I'll Do Better Next Time
Exegetical Aim: To explain that God is patient with us when we don't live as we should.
Props: Crayons, a blank sheet of paper, and a little bit of artistic talent (but not much). On your sheet of paper draw a jumbled picture of a house, tree, and landscape, but make all the colors appropriate to the object. Draw the horizon. Put the roof''s flat side on the horizon. Then on the tip of the roof, place the frame of the house upside down so that the door is up and the windows are down. You've got the picture now. Place the trees and birds in awkward places and draw the sun square. Draw a stick person walking on the sun. That should do it!
Lesson: Place the drawing face down. This morning, I want to show you a picture I drew. I'm really proud of it. I worked really hard. It's a picture of my house on a sunshiny day. I mean it's got sunshine, a pretty house, trees, and birds in it. You want to see it? (response) Show the children the drawing. Isn't this great! (response) Do you like it? (response) What? (response) No, no, no, there's nothing wrong here. Here's my roof on the ground. (response) Doesn't the roof belong on the ground? (response) It doesn't? Where does it belong? (response) Okay, I'll remember that. The roof belongs on the top of the house. I'll do better next time.
Well, what about the sun? It's just shining! (response) What? (response) While they are shouting out it's square or it's supposed to be round, continue with your thoughts. I don't understand. (response) Interrupt them. No, look, it's shining nice and bright and making the grass grow. (response) What's wrong? (response) You mean, it's not supposed to be square? (response) It's supposed to be round? (response) Okay, I'l remember that. The sun is supposed to be round. I'l do better next time.
Well, this one is neat. This is me up here walking on the sun. (response) What? (response) You mean this is wrong too? (response) I got it all wrong, didn't I? (response)
Okay, I need to remember this. Point to the objects as you remember your corrections. The house goes under the roof and the roof on top of the house. And I'm not supposed to be walking on the sun. That's all wrong. I need to be down here on the grass. And the next time I draw the sun, I need to make it round not square. I'll do better next time.
Application: Sometimes we do get things all mixed up in life. Do you ever fight with your friends? (response) Have you ever been stingy and refused to share with your brother or sister? (response) Did you know that from time to time your mom and dad get things all mixed up and they get mad at each other? (response) When we fight and say bad things, our lives are all mixed up hold up the drawing like my picture. We need to do better.
I want you to know that God loves us all and is patient with us. And when we fight and act ugly, he is waiting for you and me to straighten up our lives. Now I will remember to put the roof and the sun and the little stick person in the right places next time. And I want you to remember not to fight with one another, not to be ugly, and to do as God asks: to love one another.
Let's Pray: Father, we make mistakes so we ask for your forgiveness, but help us all to do better next time. Amen.
SAMPLE No. 2
Exegetical Aim: Christian Unity.
Props: Dollar sets taken out and dropped on a loud metal tray in the following order: 100 pennies, 20 nickels, 10 dimes, 4 quarters, and a dollar bill. Try to place each set in a different pocket.
Lesson: I have a dollar in my pocket and it has been rather difficult carrying it around. Take the pennies out of your pocket and drop them slowly on the tray. Create as much sustained noise as possible. Try speaking over the noise. They make a lot of noise and they are difficult to keep up with. Some of them actually get lost from time to time. They are a real burden to carry, too, because they are heavy.
Remove the pennies from the tray. So I thought I would try to bring the dollar together, so I started carrying around these. Take the nickels from your other pocket and drop them slowly on the tray. The dollar has been a little easier to keep up with. Some of them still get lost, and they continue to make quite a bit of noise. They're still a bit of burden though.
Remove the nickels from the tray. I thought it would be easier if the dollar could be carried around like this. Start dropping the dimes. Drop a dime at a time. They don't make as much noise, and I can keep up with them but occasionally I lose one. They aren't nearly as heavy though.
Remove the dimes from the tray. Finally it occurred to me that this would be the best way to keep my dollar together. Drop the quarters one at a time. There's only four of them, and I rarely lose any. And even though these make a big noise, it doesn't last very long. So, do you think this is the best way to carry around a dollar? (response) Why not? (you need a dollar bill) But these four quarters are a dollar. (a paper dollar)
Application: I want you to listen to a prayer that Jesus prayed. He said, "I pray for all those who believe in me that they may be one." What did Jesus mean by that? (response) You're right. There are so many Christians in the world, and some of them live in America, some live in Africa, and some live in Russia. There are Methodist, Lutheran, Baptist, Catholic, and Orthodox Christians. There are so many they are hard to keep up with and they actually get lost from time to time. There are also a lot of Christians in this church of ours. Sometimes they can be difficult to deal with because they make a lot of noise and sometimes they're even a real burden.
Remove the quarters from the tray. You said I needed a dollar bill. Did you mean like this? Drop the dollar bill on the tray. You're right. That is a lot easier.
Let's Pray: I pray that these children will be one; that they will bring the church together; and that they will be a witness to this world. Amen.
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