14 per team – teams will be about 6-10 people each)
  • Future board or cardboard (2 ft x 2 ft per team)
  • Plastic balls (14 per team – a kind that fits into the opening of the cups and that you can write on with a permanent marker)
  • Permanent marker
  • Tape
  • Small candies (at least one per cup)
  • Bible

Preparation

  • Make tape loops with the tape, and use them to stick the cups to the future board or cardboard in a rounded pattern to resemble the world.  (You can stick them in rows using the following pattern: 2, 3, 4, 3, 2.)
  • Use the permanent marker to write the following Scripture summaries on the balls (one per ball):

§  “To destroy the works of the devil – 1 John 3:8”

§  “To give His life as a ransom for many – Matt 20:28”

§  “As a light so that no one who believes in Him should stay in darkness – John 12:46”

§  “To fulfill the Law and the Prophets – Matt 5:17”

§  “So that we might live through Him – 1 John 4:9”

§  “So that we can have abundant life – John 10:10”

§  “As a sacrifice to pay for our sins – 1 John 4:10”

§  “To proclaim good news to the poor, to proclaim freedom for prisoners, recovery of sight for the blind and to set the oppressed free – Luke 4:18”

§  “To seek and to save the lost – Luke 19:10”

§  “To do His Father’s will and raise up those the Father gave Him at the last day – John 6:38-40”

§  “To call sinners to repentance – Luke 5:32”

§  “To testify to the truth – John 18:37”

§  “To save the world through Himself – John 3:17”

§  “To give eternal life – John 6:51”

  • Put a candy or multiple candies into each cup.
  • Put the balls into the cups (one per cup).
  • Practice the script.

 

Procedure

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

  • “Have any of you ever wondered why Jesus came to the earth?”  (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “Why do you think He came?”  (Allow volunteers to share reasons, and expand on each one if needed.  For any reasons that aren’t mentioned, use the notes below to add to what the participants say.  You can use the notes on the balls to help you remember the reasons.

§  To destroy the works of the devil – 1 John 3:8 – The devil had authority over the world until Jesus came, so Jesus came to take that authority away.

§  To give His life as a ransom for many – Matt 20:28 – We were held captive by Satan because of our sin, so Jesus came to earth, lived a perfect life, and exchanged His life for ours.

§  As a light so that no one who believes in Him should stay in darkness – John 12:46 – Before Jesus came, the world was a dark place, but Jesus came as the Light of the world and pushed back the darkness.

§  To fulfill the Law and the Prophets – Matt 5:17 – The Law and the Prophets were what we call the Old Testament.  The Old Testament promised the Jews that Jesus was coming, and Jesus was the fulfillment of those promises.

§  So that we might live through Him – 1 John 4:9 – We were dead in our sin, so Jesus came to give us life.

§  So that we can have abundant life – John 10:10 – And Jesus didn’t just come to give us life, He came to give us ABUNDANT life – meaning a life full of joy and love and peace.

§  As a sacrifice to pay for our sins – 1 John 4:10 – The Bible says that the wages of sin is death, which means that death is what we earn as a result of our sin.  We have to pay for our sin with our deaths, but God allowed another way.  Something or someone innocent could take our place.  In the Old Testament times, they used to sacrifice innocent animals for pay for their sins, because no human was innocent.  Everyone deserved death because of their sin.  But Jesus came and lived a perfect and innocent life that allowed Him to die for us and pay our debt.

§  To proclaim good news to the poor, to proclaim freedom for prisoners, recovery of sight for the blind and to set the oppressed free – Luke 4:18 – Jesus came to preach the Gospel (the good news), to heal and restore people who were sick, blind, lame or deaf and to set those who were slaves to Satan free.

§  To seek and to save the lost – Luke 19:10 – Jesus came to look for those who were lost in their sin and to save them by inviting them to believe in Him and join Him in heaven.

§  To do His Father’s will and raise up those the Father gave Him at the last day – John 6:38-40 – Jesus said He never did anything that God, the Father, didn’t want Him to do, and He said that His Father’s will was that He save the lost so that He could present them to God the Father as His own on the last day, which is the day of judgment.

§  To call sinners to repentance – Luke 5:32 – Jesus came to invite those who were sinning to turn away from their sin and follow Him.

§  To testify to the truth – John 18:37 – Jesus came to be a witness to what is true and to show the difference between truth and the devil’s lies.

§  To save the world through Himself – John 3:17 – Jesus came to save the world by trading His life for everyone else’s.

§  To give eternal life – John 6:51 – Jesus came to die on the cross and pay for our sins so that we can live with him forever in heaven.

  • “Let’s play a game to help us remember all these reasons.” 
  • “This board and these cups represent the world, and each of these balls has a reason written on it for why Jesus came to the earth.”
  • “I’m going to divide you into teams, and you will try to toss the balls into the cups from a few feet away.”
  • “The first team to fill each cup with a ball wins (if you are doing a competition – or you could just say that they are done when each cup has a ball in it.)”  (Divide the participants into groups of about 6-10, and give each team a board with cups and balls on it.  Place the boards on the floor or on a table.  Have the participants grab 2-3 balls each and step about 2-4 feet away (depending upon the age of your group and how difficult you want this to be).  Then, have them line up and take turns tossing one ball at a time and seeing if they can make it into a cup (only one ball per cup).  If they miss, they can grab their ball and return to the end of the line.  When all the cups have a ball in them, they can divide the candy inside among themselves.  You might want to let them keep the balls as a reminder of why Jesus came to the earth.  When everyone is done, have them take a seat.)
  • “I’ve heard a story that gives another reason why Jesus came to the earth.”
  • “A pastor once shared about how he went to visit the pre-school children in his church’s children’s ministry.”
  • “He said that he walked into the room with his biggest smile and greeted all the children.”
  • “But to his surprise, all the children hid from him.
  • “After thinking about why they were afraid of him, he realized that he must look like a giant to them.”
  • “So, he got down on the floor and greeted the children again.”
  • “This time, the children all ran to him and begin jumping on him and climbing all over him.”
  • “He said that the Holy Spirit spoke quietly to his heart in that moment, and he realized that this was precisely one of the reasons why Jesus came to earth.”
  • “It’s hard to have a relationship with someone who’s ‘up there,’ whom you’ve never met before, who seems so unlike you.”
  • “But when Jesus came to earth as a powerless, little baby, He became someone we could relate to.”
  • “By coming to the earth, Jesus got down on our level so that God was no longer an intimidating person we had never met.”
  • “So, there are many reasons why Jesus came to the earth, but the most important reason and the reason that motivated all the others is LOVE.”
  • “God loves us so much that He didn’t want us to die in our sins.”
  • “He sent Jesus so that we could be together in heaven forever.”

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Filed under Christianity, Christmas, Eternity, Game, Games that Teach, God's Plan, Gospel, Heaven, Jesus, light, Light of the world, Repentance, salvation

Strongholds (Obj Lesson)


Time
15 minutes

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

Audience
Children, youth, adults

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

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

o     Scissors

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

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

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

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

Heart Garden (Obj Lesson)


Time
15-20 minutes

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

Audience
Children, youth, adults

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

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

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

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

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

Capture Every Thought (GAME)


Time
30-45 minutes

Description
This game helps participants understand how important it is to capture every thought and take it captive before Christ.  It is loosely based on the game of Othello ® (Gabriel Industries, Inc.) or Reversi.

Audience
Children, youth

Materials
•    Gameboard (can be printed from the file “Capture Every Thought – Game Board and Pieces.ppt” located on the Lesson and Material Downloads page of http://www.teachthem.wordpress.com.)
•    Game pieces (can be printed from the file “Capture Every Thought – Game Board and Pieces.ppt” located on the Lesson and Material Downloads page of http://www.teachthem.wordpress.com.)
•    “Starting Positions” Gameboard (can be printed from the file “Capture Every Thought – Game Board and Pieces.ppt” located on the Lesson and Material Downloads page of http://www.teachthem.wordpress.com.)
•    “Move #1, #2 & #3” slide (can be printed from the file “Capture Every Thought – Game Board and Pieces.ppt” located on the Lesson and Material Downloads page of http://www.teachthem.wordpress.com.)
•    Glue stick
•    Scissors or cutting board
•    (Optional) Prizes for winners

Preparation
•    Make copies of the “Debrief Questions” page at the end of this lesson (one copy per table group).
•    Print copies of the game boards (1 for every two people)
•    Print copies of the game pieces (60 for ever two people – 1 page makes 60 pieces)
•    Print one copy each of the “Starting Positions” slide and the “Move #1, #2 & #3” example slide.
•    Fold the game piece pages along the blue line that divides the two colors.  Crease the page well along this fold.
•    Use a glue stick to stick the two pages together.  Make sure that the entire surface is covered.
•    Use the scissors or the cutting board to cut out each of the rectangular game pieces.  (They should now be a different color on each side.  Cut closely to the rectangles, because if the pieces are too big, they are difficult to flip on the gamebaord.)
•    Practice the script.

Procedure
Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):
•    “The Bible has a lot to say about what we think.”
•    “Our minds are a major battlefield for the spiritual war between Satan and God.”
•    “God wants our minds to be filled with good things that honor Him, because He knows that these things will bless us and help us live fulfilling lives.”
•    “Satan wants our minds to be filled with bad things that dishonor God, because he hates God and hates that we are made in God’s image.”
•    “Satan knows that he can’t do anything to diminish God, so he tries to hurt the Creator through His creation – and that’s us.”
•    “Let’s read a few of the Scriptures related to our thoughts.”  (Have volunteers read the following Scriptures out loud.)
o    Romans 8:6 (mind of sinful man is death; mind of the Spirit is life)
o    Proverbs 15:26 (the Lord detests thoughts of the wicked but is pleased by thoughts of the pure)
o    Isaiah 55:8-9 (God’s thoughts are higher than our thoughts)
o    Colossians 3:2 (set minds on things above, not on earthly things)
o    Philippians 4:8 (think about excellent, praiseworthy….things)
o    2 Corinthians 10:5 (take every thought captive)
•    “So, we are to think about the things God thinks about and not about sinful things.”
•    “This is really hard to do, and it takes a lot of prayer and practice, because Satan is going to try to mess up our thoughts as much as possible.”
•    “He whispers evil thoughts to us from the spiritual realm, and if we aren’t careful, we accept his thoughts as our own.”
•    “That’s terribly dangerous, because the Bible says that everything Satan ever says is a lie.  Lying is his native language and the only language he speaks.”  (John 8:44)
•    “2 Corinthians 10:5 says that we are to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ.”
•    “This means that when we have a bad thought or even a thought we aren’t sure about, we should ask God about it.”
•    “If is something true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy, God will confirm it for you.”
•    “But if it’s a lie from Satan, God will replace it with the truth.”
•    “We’re going to play a game that will help us to remember to take every thought captive to Christ.”  (Divide group into pairs, and hand out the gameboards and game pieces for each pair.)
•    “You have a gameboard in front of you.  It has 64 spaces on it.”
•    “You also have 64 colored game pieces.  They are blue on one side and yellow on the other.”
•    “Each person should take 30 game pieces for himself and decide if he wants to be either blue or yellow.”  (Have them divide the pieces and pick a color.)
•    “Alright, everyone who chose blue, raise your hands.”  (Demonstrate.)
•    “In this battle, you represent the devil.  Sorry about that.”
•    “Everyone who chose yellow, you represent God.”
•    “The gameboard represents a human mind, and the game pieces each represent thoughts.”
•    “Dark blue pieces represent the bad thoughts and lies Satan tries to get us to believe and take as our own.”
•    “Yellow pieces represent the good thoughts and truth God wants us to believe and act on.”
•    “Each player starts with two thoughts (game pieces) on the board in the center squares.  They should look like this.”  (Show the “Starting Positions” slide.  Have all players put two of their game pieces down.)
•    “The goal of each player is to trap your opponents pieces between two of your own.”
•    “If you have one piece down already and then lay another one, you capture all of your opponent’s pieces that are between your two pieces.  You can then flip all those captured pieces over so that they are now your color.”  (Show “Move #1, #2 and #3” slide to give them examples.)
•    “You can capture pieces diagonally, horizontally or vertically.”
•    “You capture all the opponents’ pieces between your two pieces, so as the game progresses, you should be able to capture two, three, four or more pieces at a time.”
•    “You can even capture pieces in two or more directions at the same time as long as they are all between two of your pieces.”
•    “It’s important to know that you cannot play on spaces unless it allow you to capture at least one of your opponent’s pieces.”
•    “The winner is the person who has the most of their colored pieces on the board when it gets to a point that no one can make a move.”
•    “Dark blue pieces get to go first.”
•    “Do you have any questions about how to play?”  (Answer questions, and then allow them to play a round.  If they finish the first round quickly and you have the time, let them play several rounds.  Then, award a prize to the winners if you choose.  Pass out the Debrief Questions sheet to each group, and allow them 10-15 minutes to talk about the questions.  Then ask the large group for any general insights from the activity.)

Debrief Questions

o    How does this game reflect the battle between God and Satan for your mind?
o    Why would some bad thoughts from Satan change your good thoughts to bad ones (like capturing pieces in the game)?
o    The corners are the most strategic spaces on the gameboard, because they cannot be trapped once they belong to someone.  What might these represent in the battle for your mind?
o    Why is it important to guard your mind against Satan’s influence?  How can you do this?
o    How could you capture more thoughts for Christ?

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Filed under Christianity, Daily walk, Game, Games that Teach, Listening to God, Mind, Object Lesson, Satan's tactics, Spiritual Health, Spiritual Warfare, thinking, Thought war, thoughts

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.)

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