Illustrations

Library Mix

Use when discussing topics such as: creation, order from chaos, inspiration.

This game is a lot of fun, but can only be played where you have access to a lot of books, e.g. beside a home or church bookcase or library.

Get everyone to choose a book, including yourself. Select a passage e.g. page 18 line 4 or the first 4 words on page 23, and get everyone to read out their bit in turn. You get some amazing juxtapositions and it can keep a group going for ages.

Variation: if you can get a stack of poetry books (try jumble sales) you can synthesize some amazingly surreal poems – one line per person.

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Light in the Dark – Modified

I LOVE the glow-stick idea. We did something similar at a lock-in we had with our kids. All the kids were asked to bring a flashlight to the lock-in.
We were singing some songs, getting ready for the “lesson-time” and during “This little light of mine,” some of the leaders turned off all the lights. The leader doing the devotion turned their flashlight on. “Look how just one flashlight helps us better in the dark. Jesus is called the light of the world, and we should share that light. When I flash my light at you, turn yours on.” With each new light, the leader says “look how much X number of lights lighten this room!” Continue till all the flashlights are on. Talk about sharing the light, how the light dispells darkness, etc. The kids really liked it.
Then, we played light tag, of course!

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Listening for God

Pair off the group and get them to stand facing each other on opposite sides of a room. (The more “echoey” the better). Give those standing on just one side, a card with a well-known phrase or saying written on it. Make sure there is one short Bible Passage included. At your command, those with the card have to shout the message on it across the room to their partner who has to try and guess what they are saying. Stop after about a minute or so.
Sometimes it is very difficult to listen for God when there is so much else going on around us. Making time for God when things are quiet is better.

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Man, The Law, And God

This illustration uses a paper chain made with twelve links. The first link says “MAN”. Write one commandment on each of the next ten links. On the twelfth link, write “GOD”. Ask one of the kids to read the word, “MAN”. Ask another to read the word, “God”. Next, ask who knows the ten commandments. The kids will name a few, but may not know them all by heart. Then ask, “How many commands must be broken before we are separated from God?” Have a person rip one of the links of the ten commandment chain to explain how even breaking one sin separates us from God. Ask if they have ever been disobedient at home or at school, and what that does to their relationship with God. Sin keeps us apart from God!

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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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Media Obstacles

This is an activity I used in Sunday school to demonstrate the ability( or inability) to hear the Good Shepherd. Sunday school class was set up with chairs in a circle. We had open discussion about the effects of the media; magazines, movies and music.

I asked for a volunteer. As the volunteer stood up, I told her she’d be blindfolded and needed to be barefoot. After I put on the blindfold, I put some obsticals around the floor. On eight different paper plates I put peanutbutter, baby food, water, smashed banana, lard, and a couple of piles of marbles.

I instructed the other students to shout out directions to help their friend walk around these obsticles. I told the volunteer to try to listen for MY voice, for I will represent the Good Shepherd. Of course the students wanted some fun and misdirected her, but I would be trying to tell her really where to walk. Shortly after we started, she discovered her friends were having fun and therefore she was trying even harder to hear my voice. At times she would yell, “I can’t hear you!”

This was a very effective illustration of how they can’t hear God’s voice when they are watching borderline/bad TV and movies, listening to unacceptable music or viewing worldly magazines. Our Scripture was John 10.

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Money, Money

If your group is all rock solid Christians, skip this. Otherwise, this really gets their attention.

Hold up a twenty in your hand in front of the group. US readers could probably get away with a ten. Simply say “Who would like this?” Then, just wait for someone to come and take it out of your hand. This will take about 30 seconds. The rest of the group will be VERY dismayed that that was all they had to do.

Discuss with the group why they didn’t come to take the money. Reasons are: I thought there was a catch, I didn’t think you meant it, I thought I would have to do something dumb, etc. Then explain that the twenty is God’s love and help them to see how those same excuses often keep up from just going up and claiming God’s love. The kids talked about this for weeks – mostly to see if I was handing out more twenties!

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No Strings Attached

(Salvation)

PREPARATION: Take a balloon that can blow up to be fairly large. Decorate it with markers/paints and place words like “happiness, peace, eternal life, etc.” all over the balloon. Then, cut enough two-feet long pieces of yarn/string to have one piece for every person in your group. Blow up the balloon, tie it off, and hold it up in your hand by the knot. Without actually tying any of the pieces of yarn to the balloon, hold the strings in your hand so that it appears that one or all of the strings is attached to the balloon.

Explain to your group that the goal of this activity is to get the balloon. Walk around to each person in your group, hold out the strings, and challenge them to take the balloon. Time and time again, members of your group will pull on a string, only to find it is not attached to the balloon. Continue, always stressing to your group to “take the balloon” while holding out the strings. When the last person has had a chance, everyone will see that you “tricked” them.

Ask your group to repeat back to you what you had been telling them to do. You kept telling them to “take the balloon,” but they were taking the strings. Explain that the correct response was not to take a string, but to simply reach up and take the balloon.

So often we think that true happiness comes through a useless string: money, popularity, pleasure, etc. We pull, hoping to finally find true happiness, only to miss out. True happiness, however, has no strings attached — it is a free gift offered to us through Jesus Christ. God continuously holds out this gift and offers it to us, but we keep taking the strings. Now is the time to accept God’s free gift.

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Not One Forgotten

Using a punching bag, have a couple of people come and react to it. Have a couple of people come and release stress.

The punching bag symbolizes the love of Jesus. It is never ending, no matter what we do He will always love us.

Analogy:

A family moved to a different city and the mom was worried because her son had not made any friends at school. Every day he would come home from school all by himself while the other children walked in crowds. Sometimes they would tease him at the playground or even at school.
Valentine’s Day was coming and the mom really did not want her son to go to school that day because she was trying to protect his feelings. But her son decided to make cards for all 27 students in his class. So they got all the decorations and made the cards. On that day the mom made cookies and waited for him to come home. She knew that he was going to be disappointed. At around the time that he was supposed to come home she went to the front porch to wait for him. Down the road she saw him running with a big smile on his face in front of all the children. Surely, she thought, he must have received valentines. He ran into the house and kept saying,”Mom, not one”, “Not,one mom”, over and over while he put his back pack down, and took his coat off. His mom anxiously asked him, thinking that he had not received any cards but also wondering why he was so happy. He repeated “Mom, not one, I did not forget not even one student” That is what Jesus said when he shed His blood on the cross of Calvary. “Not one, not one did I forget to forgive at the cost of my blood”.

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Obedience

You will need:
1/2 Dz Eggs PER small TEAM
2 Bowls PER TEAM
Something to clean up with.
Couple of eggs left to one side.

WARNING: Activity recommended for outside or somewhere where there is NO carpet.

As you read instructions remember that you will do each of the following PER TEAM.

Split kids into teams. Set two bowls at either end of the room. Break 1/2 dz eggs in one of the bowls.

Have kids race to other side of the room relay style, transfering the runny eggs with only their hands. Lots of laughs and lots of mess. See who can get there the fastest.

Read Jonah. Explain that when you belong to God He has bought and paid for you with the blood of his son. Therefore He has the right to complete authority over your life and not only that but He has the right to require obedience from you. He only does it because he loves you and wants you to reach the goal in one piece.

At this point, have somebody pick up the remaining whole eggs still in their shells that you put to one side, and carry them carefully from one end of the room to the other. Make sure they navigate all the spills and nasty stuff. Explain that just like the eggs being carried, we can’t always see the messes around us so it’s best to obey up front.

Go back to Jonah and explain how Jonah didn’t obey and it got awfully messy for him (fish guts, seaweed etc). However God being all-powerful still carried out His original plan for Ninevah AND Jonah and He will do the same for all His children.

We have two options and it is up to each of us which to choose. We can choose option one: to obey and let Him carry us carefully and easily through the mess and mire to arrive safely at the other side. Then again like Jonah we can choose option two and God will still accomplish that which He intends to do, it will just get messy for us -which is usually painful to boot.

Remind them next time they have a choice, stop and think about Jonah and the Eggs!

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