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Spiritual Sponges

The main purpose of a sponge is to soak things up. When you squeeze a sponge, whatever is inside comes out. Both of these characteristics of a sponge provide metaphors for our hearts. Some of us have hard hearts and unlike a sponge, things just stay on the surface and never affect us while other have receptive hearts to God. When we are under pressure, we truly get to see what is in a person’s heart. These games are great for a little wet time during the hot summer and provide a nice illustration for the condition of our hearts.

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Games Using Sponges

  • Back to Back Sponge Relay – Fill two new large large trash cans or clean buckets with water and place sponges in each. Pairs run to a trash can, grab a soaked sponge, place it between their backs, and run back to the team. If the sponge is dropped they must go back and get another one. First team to have all members complete the relay wins.
  • Bottle Fill Relay – Each team appoints one youth to lie face up on the ground with his or her head toward the starting line and hold an empty plastic soda bottle on his or her forehead. A team member from each team soaks a sponge with water, runs to the bottle, and with arms stretched straight out in front of them tries to squeeze the water into the bottle. He or she then runs back to the team and the next person goes. First team to fill the bottle wins.
  • Shaving Cream Sponge Off – Each team of youth must have one large bucket of water and one team member willing to get wet. Make a beard of shaving cream on one person from each team. Each member of the team will get one toss of a wet sponge to try and remove all the shaving cream. You will rotate the team line until all the shaving cream is removed. The first team to remove the cream is the winner.
  • Sponge Dodge Ball – Get 4-6 water buckets and arrange them in a square or circle. Get a sponge for each bucket – Car wash sponges work great and can be cut into smaller pieces. They youth leader stands outside the circle, soaks a sponge and tosses it a someone inside the circle. Anyone who gets hit joins the youth leader outside the circle. A sponge that lands inside the circle can be retrieved by anyone, but must be dipped in the water again before it can be tossed at someone. Last person inside the circle wins.
  • Sponge Shot Put – See who can toss a wet sponge the farthest. For added incentive, have a leader stand just out of reach of the players for a target.
  • Sponge Standoff – Arrange the youth in a circle and have them number themselves off. Place a sponge in a bucket of water in the center of the circle. When the leader calls out two numbers, those two youth must jump up, run around the circle back to their own place, then run through the gap where they were sitting to get the sponge. Whoever gets the sponge gets to throw it as the other person.
  • Toss up – A youth is given a wet sponge and tosses it high into the air while calling out a person’s name. Whoever is called must catch the sponge. If success he or she gets a free toss at the person who tossed the sponge.
  • Wet Sponge Hot Potato – Everyone sits in a circle. Play music or sing a song. Pass the wet sponge around the circle. When the music has ended (just play a short segment) or the song is over, the person left with the wet sponge can squeeze it over their head. They can also choose to squeeze it over another child•s head. Refill the wet sponge and play again.
  • Wet Sponge Over and Under Relay – Place a bucket in front of the first player on each team and a jar or soda bottle behind the last player. The first player fills the sponge and with two hands lifts it over his/her head to the next player. The next player takes the sponge and hands it back under their legs. Continue to hand it back over and under until you reach the last player, who squeezes it in the jar or soda bottle. Then he/she runs towards the front of the line to fill the sponge again and pass it. The first team to fill the jar or soda bottle to overflowing wins.

TAKE IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL

MAKE IT SPIRITUAL

  • What is the purpose of a sponge?
  • What are some things sponges are used for?
  • What comes out of a sponge when it’s squeezed?
  • How is a sponge different from a rock?

MAKE IT PRACTICAL

  • Do we ever get “squeezed” in life? If so, how?
  • In what ways are our minds and hearts like a sponge?
  • What are some negative things / positive things we may be soaking up?
  • When you get “squeezed”, what comes out?
  • How can we soak up what is good and so that we are full good things and less likely to soak up what’s bad?
  • In what ways can our minds and hearts be like a rock, what the Bible calls a hardened heart?
  • If we have a hardened heart, how can we become more receptive to God?

MAKE IT PERSONAL

  • What comes out of me when the “squeeze” is on – clean, pure thoughts & actions that please God or something not so clean & pure?
  • How can I soften my heart toward God this week?
  • How can I fill my heart with the things of God this week so when the pressure comes, I spill good things over into the lives of others?

Finish the lesson by giving each youth a sponge to take with them and to place somewhere they will see it so that it will remind them of the need to not have a hardened heart, but to allow God’s Word to fill them.

SCRIPTURE

  • Romans 5:1-5 (NIV) – “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
  • Psalm 119:11 – “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”
  • Philippians 1:9-11 – “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ–to the glory and praise of God.”

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