Thursday, February 5, 2009

Lessons involving fire.


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

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Contents - All'Special Blogs'.

1. Creation.
2. Christmas.
3. Easter.
4. The Bible.
5. Prayer.
6. Hearing from God.
7. The Ten Commandments.
8. John 3.16.
9. Teaching Memory verses.
10. Gospel Illusions.
11. Object Lessons (using natural laws).
12. Lessons involving balloons.
13. Lessons involving fire.

Other Blog sites from Maurice Sweetsur :-

Children's ministry -
All teaching material (All Newsletters) -
Object lessons / Illusions -
Bible lessons and Teaching tips -
Stories, skits and puppet plays -
Bible answers for kids -
Kidzone (Children's site) -
Kidzone - Archives. -

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

Introduction (Fire).

Children love illustrations involving balloons, fire or water. In this Blog I have drawn together all my lessons involving fire. Needless to say, these illustrations must be conducted in a safe enviroment.


O.L. - The Flaming Bible.
O.L. - Burning bush and fiery furnace.
O.L. - Why does God allow suffering?
O.L. - Facing trials and troubles.
O.L. - Jesus is the light of the world.
O.L. - Candle in a jar.
O.L. - The meaning of the cross.
O.L. - Our sins are gone forever (Flashpaper).

O.L. - The Flaming Bible.

This has been a very popular illustration for many years, but never seems to lose its appeal to each new generation of children. The concept is very simple. Basically it is a large cigarette lighter, made to look like a Bible from the outside. You open the "Bible", stroke the sparking mechanism - and up come the flames! (produced from lighter fluid that you have poured into a pad inside the "Bible" beforehand). These Flaming Bibles can be obtained from .

Caution. Before using your Flaming Bible, check that you are not standing near a smoke alarm! I have, myself, set two alarms off in this way - with the resultant call out of the Fire Brigade! However, I must have used my Flaming Bible well over a thousand times over the years, so I don't really have too bad a record!

There are two ways in which I use my Flaming Bible, but perhaps you can think of others.

1. As an introduction to a lesson on the Bible, itself.

"I have brought my Bible along today. This is God's Word, God's love letter to each one of us. But do you know, some people say the Bible is cold, They say "Oh the Bible, it's dull, it's boring, it's cold, it was written thousands of years ago. How can God speak to us today through the Bible? It's cold." But I want to tell you that God's Word the Bible isn't cold. In fact it is hot. I will open up my Bible and we will see just how hot it really is - - - - - Flames! No matter how long ago the Bible was written, it is still up to date, and God can always teach us something different, something new from it. I had better close my Bible now before I burn myself!".

2. As an introduction to a memory verse.

"We have got a memory verse today. I will open up my Bible, and we will read it together - - - - Flames. (Close the Bible). Did you see that? The Bible is a hot book, but sometimes it gets a little too hot. Let's try again. That's better. God so loved the - - - - Flames. (Close the Bible). We will give it one more try. God so loved the world that he - - - - - Flames. I suspected that might happen, so fortunately, I have written out our Memory verse on this card - - - - - ."

O.L. - 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.

O.L. - 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.

O.L. - 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.

O.L. - Jesus is the light of the world.

You should be able to obtain some "trick" birthday cake candles - i.e. the ones that appear to be extinguished when they are blown, but after a few seconds flame up again.

With one of these candles you can summarise the history of the church. For example :-

Jesus came as the light of the world (lite candle), but Satan used wicked men to try and put out this light by crucifying Him (blow out). However on the third day He came alive again (flame rekindled). Jesus has now passed this light on to the church. Over the centuries Satan has continued trying to put out this light by persecuting the church. At times he seemed to have succeeded (blow out), but each time this light returned brighter than ever (rekindle).

O.L. - 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!"

O.L. - 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.

Presentation. 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.

O.L. - Our sins are gone forever (Flashpaper).

This is an illusion that you can use to illustrate the story "the true picture of your life" (Newsletter 41), or indeed any teaching on forgiveness. I have used it many times, and it is always very effective. You will need a piece of "flashpaper". This looks like ordinary paper, but it is made from special chemicals so that when it is set alight it produces only a colourless gas, and no residue (char) whatsoever. i.e. it "disappears". Flashpaper can be obtained from Christian stores that sell gospel illusions such as or It can be cut to any size, but I usually use a piece about 8cm. x 6cm.

Application. "I have a white piece of paper here. In the Bible the colour 'white' stands for cleanness or purity. This is how God first made people, and this is how He wants us to be today - clean and pure on the inside. But when we do wrong things, it dirties us up on the inside and spoils our relationship with God. What are some of the wrong things that you might have done - either at school or at home?" There is usually a good response to this. Interestingly children usually think firstly of the "physical" things such as fighting, hitting, punching, kicking etc. Then lying, stealing, swearing and disobeying may be cited. Wrongs like greed, selfishness, envy and jealousy are hardly ever mentioned! As different children mention the various wrongs, write the first letter of that 'wrong' with a black marker onto your flashpaper. As you do so, talk about God's attitude to that particular 'wrong'.

When you have about 5 or 6 letters on the flashpaper say "We could continue (give a few more examples) but the paper is nearly full. Now, watch carefully what I do next - because this is a picture of what happens to all these wrongs the moment we say 'sorry' to Jesus for them (and really mean it)." Take a match, light the paper and throw it into the air. It will take about two seconds to be burnt completely - and no trace of it will remain.

"Where has it gone? It is gone and gone forever. It can never come back again. In fact, it is as though it wasn't even here in the first place. Because Jesus has already paid the penalty for your wrongs on the cross, that is exactly what he does with them the moment you admit to them and say you are sorry. It is now as though you never even did them in the first place, And that is good news indeed."