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This article describes a very simple yet breathtakingly beautiful way to explain the relationship between God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and us (regular, old people here on earth) using four, different colored Styrofoam cups.
Often times, people are intimidated by the story of the Bible and God’s love for us. Even those who believe in Him and grew up around church culture can overthink and over-complicate the Gospel or the “good news” of Jesus.
A few of my very own thoughts and doubts have included: How in the world am I going to explain this to other people? How am I going to teach my own children this without using big, scary words like crucifixion and transgression? I don’t have the right words or vocabulary to feel comfortable talking about it with others. Besides, who is going to believe me, an exhausted mother of three with no formal Biblical training and a very short temper?
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Thankfully, it doesn’t take a degree from seminary, a perfect reputation or a lifetime of intense Bible Study to be able to teach others what it means to be a forgiven and deeply loved child of God. All you need is the grace of God, four Styrofoam cups, a little paint and about 5 minutes.
A few years ago, during my church’s summer VBS (Vacation Bible School), I watched as one of our pastors, Glenn Reese, used a set of four Styrofoam cups stacked snugly within each other like Russian nesting dolls to instruct children in the story of the Bible.
It was perhaps the most lovely and brilliant thing I have ever seen and I want to share it with you.
When I asked Pastor Glenn for permission to write about THE CUPS his response was, “I’m honored that you would want to do this and yes, use any way you can.” He also informed me that, about a year prior, a young man in our church named Josh Gellerstedt made a video of THE CUPS and put in on You Tube.
Even better! I contacted Josh and he, too, was more than happy to share. I have inserted the video below and under that I transcribed what is said in it.
Below the dictation, I have added a few photos and a quick walk through on how to make your very own set of (ultra-fancy and high-tech) cups.
Enjoy the video! It is a little more than 7 minutes long and I recommend watching until the very end to hear Pastor Glenn’s answers to a few tough questions.
THE CUPS VIDEO
The Cups Video Transcribed
The blue cup will represent God, the Father. The red cup will be his son, Jesus Christ. The brown cup will be me and you and all the people in the world and the green cup will be the Holy spirit.
Now I am going to move us out of the picture just for a minute.
God has chosen to let us know who he is as father and as son and as spirit. Jesus said, I and my father are one. You see me, you see him. The things that Jesus did while he was on the earth are exactly what God the father wanted done.
God and Jesus are one. Jesus was God on the earth teaching, walking, healing, sharing, loving and the Holy Spirit is God’s presence on earth in and through believers. So, God has chosen to let us know who he is as Father, and as Son and as Spirit.
Now, we come to God and sometimes we don’t even know what this God is or who this God is and sometimes we can’t even identify what’s going on inside but we know something’s not right. Something’s just out of kilter. And we can’t even identify it sometimes. But God is using events and people in our life to draw us to himself and sometimes we are unaware of it. And God does that because he loves us and he wants us with him and in his family now and forever.
And so, we come to God and we have this desire this… something inside that’s saying there’s got to be more. And so, we come to God, but it doesn’t work. And we often think, well… I guess I must clean up myself. I’ve got to get rid of some bad things and start doing the good things and then God will say, Okay, we can have a relationship!
Still doesn’t work.
Sometimes we try harder.
Still doesn’t work.
So, God let’s us know that we have a problem and the problem is sin and sin has separated us from God and no matter how hard we try to quit sinning and start doing what is right that’s not gonna make it because God says, “I’ve solved the sin problem for you. I’ve already done it in the person of my Son, Jesus Christ. I sent him to do what you could never do. I sent him to take all of your sins so that you could be completely forgiven. And if you will put your trust in who he is, God in the flesh, and what he did, His death on the cross, if you will put your faith in him you will be forgiven and you will be in my family forever.”
Now the Bible calls that Good News and it is! Just think about it… all of the things in your life that are not honoring God he gives to Jesus and you get forgiven. Pretty amazing! Good news! Yes, it is. And so, when a person puts their faith in Jesus Christ he is forgiven and because of what Jesus has done, he is in God’s family forever.
But it doesn’t stop there because God knows that we need help. Even after we believe in him, things aren’t perfect. And even after we trust in him and who he is and we love him and want to live for him, we still need help.
So, God has sent his Holy Spirit, who is really the presence of Jesus, to live in us. God knows we need a helper. As a matter of fact, Jesus calls the Holy Spirit “The Helper.” We need help. Jesus said it this way in the Gospel of John (John 14:20)… Jesus is speaking and he said, “In that day, you will know that I am in my father, you are in me and I am in you.”
That’s a beautiful truth and it’s the truth of the Bible. So, I have a question for you. Where are you? The best place to be is right here. It is not the issue of living a perfect life but it is the issue of a relationship with God through faith in his son, Jesus Christ.
How to Make Your Own Cups
- Buy a pack of Styrofoam cups from the grocery store (16 fluid oz size)
- Take out 4 of them
- Cut the rim off of one of the cups (this will be your RED cup)
- Take the cup you just cut and place it snugly on top of another cup.
- Cut away the extra at the bottom (this will be your BROWN cup)
- Take the new cup you just cut and place it firmly on to of another cup
- Cut away the extra at the bottom (this will be the smallest, GREEN cup)
- Paint one cup that has not been cut BLUE
- Paint the next size down RED
- Paint the next BROWN
- Paint the smallest cup GREEN
When the cups have dried, stack them together. They should all fit tightly within each other. Blue on top, then red, then brown, then green. When placed on a table, you should not be able to see the other cups inside the blue cup.
Viola! You are ready!
I pray this video inspires you to share the love of Jesus and truth of the Bible with others in your life.
Let me know what you think and if you have any other handy tools for sharing the Gospel with others in a simple and relevant way. And, if you enjoyed this, please feel free to share or pin the image below to one of your Pinterest boards.