The Mad Scientist Presents: MAD ABOUT JESUS: Scientific Object Lessons to Teach Biblical Truths By Daniel A. Briere
Object Lesson 10: “All Things are Possible with God”
We are powerless by ourselves, but with God we are strong.
Just as air has the power to crush a can of soda or suspend a ping-pong ball in mid-air, so God has the power to do all things. We are powerless, but God’s power protects those he loves, for all things are possible with God.
Have you ever felt powerless, out of control?
“God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.” Psalms 62:7
“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
“All things are possible with God.” Mark 10:27
Experiment 1: Crush the Can
2 empty cans of soda – 12 fl oz
Sterno burner or other suitable heat source (stovetop, camp stove, etc)
Small amount of water (a few tablespoons)
Large glass bowl filled with ice water
Matches or lighter (if needed for heat source)
Experiment 2: Floating Ping-Pong
Hair dryer (with cool setting)
Extension cord (optional)
The experiment used in this object lesson uses a heat source to boil a small amount of water in a can of soda. Extreme care must be taken to prevent fires and burn injuries, especially when handling the hot can. Under no circumstances shall ‘Mad About Jesus Laboratories’ be liable for any damages or injury that result from the use of, or misuse of, this or any other object lesson or experiment. The use of this experiment is at your own risk. For future details please note the legal disclaimer on the website (www.madaboutjesus.net).
Rinse out both empty cans of soda using water to remove any sticky residue. Let dry. Put one can on the left center of the display table. In the other, put 2-3 tablespoons of water and put it on the right center of the display table. Set up the heat source. If using a Sterno burner, open the lid to expose the flammable jelly. Ignite it using the matches or lighter to observe the flame (blue). Keep in mind that the flame is hard to see (use caution). Blow out the burner, recap (loosely), and set it just right of the center of the display table near the can of soda with water. Set the metal tongs on the table near the heat source. Fill a large glass bowl with ice water and set it in the center of the table. Plug the hair dryer into an outlet. Use an extension cord, if needed. Set the hair dryer and ping-pong ball on the far left side of the display table (far from the water).
1. “Hey kids.”
2. “Today I want to talk about the POWER OF GOD.”
3. “But first, let’s talk about a bit about ourselves.”
4. “How many of you have ever felt powerless, out of control?” Wait for a response.
5. “Can you tell me about it?” Wait for a response.
6. “Well, I think that we all feel that way from time to time.”
7. “The truth is there are things we cannot control.”
8. “But does this mean we cannot gain POWER or gain CONTROL?
Jesus walks on water
9. “Well, let’s turn to a story from the bible to find out.”
10. “In Matthew 14: 22-32, we read: ‘Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd.'”
11. “After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray.”
12. “When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.”
13. “During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake.”
14. “When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified.”
15. “‘It’s a ghost,’ they said, and cried out in fear.”
16. “But Jesus immediately said to them: ‘Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.'”
17. “‘Lord, if it’s you,’ Peter replied, ‘Tell me to come to you on the water.'”
18. “‘Come,’ he said.”
19. “Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.”
20. “But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!'”
21. “Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him.”
22. “‘You of little faith,’ he said, ‘why did you doubt?'”
23. “And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.”
24. “Let’s summarize the story.”
25. “So, Jesus told the disciples to go on ahead of him in the boat and he went up to pray.”
26. “Then a huge storm comes up.”
27. “The disciples struggle against the storm.”
28. “Jesus walks out on water.”
29. “Peter tries to walk to him and begins to sink when he takes his eyes off of Jesus.”
30. “Jesus pulls Peter up out of the water and speaks to the storm and it stops.”
31. “So, this story illustrates many forms of God’s incredible power, doesn’t it?”
32. “First, God has the power to walk on water.”
33. “Second, God has the power speak to a storm and cause it to immediately stop.”
34. “Third, and most importantly, God has the power to help someone else walk on water.”
35. “You see, though, none of these things are possible in our own strength.”
36. “The disciples struggled to keep the boat afloat during the storm and eventually without God’s help it would have sunk.”
37. “Peter started to sink when he lost faith in God.”
38. “So, it is the invisible power of God that stopped the storm, that empowered Christ to walk on water, and that enabled Peter to walk on water.”
39. “Now we cannot see God, because He is invisible.”
40. “But we know he is there, because we can feel him, don’t we?”
41. “So, God is invisible, but we can feel him.”
42. “What else is invisible and can be felt?” Wait for a response.
43. “Yes, air.”
44. “Air is invisible.”
45. “Yet you can feel air when it moves.”
46. “We call that the wind.”
47. “So, let’s take a closer look at the POWER of air.”
Crush the can – volunteer crush
48. “First, let’s look at how POWERFUL air can be by itself.”
49. “For this I need a volunteer?” Get a young volunteer.
50. “Ok, here is a normal soda can.” Show the empty can to the audience.
51. “When I say go, I want you to crush this can with your hands.” “Ready?”
52. “Ok, crush!” Instruct the volunteer to crush it by squeezing the sides of the can.
53. “Good job.” Set the crushed can aside.
54. “Now, that required a lot of strength, didn’t it?” Wait for a response from the volunteer.
55. “Ok, you can sit back down.” Seat the volunteer.
Crush the can – air crush
56. “What if I told you that air itself has the power to crush the can?” Take the second can filled with 2-3 tablespoons of water and place it on the heat source. If using a Sterno burner, you will have to hold it up into the flame using the metal tongs or the lack of oxygen will extinguish the flame.
57. “All we have to do is entice it a bit heating it and then cooling it.” The water in the can will start to heat up and eventually you will observe steam coming from the can. At this point it is ready (do not attempt to proceed until steam is observed or the experiment will fail).
58. “You will then see the POWER of air.”
60. “Ok, here we go.” In a very rapid motion and using the metal tongs to hold onto the can of soda, quickly invert (turn over) the can into the ice water being sure to put the open side in first. The key is to cover the hole at the top of the can with the ice water as soon as possible, because that creates the vacuum. It may help to practice this motion prior to the lesson. If done properly, the can will make a large popping sound and the can will crush instantly.
62. “That can is crushed.” Pull the can from the ice water and show it to the audience.
63. “So the power of air itself was able to crush the can.”
64. “Pretty amazing.”
Floating ping-pong ball – ball alone
65. “Well, let’s now look at how air’s POWER can be used by something else.”
66. “Before you I have an ordinary ping-pong ball.”
67. “I want it to float in mid-air.”
68. “Let’s see, I put it here and let it go.” Show the ping-pong ball to the audience, holding it high in the air. Let go. Pick it up once it falls.
69. “Ok, obviously the ball does not have the strength to remain suspended in the air.”
Floating ping-pong ball – air support
70. “What about with the help of some air, specifically some wind?”
71. “Well, luckily I brought my wind machine with me today.” Show the audience the hair dryer.
72. “Now, let’s use the POWER of air to help this ball float in mid-air.”
74. “Ok, here we go.” With the hair dryer set on the cool setting, turn to high, direct the air stream towards the ceiling (point the hair dryer straight up), and carefully put the ping-pong ball into the air stream. If done correctly, the ball will seem to levitate (float) in mid-air. At first, keep the ball directly above the hair dryer, but after a few seconds, slowly tilt the hairdryer from side to side up to 45 degrees and watch the ball stay suspended in mid-air even though it is not directly above the hairdryer.
76. “The ball stays suspended by the air.”
77. “By itself the ball would fall, but the POWER of the air gives it strength to keep it from falling.”
Back to Peter
78. “Sound familiar?”
79. “Remember Peter from the story?”
80. “By himself he started to sink in the water.”
81. “But, he could walk on water by using the STRENGTH from God.”
82. “So, we just saw that air by itself can be very POWERFUL.”
83. “Remember the crushed can?”
84. “But it also has the power to GIVE STRENGTH.”
85. “Remember the ping-pong ball.”
Back to God
86. “But, what does that mean for us?”
87. “What does this have to do with God?”
88. “Well, remember air is invisible, yet can be felt.”
89. “God too is invisible, yet He too can be felt.”
90. “So, just as we can use the power of air to help us, God’s strength can become our strength.”
91. “In Psalms 62:7 the bible says ‘God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.'”
92. “In Isaiah 41:10, the bible says ‘Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.'”
93. “So, it is the invisible power of God that enables you to feel strength.”
94. “So remember, no matter how powerless you feel.”
95. “No matter how little control you seem to have.”
96. “You can seek strength through God, through Jesus.”
97. “There is nothing to fear, for all things are possible with God.”
98. “Well, I better get back to the lab.”
99. “I have lots to do to prepare for my next experiment.”
100. “You see, I think I discovered a way to change a yellow solution to a black one, change a clear solution to a red one, then combine the black and red solutions together and make them perfectly clear.”
101. “I just need to work the kinks out.”
102. “I will see you again soon.”
1. A video demonstration of crushing a can of soda using the power of air can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QVayky_b-6U
2. A video demonstration of floating a ping-pong ball using the power of air can be found at http://www.metacafe.com/watch/yt-6JcQzlZW3qc/hair_dryer_and_ping_pong/
Please send comments, suggestions, and questions to the ‘mad scientist’ at firstname.lastname@example.org
Mad About Jesus Laboratories
By Daniel A. Briere