Rotation.org Writing Team
Paul and the Bright Light
Video & Popcorn Workshop
Summary of Activities
Students will watch and discuss Nest's "Saul of Tarsus" video. They will use a special "popcorn reflection" activity to think about how God can change us and use gifts planted in us, just like he changed Saul's heart and put Paul's gifts to good use spreading the Gospel.
Scripture for the Lesson
Acts 9:1-22, the story of Saul's encounter with Christ on the Road to Damascus.
The scripture for this lesson is found in the 30 minute video and is not presented as a separate reading. The video also includes other parts of Saul's story, notably, what he was doing before he started down the Road to Damascus.
See the Bible Background at rotation.org for this set's complete list of objectives.
The reflection is this particular lesson in the set emphasizes the idea that God doesn't merely want to "save" us, but transform us.
Preparation and Materials
- Read the Bible Background and scripture.
- Preview a copy of "Saul of Tarsus" from Nest Entertainment.
- Note where to stop in the video and ask questions (see lesson plan).
- Download or prep a video of popcorn exploding in slow-motion (see sources below).
- Popcorn, popper, cups. (The lesson reflection needs un-popped popcorn.)
Summary of the Saul of Tarsus Video
Saul is changed forever when the resurrected Lord miraculously appears to him on the Road to Damascus. He becomes reborn as Paul and begins to evangelize for the sake of the Gospel, serving as one of the most influential missionaries in the New Testament. Paul's conversion on the Road to Damascus is a strong example of the power of Jesus Christ to change lives. This example reminds us that no matter what a person used to be, or how great a person’s misdeeds—they can be rescued and made right by Jesus, and do great things as a faithful follower.
Open with the Popcorn Demonstration
Welcome students, explain how the lesson will unfold, and then invite them to come watch your Popcorn Demonstration.
Say: Who would like some popcorn? Pass out hard un-popped kernels. What's wrong with your popcorn? (hahaha)
Now show them a piece of popped popcorn and ask, How does a kernel become a nice fluffy and tasty piece of popcorn? Some of the children may know the answer. When you heat the kernels, a small amount of water inside the kernel explodes, turning the kernel inside out.
Show the slow motion video of popcorn transforming from kernel to exploding fluffiness! (This fun visual will become a strong hook for your message.)
Tip: Do not over-explain it. You will come back to what it represents in the Final Reflection.
Here's a terrific Slo-Mo Popcorn Video from Youtube at
Tech Notes: If the link goes bad, please report it and find another. You can either download this video by pasting its URL into one of many Youtube download sites, such as, ClipConverter.cc, http://www.clipconverter.cc Or, you can bring in your laptop or smartphone and show it using your church's WIFI or cell service.
Dig into the Saul of Tarsus Movie
Share some popped popcorn and invite students to settle in for the movie.
Say: Here are three questions I hope this video will help you answer. Write them on the board:
- How was Saul like a hard popcorn kernel?
- What was inside Saul that Jesus could transform into a great disciple?
- How does God change or transform Saul and each of us from something hard and un-useful, to something tasty and blessed in the Christ's Kingdom?
♥Show the Video: Saul of Tarsus (from Nest, approx 30 minutes) ♥
Pause the video as soon as Saul starts down the Damascus Road, review what you've seen so far and ask these questions:
a. Was Saul an evil man?
b. Why did he hate Christians so much? (Saul was acting with the approval of the authorities. They and he thought they were saving the nation by stomping out this dangerous new belief that Jesus was alive.)
c. What traits or strengths does Saul seem to have? (Strong desire to do what he thought was right. Ability to speak to people. Knowledge of scripture.)
At the end of the video ask these questions:
a. How is Ananias the "unsung hero" of this story?
b. Saul started calling himself "Paul" which is the Greek (Gentile) word for "small" or "humble." How did Paul's experience of being rescued/saved by Jesus HUMBLE him? (Note: You will follow up on this idea in the final reflection.)
Final Popcorn Reflection
Say: It is hard sometimes to express to our family and friends how we have changed, or want to change. It's embarrassing to admit we need help or need Jesus to save us. We'd like to think we can take care of ourselves without anyone's help. Our pride gets in the way. Maybe this is why Saul took the name of "Paul" (small) because he had to HUMBLE himself to admit he had been wrong.
Say: Thing is... Jesus doesn't just want us to be humble and admit our sins, Jesus ALSO wants to enter our lives like a rush of mighty heat and turn us inside-out, to explode us into a new person of faith. But you have to let him. Even Saul had to let Jesus take over.
Do: Have each student put their popcorn kernel into the popper. (Add additional popcorn kernels as well.) Say a prayer that each person in the room would hear Jesus' voice like Saul did, humble themselves, and let Christ turned them into the kind of disciple Jesus needs them to be. Keep the lid off the popper, then turn on the popper and let the popcorn FLY !
For younger students, skip chapters 1, 3 and maybe 4 in the video to save time and stay focused on the story. Read the story from a storybook Bible to help younger students make the connection between the video and the Bible.
For those with less than 40 minutes, skip "chapters" 1, 3 and 4, and only show "chapters" 2, 5 and 6 on the DVD.
This lesson was donated to the Rotation.org Writing Team by Neil MacQueen. It originally appeared at his software website, sundaysoftware.com.
Copyright 2016, Rotation.org Inc.