Tag Archives: Worry

Out of Orbit (Obj Lesson)


Time

10-15 minutes
Description

This object lesson teaches about how difficult it can be for us to stay focused on following Jesus.

 

Scriptures

  • Philippians 3:12-14

Materials

  • A toy rocket or spaceship (or if you don’t have anything like that, improvise with a cardboard tube or just about anything else – the kids won’t mind)
  • One large ball (preferably yellow or orange)
  • Several smaller balls of varying sizes
  • Permanent marker
  • Index cards (one for each ball)
  • Tape
  • Bible

Preparation

  • Write the following words on different index cards, “SON,” “WORLD,” “Jealousy,” “Bitterness,” “Selfishness,” “Unkindness,” “Worry,” “Doubt,” “Foolishness,” “Pride,” “Fear,” “Greed,” “Ignorance,” or any others that you want to use.  The only ones that are required are the “SON” card and the “WORLD” card.
  • Tape these cards onto different balls.  The “SON” card should be taped to the largest ball.
  • Practice the script.

 

Procedure

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

  • “Do any of you ever have trouble staying focused on following God?”  (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “Me, too!  It’s so hard to always do what is right and stay on the path toward Him.”
  • “We are kind of like a rocket ship heading toward the sun (but actually, we are headed to the S-O-N, because we won’t burn up when we reach Him!)”  (Ask for enough volunteers to hold all the props you’ve brought – one for the rocket ship and one for each ball.  Put the person holding the “SON” ball at one end of the room, and place the person with the “WORLD” ball and the person with the rocket ship at the other end of the room.  Space those with the balls along either side of the path between the large ball and the rocket ship.)
  • “Before we know Jesus, we are stuck in the WORLD’s orbit.”  (Guide the person with the rocket ship by the shoulders to make several orbits around the person with the “WORLD” ball.”
  • “But then, we catch a glimpse of the SON and decide we want to follow Him.”
  • “We break free from the WORLD’s orbit and start heading toward the SON.”  (Guide the person with the rocket ship slowly toward the SON, but as soon as you get to the first person with a ball on the path, break off and orbit around that person.”
  • “Unfortunately, on the way to the SON, we get distracted by ________ (name whatever is printed on the card on the ball), and we go into orbit around it for a while.” (Keep going around this person.)
  • “The more times we go around _____________ (say what is on the ball again), the more we hate it, but it is soooooooo hard to break free from its gravitational pull!”  (Keep going around this person.)
  • “We keep seeing the SON every time we pass around __________________ (say the name of the ball), and eventually, His power pulls us free of the orbit of the dead planet we have been circling.”  (Break free and start back toward the SON.)
  • “Not everything is a temptation for us, so we will be able to pass some of these dead planets without any problem, but our Enemy, Satan, is not going to give us up without a fight.
  • “He will put a very tempting planet in our path, and sure enough, we will get distracted looking at it and get sucked into its gravitational pull!” (Guide the person with rocket to begin orbiting this new dead planet.)
  • “Even though the planet looked tempting from a distance, when we get close to it, we find that it is empty and lifeless.  It doesn’t satisfy.”
  • “The SON won’t let us forget Him.  We will see Him on every orbit, and eventually, He will pull us free from that dead planet and set us back on the path toward Him.”  (Guide the person with the rocket to break away and head toward the Son.)
  • “This keeps happening over and over and over again.  It’s very frustrating!”  (Guide the person with the rocket to get sucked into one orbit and then break away and then get sucked into another orbit and so on….)
  • “But there is good news!  The closer we get to the SON, the easier it gets to break free from these temptations.”
  • “We get stronger and stronger in our faith and our ability to resist temptation, and we stay longer and longer on the path toward the SON.”
  • “We just need to keep striving to reach the SON.  Paul says in his letter to the Philippians, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12-14)
  • “Paul was saying that he doesn’t look back at what’s behind him; he just keeps straining toward what is ahead of him.”
  • “He keeps his ship pointed toward the SON, and when he gets off-course, he gets back on-course as soon as possible to follow the SON.”
  • “One day, it will be time, and the SON will bring us the rest of the way to Him when we join Him in heaven (or when He comes back to join us on earth).  (Guide the person with the rocket ship to the SON and have him orbit the SON several times before ending the lesson.)

 

 

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Filed under Challenges, Daily walk, God's Will, Jesus, Obedience, Object Lesson, Pride, Repentance, sanctification, Satan's tactics, Spiritual Growth, temptation

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

God Cares for Me – Psalm 23 (LESSON)


Audience: Children, (possibly youth if you ham it up quite a bit to engage them)

Scriptures:    Psalm 23

Description:    This lesson teaches about a shepherd and how he cares for his sheep.  It makes comparisons to Jesus as The Shepherd who cares for His sheep (those who believe in Him).  It also briefly introduces David as a shepherd in anticipation of beginning his story during the next lesson.

Rhyme Time:    God loves me; I’m under His care.
Wherever I go; He’s always there!

Time:    30-45 minutes

Materials:
o    Shepherd’s costume (sheet with a hole for your head to go through, belt made out of a piece of fabric, 3 ft x 2 ft piece of fabric to go over your head, headband made out of fabric)
o    Something to act as a shepherd’s staff  (The size and shape of the staff are important, because it will be part of the lesson.  It should be a long, slender stick (maybe 6 ft or longer), with a hook on one end.  It can be natural or manmade.)
o    Something to act as a shepherd’s rod (The size and shape of the rod are important, because it will be part of the lesson.  It should be a straight, long (4 ft or longer) and about 2 inches in diameter, with a knob at one end.  This knob helps the shepherd use the rod for defense.)
o    Sheep hats (can be as simple as headbands with cotton ball ears) for the kids who will help you with your lesson.  (I recommend 6-8.)
o    Snake, wolf, bear, lion and fly hats (differently colored headbands with ears that represent each animal – one of each)
o    A Ziplock bag full of good, green grass and a Ziplock bag full of dead grass or weeds.
o    A glass off clean water and a glass of muddy water.
o    Olive oil (one bottle)
o    Mustard powder (one can / bottle)
o    Cinnamon or other powder in spice form (one can / bottle)
o    Bowl for mixing oil and powders
o    Spoon for mixing oil and powders
o    A bag with some rock salt in it.
o    Optional – A “wool coat” – a large piece of fabric with cotton balls on it to represent wool.

Preparation:
o    Most of the information for this lesson was taken from a book entitled, A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 by Phillip Keller (1970, HarperCollinsPublishers).  It’s a good read and a good story if you have the time and can find a copy.
o    Make costumes, and have them on-hand.
o    Set out bowl, spoon, oil and powders.  You will mix them during the lesson.
o    Find all the Scriptures from the lesson and bookmark them in a Bible for your reading volunteer.
o    Gather some good grass and some bad grass, and fill two Ziplock bags with them.
o    Pour some clean water in two glasses, and make one of them dirty with a little dirt.
o    Optional – if you use the “wool coat,” you will need to make it out of a piece of fabric with some cotton balls glued to it.  After you’ve made it, drag it through the soil and grass to make it dirty and clogged.

Procedure:
Use the following script or modify to suit your needs:
o    “There is a very famous psalm that many people have memorized, because it gives them peace and calm when they are going through difficult times.”
o    “Does anyone know which psalm it is?”  (Take responses if there are any.)
o    “Right, it’s Psalm 23.  It’s very short, but it has a lot of meaning.”
o    “It was written by David, the most famous and loved king of the Israelites.”
o    “It’s a poem about God that describes Him as a Shepherd watching over a flock of sheep.”
o    “David, of course, knew all about shepherds and sheep, because he was a shepherd boy until the time that he killed Goliath, the giant.”
o    “So, using everything David knew about being a shepherd, he tells us what God is like.”
o    “Jesus liked the metaphor, too, because He said to His disciples in John 10:11, ‘I am the good Shepherd.  The good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.’”
o    “So, let’s take a look at Psalm 23 and see what it tells us about God from a shepherd’s point of view.”  (Ask for several volunteers to come up and be your sheep.  Put the hats on them, and have them get down on all fours in a “flock.”  Ask other volunteers to act as a wolf, lion and bear.  Put the hats on them, and tell them that their job is to go to the edges of the room and only come to attack the sheep if they wander away from the others.  Then, have a volunteer read Psalm 23:1.)
o    “The first part of that scripture says, ‘the Lord is my Shepherd.’  Sheep can’t just take care of themselves.  They need a shepherd.”
o    “If they are left alone, they wander off and get into trouble.”  (Ask your volunteers to wander around by crawling to different places in the room.  When one wanders near the “snake,” the “wolf,” the “bear” or the “lion,” rush to save it.  The “snake,” “wolf,” “bear,” and “lion” should pretend to attack the sheep.)
o    “We are like those sheep.  We often get ourselves into trouble when we go wandering away from our Good Shepherd, Jesus.”
o    “It’s also important to follow only the Good Shepherd.  We must know His voice so that we don’t follow the wrong shepherd.  Jesus talked to His disciples about this.”  (Have volunteer read John 10:1-5.)
o    “The LORD is my Shepherd – not Satan or anyone working for him.  We only listen to the voice of the Good Shepherd, and we only follow Him.”  (Have volunteer read Psalm 23:1 again.)
o    “The Scripture says ‘I shall not be in want.’  That means that, because the Lord is my Shepherd, I will have everything I need.”
o    “It doesn’t mean that I’ll get everything that I want to have – just that I’ll have everything I need to have.”
o    “A good shepherd gets up early every morning and goes to inspect his flock.”
o    “He examines them to make sure that they are healthy and happy and able to stay on their feet.”  (Pretend to look over your sheep to make sure they are okay.)
o    “He can easily tell if they are sick or if they need special attention.”
o    “His sheep don’t need anything, because a good shepherd takes care of everything that is necessary for them.”  (Have volunteer read Psalm 23:2.)
o    “It is almost impossible for sheep to be made to lie down unless four needs are met.”
o    “#1 – They must not be afraid.”
o    “Sheep are afraid of many things and for good reason.”
o    “They have no way to defend themselves.”
o    “Their only means of protection is to run.”  (Allow wild animals to attack, and have the sheep run away in all directions.  Then have the wild animals return to their places, and go gather up your flock.)
o    “Nothing makes sheep feel more secure than to see their good shepherd in the field with them.”
o    “For us, we can be calm and free from fear, because we know that Jesus, the Good Shepherd, is always with us.”  (Have volunteer read Deuteronomy 31:6.)
o    “God says that He will never leave us nor forsake us.  In other words, He will never give up on us, even if we mess up sometimes.”
o    “Because of this, we can be strong and courageous!  God is all-powerful, and He will protect us!”
o    “#2 – If you want your sheep to lie down, they can’t be in fights with other sheep.”
o    “Sheep are mean to each other.”
o    “You would think that with all their other enemies, they would be nice to one another, but they aren’t.”
o    “Older sheep stiffen their legs, tilt their heads, arch their necks and butt the young ones as hard as they can.”  (Demonstrate this behavior playfully with your flock.)
o    “And rams are even worse.  When they are fighting over girlfriends, their necks swell and get strong.”
o    “They furiously butt their heads and horns together to see who is the strongest, and some even die this way.”
o    “When the young sheep are worried about bullies, they start to get edgy and lose weight, so a good shepherd will defend the weaker ones.”
o    “With the rams, he puts grease on their heads so that they slip off each other when they collide.  That way, none of them get hurt.”  (Playfully demonstrate this with two of your flock.)
o    “Our Good Shepherd knows about the bullies in our live, but He says in His Word that He will take care of us.”  (Have volunteer read Ezekiel 34:15-16 and then Ezekiel 34:20-22.)
o    “The third thing that needs to happen for sheep to lie down and rest is that the sheep must be free from flies and other insects.”  (Ask for a volunteer to come up and put on the fly hat.)
o    “There is a certain type of insect, called a nose fly.  They love sheep and buzz all around their heads, trying to deposit their eggs in the wet places on the sheeps’ noses.”
o    “If the flies lay their eggs in the sheeps’ noses, worms will hatch and crawl up into the sheeps’ heads, causing irritation and inflammation.”  (Have fly volunteer ‘buzz’ around the sheep and pester them.)
o    “It drives the sheep crazy!  To get relief, they will beat their heads against trees, rocks, posts, bushes…anything.  They will rub them on the ground, and some even kill themselves just to get rid of the feeling.”
o    “A good shepherd will dip the sheep in chemicals and coat their heads in oil to keep the flies off of them.”   (Shoo away your fly volunteer, but don’t have them sit down just yet.)
o    “For us, the flies represent our worries, our fears, and our frustrations that keep us from resting and having peace.”
o    “They buzz around in our heads, looking for a place to land and lay their eggs.”  (Have your fly volunteer buzz around you.)
o    “If we allow them to stay, these fears and worries will paralyze us and keep us from doing all the things God wants us to do.”
o    “Our Good Shepherd knows about these, and He offers us perfect peace if we will just trust in Him.”  (Have volunteer read 2 Corinthians 10:5.)
o    “Every time we have a negative thought, He asks us to capture it and take it prisoner until our thinking becomes obedient to God.”  (“Capture” your fly volunteer, and hold him/her still for a moment.)
o    “You see, Satan is the father of lies.  He lies to us all the time.  In fact, he can’t even tell the truth, because his native language is lying.”
o    “But God will always tell us the truth.”
o    “When we have a negative thought, we should ask God about it.  He will tell us if it is true or not.”  (Have fly volunteer have a seat.)
o    “The fourth and final thing that a good shepherd has to do to help the sheep rest is to make sure they aren’t hungry.”
o    “Sheep will eat bad grass and drink bad water even when good grass and good water are available, because….well….they just aren’t that smart.”  (Offer your flock a choice between the Ziplock bags of good grass and bad grass.  Then offer them a choice between the clean water and the dirty water.  Try to really sell the bad stuff.)
o    “I’m sorry to say this, but we are a lot like those dumb sheep.”
o    “Our spirit is thirsty for what God calls ‘living water.’”
o    “Living Water is the Word of God – the Bible.”
o    “It satisfies our spiritual thirst and gives us peace and joy.”  (Take a drink of the clean water.)
o    “Unfortunately, we will drink just about anything but Living Water in order to satisfy our thirst.”
o    “We want sticky, sweet things, and we try to satisfy our spiritual thirst with money or entertainment or other things that can sometimes be bad for us.”
o    “We drink lots and lots of them, because even after we drink, we are still thirsty.”
o    “The only thing that can satisfy our spiritual thirst is God and His Word.”  (Have volunteer read Psalm 23:2 again.)
o    “The second part of that verse talks about quiet waters.  Some Bible translations call them ‘still’ waters.”
o    “You see, sheep need quiet or still waters, because rivers and streams are dangerous for a 300 lb washcloth with ears.”
o    “If the sheep slips into the water, it will start soaking up water and sink to the bottom.”  (You might sprinkle some water on the sheep just for laughs at this point.)
o    “So the shepherd would go to the stream and use stones to divert some of the water into a pool.” (Pretend to use rocks to divert a stream.)
o    “There, the sheep could drink without being afraid.”  (Have your flock pretend to drink.)
o    Water in Scripture often points to God’s Word.  I told you that it is sometimes called, ‘Living Water.’”
o    “We need to drink deeply of God’s Living Water every day during the still hours of the morning.”
o    “If we will make the time for Him, He will divert some special truths for us and teach us wonderful things.” (Have volunteer read Psalm 23:3.)
o    “Sheep sometimes get ‘cast down,’ a term that means they get turned upside down like a turtle.”  (Demonstrate with one of your flock.)
o    “Sheep get cast down when their wool gets too heavy or when they lie down in a place that isn’t level.”
o    “When they realize that they can’t get up, they panic and start kicking their legs frantically.”  (Demonstrate with your flock.)
o    “This causes gasses to build up in its body and cut off the blood supply to its legs.”
o    “If the shepherd doesn’t ‘restore’ the sheep to its feet soon, it will die.”
o    “He restores it by gently rolling it on its side and massaging its legs.” (Demonstrate.)
o    “Sometimes, we get ‘cast down.’”
o    “We feel sad, depressed or hopeless, but we can’t get back on our feet.”
o    “God comes along during those times and encourages us through prayer, His Word or through other people.”
o     “I mentioned that a sheep would often get cast down because of the heavy weight of his wool coat.”  (If you have it, put the imitation wool coat on one of your flock.)
o    “To prevent this, the shepherd would shear the sheep.”  (Pretend to shear your flock.)
o    “Sheep hate being sheared, and they will fight it with all their energy sometimes.”
o    “But once it’s over, they feel so good, because their wool coat is always caked with mud and poo and fleas and ticks and burrs.”
o    “Wool represents our sinful nature.  Priests were not allowed to wear it into the Temple of God for this reason.”
o    “Our sinful nature gets so clogged up with dirt and nasty stuff that it’s a huge relief when God takes the shearing clippers to us, but we don’t like to be sheared.”  (Show children the clogged wool coat.)
o    “Shearing represents God’s discipline in our lives.  It’s uncomfortable and sometimes painful, but it is very necessary to help us get free from our sin.”  (Have volunteer read Psalm 23:3 again.)
o    “Sheep are creatures of habit, and they will blindly follow a sheep in front of them even if they are going in the wrong direction.”  (Have flock demonstrate by getting a “lead” sheep to walk in circles.)
o    “We do that sometimes, too, but God will lead us down new, righteous paths that honor Him.”  (Have volunteer read Psalm 23:4.)
o    “Sheep are low on the food chain, and almost everything is a threat to them.”
o    “Wherever they go, they are surrounded by enemies.”  (Have “enemies” circle in close to the sheep.)
o    “Christians, too, have enemies everywhere.  Satan attacks us whenever he sees a chance.”
o    “But God is with us, and we never need to be afraid.”  (Have volunteer read Psalm 23:4 again.)
o    “A shepherd has two main tools for leading the sheep – a rod and a staff.”
o    “A rod looked like this.”  (Show rod.)
o    “It was typically cut from a young tree and carved to specifically fit a young shepherd’s hand.”
o    “A young shepherd boy would spend hours and hours practicing his throw with his club, learning how to send it whistling through the air with speed and accuracy.”
o    “This way, he could defend the sheep from their enemies (pretend to scare away some of the enemies with the rod) and keep the sheep from going into places they shouldn’t.” (Demonstrate how you could use the rod to scare a sheep away from a place where one of their enemies (i.e., a snake) could be hiding.)
o    “The shepherd’s staff was entirely different.”
o    “It was designed like this (show staff) in order to be of the most help to the sheep.”
o    “It was a long, slender stick with a hook at the end.”
o    “The hook was used to bring sheep closer for inspection or to unite a new lamb with its mother without getting the scent of a man on it.”  (Demonstrate.)
o    “It was used to guide the sheep along the right path or as a gentle way to let the sheep know that the shepherd was near.”  (Demonstrate.)
o    “This is a picture of God’s justice and His mercy – of His discipline and His grace – of His protection and His care.”
o    “The rod represents God’s authority, power and discipline, and the staff represents His grace and unconditional love.”
o    “Some people think of God as only power, justice and discipline; some think of Him as only love.”
o    “Neither are a complete picture.  God is both justice and mercy – both discipline and grace – and all of it is done because of His love for us.” (Have volunteer read Psalm 23:5.)
o    “A table to a shepherd is a table mesa – a high place in mountain country, where sheep are led to graze in the summer months.”
o    “The shepherd goes ahead of the sheep and prepares the area by pulling poisonous weeds and scouting the area for dangers.”
o    “He takes salt and minerals and spreads them over the whole area so that the sheep will eat them and improve their diet.”  (Pretend to spread the minerals, and then have your sheep graze.)
o    “God does the same for us.  He blesses us even in the middle of all our enemies.”
o    “And Jesus told us in John 14:1-4 that He is preparing a place for us in heaven.”
o    “He said that He’s coming back to get us and that He will lead us to that place He has prepared.”  (Have volunteer read Psalm 23:5 again.)
o     “David, the writer of the psalm, is talking about a few things in the last part of this verse.”
o    “When guests came to your home for dinner in Israel, your responsibility to them included anointing their heads with oil and to making sure they had plenty to drink.”
o    “The anointing was to moisten the skin, since Israel is surrounded by desert.”
o    “But it was also a token to say that this person is special.”
o    “Shepherds used anointing, too.”
o    “Remember about the nose flies I told you about?”
o    “Remember how the shepherd would put oil on the sheep’s head to keep the flies away?”
o    “The shepherd would mix olive oil or linseed oil with sulfur and tar.”  (Mix oil, cinnamon and mustard powder in the bowl, and then smear a little on the forehead of each of your sheep.)
o    “The flies couldn’t land, so the sheep stayed calm.”
o    “God anoints us – not with oil typically but with the Holy Spirit.”
o    “This anointing sets us apart as special to God.  It marks us as His children, and it protects us from Satan’s evil plans.”  (Have volunteer read Psalm 23:6.)
o    “Sheep have really good poo.  It’s so good that they are sometimes called, ‘the animals with the golden hooves.’”
o    “After they have left a grazing place, all their poo fertilizes the ground and makes it even better for growing things.”
o    “So when David talks about ‘goodness following him all the days of his life, it’s kinda funny.”
o    “The sheep poo; everything grows – goodness follows them everywhere they go.”  (Have your flock walk around, and follow them.  Say, ‘A little goodness here; a little goodness there.  Goodness, goodness, everywhere.  Thanks, little guys!’)
o    “For us as Christians, we ought to leave everything better than we found it.  By doing that, we leave goodness and mercy everywhere.”
o    “Finally, David tells us that he will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
o    “This will be true for any Christian – especially when we get to heaven.”
o    “But with the sheep, this last line tells about how sheep are safe if they stay with the good shepherd.”
o    “As they dwell in his house (a shelter from the weather), they can be sure of their safety.”  (Dismiss volunteers, and thank them.)
o    “We are all a lot like sheep.  The Bible says that we are all like sheep who go astray (Isaiah 53:6).  That’s why we need a Good Shepherd to lead us and to help us in this world.”

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No More Than We Can Bear (OBJ LESSON)


Time

10-15 minutes


Description

This object lesson helps children understand that God will help them get through difficult times and situations. He never allows us to go through more than we can bear, and He never leaves us alone.

Materials

· Large balloons (at least 5-6, but you might want more just in case)

· Wood skewers (available in the barbeque area of the supermarket)

· Duct tape

Preparation

· Practice the trick several times before you go live. It can be tricky to get it right.

· Inflate five or more balloons. (Inflate the first three until they are taut. You are going to pop these. Don’t fill the last two until they are taut. You want the rubber to have a little give to it.)

· Practice the script.

Procedure

Use the following script, or modify to suit your needs:

· “How many of you have had bad stuff happen to you before?” (Demonstrate that you are looking for a show of hands.)

· “Yeah, me, too.”

· “Bad stuff even happens to Christians, but God won’t ever allow you to go through more than you can handle, because He loves you.”

· “Here’s how I know.” (Have volunteer read 1 Corinthians 10:13.)

· “God always provides a way out of difficult situations.”

· “I’m going to demonstrate this, but I’ll need a volunteer.” (Select volunteer from the group.)

· “Okay, let’s say that you are this balloon.” (Hand volunteer the balloon, and have him or her hold it at arm’s length so that it won’t pop in his/her face.)

· “And let’s say that this skewer is a bad thing that’s about to happen to you.”

· “Now, even though the skewer is going to go right through you…” (Try to put skewer through the balloon. The balloon should pop.)

· “Oops! That wasn’t supposed to happen. Let’s say that this balloon is you. And this skewer…” (Give a second balloon to your volunteer, and have him/her hold it at arm’s length again. Then pop it with the skewer.)

· “Wow! That almost never happens! Okay, let’s say that this balloon is you. And…” (Do the same procedure to pop the third balloon.)

· “Something’s really wrong here! Hmmm….. What’s wrong? What’s wrong…Oh! I’ve got it! These balloons don’t have the covering of the Holy Spirit.”

· “I can help with that. You see, in the Bible, oil often represents the anointing of God. Let’s anoint this skewer so that it can be used of God.” (Dip skewer into oil. Then insert it into a balloon through the tie-off area and out the very top. These are the areas where the rubber of the balloon stretches the least, so they are more likely to receive the skewer without popping. If the balloon pops, laugh nervously and grab another balloon – kids love it when things don’t go the way an adult plans them.)

· “Look at that! God’s anointing was all it took.”

· “You see, if God allows bad stuff to happen to us, He anoints it so that it ends up doing His work in our lives. God knows where you can handle the bad stuff, just like I knew just where the balloon could handle the skewer.”

· “Now, sometimes, God allows bad stuff to happen to you where you are weak, but He won’t allow it to happen unless He has reinforced you in that area.” (Grab a new a balloon, and put a piece of duct tape across both the front and back sides of balloon. Then slowly poke a skewer though – not the one with the oil. You can repeat this several times for dramatic effect.)

· “Sometimes during tough situations, you might feel like you could just burst.”

· “But remember that God knows just how much you can take, and He won’t let you go through any more than that.” (Thank and dismiss volunteer.)

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Pepper Chaser


Time

10 minutes


Description

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

Materials

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

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

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

· Clear bowl

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

· Mirror

· Display table

Preparation

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

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

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

Procedure

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

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Feed Your Spirit


Time

15-20 minutes

Description

This object lesson teaches that you need to take care of your spirit each day, just like you need to take care of your body. Some assembly is required.

Materials

  • Two fans that can pivot to blow towards the ceiling
  • 3-4 wind socks or plastic table cloth (Windbags from Steve Spangler Science also work great. You can order them online at www.stevespanglerscience.com.)
  • Packaging tape or duct tape
  • Permanent marker
  • Electric power strip or extension cord
  • A few sheets of paper

Preparation

· You are going to create two mini-air dancers (like what were used at the Olympics in Atlanta or commonly in front of retail establishments).

Wind Sock or Windbag

· If you are using a wind sock or a Windbag, cut the cylinder down so that it is no more than three feet tall.

· You will need to tape up the hole at one end and cut two slits about 2/3rd of the way along the windsock for the arms.

· Do this with two of the wind socks. These are your “body” pieces.

· With the remaining two wind socks, cut them each in half to make the arms.

· Tape one end of the “arms” so that air can’t escape.

· Tape the open end over one of the slits in the “body” piece.

· Use the permanent marker to draw a smiling face near the top of the “body” piece.

· Tape the open end of the “body” piece over one of the fans so that air will blow directly into the body.

· Label one air dancer, “Body,” and one, “Spirit.”

· Practice the script, and test your air dancers for leaks and proper inflation.

Table Cloth

· If you are using a table cloth, you will follow all the same instructions as above with a few exceptions.

· Cut out your air dancer – 3 feet long by 18 inches wide.

· Roll it into a cylinder (the 18-inch wide part) and tape up the seam.

· Follow all the other instructions.


Procedure

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

  • (Start with your air dancers on a table next to each other – with a little elbow room for their soon-to-be-inflated arms. The fans should be off (but plugged in!), and the dancers should be deflated. Invite two volunteers up to the table.)
  • “Hi, guys! I’m wondering if you can help me with an object lesson.”
  • “Do you see these two balloon-like bags taped to these fans?”
  • “Well they are actually balloon people, and they represent the two major parts of each one of us.” (Ask volunteers to each read out loud the label on the front of the air dancer in front of them – one is “Body” and the other is “Spirit.”)
  • “Right! This one represents our Body, and this one represents our Spirit.”
  • “Would you say that those are two pretty important parts of each one of us?”
  • “Me, too!”
  • “We’ve got a problem, though. Neither one of these guys is doing so good right now. They are really low on energy.”
  • (Turn to the volunteer in front of the “Body” air dancer.)
  • “What do you think the balloon person representing our Body needs in order to feel better?” (Take ideas, and fill in any that are missed.)
  • “Right! It needs food, rest and exercise to feel good.”
  • “If you don’t get enough food, how do you feel?” (Encourage response.)
  • “How about if you don’t get enough rest?” (Encourage response.)
  • “You feel kinda like this balloon, don’t you?”
  • “Well, let’s say that this fan underneath the balloon person represents those things – food, rest and exercise.”
  • “Could you turn that fan on for me?” (Allow volunteer to turn on fan. Air dancer should inflate.)
  • “Wow! That’s better! When our Body gets food, rest and exercise, it feels good. It has energy.”
  • “But what would happen if you stop feeding it or if you stopped getting enough rest or exercise?” (Encourage response. Then have volunteer turn off fan to demonstrate.)
  • “Exactly! Our Bodies start to feel bad, and they lose energy. If you go too long without these things, your Body gets sick, right?”
  • “You’ve got to give it more food, rest and exercise for it to feel good again.” (Have volunteer turn on fan.)
  • (Turn to the volunteer in front of the “Spirit” air dancer.)
  • “Now, how about our Spirit? It doesn’t need food or rest or exercise to feel good. What do you think it needs?” (Take ideas, and fill in any that are missed.)
  • “That’s right! It needs prayer, Scripture, worship, fellowship and other good spiritual disciplines.”
  • “How do you think our Spirit feels when it isn’t getting those things?” (Encourage response.)
  • “Right! It feels terrible – maybe like this balloon person.”
  • “How do you think it feels when it does get prayer and Scripture and worship and fellowship?” (Encourage response. Then have volunteer turn on fan to demonstrate.)
  • “When it gets those things, it feels really good!”
  • “But I’m a little confused. I know when my body needs food or rest (and sometimes exercise), because it tells me.”
  • (Turn to the volunteer in front of the “Body” air dancer.)
  • “How would you say our body tells us what it needs?” (Encourage responses like “hunger pains,” “yawning” or “sleepiness.”)
  • “But how do I know when my Spirit needs prayer and Scripture and worship and fellowship? Does it tell me somehow?” (Encourage responses, but you will probably have to help with this one.)
  • “This one is tougher, because we aren’t as used to paying attention to our Spirit as we are to paying attention to our Body, but here’s what I think.”
  • “When our Spirit is feeling weak, we can tell because sometimes:
    • We are tempted by more bad things.
    • It is harder to say “no” to temptation.
    • We feel bad about ourselves.
    • We want to hide from God.
    • We worry a lot and are afraid.
    • We aren’t very nice to other people.”
  • “Have any of you ever felt like any of these examples?” ?” (Encourage responses from the entire class.)
  • “If you’re like me, sometimes you let days go by without praying or reading Gods’ Word.” (Have volunteer turn fan off.)
  • “I can go for a little while on the prayer and Bible reading that I did last week, but eventually, my Spirit starts to sag.”
  • “Then maybe I miss a week of going to church or do some things I know that I shouldn’t have done.”
  • “Before long, my Spirit gets sick, and it becomes harder and harder for me to say “no” to the things that I am tempted to do.”
  • “I’ve known people whose Spirits were really sick, because they never fed them.”
  • “They knew that something was wrong in their life, but they tried to fix it by feeding their Spirit the wrong things – like money or expensive things or too much entertainment or sometimes even drugs and alcohol.”
  • “But none of those things helps your Spirit to feel better.”
  • (Turn to the volunteer in front of the “Spirit” air dancer.)
  • “Remind me again. What does our Spirit need to stay healthy?” (Encourage responses. Then have the volunteer turn on the fan.)
  • “Exactly! We need prayer, Scripture, worship, fellowship and other good spiritual disciplines.”
  • “If we’re going to do good things for God, we need a healthy Spirit like this one.” (Pointing to air dancer.)
  • “So, let’s all try to feed our Spirit the things it wants before it even has to ask us for them!” (Thank and dismiss volunteers.)

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Center of His Will (OBJ LESSON)


Time

10 minutes

Description

This object lesson teaches about the need to stay in the center of God’s will. Doing so will help us withstand the craziness that happens around us.

Materials

  • Square plywood board (2 ft. x 2 ft. or larger)
  • Twelve foot of rope cut into four, 3 ft pieces
  • Drill and 3/4” drill bit
  • Plastic cup
  • Pitcher of water
  • Water

Preparation

· Drill holes in each corner of the square board.

· Tie a knot at one end of each piece of rope.

· Thread one piece of rope through each of the four holes. Pull through until the knot stops the rope from continuing through the hole.

· Tie the unknotted ends of the ropes together in one, big knot. (Make sure that each rope is the same length from the knot to the board. Otherwise, your board will not hang flat.)

· Fill the cup ¾ full of water.

· Have a pitcher of water nearby so that you can refill the cup after it spills.

· Practice putting the cup in the center of the board and swinging the board in a 360 degree circle. If you do it fast enough, the water will not spill out.

· Practice the script.

Procedure

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

· “Sometimes in life we feel like everything is out of control.”

· “Imagine that you are this cup of water.” (Show cup of water.)

· “And pretend that this board is God’s will for your life.” (Show board, and put it on any edge of the board – not in the center.)

· “Sometimes in our lives, everything starts spinning around us, and it really messes us up!” (Dramatically swing board back and forth until the cup falls off and the water spills. Be far enough from the children that you don’t hit any of them with the board.)

· “Can anyone give me some examples of times that it feels like life is spinning out of control around you?” (Take examples from the children.)

· “Does anyone know why the water spilled when I started swinging it?” (See if the children can guess that the cup of water needed to be in the center of the board.)

· “Right! The problem is that the cup needs to be in the center of the board. That’s the safest place.” (Refill cup with water, and place it at the center of the board. Dramatically swing the board back and forth in wider and wider arcs. Then swing it in a complete circle several times. Centrifugal force will keep the cup in the center and the water in the cup. The children will often be suitably impressed.)

· “Remember that I said that the board represents God’s will for your life?”

· “When you’re not in the center of God’s will, the craziness that happens in your life is really going to upset you.”

· “But if you’ll get to the center of His will (that means doing the things He asks you to do in the Bible), even when things spin out of control, you’ll be remarkably calm. Watch! (Swing the board in full circles several more times.)

· “So, what are some things you can do to keep you at the center of God’s will?” (Take ideas.)

· “Excellent ideas! Hey! Want to see it again?” (Swing the board and the cup of water again. If you are brave and have practiced the move beforehand, you can do a dramatic finish. Let the board come to a rest. Then, pop the board upward. The cup of water will pop up in the air, and you can catch it with your free hand.)

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