Monday, September 29, 2014

Gideon's 300 Chosen Men


God Chooses 300 Men
Judges 7

Gideon had to follow God's instructions when choosing an army to fight Midianites.  God told him there were too many men.  Having too many men would not show God's glory and power.  The first set of instructions to follow was that Gideon was to say to the people, "Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mt. Gilead."  Gideon followed God's instructions exactly and 22,000 men left.

God said there were still too many and gave him more instructions.  He told Gideon to "separate those who lap the water with their tongues as a dog laps from those who kneel down to drink."  300 lapped like dogs.  God told Gideon to send the others home.

In the middle of the night, God told Gideon to take his servant and go listen to what the Midianites were saying so he would have courage.  Gideon did so.
After a short, surprise battle, God gave Midian over to Gideon and his army.

If Gideon had not followed God's instructions, the Lord would not have let the battle be successful.

God has given us a set of instructions on how we ought to live our lives.  It is called the Bible.  If we follow His instructions, we will win our battles and join Him one day in Heaven.

I give the children all the materials they need to make this project at one time.  (I don't typically do that because they get in a hurry and don't wait for instructions.)  I tell them to wait for instructions so their project will turn out the right way.  

I begin giving them instructions:
  1. Draw a face on the BACK of the spoon.  Then I wait until they are finished.
  2. Then give another instruction:  Tape the spoon to the back of the card with the face showing.  Then I wait until they are finished.
  3. At this point, the puppet I bring to class each week "makes" the craft like theirs but does not wait for instructions. (This could be done by a class helper.)
  4. I tell the kids to tape the pipe cleaners on to be the hands (showing them an example).  See top picture of finished product.
When we are all finished, we show our projects.  I have a bear puppet (or a helper in the room) who made his but did not wait for instructions.  He shows his but gets very sad because his didn't turn out right (see 2nd picture).  We talk about what happens when we don't follow instructions - it doesn't turn out right.  When we don't follow God's instructions, our lives don't turn out right either.  

Then I give the bear puppet a chance to remake it and follow instructions which he does very well.  Following God's instructions is always the correct thing to do.

Click on the picture to print out the words to this project.


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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Parable of the Sower and the Seed Movie

The Sower and the Seed
Luke 8:1-15
A Kids' Modern Day Application Movie

When teaching this parable to elementary children, I wanted them to make sure they understood what this parable means to them today.  So, as a class, we created a modern day application movie.  I split the class into groups.  The children created and performed skits based on their section of the parable. I videoing the skits in the order in which the parable describes them. 

Group 1 had verse 12 "Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved."  (The kids acted out friends who taught their friend about Jesus, but other people talked him out of ever going back to church or learning more about Jesus again.)

Group 2 had verse 13 "Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root.  They believe for a while, but in the time of testing, they fall away."

Group 3 had verse 14 "The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature."

Group 4 had verse 15 "But the seed on the good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.

The kids did an outstanding job of acting out scenes that would occur at school or home or playground that represented all four scenarios.

After church, I electronically sent the videos to each child so they could show their friends and family. (I made a DVD for some who didn't have internet access.) Thus, they were able to retell that story to many people and were very excited to do so!


Advanced Preparation:
  • If necessary, ask extra adults or teens to assist with this project. I recruited one adult for each of the four groups.
  • Obtain video equipment (a video camera, iPhone, iPad, or something like that)
  • Prepare assignments for each group.
On the Day:
  • Assign children to 4 groups.
  • Give each group a copy of the parable highlighting the section that they are creating a skit for 
  • Explain to each group that they are to create a modern day skit focusing on one particular part of the parable.  For example, one group focuses on what it would look like at school or on the playground if the seed was falling on rocky soil 
  • Have each group go to different areas of the room or a different room to plan and practice their skits with a specified time to rejoin as a large group.
  • Come together as a large group.
  • Each group performs their skit (in the order of the Bible parable) as someone videos it.
  • Send the video to each child through e-mail, Dropbox, or make a DVD to give to each child.
For printable list of these directions with highlighted pages for each group, click here.
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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Frayed Knot


Frayed Knot Lesson

When studying Bible stories where people might be afraid such as when Jesus Calming the Storm, the Twelve Men who went to Spy on Canaan, Moses and the Israelites in Egypt, Elisha and the Blinded Syrians, and more, reading scriptures and discussing times when not to be afraid is more than appropriate.  

Print off the page in the picture for each child. Have the children draw a picture and, if possible, write a sentence about something they are not afraid to do because Jesus is with them.  Tell them to think about something they feel brave about. Let the children share with others what they have drawn.

Read some of the following scriptures and discuss why we should not be afraid.  
  • Deuteronomy 31:6
  • John 14:27
  • Romans 8:28
  • Psalm 27:1
  • Joshua 1:9
  • I John 4:18
  • I Peter 5:7
  • Proverbs 3:5-6
  • Isaiah 41:13

Cut a piece of thin rope about 6 inches long for each child.  Tie a knot close to each end of the small rope  (or have the children do this).  Fray the pieces on the ends that are sticking out.  Tell them that this is a "frayed knot". Tell them to put these tiny ropes in their pockets so that when they feel afraid, they can reach in their pocket and be reminded that if we have Jesus, we can be "afraid not".  We will not be afraid because we read of the promises God made in the above verses.  We will also be "afraid not" to share those verses with others who are afraid.

For printable page like pictured above, click on the photo. The printable page is not distorted like the picture above.


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Saturday, September 6, 2014

Words Can Hurt Object Lesson


Mimosa Pudica Plant
Also known as "Sensitive Plant"  

I came across this marvelous plant in Houston, TX, when I was visiting there. A friend took me to the Brookwood Community, "a nonprofit, residential facility and vocational program for adult with disabilities."  This place was incredible! To learn more about it or visit there, go to www.brookwoodcommunity.org.  You will be glad you did.

While I was there, I ventured into their garden shop and found the most incredible plants.  I had to purchase some, not only because they were absolutely gorgeous but because everything I purchased there benefited these fantastic adults with disabilities.

This one particular plant caught my attention because of its potential for an object lesson in Bible class.  This plant is very sensitive.  When you touch a leaf (pictured below), it's self defense mechanism immediately kicks in.  That causes the leaf to close up fairly quickly and the stem to wilt giving the predator the impression that it is dead. Therefore, it would not be worth eating!  Pretty cool.




Close up view of the wilted leaf.

If you touch very many of the leaves, the whole plant looks distressed and totally wilted like this. To see a short video of how this works, click here.  After about an hour, the plant will recover to look full and beautiful again.

In Bible class, we will pretend that the plant is Jesus.  Every time we sin, it is like someone touching a leaf and hurting Jesus.  The more sin we have (or the more people who sin), the more hurt Jesus feels.  

Another way to use this plant to talk about how our words affect other people. If you say something negative to someone, call them names, or lie to them, it would be like touching one or two of the leaves.  When touched in that way, they wilt.  People are like that.  When we say ugly things to them, they wilt on the inside.  When other people say something negative to that person or you say more negative things to them, more of their leaves and stems wilt. Pretty soon, not only is that person wilting on the inside, you can also see that person looking sad and wilted on the outside.

The good news is that over time, if the negative (touching the plant) is taken away and mostly positive things are there (living like Christ), the person (and the plant) can recover and be like new.





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