Tag Archives: unconditional love

Red Light – Green Light (GAME)


Time

15-20 minutes
Description

This game is a twist on the popular “Red Light – Green Light” game that kids often play.  It’s high energy with a spiritual teaching point at the end.

Scriptures

  • Jonah 1:1-3
  • Hebrews 12:1-2

Materials

  • None

Preparation

  • Select a wide-open space to play the game.
  • Choose a highly-visible object or point to be the “Finish Line” and another place to be the “Start Line.”
  • Practice the script.

Procedure

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

  • “How many of you have played a game called ‘Red Light – Green Light’ before?”  (Look for a show of hands.)
  • “Well, we’re going to play a game like that, but I’m going to change the rules just a little.”
  • “In ‘Red Light – Green Light,’ everyone starts at a starting line, and the person who is leading is far away.”
  • “The leader faces everyone and says, ‘Red Light!’ and everyone has to freeze right where they are.”
  • “If the leader sees anyone moving even a little, he can send them back to the start line.”
  • “But when the leader turns his back to everyone, he says, ‘Green Light!’ and everyone runs as far as they can toward him before he turns around again and says, ‘Red Light!’”
  • “The first person to reach the leader and tag him wins and gets to be the new leader for another round of the game.”
  • “So, those are the regular rules.  Here are my new backward rules.”
  • “Instead of running toward the leader, you are going to run away from the leader.”
  • “The first person to reach the finish line will be the winner.”  (Tell them what the finish line will be, and point out where everyone will start.)
  • “Does that make sense to everyone?”  (Look for questions and respond.)
  • “Okay, the other rule is still the same.”
  • “When I’m facing you, I’ll call out, ‘Red Light!’ and everyone has to freeze right where they are.”
  • “But when I turn around, I’ll call out, ‘Green Light!’ and you can run like crazy!”
  • “Any questions?”  (Respond to any questions.)
  • “Okay, I’ll be leader first.”  (Position yourself in the middle of the “Start Line,” and have everyone line up on either side of you along the same line.  Start by facing them.  Then quickly turn around and yell out, “Green Light!”  Don’t give them much time to run.  Quickly turn back around, and yell, “Red Light!”  If you see anyone still moving or even twitching (depending upon how strict you want to be with the rules), make them come back to the “Start Line.”  Repeat this process until someone reaches the “Finish Line.”  Then make that person the new leader.  Run through several rounds of the game, and then bring everyone back for a debrief using the following questions.)

Debrief Questions & Discussion

  1. “What did you think of the game?”
  2. “Let’s pretend that the leader of the game is like God.  How does the game compare to how some people act toward God?”  (You are listening for someone to mention that people are often moving away from (even running away from!) God.  Running away from God is the equivalent of sinning and putting distance in our relationship.)
  3. “That reminds me of someone in the Bible who ran from the Lord.”  (Have a volunteer read Jonah 1:1-3.)
  4. “Jonah ran from the Lord.  How did that work out for him?”  (Listen for someone to mention that he was swallowed by a great fish for three days.)
  5. “Not so well, right?”
  6. “So, if the leader is God, what could the ‘Red Light!’ and ‘Green Light!’ represent for Christians?”  (You are listening for someone to say that the red light is like when we feel God is watching us and we have to be on our best behavior.  The green light is like when we pretend God isn’t watching and we can do whatever we want, even if it’s bad for us to do.)
  7. “Do you think this is the way God actually acts toward us?”  (Hopefully the kids will know that it is not the way God acts toward us.)
  8. “So how DOES God act toward us?  What’s different than the game?”  (God is always watching over us.  Even when we don’t feel close to Him, He hasn’t turned away from us.   He never gives a “Green Light” to sin.  And even though He always has a “Red Light” to sin, He isn’t trying to catch us doing something wrong.  He is encouraging us to come running to Him and not away from Him.)
  9. “The Scriptures say that we should be running toward God.”  (Have volunteer read Hebrews 12:1-2.)

10.  “We should keep our eyes on Jesus and throw off anything that might slow us down as we race toward Him.”

11.  “So, let’s change the rules again, and this time, everyone see how fast you can get to God with no ‘Red Lights!’”  (Choose someone to be the leader/”God,” and have the kids line up at the former “Finish Line,” which will now be the new “Start Line.”  When the leader/”God” says, “Green Light!” everyone should race to see how fast they can reach and tag him.  Instruct the leader not to give any “Red Lights.”)

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Filed under acceptance, Christianity, Coping skills, Daily walk, Fear, forgiveness, Game, Games that Teach, Jonah, Obedience, self-image, Trust

More Powerful Together



Time

20 minutes


Description

This object lesson helps children understand that Christians are more powerful when they work together and show love for one another. It’s important that we don’t quarrel with one another and destroy the unity that shows the world we are Jesus’ disciples.

Materials

· Two bills of paper currency (use the same denomination for both)

· Bible

· Tape

Preparation

· Tear one of the bills of currency in half, and conceal it until the end of the lesson.

· Leave the other bill intact so that you can use it for demonstration.

· Practice script.

Procedure

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

  • “Does anyone remember the story of Joseph from the Bible?” (Allow a volunteer to share what he/she knows about the story, and add in anything that he/she misses.)

    • “Joseph was one of Jacob’s twelve sons and his father’s favorite child. His brothers hated that he was the favorite so much that they sold him into slavery. For several years, he was a slave in Egypt until he was thrown into prison for a crime he didn’t commit. After many years of life in a dungeon, he was released and given the second-highest position in Pharoah’s kingdom because of his wisdom and ability to interpret dreams. Then, during a terrible, seven-year drought, his brothers came to Egypt looking for food. Joseph forgave them, and the family was reunited.”
  • “Our lesson is about Joseph’s advice to his brothers when they were going back to get their father and other family members to come live in Egypt.”
  • Have volunteer read Genesis 45:16-24. (The NIV translation’s final verse includes the quote, “…don’t quarrel on the way.”)
  • “Why do you think Joseph told them not to quarrel?” (Listen to responses.)
  • “I bet Joseph knew something about his brothers from the time they were growing up together.”
  • “He knew about their tendency to fight with each other, so he was telling them to try to get along on the way back to get their father.”
  • “He wanted them to have unity – to be a strong family.”
  • “What’s so important about unity?” (Listen to responses, and add in any that you can think of that aren’t mentioned.)
  • “Exactly! I can think of another reason, too, but I’m going to need two volunteers to help me demonstrate it.” (Ask for two volunteers to come up front.)
  • “I have this bill of paper money.” (Show bill.)
  • “And I would like for both of you to have it!” (Tear bill in half, and give one half to each of them.)
  • “Congratulations! Don’t spend it all in one spot!….Wait, is something wrong?” (Allow volunteers to respond.)
  • “You mean you can’t spend these anymore? What’s wrong? I only had the one bill, but there were two of you and I had to split it.” (Allow responses.)
  • “So, you’re telling me that you can only spend this if these two parts are together?” (Allow responses.)
  • “Hmmm….seems like there might be a lesson in here somewhere. Can anyone help me figure out what the point of this demonstration is?” (Allow for responses and add you own explanation if necessary.)

    • “The two pieces of the bill are more powerful and effective together than apart. In the same way, Christians are more powerful and effective when we work together.” (Take back the two pieces of the bill. Then thank and dismiss the volunteers.)
  • “Do you think Christians work well together today in the Church?…..Why or why not?” (Allow for responses. If you need to, point out some examples of how Christians work well together and what happens when they do. You might also want to point out how many different denominations we have and how little they collaborate with each other most of the time.)
  • “What do you think would happen if Christians were better at working together?” (Allow for responses.)
  • “I started this lesson by reminding you of the story of Joseph.”
  • “I think that Joseph from the Bible is a picture of Jesus. God allowed Joseph’s life to reflect what Jesus’ life would be like so that people in Old Testament times would know what to look for in the coming Savior.”
  • “There are many similarities between Joseph and Jesus:

    • Both would have called themselves shepherds.
    • Both were their fathers’ favorite children.
    • Both were sold for some coins.
    • Both were accused of crimes they didn’t commit.
    • Both were put into the earth.
    • Both came out of the earth to be elevated to the second-highest position in their respective kingdoms.
    • Both suffered so that they could save many.”
  • “If you study Joseph’s story, I bet you can find even more similarities.”
  • “I tell you those things to point out that when Joseph told his brothers not to quarrel, it was very similar to some discussions Jesus had with his twelve apostles.”
  • “They were always arguing about who was the greatest, but Jesus wanted them to have unity.” (Have volunteer read John 13:34-35.)
  • “Jesus said that everyone in the world would know that we are following Him by the love that we show to one another.”
  • “That means that our unity as Christians is a very powerful way to help the people around us know about Jesus.”
  • “How can we show our love and unity to other Christians around us?” (Listen to responses, and comment as appropriate.)
  • “Those are some excellent ideas! I hope every one of you will commit to showing more love to your Christian brothers and sisters this week.”
  • “Just remember, we are more powerful together than apart.” (Call your original two volunteers back up, and give one of them the two pieces of the bill you used for demonstration and some tape. Give the other the two pieces of the other bill you kept concealed and some tape. Let them both tape up the bills and keep the money as a reminder that we are more powerful together than apart.

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Filed under Agape Love, Christianity, Great Commandment, Jesus, Joseph, Kindness, Love, Object Lesson, Relationships, unconditional love, unity

Don’t Break the Chain


Time

15-20 minutes

Description

This object lesson teaches that unforgiveness can hinder our prayers for forgivenss.

Materials

  • One “Energy Ball” from www.stevespanglerscience.com. (This ball sends a small electric current through your body when you touch a metal strip on the side. (You cannot feel the current.) The current will pass through as many people as you link together (through holding hands). As long as everyone is touching in the chain, the ball will light up with the last person touches the metal strip with you.)

Preparation

· Purchase the “Energy Ball” (under $10). Allow a few weeks for shipping and delivery.

· Practice the script.

Procedure

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

  • “How many of you know how important it is to forgive other people when they do something that upsets you?” (Look for a show of hands.)
  • “When we won’t forgive someone, it separates us. Let me show you what I mean.” (Ask for a volunteer to come up.)
  • (Child’s name) and I are good friends. We are very close.” (Give child a side hug.)
  • “But if I get upset with (child’s name) because of something he/she does, it separates us.” (Gently push child about an arm’s length away.)
  • “As long as I’m mad at (child’s name), we are no longer in fellowship.”
  • “But when I forgive (child’s name), it brings us back together. (Give child a side hug.)
  • “Now, God says in the Bible that if we are angry with someone and won’t forgive them, He won’t forgive us of our sins.”
  • “How many of you knew that already?” (Look for a show of hands.)
  • “Well, I didn’t know it for a long time. Let’s look at the Scripture that says this.” (Ask a volunteer to read Mark 11:25-26.)
  • “Jesus is saying that if we are upset with someone, we shouldn’t even bother praying for forgiveness for our own sins until we have forgiven that person.”
  • “What He is not saying is that if we don’t forgive someone we can’t go to heaven.”
  • “The only thing you have to do to go to heaven is believe that Jesus died for your sins and accept the gift of his sacrifice on the cross.”
  • “But what He is saying is that your relationship with God will suffer until you forgive that person you are upset with.” (Ask for a second volunteer to come up. Put this volunteer on the opposite side of you.)
  • “It works like this. When I’m close to (first volunteer’s name), then it’s possible for me to be close to God. (Give both children a side hug at the same time.)
  • “But when I won’t forgive (first volunteer’s name), then it’s not possible for me to be close to God.” (Gently push both volunteers about an arm’s length away from you.)
  • “God wants us to forgive others just like He has already forgiven us for all our sins. In other parts of the Bible, He points out that the person who is forgiven of much should also forgive others of much.”
  • “Let me show you another way. Let’s say this ball (show Energy Ball) will tell us if God will or will not answer our prayers for forgiveness.”
  • “If it lights up, God will answer our prayers. If it doesn’t, He won’t.” (Have child put finger on one sensor, and you put finger on other sensor. Then, join hands in a circle with volunteer representing God.  The ball should light up.)
  • “Good! I don’t have anything against (first volunteer’s name), so God will answer my prayers.”
  • “But if I’m upset that (first volunteer’s name) took the last piece of dessert at lunch (separate from both children and touch one sensor while the first volunteer touches the other sensor), God won’t answer our prayers until I forgive (first volunteer’s name).” (Join hands in a circle again while touching sensors, and ball should light up.)
  • “Cool, huh? Let’s see what happens when we add people.” (Get a few more volunteers and have them form a circle and each hold hands with the person next to them.)
  • “So, now what we are creating is the Body of Christ, which is made up of all the people who trust Jesus as their Savior.”
  • “When we love each other and forgive each other for things that upset us, God is pleased and answers our prayers.” (Have the original volunteer stand at the beginning of the circle and touch a sensor while the last person in the circle touches the other one— the ball should light up.)
  • “But if one of these people is mad at this other one because he jumped on top of him in the swimming pool…” (point to two children as you say this, and separate their hands as you do so – they should not be touching in any way. — The light will go out),
  • “…God won’t answer their prayers until this one forgives this one.” (Have them join hands again, and the ball should light up.)
  • “Now, let’s see what happens if we add everyone else to the circle!” (Allow all the other children to join the circle. They should hold hands like the others, and the first and last people in the circle should touch the contact points on the ball.)
  • “Hey! God must be answering our prayers!” (Let individuals in the circle break the chain and then reestablish it to see what happens to the ball.)HHey
  • “Jesus said that people will know we are His followers if we love one another.” (John 13:35)
  • “Loving one another makes us look so different from those who don’t know Jesus that they will want to know why we are so different, and that gives you a chance to tell them about Jesus.”
  • “You can’t love someone in the same way God loves us (unconditionally) if you are resentful of them, so let’s keep practicing forgiveness so that we can show the world what a forgiving God we have!” (Let other children be the ones to touch the contact points on the ball and experiment with it.)

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Filed under Agape Love, Christianity, forgiveness, Hands-on, Obedience, Object Lesson, prayer, Relationships, unconditional love

Mr. Bobby’s Sacrifice


Time

20-25 minutes

Description

This object lesson teaches about the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross and helps children to recognize that He did it for all of us – even those of us who choose not to accept His gift. (It’s called “Mr. Bobby’s Sacrifice in honor of the big man with a bigger heart who always volunteers for this strenuous activity.)

This activity works best with a larger group of kids. However, if you have a small group, try having each child make several trips up to put their rocks in the bucket. Only on the last trip can they get the incentive.

Materials

  • Two buckets with strong handles
  • A place where children can pick up at least two rocks each
  • Some type of incentive for the children (I’ve used individually wrapped packages of fruit snacks and candy before.) If you can get something that most of the kids will like but that a few will not, you will have more success with the activity. (In this case, be sure to have another incentive hidden that these children can choose at the end of the activity.)
  • Two signs that say, “SIN.”
  • Tape

Preparation

· Find a strong volunteer, and explain the object lesson to him.

· Put your incentives in a place where they will be easily seen by the children and where they have easy access to them.

· Put tape of your “SIN” signs, and lay them close to the teaching area

· Ask the children to each grab at least two rocks for a special activity in class. They can grab more than two rocks if they want, but they must have at least two. Rocks can be the size of a small egg or larger.

· Practice the script.

Procedure

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

· “Hey, everyone! Did each of you grab at least two rocks before you came in here?” (Have the children hold them up so that you can see them.)

· “Fantastic! Hey, I’ve got great news! Mr. (supply the name of your volunteer) wants to buy everyone some (supply the name of your incentive)!”

· “How many of you want some (incentive)?”

· “Okay, Mr. (volunteer) is going to earn those for you by showing us how strong he is.”

· “Everyone who wants (incentive) has to line up with your rocks right here.”

· “When I tell you to, you will trade your rocks for the (incentive) by putting at least one in each of Mr. (volunteer’s) buckets.”

· “He will earn the incentive for you by carrying your rocks.”

· “Isn’t Mr. (volunteer) great!” (Encourage enthusiastic responses.)

· (Have Mr. (volunteer) stand at the front of the room with a bucket in each hand. As well as he is able, he should stretch his arms wide like Jesus on the cross. It’s important for the kids to be able to tell that this is challenging and painful to the volunteer. Have the children line up with their rocks.)

· (Ask the first child.) “Do you want a (incentive)? Okay, then divide all your rocks between the two buckets.”

· (After the child puts his/her rocks into the two buckets, allow him/her to get the incentive and then return to his/her seat. Keep working your way through the children, occasionally pointing out your volunteer’s straining or facial expressions.)

· (If a child says, “no” to the incentive, he or she should lay his or her rocks down on the floor and return to his/her seat. Your volunteer should then set down the buckets, pick up the rocks and divide them between the two buckets. Then, he should resume his former position. This typically doesn’t happen until later in the object lesson, and it usually requires some prodding to get the first child to lay down his/her rocks.)

· “Did you notice that he still picked up the rocks? You see, Mr. (volunteer) already agreed to pay for everyone. Even if you don’t want your (incentive), he will still pay for it for you.”

· (Continue having children put their rocks in and take their incentives. If you get three-fourths of the way through the children without one of them laying down his or her rocks, you will need to do some prodding using the following script.)

o “Wow! Mr. (volunteer) is really sweating! It looks like a real struggle holding up those buckets?”

o “How do you feel about that?”

o “Mr. (volunteer), how are you feeling?” (Have him be honest about the pain and struggle.)

o “If it’s that difficult, why are you doing it?” (Have him share about his love for the children.)

o (Back to the children) “Is it okay with you that he is having to work so hard for you to you’re your (incentive)?”

o “Do you think it is fair that he is having to go through so much pain?”

o “Are you sure, you want to put your rocks into his buckets”

· (After all have made (or not made) the trade, allow your volunteer to put the buckets down.)

· “Kids we did this activity to give you a picture of how much Jesus loves you. Just like Mr. (volunteer) loves you enough to pay for your (incentive), Jesus loves you enough to pay for you to join Him in heaven.”

· “The rocks you brought today represent your sin, the bad things you’ve done.” (Label both buckets with the “Sin” signs.)

· “You may have noticed that some of you brought small “sins,” and some of you brought big “sins.” Some of you brought just two “sins,” and some of you brought several handfuls!”

· “When we go before God, some of us will just have a few sins compared to the others. And our sins might not seem that bad compared to theirs, but to God, sin is sin – no matter how small and no matter how few.”

· “The Bible says that the payment, the punishment for sin is death. It’s what we owe to pay for our sins.” (Romans 6:23)

· “Unfortunately, none of us can pay for our sins. We owe too much.”

· “The only One who could pay was someone who didn’t owe anything of his own.”

· “And the only Person who has ever lived and not sinned is Jesus. He’s the only One who could pay what we owed for our sin.”

· “Just like Mr. (volunteer) spread his arms to pay for your (incentive), Jesus spread His arms on the cross to pay for your sins and mine.”

· “But do you remember that not everyone wanted their (incentive), but Mr. (volunteer) paid for them anyway?”

· “You see, Jesus paid for everyone’s sins – even those of us who don’t want to believe in Him.”

· “And isn’t that a shame? To leave something that is already paid for on the table?”

· “Shouldn’t we enjoy it if Jesus went to so much trouble to get it for us?”

· “Jesus paid for it! He didn’t just die for a few. He died for ALL of us!”

· “But Jesus loves us so much that He won’t force us to take what He bought for us. He still lets us choose.”

· “You have to want it and accept it, but you don’t have to do anything to earn it.”

· “If you want what Jesus has bought for you on the cross… if you want life with Him forever in heaven, all you have to do is tell him in your prayers.”

· “Tell Him that you want what He bought. Tell Him you want to follow Him and to go to heaven.”

· “And then, tell all of us so that we can celebrate with you!”

· “I know that some of you who didn’t take your (incentive) did it out of your love for Mr. (volunteer).”

· “If you are one of those people, Mr. (volunteer) wants to see you after we finish.” (Have your volunteer tell these children how much he appreciates the sacrifice they made for him and that they really helped with the lesson. Then, he can give them the choice of taking the incentive – no rocks this time.)

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Filed under Agape Love, Christianity, Eternity, Heaven, Hell, Love, Object Lesson, salvation