Illustrations

Say

I used this illustration with pretty good results in my youth group.

Tell all the youth to say “Milk.”
Tell them to say “Milk milk milk.”
Tell them to spell M-I-L-K
Then say, “What do cows drink?”

Most of the kids will say “milk,” but the answer is “water.”

This really illustrates that our minds are easily shaped by outside forces. If we listen to unacceptable music, our conversation is going to start sounding like the lyrics. If we hang out with crude people, we’re going to start saying crude things. We need to spend time with God every day so that we can sound like him when we talk.

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Sin and Christ’s Forgiveness

This helps kids to see what sin does to lost people’s lives and what sin does to Christians. This requires one tall clear plastic bottle, one empty film canister, one pack of grape Kool-aid, one cup of Ultra-Clorox.
Take the film canister and put the Kool-aid in there. Put the Clorox in a seperate bottle. Take the tall clear plastic bottle and fill it with enough water so that you have plenty of room to pour the cup of clorox into it.
Now, you show the tall bottle with the water in it to the kids. You tell them that this was what man was like when he was created, or this is what our lives are like in Christ. (Both implications) You take the Kool-aid in the film canister and slowly pour it into the Bottle. Tell them that this is what happens when sin enters our lives as Christians, it darkens us and we can’t listen to God. Or this is what happened when sin entered the world. We are darkened and we become hardened toward the Gospel, and full of sin and need forgiveness and cleansing. Then, you get the Clorox and state that this is Christ’s blood shed on the cross, this represents Christ’s forgiveness and then you slowly pour it into the bottle. Slowly it will clear the blackness up and it will become semi-clear again. It will have a small yellow tint because of the clorox, but I use this to represent the scars that we incure on our heart when we fool around with sin. Sin can be forgiven in Christ, but it is still not without earthly consequences. It hurts. Hope that this helps you all.

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Sin Has A Price

This illustrates how sometimes we think we can get away with sin.
Start by purchasing the gag chewing gum that shocks anyone who tries to pull the false stick of gum out of the package. You can find this gag at most novelty shops or even at a convenience store. Then purchase several packs of actual chewing gum that has packaging that resembles your gag gum.

The “set up” is to offer gum to about ten or so kids in the front of your class, you tell them the catch is if they choose to take your gum they must take every piece you offer them. Pass out as many pieces of gum as you like as you explain the allure of sin. You can use the deception of Eve in the garden of Eden as your text.

During your lesson secretly switch to the gag gum and offer it to one of the kids who accepted the terms of the catch. He/She will be shocked! Then offer the gag gum to the others who will most likely refuse to accept. Remind them of the agreement they made to take every piece if they took the first piece. At this point say the gum symbolizes sin in our life and sin always has a price. Point out all have sinned, but we don’t have to pay the price because Christ payed it for us. End the lesson with whatever is appropriate i.e. invitation, prayer or discussion.

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Sin Is Like Toilet Paper

(Overcoming Sin)

PREPARATION: Plan to divide your group up into small groups of no more than six. Get four rolls of toilet paper for each group.

Divide everyone into their appropriate groups, and have each group elect who they consider to be the strongest person in their group. Then, give four rolls of toilet paper to each group and let them wrap their strong man/woman completely. The goal is to wrap the strong person so tightly that he/she cannot get free.

After everyone has finished, let each group guide their strong person around the room to do simple tasks: pick up a pencil, shake hands with someone else, etc. Then time each strong person and see how long it takes him/her to become completely free from all toilet paper.

The point is, sin is like toilet paper. It can bind us up and keep us from effectively doing what God has called us to do. We are wrapped up in death, just as Jesus was wrapped in his grave clothes. However, if we trust in Jesus and become dead to sin and alive to God, we can be set free to do God’s will. We can break out of sin, just as Jesus broke out of His grave clothes and lived a new, better life.

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Sin Like A Pebble In My Shoe

(Overcoming Sin)

Have each person put a rock in their shoe, don’t tell them why. (I bought a small bag of fish tank rocks for this, all you need is one for each person, so if you have a fish tank you could take a handful from there). Then take a walk around the building or inside the church. Use this experience to teach that Sin affects us like the rock in our shoe. When we feel it it hurts, we can temporarily move it so that we don’t feel it, but it is still there and will creep back eventually. We have to remove it from our lives just like we had to take the rock out of our shoe.
I did this with my high school Sunday school class. It was a great introduction to our discussion of sin, repentance and forgiveness. We walked outside and around the building so we wouldn’t disturb the other classes. Another variation for youth groups would be to give them the rock in the morning at Sunday school and have them keep it in their shoe all day until youth group that evening. Then have the discussion at youth group.

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Spiritual Gifts

I taught the lesson that is on this web site entitled “It’s Your Thang” but I wanted an illustation after the lesson. So I came up with this:
Since I have a small group (roughly 18 kids) I went to the dollar store and bought each person a $1 gift, I wrapped it up and took it to class. After the lsson on Spiritual Gifts, I handed them each a gift (boys: flashlight, chapstick, notepad, pens, magnets, playing cards, tic tac candy….girls: chapstick,candy, stationary, pens, journals, photo frames)
I told them that they had to wait before opening them. I then asked them these questions:
What did you do when I handed you this gift? (They received it or took it)
What if I told them that they could not ever unwrap it? (They would be sad and never know what was inside)
How do you think I would feel if you never wanted to unwrap it? (Sad)

Then they open the gifts and you let each express their happiness, usually everyone is happy with their gift.

The next questions are:
Now look around, as you can see each gift is different in some way (choose a different color if you have to purchase a few of the same things)
That is how our spiritual gifts are; they are each different. Even though they may be the similar, we will each carry them out in a different manner because God made each of us unique.

Now the other comment to make is this:
Although each of you received a different gift, one thing that you have in common is that they all came from me.
We all have different gifts, but only one Holy Spirit who gives the gift.

Another comment:
They each had to receive the gift and open it up and use it in order to enjoy the gift.

You can come up with many other illustrative questions but those are just a few.

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Sponge-Dirt in….Sponge-Dirt out

Purpose: To show youth how easily our minds can be filled with garbage by music, media, pornography, and things of this world, and how it affects our heart.

Got this idea when we were going through a study of “Every Young Woman’s/Man’s Battle” with our youth. One chapter discussed our constant battle between spirit & flesh and the winner is whichever you feed the most! If we feed our flesh with sexual images, violence, & things of this world, our flesh will be winning. If we feed our spirit, with the Word of God, prayer, and surround ourselves with God, then our spirit will prevail!

Materials Needed: 3 new sponges, 3 bowls, 3 glass bowls/jars, dirt or cocoa powder

Set up: Put water in all 3 bowls and set one sponge and one clear container beside each bowl.

Illustration: The sponge represents our minds. The clear jars/bowls represents our hearts. The bowls of water & dirty water represent what we put into our minds.

Start with the bowl of clear water & let the sponge absorb it. then squeeze out the sponge in the clear container so they can see that it is clear water that came out.

Then move to the 2nd bowl & sponge. Put a little bit of dirt into the bowl to show that the phrase, “Just a little wont hurt” is WRONG. Squeeze out the water into the clear container to show that the water is a little bit dirty.

Now move to the 3rd sponge/bowl and add the remaining dirt/cocoa. Let the sponge absorb it, then squeeze it out in the clear jar. Explain how when we continue to fill our minds with images & lyrics that are impure, it eventually trickles down into our heart, filling it with dirt.

This also works well with Phillipians 4:8 if you are discussing worries & anxiety. “Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World” chapter 3 has great info & examples about “The curse of anxiety”.

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Strong Foundations

Materials needed:

Graham crackers, peanut butter, sugar, a jumbo sized hershey’s bar, and various small candy, icing, or sprinkles for decoration. Deep plastic plates, plastic knives, paper towels, and a cheap tablecloth. A small bottle of milk, and a can of compressed air.

This is a fun activity we did with our Sunday School class when we were talking about building a good foundation. We read the bible parable about building your house on stone versus sand, and talked a little about what this meant. (Matthew 7:24-27)

Then we went over to the table where I had earlier set up two plates, one filled with sugar, and the other with the chocolate bar. (These of course symbolize the sand or the stone to build your house on.) We then split up into 2 teams, and then had a contest to build the best graham cracker house possible in 15 minutes. The kids had lots of fun with this and got pretty creative, making landscape features out of M&M’s and so forth. Then we brought out the milk and canned air, to which they all said, “Nooo! you’re not going to use that on our houses are you?!” But alas, that was the point of the whole lesson. >:)

Now we made the mistake of using the canned air first, which blew the dry sugar all over the place, so you may want to use the milk first. So pour the milk in the bottom of both plates saying, “And the rain descended, and the floods came…” The plate of sugar will get nice and soggy, as will the bottom of the house. The other house will be safe and dry on top of the chocolate bar. Then blow at the houses with the air “And the winds blew and beat on the house” (Be careful not to actually blow both houses down as that would defeat the purpose. If you aim at the bases of the houses it should work)

Afterwards, have everyone help clean up and eat some of the building supplies.

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Taking Aim

Preparation: On a dart board put up a picture of Jesus. Then cover the entire dart board with white paper. Have the youth draw pictures of people that they dislike or someone that made them angry. After tacking up their picture let each kids throw darts at their drawing. Some kids will throw their darts with a lot of force so be sure to have a safe zone.
When each kid has had a chance to throw at their picture, start removing the white paper leaving Jesus’s picture up there. There will be holes all over Him. Remain silent and let each kid “take it all in.” Then quote Matthew 25:40 “Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of mine, even the least of them, you did it to me.” It is amazing how they react to this. They really evaluate their actions towards others.

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Taking Aim – Variation

Original Idea:
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Preparation: On a dart board put up a picture of Jesus. Then cover the entire dart board with white paper. Have the youth draw pictures of people that they dislike or someone that made them angry. After tacking up their picture let each kids throw darts at their drawing. Some kids will throw their darts with a lot of force so be sure to have a safe zone.

When each kid has had a chance to throw at their picture, start removing the white paper leaving Jesus’ picture up there. There will be holes all over Him. Remain silent and let each kid “take it all in.” Then quote Matthew 25:40 “Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of mine, even the least of them, you did it to me.” It is amazing how they react to this. They really evaluate their actions towards others.

I took this really great idea and added a little twist – after the youth have thrown all the darts. Before you read the scripture out of Matthew… pin up a fresh picture of Jesus on the dartboard and ask “Who wants to throw the darts now? You will get some good answers as to why they won’t do it. Then tell them it is too late it is already been done to Jesus then read Matt 25:40.

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