A Clean Heart
PATHWAYSelf: Health and Lifestyle
AGE GROUP10-12 years
Anticipate Time2 hours min
GROUP SIZE2-5, 5-15, 15-30, 30
ValuesCourage, Purity, Trust
Each of us is given a heart that can function in a number of amazing ways. That heart both supports our physical body and gives us the strength to work and play. God also refers to giving us ‘a clean heart’ a special peace that gives a sense that God is with us. We could get technical and argue that God’s love doesn’t actually affect our physical heart. Tell that to someone who has felt the tightness leave their chest when they felt that they were loved and safe! While we need to care for and protect our bodies, we also need to remember to ask God to care for and protect our ‘spiritual’ heart.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.
Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
- Introduce this Pursuit by reading the material in the Appendix “A Clean Heart” to your Pathfinders. Tell them you want them to think about their hearts as they complete the obstacle course.
- Before commencing the obstacle course, ask each of your Pathfinders to take their pulse. You can take a carotid pulse (two fingers on the side of the neck) or a radial pulse (two fingers resting lightly on the inside of the wrist). Have them write down their results on the chart.
- Using a stopwatch, have them commence activity and continue moving through the obstacle course for 10 minutes.
- Have the Pathfinders stop, and take their pulse again. Once again, record the results on their chart.
- Read the memory verse (Psalms 51:7-10). Ask your Pathfinders to tell you what they think it means to have a ‘pure’ or a ‘clean’ heart in God’s eyes. Proceed through the debriefing questions.
- Have your Pathfinders take their heart rate one last time. Has their heart rate returned to normal? The more often that we exercise, the quicker our heart rate returns to its resting state. The sign of a strong athlete is one who has a slow, regular heart-beat. (e.g. Legendary Australian swimmer, Ian Thorpe has a resting heart rate of around 40 beats per minute)
Leaders, be sure to follow up on discussing when and how the Pathfinders saw the memory text in action throughout this Pursuit.
Select from the questions below:
- What does it mean in the Bible when it talks about having a ‘clean heart’?
- What are two things that will keep your heart healthy?
- What are two things you do that will harm your heart?
- Why is it important to God that we look after our bodies?
- Our text talks about our heart – is it talking about our physical heart or something else?
- What does it take to keep our physical heart healthy?
- How can you use the things you have learned today to keep your physical heart healthy?
- How can you use the things you have learned today to keep your spiritual heart healthy?
- What does it mean to commit your ‘heart’ to God?
- Are you prepared to commit your heart to God, and let Him make it clean for you?
What is a clean heart?
How can we acquire one?
The heart is no more, no less than a pump.
Your heart is an amazing machine, that supports you and keeps you alive.
During any day, it beats around 100,000 times. That’s a lot of heartbeats! Multiply that by the average number of days a person lives in their life, and you get about 2.5 billion heartbeats in a lifetime. Can you imagine how tired your heart must get after doing all that work?
We often don’t think about our heart as being part of our muscles, but it is. If we do our curls and flexes to strengthen our biceps, how much more important do you think it is to exercise the heart?
I want you to do something for me. Curl the fingers of one hand lightly around the wrist of your opposite hand. (demonstrate) Make sure they are on the thumb side of your wrist. Press gently, but not too firmly, or you will block the artery. Can you feel it? That’s your pulse.
What I want you to do is to close your eyes, and concentrate on the feel of the pulse at your wrist. Close your eyes.
There are waves of pressure as your heart beats. What you can feel is your heart contracting and relaxing. As it contracts, it pushes the blood out of the heart into the arteries. As it relaxes, the heart draws in another gulp of blood, ready to begin all over again. That is your life you can feel, right there, at your fingertips. Feel it patiently pumping away, silently supplying blood all over your body.
Open your eyes.
Do you think about your heart very often? I’ll bet you don’t! We’re too busy to stop and think about the body that keeps us going. The risk of dying of heart disease is huge in Australia. One in three women will have heart disease, and one in two men. Think of all that fat, sloshing around in your heart. Think of it sticking to the walls of your heart, clogging up the arteries. Yuck! Who wants that!
What are the things that can help to keep our heart healthy?
- Eat a diet that is low in fat
- Don’t smoke
- Watch your weight
- Exercise often for at least 1/2 an hour at a time
- Don’t eat too much sugar
- Take it easy if you are getting stressed
Eat good food, and make sure you exercise. Exercise is simple. Just get out in the fresh air, and MOVE! Take care of your body – it’s the only one you’ve got! This Heart Rate table is reproduced 4 to a page in the handouts section:
|Heart Rate||Time of Reading||My Heart Rate|
|Resting Heart Rate (Start)|
|Active Heart Rate|
|Resting Heart Rate (Finish)|
Me: on the Inside
Learning Center 1: Option 2
From “Structure Experiences in Wellness and Emotion” Edited by Tubseling and Tubseling (1983) Whole Person Press (Heartwarmers 72,3)
Learning Center 2
1. When someone ignores me I feel ________________________________________
2. When someone cries I feel _____________________________________________
3. When someone praises me I feel ________________________________________
4. When someone talks about themselves all the time I feel ______________________
5. When someone gets mad at me I feel _____________________________________
6. When I am attracted to someone, I feel ____________________________________
7. When someone really cares for me I feel ___________________________________
8. When someone acts superior to me I feel ___________________________________
9. When someone breaks a confidence I feel __________________________________
10. When someone is very late for an appointment I feel _________________________
11. When I am in a group of strangers I feel ___________________________________
12. When someone really listens to and understands me I feel _____________________
For older Pathfinders:
In which, if any, of the above situations do you have conflicting feelings?