Object Lesson 12: "Leap of Faith"

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LESSON:  

You can be brave with Jesus.

SUMMARY:  

God has the strength. You have the faith. Together these can do anything.  In this experiment, you will make a leap of faith and walk on water.  Just as Peter had a chance to demonstrate his trust in God, so you can show your faith.  You are not alone.  Jesus is with you, always.  You can be brave with Jesus.

QUESTIONS:
 
How does God demonstrate His strength?
How do we demonstrate our commitment to Him?
What is trust?
What can be accomplished when God’s strength and our faith are combined? 

VERSES:

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1 

“If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, move from here to there, and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.’” Matthew 17-18-20

“I can do all things through Jesus Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4

MATERIALS:

2 large clear plastic storage containers with low walls (e.g. for storing wrapping paper rolls under beds)
24 boxes of cornstarch (1 pound each)
Water
Towels (one wet rung out and several dry) 
Bucket(s) for mixing the starch and water

PLEASE NOTE:

While the experiment used in this object lesson uses harmless starch and water, the wet surfaces that result can become slippery.  Proper precautions should be taken to insure no-one slips and falls.  It is recommended that the lesson be performed on a rougher surface, like concrete.  It is also advised to have multiple volunteers guide the runners.  Under no circumstances shall ‘Mad About Jesus Laboratories’ be liable for any damages or injury that result from the use of, or misuse of, this or any other object lesson or experiment.  The use of this experiment is at your own risk.  For future details please note the legal disclaimer on the website (www.madaboutjesus.net).

PREPARATION:  

Print out the verse from Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Jesus Christ who strengthens me” on a large piece of paper. Choose an outdoor location where kids can walk around safely without shoes and socks, but still maintain their footing when their feet are wet (e.g. concrete).  Ask for at least one adult volunteer prior to preparing the materials.  These volunteers will be needed to assist in preparing the starch and water suspension as well as insuring kids do not slip while walking on the ‘water’.  Allow 1 hour or more prior to the preparation to properly make the ‘water’ suspension.  Prepare the suspension by adding approximately 2 pounds of cornstarch to every 3 cups of water in the buckets.  Mix until a smooth honey-like consistency is achieved.  The resulting mixture should allow you to slowly put you finger into it like a liquid, but when hit with force it repels your fingers.  If too firm add more water.  If too much like a liquid, add more starch.  Once ready, add it to the first storage container.  Continue mixing batch and batch until the first plastic storage container is between 1/3rd and ½ full or until all boxes of cornstarch are used.  Once complete, your assistant(s) now have the job of keeping this starch and water mixture from separating.  This is accomplished by simply grabbing large chunks of the suspension and moving them around with their hands.  During the presentation, your assistant(s) will also prevent the kids from falling, assist the kids wash their feet in the water, as well as dry their feet.  Fill the second storage container to the same level with water (no starch).  This will be the washing station.  Separate the two storage containers by at least 5 feet, allowing adequate space in front of the first storage container to allow a runner to approach.   Then spread a few dry towels between both storage containers, one in front of the first storage container, as well as a few after the container of water to help the kids dry their feet.  Remove your socks and shoes.  Approach the ‘water’ suspension and test it by attempting to run across it.  If you sink, you may need to add more starch and then mix well.  One trick that often helps is to lift your legs high off the ground and hit the ‘water’ suspension with more force (rapidly).  Now test to be sure that you can sink in the liquid.  If not, add more water and mix well.  Use the pre-wet towel to wash off you hands and feet of any residue.  Keep this towel handy throughout the performance.

PRESENTATION:

Introduction

1. “Hi Kids.”
2. “Today we are going to re-visit two important biblical truths we talked about previously.”

What is faith?

3. “First, does anyone remember what faith is?” Wait for a response.
4. “Well, the bible says in Hebrews 11:1 that ‘faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.’”
5. “That means no evidence.”
6. “No proof is needed to believe.”
7. “We know it is true because God says it is true.” 

Why is faith so important?

8. “But why is faith so important?” Wait for a response.
9. “Well, in Matthew 17:18-20 Jesus said ‘if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, move from here to there, and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.’”
10. “That means faith can give you God’s power.”

God’s strength

11. “Wow!”
12. “That sounds pretty cool.”
13. “But, what kind of power are we talking about?”
14. “Well, let’s turn to the bible to get an idea.”
15. “In Matthew 14: 22-32 we read that ‘Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd.’”
16. “After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray.”
17. “When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.”
18. “During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake.”
19. “When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified.”
20. “‘It's a ghost,’ they said, and cried out in fear.”
21. “But Jesus immediately said to them: ‘Take courage! It is I.  Don't be afraid.’”
22. “‘Lord, if it's you,’ Peter replied, ‘tell me to come to you on the water.’"
23. “‘Come,’ he said.”
24. “Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.”
25. “But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’”
26. “Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him.”
27. “‘You of little faith,’ he said, ‘why did you doubt?’”
28. “And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.”

Combining faith with knowledge of God’s strength

29. “Well, I cannot think of better example of God’s strength.”
30. “I think it is obvious that God has incredible strength, don’t you?”
31. “But if you remember, there is something else quite remarkable about this story.”
32. “Not only did Jesus have the power to walk on water himself, but as we learned previously, he can give this power to those who believe in him.”
33. “So with faith we can gain God’s strength.”
34. “Today, we are going to take two ideas, faith and God’s strength, and combine them.”
35. “Now that you know God’s strength and have faith, can you put your trust in God?”
36. “Can you take a leap of faith?”

What is a leap of faith?

37. “Do you know what a leap of faith is?”
38. “Well, it is giving yourself over to God.”
39. “It is having such faith in God that you have complete trust in Him.”

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

40. “Well, I do not know how many people have seen this movie, but there is a famous moment in the third Indiana Jones movie in which Indiana Jones has to take a leap of faith.”
41. “It happens at the end of the movie when Indiana comes to a cliff with no bridge to cross.”
42. “To Indiana Jones it looks like if he were to step off the cliff he would fall.”
43. “Now, like any of us he is pretty scared at this moment.”
44. “But he builds up his faith and takes his ‘leap of faith’.”  Make a gesture like you are stepping off a cliff.
45. “Just as he steps off the cliff he finds an invisible ‘Path of God’ has appeared beneath his feet.” Make a gesture like you found safe ground.
46. “He does not fall but rather has a safe passage to the other side.”
47. “His complete trust in God, when everything else told him ‘no’, was what saved him.”

Being scared

48. “So, how many of you have ever been scared.”
49. “Maybe you are starting school for the first time in a new town.”
50. “Maybe you just moved into a new neighborhood.”
51. “Maybe this is you first day here at this church.”
52. “These can all be pretty scary situations, especially if you do not know anyone.”
53. “But you came all the same.”
54. “You knew that things may be tough, but you went and did it anyway.”
55. “You took a ‘leap of faith’.”

Walking on water: Introduction

56. “Today, I want you to take your own leap of faith.”
57. “Before you I have a container full of a liquid.”
58. “Now, what happens if you try to stand on a liquid?”
59. “You sink, right?”
60. “Well, let’s see.” Take a step into the mixture.  Stand there a second until you sink to the bottom.  Remove your foot and use the pre-wet towel to wash off your foot.
61. “Yep.”
62. “You are right.”
63. “You sink.”
64. “But what about the story in the Bible.”
65. “Remember, Jesus could walk on water.”
66. “Even Peter was able to walk on water, at least until he started to lose faith.”
67. “So, today we are going to test your faith.”
68. “I want you, the disciples of Jesus, to walk on water.”

Walking on water: Peter

69. “So, to begin, let’s get someone to be Peter, because I think he deserved another chance.”
70. “Can I get a volunteer?” Choose 1 volunteer.
71. “Great.”
72. “First, let’s remove your shoes and socks.” Help the volunteer gather his/her shoes and socks and put them in a neutral location.
73. “Ok, now when I tell you, I want you to come to the liquid, run across it, then walk in the water in the next container to wash your feet.” As it helps to lift your legs high off the ground and hit the ‘water’ suspension with more force (rapidly), show the volunteer how he/she should run across the liquid. 
74. “You can then dry your feet and put your shoes and socks back on.”
75. “So, are you ready to run for Jesus, Peter?”
76. “Oh wait, I almost forgot, we had better be sure you have faith.”
77. “Remember what happened last time, Peter?” Show concern.
78. “You see, Peter started to walk on water, then started to doubt and sank.”
79. “So, before we begin, let’s each build up your faith, for only with complete trust in the Lord can we gain his strength.”
80. “To do this, I want you to say a verse from Philippians 4:13.”
81. “It says ‘I can do all things through Jesus Christ who strengthens me.’” Show the printout.
82. “Ok, let’s begin.” Have the volunteer say the verse.  Then instruct the volunteer to start running, having your assistant keep pace (volunteer must not stop). 
83. “Now, wasn’t that incredible!”

Walking on water: Disciples

84. “But wait, there were 11 other disciples in the boat.”
85. “Maybe they should get a chance to prove their faith as well.”
86. “Can I get 11 more volunteers?” Choose 11 volunteers.
87.  “First, let’s remove your shoes and socks.” Help the volunteers gather their shoes and socks and put them in a neutral location.
88. “Ok, now let’s get into a single file line.” Assist the kids get in line. 
89. “When I tell you, I want you to come to the liquid one at a time, run across it, then walk in the water in the next container to wash your feet.”
90. “But before we begin, let’s each build up your faith, for only with complete trust in the Lord can we gain his strength.”
91. “To do this, I want each of you to say the verse from Philippians 4:13 just before you go.”
92. “See, it says ‘I can do all things through Jesus Christ who strengthens me.’” Show the printout.
93. “Ok, let’s begin.” Have each volunteer say the verse.  Then instruct each volunteer to start running, having your assistant(s) prevent the volunteers from falling, as well as aiding in washing off the feet in the pool of water.  At this point, you may want to invite the remaining kids to attempt it as well.  Just insure that those that have already gone are now seated.
94. “Now, wasn’t that incredible!”

Walking on water: Wrap-up

95. Approach a few of the volunteers who just ran across the ‘water’. “So, be honest, what were you feeling just before you walked on water?”
96. “Were you scared or excited?” Wait for a response.
97. “Did it help to see others do it first? Wait for a response.
98. “What if you were alone?” Wait for a response.
99. “Would you still do it?” Wait for a response.

Everyday life

100. “Ok, well what if we were talking about something that was not set up to work, like this experiment was for you today?”
101. “What if you were just starting school for the first time in a new town?”
102. “What if you just moved into a new neighborhood?”
103. “What if this is your first day here at this church?”
104. “Remember, these can all be pretty scary situations.”
105. “How do you know everything will work out?”
106. “Well, the thing I remember when I am scared is that I am not alone.”
107. “I just think about Psalm 23:4.”
108. “There the bible says ‘even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.’”
109. “So, you see Jesus is always with me, because I believe in Him.”
110. “No matter how scary the situation may be, how uncertain I am of what is to come, I know things will work out.”
111. “For my faith in Jesus gives me strength to do great things.”
112. “You can do the same with anything you encounter in your lives.”

Wrap-up

113. “So, just remember that God has the strength.”
114. “You have the faith.”
115. “Together these can do anything.”
116. “So, the next time you get scared, remember this story.”
117. “When you come to your cliff, you just need to make a ‘leap of faith’.”
118. “You are not alone.”
119. “Jesus is with you.”
120. “You are brave with Jesus.”

Closing

1. “Well, I better get back to the lab.”
2. “I have lots to do to prepare for my next experiment.”
3. “You see, I think I discovered a way to make water expand 10-20 times in size instantly"
4. “I just need to work the kinks out.”
5. “I will see you again soon.”
6. “Bye.”

REFERENCES:

1. Concept for using a non-Newtonian fluid for the story of Peter walking on water as well as using this experiment to teach to trust God was obtained from the Group Publishing’s VBS production of ‘Power Lab’ viewable at http://www.stevespanglerscience.com/category/vacation-bible-school-supplies
2. A very cool demonstration of walking on a non-Newtonian fluid (2500 pounds of starch mixed with water) can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jvq1EwQkMEs.  Also check out this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rIwQ8mi34Ts&feature=related 

CONTACT:

Please send comments, suggestions, and questions to Daniel at madaboutjesuslaboratories@yahoo.com

Mad About Jesus Laboratories
www.madaboutjesus.net

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