Object Lessons from Maurice Sweetsur

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Object Lessons 41 - 55.

Object Lessons 41 - 55.

(Object Lesson 41 - The earth, sun and moon). After teaching how God created the earth, sun and moon, get three children to act out their motions.
a. The sun stays still, but always shines (smiles).
b. The earth travels round the sun, rotating as it does so (365+ spins per one circuit round the sun!).
c. The moon travels round the earth, remembering to always keep its same side facing the earth.

I have always found this to be great fun for children of all ages. Usually the 'moon' finds it hard to keep up with the earth, causing great hilarity among the spectators.

You could explain that God has made the conditions on earth just right for life. Even small changes would make life, as we know it, impossible. Ask "What would it be like on earth if - - - ?

1. The earth was nearer to the sun -------- Too hot. (It has been calculated that even a 2 degree C. rise in the average surface temperature of the earth would be enough to melt the polar ice caps and cause devastating flooding).
2. The earth was further away from the sun ------ Too cold.
3. The earth didn't rotate once on its axis every 24 hours ------ One side would be day all the time and be very hot. The other would be night all the time and be very cold.
4. The earth rotated faster than now ------ Very short days and nights, and constant hurricane force winds.
5. The earth wasn't tilted on its axis ------ No seasons. Countries near the equator would be very hot. Those far from the equator would be too cold to grow food - resulting in a world-wide food shortage.
6. The diameter of the earth was (say 10%) less than its present 13,000 Kilometres ------- Because of the consequent reduction in gravity, most of the oxygen which we need to breathe would escape into outer space.
7. The diameter of the earth was 10% greater than at present ------ The increased gravity, and hence air pressure would cause the polar ice caps to melt - resulting in devastating flooding.
8. The moon was a little smaller or a little further away than at present ------ Very little tidal action, resulting in even the oceans becoming stagnant and the death of all aquatic creatures.
9. The moon was a little larger or a little nearer than at present ------ Too severe tidal action, with low lying areas being flooded twice a day!

What a wonderful Creator we have, who not only made the earth just right for us to inhabit, but He also keeps it that way year, after year, after year.

(Object Lesson 42 - Gravity). Get a soft, hollow ball and pierce two holes in it close to each other. Thread a piece of string through the holes and tie together. You are now ready to demonstrate the importance of having the right strength of gravity as the earth circles the sun.

Hold the end of the string, and swing the ball round your head. Explain that your head represents the sun, and the ball represents the earth travelling round it year after year at a constant speed. Also, because gravity remains the same, the earth remains the same distance from the sun.

Ask, "What would happen to the earth if God increased gravity a little?" Demonstrate the effect by letting the ball crash into your head.

Ask "What would happen if God decreased gravity a little?" Demonstrate by letting go of the string. The ball will fly off to the other side of the room!

(Object Lesson 43 - Can nothing turn into something?). Bring an empty jar to your class, complete with lid. Ask the children to watch the jar for you for a few weeks, and tell you if anything begins to appear on the inside.

After a few weeks, ask the children if anything has begun to grow inside the jar? No. Ask, if you left the jar in the room for a year, with the lid closed, they think something will then have begun to grow - perhaps a little ant? No. How about 10 years? 100 years? A million years? Ever? The answer is still no. Explain that if nothing cannot become something in a few weeks, there is absolutely no reason to believe that it could ever do so. (You may wish to explain that there is actually air in your jar, but if even the air could not turn into something, there is certainly no way that 'nothing' could).

Some people do believe, however, that this did happen. They call it Evolution. They say that a long time ago, there was nothing. But them this nothing, all by itself, managed to become something, and that this something kept changing and changing into all the variety of things we see today, including us! The Bible tells us, however, that in the space of six days God, through His power, created the Universe and everything in it. God not only made everything complete and perfect, He made it all for our benefit - for us to enjoy and take care of.

(Object Lesson 44 - Dependence on oxygen). Talk about how God created the air ( or oxygen ), and then demonstrate how dependent we are on this by getting the children to see how long they can survive without it, i.e. how long they can hold their breath. If the oxygen level were a little less than its present 21%, breathing would be difficult. If it were a little higher, the fire danger would be greatly increased.

(Object Lesson 45 - "Made after its own kind."). God made the first of every living Biblical "kind", each with the ability to reproduce 'after it's own kind.' To explain this, take along an acorn. Explain that God created the first oak tree, with acorns (seeds) like this one contained in it. Some of those acorns would fall to the ground and grow into other oak trees, just like their parent tree, with each again containing their own acorns. Those, in turn. would fall to the ground and some would grow into more oak trees containing acorns, etc. etc. And that's how we get oak trees today. You may then wish to apply this argument to other living things, emphasising that cats always produce cats, dogs produce dogs, and people produce people etc.

Object Lesson 46 - Making right choices.

Ask for a volunteer to come out and be tied to a chair with a piece of rope. Ask for a second volunteer to come out and make an important choice.

Produce a glass of water and a sweet (or other suitable reward). Explain that their choice is " In return for this sweet, will you throw this glass of water in the first volunteer's face? He/she is powerless to stop you, because they are tied to the chair." If they refuse, begin to increase the 'reward' on offer - 2, 3, 4 sweets, 4 sweets and a chocolate bar!

If your volunteer refuses to throw the water, tell them they have made the right choice. No matter what 'reward' was on offer, it would always be wrong to throw water in someone's face. State that the Bible teaches us that if we make the right choices here on earth, we will be rewarded in heaven. Give them their reward of sweets and chocolate bar.

If your volunteer says they will throw the water, tell them they have made the wrong choice, and give the 'reward' to their intended victim instead.

Note. It is probably better to choose a girl as your second volunteer as, in my experience, most boys are willing to throw water in someone's face, even in return for one sweet!

Object Lesson 47 - Choosing the right friends.

It is important to teach older children especially about the importance of choosing the right sort of friends.

Preparation. Take two pieces of plain white paper, and smear one with a dark jam (e.g. blackcurrant).

Application. Explain that the 'clean' paper represents them (hopefully), and the 'dirty' paper a friend who does wrong things and gets into trouble.

Ask "What will happen when I rub the two pieces of paper together? The possibilities are :- 1. The clean paper will stay clean, and the dirty paper dirty. 2. The clean paper will make the dirty one clean. The dirty paper will make the clean one dirty."

Most children will realise that the third possibility is the correct one. Demonstrate this by rubbing the papers together.

Conclude by saying "This is usually what happens if you choose a friend that does wrong things - some of their 'dirt' is likely to rub off on you."

Object Lesson 48 - The resurrection of Christ.

Here is a close up object lesson on the resurrection that is certain to amaze your class.

Preparation. You will need a large coin, a clear glass, and a piece of thin clear latex or rubber, large enough to cover the top of the glass. (I have found that Qualatex 'Diamond clear' balloons are a good and inexpensive source of this). Stretch the rubber in all directions, hold the coin on your finger and press it on the underside of the rubber. When you cease stretching, you will find - with practice - that the rubber will wrap itself a little way under the coin as well as covering the top. The coin will thus appear to be on top of the rubber sheet (actually it is underneath) because the rubber has been stretched so much that it will be almost invisible. Finally, place the rubber and coin on the top of your glass, and secure with an elastic band.

Presentation. Talk about the resurrection, how Jesus came right out of the tomb, while the stone was still in place. (Alternatively, you can talk about how the resurrected Christ was able to 'appear' in locked rooms, without making a big hole in the door or wall!).

Produce your glass, with rubber and coin in place. Ask for a volunteer. State that he/she is now going to push the coin right through the rubber sheet without making a hole, or even a tear, in it. Get your volunteer to push the coin firmly downwards with their finger. The coin will fall into the glass, leaving the rubber sheet intact.

Object Lesson 49. R U E ?

When talking about His second coming, Jesus referred to the days of Noah, saying that when He returned, the conditions on the earth would be similar, i.e. great lawlessness. Jesus went on to explain that the actual date of His return was not important, what really matters is "Are you ready?"

Write out on a card the letters R U E ? (ensure that the "E" is in red). Ask the children "What does this say? That's right R U E. But what is the colour of the "E"? That's right - red. Now, read the card again, but this time say the colour of the letter "E". That's right R U red E. Now, keep on saying it, faster and faster _ _ _ _ _ _ _ You've got it. It says "ARE YOU READY?" The important question is "Are you ready for when Jesus returns? Are you really trusting in Him?"

Object Lesson 50 - Trust.

Here are two simple, but fun, object lessons on trust that you can use with your lesson on Noah, or indeed many other lessons where you want the children to understand what trust is.

A. - A mousetrap. Take along to your class a broken mousetrap, but one that appears to be in working order. Place it on a table, and very carefully place a large coin on top of the trap.

Explain to your children that you want them to understand what trust really is. Challenge the class along these lines. "I am looking for someone who will really trust me. If they do, they will be able to come out and, without hesitating, pick the coin from off the trap and take it away to keep - without any harm coming to them. If they don't really trust me, however, I am not responsible for anything that might happen to them." You should have no shortage of volunteers!

Explain that if the volunteer hesitates in any way, causes the trap to move at all, or drops the coin while attempting to pick it up, it doesn't count - even if the trap does not actually go off. In my experience, the first two or three volunteers will be hesitant, and thus be disqualified. Eventually, someone will pick up the coin without hesitating etc. You can then demonstrate that the trap is not actually working, but state that your volunteers did not know that, and the person who got the coin was indeed really trusting you.

Trust is taking someone at his word, and not doubting it for a moment.

B. - Falling backwards. This illustration has been used for many years, but it is still a very effective lesson for teaching on trust.

Ask for volunteers who really trust you (You could choose two teams). Explain that all they have to do is stand up straight with their backs to you, fall backwards, and you will catch them. However, if their feet move, or their knees bend, they don't get a point as that shows that they were not really trusting you.

After the exercise, you can conclude by saying : "Everyone who took part in that said they trusted me, and I am sure most of them really thought they trusted me. But when it came to the test, it was found that some were really trusting me, but some were not. It is not important whether you really trust me or not, but what is important is whether you are really trusting in Jesus. Many people say they are trusting in Jesus. But the vital question is are you really trusting in Him?"

Object Lesson 51. Taste and see that the Lord is good.

When teaching children about the Promises of God, I usually conclude by asking "How do you know that these wonderful promises are true? How do you know that they are good and will really work? You will probably get a mixed response.

Get out a box of chocolates or mallows. Ask "How do you know that these chocolates are good?

They certainly look good, but do you know that they really are good just by looking at them? - No.

They smell good, don't they, but can you tell if they are good by smelling them? - No.

I could tell you all the ingredients - cocoa, sugar, butter etc. - and how the chocolates were made, but would you then know if they really are good? - No.

I could introduce you to people who have tasted them, and they will tell you how good they are, but would you then know they were good? - No.

I could eat one myself (proceed to do so). Oh yes, they really are good! But do you now know that they are good? - No.

What would you have to do to find out for yourselves if they are really good? That's right. You would have to taste them for yourselves. It is exactly the same with God's promises. The Bible tells us to "Taste and see that the Lord is good" (Psalm 34.8). The only way that you will prove for yourselves that God's promises are good is by putting them to the test, and trying them out for yourselves.

Now, who would like to put these chocolates to the test, and prove that they are good?"

Object Lesson 52. Ask and you shall receive.

Jesus told us that some people don't receive anything from God, simply because they don't ask. Here is a simple illustration to help children understand that they should pray for their needs.

Write out on a piece of card or paper "-------------- (your name) wants to give away $1." Place it in a conspicuous place in your room before the lesson starts, but don't refer to it until the appropriate time.

Talk about how much our generous God wants to bless us and give us all our needs, but how some people don't receive from God because they don't ask. Remind them that Jesus said "Ask, and you shall receive" (Luke 11.9). By now one child might have really understood what you are talking about, and asked you for your dollar. If not, ask the children "Is there anyone here who wants to ask me for something?" Eventually someone should understand and ask for your dollar! "It is as simple as that. 'Ask and you shall receive' ".

Object Lesson 53. Using your Fingers as a prayer reminder.

Here is a finger prayer exercise that has been around for many years.

Get the children to have their hands facing inwards. Then :-

!st. Finger (Thumb). This one is the nearest to us. We should pray for our families.
2nd. Finger. This one does the pointing. We should pray for those who 'point the way' for us - our Church leaders and Sunday school teachers.
3rd. Finger. This one is the tallest. We should pray for the Leaders in National and local Government.
4th. Finger. The weakest. We should pray for the sick, needy and poor people.
5th. Finger. The smallest. We should pray for the 'little people' - other children we know.

There are some variations on this theme. For example, The first (Thumb) points to us. We should pray for our own needs. The fourth is the 'ring' finger. We should pray for family and friends. The fifth is the smallest. We should pray for the sick and helpless.

O.L. 54. - The Christmas tree.

If you have a decorated Christmas tree in your classroom, you can use it as an object lesson to teach some important Christian truths. If not, a picture of a Christmas tree would suffice.

The tree. This reminds us of our sin. Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden, and Jesus died on a tree to take away our sins.

The point. This points heavenwards, reminding us that Jesus came from heaven to be our Saviour.

The Angel. Reminds us that it was an Angel that brought the first Christmas message to some Shepherds, "Fear not, for I bring good tidings of great joy, for unto you is born a Saviour, Christ the Lord." (Luke 2.10,11).

The star. Reminds us that God sent a special star to guide the wise men to the baby Jesus.

The lights. Jesus came to give light to those in darkness, and guide us on our way to heaven.

The decorations. Remind us of the beauty of everlasting life obtained through faith in Jesus.

Depository for gifts. (Usually underneath the tree). Reminds us of the first and best Christmas gift - Jesus Christ, God's gift to the world. We are also reminded that for any gift to benefit us, we need to receive it. If we don't personally receive Jesus into our lives then, as far as we are concerned, He might as well never have come to earth.

Object Lesson 55 - The new birth.

When I have taught on 'new beginnings', I usually included something on Creation (see my Newsletter No. 18). I have also taken in a chrysalis and explained how an ugly caterpillar turns into a beautiful butterfly.

When teaching about Nicodemus (the new birth), I get the children to make models out of modelling clay (Play-doh). I then explain that good as all the completed models are, not one of them is perfect. If there was a 'Master' sculptor present, and he made a model with just one small mistake, he would squash it up, and keep remaking it until it was perfect.That is God's plan for us. Because of sin, we are all born faulty on the inside, but God wants to remake us so we are new and perfect on the inside.