richardsToday's guest article is submitted by Brian of Classroom Magic for Teachers.

It is always great to have the opportunity to share my Christian faith with kids. However, sometimes we waste a great opportunity because we fail to connect with the kids. I have made a living of teaching with entertainment. The entertainment I use is magic...

Here's a simple and fun piece you can use with any group.

Jesus Forgives

You take some time to talk about sin and forgiveness, you have each child write on a slip of paper one sin that they are truly sorry for. You then take the slips of paper and burn them in a coffee can (make sure you do this in an area that it is safe to do this). As you are burning the paper explain that their prayers for forgiveness rise with the smoke. And when you say you are sorry and truly mean it who forgives you? As the students reply to your question, you take some ash from the burnt papers and rub it on your forearm and the message.. "Jesus" appears.

Needed: Slips of paper, container to burn paper, matches/lighter and bar of soap.

Step By Step Instructions: Prior to class take the bar of soap and cut off a piece so it is triangular in shape with a point at one end. In this way it resembles a writing implement. Wet the point of the triangle and write "Jesus" on your arm. Let the soap and water dry then go about the rest of your class preparation. This really works itself.. have the kids write their sins on the slips of paper and burn them. After they have burned out, ask them the question, "Who forgives if you are truly sorry for your sins?" As they respond take some of the ash from the slips of paper and rub them on your forearm. The ash will adhere to the dried soap on your arm and the message "Jesus" appears.

After Thoughts: Since fire is used, you should only do this with older students. Also, be sure there is no smoke detector nearby when you do this (Yes, I am talking from experience).  Another important point that must be mentioned is that it is a very good idea to let the students know that this is a very clever trick and maybe consider explaining how it works. The last thing we want are the students going home telling their parents that "Jesus" miraculously appeared on your arm.

Technical Notes: After preparing your forearm with the message, don't get all hot and sweaty because sweat will remove the soap. Then when you get to the end, all you'll wind up with is a big black smudge on your arm, not as impressive. If you know that you'll be working up a sweat, set up your arm right before the demonstration.

This is just one way I use the fun of magic to bring home an important object lesson. If you would like more ideas feel free to e-mail me for more information.  Or check out "Classroom Magic for the Religious Educator" at

Teach, have fun, and bring the message of Christ to the young!