Object Lessons from Maurice Sweetsur

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Object Lessons 69 - 77.

Object Lesson 69 - Separation from God.

I usually use this lesson following teaching on Adam's rejection of God in the Garden of Eden, and the consequent "fall of man".

Choose two volunteers to be Adam and God. Have them face each other with each having an outstretched arm in a "shaking hands" position.

"God created us to be His friends, to be joined to Him in love and unity, as demonstrated by my volunteers being linked together. But in the Garden of Eden, Adam rejected God and turned his back on Him (Volunteers break their link, and 'Adam' turns his back on 'God').

God is holy and cannot look on sin, so He had to turn away from Adam ('God' turns away from 'Adam', leaving a gap between the two volunteers). This is the problem we are all born with - separation from a holy God. (Adam is not here anymore of course but, in a similar way, we have all rebelled against God, and now stand in his place).

God still loved the people of this world and so did something to solve our separation problem. He sent His Son to die on a cross (Choose a third volunteer to represent Jesus and stand between 'Adam' and 'God' with his hands on their shoulders, representing the cross). Jesus is now the bridge between us and God. He is our only way back to God. Because Jesus died on the cross and paid the penalty for our sins, this means that God can now turn back to us, offering His forgiveness and love. ('Jesus' sits down, and 'God' turns to face 'Adam' with His hand outstretched).

We now all have a choice to make. We can continue with our back to God, ignoring Him and going our own way, or we can choose to turn back to Him and accept His love and forgiveness ('Adam' turns to face 'God' and reaches out for His hand).

I hope that you all make the right choice.

Object Lesson 70 - Long distance miracles (Cutting a banana in half).

Jesus sometimes healed people from a distance - just by speaking a word of faith. In this illustration you appear to cut a banana in half just by speaking and/or by making a 'chopping' action with your hand towards it.


Take a banana, choose a point near the centre, and push a small sewing needle through the peel and most of the way through the soft centre. With the needle still in place, move it in an upwards and then a downwards direction a few times. This action will cause the centre to be cut in half, but leave the peel largely unaffected. On removing the needle, only a small prick should be visible in the otherwise 'normal' banana.


Show the class your 'normal' (but prepared) banana. Select a volunteer and have them hold up the banana so that everyone can see it. Stand a few metres away from your volunteer and 'command' the banana to be cut in half. At the same time you could make a chopping motion with your hand in the direction of the banana. Finally, get your volunteer to carefully peel the banana. The banana centre should be clearly seen to have been cut into two halves.

Object Lesson 71 - Drawing a picture whilst blindfold.

This is a very popular object lesson which children always enjoy participating in.

It has been said that those people who choose to travel through life without reference to God's Word, the Bible are like people drawing a picture whilst blindfold - the picture of their lives will probably turn out to be a big messes, not the beautiful masterpieces that God want's to make of their lives.

Choose some children to come out and draw a picture on the board whilst blindfolded. I choose two at a time, blindfold them, stand them in front of the board, and place a marker in their hands. I get them to draw an object, e.g. house, car, boat, dog etc. as I instruct them. For example, with a house, I would say in turn :- Draw the basic house (a square), a door, a roof, downstairs windows, a chimney, upstairs windows, smoke coming out of the chimney, someone looking out of a window, a tree in the garden, some flowers, the sun. When completed, let the children see their pictures - usually hardly recognisable as houses!

Summary. God wants to make beautiful pictures of our lives. He has given us His Word, the Bible to help us make the right choices, and go the right ways in life. But if we ignore the Bible and go our own way through life, it is rather like trying to draw a picture whilst blindfold, and we will probably end up by making big messes of them, just like these pictures.

Object Lesson 72- Feeding the 5,000.
One of the most famous miracles performed by Jesus is "the feeding of the 5,000." Here is an excellent object lesson to help children remember this dramatic story.
You will need a pair of Chinese rice bowls. These have been around for many years, and are available from most "Magic" stores.
The basic idea of the bowls is that you fill the first one with rice, place the empty second bowl over the first, remove the second bowl - and the first is overflowing with rice! In other words, the rice has been multiplied. This illusion can be achieved using many different substances as well as rice. This includes bread, which of course, would fit in very well with your story. However, the bowls are quite large and you would need quite a few slices of bread - which also goes stale after a while. Therefore, I have reverted to using rice, saying "If Jesus did this miracle today, he may well have multiplied rice (Probably the most used food worldwide) instead of bread."
Empty all the rice from the bowls. One of the now "empty" bowls then produces a stream of water. You could say "Maybe after eating the food the people were thirsty, and Jesus made some water for them to drink." Produce the water.
You could go even further with the illusion. "Maybe Jesus decided to give the people wine to drink instead of water. In fact, there was another occasion on which Jesus turned water into wine." Direct your stream of water into an "empty" wine glass (actually containing a little food coloring powder - See Object Lesson 21, Newsletter 8). "Actually, it turned out to be the very best wine." Finish by drinking the "wine".

Object Lesson 73 - Changing water into blood.

One of the best known miracles in the Bible occurred when Moses struck the waters of the river Nile with his staff, and they turned into blood. This is how you can recreate that miracle.

For your staff you will need a stick with a hole in at least one of the ends. Bamboo cane is ideal for this as it comes with inbuilt holes at both ends. Into one hole place a little red food coloring powder (available from many food manufacturers). Compress the powder so that it doesn't fall out beforehand (The flat end of a pencil is ideal for this). At the appropriate part of your story, dip your stick into a clear container of water. It will turn red almost instantly.

Turning the "blood" back to water is a little more difficult. This is because the food coloring is hard to remove. An alternative is to use Potassium permanganate in your stick instead of food coloring powder. However it will take a little time for this chemical to dissolve in the water (you will probably need to stir it vigorously), and the color once produced is more like maroon than red. However, if you do use Potassium permanganate, you can instantly turn your "blood" back to "water". In the other end of your stick place a little Sodium metabisulphite, press down, and dip into your "blood" at the appropriate time.

This is how I usually perform this object lesson. I produce a glass full of previously dissolved Potassium permanganate, and announce it to be the blood. Say "I turned this water into blood earlier, but then I thought you would like to see me do it." I then produce a second glass of water, and dip my stick with red food coloring into it. "That worked even better. This time it looks more like real blood. Now watch me turn the blood back to water." I then dip the end of my stick containing Sodium metabisulphite into the original blood (Potassium permanganate). Miracle completed!

Object Lesson 74 - Predicting a number.

Prepare six cards, each showing 32 numbers, as illustrated below.
This illustration is sure to be a "winner" with lots of laughs. It could be used for pure fun, or as a lead in to teaching about heaven, or about God being all-knowing.
Chose a volunteer. Ask them to think of any number between 1 and 63, and say that you are going to predict which number they will choose. Hand your volunteer a pen and piece of paper and, while you are turned away (or even out of the room), get them to write down their chosen number, show it to the rest of the class, and hide the paper.
Tell your volunteer that you are going to show them (and the rest of the class) six cards (prepared as shown below), each with lots of different numbers written on them. All they have to do is say "Yes" if their chosen number is on the card, or "No" if it is not. 
This next part is where you can really have a lot of fun. If your volunteer says "Yes" to a certain card, say something like "Are you sure, that is supposed to be a "No" etc. etc. However, you place all the "Yes" cards in one pile, and all the "No" cards in another. At this point you will know (see below) the chosen number (say 37 for example), but pretend that you are still confused. 
Having completed this task, say something like "Oh, I am sorry, this appears to have gone completely wrong -------------- I know lets talk about something else. Lets talk about my favorite subject - heaven. Do you know that some people think that there are many different ways of getting to heaven. They think there may be, say, 37 ways of getting to heaven. But I am sure you don't think there are 37 ways of getting to heaven. I an sure you know that there is only ONE way and that is through Jesus Christ. But why do I get the impression that you are thinking about the number 37. Hey, could that be the number you have chosen? Come on let me have a look at that paper ------. Wow, I got it right after all, you did choose "37".
This trick is actually a lot simpler than it sounds. The right number is arrived at by a process of elimination. There are 64 possible numbers to choose from (including "0"). Each of the six cards shows 32 numbers - write them out on large pieces of cardboard (or paper) as shown below, and make your numbers large enough for all the class to read.
After your volunteer has said "Yes" or "No" to the first card, the number of possible numbers has been reduced from 64 to 32. As you continue the process, the number of possible numbers is halved each time, i.e. 32. 16. 8. 4. 2. and 1. So after the six cards, you have deduced the chosen number.
The six cards are designed in such a way that you can quickly calculate the chosen number. All you need to do is add up the FIRST numbers on all the "Yes" cards. For example "37" is found on cards 1, 3, and 6. Thus, adding the first numbers on these cards, you have 1 + 4 + 32 = 37. If the chosen number was "54", it will be found on cards 2, 3, 5, and 6. Thus, adding up the first numbers, you have 2 + 4 + 16 + 32 = 54.
Card 1
1 3  5 7 9 11 13 15 17 19 21 23 25 27 29 31 33 35 37 39  41 43 45 47 49 51 53 55 57 59 61 63
Card 2
2 3 6 7 10 11 14 15 18 19 22 23 26 27 30 31 34 35 38 39 42 43 46 47 50 51 54 55 58 59 62 63
Card 3
4 5 6 7 12 13 14 15 20 21 22 23 28 29 30 31 36 37 38 39 44 45 46 47 52 53 54 55 60 61 62 63
Card 4
8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63
Card 5
16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 73
Card 6
32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63

O. L. 75 - The importance of recycling.

God created a wonderful earth for his finest creations (us) to look after and enjoy. It is the responsibility of all of us to take good care of this wonderful earth. One thing that we can all participate in to help maintain a good environment is recycling our rubbish (or trash as it is called in the U.S.A.). Every household produces much rubbish every year, but we can minimize this by recycling much of it. Here is a "fun" object lesson / illusion to help teach children the importance of recycling. This utilizes one of the oldest "magic tricks" around, but nevertheless will still amaze most children.


You will need three cardboard boxes of different sizes. It does not matter whether they are round or square. Cut the bottoms out of the largest two boxes. The smallest box (Box 1) should still be large enough to contain the items to be recycled and the items they will be "changed" into. (See below for some examples). Both the larger boxes should be taller than the smallest box so as to hide all the items that it contains. If you make the middle sized box (Box 2) taller than the largest box (Box 3) it will lead to a better visual effect.

The diameters of your three boxes will depend on availability and the items you wish to recycle. However, the boxes I use have diameters of 15, 20 and 25 cm. respectively. Mark Box 2 - "Bin". Mark Box 3 "Recycling box".

I usually "Recycle" three items in each presentation. The possibilities are endless, but here are a few suggestions - remembering that all the items have to be small enough to fit into Box 1.
Note. I usually give the "changed" items away to the children as I produce them from the recycling box.

Old Newspaper page (Screw up in front of children just prior to recycling) ----------- Small notebook.

Banana skin --------------- Whole Banana. (Although this is obviously not a good recycling example, as such, you could perform my Object lesson 70 here (Newsletter 66) - cutting a Banana in half. As the Banana is peeled by a volunteer, give the two (or three) segments away.

A burst balloon (Burst in front of children) ----------------- A rubber bouncy ball or an eraser.

Empty tube of toothpaste -------------- A full tube.

Empty soap package ------------- A bar of soap.

An old drinks can (Crush in front of children) ----------------- A full can.


Place the open ended Bin (Box 2) and the items to be recycled in full view of the children. Place the items that they will be "Changed" into in Box 1. Place the open ended Box 3 over Box 1. Thus, Box 1 and its contents will always be out of sight.

Talk about how much rubbish we all produce "Some people just throw their rubbish in the bin." Drop first item (e.g. screwed up newspaper) into the bin (Box 2). "They think they have got rid of it. But really they haven't." Lift up the "bin" to show that it is open at the bottom and reveal the newspaper. "Throwing things in the bin does not really solve the problem, because it is though it is open at the bottom and the rubbish just goes right through. We have just moved the rubbish from one place to another. However, there is a much better solution. It is called RECYCLING. Much of our rubbish can be recycled, or changed into something useful."

Draw the children's attention to the Recycling box (Box 3). "Let's see what happens if I put the bin into my Recycle box." Place Box 2 inside Box 3. You will note that Box 1 and its contents are now also inside Box 2. "Let's make sure that my Recycling box is nice and clean." Lift up Box 3 to show that it also open at the bottom and completely empty. (Box 1 and contents are still hidden because they are now covered by Box 2). Place Box 3 back over Box 2. "Let's see if I can recycle this old newspaper." Drop the newspaper into the bin, which is now inside the Recycling box, ensuring that it also lands inside Box 1. Get a stick or ruler and begin a stirring action inside the boxes. "Recycle....... Recycle....... Recycle....... What have we here?" Reach into the boxes and lift out the recycled item (e.g. Notebook). Remove Box 2, showing that the "Bin" is empty. You can then repeat the process and "Recycle" as many items as you wish.

Conclusion (Optional).

"Some of you may be thinking "Does it really matter if I throw away a small amount of rubbish each day?" Well, yes it does, because it all adds up. Let us see what would happen to all the rubbish if we could turn back the clock and un-recycle it." Begin your stirring action with your stick, in the opposite direction to before. "Un-recycle...... Un-recycle...... Un-recycle...... " Grab the side of Box 3 and Box 1 at the same time. (Remember that Box 1 must still remain hidden). Tip them up - To reveal all the rubbish!

O. L. 76 - Christmas Symbols - The Candy Cane.
The Candy cane is a well known symbol of Christmas. It is ideal for teaching children about Christmas because it is widely available and inexpensive. Having used it in your teaching, you could give candy canes out to all the children as treats.
The origin of the candy cane goes back over 350 years to Germany when people began to boil sugar to produce straight white sticks. Thus, the original candy was straight and completely white in colour.
Over the years the candy cane has been adapted to become a Christmas symbol.
1. Wide red stripes were added to the white cane. These represent the blood of Jesus who died for our sins.
2. Canes were now made in their present "J" form to remind us of Jesus. Turned around, the cane is now like a shepherd's crook - To remind us that Jesus is the "Good Shepherd" who leads us and gave up His life for us.
3. As well as broad stripes most candy canes now also have three thinner stripes. These remind us of Jesus' stripes that He took on his body for us just prior to his crucifixion. They also remind us of the Trinity - God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
4. Some candy canes now also have different coloured stripes as well as the red, especially Green and / or Purple. The Green stripes remind us of the New Life we have in Jesus, and that He wants us to grow to become more like Himself. The Purple stripes remind us that Jesus is our King.

O.L. 77 - Making objects appear and disappear with a thumb tip.

Probably nearly every person who performs Gospel illusions has used a thumb tip. These are plastic thumbs that are hollow on the inside, and are ideal for making small items (such as a small coloured cloth) appear and disappear.

Basically, you conceal your fake thumb in (say) your left hand, hold the cloth in your right hand, push it into the fake thumb, insert your right thumb into the fake one, then open up both hands to show that the cloth has "disappeared". If you keep both hands moving at this stage, it is very difficult to for anyone to notice that your one of your thumbs is actually fake. To make the cloth reappear, you simply reverse the process.

There are many ways in which you could use a thumb tip to demonstrate a Christian truth. I usually use mine in one of two ways. 1. To illustrate Creation (God spoke and things were created out of nothing). 2. To illustrate Jesus coming into our lives - Jesus (represented by the visible cloth) enters your life. Can we see Him? No. (Both hands 'empty'). People notice a change in you for the good. Reply "It's Jesus who is changing me." (Cloth visible again). Another use could be in illustrating the resurrection.

Craft - Making a paper thumb tip.

Although plastic thumb tips will last indefinitely, it is very easy to make paper ones that will be just as effective for your illustration. These make ideal prizes for children, who will love to try them out for themselves. As they are simple to make, I often get children to make their own.

All you need is a piece of brown paper, about 10 cm. wide and 6 cm. high. Fold the paper sideways, and stick together with a strip of clear tape. Next, fold the top of the paper down and stick with the tape. Your thump should now easily fit into your thumb tip. You can adjust the size, depending on the size of your thumb or those of the children. Remember, however, to leave enough space for the cloth at the top of the thumb tip.