Romans 12:1-8 – Who is Shaping You?

Reflecting and Doing

“Don’t let the world squeeze you into its mould.” Rom 12:2

We can explore the idea with this great all-age talk. Use it for Messy Church, holiday club, youth club, or for a sermon illustration that will stick in the memory for years.

There are two moulds, and you can use the two together or separately. For a longer hands-on session, have folks make their own moulds, which they can take away afterwards. For a shorter session, make or buy your moulds beforehand and just do a demonstration.

First, the instructions:

Squeggs (Cubic eggs)

You will need:

  • freshly boiled eggs
  • egg moulds (made or bought)
  • bowls of hot water and cold water
  • Sharp knife

This demonstration needs to be done immediately the eggs are boiled, so keep them in the hot water while you bring them from the hob.

You can make your own egg moulds (instructions below), or buy them. Here are links to some on Amazon. (Buying via the link supports this ministry.  Thank you xx)

Making the Mould

To make your own cube mould you will need:

  • empty fruit juice cartons (we need the waxed card)
  • pencils
  • scissors
  • staples
  • rubber bandscube net 3
  • This template (right) or rulers to draw your own
    • Template: Print out the image so that the squares are 1½” / 4cm across.
    • Draw: Draw six 1½” / 4cm squares and add a border all round. Trim off the corners and snip where shown.
    • (This size should fit a medium / large egg. You may like to experiment with the size to fit your eggs)

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  1. Open out the waxed card and cut out the shape.
  2. Score and fold to make a cube with waxed surface inside and the tabs outside.
  3. Staple the tabs together, as close to the fold as possible. Leave the lid free.

Making the Squeggs

  1. Take a hot, freshly-boiled egg and peel it. You may find rubber gloves useful if it is too hot to hold comfortably.
  2. Push the egg gently into the mould and squeeze the lid shut / screw the lid down, depending on you mould style.
  3. If you are using a card mould, use rubber bands to hold the lid down.
  4. Plunge the mould into a bowl of chilled water.
  5. After 10 minutes, take the egg out and it will keep its cube shape.
  6. Cut the egg in half and see that the yolk is cubic (ish) as well.

Heggs (Heart-shaped eggs)

You will need:

  • freshly boiled eggs
  • Chopsticks
  • Milk carton plastic or card approx 2” x 6” / 6cm x 15cm
  • Rubber bands
  • bowls of hot water and cold water
  • Sharp knife

This demonstration needs to be done immediately the eggs are boiled, so keep them in the hot water while you bring them from the hob.

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  1. Cut a rectangle of plastic or waxed card from the side of a carton of milk or fruit juice, and fold it down its length to form a long V-shaped trough.
  2. Take a hot, freshly-boiled egg and peel it. You may find rubber gloves useful if it is too hot to hold comfortably.
  3. Place egg long-ways in the card and lay the chopstick along the top.
  4. Use rubber bands to secure the ends of the chopstick to the ends of the V-trough.
  5. Make sure that the chopstick is pushing into the top of the egg.
  6. Plunge the whole contraption into chilled water for 10 minutes.
  7. Remove the card and chopstick and cut the egg in half.
  8. You will find a heart-shaped egg with a heart-shaped yolk.

Pondering – an All-Age Talk

Who likes eggs? (hands up) Boiled eggs? Scrambled? Fried? Me, I love fried egg sandwiches.

Now here’s a question for you. What shape are eggs? (answers)

Yes, that’s right, but did you know they can be different shapes?

Oh yes, I know fried eggs are a different shape from scrambled eggs, but even boiled eggs can be different shapes.

You don’t believe me? Let’s make some Squeggs!

(If making own moulds, do the cutting and stapling now, or use ready-made moulds)

(peel freshly boiled eggs with warnings about hot water, put in cube moulds)

Now we’ll leave those to cool for a few minutes, but I’m also going to do another egg. It’ll look a bit odd for now, so you’ll have to wait to see what happens in the end.

(put egg in Hegg mould)

(leave to cool – song)

Now you may be wondering what hard-boiled eggs have got to do with anything. The answer is – nothing at all, I just wanted them for my lunch!

No, not really. It’s all about our reading today. Listen to the reading and see if you can spot the link.

(Rom 12:1-8, preferably in Phillips’ translation)

Did you hear the link? (answers)

“Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re-mould your minds from within.”

Yes, it’s all about moulding.

The world we live in puts lots of pressures on us, like the Squegg moulds that are squeezing the eggs in to a shape.

Some of these pressures come from the television – adverts that tell us we need the latest phone or game or toy or beautiful, silky underarms. If we don’t have those then we’re somehow not as good as other people, or so the TV ads would have us believe.

Now there’s nothing wrong with having beautiful, silky underarms or buying your insurance from a man with an improbably wavy moustache, but is that really what’s important? How many people lie on their deathbeds and murmur softly, “I should’ve gone to Specsavers”?

But it’s not just advertising that puts us under pressure. Our work or our studies do it too. We can feel under pressure to work long hours, to earn more money or to get good grades. Now, it’s good to study hard and to do our best at work, but is it the most important thing in life? I’d say no, no matter what your geography teacher or your boss might say.

And what about other pressures? There are pressures in relationships – those can be some of the heaviest pressures – and we often put pressures on ourselves. What kinds of pressure might there be?

(answers – keep up with the Joneses, drink/drugs, get married, have kids, be fashionable, say the right things, come to church, etc)

What does the Bible say about these pressures? It says, “Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould.”

(remove Squegg from mould)

Let’s look at our eggs. They have been under pressure from the outside and it has changed them. Look. It has changed the outside of the egg, and even when the pressure has gone the egg still stays the same shape. Why is that?

(cut egg)

The problem is that the pressure on the outside has changed the egg on the inside too. See the yolk is has got corners as well. The things that put us under pressure on the outside can affect how we are on the inside too.

But God has a different plan.

He’ll just take all the pressure off and let us be any old shape we like, yes? No. He wants to change us alright, but from the inside out. “let God re-mould your minds from within.”

Now, I can’t change an egg from the inside, because I’m not God. but I can show you a picture of what it sometimes feels like.

(show Hegg mould)

This looks very strange. The Squegg mould looks like a cube and makes cube eggs, but this looks like nothing on earth. Whatever am I trying to do with this egg? Sometimes I think that with God. Whatever is God trying to do with me? Squished in here, squashed in there, bits poking and bending me in all kinds of ways I don’t find comfortable – not comfortable at all.

(remove Hegg from mould)

And even when the moulding is finished (not that God is ever finished with re-moulding me), it still looks like nothing on earth. What a weird shape this is!

But in the end, when I stand before my Lord, I hope that something of his remoulding will be visible, that something of his work in me will have made a difference and left its mark … in my heart.

(cut Hegg)

Responding

What pressures does the world put on me from the outside?

What pressures does God put on me from inside?

Reading

Romans 12:1-8 J.B. Phillips New Testament

With eyes wide open to the mercies of God, I beg you, my brothers, as an act of intelligent worship, to give him your bodies, as a living sacrifice, consecrated to him and acceptable by him. Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re-mould your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all his demands and moves towards the goal of true maturity.

As your spiritual teacher I give this piece of advice to each one of you. Don’t cherish exaggerated ideas of yourself or your importance, but try to have a sane estimate of your capabilities by the light of the faith that God has given to you all. For just as you have many members in one physical body and those members differ in their functions, so we, though many in number, compose one body in Christ and are all members of one another. Through the grace of God we have different gifts. If our gift is preaching, let us preach to the limit of our vision. If it is serving others let us concentrate on our service; if it is teaching let us give all we have to our teaching; and if our gift be the stimulating of the faith of others let us set ourselves to it. Let the man who is called to give, give freely; let the man who wields authority think of his responsibility; and let the man who feels sympathy for his fellows act cheerfully.

Credits

J.B. Phillips New Testament

The New Testament in Modern English by J.B Phillips copyright © 1960, 1972 J. B. Phillips.

More info on egg moulding at https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/shape-shifting-science-molding-hard-boiled-eggs/


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