Illustrations

Anchored in Christ

Goal
Teach that only Christ is suitable for us to put our faith in

Items needed
a chair or stool
a bed sheet
string cut into four or five foot sections one for each student
index cards

Directions
Tie several pieces of string to the chair and the rest to the index cards. On the index cards write some things that people tend to put their faith in (money power it’s also a good idea to put your own name). Then label the chair “Christ” place the index cards on the seat and cover with the sheet with the strings leading out.

Have everyone gather around the chair and grab a string. Have everyone pull their string and discuss how all these things let us down but Christ never fails.

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Bearing Your Cross

Make a large cross (we used 6×6 beams) that’s about 5×7 or larger. Have youth try to carry it (or get a rope and drag it) individually, then have others join in. It will show the importance of ‘Bearing Your Cross’ with fellow Christians along the way.

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Carrying Around Sins

Materials needed: A couple of bookbags, and books

Have the youth walk around with an empty bookbag on their back; ask them to add a book for every sin they have committed. (lies, lust, sex, not praying, disobeying parents, not following the Laws of the Lord, etc…) The more books that are added, the harder it is to walk around.

Showing it gets harder and harder as we continue to walk around with our sins burdening us. Just let them go, confess them to God and let Him handle them.

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Cold Grudges

(Grudges and Bitterness)

To help illustrate lessons on holding grudges, use ice cubes to represent grudges. Give each youth an ice cube, explaining that a grudge can leave you cold, just like this piece of ice. Have each of them hold the ice cube over their heads. Have them race to see who can melt their “grudge” the fastest, using only their hands. Great correlation include the bitter cold that the “grudge” leaves behind, the “tears” of water streaming down, and how hard it is to get rid of the grudge quickly. You can explain that like a hairdrier, Jesus can help you quickly melt those grudges and dry the “tears.”
TIP: If you have a linoleum or hardwood floor, be careful that you don’t collect too much water on the floors or people could slip when racing.

Related Scripture: Eph. 4:25-27, 31-3

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The Contents

To demonstrate a hypocritical lifestyle. Empty a can of Sprite and fill it full of Coke. As you begin talking, pour the contents of the “Sprite” into a clear glass. Ask the students if they have ever had the problem of getting something that is packaged wrong. Then, you can drive home the point that we tell people what we think we are, but we demonstrate who we really are inside. And, because we labeled ourselves incorrectly, people will be frustrated with us. Christians can be the greatest witness to the Gospel and Christ’s love, or they can be the greatest detractor from it.

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Equally Yoked

Have a boy and a girl come to the front of the room. Then have one of them stand on a chair – he/she represents the Christian. Have the Christian on the chair try to pull the unbeliever up with them onto the chair. (Then explain how hard it is to witness to someone who doesn’t believe.) Now have the unbeliever pull the Christian down and explain to them how easy it is for a Christian to fall down when they’re with a non-believer.

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Donut Gospel

IDEA: To show youth what the Gospel means by using donuts.

SUPPLIES: 1 dozen glazed donuts; 1 Box of donut holes; 2 Red jelly filled pastries (they look like glazed donuts without the hole on the outside); Several paper plates; Maybe some food preparation gloves.

HOW YOU DO IT:
1. Start with six donuts on paper plates where the kids can see all of the donuts. Also have the other six donuts on plates out of sight, along with the holes and the pastries.

2. Read Mat. 22:36-40. Explain that we were made to be filled with God’s Love and to share that Love with others. These are the great commandments that the whole Bible depends on.

3. Hold up a donut. Say “we are like donuts. We have a hole in the middle that we long to fill up. We were designed to be filled with God’s Love.”

4. Using all six donuts, say: “We often try and fill up our holes by using other people for popularity, power, money, greed, sex, etc.” While talking, illustrate this by ripping off chunks of donut and stuffing it into the holes of the six donuts. The used, messed up donuts illustrate sin and what it does to our lives. Tell the youth this, and ask if anyone wants the donuts after they have been ripped apart. Most will say NO. Use as an illustration of how messed up we are in sin, when we try to fill ourselves up outside of God’s plan. We are good for nothing except throwing away.

5. Then say: “But God does not want to throw us away. He loves us and wants to heal us and bring us into His Love and His plan for our lives.” Then hold up one of the jelly filled pastries. This pastry represents Jesus – God’s only Son. He is perfect (no hole). Yet He gave His life and died for us so that we would not be thrown away (represent this by tearing the pastry in two, with red jelly spilling out). But He did not stay dead. He rose again from the dead to show us that there is hope beyond this world (bring up the second pastry, un-torn, to represent His resurrection).

6. Say: “If we trust in Jesus, we can be made new, and be forgiven of our sin and healed of our wounds”. Put away the first set of six donuts, and bring up the six new, un-torn donuts. This represents new life and a fresh start in Christ.

7. Say: “Now if we believe in Christ, we can be filled with His Love, and share His Love with others, and He will keep re-filling us with His Holy Spirit”. While doing this, use the donut holes to represent God’s Love and His Spirit. Fill the first hole with the donut hole, then give that hole to another, while refilling the original hole with another donut hole of God’s Love. By using the donut holes, you represent the fact that God’s Love is perfectly fulfilling (it’s a perfect fit), and that it is replenished as we give it to others. This is God’s perfect plan for creation.

After all that, you can eat the illustration, and talk about how to accept the Love of Christ, and how to give it to others.

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Marshmallow Sin

Pass out one large marshmallow to everyone. Instruct the to NOT do anything but hold it. Once everyone has one, tell them to put it in their mouth but DO NOT CHEW IT OR SWALLOW IT. Just let it sit on their tongue. Then make your announcements, or just talk about anything. This will allow the marshmallow time to dissolve a little bit. After about 5 minutes or more tell them they can either spit it out in the trash can or chew it up and swallow it. Then make the point that if we continue to surround ourselves in sinful lifestyles you will either give in (chew it up and swallow it) or you will get rid of it (spit it out) This is great to lead into a discussion on peer pressure, sin and deliberate sinful lifestyles.

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Happy Shake

Get a couple of (fresh and hot)McDonald’s Happy Meals,(about 2 happy meals for every 3 volunteers,), cups, and a blender. The blender is not displayed until all the volunteers are chosen. The stated object of the game is to see who can consume the happy meal the fastest. Volunteers are easy to get! As the volunteers are getting ready to eat, get the blender out and mix the HB, FF, and soft drink in the blender and pour it into the cups. I believe it will gag a maggot.

I used this as an illustration for a lesson based on the world’s “perceived” Seven Wonders of the World which are The Great Pyramids, Taj Mahal, Grand Canyon, Panama Canal, Empire State Building, St. Peter’s Basilica, and China’s Great Wall. An e-mail I received stated a students perceived seven wonders of the world; To see, to hear, to touch, to taste, to feel, to laugh, and to love. I compared/contrasted the world view vs. God’s word and showed how we put God’s good, (All right, you may question a happy meal being good…) and blend into the what the world says is good. An example would be for laugh: the filthy stuff comedians spew out vs. Sarah laughing at the wonder and joy of the Lord.

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Our Cup Overflows

Have a large glass bowl set up before the kids enter or on the alter before church for Youth Reflection. Put 4 small bottles of red food coloring in bowl. You cant see it if you are in the congregation. Have a pitcher of water and an empty glass. Talk about how our cup overflows with blessing and start pouring the water in the glass as you hold it over the bowl. When the water overflows out of the glass and into the bowl it turns red. End by saying our blessing of all blessing is when Jesus shed His blood for us and our sins so we could have everlasting life.

I didn’t practice this and when I did this during Youth Reflection in the service, I cried. It really overwhelmed me and all those in the church. The adults cried and the kids eyes were as big a saucers.

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