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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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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Body, Soul, and Spirit

You will need 3 volunteers. Each of these volunteers will either be: the Body, the Soul, or the Spirit. The person who is chosen to be the “Soul” will be in-between the “Body” and the “Spirit.”

Explain that the “Soul” contains our mind, will, and emotions. Continue to tell them that our “Soul” can either go with what the “Body” wants (worldy things) or want what the “Spirit” wants. Tell them that often times, many of us want to do what the “Body” wants and do what the “Spirit” wants. Explain to them that they’ve got to make the decision to pick either one.

A good passage to go along with this would be James 1:8 (you might want to read this verse in context for better understanding) which tells us that a double-minded person doesn’t receive anything from God

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Satan’s Bait

You will need a large bowl of water, a plastic lid, or bowl (clear or white is recommended), some honey or syrup and an anthill.

Preparation: Place a dab of honey in the plastic lid or bowl and place it in the vicinity of an anthill. Let the ants find it and form a trail back to the hill. Just before class, Fill the large bowl with water and place the ant-covered lid, bowl floating in the water.

Application: The honey represents Satan’s Bait. It looks good; it tastes good and is even a good source of food for the ant. But, when it leads the ant onto the lid/bowl and we place it in the water, the ant is trapped. The ant will live for a while, it has food, but it won’t really have a life. It will have to live out the rest of its days serving NO PURPOSE. Before we picked up the lid, the ants had purpose and knew what they were doing (getting food for the colony). What they didn’t know was that they were going to become our example. Satan works this way in our lives. The bait looks good and we may be able to find meaning in it, but he has something else in mind that we can’t see.

Explain that if we put a piece of string from the lid to the edge of the large bowl, the ants would be able to be free if they found it. This represents Jesus. He is the only way that we can get out of Satan’s trap of living a life without purpose.

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A Light in the Darkness

You’ll need:
– 1 glow slow stick per person (purchased at Walmart, etc.) NOT POPPED (not glowing)
– 1 large nametag sticker per person

Beforehand, on each nametag, write “Jesus’s Love” or “Love of God” (something to that effect). Give each kid a glow stick that hasn’t been popped. If you like you can demonstrate beforehand how to make them glow.
Turn off all the lights in the room (it’s best to do this in total darkness). With the lights off, give each kid one of the name tags & have them put it on his shirt. Talk to them about how sin has caused the world to become dark. Then talk about how we have to “let our light shine before men…” and, one by one, have them pop their glow sticks (make them glow). When they do this, you should be able to read the name tag. This shows how we must let OUR light shine in order for others to see the love of Christ.

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All Things Are Possible With Christ

This is a great way to illustrate the verse, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
First you take an index card and ask everyone if they think you can cut a hole in it big enough to fit anyone through it. Then, while teaching the lesson fold the index card in half the fat way. cut thin lines up and back never cutting through the folded side. The lines should zig-zag up and down. When finished turn it so the folded side is up and cut through each fold across the top except the first and last fold. When you open it up it should be a huge circle that anyone can fit through. If it doesn’t work the first time try it again, because it is tricky. Practise it at home first!

UPDATE:
——————————–
OK, I have gotten some emails concerning the first submission of this illustration. I will try to explain a little better.

Hold index card the tall way. Fold from top down, keep folded for the whole process. Start by cutting a thin line from the top to the bottom, but don’t cut through the bottom. Then go from the bottome up slightly over from the first line. You should try to fit like 13 or 14 lines across. End with a top to bottom cut. Now hold the card the way you started, (fold on the top), and cut under each fold except the first and last, (they will hold the circle together). You cut through the folds by tucking your scissors under the fold, so the scisoors are horizontal and the fold is still on top. When you have done this, you should be able to open it up carefully, and have a very zigzaggy circle! Hope this works better!

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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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Putting Him in Between – Abstinence

Supplies:
4 Pieces of paper (use different colored paper)
a piece of cardboard (I used the back of one of those office pads)
Glue

OK! When I first saw this it was used as a demonstration for abstinence, but I tweaked it so it’s more relevant.

You have two people (the two pieces of paper, I wrote names on the paper) who love each other and they attach themselves to each other. They hang out with each other, they talk, they’re in a relationship.

It could be a boyfriend/girlfriend situation or even a person/thing situation.

Anyway, you glue the two pieces of paper together (back to back, so their right on each other). Then after describing how much time they spend together, etc. you tear the pieces apart. You explain how when you attach yourself to someone emotionally, physically, whatever if you’re not careful to put God first and set boundaries you will never be as you were originally, a clean sheet of paper. Instead you would be missing a piece, the paper is either torn, or there is a piece of another paper left on you. And you will not be able to go back.

Then you take two new pieces of paper, and you glue the cardboard to one piece of paper. The cardboard is God. If you attach yourself to God (who is stable, because he is cardboard) and put Him first in your life, you will not have to worry about other people. You’ll be given freedom. Because if you truly loved the Lord and followed Him, He would protect you from getting torn, or dirtied. God takes on all of the pieces of shard paper.

You could use this illustration in many different ways, but that’s how I used it.

And my group LOVED it. This one girl who does not normally listen said that she really understood this message.

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