GROWING IN GOD'S GARDEN
LESSON FOUR - PROTECTING THE GARDEN
Theme: The next six weeks will be spent on a farm, learning about growing in God's garden.
The Set: decorate the puppet stage like a barn. Add props like wheel barrows, shovels, rakes, a ride on toy tractor, etc. Workers can dress in bib overalls and straw hats.
Farmer Al Falfa (grumpy old farmer), Sprout (the farmers son), Sweet pea (the farmers daughter), Petunia (the farmers other daughter), leader, and a cast of farm animal puppets.
This week: We will discover that gardens need protection.
To teach the kids that:
Consistently enforcing the rules helps the service to run more smoothly. It is crucial to lovingly and consistently enforce the rules. Try to foresee problems so that they can be avoided before they occur. Work with your pod and interact with them before service and encourage them to pay close attention and really worship God today. Remember you are more than a teacher, you are a mentor!
Remind the kids of the rules. It helps the kids to respond if they know what is expected of them.
Begin by having the kids spend about 2 minutes kneeling at their chairs praying for the service.
Once the kids are done open in prayer asking for God's presence in our service. Kids need to know that God wants to move in their lives and that he will if they seek him. This time of prayer sets the tone of the remainder of the service.
It is important to review with the kids the reasons that we worship and explain the how's and whys. Encourage them to really worship God. The kids watch everything leaders do. Let them see you in active worship. Let them hear you worshiping God. If we want the spirit to move in our service we have to first allow the spirit to move in us.
The leader should introduce the kids to the theme.
Opening Skit: Leader: Good morning kids. Here we are at the farm again. I see farmer Al Falfa over there. It looks like he is working on building something.
Farmer: Oh it's just you again. I figured you'd be back. Let me guess, you want to learn more about gardening?
Leader: How'd you ever guess?
Farmer: Well, we farmers seem to have significantly more brains than you city folks do.
Leader: Are we grouchy today?
Farmer: We??? Speak for yourself!!
Leader: Oh I'm not grouchy! I'm excited about what you are going to teach us about gardening today.
Farmer: And what makes you think I'm going to waste my time teaching YOU about gardening?
Leader: Well, ummm, I just assumed you would be eager to share your wealth of knowledge with those less fortunate than yourself.
Farmer: oh yeah, naturally, of course. I am brilliant you know. It would be a shame to keep all this brilliance cooped up. So what do you want to know?
Leader: Well, I see that you are building something...Does what you are building have anything to do with gardening?
Farmer: Well, of course it does! I'm building a fence.
Leader: Are your veggies going to run away or something?
Farmer: Veggies can't run away. I'm building this fence to protect the garden from critters. You see, critters like rabbits will come in and eat the garden so I am putting this fence up to protect the garden by keeping the critters out.
Leader: You mean you have to not only care for you garden but you also have to protect it?
Farmer: You bet. There are many things that can destroy a garden. Things like frost and bugs and critters.
Leader: Wow. This is so exciting! It's just like Christians. We need to protect our hearts so we can grow spiritually. We protect our hearts from sin by resisting peer pressure and keeping Satan away. It's kind of like building a fence around our hearts to keep bad things out like sin.
Farmer: Well, I'm happy for you. Now don't you have better things to do with your time than pestering me?
Leader: Ok. I'll leave you to your gardening.
You will need a can of soda (and maybe some 2 lt. Bottles and cups so you can give the kids a treat at the end of class.) Hold up the soda and ask the kids how many of them would like to have this can of soda. Now open the soda and toss in a little dirt. Now ask the kids how many of them would like to drink this soda. Explain that once the soda is dirty no one wants it anymore. It is kind of like our hearts. God wants our hearts but if we don't protect it and we allow sin to make our hearts unclean we are no longer pleasing to God. If you had a soda and there was someone throwing dirt all around you would cover the opening to protect it from getting dirty or you would take your soda somewhere where they weren't throwing dirt around. We need to do the same thing with our hearts. Sometimes we are in a place where there is sin that could corrupt us like in school. We have to go to school so we need to protect our hearts by covering it. Other times we are in a place where we don't have to be like hanging with bad friends...in that case we have the option of leaving and we should.
Farmer Al comes out with a plant (one that has been placed in the freezer overnight). He thinks he has a better illustration than the leader had. He begins explaining that if a plant is left out during a cold frosty night it will die. He believes that if a Christian doesn't protect their heart it is like leaving it out in the cold. When we go places we shouldn't and listen to people we shouldn't it is like leaving our heart out in the cold where it will wither and die. If we go to a friends house who is watching a bad movie and we stay there it is like leaving our heart in the cold to die.
PETUNIA, SWEET PEA, AND SPROUT SKIT
Sweet Pea and Petunia and Sprout are again arguing. They have a plant that is being eaten by bugs. (You can cut holes in some leaves and sprinkle on talcum powder to make it look like a sick plant being eaten by bugs if you can't find one that is really being eaten by bugs) Sweet Pea and Petunia are all excited about some cute little bugs that are visiting their plants. Sprout is arguing that they are not cute and should be disposed of.
The leader can intervene and explain that the bugs are bad for the plant because they are eating it and causing it to die. They need to protect their plant from those kinds of bad bugs just like we need to protect our hearts from bad friends.
Tell the story of Adam and Eve. Talk about how they knew it was wrong to eat of the fruit, but they didn't protect their hearts and so they ate it anyways. They listened to Satan who wanted to destroy them. Rather than staying as far away from sin as possible they listened to Satan. Adam gave into peer pressure from Eve.
Above all else, Guard your heart. Proverbs 4:23 Write the memory verse on two bean bags. Give one to each team. Place the bean bags at opposite ends of the room. The object of the game is to protect your bean bag from getting stolen from the other team while trying to steal the other teams bean bag. If you are tagged by a member of the other team you are frozen until you get retagged by a team member.
Today the kids will be transplanting their beans into peat pots. The pod leader should explain that we can't transplant them outside yet because it is still too cold. The cold and frost can cause our plants to die. They are responsible to care for their plants so they need to protect it from the cold. They must also protect their hearts from peer pressure by choosing the right friends and staying away from places that are bad. Allow the kids to share about experiences that they are dealing with in their lives and talk about ways of dealing with them. Take time and pray as a group. The pod leader should close with prayer asking God to help the kids stand against peer pressure.
The farmer will be growing beats and beans. We need to beat sin by bean good, bean careful, bean bold against peer pressure, etc. The farmer should bring out his unusual veggies and explain the value of standing firm against peer pressure and temptation. He should explain that when we stand firm against these things we are guarding our hearts.
You will need an egg and a hand beater or whisk. Carefully crack the egg and place it in a clear bowl. We need to separate ourselves from sin. It's kind of like this egg. You see the yolk, it is there in the egg white but not a part of it. It is separate from the white which represents sin. Now mix the egg yolk up with the white part using the egg beater. Now the yolk is mixed up with the white. When we mix ourselves with sin we become a part of it. We need to separate ourselves from sin.
You will need several pieces of paper. Fold a piece of paper in half and ask if there is a volunteer who is strong enough to tear the paper in half. Now fold another paper in half two times and repeat with a volunteer. Fold another paper in half many times and see if there is a volunteer that can tear the paper in half. The point here is that it is easy to say no to one person when they ask you to sin. But the more exposure you have to sin the harder it is to say no. We need to protect our hearts from sin. We need to stay away from people who will cause us to sin and stay away from places where we find it easy to give into sin.
Review what has been learned about protecting our hearts from peer pressure. Ask the kids if they are struggling with saying no to peer pressure. Ask those that are to stand. Explain that God gives us the strength that we need to resist temptation, but it requires something on our part. It take effort and sometimes sacrifice. We may have to sacrifice spending time with certain people because they cause us to sin. Pray for those standing and then invite the kids to find a place at the alter to pray and ask God to help them resist peer pressure.
Copyright 1998, Sheryl Coats