Tag Archives: youth

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

Ups and Downs of Teambuilding (GAME)


Time
25-45 minutes

Description
This is game that helps participants understand the dynamics of teams.  It uses Bruce Tuckman’s “Forming – Storming – Norming – Performing” model and combines it with the children’s game of Chutes and Ladders ® (a.k.a. Snakes and Ladders).

If you want to add a spiritual element to this lesson, you can have participants review the Scriptures at the end of the lesson and try to determine what stage of team building they represent.  Add 30-45 minutes to the lesson if you do this.

Audience
Anyone who leads teams (but usually adults or youth)

Materials
•    If you want to use a regularly-sized gameboard, you can find one on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at http://www.teachthem.wordpress.com.  It’s called: “Ups and Downs of Teambuilding – Gameboard.ppt.”  (You will need something to act as game pieces for each player – maybe candy or coins or something else that is small.)
•    For a life-sized game, you will need masking tape, rope or some other material to mark off the gameboard.  How much you need depends upon the size of the gameboard.  I like to make it big when I do the game outdoors, so I typically use 22 ropes of about 20 ft each.  (If you have access to a tile floor, you can use that and not have to mark off the spaces.)  For the life-sized version, the participants become the game pieces.
•    Tent stakes (44 – if you are outdoors and using rope to mark off your gameboard)
•    Dice (two – the bigger, the better, if you are playing this as a life-sized game)
•    Sticky notes (100) to number the game spaces (if you are indoors and playing on a smooth surface)
•    Note cards (100) to number the game spaces (if you are outdoors)
•    Golf tees (100) to hold the note cards to the ground (if you are outdoors)
•    Colored marker
•    Printed copy of “Ups and Downs of Teambuilding – Game Spaces.doc”  (Available on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at http://www.teachthem.wordpress.com.)
•    (Optional) Printed copy of “Ups and Downs of Teambuilding – Game Cards.doc” (Available on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at http://www.teachthem.wordpress.com.)

Preparation
•    Print or mark off your gameboard.  You need a 10 space by 10 space grid.  If you do the life-sized version, you should make the squares large enough for several people to fit in them, because it is possible for more than one person to land on the same space during a turn.
•    Number your spaces 1-100 using the sticky notes or the notecards and golf tees.  The numbering should go back and forth.  For example, the first row is numbered left to right (1-10).  The second row is numbered right to left so that the 11 space is right above the 10 space, and the 20 space is right above the 1 space.  The third row is then numbered left to right again, and so on.  (If this is confusing, take a look at the “Ups and Downs of Teambuilding – Gameboard.ppt” on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at http://www.teachthem.wordpress.com.)
•    Use the colored marker to put a dot on all the sticky notes or notecards that have a corresponding note in the “Ups and Downs of Teambuilding – Game Spaces.doc” file.  For example, space #3 has a note in the document that indicates that something good has happened and that the player can move up.  Put a green (or whatever color you chose) dot next to the number on the sticky note or notecard for space #3.  (You don’t need to do this step if you tape the game cards in the spaces.)
•    Print off the documents (mentioned above) that you need.
•    If you print out the “Ups and Downs of Teambuilding – Game Cards,” you can tape these in the squares designated by the number on the cards.  This will prevent you from having to read them yourself.  You can tape them right-side-up or upside-down.  It’s up to you.
•    Practice the script.

Procedure
Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):
•    “We’re going to play a game that will help you to understand how teams grow and develop.”
•    “Bruce Tuckman developed a model that involves four stages.  They are, “Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing.”
•    “Forming is the first stage, and it’s where everyone in a team comes together.  Everyone is on their best behavior and trying to make the new group work, but trust is low, because we don’t know each other yet.”
•    “Storming is the second stage, and it involves conflict and struggles.  Individuals may disagree over roles or methods or any number of things.  This can be a painful stage, but it’s necessary to help the team members get honest with each other and build trust.  If conflict is handled well, the team will be stronger when it comes through this stage.”
•    “Norming is the third stage.  The team is starting to understand and appreciate individuals more.  They are recognizing the strengths and weaknesses of each team member, and they are experiencing some success.”
•    “Performing is the forth stage.  The team now is at it’s highest level of productivity and synergy.  Team members are interdependent and work together to see tasks or projects completed well.  Leadership is often shared and assumed by the person who has the greatest strengths for each particular task.”
•    “If you look at any professional sport team that has won a championship, you can tell that maintaining the ‘Performing’ stage is very difficult.”
•    “Very few championship teams repeat the following year.  Fewer repeat the third year.  It’s just too difficult to stay in ‘Performing’ that long.”
•    “Factors outside the team may prevent the team from continuing.  Things like budget cuts, down economies, competitor tactics, new technology, time constraints, etc. can dethrone champion teams.”
•    “Likewise, factors inside the team also work against continued success.  Team members leave the team, experience personal crises, become dissatisfied, have conflicts and go through a long list of other problems and can’t continue to perform at the highest level.  There are also leadership changes, vision/mission changes, mistakes, failures, etc.”
•    “So, teams don’t stay at ‘Performing’ indefinitely once they get there.”
•    “More often what happens is that teams move up and down through the four stages – sometimes going from ‘Performing’ all the way back to ‘Forming’ (i.e., if an important team member leaves) or from ‘Storming’ to ‘Performing” (i.e., if a major breakthrough is experienced).”
•    “The game we are about to play will illustrate some of the factors (both inside and outside the team) that cause teams to move up and down through the levels.”
•    “It’s a game similar to the children’s game of Chutes and Ladders ® or Snakes and Ladders.”
•    “Have any of you played that before?”  (Listen to responses.)
•    “The gameboard has one hundred spaces.”
•    “The objective of the game is to be the first person to reach the 100th space.”
•    “Players will roll the dice (two) to see how many spaces they move.”
•    “On some spaces, there is a green dot (or whatever color you choose.  If you taped game cards in each space, you can skip this instruction and just have the participants read the card when they step on the space.)”
•    “This dot indicates that there is either an “UP” or a “DOWN” on the space.”
•    “I will read out a note related to that space, and the note will tell you about something that has happened to your team.  Sometimes it’s good; sometimes it’s bad.  If it’s good, you will get to move up to another space.  If it’s bad, you will have to move down.”
•    “Once you get close to the 100th space, you will need to get a perfect roll to win.  That means that if you are four spaces away, you have to roll a 4, a 3, a 2, or a 1 to move.  (You can choose to roll only one die at this time.)”
•    “If you roll higher than the number of spaces left, you lose your turn and must wait in your place.”
•    “Does anyone have any questions?”  (Answer questions.  Then start the game.  Everyone starts off the gameboard.  You can have them roll the dice to see who goes first.  Highest roll is first, second highest is second…  After someone wins, have the group answer the debrief questions (next page) together.)
•    NOTE: If you have a large group, you might want to divide them into pairs and have one person act as the game piece and another roll the dice.  If you have a really big group, divide them into teams, have one game piece, one dice roller and a large fan club.

Debrief Questions

1.    What can the game teach us about team building?

2.    Why is it so difficult to maintain the “Performing” stage?

3.    On your team, what internal influences (things inside your team) could send you back down? What can you do about it?

4.    On your team, what external influences (things outside your team) could send you back down?  What can you do about it?

5.    How can you move your team to the next level (or keep them at “Performing”)?

Biblical Reflection
Review these Scriptures, and try to determine which stage of teambuilding they represent.

o    Matthew 4:18-23
o    Matthew 8:23-27
o    Matthew 9:9
o    Matthew 10:5-10
o    Matthew 14:10
o    Matthew 14:15-21
o    Matthew 16:21-23
o    Matthew 17:1-8
o    Matthew 17:14-18
o    Matthew 18:1
o    Matthew 20:20-24
o    Matthew 26:6-9
o    Matthew 26:14-16
o    Matthew 26:31-34
o    Matthew 26:47
o    Matthew 26:56
o    Matthew 26:69-75
o    Matthew 27:35
o    Matthew 28:16-20
o    Mark 3:13-19
o    Mark 6:45-52
o    Mark 8:27-30
o    Mark 9:33-34
o    John 6:66-69
o    John 21:15-17
o    Acts 2:1-7
o    Acts 2:46-47
o    Acts 3:1-10

Biblical Reflection: ANSWERS
Review these Scriptures, and try to determine which stage of teambuilding they represent.

o    Matthew 4:18-23 (Forming)
o    Matthew 8:23-27 (Storming)
o    Matthew 9:9 (Forming)
o    Matthew 10:5-10 (Norming)
o    Matthew 14:10 (Storming)
o    Matthew 14:15-21 (Storming)
o    Matthew 16:21-23 (Performing then Storming)
o    Matthew 17:1-8 (Norming)
o    Matthew 17:14-18 (Storming)
o    Matthew 18:1 (Storming)
o    Matthew 20:20-24 (Storming)
o    Matthew 26:6-9 (Storming)
o    Matthew 26:14-16 (Storming)
o    Matthew 26:31-34 (Norming)

o    Matthew 26:47 (Storming)
o    Matthew 26:56 (Storming)
o    Matthew 26:69-75 (Storming)
o    Matthew 27:35 (Storming)
o    Matthew 28:16-20 (Norming)
o    Mark 3:13-19 (Forming)
o    Mark 6:45-52 (Storming)
o    Mark 8:27-30 (Norming or Performing)
o    Mark 9:33-34 (Storming)
o    John 6:66-69 (Forming)
o    John 21:15-17 (Norming)
o    Acts 2:1-7 (Performing and Forming)
o    Acts 2:46-47 (Performing)
o    Acts 3:1-10 (Performing)

Debrief

o    “What do you notice when you look at all the stages?”  (If they don’t mention it, point out that most of the examples are “Storming.”  This is from as fair a sampling of the Scriptures as I could do, so I think it is representative.)
o    “Why do you think that is?”  (Listen to responses. Then, add the next point if necessary.)
o    “Jesus often allowed his disciples to go through ‘Storming’ times.”
o    “Probably these experiences were designed as a tool and a test for them.”
o    “As a tool, the experiences shaped them to be more like Christ.  They cut away the pride and the selfishness.”
o    “As a test, they revealed the character of each disciple’s heart and indicated whether or not they were learning from their experiences.”
o    “The disciples didn’t experience extended periods of ‘Performing’ until after Pentecost, and even then, they still went back to the ‘Storming’ stage on occasion.”
o    “Failure is a much better teacher than success.”
o    “All these ‘Storming’ times prepared the disciples for the incredible ministries they would have one day.”
o    “So, when you are leading a team, don’t be afraid to allow them to make some mistakes or to experience failure.”
o    “It will most likely teach them more than any successes ever would.”

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Filed under Game, Games that Teach

Connect Four Sin Solution (Obj Lesson)


Time
15 minutes

Description
This object lesson demonstrates that the blood of Jesus paid for our sins – those we have done and those we have yet to do. It uses the Connect Four ® game by Milton Bradley.

Audience
Children, youth, adults

Materials
• Connect Four game
• Two sets of black checkers (Note: you may want to avoid the use of black checkers as a symbol for sin. It can sometimes send the wrong message to children of color. Most other colors will work if you can find them.)
• One red checker
• Bag
• Optional – 18 white checkers and 24 red checkers – only if you want to make the heart shape at the end

Preparation
• Put all the black checkers into the bag. Only use enough so that the black checkers can fill all but one space on the Connect Four ® frame. (Leave one spot empty for a red checker.)
• Put the red checker into your pocket.
• Set up the Connect Four ® frame (with no checkers in it).
• Practice the script.

Procedure
Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):
• “This is a Connect Four ® game. How many of you have played this game before?” (Look for responses.)
• “Well we are going to use the game to teach us something about God and how He has dealt with sin.” (Invite a volunteer to come help you demonstrate.)
• “The frame for the game represents your heart.”
• “The black checkers will represent sin, and the red checkers will represent the blood of Christ.”
• “I’ve put checkers into this bag, and I want you to draw them out and put them into the frame.” (Have volunteer draw out the first checker. As he/she drops it into the frame, mention a sin that kids his/her age might commit. Each time he/she drops a black checker in, mention a new sin. Some are suggested below.)
o Told a lie.
o Stole something from a friend.
o Picked on a younger kid.
o Fought with my brother.
o Didn’t tell my sister about the candy Mom bought for us.
o Never apologized for yelling at friend.
o Didn’t do my homework.
o Stayed up past my bedtime.
o Said something mean to my mom.
o Used something without asking.
o Pretended I was sick.
o Didn’t do my chores.
o Spent my offering on a Coke.
o Dented the car with my bike.
o Forgot to feed the dog.
o Showed disrespect to my teacher.
o Cheated on a test.
o Ate an extra desert when Dad wasn’t looking.
• (After the volunteer has put in 20 or so black checkers, secretly drop the red checker into the bag so that he/she will draw it out soon. When the volunteer draws the red checker and drops it in, stop him/her and remind everyone that it represents the blood of Christ.)
• “Remember, the red checker represents the blood of Christ.”
• “This is important, because the Bible says that the blood of Christ washes us of all our sin.”
• “Let’s look at a few Scriptures.” (Ask volunteers to read Matthew 26:28, Romans 5:9, Ephesians 2:13, Hebrews 9:22, 1 John 1:7-9.)
• “The blood of Christ earns us forgiveness, it justifies us and saves us from God’s wrath, it brings us near to God, and it purifies us from all sin.”
• “That’s powerful stuff!”
• “So, here’s a picture of what the blood of Christ does for our hearts when we accept Jesus as our Savior.” (Show the volunteer how to trigger the release at the bottom of the frame so that all the dominoes spill out.)
• “Our hearts become completely new! Cleaned out of all that sin!”
• “It’s like getting a fresh start. All our past sin is gone.”
• “But you know us…even when we are Christians, we still sin sometimes.” (Close the release at the bottom of the frame, and have volunteer begin to put black checkers back in.)
• “We can’t lose our salvation, but each time we sin, the sin takes the place in our hearts where Jesus should be.”
• “Hopefully, we should be sinning less often now, so our hearts don’t fill up as fast.”
• “But you don’t need to wait for it to fill up, because Jesus’ blood didn’t just pay for the sins we did in the past. It pays for the ones we haven’t even done yet.” (Have volunteer add the red checker and then release all the checkers from the bottom.)
• “Each time you sin, it’s paid for already. The only problem is, all those sins hurt your relationship with God.” (Have volunteer add black checkers back in after closing the release at the bottom.)
• “As quickly as you realize you have sinned, ask God for forgiveness so that you can make your relationship healthy again.” (Have volunteer add a red checker and then release all the checkers one last time. Thank and dismiss volunteer.)
• “It’s that easy! But it’s even better if we remember what Jesus did for us and don’t get into sin in the first place.” (OPTIONAL: As you are saying this, add red checkers to the frame (seal the bottom first) in the pattern of a heart. See image below. You will need a few white checkers to go under the red ones in a few columns.)

connect-four-heart

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Filed under Christianity, faith, forgiveness, heart, Jesus, Object Lesson, salvation

Win-Lose (GAME)


Time
20-30 minutes

Description
This game helps participants understand different responses to conflict.  (You can also use this as a game to illustrate the different strategies in negotiation.)

Audience
Children, youth, adults

Materials
•    Beads (20 per person plus 40 per group – in other words, if you have six people in a group, you will need 160 beads – 20 per person and 40 to go in the middle).  You can also use coins, rice, beans… anything that you have lots and lots of.
•    Dice (one per group – I recommend fuzzy dice.  They are more fun to play with.)
•    Flipchart or whiteboard
•    Marker
•    Copies of the “Debrief Questions” page at the end of this lesson
•    (Optional) A prizes(s) for the winning team(s)

Preparation
•    Make copies of the “Debrief Questions” page at the end of this lesson (one copy per table group).
•    Count out the beads, and put enough for the gate at each table.
•    Put a die at each table.
•    Write the following on a flipchart or whiteboard:
o    1 – Win-Win (Everyone gets 1 bead from center.)
o    2 – Win-Lose (Everyone gives you 1 bead.)
o    3 – Lose-Win (You give everyone 1 bead.)
o    4 – Lose-Lose (Everyone puts 1 bead in the center.)
o    5 – Compromise (You give 1 bead to the center and pick 2 other people to put one bead in the center.)
o    6 – You Choose (Choose your own conflict response, and do what it says.)
•    Practice the script.

Procedure
Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):
•    (Divide the participants into table groups of 4-6 people each.)
•    “We’re going to play a game that will illustrate peoples’ different responses to conflict.”
•    “Different people respond in different ways when they come into conflict.”
•    “Many go for ‘Win-Lose.’  ‘I win; you lose.’  They want to win the conflict even if it means that the other person has to lose.”
•    “Many others go for ‘Lose-Win.’  ‘I lose; you win.’  They just let the other person win, because they don’t like conflict or confrontation.  It’s easier just to give up the fight.”
•    “Some go for ‘Compromise.’  ‘We both lose some of what we wanted, but at least we get a resolution to the conflict.’  Neither party gets exactly what they wanted in ‘Compromise,’ but the conflict gets resolved or the task gets done.  Sometimes that’s enough.”
•    “Some even go for ‘Lose-Lose.’ ‘I lose; you lose.’  This one seems crazy, but people will often choose this response when they are upset that they can’t win.  It’s like they are saying, ‘If I can’t have what I want, I’ll make sure no one gets what they want!’”
•    “And a very few people go for ‘Win-Win.’  ‘I win; you win.’  I say very few people go for it, because it’s very difficult to do.  It takes patience, creativity and a willingness to truly listen and understand to the other person before making a decision.  However, this is usually the best response to conflict, because everyone gets what they want (or even something better).”
•    “On your table, you have lots of beads.”
•    “I would like for everyone at the table to count out 20 beads for himself or herself.”  (Wait for everyone to count out his or her beads.  There should be at least 40 left in the middle of the table.)
•    “The game we are about to play is called, ‘Win-Lose,’ and your objective is to win.”
•    “The person at the table who first collects 40 beads is the winner.”
•    “You gain or lose beads by rolling the die (singular for dice) and doing one of six things listed on the flipchart / whiteboard.”
•    “If you roll a one, you choose a Win-Win response to conflict, and everyone at the table benefits by getting a bead from the center.”
•    “If you roll a two, you choose a Win-Lose response to conflict, and everyone gives you one of their beads.”
•    “If you roll a three, you choose a Lose-Win response to conflict, and you give everyone at the table one bead.”
•    “If you roll a four, you choose a Lose-Lose response to conflict, and everyone had to put a bead back into the center.”
•    “If you roll a five, you choose a Compromise response to conflict, and you need to put a bead in the center.  You will also pick two other people to put a bead in the center.”
•    “If you roll a six, you get to pick your conflict response.  You then have to do what the flipchart / whiteboard says for that conflict response.  For example, if you choose ‘Win-Lose,’ then you should collect a bead from everyone at the table.”
•    “To determine who goes first, you will each roll the die.  The highest roll goes first.  If you have a tie for the highest roll, have just those people continue to roll to determine who goes first.”
•    “After the first person goes, the person on his/her left will go next, and play will continue clockwise around the table.”
•    “Play continues until someone accumulates 40 beads.  That person is the winner.”
•    “Does anyone have any questions about how to play?”  (Answer questions.)
•    “Okay, then you can start rolling the die to see who goes first.”  (If they finish the first round quickly and you have the time, let them play several rounds.  Then, award a prize to the winners if you choose.  Pass out the Debrief Questions sheet to each group, and allow them 10-15 minutes to talk about the questions.  Then ask the large group for any general insights from the activity.”

Debrief Questions

o    How does this game reflect real conflict situations?
o    When people got to choose the conflict response they used, what did they usually choose?  Why?  What can you learn from this?
o    What consequences are there for people who always use the following approaches to conflict?
•    Win-Lose
•    Lose-Win
•    Lose-Lose
•    Compromise
o    How do people generally feel about others who use these conflict responses on a regular basis?
o    Why don’t more people approach conflict from a Win-Win perspective?
o    What are the benefits of using a Win-Win approach?
o    What could you do to increase the frequency with which you use Win-win?

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Filed under conflict management, Conflict Resolution, Coping skills, Game, Games that Teach, Relationships

Emotional Banking (GAME)


Time
30-45 minutes

Description
This game helps participants understand the concept of Emotional Bank Accounts (EBAs).

Audience
Children, youth, adults

Materials
•    500 “Credits” for each team in the following denominations and amounts (100 Credit Bill (1), 50 Credit Bills (4), 20 Credit Bills (5), 10 Credit Bills (10)).  See the file “Emotional Banking Credits Currency” on the Lesson and Material Downloads page for printouts of the credits.
•    Copy of “Give a Big Hug” cards (two for each team – they are in the same file as above.)
•    Copy of “Emotional Banking Rule” (one per team – see printout at the end of this lesson)
•    Copy of “Debrief Questions” (one per team – see printout at the end of this lesson)
•    Envelopes for each team (one per team)
•    Markers
•    Flipchart
•    (Optional) A prizes(s) for the winning team(s)

Preparation
•    Prepare an envelope for each team.
o    Count out 500 “Credits” in the following denominations and amounts (100 Credit Bill (1), 50 Credit Bills (4), 20 Credit Bills (5), 10 Credit Bills (10)).
o    Place all “Credits” in the team’s envelope.
o    Place one “Give a Big Hug” card in the team’s envelope.
•    Prepare a Scoring flipchart or whiteboard for each round like the one pictured below.  (You will need five (5) total scoring grids.)
•    Practice the script.

ROUND 1    Team 1    Team 2    Team 3    Team 4
Starting
Balance
Deposit Made
(-)
Deposit Received (+)
Winner?
(Y/N)
Bonus
(+)
Penalty
(-)
Net
Balance

Procedure
Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):
•    (Divide group into an even number of teams, and number or name the teams.  Group sizes are best between 4-6, but you could run the game with a “team” as small as one person.  Teams will be competing against each other to have the largest remaining balance.)
•    “We are going to play a game that will help us to understand some of the ideas behind an Emotional Bank Account (EBA).”
•    “If you are familiar with what a normal bank account is, you’ll be able to easily understand what an EBA is.”
•    “An EBA is an account that a person sets up in their mind when they meet someone.”
•    “Just like with a normal bank account, they then make deposits into that account and take withdrawals from it.”
•    “The balance in the account goes up and down depending upon whether or not the two people have good or bad experiences with each other.”
•    “Good experiences become deposits in the EBA, and the people will feel good about each other.
•    “Bad experiences become withdrawals from the EBA, and the people will feel bad about each other.”
•    “Does this make sense?” (Answer questions if anyone is lost.)
•    “EBAs are important for Christians to think about, because we want build relationships with other Christians and with people outside the Church.”
•    “If we are always taking withdrawals from other peoples’ accounts, it will be difficult for us to worship with them, work with them, minister to them or get them to trust our Savior.”
•    “As much as possible, we should be making deposits in their accounts.”
•    “This is likely to happen if we are showing them unconditional love in the same way that Jesus has shown unconditional love to us.”
•    “So, back to our game…”
•    “Each group is a team, and each team is in competition with every other team to end the game with the most “Credits” in your EBA.”
•    “’Credits’ look like these (show a few Credits), and each team is receiving an envelope with exactly 500 Credits in it.”  (Pass out envelopes.)
•    “While you are competing against all other teams for your final EBA balance, you will only be exchanging envelopes with one other team during each round.”
•    “Which team that is could change from round to round, but you will only exchange with one other team.”  (Designate which teams will pair with which other teams during Round 1.  You can simply pick the teams that are closest to each other.)
•    “Before you exchange envelopes each round, you will put a deposit of Credits into it.”
•    “It is important that you make a bigger deposit in your envelope than the deposit the other team makes to you, because an additional bonus will be awarded to the team giving the highest deposit between the two of you.”
•    “This will help us demonstrate the principle of sowing and reaping from Galatians 6:9-10, where Paul tells: ‘Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.’
•    “If you do good to the team you trade with, you will reap a harvest when I announce the bonus for that round.”  (If they ask, you can tell them that the bonus amount will change each round.)
•    “But Paul also says in Galatians 6:7-8, ‘Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.’”
•    “If you do bad to the team you trade with, you will reap destruction when I announce the bonus for that round, because you will have to pay it out of your Credits.”
•    “So, the team making the biggest deposit will reap a bonus, and the team making the smallest deposit will reap a penalty.”
•    “Does that make sense to everyone?”  (Check for understanding.)
•    “A few rules for the exchanges:
o    “A team cannot make a deposit to another team that is more than the total amount of Credits they have.  For example, if the other team has 200 Credits, you cannot make a deposit of 250 Credits.  That wouldn’t be fair to them.”
o    “Teams have each received in their envelopes two cards that say, ‘Give a Big Hug,’ on them.  They can put this card in the envelope with their deposit if they want to, but it will only be effective if there is a tie between the two teams.  In the event of a tie (i.e., both teams gave the same deposit), the team who ‘gave a big hug’ will receive the win.”
o    “Teams can reuse ‘Give a Big Hug’ cards given to them by other teams.”
•    “I will keep totals for each round on the flipcharts / whiteboard at the front of the room.”
•    “Here’s a copy of the rules of the game to help you strategize as a team.”  (Hand out ‘Emotional Banking Rules’ sheet to each team.)
•    “Are there any questions?”
•    “Then, let’s begin.  You have three minutes to come up with your team’s strategy for Round 1.”  (Allow three minutes for strategy.  At the end of the strategy time, have them put their deposits in the envelopes and trade with the team with which you paired them.  Have someone from each team come up to the flipchart / whiteboard and write in the ‘Deposit Made’ and ‘Deposit Received’ for their team.)
•    (If there is a tie, ask if anyone ‘gave a big hug.’  The team that ‘gave a big hug’ gets the win.  Mark the winning teams on the flipchart / whiteboard.)
•    (Announce the Bonus / Penalty for the round according to the following amounts:
o    Round 1 – 50 Credits
o    Round 2 – 200 Credits
o    Round 3 – 120 Credits
o    Round 4 – 240 Credits
o    Round 5 – 350 Credits
•    (Add these amounts as a Bonus to the winning teams and as a Penalty to the losing teams.  Then, tally the scores for the round, and announce them to the teams.  Follow this process after each round.)
•    (Between rounds, allow three minutes each time for strategic planning.)
•    (You can have the same teams trade with each other each round, or you can mix it up.  If you decide to change which teams are paired for each round, be sure you remember which teams are paired when you do the scoring.)
•    (After the final round, announce the winning team and award a prize if you choose.  Pass out the ‘Debrief Questions’ sheet to each team, and ask them to spend ten minutes going through the questions.)
•    (Then, as a large group, ask for general insights about Emotional Bank Accounts.  Some points that you might want to bring out if they aren’t mentioned are:
o    “Even large deposits can be a withdrawal from the other person’s account if they are less than we are expecting or less than we feel we have put into the relationship.  For example, you might be disappointed if you thought your reward for cleaning the garage was going to be a trip to an amusement park but then found out it was just a week without chores.”
o    “While the amounts we used for the game were measureable, the size of deposits and withdrawals in real life EBAs is highly subjective and based on each person’s expectations and what they tell themselves about WHY we did what we did.  For example, you might tell someone that they look very nice today and be surprised to find that they interpreted that as a withdrawal from their account, because they suspected that you only complimented them in order to get something in return.”
o    “Sometimes we get so far behind in a relationship that it is impossible to catch up without many, many consistent deposits over a long time.  However, we can also hope for forgiveness, which restores our deposits to our account right away.”
o    “Making deposits in other peoples’ accounts is not really about strategy; it’s about a genuine motive to improve the relationship.  This activity was a simulation to help us experience just a few of the aspects of EBAs, but it wasn’t supposed to be a perfect picture of them.”

Debrief Questions

1.    How was this activity like making deposits and withdrawals from Emotional Bank Accounts (EBAs)?
2.    When you believe you’ve given more to a relationship than the other person, how does this affect your feelings about the relationship?
3.    When you believe you’ve given less to a relationship than the other person, how does this affect your feelings about the relationship?
4.    How did the other team’s history of giving impact your level of giving?  Does this relate to real relationships in any way?
5.    If this had not been a competitive activity, what would have changed about your strategy?
6.    Was there anything about the “Give a Big Hug” option that was similar to real life?
7.    What additional lessons can you take away from this activity?

Emotional Banking Rules

o    Your goal is to finish the game with the most “Credits” in y our Emotional Bank Account (EBA).
o    There will be five rounds.
o    The amount of deposit you choose to make is entirely up to you (as long as it doesn’t break the next rule), but the team should have consensus about it.
o    You cannot make a deposit greater than the total of the other team’s balance.
o    Your deposit should be placed in your envelope before trading begins.
o    If you choose to “Give a Big Hug,” put the “Give a Big Hug” card in the envelope with your deposit.
o    Envelopes will be exchanged at the same time so that not team has an advantage.
o    Scoring will be done as follows:
o    The team making the largest of the two deposits will receive a bonus.  (The amount will change each round, and the facilitator will not reveal how much it is until the round is completed.)
o    The team making the smallest of the two deposits will receive a penalty.  It will be the same amount as the bonus of the winning team.
o    The team receiving the penalty will pay the other team their bonus.
o    In the event of a tie, a team that “gave a big hug” will receive the win.
o    Teams can reuse the “Give a Big Hug” cards that they get from other teams.
o    The facilitator will keep a record of all deposits, bonuses and penalties on a score chart.

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Filed under Agape Love, Christianity, Game, Games that Teach, Kindness, Love, Relationships, unconditional love

The Gift – A Biblical View of Sexuality (LESSON)


Time
3-4 hours (You may want to do this in segments of about an hour apiece.  The material easily breaks at the headings.  Of course, you are welcome to present only pieces of the material, as well.)

Audience
Youth and Young Adults – Please use caution and discretion when presenting this material.  It should not be presented without the knowledge and consent of parents and church leadership.

Description
This lesson helps youth and young adults to understand God’s plan for sex.  It shows that sex is a battlefield for the spiritual warfare between God and Satan and encourages kids to take a stand for sexual purity so that they can give the “gift” of sex to their life partner on the day of their marriage.

Materials
•    Participant guides – “Gift, The – A Biblical View of Sexuality – PG” (available on the “Lesson and Material Downloads” page.)
•    Pens/pencils for the kids to use to take notes
•    A box (about the size of a shoe box should be fine)
•    Ribbon and a bow
•    Tape for wrapping the gift
•    Assorted items to put in the box so that it makes noise when you shake it
•    A roll of duct tape
•    Whiteboard and markers
•    Note cards

Preparation
•    Make copies of the participant guides (one per person), and pass them out.
•    Put the assorted items into the box, and wrap it as nicely as you can.
•    At some point, I recommend giving a few note cards to each youth or young adult and allowing them to anonymously ask questions about sex on the cards.  You might want to hand out the cards before your lesson and explain their purpose, or you might want to wait and hand them out after the first or second parts of the lesson.  Collect the cards in an envelope or bag, and give yourself at least an evening to pray over them and formulate your answers.  I have found this to be a good exercise that allows them to ask some honest questions that are troubling them about sex.
•    Practice the script.

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

“The Gift”
•    “Today, we are going to talk about God’s view about sex.  Each of you has a participant guide and something to write with, so please take notes with me.”
•    “Let’s start at the beginning.  Can I get a volunteer to read Genesis 2:18-25 for me?”  (Select a volunteer to read.)
•    “Woman came from man.  It’s a beautiful picture.  Man and woman were once one.  Now, to regain that oneness, we need each other.”
•    “Notice that they were both naked and unashamed.  It was pure and good.  In fact, Genesis 1:31 tells us that God said, ‘it was very good.’”
•    “God gave Eve to Adam as a gift – a companion that was like him, a companion who he could share everything with – his thoughts, his emotions, his body, his spirit.”
•    “Sex was a crucial part of that gift, because it was through sex that the man and the woman experienced complete and total oneness – at least as complete and total as we can experience.”
•    “Well, a lot has changed about sex since God first gave it to Adam and Eve, but He still gives it to us as a gift.”
•    “In fact, it is one of the best gifts you will ever get in your entire life!”
•    “I can’t really even describe to you how incredible it is; it is precious and wonderful!”
•    “God is a giver.  He gets excited about giving us gifts – especially one as special as the gift of sex, but He doesn’t want us to open the gift until it’s time.”
•    “Remember when you were younger and Christmas was coming?”  (Pick up gift and hold it where it can be seen.)
•    “Wasn’t it exciting to see that gift under the tree?”
•    “To look at the gorgeous wrapping?  To shake the box?”  (Shake the box.)
•    “Did you ever want to just take a peek and see what was inside?”  (Wait for some responses.)
•    “Me, too.  Will any of you admit to having peeked at a gift or two during your lifetime?”  (Wait for responses.)
•    “Sometimes it just feels irresistible, doesn’t it?  You can’t stand not knowing what is inside that package.”
•    “But what happens if you peek?” (Pretend to peek behind the paper, and listen for responses.)
•    “Right.  Guilt, dread at being caught, a ruined surprise, no joyful Christmas morning.”
•    “Why is that?”  (Listen for responses – you are waiting for someone to say something like, “We took the gift before it was time” or “We got to see the gift in the wrong way.”)
•    “Exactly!  A Christmas gift has a specific time when it is supposed to be opened.”
•    “If you open it early, you ruin the surprise and the joy of discovery on Christmas morning.”
•    “While everyone else is saying, ‘Oooooh!’ and ‘Ahhhhh!’ and ‘Wow!’ you are feeling miserable and doing your best to fake excitement.”
•    “A very important part of my message to you today is that sex is like that Christmas gift.”
•    “It has a very specific time when it is supposed to be opened, and that is on the day of your wedding.”
•    “If you open it before then, you will ruin the surprise and take away much of the joy.”
•    “But if you can just wait until the right time, that gift will be a joy and a surprise to you and your spouse for the rest of your married life.”
•    “And there is another reason why you should wait to open it…because the gift is not really for you!”
•    “Sure, you have access to it, and you can open it if you want to, but it doesn’t belong to you.”
•    “That gift was given to you to cherish and protect until the day you give it to the person it really belongs to – your marriage partner.”
•    “God has given it to you, and you are the steward of the gift.  It’s your job to keep it safe and in excellent condition until that special day.”
•    “The good news is that someone out there has a gift that God gave them for you, too.”
•    “Hopefully, they are doing a good job of keeping it safe.”
•    “Some people don’t.  They take the gift and share it with other people….sometimes a lot of other people.”
•    “When you share the gift with anyone other than your spouse, you are doing something you have no right to do.”
•    “It’s not yours to share.   You’re just keeping it until it’s time to give it to its rightful owner.  You are just the steward, the keeper of the gift.”
•    “Think about it this way.  What if I had a gift to give you for Christmas, but before I gave it to you, I shared it with several different people?”
•    “I let them open the gift and use the gift, but then I decided that they weren’t the right people to share the gift with, so I took it back.” (Start unwrapping the gift.)
•    “Unfortunately, while they had it, they took off the nice wrapping paper.  They scuffed it up and dented it.  They used it for purposes it wasn’t intended for.”  (Continue unwrapping the gift.  Toss it around some, drop it and/or step on it.)
•    “So, when it’s time for me to share it with the one it was intended for, it’s no longer new and special.”
•    “Most likely, it is damaged in some way, and it could be damaged in such a way that it could even hurt the person I give it to.”
•    “I can do my best to rewrap it and cover up the dents and the scuffs and the tears, but I’m not going to be able to hide them for long.”  (Try to rewrap the gift in a hurried way.)
•    “How special would you feel if I gave you a gift that looked like this?”
•    “Would you feel like you were the most special person in my life?”
•    “Or would you be hugely disappointed?  …especially if you had saved my gift for me even though I shared yours.”
•    “Would you be just a little angry that I had shared your gift with strangers and let them do whatever they wanted to with it?”
•    “Well, you would have a right to be angry.  That would be incredibly insensitive and selfish of me.”
•    “We should do whatever it takes to protect the gift…to save it for that one person God intended it for.”
•    “But it won’t be easy.  I don’t know if you know it or not, but there is a war going on.”
•    “It’s a spiritual war between the armies of God and the armies of Satan, and one of their main battlefields is the gift of sex.”
•    “Satan wants to destroy the gift, and he is doing everything in his power to corrupt it, distort it, cheapen it, dent it, break it, twist it, poison it and pervert it.”
•    “To know why, we need to look at God’s purposes for sex.  There are three.  You can fill in the blanks in your participant guide.”

God’s Purposes for Sex – “POP!”

gods-purposes-for-sex-fg1
•    “Procreation – it means having children.  In Genesis 1:28 God commanded man to ‘be fruitful and multiply.’  He wants us to fill the earth.”
•    “Oneness – this is a mystery – no one knows exactly what it means, but through sex, two people become one – not just physically, but also spiritually, mentally and emotionally, as well.  Genesis 2:24 says that a man will ‘leave father and mother and be joined to his wife and they shall become one flesh.’”
•    “Pleasure – this is the one people have the most trouble with.  Satan has so twisted our view of sex that many people think of it as dirty or bad, but it’s not.  It’s glorious and wonderful when it’s the way that God intended it.  Proverbs 5:18-19 says ‘May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.  A loving doe, a graceful deer – may her breasts satisfy you always, may you be captivated by her love.’ and the book of the Song of Solomon is a picture of the beauty and joy of the pleasure of sex between a married couple.”
•    “God wants us to enjoy the gift that he has given to us, and He doesn’t want us to feel bad about it.  He rejoices when a married man and woman give themselves fully to one another during sex.”

“The War”
•    “But remember, there is a war going on in the spiritual realm, and sex is at the middle of it.”
•    “Satan absolutely hates sex as God intended it, because of the three reasons we just covered.”
•    “When a married man and woman have sex, they create families and bring joy and hope into the world through the miracle of conception and birth.  Babies are full of potential, and when they are born to Christian families, they are likely to believe in the God of their mothers and fathers.”
•    “The closeness a man and woman experience during sex is the closest picture of the oneness of God in his three Persons.  We can actually understand this mystery much better when we experience the oneness of sex.”
•    “Finally, the pleasure that we feel during sex is offensive to Satan.  He doesn’t want us enjoying what God gave us.  That might lead us to feel gratitude and love for our Creator.”
•    “Satan hates sex, because it is powerful!  …the incredible gift of a loving God.”
•    “Let’s see where all this started.  Can I get a volunteer to read Genesis 3:1-7 for me?”  (Select volunteer to read.)
•    “Notice that the first consequence of Adam and Eve eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil was shame about their nakedness.  That’s a sexual consequence.”
•    “Satan’s first attack has a sexual consequence.  I think that is very interesting.  We should be asking, ‘What does sex have to do with the battle between Satan and God?’”
•    “Everything!  It’s a key battlefield!  Because of the three purposes God has for sex, it’s crucially important.”
•    “Now, there was nothing shameful about Adam’s and Eve’s nakedness.  Nothing changed in their bodies when they ate the fruit.  What changed was in their minds.”
•    “When they ate from the tree, they started to think about their nakedness differently than they did before.  This is where their shame came from.  Not from what God created but from what they did mentally with what God created.”
•    “So, this is Satan’s strategy.  He can’t do any damage to God, Himself, so he hurts the Creator through His creation.”
•    “By attacking us and the gift that received from God, Satan brings God grief.”
•    “And it didn’t stop in the Garden.  Satan is still attacking us and the gift.”
•    “I’m going to break you into small groups right now, and I want you to brainstorm all the different ways that Satan is attacking the gift of sex in the world today.”  (Break the kids into groups of 3-5, and have them brainstorm ways Satan is attacking the gift of sex.  They can write their answers on the second page of their participant guides.  If you need to give them a few ideas to get them started, mention pornography, sexual abuse, distorted views of what beauty is, etc.  Allow them five minutes to brainstorm, then have them share one idea per group until all ideas have been captured.  I recommend writing them on a whiteboard so that they can see the arsenal Satan is leveling against the gift.)
•    “Isn’t this incredible!  Can you believe how many different ways Satan is attacking the gift?”
•    “There was an interview with a veteran pilot who flew missions in Viet Nam, and he said something very interesting that I think applies here.  He said that you get the most flak (that’s the anti-aircraft artillery that you sometimes see exploding near planes on old war films) when you are over the target.”
•    “In other words, the enemy doesn’t bother to shoot at you if you are hundreds of miles from the target, but the closer you get, the more flak is coming your way.”
•    “When you are right over the target, he is going to fire everything he has at you.”
•    “Do you see what I’m pointing out?  Satan is launching all this firepower at the gift of sex.  That means it must be hugely, crucially important!”
•    “When we get close to God’s understanding of sex, we are threatening Satan’s strongholds.  We are right on top of what Satan doesn’t want us to discover.”
•    “Sex is a key battlefield in this spiritual war.”

“Rules for the Gift”
•    “God has set down some rules for the gift.”
•    “We don’t need to read them, but there are twenty-one rules for the gift of sex in Leviticus 18, and Leviticus 20 tells us what the consequences for breaking the rules will be – mostly death.”
•    “Basically, the rules are – no sex with…family, a woman during menstruation, someone else’s husband/wife, (related to) idol worship, persons of the same sex, animals.  I know, gross.”
•    “These are pretty good rules, but there’s no death penalty anymore – at least not physically.  What will die if you break the rules is your relationship with Christ and your ability to experience the beauty and wonder of the gift.”
•    “The New Testament is more appropriate for us to read about God’s rules for the gift.  Can someone read for us 1 Corinthians 6:15-20?”  (Allow volunteer to read.)
•    “Paul tells us that our bodies…are one with Christ…are the temple of the Holy Spirit…not ours….purchased at a price.”
•    “We are to glorify God in our bodies and in our spirits.”
•    “Now, can someone read Ephesians 5:3-7?”  (Allow volunteer to read.)
•     “Okay, so we are not to allow even a hint of sexual immorality in our lives – not even sexual joking – because it is not appropriate for those who have been united with Christ.”
•    “Do you see the graphic on your third page?  Let’s fill that in.”

sex-uniting-god-with-fg

•    “God says that we are not to unite our bodies (or Him, because we are the temple for the Holy Spirit) with:
o    “Prostitutes, The Promiscuous (those that have sex a lot) or The Public (anyone other than our spouse)” – (Do duct tape example.  Invite several young men up, and put duct tape on their forearms.  This doesn’t work well in humid environments, so you might want to have some rubbing alcohol and a cloth close by to prepare the men’s arms.)
•    “This is a picture of what it is like to have sex.”
•    “The tape is now one with each man’s arm.”  (Then rip off the tape as quickly as you can.)
•    “When you are one with someone, and you separate, it hurts!”
•    “That person takes a piece of you with them that you will never get back.”  (Show the tape with the men’s arm hair stuck to it.)
•    “Now, if you unite in oneness with someone else, it’s going to be less ‘sticky.’”  (Reapply the tape to each man’s arm.  Then, rip it back off.)
•    “It’s easier to separate, but it’s also harder to create true oneness.”  (Reapply the tape and then rip off several more times.)
•    “The more you do this, the less ‘sticky’ (the less capable of true oneness) you will be.”
•    “By the time you marry, it may be very difficult for you to create oneness with your wife.”
•    “This is why God wants us to save our ‘stickiness’ (our oneness) for that one person.”
•    “Once you have lost your ‘stickiness,’ it’s very difficult (but not impossible) to get it back.”  (Thank volunteers, and allow them to return to their seats.)
o    “We should also not unite ourselves with ‘Our People (relatives), Our Parents or Our Progeny (our kids).”
o    “We shouldn’t unite ourselves (and God, remember) with ‘Porn.”
o    “…with ‘Persons of the same sex,”
o    “…or with ‘Perversions’ like animals and objects.”
•    “If you look at the list of things we are to avoid, it’s not really that difficult to follow God’s rules – especially if you never get started breaking the rules.”
•    “It’s when you cross the line that you get into trouble.”
•    “Once you cross it the first time, it’s much easier to cross it again…and again….and again…”
•    “So, that’s what God says we should stay away from.  Now let’s look at what He wants for us related to sex.”

“What God Intends”
•    “God wants us to experience the full beauty and joy of the gift of sex.  He’s given us some guidelines in Scripture that will help.”
•    “Can someone read for us 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8?”  (Allow volunteer to read.)
•    “So, we are to have no sexual immorality, and we should control our bodies.”
•    “We are unique in all of creation.  We aren’t like the angels or the animals that were created before us.”
•    “Angels are spirits without bodies.  They don’t have sex.  They don’t procreate. God didn’t create them to participate in sex.”
•    “Animals, on the other hand, have bodies and maybe spirits but not in the sense that they consider their actions.  They never worry about temptation or lust.  They just do what animals do – they mate when it’s time to mate.  It’s a simple response to a biological need.”
•    “We are between these two sets of created beings on the continuum.  We have both body and spirit.  We have the ability to consider our actions, to be tempted, to lust but also to resist that temptation.”
•    “Angels can’t have sex; animals can’t resist, but we can, and God calls us not to be angels or animals.”
•    “We are not supposed to completely abstain from sex (at least not most of us), and we aren’t supposed to have it whenever the urge hits us.”
•    “God calls us to control our bodies.”
•    “Some people act like angels, because they are afraid of awakening their desire.  This is okay if God has called you to be single and to devote your life to serving Him, but Paul says that most of us can’t do that.”
•    “Some people act like animals, because they feel that they can’t help giving in to their lust.  But this is settling for so much less than God has planned for us.”
•    “God wants us to have sex, but He wants us to control our bodies so that we don’t open the gift before it is time.”
•    “Now, can someone read for us 1 Corinthians 7:3-5?”  (Allow volunteer to read.)
•    “This Scripture is for married couples, but it’s good for you to know it ahead of time.”
•    “It says that the husband has authority over his wife’s body, and that the wife has authority over her husband’s body.”
•    “Neither of them has authority over his/her own body in marriage.  They are to submit to each other sexually, because depriving their spouse from sex might lead your spouse into temptation.”
•    “Remember, the gift is not for you; you’re just holding it for your spouse.  Part of that gift is your body.”
•    “When a married couple follows this teaching, there is such harmony in their marriage.”
•    “It teaches them to always think of their spouse first, and by doing that, they become one.”
•    “The more they put their spouse ahead of themselves, the more they look like Christ, who always put the Father’s will ahead of His own.”
•    “Marriage is a beautiful wonderful tool that God uses to shape us in His image.  The less we think of ourselves, and the more we think of our spouses, the more we resemble Him.”
•    “Finally, there is the Song of Solomon.  We’re not going to read it here, because, honestly, it’s very graphic.”
•    “God gives us a very erotic picture of sex between a husband and wife in this book, and you should know that it’s there as you get closer to marriage.  It will help you understand what God intends.”
•    “You will probably need a commentary to unlock its symbolism, but it doesn’t take much help before you start to realize how graphic the book is.”

“What If You’ve Messed Up?”
•    “But what if you’ve messed up already?”
•    “I know that there is incredible pressure out there on young people to have sex before you get married.”
•    “If you’ve messed up, I have to tell you that you can’t get your physical virginity back.  It’s just not possible.”
•    “The gift will not be new and perfect when you give it to your spouse on your wedding day.”
•    “But that doesn’t mean that it can’t be special and wonderful.”
•    “God can redeem any sin that you bring to Him.”
•    “All you have to do is confess it and repent of it – make a 180 degree turn and head the other direction.  Commit to cherishing your gift from now on, and God will bless your commitment.”
•    “On your wedding day, you will still have something very special to share.  It won’t be exactly as God intended it, but it can be the next best thing.”
•    “The important thing is that you’ve got to put an end to whatever you’ve done or are doing, and you’ve got to do it right away.”
•    “In the first chapter of Joel, God tells about His judgment on the people of Israel for their sin.”
•    “He sent armies of locusts to devour everything in their path, and they left the land desolate.”
•    “He says in Joel 1:4: ‘What the locust swarm has left, the great locusts have eaten; what the great locusts have left the young locusts have eaten; what the young locusts have left other locusts have eaten.’”
•    “This is what happens to Christians who continue in sin that they know they shouldn’t be doing.  God disciplines His children, because He wants them to return to Him from their sin.”
•    “If you continue in sexual sin, the ‘locusts’ will do their work.  Your relationship with God will dry up; your prayers will stop receiving answers; your relationships with other people (especially those you are sinning with) will start to suffer…”
•    “But there is hope!  Restoration is closer than you think.”  (Have a volunteer read Joel 2:12-13 and then 2:25.)
•    “God says that if you will just turn back to Him, He will restore the years that the locust have eaten.  He will restore your relationship with Him and He will restore what you’ve lost in other areas, as well.”
•    “But the longer you persist in sinning, the longer and harder it is going to be to get back to God’s best for you.  God forgives you for your sins, but He will often allow you to suffer the consequences of them so that you will grow.”
•    “I would like to finish by telling you a story:”
•    “Maybe you’ve seen the e-mail that’s made several trips around the world or maybe you’ve heard the song. They are about a young girl who saw a string of gleaming white pearls at the dime store and fell in love with them.”
•    “They weren’t real, but to her, they were beautiful.”
•    “Working hard over the following weeks, she earned enough money (two dollars) to buy them and began wearing them everywhere she went – even to bed.”
•    “She only took them off for bath time, because her mother told her that they would turn her neck green if they got wet.”
•    “The girl’s daddy loved her immensely and would make time every night to put her to bed with a story and a kiss.”
•    “After finishing the story and tucking her in one night, her daddy asked her, ‘Sweetheart, do you love me?’”
•    “Enthusiastically, she answered, ‘Oh, yes, Daddy! Of course I love you!’”
•    “’Then give me your pearls,’ he said.”
•    “’Oh, no, Daddy! Not my pearls! But you can have Princess. She’s my favorite toy horse.’”
•    “’That’s okay, Sweetheart. I love you. Good night.’”
•    “He kissed her cheek and turned out her light as he left the room.”
•    “This exchange was repeated every night for a few weeks.”
•    “Each time, the young girl offered something other than her pearls, and each time her daddy patiently declined, kissed her goodnight and left the room.”
•    “Then one night, her daddy entered her room to find her sitting up in bed.”
•    “Her chin trembled, and a tear rolled down her cheek as she held out her pearl necklace to him.”
•    “’Here, Daddy. These are for you.’”
•    “With tears in his own eyes, her daddy reached out and accepted her dime store necklace.”
•    “Then, he reached inside his pocket and drew out a blue velvet case and handed it to her.”
•    “When she opened the case, she found a beautiful strand of genuine pearls.”
———-
•    “The story is such an accurate description of the exchange our Daddy wants to make with us if we are engaging in sexual sin.”
•    “Tight-fisted, we hang onto something cheap and unworthy of us.”
•    “The relationship might seem so important to us; it might seem like it’s the most important thing in our lives right now.”
•    “Maybe we aren’t sure how we can do without it…without him or without her.”
•    “Patiently, God continues to ask us to give it up.”
•    “Patiently, He listens to our excuses.”
•    “He waits for us to come to the point where we love Him more than we love this other person or this other thing and our sin.”
•    “When we do, He shares His plan for us, and it’s always ‘exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think…’” (Ephesians 3:20, KJV)
•    “If you are in sexual sin right now, whether it’s a relationship or porn or something else, God wants you to know that it’s a dime store necklace compared to what He has planned for you.”
•    “The sooner you give it up, the sooner He can bless you with His best.”

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Fortunately – Unfortunately (Obj Lesson)


Time
20 minutes

Description
This object lesson helps us to understand that what happens to us is not as important as how we respond to what happens to us.  If we trust God with even our “unfortunate” events and circumstances, He can use everything for our good.

Materials
•    None

Preparation
•    Practice the script.

Procedure
Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):
•    “We’re going to play a short game called, “Fortunately – Unfortunately.”
•    “First, I need to divide you into small groups.”  (Divide kids into smaller groups of 3-6 people.)
•    “Now, we have to select the person who will start the game.  I want everyone to hold up one finger.”  (Make sure everyone holds up a finger, then have them do the following.)
•    “Now point that finger straight up in the air as high as you can make it go.”
•    “I’m going to count to three.  When I say, ‘three,’ I want everyone in the group to point at the person you think should start the game.”
•    “Ready?  Okay, One….Two….Three!”  (If any groups end up with a tie for the number of fingers pointed at different people, have them do it again until the tie is broken.)
•    “Alright, this person is going to start you off by telling the first part of a story.”
•    “They will tell you about 15-20 words about any topic they want, but the story has to start with, ‘Once upon a time…’”
•    “For example, ‘Once upon a time, there was a man who liked to eat pickled porcupines…’”
•    “Then, that person will stop right there, and the person on their right will pick up the story where they left off.”
•    “But before they tell anymore of the story, they have to say, ‘Unfortunately…’ and then share something unfortunate about the situation or person.”
•    “They will tell about 15 words of why things are so unfortunate, and then they will stop.”
•    “The next person will pick up the story where they left off, but he/she will start by saying, ‘Fortunately…’  Then they will tell us what is so fortunate about the situation.”
•    “This keeps going with each person alternating their stories to be ‘fortunate’ or ‘unfortunate.’”
•    “You will keep going around your group until I say to stop, so you will probably have several tries at making up ‘fortunate’ and ‘unfortunate’ parts of the story.”
•    “The only other rule is that you can’t kill anyone in the stories.”
•    “Does anyone have any questions before we get started?”
•    “Alright, those of you who were picked to start, begin your stories!”  (Allow three to five minutes for storytelling, then ask them to finish the part they are on and turn their attention back to you.)
•    “The point of this game is that there are always two ways of looking at the things that happen in our lives.  You can view almost anything as either fortunate or unfortunate.”
•    “If you search for it, even something very bad can have a fortunate side, particularly if you are willing to trust God with it.”
•    “Romans 8:28 says, ‘And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”
•    “The Scripture says that God will works in ‘some’ things for our good, right?”  (The kids should answer, ‘NO!’)
•    “Oh, it says, God works in just the fortunate things, right?” (The kids should answer, ‘NO!’)
•    “In just the things where we make good decisions?”  (‘NO!’)
•    “…where we stay out of sin?” (‘NO!’)
•    “…where we pray about it ahead of time?” (‘NO!’)
•    “…where we do everything our pastor tells us to do?” (‘NO!’)
•    “What does it say?  …God works in ALL things for the good of those who love Him.”
•    “Sometimes when ‘unfortunate’ stuff happens to us, it’s God’s discipline in our lives, because the Bible says in Proverbs 3:11:  ‘My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent His rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those He loves, as a father the son he delights in.’”
•    “But that means that even when God is disciplining you for your sin, He is doing it for your good!”
•    “And it’s even better if you admit that you sinned and ask for forgiveness.  Then God can really use it for your good!”
•    “He uses EVERYTHING that happens in your life to be a blessing to you!”
•    “So, even when something happens that looks bad, it’s a great idea to praise God for it.  That shows that you trust Him to use it for your good.”
•    “So, let’s try this out.  Who can think of something bad that could happen to us?”  (Listen for examples.)
•    “Alright everyone, how could God use that for that person’s good?”  (Do this several times to make the point that God can use everything to bless us.)
•    “You see, just because it looks unfortunate doesn’t mean it is.”
•    “It’s less important what happens to you than how you respond to what happens to you.”
•    “Praise God for anything and everything that happens in your life – whether it looks fortunate or unfortunate!”

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Filed under acceptance, blessing, Challenges, Christianity, Coping skills, Discipline, faith, Game, Games that Teach, God's Plan, Hope, Object Lesson, Praise, Trust, Worry

Easter Story Bingo (GAME)


Time
30 minutes

Description
This game teaches the Easter story through the game of Bingo.

Materials
•    Copies of the eight different bingo cards (See the filed called, “Easter Story Bingo Cards” on the “Lesson and Material Downloads” page of http://www.teachthem.wordpress.com.)  Each card has all the same pictures, but they have different placements.  You can choose whether or not you reveal this information to the children.
•    Something to act as blotters.  You can use coins, torn pieces of paper, poker chips…  You will need enough for all the children to use.  (I use candy and tell the kids that they get to keep the candy whenever they make a Bingo.)
•    Copy of the Easter story at the end of this lesson.
•    Optional – Prizes for getting bingos.

Preparation
•    Practice the script.
•    Print copies of the eight different bingo cards.
•    Distribute them randomly to the children so that each child has one.

Procedure
Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):
•    “We’re going to play a game to tell the story of Easter.”
•    “Each of you has received a ‘Easter Story’ bingo sheet.  On it, you will see pictures that represent some of the events from the Easter story.”
•    “I’m going to read the Easter story out loud.”
•    “You have also received some blotters that you can use to put on the pictures as you hear me mention them in the story.”
•    “If you see a picture that represents something I mention in the story, put a blotter on top of that name.”
•    “The center space is marked, ‘G.R.A.C.E. Space.’  This one is free – like grace; you can put a blotter on it now.  It’s to remind you of God’s grace to us.  Grace is something that you get but didn’t earn, and the letters in the word stand for ‘God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.’”
•    “You see, we have all the wonderful blessings that God wants us to have, because Jesus paid for them on the cross.  We have God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.”
•    “So, make sure you have a blotter on that center space, because it is already paid for.”
•    “Now, if you get five boxes in a row, in a column or in a diagonal marked, you have a bingo, and you should shout out, ‘BINGO!’”
•    “If you get a BINGO, you can keep playing and see how many BINGOs you can make.”
•    “Does anyone have any questions about how to play?”  (Answer questions.)
•    “Okay, let’s play!”  (Begin telling the story.  Be sure to emphasize the picture words as you reach them.  They are emphasized in the text below in bold and enlarged font.  Several pictures will be mentioned more than once, so the kids have multiple chances of finding them.  All Scriptures are taken from The Message, because it is more lyrical.   I’ve skipped some passages in order to shorten the game for children with shorter attention spans.  Chapters and verses are noted, and all four Gospels are used in order to give a more complete picture of the story.)
•    (Optional Follow-Up: Ask the kids to take their Bingo cards home and to try to retell the story to their parents, siblings or friends using the pictures.)

THE EASTER STORY

Matthew 26
Anointed for Burial
1-2 When Jesus finished saying these things, he told his disciples, “You know that Passover comes in two days. That’s when the Son of Man will be betrayed and handed over for crucifixion.”

3-5 At that very moment, the party of high priests and religious leaders was meeting in the chambers of the Chief Priest named Caiaphas, conspiring to seize Jesus by stealth and kill him. They agreed that it should not be done during Passover Week. “We don’t want a riot on our hands,” they said.

6-9 When Jesus was at Bethany, a guest of Simon the Leper, a woman came up to him as he was eating dinner and anointed him with a bottle of very expensive perfume. When the disciples saw what was happening, they were furious. “That’s criminal! This could have been sold for a lot and the money handed out to the poor.”

10-13 When Jesus realized what was going on, he intervened. “Why are you giving this woman a hard time? She has just done something wonderfully significant for me. You will have the poor with you every day for the rest of your lives, but not me. When she poured this perfume on my body, what she really did was anoint me for burial. You can be sure that wherever in the whole world the Message is preached, what she has just done is going to be remembered and admired.”

14-16 That is when one of the Twelve, the one named Judas Iscariot, went to the cabal of high priests and said, “What will you give me if I hand him over to you?” They settled on thirty silver pieces. He began looking for just the right moment to hand him over.

Luke 22
The Passover Meal
7-8 The Day of Unleavened Bread came, the day the Passover lamb was butchered. Jesus sent Peter and John off, saying, “Go prepare the Passover for us so we can eat it together.”

9 They said, “Where do you want us to do this?”

10-12 He said, “Keep your eyes open as you enter the city. A man carrying a water jug will meet you. Follow him home. Then speak with the owner of the house: The Teacher wants to know, ‘Where is the guest room where I can eat the Passover meal with my disciples?’ He will show you a spacious second-story room, swept and ready. Prepare the meal there.”

13 They left, found everything just as he told them, and prepared the Passover meal.

John 13
Washing His Disciples’ Feet
1-2 Just before the Passover Feast, Jesus knew that the time had come to leave this world to go to the Father. Having loved his dear companions, he continued to love them right to the end. It was suppertime. The Devil by now had Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, firmly in his grip, all set for the betrayal.

3-6 Jesus knew that the Father had put him in complete charge of everything, that he came from God and was on his way back to God. So he got up from the supper table, set aside his robe, and put on an apron. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the disciples, drying them with his apron. When he got to Simon Peter, Peter said, “Master, you wash my feet?”

7 Jesus answered, “You don’t understand now what I’m doing, but it will be clear enough to you later.”

8 Peter persisted, “You’re not going to wash my feet—ever!”

Jesus said, “If I don’t wash you, you can’t be part of what I’m doing.”

9 “Master!” said Peter. “Not only my feet, then. Wash my hands! Wash my head!”

Luke 22
14-16 When it was time, he sat down, all the apostles with him, and said, “You’ve no idea how much I have looked forward to eating this Passover meal with you before I enter my time of suffering. It’s the last one I’ll eat until we all eat it together in the kingdom of God.”

17-18 Taking the cup, he blessed it, then said, “Take this and pass it among you. As for me, I’ll not drink wine again until the kingdom of God arrives.”

19 Taking bread, he blessed it, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, given for you. Eat it in my memory.”

20 He did the same with the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant written in my blood, blood poured out for you.

31-32 “Simon, stay on your toes. Satan has tried his best to separate all of you from me, like chaff from wheat. Simon, I’ve prayed for you in particular that you not give in or give out. When you have come through the time of testing, turn to your companions and give them a fresh start.”

33 Peter said, “Master, I’m ready for anything with you. I’d go to jail for you. I’d die for you!”

34 Jesus said, “I’m sorry to have to tell you this, Peter, but before the rooster crows you will have three times denied that you know me.”

A Dark Night
39-40 Leaving there, he went, as he so often did, to Mount Olives. The disciples followed him. When they arrived at the place, he said, “Pray that you don’t give in to temptation.”

41-44 He pulled away from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and prayed, “Father, remove this cup from me. But please, not what I want. What do you want?” At once an angel from heaven was at his side, strengthening him. He prayed on all the harder. Sweat, wrung from him like drops of blood, poured off his face.

45-46 He got up from prayer, went back to the disciples and found them asleep, drugged by grief. He said, “What business do you have sleeping? Get up. Pray so you won’t give in to temptation.”

47-48 No sooner were the words out of his mouth than a crowd showed up, Judas, the one from the Twelve, in the lead. He came right up to Jesus to kiss him. Jesus said, “Judas, you would betray the Son of Man with a kiss?”

49-50 When those with him saw what was happening, they said, “Master, shall we fight?” One of them took a swing at the Chief Priest’s servant and cut off his right ear.

51 Jesus said, “Let them be. Even in this.” Then, touching the servant’s ear, he healed him.

A Rooster Crowed
54-56 Arresting Jesus, they marched him off and took him into the house of the Chief Priest. Peter followed, but at a safe distance. In the middle of the courtyard some people had started a fire and were sitting around it, trying to keep warm. One of the serving maids sitting at the fire noticed him, then took a second look and said, “This man was with him!”

57 He denied it, “Woman, I don’t even know him.”

58 A short time later, someone else noticed him and said, “You’re one of them.”

But Peter denied it: “Man, I am not.”

59 About an hour later, someone else spoke up, really adamant: “He’s got to have been with him! He’s got ‘Galilean’ written all over him.”

60-62 Peter said, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about.” At that very moment, the last word hardly off his lips, a rooster crowed. Just then, the Master turned and looked at Peter. Peter remembered what the Master had said to him: “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” He went out and cried and cried and cried.

Mark 15
Standing Before Pilate
1 At dawn’s first light, the high priests, with the religious leaders and scholars, arranged a conference with the entire Jewish Council. After tying Jesus securely, they took him out and presented him to Pilate.

2-3 Pilate asked him, “Are you the ‘King of the Jews’?”
He answered, “If you say so.” The high priests let loose a barrage of accusations.

4-5 Pilate asked again, “Aren’t you going to answer anything? That’s quite a list of accusations.” Still, he said nothing. Pilate was impressed, really impressed.

Luke 23
4 Pilate told the high priests and the accompanying crowd, “I find nothing wrong here. He seems harmless enough to me.”

5 But they were vehement. “He’s stirring up unrest among the people with his teaching, disturbing the peace everywhere, starting in Galilee and now all through Judea. He’s a dangerous man, endangering the peace.”

13-16 Then Pilate called in the high priests, rulers, and the others and said, “You brought this man to me as a disturber of the peace. I examined him in front of all of you and found there was nothing to your charge.  It’s clear that he’s done nothing wrong, let alone anything deserving death. I’m going to warn him to watch his step and let him go.”

18-20 At that, the crowd went wild: “Kill him! Give us Barabbas!” (Barabbas had been thrown in prison for starting a riot in the city and for murder.) Pilate still wanted to let Jesus go, and so spoke out again.

21 But they kept shouting back, “Crucify! Crucify him!”

22 He tried a third time. “But for what crime? I’ve found nothing in him deserving death. I’m going to warn him to watch his step and let him go.”

23-25 But they kept at it, a shouting mob, demanding that he be crucified. And finally they shouted him down.

Matthew 27
24 When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere and that a riot was imminent, he took a basin of water and washed his hands in full sight of the crowd, saying, “I’m washing my hands of responsibility for this man’s death. From now on, it’s in your hands. You’re judge and jury.”

25 The crowd answered, “We’ll take the blame, we and our children after us.”

26 Then he pardoned Barabbas. But he had Jesus whipped, and then handed over for crucifixion.

Mark 15
16-20 The soldiers took Jesus into the palace (called Praetorium) and called together the entire brigade. They dressed him up in purple and put a crown plaited from a thornbush on his head. Then they began their mockery: “Bravo, King of the Jews!” They banged on his head with a club, spit on him, and knelt down in mock worship. After they had had their fun, they took off the purple cape and put his own clothes back on him. Then they marched out to nail him to the cross.

The Crucifixion
21 There was a man walking by, coming from work, Simon from Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus. They made him carry Jesus’ cross.

22-24 The soldiers brought Jesus to Golgotha, meaning “Skull Hill.” They offered him a mild painkiller (wine mixed with myrrh), but he wouldn’t take it. And they nailed him to the cross. They divided up his clothes and threw dice to see who would get them.

25-30 They nailed him up at nine o’clock in the morning. The charge against him—the King of the Jews—was printed on a poster. Along with him, they crucified two criminals, one to his right, the other to his left. People passing along the road jeered, shaking their heads in mock lament: “You bragged that you could tear down the Temple and then rebuild it in three days—so show us your stuff! Save yourself! If you’re really God’s Son, come down from that cross!”

Luke 23
34-35 Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them; they don’t know what they’re doing.”

Mark 15
33-34 At noon the sky became extremely dark. The darkness lasted three hours. At three o’clock, Jesus groaned out of the depths, crying loudly, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”

35-36 Some of the bystanders who heard him said, “Listen, he’s calling for Elijah.” Someone ran off, soaked a sponge in sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down.”

37-39 But Jesus, with a loud cry, gave his last breath. At that moment the Temple curtain ripped right down the middle. When the Roman captain standing guard in front of him saw that he had quit breathing, he said, “This has to be the Son of God!”

Luke 23
50-54 There was a man by the name of Joseph, a member of the Jewish High Council, a man of good heart and good character. He had not gone along with the plans and actions of the council. His hometown was the Jewish village of Arimathea. He lived in alert expectation of the kingdom of God. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Taking him down, he wrapped him in a linen shroud and placed him in a tomb chiseled into the rock, a tomb never yet used. It was the day before Sabbath, the Sabbath just about to begin.

Mark 16
The Resurrection
1-3 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so they could embalm him. Very early on Sunday morning, as the sun rose, they went to the tomb. They worried out loud to each other, “Who will roll back the stone from the tomb for us?”

4-5 Then they looked up, saw that it had been rolled back—it was a huge stone—and walked right in. They saw a young man (angel) sitting on the right side, dressed all in white. They were completely taken aback, astonished.

6-7 He said, “Don’t be afraid. I know you’re looking for Jesus the Nazarene, the One they nailed on the cross. He’s been raised up; he’s here no longer. You can see for yourselves that the place is empty. Now—on your way. Tell his disciples and Peter that he is going on ahead of you to Galilee. You’ll see him there, exactly as he said.”

Luke 24
9-11 They left the tomb and broke the news of all this to the Eleven and the rest. Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them kept telling these things to the apostles, but the apostles didn’t believe a word of it, thought they were making it all up.

John 20
19-20 Later on that day, the disciples had gathered together, but, fearful of the Jews, had locked all the doors in the house. Jesus entered, stood among them, and said, “Peace to you.” Then he showed them his hands and side.

20-21 The disciples, seeing the Master with their own eyes, were exuberant. Jesus repeated his greeting: “Peace to you. Just as the Father sent me, I send you.”

22-23 Then he took a deep breath and breathed into them. “Receive the Holy Spirit,” he said. “If you forgive someone’s sins, they’re gone for good. If you don’t forgive sins, what are you going to do with them?”

24-25 But Thomas, sometimes called the Twin, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples told him, “We saw the Master.”

But he said, “Unless I see the nail holes in his hands, put my finger in the nail holes, and stick my hand in his side, I won’t believe it.”

26 Eight days later, his disciples were again in the room. This time Thomas was with them. Jesus came through the locked doors, stood among them, and said, “Peace to you.”

27 Then he focused his attention on Thomas. “Take your finger and examine my hands. Take your hand and stick it in my side. Don’t be unbelieving. Believe.”

28 Thomas said, “My Master! My God!”

29 Jesus said, “So, you believe because you’ve seen with your own eyes. Even better blessings are in store for those who believe without seeing.”

Luke 24
50-51He then led them out of the city over to Bethany. Raising his hands he blessed them, and while blessing them, took his leave, being carried up to heaven.

52-53 And they were on their knees, worshiping him. They returned to Jerusalem bursting with joy. They spent all their time in the Temple praising God. Yes.

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Point to Christ Relay


Time

15-25 minutes

Description

This is game that helps participants understand how difficult it can be sometimes to keep our lives pointed toward Christ.

 

Materials

  • Blindfolds (one for each team)
  • Prizes for “enemies or demons.”
  • Prizes for the winning team (optional)
  • Flipchart and markers

 

Preparation

·      Find a wide-open space in which to run the race.  Make sure that there are no obstacles that the runners might stumble over.

·      Select a point in the room or outside that can represent “Christ.”

·      Select starting points around the room or outside that are equidistant from the “Christ” point.

·      Mark off the starting points and three to four relay points of equal distance.  In other words, you want to divide each path to “Christ” into three to four segments.

·      Post the debrief questions on a flipchart, but keep it concealed until the activity is over.  (See the end of this lesson for questions.)

·      Practice the script.

 

Procedure

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

·      “We’re going to run a race today, but it’s going to be a different kind of race.”

·      “This race will be a relay race, which may or may not be familiar to you.”

·      “But in this race, you will be blindfolded!”

·      “AND…each racer will have an enemy who tries to keep you from finishing your race!”

·      “Interested?”

·      “Okay, I’m going to divide you into teams.”  (Divide group into teams of 5-6.  Each team needs to be equally sized.  Extras can serve as additional “enemies/demons.”) 

·      “Now I need a volunteer from each team to be the ‘enemies or demons.’” 

·      “Your job will be to try to prevent the runners on the other teams from reaching their goal, and if you help your team win because you confused the other teams, your team will get a prize (optional).”

·      “So, here’s how this race works.”

·      “Each team will start from their starting point.”  (Indicate starting points for each team.)

·      “One team member will line up on each of your team’s relay points (including the starting point).”  (Indicate relay points for each team, and have the team members take their positions.)

·      When it’s your turn to race, you will have to put on a blindfold.”  (Indicate blindfold and how to put it on.)

·      “If your blindfold is not on correctly, your team can be disqualified, so make sure you get it on so that you can’t see.”

·      “The first racer will put on his blindfold and run to the first relay point.”

·      “Once there, he will take off the blindfold and give it to the next runner, who will then put on the blindfold before starting to run.”

·      “The first team to reach this point, which we are calling ‘Christ,’ wins!”

·      “But remember the enemies/demons?  These enemies/demons will run up to you as soon as you put your blindfold on, and they will spin you around 3-5 times.  When they are done spinning you, they may point you in the wrong direction.”  (Assign “enemies/demons” to opponents’ teams.  Extra “enemies/demons” should be instructed that they can are to stand off to the side and shout confusing directions to the runners to keep them from reaching the goal.  Be sure to reward these extra “enemies/demons” after the race, since they aren’t part of a team.)

·      “One team member is your “Holy Spirit.”  He or she will stand off to the side and call out directions to you about which way you should go.”

·      “You will have to listen very carefully to hear your “Holy Spirit” telling you how to face toward ‘Christ’ and to separate the voice of your “Holy Spirit’ from the voice of any demons.”

·      “Is everyone clear on the instructions?”  (Answer any questions.)

·      “Okay, everyone get on your places.  First runners, put on your blindfolds.  “Enemies/demons,” get ready to spin them.  Ready, get set….GO!”  (Help everyone to follow the rules, but try not to interfere in the race.  When the race is over, award prizes if you choose and have the teams reassemble to answer the debrief questions, listed below.)

 

Debrief Questions

o   “What made that difficult?”

o   “Even if you didn’t win, how were you able to succeed in running the race?”

o   “How is this like real life for a Christian?”

o   (Have a volunteer read 1 Corinthians 9:24-27.)

o   “How was running this race like the race Paul describes?”

o   “Why do you think Paul compares our Christian life to a race?”

o   “What does Paul mean by ‘running aimlessly’ and ‘fight(ing) like a man beating the air?’  How do these apply to us?”

o   “Why would Paul need to ‘beat (his) body and make it (his) slave?’”

§  “Do we need to do this, too?  If so, how?”

o   “What other lessons can you take away from this activity?”

 

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God’s Dream


Time

45-60 minutes

Description

This is game that helps participants understand that God’s dream for their lives has to be discovered and that it usually requires the help of others to complete.  It was developed for adults but can be modified for use with children (see ideas at the end of the lesson).

 

Materials

  • Large puzzles with at least 50 pieces each (The puzzles can be different, but they should be similar in size and shape.)
  • Masking tape
  • Ziplock bags (optional)
  • Signs that say, “MENTOR.” (One per table group.)
  • Prizes for the winning team (optional)
  • Flipchart, whiteboard (and markers) or LCD projector and screen

 

Preparation

·      Teams should be arranged at tables with 6-8 participants each.

·      Open each puzzle and remove 10-12 pieces.

·      Mix these up.

·      Carefully tape four pieces (each) to the bottom of different chairs around the room.  (You might want to put them in a Ziplock bag to protect the pieces.)  Make sure that they cannot be seen.  Each of these chairs should have pieces from several different puzzles taped underneath.

·      Label the back of these chairs, “MENTOR” (just one per table – if you have more pieces than will fit under the “MENTOR” chairs, tape them under other chairs, but don’t label those chairs, “MENTOR.”)

·      Take any remaining pieces (that you pulled from the puzzles) and mix them in with other puzzles around the room.

·      Put the rest of the puzzle pieces in a bag or box (but not a box with the picture on it) in the center of each table.

·      Keep the pictures of the completed puzzle in the teaching area at the front of the room.

·      Flipchart the Debrief Questions at the end of this lesson (but keep them hidden until the activity is done).

·      Practice the script.

 

Procedure

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

·      “We’re going to put some puzzles together.”

·      “These puzzles represent God’s dream for your life.”

·      “At your tables, one of the chairs says, “MENTOR,” on the back.  Those of you sitting in those seats are now the “Mentors” for your teams.”

·      “Can I see the “Mentors” outside the room for a minute?”  (Go outside room with “Mentors” and tell them about the hidden pieces under their chairs.  Ask them not to reveal this secret unless someone (from any table) specifically asks them about the missing pieces.  If they are asked any other question, they can answer it as long as it doesn’t reveal that there are hidden pieces under their chairs.  They are not to participate in the puzzle building unless asked to do so.  Also, let the “Mentors” know that you have the pictures of the completed puzzles at the teaching area in the front.  If anyone asks about them, the “Mentors” can come get the pictures and take them back to their tables.  Allow the “Mentors” to return to their groups.)

·      “Okay, you can start putting your puzzles together.  The first team to finish wins!”  (Allow at least 30 minutes for puzzle building.  If a team finishes, observe whether or not they try to help other teams.  If no one asks the “Mentors” about the missing pieces after 20 minutes, you can drop some hints until they catch on.  When everyone is done, award prizes (optional) and ask the teams to work through the debrief questions on the flipchart.  Allow 15 minutes.  Then do a large group debrief on what lessons they will take away from the activity.)

 

Debrief Questions

o   “What helped or hindered your team’s success?”

o   “What might you do differently if you had it to do over again?”

o   “Were the mentors important in completing the puzzle?  Why or why not?”

o   “If the puzzles represent God’s dream for your life, what do the pieces under the chairs represent?”

§  “How could this be a metaphor for the way God reveals His will?”

§  “What do the pieces at other tables represent?”

§  “What do the pieces that didn’t fit into your puzzle represent?”

o   “Did anyone try to determine if someone at the table was actually skilled at putting puzzles together?” 

§  “Why or why not?”

§  “Does this say anything about the way we approach the subject of mentors?  Explain.”

o   “How important are other people in solving our problems?”

o   “What lessons can you take away from this activity?”

 

Possible Modifications for Children

·      When working with children, consider the following changes to make it more relevant for them:

o   Instead of having “MENTORS,” you might label the chairs “PARENTS,” “TEACHERS,” or “CHRISTIAN FRIENDS.”

o   Rather than do a debrief at table groups, you might prefer to lead the questions from the front of the room in order to keep the children focused.

o   Some other debriefing questions you might ask could be:

§  “How does God show us His plan for our lives?”

§  “Why doesn’t God just tell us His whole plan when we are young?”

§  “Why does God give some of the pieces of our puzzle to other people?”

§  “Have you ever helped someone discover a piece of their own puzzle?” 

·      “How did that feel?”

·      “How did you find out that you had a piece of their puzzle?”

o   You might have the children finish by drawing pictures of God’s dream for their lives.

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