Materials needed: 20 or more empty cardboard boxes
I first used the text from Ephesians 2:13-17 and explained that Jesus broke down the wall between God and us that was created by sin. We took empty cardboard boxes and stacked them up in the hallway to form a “wall” and then took turns breaking through it. Kids from ages 6 to 14 really enjoyed it and made the connection.
*Be sure to use heavy cardboard boxes because the kids really hit them hard!
I have found this illustration to be equally effective with 5 years olds all the way up to adults. It is especially useful for those who don’t understand the function of Jesus.
Place a long piece of paper on the floor (I used the paper from one of those big rolls). Cover the paper with flour. Ask for volunteers (or have everyone do it) to take off their shoes and socks. Tell them to walk across the paper (they can’t jump) without getting flour on their feet (this is obviously impossible). Ask them how they think they can get across without getting flour on their feet. Eventually, place a couple chairs or a bench across the paper. Have everyone walk across the bench. They will successfully reach the other side without any flour on them.
Ask if anyone knows what the flour represents. Explain that it represents sin, and that we cannot avoid it as we walk in the world. Explain the significance of the bench (which represents Jesus). The bench is our bridge to the other side of the paper, just like Jesus is our bridge to God/Heaven.
Easy to do, Easy to understand and most of all – impacting to youth.
Once Christ is in our lives, he’s there, but are we using him? Recently when talking with my youth on this subject, I took a 5 foot long clear plastic tube (About 1/2 Diameter).
Put water in it to about half full. I explained to the kids that many things are in are lives and no matter how we move the pieces around, we still have everything in us to deal with. I moved the ends of the tube up and down and showed that the water stays level on both ends (You might want to blow the water out on the kids once or twice… catches their attention).
I then said… lets add Christ into the mix… I added 6 drops of Food Coloring to one end (Red is a good effect color, but blue is more dramatic). I then read some verses, and talked about that when Christ comes in our lives we start a relationship. The kids keep noticing the blue SLOWLY moving through the tube. I then said, lets talk with God… and I started moving the tube ends up and down stirring the water… of course the dye, begins to mix. One side is still clear however.
For my demo, I let it sit like that and did nothing until the next week. Then showed the kids that it had mixed completely… this is what happens. What we need to do is be more interactive with Christ and mix it up quicker.
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.
Take all the ingredients in chocolate chip cookies and put them in separate dishes. Everybody takes a spoonful or pinch of each ingredient. You will be hysterical at the faces made when they taste some of the ingredients. Most of it tastes prefer bad (except the chocolate chips). Vanilla extract tastes AWFUL. Then for everybody who tastes all the ingredients I gave them a couple of chocolate chip cookies. (I used Chewy Chips Ahoy since I’m too lazy to cook the real thing.) Then we talked about how life throws us things that may seem hard or painful at the time, but when you take all the ingredients from chocolate chip cookies and mix them together and even add a little heat the end product is pretty tasty.
You really need plenty of prep time for this one. You need: (two of each) security envelopes, small containers, large containers, doors. This presentation is based on the show “Let’s Make A Deal”. I always wear an “old” sportcoat that makes young people laugh. First, ask for a volunteer. The first volunteer must make a “choice” between two envelopes. NO ONE is to open anything until all “choices” have been made. The first volunteer, after making their choice, then chooses a friend to give the other envelope. The second volunteer then chooses between what is originally offered by #1 and the next level of choices. Each volunteer chooses between on thing or another until all “choices” are made. If they choose NOT to accept their first choice then they must choose to whom to give the unwanted “object”. When all the “choices” are made then the openings will begin. Each student must explain (before opening) why they chose that object. Answers will vary but will give you opportunity to disciple youth on reasons behind our making good or bad choices. The envelopes give them a simple choice (money or a blank piece of paper). In the containers another simple choice (cookies or candy). In the containers (this is the tricky one) (a full or empty twelve pack of soft drinks). You show someone (adviser) inside the empty container with the “empty cans in their original box). Normally the adviser will tell the volunteer to choose wrong. In the doors section have one designed for a guy another girl. Behind the guy door an ugly women who chases him to give a big RED kiss. The girl opens to find an “Archie Bunker” type character who hands her a mop or whatever and screams orders to her as he goes out with the guys. You will not lose young people with this because they want to see what you’re going to do. You then close (after the laughter subsides) and explain form scripture how we must make choices in life and how as Christians God’s Word is our best advisor.
The idea of this illustration is to show how the things we fill our minds with eventually fill our heart. Using a coffe maker, put coffee in the filter (Mind). Explain that sin never goes directly to our heart, but it must first pass through the filter of our minds.
It is here that we must recognize whether a thought is pleasing to God, or if it needs to be “taken captive,” and discarded. As we continue to think about the sin, it is like the water flowing through the filter down to the coffee pot (Heart). Eventually, the pot will be filled with the essence of what was in the filter.
If we look at pornography, a spirit of lust will take root in our heart. If we continually fill our minds with images of violence and abuse, our heart will eventually become violent. Eventualy we put
action to those things which fill our hearts! On the flip side, if we fill our minds with the things of God, our heart will reflect the
(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
Using a large bowl of water, talk to youth about how this represents their life. It represents sports they are involved in, time at school, time they spend hanging out with friends, things they say, movies they watch, etc. Then take a pepper shaker and tell the youth that this represents sin. As you sprinkle the pepper over the bowl of water, talk about how it represents that lie they told last week, they gossip they passed onto a friend, or the way they disobeyed their parents. Share with the youth about the power of God’s forgiveness and choosing to live for him. Using two sticks taped together like a cross, dip the end of the cross in dish washing liquid. Explain that the moment that we asked Christ for forgiveness and we ask him into our hearts, he immediately washes away that sin. When you dip the soapy end of the stick into the bowl of water, it immediately sends the pepper to the edges of bowl, representing Christ’s forgiveness of our sins! It is really cool!!
I use this as the first cabin devotion when working at camp. It really shows the kids that we are connected for the week!
You will need a ball of yarn or string. Everyone must sit in a circle on the floor. Start with the person in charge, they will hold the yarn ball and tell everyone their name, age, where they live and something about themselves (you can have them tell different stuff that you feel important! I had myself and co-counsellor share our tetimonies) then when they are done sharing they throw the yarn to someone else but keep holding on to their part. Everyone shares and throws the yarn and holds onto their part of the yarn, then once everyone has gone and the last person is holding the yarn ball you all set down the string. I explained to my cabin that for the week we were together our hearts were conected and that our cabin devotions was a safe time and our cabin a safe place.
They were all free to share what they felt they needed to in the cabin and during devotions. I told them that no one was going to critisize anyone for what they felt or wanted to know and that they could always ask myself and my co-counsellor anything about GOD. They really were impacted with this connection that was illustrated and we had a lot of great devotions. I felt that our cabin was drawn closer through this object lesson about connecting hearts together.
(It also works to use duck tape and leave it on the floor all week. Just have the kids write their name on their spot. You can even sit the same way all week for devotions for a constant, silent impact.)