Bible references: Galatians 5:22-23, and John 15:1-6
Props: You'll need an 8.5" x 11" sheet of paper, a scissors.
Directions: Fold the top left corner to the right side of the paper, forming a triangle, then the point at the top right over to the left side of the paper. Now it looks like a house with a pitched roof. Now fold the paper in half and hold it at the folded side. (See illustration, right.)
Tell the story: As you fold the paper you tell the story.
There was a man who wanted to plant a vineyard, a vineyard is a garden for growing grapes. He dug it up and cleared out it's stones and planted it with the choicest vines. He built a tower in its midst and also made a winepress used to squeeze the grapes into grape juice. The man was very diligent to take great care of his vineyard. He worked hard to dig and loosen the soil to allow the roots of the vine to grow big and strong.
In the same way, God wants you to grow up to be more and more like Jesus and produce the good Fruit of the Spirit which is pleasing to him. The Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. In fact, Jesus said, "I am the vine and you are my branches."
Well, sometimes a gardener must also take and cut away parts of the vine so that it can produce the best fruit and more of it. The branches are cut and parts of the vine are removed. (Begin cutting the paper as illustrated above.) God sometimes needs us to produce more too. He cuts away at us and we feel hurt and we are afraid because we think we are losing something important about ourselves. We don't always understand God's plan to help us to grow to be more like Jesus, and we don't understand that God sometimes must take away things that the devil has made us believe we need, and in reality it was only the things that destroy us, and separate us from God. (Take the scraps and spell out the word hell.) And because God has cut and pruned away the bad things, we are drawn to the cross. (Open the paper and reveal the cross.) When we have been trimmed and cared for by God, our Gardener, only then will we be one of God's choicest branches, producing a good fruit that is pleasing to him!
I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. (John 15:1-6)
Copyright 2005 Donald Burns
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