An old Christian woman whose age began to tell on her had once known much of the bible off by heart. Eventually only one precious bit stayed with her, ‘I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day’ (2 Tim. 1:12). By and by, part of that slipped its hold and she would quietly repeat, “That which I have committed unto Him.’ At last, as she hovered on the borderline between this world and heaven, her loved ones noticed her lips moving. They bent down to see if she needed anything. She was repeating over and over again to herself the one word of the text, ‘Him, Him, Him.’
She had lost the whole Bible but one word. But she had the whole Bible in that one word.
Even kids have to juggle priorities in today’s hectic and fast paced society. Choose a tossable item to represent school, church, family, friends, sports. Using at least 6 kids, form a circle and begin tossing an object across the circle forming a pattern as it goes. Keep adding items to juggle around the circle.
Discuss how difficult it is to try to juggle all these things in your life. What are the priorities in your life? What things can you cut back on to simplify your life.
To demonstrate that the theory of evolution involves very little evidence and a lot of imagination, use this activity along with a teaching on evolution vs. creation.
Purchase one of more 60-100 piece puzzles with unusual animals or bizarre creatures. Tell the group that we are studying evolution and they will pretend to be archeologists digging for clues. Divide into teams of 2-3 kids and give each group about 3 puzzle pieces as clues. Choose these puzzle pieces carefully including things like teeth, claws, horns-things the kids can be creative with. Tell them that these are all the clues that have been dug up at their dig site so far and have them draw a picture of the creature that these clues came from. There’s a lot missing so they must be creative. If any of the groups are frustrated, you can give them a few more puzzle pieces. When they have drawn their creatures, show the whole group the pictures and the clues. Conclude with saying that very creative people have taken little bits and pieces of bones and teeth and have constructed false “Missing Links”. You can also show pictures of “Java Man”, “Peking Man” etc. and disclose the pieces of evidence that these discoveries were based on. “Unlocking the Mysteries of Creation” is a good source book for this.
Take 2 white roses. Make sure they look alike. Hide one so that no one can see. Then take the other one and tell the kids how beautiful the rose is and how good it smells. Have the youth pass the rose around the room. Tell them to smell it, to touch the soft pedels and to see how beautiful it is. While the rose is being passed around give your sermon on purity. At the end of the message ask for the rose back. Almost 100% of the time the rose will come back brown, wilted, and bruised. Show it to the kids. Tell them how everytime you touch a rose’s pedels they get bruised. Just like with sexual impurity we come back no longer white. Then bring out the other white rose and say that when you give all of that impurity to God that He makes you white again.
My best friend and I developed this illustration for a girls retreat, but it could be used anytime.
All the participants (including the leaders) need a bottle of water (any size will do). The bottle should be clear.
We used this at a retreat in which we had three separate sessions of teaching. The students were told to bring their water to each session. The first session was on purity in relationships. At the end of the teaching we passed around a bottle of red food coloring. We told the students to add a drop of coloring to their water for every impurity in a relationship God was dealing with them about. It could a friend they lied to, a time when they disobeyed a parent, or an impure dating relationship.
We repeated the process at the end of the 2nd and 3rd sessions using blue food coloring at one and yellow at the other.
We closed the final session by saying something like this:
“We all have sin in our lives – things we need to make right with God and others. In the beginning they didn’t seem so bad. The red water wasn’t too bad to look at. Then we got into a few more things. The water turned darker, but it still didn’t look too bad. But as time went on and we went deeper in our sin, what was once Living Water inside of us has turned black. It doesn’t look like anything anyone would want to drink from. Sin not only damages our lives, but also our witness.”
The speaker then pulls out a container of bleach. While quoting a scripture about Jesus cleansing us from our sins and making us new, the leader uses an eye-dropper to add bleach to his/her bottle of water. The color will disappear and the “water” will become clear again, just like our sins disappear and Jesus makes us clean again.
If you were teaching on a single subject and wanted to use this, you could tell the students to use a different food coloring for each issue God is dealing with them about or just use a single color.
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.
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.
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.
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
I’ve done this illustration in front of full grown adults. First, find all of the youngest kids in the audience. Then, after lining them in a row in front of your audience take a tube of toothpaste and put a little bit in each of their hands. After you’ve squirted some in the last ones hand, give him/her the tube and instruct them to put the toothpaste back inside. After letting each of them attempt to put their toothpaste back explain how our words are the same way. No matter how sorry we may be once you’ve said something (even if by accident) you can’t put your words back.