What You Need ...
1) A medium-sized clear jar or bowl of water (at least 32 ounces). Works best when placed on a table for all to see easily.
2) A small bottle of food coloring (black works best).
3) A small cup of water (at least 8 ounces).
Kids, today we're talking about "FRIENDS." We have friends at school, at soccer, at dance and at other places that are either causing us to grow closer to Jesus or causing us to draw away from Jesus. The ultimate way to grow closer to Christ is by what we do by reading our Bibles and praying, but our friends play a BIG PART.
This jar here represents our hearts. There are things we can do everyday that make our hearts grow closer to Christ. Like talking to God! (When you say this pour a drop of two of water into your jar.). What else makes us grow closer to Christ (Allow responses)?
[The kids may say things like 'Reading my Bible', 'Going to church', 'Telling others about Jesus', etc. Each time they say one, pour another small amount into your jar or bowl. They may say 'Hanging out with other Christians;' but if they do not, you should mention this after the kids have 'exhausted' their responses].
Kids, what is happening to our heart? Right, it is growing! Our heart is growing because we're doing the things that take us closer to Jesus.
But look what happens to our heart when we hang out with those who would draw us away from Jesus. This food color stands for friends who have a bad influence on us (Drop a couple of drops of food coloring into your jar and pause to let the color (spread.).
What's happening to our heart, now? Just like this food coloring, those who would draw us away front Jesus begin to influence us and spread throughout our heart. They start to corrupt or mess up our good character that we learn from the Bible. Like talking to God everyday, reading God's Book, going to God's House, treating others with kindness.
Boys and girls, we've got to do like Jesus tells us in His Word in James 4:8, "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you."
Friends are great (either Christian or non), but please don't let them take over your life as this food coloring took over this water (By now, the food color has completely taken over the water.). WHY? Because some of them may draw you away from Jesus.
Let's bow our heads and pray about who are our friends, and if we're allowing them to take over our lives. (Smiley Elmore, Jr., Children & Youth Minister,Hope Chapel, Alpharetta, GA)