Story - Leo the lion.
Leo the lion didn't have to work very hard to catch his dinner. After all he was "the king of the jungle" and much faster and stronger than any of the other animals around. Yes, life was good and easy for Leo. If fact he spent most of his time just lazing in the sunshine. But things were about to change.
One day Leo was snoozing after his mid-day meal, when he felt something being thrown over him. Lazily opening one eye, Leo saw what appeared to be pieces of string knotted together covering him. "Huh" thought Leo, "I'll soon get rid of this string." Leo began to push the string away with his paw, but once he pulled his paw back, the string came back over him. Leo decided that he had better use two paws, then three, then all four. But the harder he tried, the more he became caught up in the knotted string. Eventually he became completely entangled in the net. He had been captured.
What a 'come down' for the 'king of the jungle'. Leo had lost his freedom, and was now confined to living in a den. Things could have been worse though. At least Leo had some other lions for company, and his human captors fed him regularly. But it was not the same as having his freedom, and being able to roam wherever he wished.
Then things got worse. The food supply ceased. After a few days, all the lions were desperately hungry, and even began to think about eating each other. But then, suddenly, the door to the den was opened, and there was thrown in the largest meal Leo had ever seen - a fully grown man! Leo thought "I am going to get my share of that man before all the other lions eat him up." He moved swiftly towards his meal and began to open his huge jaws ready to take a bite. But, disaster, something was terribly wrong, no matter how hard he tried, he couldn't open his jaws. It was as if someone had stuck them together with super glue. Leo tried prising his jaws open with his jaws, but they were still shut tight. "Oh no" thought Leo, "By the time I get my jaws open, there will be nothing left, all the other lions will have eaten the man." But then he noticed something strange. All the other lions were like himself. They were also rolling around the floor trying to prise open their mouths!
Some hours later, Leo and the other lions were resting on the floor, exhausted from their failed efforts to open their jaws. And the man was sitting in the centre of them, calmly watching. Suddenly, the door to the den opened, a face appeared, and a voice called out "Daniel, are you still alive? Did your God manage to rescue you from the lions?" The man replied "Yes He did. He sent an Angel to bind up the mouths of the lions, so that they would not harm me."
Orders were quickly given for Daniel to be lifted out of the lion's den. "Oh no, thought Leo, there goes my dinner." But then, good news. The door to the den was opened again, and Daniel's accusers were thrown in. And this time Leo and the other lions were able to open their jaws!
"I am sure that you have heard that story before. Daniel was thrown into the lion's den because he refused to stop praying to God, even though the king had ordered him to do so. God wants us be like Daniel, and continue to do the right things - even if that makes us unpopular with some people, and even if it puts us in danger. Remember, just like He did with Daniel, God can protect you.
Story - Processionary Caterpillars.
In South America there are a type of caterpillar called processionary caterpillars. They are so called because they always seem to be marching in procession - all following each other in single file. Once a man came upon such a procession and played a little trick on them. Using his fingers, he manoeuvred the caterpillars so that they formed a complete circle. Now, instead of walking in a straight line, the 'first' caterpillar was now following the 'last' one. The man watched as the caterpillars went round and round, each following the one in front for seven hours!
If you could have spoken to one of those caterpillars and asked it why it was doing such a stupid thing, going round and round, following the one in front, it would probably have said "I know it is a silly thing to do, but I don't want to be different. I just want to be the same as all the other caterpillars. If I broke rank, and went for a nibble at that juicy leaf over there, all the others would notice and think me different. I never want to be different. I just want to be the same as all the others."
Unfortunately a lot of people are like those processionary caterpillars. They don't want to appear different from whatever group they are in - even if that group is doing something stupid or wrong. They just don't dare to be like Daniel and stand up for what they know is right. But God didn't make us all the same, He made us as individuals and wants us to act as such, and always make the right choices, not based on what 'the majority' are doing, but rather on what is the right thing to do - just like Daniel did.
Let me ask you, who are you going to be like? Processionary caterpillars (the same, but silly) or Daniel (an individual, but doing right)?
Your questions answered - Can I be a Christian, even if my parents aren't?
The answer is "YES". You need to understand what a Christian really is. If you ask most people what a Christian is, they will probably reply something like "A person who goes to church", or, "A person who prays a lot and reads the Bible", or, "A person who does lots of good deeds and is always kind to others". All these things are good, but none of them make a person a Christian. Rather, these are some of the things that Christians do - because they already are Christians! Real Christians do these things because they can't help themselves. They are "natural" to them because Jesus has changed them on the insides, and given them a God-given desire to do these things, which is simply an outward expression of their new love for both God and other people.
Of course non-Christians can also do some or all of the above things, but that doesn't make them Christians. Some people do these things to try and please God - because they don't understand that God's forgiveness and acceptance can never be earned, no matter how 'good' they are, or how hard they try. Others do these things to try and impress people, so that they will think well of them, or be good to them in return.
One of the best ways of understanding what a real Christian really is, is to consider the three words :- CHRIST IN PERSON. When you condense these words into one, you are left with CHRISTIAN.
Thus, CHRIST IN PERSON = CHRISTIAN.
In other words, a Christian is a person in whom Jesus Christ is living. And He can only live in you if you invite Him to do so asking Him to forgive your sins (wrongdoing) and to come and take charge of your life.
It is wonderful to have Christian parents, because they can help and encourage you in your new Christian life. But even if they are not, don't let that put you off living for Jesus, because ultimately we are each responsible to God for what we do with His gift of Jesus to us - either to accept or reject.
Why not pray and ask God to bring someone into your life who is able to teach you more about Himself?
Illusion - Blowing a coin into a dish.
Produce a small coin and a fairly shallow dish (e.g. a cereal bowel). Place the dish on a table or desk, and place the coin about 15 cm. away at the edge of the table. Challenge your friends to get the coin into the dish, without touching either of them. It is very unlikely that anyone will work out how to do it.
Now it is your turn to demonstrate how it can be done. Blow a short sharp breath just over the top of the coin. (Have a few practices beforehand). Your breath should lift up the coin, and deposit it in the dish. The secret is to ensure that you blow horizontally, just over the top of the coin. You can then give your friends a chance to see if they can also do it.
Note. It is best to use a fairly heavy dish (not plastic), otherwise your breath might also move it as well as the coin. Alternatively, you may have to hold the dish in place with your hand as you attempt to blow the coin into it.
Laugh break - Classic comments (all from children).
Teacher. "What do you have to be to go to heaven?"
Boy (aged 5). "Dead!"
"Jesus spoke in Aromatic."
"Mary and Joseph could not stay in the inn as it was Christmas, and it was full up."
"David fought the Philadelphian Giants."
"Noah's wife was Joan of Ark."
Teacher. "What did Jesus say to the girl He brought back to life?"
Child. "Wake up! Your dinner's ready!"
Teacher. "What did Jesus promise to make his twelve disciples into?"
Child. "Vicious old men." (Fishers of men!).
Teacher. "Who was the most sorry when the Prodigal son returned home?"
Child. "The fatted calf."
Teacher. "Does anyone know what a Prophet is?"
Child. "Yes. If I buy some lollies at $1, and sell them for $2, that will be a $1 prophet."
Teacher. "Which Commandment concerns how you should treat your parents?"
Child. "Honour your father and mother."
Teacher. "Good. Now which Commandment concerns how you should treat your brothers and sisters?"
Child. " Do not kill."
Teacher. "Give me another name for God?"
Child. "Yes, the Lord's Prayer starts off ' Our Father, which art in heaven, Harold be thy name.' "
Teacher. "Give me another name for God?"
Child. "I think it is Peter. Christians are always saying ' Praise Peter (be to) God.' "
Teacher. "What did the wise men bring to baby Jesus?"
Child. "Gold, Frankenstein and mud."
Teacher. "If Moses were alive today, what would he be famous for?"
Child. "For being the oldest man in the world!"