How to Write Your Own AWESOME Object Lessons

How to Write Your Own AWESOME Object Lessons

I am working on a series of How To videos to help get some practice in front of the camera and in the editing process. I still have a long way to go before I am smooth enough to be considered good, but I do think that this video has some neat ideas if nothing else. There are two versions of the video. The first one had examples for each category, but when I got to the end of the video it was over 20 minutes long. So I went back and edited a much shorter version that clocks in at just over 10 minutes. If even that is too much for you, just skip to the last minute to get a quick recap of the whole thing.

Kinetic Sand Prayer Station

Kinetic Sand Prayer Station

At our Winter Overnight a couple of days ago we did a time where we set up prayer stations. One of those stations you will find below. It used sand as a way to help students realize they were making impressions on the people around them. I didn’t want to make a mess with real sand so I got some kinetic sand. Let me tell you this stuff is amazing! Check out my video below. It is now my favorite desk toy.

So something a little sillier. Here is the text of the prayer station. I set up two bowls of kinetic sand for them to make impressions in.

Read Acts 1:8

Right before He went back to live in Heaven, Jesus commanded his followers to take His truth around the world. Your life is affecting the lives of those around you. As you move through your days and weeks you are leaving marks that others can see. You are impacting the people around you for eternity, but are you impacting them for good or for evil? Are you pointing them toward God or away from Him?

Spend a moment making impressions in the sand. As you press the sand notice how you leave your fingerprints. In the same way as you move through your life you are leaving your prints on the people around you. As you make impressions in the sand ask God to mold your life into one that points people towards Him.

To continue this act of commitment, choose one of your classes at school. On the back of this sheet write the names of all the people in that class. As you write their names pray for each person. Pray that God will help them see the truth about who He is and that He will use you to make an impact in their lives.

Seeing the Big Picture: Little things Add up

Seeing the Big Picture: Little things Add up

As part of our Faithcraft (Minecraft and Lego inspired Bible study) I did this little video. It is just a stop-motion project of me building this small ship. Well, it is actually a stop motion video of me tearing this ship apart, but when you reverse the footage it looks like it is being built.

Here is the original file

Possible Lesson Ideas:

  • You can use this as part of a discussion on checking out the big picture. God can see the final design, but all we can see is a pile of parts.
  • God has given you the pieces you need. Use them to shape your world.
  • Small steps of faith add up to a bigger life of faith.
  • Lego bricks are cool. Star Wars is cool. Stop-Motion animation is cool. Add them together and you have an awesome video, but you know what is even more awesome? Reading your Bible! (Maybe this one is a bit of a stretch)

Minecraft Bible Study for Kids: Nehemiah

Minecraft Bible Study for Kids: Nehemiah

I am working on a new Minecraft Bible study. Actually we are in the middle of it and I am writing it as we go along. When it is all said and done it will be a 4 week series about building your faith. I hope to add it as a series sort of like the Gross, Weird, True one is now. In the mean time check out this opening video my son and I made. It is an opening to the story of Nehemiah made in Minecraft.

Faithcraft: A Minecraft Bible Study is up now in rough draft form.

Youth Lesson Activity: Character Sketch

Youth Lesson Activity: Character Sketch

Sometimes I am pleasantly shocked when it comes to teaching students. Actually, I am probably surprised more often than not. This week we were talking about the personality of Jesus and trying to figure out what we could learn about him from the stories that were being told in the gospels. I wanted a way to help demonstrate what you could learn from the way people act as opposed to just what you are told about them. Often you can learn more by watching a scene than anyone could tell you if they described the people involved.

I think this is why the gospels are full of Jesus stories rather than a long letter describing Jesus. They aren’t a list of qualities, a resume, or even one friend describing someone to another. The gospels are a collection of stories and teachings and in those we find the personality, the passion, the heart of Jesus.

So anyway, I wanted to demonstrate that so I came up with the idea of the students creating their own characters and putting those characters into a situation to see what we can learn from them.

Here with the activity:

Use the space below to come up with a 1 or 2 sentence character sketch. Your character can be real or made up (probably easier if they are made up). Your sketch should start with “___________ was the type of person who…” or something very similar to that. For ideas check out the examples below.

Wes was the type of guy who always had the right answer at least he always thought he did.

Ellen was the type of girl who cried at old movies. She rarely cried over real life things though, her life at taught her that crying over those things didn’t do you any good.

After you have finished your sketch I will put some scenarios on the board. Choose 1 of them and write a 2 or 3 sentence story of your character’s response to that scenario. 

(These were the scenarios I put on the screen:

Trapped at the end of an alley by a big barking dog

Confronted by a loud-mouth ex-boyfriend or girlfriend

Someone trips and falls in front of him/her walking down the street and appears hurt)

Some Notes:

  • I made sure everyone had a character sketch before showing the scenarios. This helps to establish a character that will react instead of creating someone specifically for a situation
  • I had everyone share their sketches with a partner
  • After they had written the scenarios I had them share those with a partner as well
  • I had a few volunteers share their scenarios with the group (not the sketch, but the scenario) and the group tried to figure out what we could learn about their character’s personality.
  • I did find that I needed to remind students to make a story, not just write a description of what their characters did, but in the end that worked out fine.

So in planning this activity I knew of probably 2 students who were going to just eat this up and that I was probably going to get groans from the rest of them. But I decided to go ahead with it because we don’t do as much for the creative writer people as we generally do for the artists and performers in our group. So I ran with it. As we started I even made this same basic disclaimer stating that I knew it wasn’t for everyone, but just give it a shot.

What happened next surprised me. I had a few initial complaints, but then everyone at least created something. What else surprised me was just how good some of the scenarios ended up being. I mean, they weren’t high art or anything, but from the two or three paragraphs the whole group was able to identify some of the personality traits of the made up people.

It helped us then to go and look at a couple of the stories of Jesus in the Bible and try to see what the gospel writers were showing us about His personality. It made for a cool lesson.