A Little Contribution
I had a baking disaster today and since I've been working on this web page, an object lesson immediately came to mind from the disaster. I wouldn't reccommend intentionally making something missing an ingredient, but if you have an accident sometime, then you have an object lesson all ready to go. Here is the story: The first batch of muffins were light and fluffy and everyone fights for the last one. The second batch seems to be taking a long time to bake and doesn't look the same as the first. When they cool off they are hard and heavy. It is discovered that the missing ingredient, baking powder, is the one that is used in the smallest proportion. Yet, it was of critical importance. If you are part of an organization and think your contribution is only a tiny part, you may be underestimating your importance to the organization. You never know where your volunteer help is making a big difference to someone.
All can contribute
Have dinner some evening and allow everyone only one utensil - a fork, or a knife, or a spoon. Design the menu so that it would really be difficult eating with only one kind of utensil. The discussion during this meal would focus on talents. Everyone has different talents and gifts. All are valualable at one time or another and we should use and share our talents and acknowledge that they are valuable. A spoon may not seem too important but sometimes you need a spoon, and only a spoon will do.
If you take a magnet and pass is over the top of some metal shavings, the will jump up and cling to the magnet. The magnet doesn't have to physically touch the shavings, just come close. We should always take care to be found with honorable people of character because your reputation is like those metal shavings. If you are around rebellious, shady people, their reputation will eventually stick to you. Even if you never actually do anything bad yourself, by hanging around dishonest or evil friends, that is the reputation you draw to yourself like a magnet.
Arm in a sling
Have a volunteer come up and put his/her arm in a sling then stand there while you give the rest of the object lesson. Ask the group or volunteer: What would happen to your arm if you left it in this sling and didn't use it for a year. Listen to all comments and weave them into the rest of your presentation. Here is the direct quote from Pres. Hinckley from which this lesson comes from: The Church will ask you to do many things. It will ask you to serve in various capacities. We do not have a professional ministry. You become the ministry of this Church and whenever you are called upon to serve, may I urge you to respond and as you do so, your faith will strengthen and increase. Faith is like the muscle of my arm. If I use it, if I nurture it, it grows strong; it will do many things. But if put it in a sling, and do nothing with it, it will grow weak and useless and so will it be with you. If you accept every opportunity, if you accept every calling, the Lord will make it possible for you to perform it. The Church will not ask you to do anything which you cannot do with the help of the Lord. God bless you to do everything that you are called upon to do. Feb. 22, 1998
Your supplies for this lesson are a backpack and lots of books. Show the class or family the backpack and ask one person to put it on. Then hand them one book and ask them if they think it is very heavy or not. See if they would carry it in the backpack and ask them to estimate for how long they would feel very comfortable carrying it around. Then start putting in more books and as you do this describe the each book in some way. For example: This book represents when your teacher accused you of something you didn't do. This book represents the car that bashed in your door at the parking lot. This book is the brother that broke your favorite toy.....etc. Put as many books as possible into the back pack until it is loaded up and very heavy. Then ask the volunteer how long they could carry the backpack comfortably now. Go on to teach the lesson about how carrying grudges and staying bitter and mad at people does not empower us and help us in any way, but it is a heavy burden that makes it more difficult every day to remain close to the spirit and to live joyfully.
Take a spool of thread and wrap it once or twice around the volunteer's fingers or wrists. Have them break the thread. This represents bad habits. When we first begin a bad habit like smoking, or even something as simple as watching an inappropriate t.v. show or using foul language, it is easy to break. Now wrap the thread around many many times and see if the volunteer can break the thread. If we let bad habits go on and on, we lose the power to easily return to something better. It requires more will power and may require help from someone else. Don't give up your freedom and power by remaining in your bad habits.
Birth and Death
Since this is Easter weekend, here is an object lesson that helps explain birth and death to children. You need a glove for this demonstration. Each of us are made up of two parts: a body and a spirit. You can see a body and feel it and it can move and talk and do all those wonderful things. You can't see a spirit, but it is there. Can you see radio waves coming into your radio? Can you see x-rays coming from an x-ray machine? Can you see music waves coming out of a piano? No, but we know all those things are there. And we all have a spirit that right now is inside our body and that's what makes us alive. When we are born our spirit comes to stay permanantly in the body that was just born. (Put the glove on the hand) This glove represents your body and my hand is your spirit. Your body has to have a spirit inside, or it wouldn't be alive and able to move around. When it is time to die then the spirit leaves the body and goes back to be with God, who created our spirits. (Take off the glove) The body is not alive anymore. The person that we know and love still exists but as a spirit and we can't see them anymore. The body stays right here on earth until it is time for the ressurrection. What is that? It is when your spirit is joined again to your spirit.(put the glove on again). But this time, after a person is ressurrected, the spirit and body will always stay together and never be sepparated again. It is sad when people we love die, because it means that we won't see them for a long time, but because Jesus was ressurrected, he said that we would all be ressurrected too, and we will see our friends and family again.
This object lesson will take several days. Take a stalk of celery and split it up the center about half way up the stalk. Put one side in a glass of red-colored water and the other side in blue-colored water. After a few days the celery stalk will draw up the colored water and the celery will be tinted red or blue. There could be many different moral to this story, but here is one: See how easily this stalk of celery took on the color of water in which it was sitting? Small children are just like that stalk of celery. They take on all the characteristics of the family around them. Is your home colored with anger, yelling, sarcasm, and criticizm? Then this is what the children will learn to be like. Or is your home colored with patience, cooperation, soft-tones and laughter? Children will reflect and become like the examples they receive at home.
An idea about chastity was presented by our inservice leader. She brought a beautifully decorated cake & used it as a centerpiece. The girls oohed & aahed. Then she presented the message of being chaste & what happens when we go down the wrong path...then she proceeded to bring her hand down in the middle of the cake. It got the girls attention (& everybody in inservice, too).
Done it onto one of the least of these
One time, in my seminary class, we all had to give an object lesson to the class. One girl said she needed a volunteer, so I volunteered. She had a box, and a knife, and said, think of something or someone that made you very angry, and take out your frustrations on this box. Just hack it away. So I thought of a girl that I got in an argument with that morning and how angry I was about the argument. I didn't pretend that it was her head I was hitting with the knife, I only thought I was getting rid of the frusteration still in me. Does that make sense? Anyways, when I was done, she said, ok, now open the box and look inside the lid. As I did so, I saw the cut up face of Christ. She then told the class, every time we get angry at someone we not only hurt them, but we are tearing Christ up inside as well. Did I ever feel low. But it taught me a lesson not to get so angry and take things out on people.
When I was a little boy, my mother used to embroider a great deal. I would sit at her knee and look up from the floor and ask what she was doing. She informed me that she was embroidering. I told her that it looked like a mess from where I was. As from the underside I watched her work within the boundaries of the little round hoop that she held in her hand, I complained to her that it sure looked messy from where I sat. She would smile at me, look down and gently say, "My son, you go about your playing for awhile, and when I am finished with my embroidering, I will put you on my knee and let you see it from my side." I would wonder why she was using some dark threads along with the bright ones and why they seemed so jumbled from my view. A few minutes would pass and then I would hear Mother's voice say, "Son, come and sit on my knee." This I did only to be surprised and thrilled to see a beautiful flower or a sunset. I could not believe it, because from underneath it looked so messy. Then Mother would say to me, "My son, from underneath it did look messy and jumbled, but you did not realize that there was a pre-drawn plan on the top. It was a design. I was only following it. Now look at it from my side and you will see what I was doing." Many times through the years I have looked up to my Heavenly Father and said, "Father, what are You doing?" He has answered, "I am embroidering your life." I say, "But it looks like a mess to me. It seems so jumbled. The threads seem so dark. Why can't they all be bright?" The Father seems to tell me, "'My child, you go about your business of doing My business, and one day I will bring you to Heaven and put you on My knee and you will see the plan from My side." Author Unknown
Place an empty chair in the middle of the room and then discuss how one good way to avoid gossiping is to imagine the person who you are talking about is sitting in that chair. Are you telling the truth? Is it kind? Is it necessary to tell? Do you have that person's permission to tell this story or news? Would you really say these things if the person were sitting in the chair? If you can't answer yes to all of these questions, then you are probably gossipping and should talk about something else.
Hallway of Doors
Picture yourself walking down a long hallway that is lined with doors on each side. The sign on each door lets you know what is inside. This is not a safe hallway to walk down unless you keep the doors closed. The signs say things like: drugs, alcohol, immorality, gambling, death metal music, suicide, gangsta rap, gangs, smoking, R-rated movies, pornography,and cheating. Thirty years ago or so a teenager who walked down this hall would find most all the doors closed and teachers, schools, parents, friends, television, and government institutions would all be there steering the youth down the hall without opening the doors. Sometimes the doors would be opened and youth would wander in or be tempted to enter, and some youth would freely enter into these vices. Today, however, the youth that walk down this hall face a different picture. All the doors are wide open and inside some of these doors we find friends, schools, government institutions and mass media inside actively pulling youth inside. Today youth who walk the hall called growing up in the 90's must be stonger than any generation before. They must actively avoid evil and seek good. They must have willpower and faith and trust in the Lord to avoid the temptations and the death culture that is actively seeking recruits in today's youth.
To illustrate the Holy Ghost (good to use when speaking at baptisms).....use a candle on a candle stick, a tall glass "hurricane" globe to place around the candle and candlestick, and a candle snuffer. The candle represents you. Lighting the candle represents your faith, baptism and membership in the church. (Note, i believe it is against church policy to light a flame in church.) The glass globe represents the Holy Ghost, which you receive after baptism for "your protection." Explain that when you remain worthy and have the Holy Ghost with (or around) you, it will "protect you" from the fierce winds of the world as well as the adversary, satan. Here, the candle snuffer represents satan. Meaning, he is there waiting to snuff out your candle (of your faith or church membership). Note that when you place the globe around the candle, the candle snuffer cannot reach the flame.
In a hole
This is an example of a word picture. You tell a story to describe a problem you are having with another person as an attempt to help them understand the problem and then you would discuss how you would like to change.
Two friends were walking along together and before either of them knew what was happening they fall into a deep hole that was in their path. It took a few minutes for them both to realize what had happened and to realize they were down in a deep hole. Then one friend started accusing the other friend of causing them to fall in the hole and the other tried to analyze what had happened, looking at the size of the hole and how deep it was and what the hole had been used for before. Both were now getting very frustrated and angry because of the accusations and hurt feelings and they were not coming to any definite conclusion as to who put them in the hole and what this hole really was. They stayed in the hole for days getting hungry and sick and tired and thoroughly disgusted with each other, wondering why they had thought they were friends. Finally one friend said, "I can't think anymore about whose fault it is that we got into this mysterious hole, I am going to think about how to get out." The other friend agreed and in a short time working together they had devised a plan to escape back to the path.
If possible, get a brand new small box of legos (the kind that has the picture right on the front of the thing that could be built on the front). Here is the lesson: Here are some legos and right on front is a picture of what you can build with these. Do I have to build exactly what is here? Can't I choose to make any design that I can imagine? In fact, there are lots of different choices of really fun things that I can make with just the legos that are in this box. If your friend makes a rude comment or does something mean to you, that is like handing you the box of legos. You can choose to react in any way that you want. The most common thing would be to get mad and maybe give him a punch or yell and say two mean things back. But you don't have to. You can make a choice to react in a different way. The discussion could go on at this point about what the other choices might be.
Listening to the Holy Ghost
Blindfold a family member. Have another family member stand by the door. Turn the blindfolded person around several times. Ask him to point to the door. Then have the blindfolded person put his hands at his side. Now, have the other person softly say, "The door is over here." Have the blindfolded person point in the direction of the voice. Liken this to the Holy Ghost. In this life sometimes we feel as thought we have been blindfolded and spun around until we are no longer sure which was is which. That is when we must listen even more carefully to the still small voice of the spirit. The Holy Ghost will always tell us which is the best and safest direction we can go.
This object lesson requires a magifying glass, a sunny day , a piece of paper, and just a regular piece of glass. Take your class or family outside and give one person the magnifying glass and another person the normal glass. See who can burn a hole in the paper. The lesson could take many direction after this:
In order to get quickly to the heart of a problem with a solution, you have to have concentrated effort, or;
Magnifying your calling means giving real concentration and the result is magified power, or;
Look what unusual powers glass can have when it is concentrated in that one spot . That is what can happen when a group works together to solve a problem. If they are all working together. If its not a concentrated effort, then there is no power, or,
you think of something else........
What would you do if you were walking down the sidewalk in your neighborhood and you see a friend working in his yard and he runs up to you and has an armful of gooey mud that he wants to give you? Do you move closer and hold out your arms and accept all that mud? Yuck! Or do you say, "No, thanks. I don't want that mud." And keep on walking? The mud is like gossip or angry words or sarcasm or cutting remarks or criticism. People who dish this mud out of their mouths are wanting to give it to you. Do you have to take it? Or can you refuse? Of course, you have the choice to refuse. You don't have to take offense, or get angry. You can choose to not let the other person's angry words rub off on you.
Nails in the fence
There was a little boy with a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, to hammer a nail in the back fence. The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Then it gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence. Finally the day came when the boy didn't lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper. The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone. The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. "You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out, it won't matter how many times you say I'm sorry,' the wound is still there. A verbal wound is as bad as a physical one.
New plot of ground
Show the class or family a new plot of ground that has just been dug up and prepared to be planted and ask: If this ground were left alone for a year just like it is right now, what would it look like? Would it have flowers and vegetables or would it have weeds and grass? The new ground represents each one of us. We must actively sow seeds of service, unselfishness, forgiveness, courtesy, kindness and actively dig up and remove the ever-present weeds of contention, selfishness, & pursuit of worldly pleasures. We live in the telestial kingdom, the place where Satan freely roams and influences so we must work hard to stay above those influences, just like the gardener must work hard to have a beautiful flower garden or to grow abundant vegetables.
Parable of 2 Dogs
A farmer had 2 dogs that he received as puppies. Both were pretty wild and always ran away if they got out of the yard. Both dogs went through training so that they would be of use to the farmer and not a nuisance. After a few years one dog was able to be out of the yard at any time. He helped out on the farm and received rewards and praise from the farmer because he had taken to the training so well and didn't continue to run away. The second dog didn't do so well with the training and wouldn't learn to obey the farmer. He would still run away and get into trouble if he got out of the yard. So after those same few years, the second dog had his existence on the end of a long chain, inside a fenced yard. He couldn't be trusted to be let free or to help on the farm. So which dog feels the most freedom and is the most useful?
Parable of the roofers
In Metropolis there lived 3 roofers. It just so happened that on one very rainy evening, all 3 houses started to leak from the ceiling. They pulled out buckets and mopped up floors and cursed the rain. The next day was sunny and the crisis was over for the moment. The first roofer, Thad, was very upset with his leaky roof and knew it should be taken care of right away, while the sun was shining. But he was a busy man, with work and some fun hobbies too, and he just kept procrastinating and putting off fixing the leak. After awile, the thought of having to fix his roof made him mad and he didn't want the responsibility and refused to think about it.
The second roofer, Brad, also was very upset that his own house would have a leak in it. It was rather embarrasing, him being a roofer and all. The next day he immediately started working on it. But of course, other pressing obligations kept him from finishing the job. He kept thinking about it and really intending to get back to it, but other things kept coming first.
The third roofer Glad, was also upset that his leaky roof had spoiled his evening and realized something needed to be done and soon. He knew it would be a big project and decided to spend a few hours every day working on it until it was fixed.
A few weeks later it rained again. It rained all day, buckets and buckets. It was too late for Thad and Brad to do anything now. The time for fixing was over and another crisis was upon them. Glad's house, however, was dry inside as the rain fell outside. When is the time for repenting and preparing to meet God? In this life. Not on our deathbed, that is too late. We should continually be improving, repenting and learning because we never know when our time to meet the Lord will be. If we put off the day of repentance, we may find that we don't want to repent anymore and our conscience may be beyond repair. This life is the time to prepare to meet God.
Partake for Yourself
As you're explaining a Gospel principle that you really want others to come to know for themselves, pull out a piece of fruit, such as an apple, and begin eating it while you're in the midst of your discussion. Continue your discussion as you normally would. Stop occassionally and tell the others how delicious the fruit you're eating is! Then continue again with your discussion. After stopping and telling the others about your delicious fruit several times, ask if someone else would like to try the fruit also. Have someone else try the fruit. After they agree that the fruit IS delicious, make the following point: As you have just demonstrated, you can tell others how "delicious" the Gospel (or a particular Gospel principle) is, and they can believe you ...trusting in your testimony of it. But, they will never truly know and understand "how delicious it is," until they taste it for themselves.
The useful part of a pencil is in the middle. And in order for it to be useful, something sharp has to wear away the outer covering. Let's compare that to a humble heart that is found in each of us. In order to be of the most use as a servant of God, we must scrape away our pride and arrogance.
Quality Time vs Quantity Time
Why do we have to choose between the virtues of quantity versus quality? We won't accept that forced choice in any other area of our lives. So why is it only relevant to our children?
Let me illustrate my point. Let's suppose you've looked forward all day to eating at one of the finest restaurants in town. The waiter brings you a menu, and you order the most expensive steak in the house. But when the meal arrives, you see a tiny piece of meat about one-inch square in the center of the plate. When you complain about the size of the steak, the waiter says, "Sir, I recognize that the portion is small, but that's the finest corn-fed beef money can buy. You'll never find a better bite of meat than we've served you tonight. As to the portion, I hope you understand that it's not the quantity that matters, it's the quality that counts."
You would object, and for good reason. Why? Because both quality and quantity are important in many areas of our lives, including how we relate to children. They need our time and the best we have to give them.
My concern is that the quantity-versus-quality argument might be a poorly disguised rationalization for giving our children - neither.
Recipe for disaster
Satan is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another. (3Ne. 11: 29). The verb stir sounds like a recipe for disaster: Put tempers on medium heat, stir in a few choice workds, and bring to a boil; continue stirring until thick; cool off; let feelings chill for several days; serve cold; lots of leftovers.
Rise to the Top
Here is a fun object lesson. Fill up a large jar (larger than a quart, if possible) half way up with popcorn. Take a ping pong ball and push it to the bottom of the popcorn. Put the lid on and swirl the jar around. After a few seconds the ping pong ball will rise to the top of the popcorn. After you show this demonstration and let everyone els do it, then discuss what habits and traits a person needs to develop that would help them rise above the temptation and evil in their lives.
Roses that are grown in a hot-house are very beautiful but they don't have much of that inticing rose fragrance. Why is that? Hot houses roses don't have to develop a heavy scent to attract bees in order to flourish. They are fed, watered, and watched over by the gardener, all in perfect conditions. Roses outside face harsher conditions with the wind, rain, cold, heat, and bugs. Outside, roses must develop the strong rose scent in order to attract the bees. They are both beautiful to see and to smell. If we lived under perfect conditions, we might look beatiful, but it is those who are tempered in the heat of the Lord's oven of adversity who become beatiful spiritually.
If you have a screen door you know it works well for keeping out cold in winter and letting in the nice breeze in the summer time. When people come in the door, they usually just open it and come in and it closes gently by itself. What would happen in one of those big huge profession wrestlers came and grabbed the screen door and pulled so hard on it that the springs are pulled straight and the screws are pulled out of the door frame and the door and the door is pulled out of the hinges? Would anyone else be able to use the door nomally again? This is a good analogy to how cocain works in a person's brain. There are doors called chemical receptors in your brain that receive other chemicals into your brain that make you feel good and happy and satisfied. These feelings come naturally from the things we do in life and are like people going in and out a screen door. The very first time cocain is used, it is like the professional wrestler coming and ripping the door off the hinges. Cocaine gives the brain a huge kick of good and satisfying feelings but they are falsely created by a drug. And it is such a huge kick, that it destroys the receptors for those specific chemicals. The receptors can never be used normally again. Users of cocaine say that they can't feel happy or satisfied with the normal things in life that used to make them feel good. Its because the screen door was ripped off in their brain. And this happens the very first time cocaine is used. This is why it is so important to choose to never even try this drug.
Before the sandwiches are made, have two already made and pass one around from hand to hand, person to person.
Explain that our body is like the bread and our spirit like the filling. When we do things that are not right our body becomes grubby and not so attractive and our spirit becomes damaged.
Have a piece of cling-wrap and put this on the second sandwich show it. The gospel teachings give us a protective wrapping to shield us from the world. Teachings like chastity, honesty, repentance, forgivenes - all protect us.
Have a sticker for each of these words and put each sticker on the cling-wrap as it is passed around. Show that this second sandwich comes to the end of its journey in much better condition than the first one.
- Plates - 1 Ne 1:17
- Bread - John 6:35
- Meat - John 4:34
- Ham - Gen 5:32
- Fish, Beef, Pork, Rabbit - Lev 11:3-12
- Roast Pork - Isa 61:6
- Lamb - 1 Sam 17:34
- Chicken - Matt 23:23
- Eggs - Jer 5:5
- Cheese - 1 Sam. 17:18
- Tomato - Luke 6:43-44
- Lettuce - Isa 2:3 (, 1:18)
- Beat(root) - Mosiah 21:8
- Spread - Mosiah 3:20
- Butter - 2 Ne. 17:15
- Sauce - 2 Ne. 25:26
- Ketchup - "Read the Scriptures every day or you'll have a lot to ketchup."
- Mustard - Matt 17:20
- Salt - 3 Ne 12:13
- Prunes - Jacob 5:62
- Figs - Matt. 21:19
- White Fruit (sweets) - 1Ne 8:11
- Honey - 2 Ne. 17:15
- Olives - Matt 24
- Apple - Deut 32:10
- Dip - Lev 4:6
- Angel Food - Psalm 78:25
- Caramel - Isa 33:9
- Bounty Bar - Alma 26:15
- Cake - Gen. 18:6
-- 2 Ne 28:7 - Now "Eat Drink and be Merry"!
The object for this lesson is a can of the cheese that squeezes out. Or you could use any other object that squeezes out of the top like toothpaste or whipped cream or something like that. I would just choose the cheese because you can eat it up at the end of the lesson. Here is the story: Demonstrate how easy it is to squeeze out the contents from the can, then pick a volunteer and ask them to try to put the cheese back into the can. Of course it is impossible. The moral to the story is that angry or sarcastic words or derogatory names can so easily escape our mouth and then the damage is done and we have sinned. It is much more difficult and maybe impossible to fix the damage or repent for the idle or angry words.
Stealing Other's Blessings
Everyone has probably all heard of the story of a person helping either a chicken hatch out of an egg, or a butterfly break out of a cocoon, and then the animal or insect dies because it needed the hard work of the hatching process in order to survive. For this object lesson you would have an egg, or a picture of a cocoon and tell either one of those stories. Then here is the lesson that I would put with that. " A parent or leader is doing their children or youth no favor in helping them out too much with the difficult things in their lives. It is good for them to struggle and be frustrated and feel defeated and feel inadequate and have to be painfully stretched. This is how they develop their own skills and talents. Don't steal their blessings and think you are saving them.
Strength in Numbers
Offer one or two strands of spaghetti to someone in class and have them try to break it. Obviously it is easy, then offer them a package of spaghetti and have them try to break it. Much more difficult, if at all possible.
We bowl with our family a few times every year and it is always amusing when during one frame an adult will catapult the ball and it will crash headlong into the pins, but only topple 3 or 4. Then a small child will heave the ball with all her might from between her legs and it will travel down the lane very slowly. After waiting forever (it seems) the ball reaches the pins, and one by one they all fall over and the child gets a strike! It doesn't seem possible. But the slow, well-aimed ball toppled the whole bunch. In a fight against evil it is not always power and might that makes the difference, but sometimes it is a good aim.
We live where spring is just showing up here finally in late April and we are just now watching the grass turn green and the dandilions show their yellow faces. What is it that finally makes the grass green up every year? Extended sunshine. So if your grass is in this stage of just greening up, or if you have flowers just blooming, take your kids outside and have this object lesson. Discuss this statement and come up with all the analogies that you can: Sunshine is to the grass and flowers like love is to relationships.
Test a theory
This is a good object lesson to illustrate the scriptures about testing God's plan by tying it out first. This is a difficult task because it requires obedience and committment to a standard, and many people look for an excuse to not live by standards, and sometimes it is the excuse that they are testing the Lord and his church before they really commit. This would be the object lesson for these people.
Decide beforehand which "theory" you are going to test. It could be something simple like theory of gravity, or something else that both you and your audience understand very well. I will use gravity for my example here. You say, "I am going to test the theory of gravity, today. I have here some different size and weight of balls and marbles." Now leave the tools and go to the other side of the room. "It's like I was suspecting, that this gravity thing is not like I thought. People must have been lying. Those balls and marbles aren't doing anything. I can say with real certainty and truth that the theory of gravity is false. I have tested it right here, and nothing works."
Then have a discussion with your class what is wrong with this picture. "Testing a theory" means that you get in the middle of it, try it, experience it. Only then can you say with any truth that you believe it or not. It is the same with "testing the gospel." You cannot test it by staying away from church and seeing what comes of that. You test God's word by getting in the middle of it and trying it out and living it.
As long as a kite is attatched to a string, it will fly high up in the sky. You may think that since it is pulling and tugging on the string, that it would go higher if it were set free. But it is not so, If you lett go of the string, the kite will soon nose dive. That's the way it works with God's commandments too. We may think we would go farther in life, have more fun and be more successful if we didn't have to be held down with keeping the commandments, but it is actually the blessings of keeping the commandments that keeps us up there soaring, and if we ever cut the string, and decide obeying God's laws is too much trouble, then eventually we will do a nose dive, too.
The Sun and the Son
That fiery sphere we call the sun, which guides our solar system, will one day burn out, but it provides us with a useful analogy. We may cover our eyes or turn from its light, but its light is still there. We may see it through glass darkly, but it glows on just as brightly. For a few hours we call night it seems to be gone, but it is still shiningly there and will reappear on the morrow. Storms may darken the sky at noonday, but the sun is still there and will soon break through.
And so it is with the Son of God... We may turn from him, but he is still there. We may feel that he is hidden from us because of the cloud cover of our concerns, but he is still close to us. We- not he- let something come between us, but no lasting eclipse need ensue. Our provincialism cannot withstand his universalism. Our disregard of him is no match for his love of us. Yes, Jesus of Nazareth lived! He lives now! He guides his Church!
-- Neal A. Maxwell, "All Hell is Moved", BYU Devotional, Nov. 8, 1977
A girl and her father were going to ride a train and the girl was concerned and asked her father many times on the way to the train station, "where was her ticket?" He kept reasuuring her that just before she gets on the train he will give her the ticket and she need not worry. It is this way with our Heavenly Father. He will give us the strength and help and support to successfully learn, grow and be blessed by ANY situation that we encounter in our turn here on earth. But he may give us that help right when we need it and not any earlier, so we may feel unprepared for many things that could come our way. But we need not worry because he will give us the ticket to ride, when we need it.
Tune in to the Spirit
Obtain a harmonica or some other instrument that most folks will likely not know how to play. Ask someone to stand and play a specific church hymn on the instrument. (Be sure to pick someone who doesn't know how to play it.) :o) When they reply that they can't, then ask them how they could learn to do so. The answer is to read and study its manual and learn about how to play the instrument, then practice playing it everyday using the instructions from the manual. The same applies to being in tune to the Spirit. In order to be so, we must first learn how to recognize it by reading "the manual" (the scriptures), then "practice" daily by following "the manual's" instructions. :o)
Up the Stairs
Have your class or family stand at the bottom of a staircase and you are at the top. Challenge any one of them to find a way to get to the top of the stairs without touching the stairs or the rails or the walls. Tell them there is a solution. If no one figures it out, then go to the bottom and have someone piggy back on you and carry them up the stairs. The lesson in this could be several different things. Teamwork, service, doing for others what they can't do for themselves, our missions in life are to help and lift others. The other message is the mission of Jesus, how he is the one to carry us up the stairs, we can't do it ourselves. That's what grace is; what the atonement is.
Water comes in three different forms. Solid, liquid and gas. Each form is very different in many ways - but it is all water. When we think of serving (or worshipping) God, we should remember that it comes in many forms. Reading scripture and meditating on God is only one form of service (worship). Some other forms are: (you fill in the blank).
Watch what happens when you drop a rock into a still pond. You will notice a single ring that will then radiate outwards into more and more rings. This is what happens with a good deed. The good feeling that both people have, those who do the good deed, and those who receive, radiate outward and affects more and more people around them.
Word picture about Committment
Two friends grew up together in the same area. They had the same interests and they both learned how to construct castles from granite. This was a something they studied from both of their families and grew up learning this skill and trade. By the time they were both young men, their skill and creativity in the making of granite castles was known all over the country-side. They wanted to continue to live and work and build castles together and so they made a committment to start building one huge magnificent castle - the like which has never been built before. They decided it would be an ongoing castle, to be built over the rest of their lives and given to their children and grandchildren upon their deaths.
Several decades went by and castle was coming along. Every effort was made to have a firm and long-lasting foundation and care was taken to use only the best tools and materials. They wanted this caste to be a beautiful and to be around for thousands of years. It was slow building because they kept learning more about using granite in building, but it was taking shape .
One day, one friend came to the other and said his interest and love for granite castle building had grown cold and he had been looking into the castles in the area that were made of wood. He was impressed with the color and natural look and warmth and majesty that those log castles have. He has started studying the techniques of building using logs and now wants to have a log castle instead of a granite one.
At this point, you can take the word picture in the direction you need according to your situation.