Tag Archives: youth

Isaiah 61 Scavenger Hunt (GAME)


Audience

Children, Teens, Adults

Time

60-90 minutes (depending on how difficult you make the pictures to find)
Description

This scavenger hunt uses images from Isaiah 61 (using the NIV translation).  You will hide 48 pictures representing lines from the chapter, and participants will try to find them.  This activity is designed for group competition.

 

There are two different sets of participant worksheets at the end of this lesson.  You can choose the level of difficulty for your group by selecting either the worksheet with descriptions of the pictures or the one with blanks.  If you choose the one with blanks, participants will have to decide which pictures represent each of the different lines from the Scripture and put them in order.

 

Scriptures

  • Isaiah 61

 

Materials

o  Copies of the participant worksheets at the end of this lesson.  Choose either the one with descriptions or the blank version (if you want to increase the difficulty).  You will need one copy of the worksheet per team.

o  Copies of the pictures representing lines from Isaiah 61.  (One set per team – you can find these pictures on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at www.teachingthem.com.  The name of the file is “Isaiah 61 Scavenger Hunt – Photos.”)  There are 48 pictures in the file.  Print them in color if you can, but black and white will be fine.

o  Tape or some other means of posting the pictures in different places.

o  (Optional) Prizes for the winning team.

o  Bible

Preparation

o  Print out copies of the participant worksheets at the end of this lesson (one per team).

o  Print out copies of the pictures mentioned in the Materials section above (one set per team).

o  Hide all the pictures around the teaching area, outdoors or in a large facility, where the group can be free to run around.  Use the tape or other adhesive to hang the pictures in different places.  You can increase the difficulty by hiding them in difficult-to-find places, or you can make them obvious for younger participants.  You may choose to put multiple copies of each picture in the same place (one copy each for each different team to find), or you can hide them in different places.

o  Divide participants into teams.

 


Procedure

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

  • “We are going to do a scavenger hunt that will help us better understand a chapter from the book of Isaiah.”
  • “I’ve hidden 48 different pictures.” (Describe the general location where the pictures are hidden.)
  • “Each one represents an image from chapter 61 of Isaiah.”
  • “Each team will compete with the others to see who can find all 48 of the hidden pictures first.”
  • “I’m going to ask that in the interest of good sportsmanship and fairness that you don’t take more than one copy of any of the pictures.”
  • “Each of the 48 pictures is different from the others, so you will only need one copy.”
  • “I’m also going to ask that teams stay together as they search for the pictures.”
  • “That means that you can’t separate to find the pictures faster.”
  • “If you separate, there’s a good chance that you will collect duplicate pictures and make it impossible for another team to finish.”
  • “When you collect all your pictures, come back here and put them in the correct order on the floor (or have them stick them to the wall).”
  • “The first team to put them all in the right order wins!”
  • “Does anyone have any questions?”  (Answer any questions that they have.  Then pass out the participant worksheets from the end of this lesson.  When you are ready, give them the signal to “GO!”  If you need to give hints after awhile to help teams finish, feel free to do so.  When every team has finished, award a prize to the winning team if you would like, and then have them answer the following questions to debrief the activity.)

 

Debriefing Questions

  • o How did your team work together?
  • o What were your strengths as a team?
  • o In what ways could you have improved?
  • o Do the pictures help you understand the Scriptures from Isaiah 61 in a different way?  How so?
  • o Why do you think Isaiah (or God) used so many different metaphors in his writing?
  • o What is your favorite part of the passage from Isaiah 61?
  • o What will you take away from this activity?

 

 

 

#

Scripture

Item

1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me  
2 Because the LORD has anointed me  
3 To proclaim good news to the poor  
4 He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted  
5 To proclaim freedom for the captives  
6 And release from darkness for the prisoners  
7 To proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor  
8 And the day of vengeance of our God  
9 To comfort all who mourn  
10 And provide for those who grieve in Zion  
11 To bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes  
12 The oil of joy instead of mourning  
13 And a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair  
14 They will be called oaks of righteousness  
15 A planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor  
16 They will rebuild the ancient ruins  
17 And restore the places long devastated  
18 They will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations  
19 Strangers will shepherd your flocks  
20 Foreigners will work your fields and vineyards  
21 And you will be called priests of the LORD  
22 You will be named ministers of our God  
23 You will feed on the wealth of nations  
24 And in their riches you will boast  
25 Instead of your shame  
26 You will receive a double portion  
27 And instead of disgrace  
28 You will rejoice in your inheritance  
29 And so you will inherit a double portion in your land  
30 And everlasting joy will be yours  
31 For I, the LORD, love justice  
32 I hate robbery and wrongdoing  
33 In my faithfulness I will reward my people  
34 And make an everlasting covenant with them  
35 Their descendants will be known among the nations  
36 And their offspring among the peoples  
37 All who see them will acknowledge  
38 That they are a people the LORD has blessed  
39 I delight greatly in the LORD  
40 My soul rejoices in my God  
41 For he has clothed me with garments of salvation  
42 And arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness  
43 As a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest  
44 And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels  
45 For as the soil makes the sprout come up  
46 And a garden causes seeds to grow  
47 So the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness  
48 And praise spring up before all nations  

 

 

#

Scripture

Item

1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me Dove
2 Because the LORD has anointed me Anointing Oil
3 To proclaim good news to the poor Mother Teresa
4 He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted Bound Heart
5 To proclaim freedom for the captives Broken Shackles
6 And release from darkness for the prisoners Prisoner
7 To proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor Megaphone
8 And the day of vengeance of our God Fire From Heaven
9 To comfort all who mourn Weeping Man
10 And provide for those who grieve in Zion Weeping Angel
11 To bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes Crown
12 The oil of joy instead of mourning Happy-Sad Faces
13 And a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair Garment of Praise
14 They will be called oaks of righteousness Oak Tree
15 A planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor Planting
16 They will rebuild the ancient ruins Bricklayer
17 And restore the places long devastated Trowel
18 They will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations Ruins
19 Strangers will shepherd your flocks Flock of Sheep
20 Foreigners will work your fields and vineyards Vineyard
21 And you will be called priests of the LORD Jewish Priest
22 You will be named ministers of our God Minister with Bible
23 You will feed on the wealth of nations Map of Kingdoms
24 And in their riches you will boast Fake Money
25 Instead of your shame Shame on You – Pointing Finger
26 You will receive a double portion Double Portion of Bread
27 And instead of disgrace Man With Head in Hands
28 You will rejoice in your inheritance Man Rejoicing
29 And so you will inherit a double portion in your land Person Receiving Double Portion
30 And everlasting joy will be yours Arrows Pointing in Opposite Directions
31 For I, the LORD, love justice Scales of justice
32 I hate robbery and wrongdoing Robber
33 In my faithfulness I will reward my people Reward poster
34 And make an everlasting covenant with them Rainbow
35 Their descendants will be known among the nations Family Tree
36 And their offspring among the peoples Big family
37 All who see them will acknowledge Yes Man poster
38 That they are a people the LORD has blessed Sunshine
39 I delight greatly in the LORD Four People Jumping for Joy
40 My soul rejoices in my God Child Rejoicing
41 For he has clothed me with garments of salvation Jesus On The Cross
42 And arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness Robe of Righteousness
43 As a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest Groom
44 And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels Bride
45 For as the soil makes the sprout come up Sprout
46 And a garden causes seeds to grow Seeds
47 So the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness Jehovah Tsidkenu
48 And praise spring up before all nations Desert Spring

 

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Filed under competition, Game, Isaiah, teambuilding

Taco Sauce Pickup Lines (ICEBREAKER)


Time

10-15 minutes
Audience

Teens and adults

 

Description

This icebreaker can be a fun way to start group activities.  It uses Taco Bell ® hot sauce packets, which have quirky quotes on each packet (supposedly things that the hot sauce might say if it could talk).  Participants will take turns drawing out a packet and pretending that the quote is a pick-up line they would use when meeting someone of the opposite sex.  (Word of caution: some of the packets can be a bit racy (unintentionally)….you might want to hand-pick the packets you want to use.)

Materials

  • A handful of Taco Bell hot sauce packets for each small group (of about 4-8 people)
  • Alternately, you could print out the photos of the packets that are available on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at www.teachingthem.com.  The file name is “Taco Sauce Pickup Lines – Packet Photos (ICEBREAKER).”
  • Bowls (optional)

Preparation

·      Get the taco sauce packets or print the file, and cut out the different packets so that each one is on a separate slip of paper.

·      Put the packets or the slips of paper into bowls (one per group).

Procedure

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

  • “Does everyone here know what a pickup line is?”  (If someone doesn’t, explain that pickup lines are things that a guy or a girl might say to someone of the opposite sex that they are interested in when they first meet them.)
  • “Has anyone here ever heard a really bad pickup line?”  (Let several people share their bad pickup lines with the rest of the group.)
  • “Let’s do an icebreaker where we can practice some really bad pickup lines with each other.”
  • “I’m going to divide you into small groups first.”  (Divide participants into groups of 4-8 each, and give each group a bowl of sauce packets or paper slips.  Try to get an even mix of guys and girls in each group.)
  • “Okay, pick someone in your group to go first.”  (Allow them to pick the person who goes first.)
  • “That person should reach into the bowl and draw out a packet.”
  • “Then, he or she has to turn to someone in the group of the opposite sex and pretend to meet them for the first time using the pickup line on the packet.”
  • “Ham it up, and have fun with it!”
  • “Then, the turn rotates clockwise to the next person.”
  • “Keep going until you are out of packets.”  (Let them begin.  When they are done, you can ask them what their favorite pickup lines were from the icebreaker.  If you would like to use this as a teachable moment, you can ask the following Debrief Questions.)

 

Debrief Questions

  1. How did you feel whenever you were given one of the pickup lines?  …whenever you were the ones delivering them?
  2. Why don’t you think pickup lines usually work?
  3. What do you think is a better way to get to know someone new?

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Filed under Energizer, Fun, Funny, Humor, Icebreaker, Relationships, Youth

In But Not Of (LESSON)


Scriptures:

Proverbs 16:7
Daniel 1:1-20

Philippians 3:20

1 Peter 2:11-12

Description: Nebuchadnezzar’s armies invade Jerusalem and take away the best and brightest teenagers to Babylon to make them aides in the king’s court.  Daniel and his friends choose to honor God by not eating food from the king’s table.  Like Daniel and his friends, kids today will often be faced with circumstances that challenge their commitment to following the Lord.  Christians are called to be in the world, but not of the world.

This is a big lesson with lots of moving parts.  Feel free to scale it down to suit your teaching style, available time or resources.

Rhyme Time:

Not everything that others do
Is what God wants to see from you.

Time: 45 minutes

Materials:
o  Ping-pong / Table Tennis ball

  • Table
  • Something to act as a border on either side of the table (to keep the ball from falling off the edge – I used erasers.)
  • Signs for kids to wear (You can find these on the Lesson Materials and Downloads page on www.teachingthem.com.  The file is called, “In But Not Of – Signs.ppt.”  You can also make your own signs that say things like, “Too Busy, Too Tired, No Time, Some Leaders, Peer Pressure, Temptations, Movies/TV, Music, Things You Like to Do, Things You Are Taught, Culture…”  – anything that might make it difficult for kids to live the life that God wants them to live.)
  • Hole punch or something to make holes in the signs
  • Yarn or string to make lanyards for signs
  • Clear bottle with lid
  • Water (enough to fill bottle almost ¾ full) and some extra in a separate container to use later in the lesson.
  • Food coloring
  • Vegetable oil (enough to fill bottle ¼ full) in a separate container.
  • Two serving platters with covers (or something like them)
  • Junk food (enough to make a sizeable mound on one of the platters)
  • Vegetables (real or artificial – enough to make a sizeable mound on one of the platters)
  • Costumes for the waiters (something like a white shirt, a black bow tie made from construction paper and a hand towel to go over their arms)
  • A copy of the answers for the Game Show.  These are at the end of this document.
  • Cardboard boxes or a table decorated to look like three contestant booths on a Jeopardy-type game show.
  • Three sheets of flipchart paper (one for each contestant booth).
  • A flip chart marker.
  • Masking tape.
  • LCD projector, computer, screen and PowerPoint file “In But Not Of – Charts and Game Show” (can be found at www.teachingthem.com on the “Lesson and Material Downloads” page.  If you prefer, some of the lesson can be sketched on a whiteboard or flipchart.)
  • Put one hole in each end of each sign (along the top)
  • Thread the yarn or string through each hole, and tie it off to make a lanyard to go around the kids’ heads.
  • Pour water into bottle, and drop in several drops of food coloring.
  • Put the lid on the bottle, and shake thoroughly to mix the coloring throughout.
  • Keep the vegetable oil separate.  (You will add it during the lesson.)
  • Get two volunteers to act as your waiters.  Have them dress in costume and be ready to appear with one of the platters (each of them) when you call on them.
  • Prepare both of your platters – one should be piled high with junk food, the other with vegetables, and then covered.
  • Load the PowerPoint slides for “In But Not Of – Charts and Game Show,” and black the screen by pressing “b” on your keyboard while you are in Slide Show View.
  • Create and decorate your three contestant booths.  Tape a sheet of flipchart paper to the front of each booth.  Position these somewhere in the room where they will be in front of the kids but also able to see the projection screen.
  • Hide the answer sheet in the booth that you will assign to your “Daniel” volunteer.  You don’t want the other kids to be able to see it from where they are standing, but it has to be easy for “Daniel” to see without drawing attention to himself/herself.
  • Select a “Daniel” volunteer (might be best to use another adult), and explain that you would like his/her help with a “game show.”  Show him/her the booth and where you’ve hidden the answers.  Tell him/her that you want them to get most or all questions right but that he/she shouldn’t allow anyone to know that he/she has the answers.
  • Practice the lesson.
  • Also see: http://wallbuilder.wordpress.com/2009/11/05/taking-a-stand/ for additional sermon illustrations.

o  Bible

Preparation:

o  Print signs for kids to wear

Procedure:

Use the following script or modify to suit your needs:

  • (Gather kids together around the table, and pass out the signs for some of them to wear.)
  • “Let’s start today’s lesson with a demonstration.”
  • “I need a volunteer.”  (Select a volunteer, and give him or her the ping-pong ball.)
  • “This ball this person has represents a Christian trying to live the life that God wants him/her to live.”
  • “The rest of you are people or things that make it difficult for the volunteer to follow God.”
  • “Our volunteer with the ball is going to try to blow the ball to the other end of the table without falling off the table.”
  • “That will represent living a life that pleases God.”
  • “The rest of you (even those without signs) are going to try to prevent the ball from reaching the other end of the table by blowing it in the other direction.”
  • “Does anyone have any questions?”  (Answer questions.  Then let them begin blowing.  If the ball drops off the table, the volunteer should start over.  You can stop the demonstration either when the volunteer succeeds or after enough time has passed for the kids to understand the lesson.)
  • “So, what do you think this demonstration is supposed to teach us?”  (Listen to responses.  If it isn’t mentioned, be sure to point out that it can be very difficult to live a life pleasing to God in today’s culture. Many different things and even people work against the Christian, and Christians need God’s help to be able to move in the opposite direction of the world around them.  Allow kids to take a seat as you begin the lesson.)
  • “We are going to talk about a story that happened in the land of Israel.”
  • “It’s from the Old Testament times, and you can read about some of what I’m going to tell you in the books of Daniel, 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles.”
  • “Israel, at the time of our story, was not very powerful.”
  • “They were controlled by the kingdom of Egypt in the south and then later by the kingdom of Babylon in the north.”
  • “A man named Jehoiakim was put on the throne by Pharaoh Nechoh of Egypt.”
  • “But in the third year of his reign, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon attacked and besieged Jerusalem (606 B.C.).”
  • “It took him two years to conquer Jerusalem, but Nebuchadnezzar finally won.”
  • “He chose not to destroy Jerusalem at that time, but he did take some of the gold, silver and bronze items from God’s Temple.”
  • “He also stole many of the brightest and most promising of Israel’s youth from Judah’s royal family and other noble families.”
  • “These young men were strong, healthy, intelligent and attractive young men, who were well-versed in every branch of learning.”
  • “Nebuchadnezzar wanted them for two very important reasons:
  1. By stealing Israel’s smartest and most promising youth, Nebuchadnezzar kept Israel from growing stronger after he returned to Babylon.  The Jews would have no strong leaders to lead them in battle against Babylon.
  2. By bringing Israel’s best and brightest to Babylon, the king hoped to make his kingdom even stronger by training them to become aides in his court.”
  • “Nebuchadnezzar’s plan was very smart, because it not only stole the best from his enemies; it added the best to his own people.”
  • “But for his plan to work, he first had to get the Jews to commit to Babylonian ways and give their loyalty to the king.”
  • “This was tricky, because Nebuchadnezzar was the enemy of the Jewish people.”
  • “He had just held Jerusalem under siege for two years while he tried to starve the people inside so that they would grow weak and give up.”
  • “Then, he had taken these boys away from their families and friends and marched them 800 miles (1300 km) to a strange place, where they would live for the rest of their lives.”
  • “Nebuchadnezzar was a very smart king, though, and he had already done this before with other people.”
  • “He had his servants put the boys into a special school, where they would learn the new customs, languages, religion, laws and other practices of the Babylonians.”
  • “For three years, Nebuchadnezzar did something called “brainwashing” on these boys.”
  • “Brainwashing is what happens with someone powerful tries to wash out everything you already know so that he can replace it with what he wants you to think.”  (Show first slide with the picture of a brain on it.  For each click, one of the following phrases will appear inside the brain: “Hebrew language, Hebrew laws and rules, Hebrew teachings, Hebrew culture, Hebrew customs, Hebrew foods, Israel, Hebrew friends, Jehovah.”)
  • “All their lives, these boys had been trained by their parents, their teachers and their priests how to speak the Hebrew language, obey the Hebrew laws and rules, follow the Hebrew teachings, culture and customers, eat the Hebrew foods, love the land of Israel, love the Hebrew people and worship the one, true God, whom they called Jehovah.”
  • “But Nebuchadnezzar needed them to forget about all that stuff if he was ever going to get them to become loyal Babylonians.”
  • “So, he had his servants ‘wash’ their brains at his royal school and replace the old information with new information about Babylonian languages, laws, rules, teachings, culture, customs, foods, land, friends and gods.”  (Advance the slide, and all the words will fall out of the brain.   Advance the slide again, and the terms will reappear, but this time “Israel” will be replaced with “Babylon,” “Hebrew” with “Babylonian” and “Jehovah” with “gods of Babylon.”  After this slide, there is a black slide before the next slide.  This is to allow you to black out the screen if you like.)
  • “This is where we meet Daniel and his friends.”
  • “You probably know them as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, but those weren’t their real names.”
  • “As part of his brainwashing, Nebuchadnezzar gave them all new names.”
  • “Their old names honored Jehovah, so Nebuchadnezzar changed their names so that they would honor his gods instead.”  (Advance the slide to show the following chart.  Each time you advance the slide, it will reveal another box of the chart, moving from left to right on each row.  This will allow you to talk about each one at a time.  After this slide, there is a black slide before the next slide.  This is to allow you to black out the screen if you like.)
Hebrew Name Hebrew Meaning Babylonian Name Babylonian Meaning
Daniel “God is my judge” Belteshazzar “Bel protect his life”
Hananiah “The Lord shows grace” Shadrach “Command of Aku” (the moon-god)
Mishael “Who is like God?” Meshack “Who is as Aku is?”
Azariah “The Lord is my help” Abednego “Servant of Nebo”
  • “Even Daniel had a new name, but we don’t use it much today – probably because he didn’t use it much when he wrote the book of Daniel.”
  • “The boys were about 17 years old when Nebuchadnezzar took them away from their families.”
  • “They were assigned to three years of training to make them court aides to the king.”
  • “As part of their training/brainwashing, they were served best food and wine from the king’s kitchen.”  (Have volunteer come out dressed as a waiter with a covered serving platter.  With a flourish, remove the cover, and show all the junk food that you have under it.)
  • “Daniel and his friends hadn’t forgotten the one, true God, and this food caused them a problem.”
  • “They knew that it had been offered as sacrifices to Babylonian gods, and Hebrew law forbade them from eating it.”
  • “This was their first test in this new land.  Would they eat the king’s food?
  • “What would you do?”  (Get responses from the kids.)
  • “Well Daniel and his friends decided not to eat it even though it could get them into a lot of trouble.”
  • “Daniel went to the chief official who watched over them and asked for permission to eat just vegetables and water.” (Have second volunteer come out dressed as a waiter with a covered serving platter.  With a flourish, remove the cover, and show all the vegetables you have under it.)
  • “The chief official liked Daniel and his friends.”
  • “He could tell that they were different than the others, and he wanted to help them, but he was afraid that Nebuchadnezzar would cut off his head if Daniel and his friends weren’t as healthy as the other kids.”
  • “So, Daniel asked the chief office if he would allow them to try it for just ten days.”
  • “Because God had given the chief official great respect for Daniel, the chief official gave them permission to try it.”
  • “At the end of 10 days, they looked healthier and better nourished than all the other kids.”
  • “If fact, they just kept getting better and better, as these charts show.”  (Advance slide to show the “Strength Comparison” slide in the “In But Not Of – Charts and Game Show” PowerPoint.)
  • “They kept getting stronger…” (Show next slide.)
  • “Healthier…” (Show next slide.)
  • “Wiser…” (Show next slide.)
  • “And even funnier than all the other guys!”  (After this slide, there is a black slide in case you want to black out the screen before you get to the Game Show.)
  • “I guess Daniel and his friends were right to trust God!”
  • “The chief official was so impressed, he let them eat vegetables and water every meal.”
  • “That may not sound very good to you, but it allowed Daniel and his friends to honor Jehovah, so they liked it very much.”
  • “This was their first test in Babylon, and God gave them an A+!”
  • “He gave them favor with not only the chief official but also with Nebuchadnezzar.”
  • “God made Daniel and his friends smarter than any of the other kids, and He gave Daniel the ability to understand visions and dreams.”
  • “This was an excellent gift from God, because a king needed someone who could interpret dreams and visions to help him understand the times and the future of his kingdom.”
  • “After three years of training, all the young men (no longer boys) were brought before the king and tested.”
  • “They all had to compete on King Nebuchadnezzar’s favorite game show, ‘Your Life Is In Jeopardy.’” (Ask for three volunteers.  Make sure one of the ones you choose is your “Daniel” volunteer.   Point out the three contestant booths for the game show, and assign them their places behind each one.  Make sure Daniel goes to the one that has the answers.  Ask for one more volunteer to be your scorekeeper, and give him/her the flipchart marker.  Have this volunteer write the names of the three contestants at the top of each flipchart.  The two ordinary volunteers can use their real names.  The “Daniel” volunteer needs to use “Daniel” as his/her name.)
  • “Welcome to ‘Your Life’s in Jeopardy!’  I’m King Nebuchadnezzar, and I’ll be your host.”  (Show first game show slide.)
  • “If you’re not familiar with the way the game is played, here are the rules:
    • Each round, one of you will select one of the five categories. (Say each category out loud so that they know what they are.)
    • I will show an problem, and you will need to give me the answer in the form of a question. (The ‘form of a question’ rule is optional, because it is often too difficult for kids to remember.)
    • The person who raises their hand the fastest is the one who gets to answer.
    • If you get the question right, our scorekeeper will add the points for that question to your scoreboard.
    • However, if you get the question wrong, the scorekeeper will subtract those points from your score.
    • The winner will become my most trusted advisor, and the losers will become doggie treats for my attack dogs.
    • If anyone has any questions, I will boil him in oil.  Any questions?
    • Good, I didn’t think there would be.
  • “Let’s get started.”  (Select someone to pick the first category.  It doesn’t matter who you choose, and it doesn’t matter what category they select.  When you advance the slide, the order of the questions is predetermined (in order to keep it simple for you).  If the person’s choice doesn’t match the actual question, just remind them that you are the king and tell them about how hungry your attack dogs are.  Go through all the questions, or cut it short based on the time you have.  Each time, Daniel should be able to get the right answer, so he should be the clear winner in the end.)
  • “Excellent job, Daniel!  I see that you and your friends, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are much wiser than any of the others.”
  • “You will be added to my regular staff of advisors!”
  • “The rest of you will be taken to play with my attack doggies.”  (Allow all the volunteers to return to their seats, and ‘step out’ of your role as King Nebuchadnezzar.)
  • “So, back to the story….Nebuchadnezzar soon found them ten times smarter than all his magicians and enchanters within the entire kingdom!”  (Have a volunteer read Proverbs 16:7.)
  • “This Scripture means that when we are obedient to God, even our enemies will like us.”
  • “That’s pretty amazing!”
  • “So, what does this mean for you?”
  • “How many of you know that earth is not your home if you are a Christian?”  (Look for a show of hands.  Then, have a volunteer read Philippians 3:20.)
  • “Our home is in heaven.  We are citizens of heaven, not of earth.”
  • “So, we are IN the world – meaning, we live here – but we are not OF the world – meaning that we are not part of the world’s family anymore.”
  • “Jesus tells us in another place that those who don’t follow him are sons of the Devil (John 8:44).”
  • “But our Father is God in heaven, and there should be some family resemblance.”
  • “People should be able to tell who our Father is by how we act.”
  • “If we act like those who don’t know Jesus as Lord, people will think that Satan is our father.”
  • “But if we act like Jesus, people will know that God is our Father.” (Have a volunteer read 1 Peter 2:11-12.)
  • “Peter tells us that we are aliens and strangers here, and he says that we should be careful to stay away from sin and live such good lives that everyone who sees us will glorify God.” (Show the bottle with the colored water in it, and ask for a volunteer to come up.)
  • “Let’s say that this bottle represents the world.”  (Hand bottle to volunteer.)
  • “Inside are all the people who are part of this world.”
  • “They don’t know Jesus as their Lord.”
  • “The coloring represents their sinfulness.  They do things that God has told us not to do.”  (Show separate container with water in it.)
  • “In this container, I have some clean and clear water.”
  • “It represents some Christians and how they live their lives.”  (Ask your volunteer to pour the separate container of clear water into the dark water that is colored by the food coloring.  Then, have the volunteer put the lid back on the bottle and shake it.)
  • “What happened to the clean water that our volunteer put into the ‘world?’”  (Accept responses.)
  • “Right!  It took on the color of the water around it.”
  • “Sometimes, this is just how Christians act.”
  • “They mix with the world and start doing the sinful things that those in the world are doing.”
  • “Then, they look just like everyone else, and you can’t tell who is a Christian and who is not.”
  • “They are both IN the world and OF the world.”  (Show separate container with oil in it.)
  • “But this container has oil in it, and it represents Christians who are committed to following Jesus.”  (Ask volunteer to pour oil into original bottle and then to cap and shake it thoroughly.)
  • “We put these Christians in the world just like the others, but watch and you will see something different happen.”  (As the volunteer holds the bottle where everyone can see it, the oil will rise to the top.  It will not stain with the food coloring, so you will be able to see a clear layer of oil on top of the darker water.)
  • “What do you notice this time?”  (Accept responses.)
  • “Exactly!  The oil didn’t become like the colored water.”
  • “This represents Christians who live IN the world but do not allow themselves to become OF the world.”
  • “In the Bible, oil often represents the Holy Spirit, so these Christians are Christians who are submitting to the leadership of the Holy Spirit in their lives.”
  • “They still look different from the rest, because they didn’t do the sins of the people around them.”
  • “They are like Daniel and his friends, who refused to eat the same foods as everyone else.”
  • “They made a hard decision to be different, even though that might make some people not like them and some people become jealous of them.”
  • “But we have a problem.”
  • “Do you notice that all the oil rose to the top?”
  • “It isn’t mixed in with the water.”
  • “Sometimes Christians act like this.”
  • “They find that it’s easier to just be around other Christians all the time, so they start to group together.”
  • “It’s good to group together for church and at other times, but we shouldn’t always spend time with other Christians.”
  • “If we do, we won’t be able to help other people get to know Jesus.”
  • “So what should we do?”  (Take responses.  You are looking for someone to say that you need to keep mixing with the people in the world.)
  • “That’s right!  That’s what we need to do!”  (Have volunteer shake bottle again.)
  • “We should come together as Christians to encourage and support one another, but then we need to get back out there in the world and interact with those who don’t know Jesus.”
  • “As long as we act like Jesus and not like those in the world, we will continue to look different from the world.”
  • “And when we look different from the world, we give glory to God.”  (Thank volunteer and allow him/her to be seated.)
  • “I have a Rhyme Time that will help us remember the lesson.”
  • “I’ll say it a few times, and then you can say it with me.”  (Recite the Rhyme Time several times, and then let the kids say it with you.  If you have time, allow them to come up and do it individually, as well.)
    • It would be easy, after all.
    • Everyone else was doing it.
    • The king might do terrible things to them if they didn’t.
    • God would understand, wouldn’t He?”

“Not everything that others do is what God wants to see from you!”


Daniel’s Answer Key

King’s Future – 100 Nowhere
King’s Places – 100 Hole-land
King’s Places – 200 The Neverlands
King’s Secrets – 100 His subjects are a royal pain.
Happy King – 100 None – TV hasn’t been invented
Happy King – 200 Dominate the world
King’s Future – 200 Because he will feed everyone else to the lions
King’s Enemies – 100 Tickle Torcher
King’s Enemies – 200 Sends them straight to DEAD without dinner
King’s Enemies – 300 He throws them in the Lyin’s den
King’s Enemies – 400 He throws them in the fiery FURnace
King’s Secrets – 200 They are all wearing camel-flage
King’s Secrets – 300 Because he tends to babble on
Happy King – 300 They have a good sense of RUMOR
King’s Secrets – 400 His nose runs but his feet only smell
King’s Enemies – 500 Because they have nothing left to go on
King’s Future – 300 Da bunnies, da bunnies, Oh, I love da bunnies!
King’s Future – 400 Da Persians, da Persians, Oh, I hate da Persians!
King’s Future – 500 Nebbie K. Nezzar
King’s Places – 300 Booty-pest
Happy King – 400 It had a little boogey on it
Happy King – 500 Its rear end
King’s Secrets – 500 Never could net her
King’s Places – 400 Gone-ah
King’s Places – 500 Germ-many

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Stronger Together (LESSON)


Time
30 minutes

Audience

Children, youth, adults

Description

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

Scriptures

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

Materials

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

Preparation

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

Procedure

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

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

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Resurrection Roll (GAME)


Time
10-15 minutes (or more, depending upon how many times you play)

Audience

Children & Youth

Description

This game is a fun and high-energy way to celebrate the resurrection of Christ.  It’s played in rounds, and an individual round takes only a few minutes to play.

Scriptures

  • Matthew 28:1-10

Materials

  • 10-20 feet of rope
  • “Friday-Sunday” dice cube pattern (You can find this on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at www.teachthem.wordpress.com in the file named “Resurrection Roll – Dice Cube.”)
  • Tape
  • Glue
  • Scissors or knife to cut out dice cube
  • Cardboard or poster board (8.5 x 11 inches)
  • Optional: Small prizes for the winners – it’s possible to have multiple winners each round, so you will want to have lots of small prizes
  • Bible

Preparation

  • Print out the dice cube pattern.
  • Glue the pattern on top of the cardboard or poster board.
  • Cut out the dice cube pattern.
  • Bend the dice cube sides along the lines to form the cube.  (It might be helpful to lightly score the cardboard along the dice cube lines to help it to bend.  Make sure to score the cardboard side and not the paper side.)
  • Tape the dice cube anywhere the sides come together.
  • Lay out the rope in a large circle pattern.
  • Practice the script.

Procedure

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

  • “Jesus died on the cross on a Friday, and His followers were crushed!”
  • “They believed He was the Savior, the Messiah, but now He was gone!”
  • “They couldn’t believe it!  They didn’t know what to do.”
  • “They had put all their hopes in Jesus, and they didn’t know what to do with their lives now that He was dead.”
  • “Fortunately for them and for all of us, that wasn’t the end of the story!” (Have a volunteer read Matthew 28:1-10.)
  • “Imagine you were there!”
  • “One moment, life has no meaning – only mourning.”
  • “The next moment, all your hopes are restored – even upgraded!”
  • “What you thought was a terrible defeat turns into an incredible victory!”
  • “So, let’s play a game to celebrate that victory!”  (Ask everyone to grab the rope and stand in a circle.)
  • “I have a die (singular for dice) here that has three sides that say, ‘Friday,’ and three sides that say, ‘Sunday.’”
  • “You are holding a rope that represents the tomb Jesus was buried in, and you represent Jesus.”
  • “Before I roll the die, you have to decide if you think it will land on ‘Friday’ or ‘Sunday’ and choose to either be in the tomb or out of the tomb.”
  • “If it lands on ‘Friday,’ you want to be in the tomb, where Jesus was after He died.”
  • “If it lands on ‘Sunday,’ you want to be outside the tomb, where Jesus was after He rose from the dead.”
  • “If you are in the wrong place, you are out of the game and have to leave the circle until we start a new round.”
  • “I will roll the die three times, and you can choose a different place (in or out) each time or stay where you are as long as you keep being right.”
  • “Whoever lasts all three rolls, wins!”  (“….and gets a prize” if you are giving prizes)
  • “Are you ready to play?”  (Start the game by having the kids choose a position inside or outside of the rope.  Then roll the die.  Any kids on the wrong side of the rope are out until the next round.  After three rolls, acknowledge the winners and start a new round if you wish.  End whenever you’ve had enough!)

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Filed under Christianity, Easter, Game, Games that Teach, Jesus, Resurrection

F.E.A.R. (Obj Lesson)


Time
15 minutes

Description
This object lesson teaches about fear and how to deal with it.

Audience
Children, youth, adults

Materials
o    F.E.A.R. Acronym Cards (You can find these on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at http://www.teachthem.wordpress.com in the file named F-E-A-R – Acronym Cards.ppt)
o    Flipchart or whiteboard (or you could project the Scriptures with an LCD projector)
o    Marker

Preparation
o    Print the F.E.A.R. Acronym Cards, and arrange them face-up on a table.
o    Write the “fear” Scriptures on a flipchart or whiteboard, and cover them until you need them.
o    Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.  (Psalm 23:4)
o    The LORD is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear?  The LORD is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1)
o    I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.  (Psalm 34:4)
o    He (the man who fears the Lord) will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD.  (Psalm 112:7)
o    Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.  (Proverbs 29:25)
o    So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.  (Isaiah 41:10)
o    Practice the script.

Procedure
Use the following script and instructions (or modify to suit your needs):
•    “When was the last time you did something really scary? The kind of scary that knots your stomach and weakens your knees? The kind of scary that makes you feel like everything is out of control?”  (Take responses.)
•    “Fear is an interesting emotion.”
•    “It protects us from doing the really dumb stuff that would win us a Darwin Award (a pretend award given out to people who do dumb, life-threatening things).”
•    “But it also keeps us from taking important risks and doing what we know we should.”
•    “I’ve come to think of fear as an acronym.”
•    “Which acronym you use says a lot about how you approach scary things.”
•    “I need four volunteers for this lesson.”  (Select volunteers, and have them come up front.)
•    “On the table, there are 52 different words that all start with the letters ‘F,’ ‘E,’ ‘A,’ or ‘R.’”
•    “Most of the words will fit into an acronym that will tell us what some people thing about fear.”
•    “I would like for you to represent words that begin with the letter ‘F.’”  (Appoint one of the volunteers to always choose a word beginning with ‘F.’)
•    “I would like for you to represent words that begin with the letter ‘E.’” Appoint one of the volunteers to always choose a word beginning with ‘E.’)
•    “I would like for you to represent words that begin with the letter ‘A.’” Appoint one of the volunteers to always choose a word beginning with ‘A.’)
•    “I would like for you to represent words that begin with the letter ‘R.’” Appoint one of the volunteers to always choose a word beginning with ‘R.’)
•    “As a group, select four words that fit together to make an acronym for the word fear.”
•    “You can only use each word once.”
•    “Let’s do the first few together.  Find the words, ‘Forget Everything And Run,’ and come show them to us.”  (Wait for them to find these words and then show them to the audience.)
•    “Some people think F.E.A.R. means that they should Forget Everything And Run, but this isn’t very helpful.  It doesn’t solve your problem.”
•    “Let’s try another one.  Find the words, “Forget Everything and Relax.”  (Wait for them to find these.)
•    “This isn’t anymore helpful.  Your F.E.A.R.s might actually happen, and you won’t be ready for them.”
•    “Now find these words, ‘Failure Expected and Received.’” (Wait for them to find these.)
•    “You get what you expect.  If you expect to fail, you probably will.  This is not the best approach to fear.”
•    “One more together – find ‘Finding excuses and Reasons.’”  (Wait for them to find these.)
•    “Often people use F.E.A.R. to find excuses and reasons for not doing what they should be doing.”
•    “Now, you try it on your own.”  (Allow them a few minutes to select their first acronym.  Then have them show the audience.  If the acronym makes sense, ask the audience the following question.  If it doesn’t, challenge your volunteers to try again.)
•    “What do you think this acronym says about people who approach fear in this way?”  (Allow the volunteers to make five or six different acronyms, and ask the audience about what it says about the people who approach fear in that way.  Then, dismiss your volunteers.)
•    “Once, when General George Patton was praised for his bravery in battle, he said, ‘Sir, I am not a brave man — the truth is, I am an utter craven coward.  I have never been within the sound of gunshot or in sight of battle in my whole life that I wasn’t so scared that I had sweat in the palms of my hands, but I have learned early in my life never to take counsel of my fears.’”
•    “Fear is a normal feeling at times, but we shouldn’t allow it to control us.”
•    “We should find ways of dealing with our fear so that it doesn’t prevent us from accomplishing God’s purposes in our lives.”
•    “One great way to deal with fear is to memorize Scriptures about it.”
•    “I’ve written some on the board.”
•    “Read through them, and then pick a few that you want to memorize this week.”
•    (Some of the acronyms you can make from the words in the card file are:
o    False Expectations Appearing Real
o    False Evidence Appearing Real
o    For Everything A Reason
o    Face Everything And Recover
o    Faith Erases All Reservations
o    Forgetting Everything’s All Right
o    Focus Energy And Respond)

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Filed under Belief, Christianity, Coping skills, courage, Fear, Object Lesson, Trust, Worry

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