Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Object Lessons using natural laws.


I have been sharing teaching ideas with children's ministers through my monthly Newsletters and on my 'Blog' sites since 2002. In these 'Special Blogs', I have grouped together some of my ideas into some of the major Biblical teaching areas. In this way it is hoped that readers will be able to go directly to a particular subject to view some ideas - object lessons, teaching tips, stories etc., or even to prepare a complete children's lesson (or lessons) on that subject.

Maurice Sweetsur
Email : mnmsweetsur@kinect.co.nz

Contents - All 'Special Blogs'.

1. Creation. http://www.ms-creation.blogspot.com/
2. Christmas. http://www.ms-christmas.blogspot.com/
3. Easter. http://www.ms-easter.blogspot.com/
4. The Bible. http://www.ms-bible.blogspot.com/
5. Prayer. http://www.ms-prayer.blogspot.com/
6. Hearing from God. http://www.ms-hearing.blogspot.com/
7. The Ten Commandments. http://www.ms-tencommandments.blogspot.com/
8. John 3.16. http://www.ms-john316.blogspot.com/
9. Teaching Memory verses. http://www.ms-memoryverses.blogspot.com/
10. Gospel Illusions. http://www.ms-gospelillusions.blogspot.com/
11. Object Lessons (using natural laws). http://www.ms-objectlessons.blogspot.com/
12. Lessons involving balloons. http://www.ms-balloons.blogspot.com/
13. Lessons involving fire. http://www.ms-firelessons.blogspot.com/

Other Blog sites from Maurice Sweetsur :-

Children's ministry - http://www.unclemaurice.blogspot.com/
All teaching material (All Newsletters) - http://www.mauricesweetsur.blogspot.com/
Object lessons / Illusions - http://www.objectlessons.blogspot.com/
Bible lessons and Teaching tips - http://www.teachinglessons.blogspot.com/
Stories, skits and puppet plays - http://www.christianstoriesandplays.blogspot.com/
Bible answers for kids - http://bibleanswersforkids.blogspot.com/
Kidzone (Children's site) - http://www.funatkidzone.blogspot.com/
Kidzone - Archives. - http://www.kidzonearchives.blogspot.com/

To find out more about my ministry to children, go to my main 'Blog' -

Contents - Object Lessons using natural laws. 1. Physical laws.

Faith (A water experiment).
Why does God allow suffering?
Staying in the centre of God's will.
God's protection.
Walking on water.
Straight and crooked roads.
God's guidance.
Little sins grow bigger.
Burning bush and Fiery furnace.
The meaning of the cross.
Standing up under pressure.
Defeating evil with good.
Needle through a balloon.
Discovering your gifts.
Facing trials and troubles.
seriousness of sin.
Samson pad.
God's protection (Blow paper into bottle).
The resurrection of Christ.
Overcoming Gravity.
Jumping on balloons.
Candle in a jar.

Faith (A water experiment).

Explain that faith is believing in something that you cannot see. State that although you cannot see God (or Jesus) because He is a Spirit, you can still know that He is real. Explain that something else you cannot see, but is real is the air. State that you are now going to prove that the air in the room is real.

Pour water into a glass until it is almost full. Place a piece of cardboard, cut to slightly larger than the top of the glass, shiny side down, over the top. (An old breakfast cereal box is an ideal source of suitable cardboard). Hold cardboard in place, and invert glass. Take away your hand from the cardboard. Explain that gravity is still at work trying to make the water fall on the floor, but that the air - which we cannot see - is stronger than gravity and is keeping the cardboard in place.
Invite a few of the children to put their faith in the air - which they cannot see- and walk under the glass. As they are doing so, reinforce the truth that they are trusting in something that they cannot see.

If you wish, you could conclude this illustration as follows.

State that you are now looking for someone with GREAT faith. Choose a volunteer. State that you are now going to hold the glass of water over their head as before and tip it upside down, but this time you are not going to use any cardboard! Say you wouldn't want them to get too wet if things went wrong, so you will pour some of the water out of the glass. Pour out water until about 2 or 3 cm. remains. State that you still don't like the idea of wetting their hair - if things did go wrong - so you will hold a cup between the glass and their hair. Pour the water out of the glass and into the cup. Act surprised that the water came out of the glass. State that you have worked out the problem. You weren't really using faith, because real faith in Jesus is trusting in Him alone. Therefore, real faith in the air is trusting in the air alone. Therefore you are now going to invert the cup (now containing the water ) over the volunteer's head, but with nothing in between. Do this. The water will not come out of the cup, because you had previously placed a SPONGE in the bottom!

Why does God allow suffering?

Take a large piece of white paper, and write across it in LEMON JUICE the word "Jesus" - i.e. in "invisible ink."

State that many people ask questions like "Why does a good God allow suffering?" Give a few examples of suffering. Say that there is no simple answer to this, but that you are going to show the class one reason why God may allow problems and hardships to come into our lives. God is interested in what we do, but He is more interested in what we are i.e. our character. God can use our problems to develop our character.

Use your own words for your particular class, but you could go along the lines suggested below.
"God has a wonderful plan to change you into someone far better. If none of us ever had any troubles, not many of us would give God a second thought, and we would never change. God sometimes allows suffering in our lives and uses it - as He helps us to overcome our problems - to change us. The Bible says "Suffering helps us to endure. And endurance builds character" Romans 5.3,4. ( C.E.V. ).

HOLD UP THE "BLANK" PAPER AT THIS POINT. I am going to have an imaginary conversation with this paper. "Nice to see you paper, but I am now going to put you over a flame"

Paper - " I don't like the sound of that. I might get too hot. I might even get burnt".

"I do like you paper, but I have a wonderful plan to change you into something better, and I have to place you over the flame to make this happen."

"How are you feeling now paper?"
Paper - "Stop it. I am getting far too hot."
"I haven't finished my plan for you yet. I must complete the job. I know this is tough for you, but I won't let you burn."


"This is what God's plan is for you. To build your character, and make you to be like Jesus. Often He uses our problems and difficulties to bring this about.

Staying in the centre of God's will.

This object lesson is better suited to smaller groups.Fill a glass three quarters full with water. Place a cork - representing theBeliever without the Spirit - in the water. The cork will naturally keepmoving to the side of the glass, i.e. away from the centre (of God's will).Now, fill the glass to overflowing with water, to represent the fullness ofthe Spirit. The cork will now float in the centre of the glass.

God's protection.

This is an illustration that can be used alongside any story of God's protection, and you can get a number of children to participate. All you need is a fairly small coin and a dish.

Explain that the coin stands for you, and the dish stands for God's protection. State that God's protection is only a prayer (or a breath ) away. You are now going to demonstrate how the coin can be transported into the dish using only your breath.

Place the coin on the edge of a table, and the dish about 15 cm. away. Blow a short sharp breath just over the top of the coin. (Have a few practices beforehand). Your breath should lift up the coin, and deposit it in the dish. As time permits, allow a few of the children to attempt the feat. The secret is to ensure that you blow horizontally, just over the top of the coin.

Walking on water.

One of the amazing miracles that Jesus did was walking on water. We all know that one of the natural laws of the Universe is that objects heavier than water sink. However Jesus overcame this natural law, and I am now also going to overcome this law by floating a pin on this water.

You all know that a pin is much heavier than water and usually sinks to the bottom. But today I am going to make it float! Proceed to gently lower a pin onto water in a glass, and watch it float. Because water actually forms a thin film at it's surface with the air, this flotation can really be done - provided you have a steady hand and the film isn't broken. And, of course, ensure that nobody knocks the glass during the procedure!

If your hand isn't too steady, you can still float the pin by placing it on a paper tissue, and lowering that onto the water. After a few seconds, the paper will have absorbed enough water to make it sink, leaving the pin floating alone.

Straight and crooked roads.

All you need for this illustration are a few sheets of newspaper.

Some newspapers are printed "with the grain", and some "against the grain." This means that if you hold a piece of newspaper vertically, and begin to tear strips from top to bottom, they will either come out very straight, or very ragged (despite your best efforts), depending on the way the grain is running.

Find two different newspapers which tear in opposite ways - this should be easy enough. You now have two sets of papers, which will look pretty much the same, but one tears straight, and one tears crooked. You are now ready to begin your lesson.

Proverbs 3.6. says "In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight."
We are all on a path through life, either a straight path which leads to God, or a crooked path which does not.

Choose about eight volunteers. Give one half the first set of newspaper sheets, and the other half the second. Ask them to tear the sheets into strips from top to bottom as straight as they can. One set of volunteers will end up with straight strips of paper, and the other half with a big mess! You can then conclude with teaching on "straight" and "crooked" roads as appropriate.

God's guidance.

"We are all on a journey through life, and God has given us two things to help us - His Word, the Bible and the Holy Spirit. If, however, we try and travel through life on our own - without calling on God to Guide us - we will make mistakes, and go off in directions that are not part of God’s plan for us."

Produce an ordinary (round) balloon. Blow it up, but do not tie it. Choose a volunteer to be your target. Have him/her stand about 6 meters away. " This balloon represents a person trying to go through life on their own. Most people do want to go the right way. Their intentions are good. Therefore I am starting off by pointing the balloon at the target, but let's see what will happen when I let go!" It will almost certainly miss the target. Repeat a few times. You may be able to obtain "Rocket" balloons. These are long, and buzz as they travel through the air. Children love them, but they will still miss their targets!

"What this balloon needs is a Guidance system - something to help it hit its target. I have one right here. Produce a 6 or 7 meter piece of string, and thread one end through a drinking straw. Have a second volunteer stand just behind the target, holding the other end. Blow up your balloon and tape it under the straw - see Attachment. Let the balloon go, and watch it hit its target. "That balloon kept right on target, because it had something to guide it. In the same way, we will stay on target in our journey through life - If we let the Bible and the Holy Spirit guide us."

Little sins grow bigger.

This is a simple but effective illustration to show that "little" sins, if left unchecked, grow and grow until eventually they can cause destruction.


Take a round balloon, inflate it, and write the word "sin" on it with a marker. Deflate the balloon.


Show your group the balloon, and while you are explaining that "little sins grow bigger", begin to demonstrate this by slowly inflating the balloon (and consequently the word "sin"). It is better to use a balloon pump for this, because eventually you will have inflated the balloon so much that it explodes! - a reminder that sin is very destructive.

Burning bush and Fiery furnace.

Here is a good way to demonstrate the burning bush, which was not consumed, or the fiery furnace, which did not harm the three Hebrew boys.

Take a piece of cotton material and draw on it a bush, or three figures as required. Soak the material in a mixture of 2 parts methylated spirits (Methanol) and 1 part water. Squeeze out any excess liquid. Set fire to the material. The methylated spirits will burn, making it appear as if the material is burning. The flames will eventually go out, and the water in the mixture will have successfully protected the material from burning, leaving it unharmed.

The meaning of the cross.

For this close-up illustration you will need a little coloured water, a saucer, a short candle, a glass, a coin and matches.


Tell the children that you are going to explain to them what happened at the cross of Jesus.

State - that the coin represents you or me - place it in the saucer, towards the edge.

- that the coloured water represents our sins - pour it into the saucer until the coin is submerged.

- that the candle represents Jesus - stand it at the centre of the saucer, and light it.

- that the flame represents the life of Christ.

Tell the children to watch carefully, as you take the glass and place it over the lighted candle. Within a few seconds, the flame will consume all the oxygen in the glass and be extinguished. However, it will have created a vacuum which, in turn, will draw the water up inside the glass (thus surrounding the candle) and leave the coin dry.

Recap that on the cross, Jesus gave up His life (the flame went out) so that he could take our sins on Himself, and we could go free.

Standing up under pressure.

When things are going well, it is sometimes hard to tell the difference between the person who is trusting in Jesus, and the one who is not. However, when pressure - hardships, troubles, problems etc. - comes upon us, the person who knows Jesus is able to keep standing, whereas the person without Christ often crumples or "goes under."


Take two plastic pen tops (Preferably different colours). Attach one or two plastic paper clips to the first top. To make the second top heavier than the first, attach one or two metal paper clips. Take about a two litre plastic clear bottle, and fill about 90% full with water. Drop the two plastic tops (with attached clips) into the water. They should both float. Screw the top on the bottle, and apply pressure to the bottle by squeezing it. A little "trial and error" may be required here. You may need to adjust your tops by adding or subtracting clips to ensure that when pressure is applied, the first top continues to float, whilst the second always sinks, or "goes under." When you release the pressure, the submerged top should rise to the surface again.


You can make this as long or as short as you wish. Explain that the two same-sized tops represent two people, one who is trusting in Christ, and one who isn't. When things go well (no pressure to the bottle), there is no difference - the tops both float. However, when pressure comes, one continues to float, but the other goes under. Repeat the pressure-on / pressure-off process a few times.

Defeating evil with good.

The Bible tells us that we are to defeat evil with good. (Romans 12.21). Here is a good object lesson to illustrate that point.


Take a thin piece of wood (about 40cm. x 10cm.), and write on it the word "EVIL." Take 3 or 4 sheets of newspaper, and write on one of them the word "GOOD."


Ask your class "Which do you think is stronger "Evil" or "Good" ? You will probably get a mixed response.

Proceed along these lines. "With so much evil in the world, it may sometimes appear as though evil is stronger than good, but God tells us that we are to defeat evil, not with evil, but with good. This piece of wood stands for evil, and it certainly looks strong ( bang it on a table a few times ). These flimsy pieces of newspaper stand for good but, as you know, they could easily tear. However, we shall now find out which is the stronger - the wood or the paper, evil or good."

Lay the piece of wood on a table or desk, overhanging the edge about 15cm. Place the pieces of newspaper fairly tightly over the wood, with the piece marked "GOOD" on the very top. As you do so, you could retell the story of Calvary i.e. " I am sure that when Jesus was arrested, beaten and crucified, the forces of evil were jumping for joy. They thought they had beaten "Good" for ever. But they were in for a shock, because on the third day Jesus rose from the dead, proving the reverse - that He was stronger than evil."

Tell the class that you are now going to hit the wood and paper hard with the side of your hand. "Which will break - the flimsy paper ? - the hard wood ? (or perhaps your hand! ?). Do this, hitting the wood and paper just past the "overhang." You will find that the wood will break and the paper will remain intact, reminding us that "Good" is stronger than "Evil."


"Good, therefore, can defeat evil. This means for us that if someone is nasty to us, we can defeat this by being good to them in return. This can often be a hard thing to do, but if we persist in doing good, we will usually find that they will start being good to us as well.

Needle through a balloon.

Punctuating an inflated balloon with a pin or needle, without it bursting, will always fascinate children. There are two ways you can achieve this :-

1. Place a small piece if clear sticking tape on the inflated balloon. You can then pierce this without the balloon bursting.

2. Pierce the balloon where the rubber is thickest i.e. near the hole and at the opposite end. In fact, by using these two locations, you should be able to pass your needle right through the balloon. Hints. Don't inflate the balloon too much. Use a sharp needle. Smear a little grease on the end of your needle.

I have used this illustration in two ways. You may be able to think of others.

1. Miracles. State that normally when you prick a balloon with a needle it will burst - Give an illustration. (If appropriate you could tell the children why it bursts, by talking about air pressure, rapid flow of air to the hole etc.). State that God can overcome or suspend the natural physical laws of the Universe. He can do miracles. Proceed with your demonstration.

2. Sharing your testimony. Inflate about four or five balloons, and write on them things which you (or others) once thought would give lasting satisfaction e.g. Sport, Job, Money, etc. On the last one write "Jesus." Keep the balloons (or at least the words) out of sight until required. Produce the balloons one at a time, and talk about how you once thought that Sport etc. would really satisfy you for life, but that in the end you found it wasn't really what you were searching for. It let you down. Burst the balloon with your pin or needle. Proceed until you are left with the "Jesus" balloon. Explain that this is what you have always been searching for, and that you have found that He will never let you down. Prick the balloon in the appropriate place to demonstrate!

Discovering your gifts.

God has given us all many different gifts, talents and abilities. Here is a lesson to help children understand about discovering those gifts.

The ink that comes from a felt tip pen will appear to be just one color, but in fact it will probably be a mixture of different colors. This is how to discover those different colors (c.f. discovering our different gifts). Choose four or five different colored felt tip pens. It is best to use fairly dark colors and fairly cheap pens as these will contain more impurities (i.e. colors). Take a strip of white tissue paper (e.g. 15cm. x 8cm.) and make a line of dots with your different pens about 3cm. from the bottom. Hang your paper over the edge of a glass containing about 2 cm. of water, so that the bottom of the paper is in the water and the dots are about 1cm. above the water level. The water will begin to move up the tissue, and when it reaches the dots, capillary action will cause the hidden colors to travel up the paper at different rates.

After a few minutes, although there will probably be some "smearing", you should clearly be able to see three or four distinct colors originating from each dot.

"The Bible tells us that God has given each of us different gifts to use (Romans 12 v. 6). One of the most exciting things about growing up is to discover what special gifts, talents and abilities you have and then to use them to serve God.

I have made four colored dots on this tissue paper from these four differently colored pens. Although each dot looks as though it is made up of just a single color, actually there are a number of hidden colors hidden within each dot - as we shall now discover as I place the paper in a glass of water.

That is like you. You may think that you are only good at one thing, perhaps running, music, reading, drawing etc. When you get older you will find other gifts that God has already placed in you. Some of you may find that you have a gift for teaching, or for looking after small children. Others may discover they have a gift for writing or telling others about Jesus. Some of you may be good at making friends, listening to others, helping people in need, or giving to the poor. Some may find they are good at encouraging people, hospitality, or looking after the sick.

All these gifts, and many more, can be used to serve God. Jesus actually told us that when we are doing good to others, we are actually doing good to Him. (Matthew 25 v. 40). So discover which gifts God has given you. Concentrate on doing what you are good at, and use your abilities to serve God, because there is nothing more important or wonderful than that."

Facing trials and troubles.

Children particularly enjoy any lessons involving fire, water or balloons. The following object lesson involves all three, so should be a big hit!

Everyone faces trials and troubles at sometime in their life, but if we have put our trust in Jesus then He has promised to always be with us and help us through all our troubles.

1. Light a candle - the flame represents our trials and troubles.

2. Produce an inflated balloon - this represents the person who doesn't have Jesus in their life, and is therefore facing the trouble on their own. Let's see what happens when I put the balloon over the flame - BANG.

3. Produce an inflated balloon about one third full of water - this represents the person who has Jesus in their life (c.f. the water). Let's see what happens when I put this balloon over the flame - THE BALLOON IS UNHARMED.

Although both balloons faced the same trial (i.e. flame), the second one came through unharmed - because the water took away the heat before it could do any damage. In much the same way, Jesus is able to see us through our trials and troubles unharmed.

The seriousness of sin.

Many children tend to categorise sin into big sins (e.g. murder) and little sins (e.g. a lie). Here are two illustrations you could use to help them understand that in God's sight all sin is serious.

a. Hold in one hand a crumpled piece of paper, and in the other a small but heavy object (e.g. a battery). Tell the children that the paper represents what many people think of as "little" sins like lying and swearing, and that the heavy object represents what many think of as "big" sins like murder and robbery. State that you are going to drop both objects to the floor at the same time. Ask the children which object they think will reach the floor first? Most should say the heavy object.

Drop both objects. They will reach the floor at the same time. (You may wish to repeat the exercise). State that sin is like that to God. The lighter or smaller sins are just as serious to Him as the weightier ones, for all wrongdoing is sin (1 John 5 v. 17).

b. Ask the children to imagine that both they and you are going to take a maths test where the pass mark is 100%. State that they - being really clever - get a mark of 98%, but that you - being not too good at maths - only manage 2%.

Ask the children how you have done - passed or failed? You have failed.

Ask the children how they have done - passed or failed? They also have failed.

Explain that although the children did much better than you in this imaginary test, they still failed. State that in life some people have led really led really bad lives and, rather like getting a mark of two out of a hundred, fall far short of God's standard, which is perfection. State that other people (give a few examples) have led wonderful lives, but no matter how good they have been they still come short of God's standard. Most people come somewhere between these two extremes, but the good news of the Gospel is that one man, Jesus, did lead a perfect life and reach God's standard. The even better news is that Jesus did it for us, and then died on the cross in our place, so that we could be forgiven - no matter how short of God's standard we have come.

Samson pad.

These are pieces of white plastic, but they look and feel like cardboard. They can be obtained from http://www.onewaystreet.com/ . Take one plastic sheet and one ordinary cardboard sheet (which comes in the same pack), and write on each "GIANT". The two sheets should look identical. Give the cardboard sheet to a small girl, and the plastic sheet to a big boy. Explain that we are going to imagine that both the volunteers have giants to overcome. God is on the side of both of them, but one - and you are not saying which - is like David, and has remembered that. The other is like the other Israelite soldiers who forgot that, and so were afraid of the giant.

Ask the volunteers to defeat their "giants" by ripping up the 'cardboard' into small pieces. It will soon be obvious which one is like David.


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!

God's protection (Blow paper into bottle).

Here is a simple, but intriguing object lesson that can be used to illustrate any story involving God's protection. This is how I would apply it for 'Daniel in the lion's den'.

Take an empty narrow-necked bottle (this could represent the den). Place a small model of a man (representing Daniel) into the bottle. Draw a picture of a lion on a small piece of paper. (Alternatively, you could just write 'Lion' on your paper). Screw the paper up into a small ball. Hold your bottle in a horizontal position, and place the paper into it's neck. Invite as many children as you wish to try and blow the paper into the bottle, thus representing the lion's attempt to get to Daniel.

You will find that the children will be unable to blow the paper from the neck into the main body of the bottle! In fact the opposite will happen, and the paper will be propelled backwards right out of the bottle. The harder someone blows, the faster and further the paper will be propelled away from Daniel and the bottle.


There is already air in your 'empty' bottle, and when someone blows more air into the bottle (whilst attempting to blow the paper in), this will result in the air pressure inside the bottle now becoming higher than that outside - with the result that the paper is forced away from the bottle rather than into it.

The resurrection of Christ.

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


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.


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.

Overcoming gravity.

A miracle occurs when God overrules or suspends one of the natural laws of the universe. In this illustration you are able to overcome one of the natural laws, namely gravity, with another law - centrifugal force.

Note. It is actually the precise balance between these two that keeps the earth in place year after year, and prevents it crashing towards the sun or hurtling off into outer space.


For obvious reasons, this is best done outside.

Fill a bucket about three quarters full with water. Demonstrate how you can overcome the law of gravity by swinging the bucket up and over your head a few times. The centrifugal force you generate (just like a spin dryer) will be enough to overcome gravity and stop the water falling out of the bucket, even when it is completely upside-down above your head.


Obviously you will need to practice this beforehand. Start by swinging your water bucket gently to and fro across your body. When you have reached a reasonable speed, you will be ready for your complete swings - then going as fast as you can until you are ready to stop. With a little practice, not one drop of water should spill out.

Jumping on balloons.

A miracle occurs when God overrules or suspends one of the natural laws of the universe. In this illustration you are able to show how one of these laws can be overcome. Alternatively, you could use this lesson to teach on faith.

If you jump on a normal round balloon it will usually burst because of the pressure of your weight. However, if you are able to distribute your weight over a larger area than that of your shoes, the balloon (or balloons) should not burst.

Get a large cardboard box, and cut it down so that it's sides are only about 15 cm. high. Fill the box with inflated balloons, and place a peace of board on the top. Note. The tops of the balloons should still be clearly visible to your class.

Firstly demonstrate to your class what happens if you jump on a single balloon - it bursts! Then stand on top of the board (you may need some assistance in doing this without losing your balance) and then proceed to jump up and down. Because your weight is now distributed over a large area, the balloons should not burst.

Candle in a jar.

"When we receive Jesus into our lives, we come out of the darkness and into God's light." Take a candle, light it, and place it in a jar. "God now wants us to share His love, life and light - represented by this candle - with others. He wants everyone to come out of the darkness and into his light. He wants us to shine for Jesus, and as we do so (Hold up the jar), people will see His light."

"But what happens to the person who doesn't share God's light with others, just tries to keep it to himself? I will show you what happens." Place the lid on the jar. After a few seconds the flame will dim and eventually go out. "That's right, if we don't share God's light, it will fade and eventually go out in us!"

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Object Lessons (using natural laws).

Contents - Object Lessons using natural laws. 2. Chemical laws.

Filled with the Holy Spirit.
What happened at the cross - Jesus takes away our sins.
The Trinity.

Filled with the Holy Spirit.

Place some Baking soda in a glass - the narrower the better. Add a little food colouring for a more visual effect. Pour in Vinegar, to represent the Holy Spirit. Stir. The solution should froth over the top of the glass. i.e. a picture of us being filled to overflowing with the Spirit.

What happened at the cross? - Jesus takes away our sins.

For this object lesson you will need two chemicals - Potassium Permanganate and Sodium Metabisulphite. ( These are both solids and can be obtained from Chemical suppliers ), a large glass jar, four smaller glasses, and two sticks tied together to form a cross. One of the sticks needs to be hollow at one end ( A bamboo cane is ideal ). The hollow end will form the bottom of your cross.


Wrap 2 or 3 grams of Sodium Metabisulphite in a paper tissue and secure it with a small rubber band. Insert the package into the bottom of your cross. Push it down so that it is out of sight.

Dissolve a few grains of Potassium Permanganate in about 250 mls. water (or, alternatively Iodine solution can be used instead). This will produce a maroon coloured liquid to represent "sin."

Half fill your large jar with water. Fill one glass with your Potassium Permanganate solution. Half fill the other three glasses with water, and mark them "Good works", "Church" and "Money" - or, any suitable alternatives which some people think will solve our "sin" problem.


This can vary depending on your preferences and the children you are ministering to, but I usually proceed ( often after presenting the "What is Easter all about?" puppet play) along the following lines :-

Hold up the large jar. In the beginning God created a perfect world, and the best thing He made was people. He made them rather like this glass of water - clean on the outside (representing our bodies), and clean on the inside (representing our hearts or spirits).

However, the first people disobeyed God, and this act brought sin into the world and spoiled it all. Pour in about half of the "sin" solution. The jar contents should now be a fairly deep maroon colour. So this now is the problem we are all born with - sin or selfishness on the inside (you could give a few examples here).

Down through the years, some people have realised they have a selfishness problem, and have tried many ways to overcome it. Some have thought the answer may be Good Works. Pour in the "Good works" jar. God does want us to be good to each other but, as you see, that doesn't solve our "sin" problem.

Some have thought the answer was going to church. Pour in the "Church" jar. It is an excellent idea to go to church, and by doing so you will probably find the answer to your problem. But, as you see, going to Church in itself is not the answer.

Some have thought "If I gave half my money away to the poor, surely God will be really pleased with me and take away my sin." Pour in the "Money" jar. God does want us to be generous, especially to those who don't have as much as we do but, as you see, that still doesn't change us on the inside.

Actually, no matter what we try, it is impossible to change ourselves. But the good news of Easter is that what we can't do for ourselves, God has already done for us. It was on the cross that Jesus died in our place to take away our sins. Pick up your cross and place it in the jar. If you have got your concentrations right, the maroon solution will become clear within a few seconds. If not, gentle stirring with the cross should produce the desired effect.

Conclude the illustration as you think appropriate, but I usually proceed as follows :- Some of you may be thinking "I once did put my trust in Jesus and what He did on the cross, but then I did something bad (e.g. shouted at my dad, was cheeky to my mum, had a fight with my brother etc. ). Does that mean that I have become dirty on the inside again? Lets see shall we. Remove the cross from your jar, then pick up the remaining Potassium Permanganate solution and pour a little at a time into it - repeating the "sins" just mentioned (e.g. being cheeky to your mum). The maroon colour should vanish on making contact with the solution in the jar. Now please don't misunderstand me. If you do do something wrong, you need to ask God to forgive you. But, as you can see, once you have put your trust in Jesus and He has taken away your sin, you stay clean on the inside. nd that is the Good News we remember at Easter.

The Trinity.

There are many ways of explaining the trinity to children, but the one I like the best is very visual, and involves the use of food colouring.

If you ask at a cake shop, they should be able to tell you where to obtain food colouring in powder form. This comes in a variety of colours.

Stick small pieces of double-sided sticky tape to the inside bottoms of three glasses. Choose three suitable colours, and place a little on each tape. These food colourings are very concentrated, so only very small amounts are required, and are consequently unlikely to be noticed by the children. However, you will probably need to determine by trial and error the best way to do this preparation.

Show a jar of clear water. State "There is one God, represented by the water in this jar, who is made up of three different Persons - Father, Son and Holy Spirit." As you are talking, pour some water into your three glasses to produce the three different colours.

Depending on your group, you could then go on to discuss the different aspects of the three Persons of the trinity in more detail.

A similar illustration could be used if you are teaching about the "water into wine."

Story - "Hank".


This is a story that also incorporates an object lesson. I have used it myself many times, and the response has always been good.

You will need a white cloth handkerchief, folded to one sixteenth its full size - i.e. about 10 cm. square, a bottle of iodine, and two drinking glasses, marked "Good deeds" and "Jesus" respectively. In the "Good deeds" glass, add water, in the "Jesus" glass, add either a solution of sodium metabisulphite, or a colourless bleach.


I want to tell you a story about a boy named "Hank". (Show the folded handkerchief). Hank was a typical boy, and liked doing things that other boys like going to school. "Who likes going to school?", doing his homework. "Who likes doing their homework?", and playing games. "Who likes playing games?"

But, just like a lot of boys (and girls), Hank sometimes did some naughty things. "Have you ever done any naughty things?"

One afternoon, Hank came home from school to find that his mother had made a big pile of his favourite cakes. His mum said "Hank, don't you dare touch those cakes. We are all going to share them together for tea. I am going out to the shops now, but don't you eat any of those cakes while I am away."

Hank was left alone in the kitchen with his favourite cakes. And that is when he made his first mistake. Instead of going to a different room where he wouldn't be tempted, he remained in the kitchen - looking at, and thinking about those delicious cakes. Eventually the temptation was too great for Hank, and he ate a cake - - - - and then another, and another, and another - - - until they were all gone!

When we do wrong things, like stealing, it spoils our relationship with God, and makes us dirty on the inside. (Put the handkerchief over the top of your iodine bottle, and invert it - leaving a brown stain).

When Hank's mum came home, and found that the cakes had been eaten, she said to Hank. "Hank, I told you not to eat those cakes." But hank replied, "It wasn't me mummy, I didn't eat the cakes." Hank lied (Make a second stain on your handkerchief). Then Hank continued "It was my brother that ate the cakes." Hank tried to put the blame on someone else (Make your third stain). When Hank's brother found out what he had been saying about him, they ended up having a fight. (Make your fourth stain).

Eventually, Hank realised all the wrong things he had been doing, and that this was making him dirty on the inside. So this is how Hank now saw himself. (Hold up the handkerchief with the four stains). "But how did God see Hank? Because this is what is really important. This is how God saw Hank. (Completely unfold the handkerchief to show all the stains - 64 of them, all equally intense). God not only saw the wrong things that Hank had just done, He also saw all the wrong things Hank had ever done - because Hank had never been forgiven, and these stains (what the Bible calls sin) were still spoiling Hank's life.

Hank had a friend who told him that to be forgiven and get cleaned up on the inside, he had to do lots of Good deeds. So hank did. (Put the handkerchief in the "Good deeds" glass, and mix it around). Firstly, Hank said sorry to his mum for stealing the cakes, and then lying about it. And to prove he really was sorry, he washed the dinner dishes for her - without being asked. Then Hank apologised to his brother, and tidied up his room for him, to show he really meant it. Afterwards, Hank cat the lawn for his Dad, and even began to share his sweets with his friends. Did all these good deeds clean Hank up on the inside? (Remove the handkerchief from the glass). No. They were still there. In fact, the stains now seem to have all run together.

Fortunately, Hank had another friend who told him how he really could be forgiven and cleansed. He said "Hank, Jesus is the only one who can forgive you, and make you clean." So Hank told Jesus what he had done, and asked for His forgiveness and cleansing. (Put the handkerchief in the "Jesus" glass). Did this clean up Hank? (Remove the handkerchief, showing that all the stains had been removed). Yes. Jesus is the only one who can forgive our wrongs, and clean us up on the inside.

Hank said "This is good news. It is too good to keep to myself. I have some friends who also do wrong things. I will have to tell them about Jesus." So he did. (Put the handkerchief in the now brown coloured "Good deeds" glass, and give it a mix. Remove the handkerchief, showing that both it, and the solution are completely clean.)


What a good end to our story. Not only did Jesus clean up Hank, He did the same for his friends as well. And Jesus can do the same for you.