Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Great Commission - Matthew 28:16-20

Used by Permission
Matthew 28:16 - 20 (ESV) Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted.  And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Back Ground for the Message: 
The basic lesson you are teaching with this lesson plan is that preaching Gospel, or making disciples of all the nations, in the name of God is not as hard as it first appears.  Both the game you will be leading, and the message you will be teaching all have to do with following the Word of God, even when you think it is hopeless, useless and ineffective.  In this case, the word we are focusing on is "GO" as in go therefore and make disciples of all the nations.  We are taking the general sense of "all the nations," as we did with "love your neighbors," assuming that the literal translation is the intent.  In other words, the guy next door is just as important as the guy in Africa, since they are both part of "all."

In addition, you will be tangentially teaching that Satin will be the prime disrupter in their lives, and as Martin Luther once implied, if you see or feel the presents of Satin in your activity, you must be doing something powerful for God.  It is this disruption that prompts the tie to Never Give Up.

The Game: El Diablo

Materials Needed: A Blind Fold & a Hula Hoop as well as well motivated children and teachers.

How to Play the Game: 

Set Up: You Need one child to play the seeker and one to play El Diablo, the devil. First, you set up the playing field within your room, and place the Seeker at one end of the room, and the Hula Hoop at the other end of the room.  You then have the other children sit in chair between the two.  

The Play: You blind fold the seeker, making sure they can not see. You then play the game like green light, red light with You as the caller.  When you say Green light, the seeker heads toward the hula hoop.  Then win the game when they get any limb, an arm, hand, foot or leg within the hula hoop.  During Green Light, the children in the chair can verbally guide the seeker toward the hula hoop, as long as they do not get out of their chairs.  During Red Light, El Diablo (devil in Spanish) is allowed to pick up the hula hoop and move it.  During Red Light, the children in the chairs must not talk or move.  You job as caller is to change from Red to Green, and Green to Red, when ever the seeker gets too close.  You are trying to teach everyone that the seeker is close to the goal most of the time, but the devil is setting up obstacles they who time as well. Eventually, you will change from Green to Red every 10 seconds or so, and the seeker will win.

The Explanation: Our work for the Lord is very much like this game.  Just when we are about to seek our goal, whatever it is, we are frustrated.  If we quit, we will never arrive, even though we were inches away. If we continue, the devil will continue to try to frustrate us.  The Key is to never give, knowing that all things work together for those who love the Lord and are called according to his purpose.

The Message:

Read them Matthew 28:16-20

1) Ask them what they think each line means, as you read it.
2) Ask them to remember the Game and to think of themselves "going" to make disciples of all the nations.  Tell them that as they go, it might not work out as they planned.
     a) Who would be in the way making it hard. (This might be where you have to tell them or remind them what El Diablo means.)
     b) Ask them how far they have to go to spread the word? (their family, next door, church, school)
     c) Ask them if they have to teach the Gospel by reading the word?  (NO.  Living the word is the best way to show the Gospel.  Loving their neighbors as themselves will cause people to ask questions.  A time will arise when someone who has received their undeserved love will ask them why they are so nice, so able to love them, and now they get to teach the Gospel. - This is one of the meanings of "do all that I have commanded you.)
3) Ask them who is their protection when they are "going." (They are all going to say God and Jesus.  They are all programmed to say that.  Instead of accepting that answer, ask them how they know. - They last line of the text tells them the answer.  It is here where we get to teach them critical reading.)
4) You now have the added ability to teach them both sides of Goal Setting.  Tell them of a time in your life or the life of someone you know or have read about, who set a goal and pursued it with all of the mind, body, spirit and strength, as if they were doing it for Jesus.  Yet, they failed, because they eventually arrived at a different better destination or result.

Tell them that they arrived because the never gave up, even though they arrived at a different goal or destination than they expected. Make sure they understand that they failed in their original goal.

Then ask them if Goal setting works.  If they say yes, ask them why you or the character in your story failed?  If they say no, then ask them whose effort got them to the destination?

Then explain to them that setting goals, and following them, if they feel called, is good.  Never giving up, until you arrive is good too, as long as you know that God's plans are better than yours, and you might well arrive at a different place.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Armor of God Lesson Plan - Ephesians 6:10-18

Bicycle Helmet

Using Our Gifts, Talents, Skills and Environment to Fight the War

What Armor Looks like In Nature:

Ask them what natural armor a bicycle rider has to prevent injury, if they fall off their bike. (If you are one of those who does not think bicycle helmets make a difference, especially on an adult, please click here and read this story.)

Then explain what a bicycle helmet is, what it does for the rider, and that it is basically I piece of armor for humans.

Armor in Nature Drill:
First, ask the students to list as many animals as you might have time to discuss - say 10 or so, and write them down.

Then, 1 animal at a time, ask the students what predators might attack the animals they gave you. Then ask what that animal might have to use as armor or natural defense against that attack.

Example: Animal - Great White Shark.  Predators: Orca - Killer Whales have been known to attack them, and bite them in half.  Natural Defense or Armor - Speed.

After each animal, have 2 students act out an attack and a defense. It is ok if some of the defenses fail, but you should arrange for them to succeed by redoing some of them if the majority are not successful.

To prevent contact and enforce the "no touchee" rule, we put down too hula hoops in close proximity, and tell both children that they must stay within the hula hoop, and they may not cross over it with their arms, feet or anything else.

End the discussion with a statement about Nature, and how there is a constant battle between animals to survive.  Survive against weather, climate, and each other.  If you have time, ask them if the battle between animals is natural?  (Before the fall, lions laid down with lambs. Isaiah 65:25)

Teaching the Lesson:

Read to them Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV) - The Armor of God

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood,but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."

After reading this section of the scripture, as them:

1) Who is the bad guy in this story? -  The Devil
2) Who do all the ruler, authorities and dark powers work for? -  The Devil
3) What are the things called that work for Dark Powers? - Demons
4) Does this passage suggest that governments and rulers are dark powers? - No. Scripture does not contradict itself. Romans 13:1 (NIV) - "Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God."
5) Then who are these rulers, authorities and powers of the dark world? - Demons and the Devil
6) Are these powers flesh or spiritual - "Spiritual forces of evil." Not against Flesh and Blood.

"Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand."

1) Do you choose and pick which armor you put on. For example, do you put only a mouth piece in when you play hockey, because you are tough and don't need a helmet?  - no.  Put it all on, even if you don't think you need it.
2) Is standing your ground easy or hard?  Explain what standing your ground is by describing a hurricane and what it would feel like to stand in one place as the storm washes over you.  For my example, read Standing in the Storm.
3) What happens if you don't put the armor of God on? - You fall.

"Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."

1) What is the Truth of the belt of Truth? - The Gospel or Good News.
2) What are the flaming arrows of the evil one? Normally attacks on the faithful, including name calling though it might actually be physical attacks from those who do not believe.  Doubt and fear are also arrows.
3) What is the Sword of the Spirit?  The bible and the Holy Spirit.

If you Have Time Game:

I went out and bought a box of twinkies, and gave them out as a reward for answering these questions correctly.  I even had them act out putting the armor on, and using the piece we were talking about.

Name a Piece of Armor and what it is for.

We gave out six twinkies and it took 10 minutes.

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Sunday, June 23, 2013

Respect, Obedience and Love - Exodus 17:8-16

Holding Curtain Rod (heavy bo staff) Over Their Heads
Without experience, most people don't understand the amount of effort feats of strength and athletic endeavor require.  In other words, they can see themselves easily doing the same thing, and they are unaware of the difficulty in actually accomplishing a task.  Just watch adults watching a professional sports game.

Multiply that behavior by a billion to understand how a child's mind works when it comes to the miracles and feats of obedience and danger in the bible.  They just don't get it, and unless you let them FEEL it, they never will get it.  So, with Moses holding a staff over his head, in Exodus 17, for perhaps 12 hours, they kind of understand it is hard, but mostly from the "That's Boring" point of view, not the "that's hard" point of view.  So, in order to teach them both an important part of the verse, as well as how hard physically holding a staff over their head is, we devised a game.  

Materials Needed: 12 balloons, 6 Pink slips of paper 1" x 4", 6 Blue slips of paper 1" x 4', two heavy bo staffs from karate schools or 2 heavy curtain rods (dowels) 6 feet long, 6 pink sheets of paper and 6 blue sheets of paper.

Set Up: take 6 balloons, and the 6 pink slips of paper, and roll up the paper and put it into the 6 balloons.  Repeat for the 6 blue slips of paper.  Then inflate the balloons, keeping the pink slips away for the blue slips balloons.

Place the two sets of balloons at opposite sides of the far side of a room, and then evenly space the 6 pink and blue pieces of paper like stepping stones toward the balloons.

How to play the game:  Select one girl and one boy who think they have strength and give them the bo staff.  Divide the class by boys and girls (or any other division you want) and put them near the beginning of the stepping stones on the opposite side of the room from the balloons. You then need a team member stepping on the first stepping stone. Each time a bo staff holder bends their arms, twists the staff, or lowers the bo at all, the opposite team advances one stepping stone.

There are 2 ways to win: 1:  the team that gets the verse assembled correctly wins. (you do NOT read them the verse first.) When you say GO, team members, one at a time ,run across the room, pick up a balloon from their own side, run back with it, and then they have to pop the balloon, extracting the piece of paper inside. 2: The team that has a player reach the 6th stepping stone wins.

So, they learn how much it takes to hold the bo up for the 6 minutes it takes to play the game, and they figure out the verse we are teaching, without you having to drill it into their heads.  You want to slow the game down as much as possible, and you can do that by making the person popping the balloon NOT use their finger nails, even having to sit on it to pop it.

How to teach the lesson:  First, you want to make sure that they understand how hard it is to hold the staff over their heads for a few minutes.  I had them use ONE ARM, but you can make it harder by using both arms and having them extend their arms in from of them, 90 degrees to their body.  The best way to drive this point home is to ask the ones holding the bo.  Then expand upon their answer.

Then ask them why they held the bo up so long, when it hurt.  Since you picked the stronger students, it will be easy to have them all understand that it was hard; that it hurt.  Guide them if necessary to tell you that they wanted to win; that people wanted to do it for them.

Ask them what would happen if they had to hold the bo up for 12 hours. (You still have not mentioned the bible story.)  Let them or encourage them to brain storm for a while.  It took us about 3 minutes before someone suggested that they would need to help them hold their arms up.  Be prepared to lead them to that result, that they would need help.

Talk about how hard that would be, how much the bo staff holder would have to want to hold it up; about how many people would need to be involved and about how much effort it would take.  Then ask again, why would  anyone do that.  You want them to get to a desire to win, a respect for team members, love perhaps.

Read them the Bible Lesson: Now set up the story in the bible, Exodus 17:8-16.  How hundreds of thousands of Israelis are walking through a nations back yard.  How all nations knew who they were, since they had escaped from one of the largest military kings in the world (Pharoah), how they were drowned by God.

YOU MUST SPEND SOME TIME ON TALKING ABOUT THEIR BELIEF IN GOD. This is critical for them to understand.  At this time period, they saw miracles or acts of spiritual beings all the time.  These people had NO DOUBT that gods were in their lives and they had evidence in their daily lives.  So, when they heard how God protected the Israelis, there was no doubt; there was only assurance that these people's God was more powerful than their own.  (Their own gods were either fictional or demonic.)  This might be a good time to introduce them to demonic powers, letting them know that our time is no different than their time, except most of us really don't have their level of faith.  We believe in the Word or Concept of God, but we have lost the abject faith, or many of us have, in an all powerful God.  

So, when the Israelis showed up, the Amalekites were afraid of God.  The Amalekites felt if they attacked this small number of people, in comparison to their own size, they might defeat them before God could protect the Israelites.  

Now read the story.  Stop to explain what the words mean, and stop every time there is a choice to make about obeying God or not obeying God.

When you are done, you should also make sure that they understand that Moses loved the people, and prayed to the Lord to NOT destroy them for their fear.  Not because he, Moses, loved them, but rather that God would not get as much glory from his people if they died.  This is an awesome place to point out that our purpose is to Glorify God.  Glorify God in all that we do.

If you have time, as we did, we put the kids in a big circle, had them stand on a piece of paper, and told them if they stepped off the paper, they were out.  Then we gave them a balloon to pass around.  When someone was out, we all sat down, and came up with a way to glorify God in our lives. (Lead them to Obey, Pray, help other)  Then play the game again.