This Challenge teaches that we don’t always get to choose our circumstances, but we always get to choose our attitude about those circumstances. It highlights Joseph’s way of handling his enslavement to Potiphar in Genesis 39:1-20. The activity is based on the game of Simon Says.
- Egyptian headdress for participants to wear as they play the role of Potiphar (1 per group) – OPTIONAL
- Challenge Card (The file for printing is called, “JJ – Potiphar Says – Challenge Card (CHALLENGE),” and it can be found on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at www.teachingthem.com. This can be printed in black and white on regular paper. There are two Challenge Cards per page.)
- Ziplock bags – gallon size – 1 per group
- Create the headdress (OPTIONAL)
- Print out the Challenge Card document.
- Cut the Challenge Card document in half (each half is identical), and put one in each Ziplock bag (one per group).
- Put the headdress in the Ziplock if it will fit or tape it to the bag if needed.
- Practice the script.
Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):
- “We’re going to do a group Challenge today.”
- “It’s called, “Potiphar Says” and it’s part of the Joseph’s Journey Series.”
- “First, I’ll need to divide you into groups.” (Divide the participants into the number of groups for which you have prepared kits.)
- “Each group will have a Ziplock bag with a Challenge Card, and an Egyptian headdress.”
- “When I tell you to go, open your Ziplock bags, and read the Challenge Card.” (Allow them to read the Challenge Card.)
- “This challenge is about Joseph from the Bible.”
- “He was his father’s favorite son but his brothers’ least favorite sibling.”
- “In fact, they hated him so much that they sold him into slavery!”
- “A passing band of Ishmaelites bought Joseph and took him to Egypt, where they sold him to a man named Potiphar, one of Pharoah’s officials.”
- “How many of you think being a slave would be really unfair and not much fun?” (Take responses.)
- “Let’s play a game like ‘Simon Says’ that will help us understand a little bit what it’s like to be a slave. It’s called ‘Potiphar Says.’”
- “Everyone stand up.”
- “I’m going to be Potiphar for the first round.” (Or pick one of the participants to be Potiphar. Have “Potiphar” put on the Egyptian Headdress.)
- “Potiphar is going to ask you to do several things. If he says ‘Potiphar says’ before the thing you are asked to do, then you should do it.”
- “However, if he doesn’t say ‘Potiphar says’ before the thing he asks you to do, you shouldn’t do it.”
- “If you do something when he doesn’t say ‘Potiphar says,’ you have to sit down.”
- “The last person standing gets to be ‘Potiphar.’”
- “Is everyone clear on the rules?” (Check to make sure everyone is clear.)
- “Okay, let’s play:” (Play a round of ‘Potiphar Says.’ If you are leading, you can ask the participants to touch their noses, raise their hands above their heads, hop on one foot, etc… Mix up the times you say, ‘Potiphar says,’ to try to catch them off guard. The rounds will go quickly, so let several participants be “Potiphar” before you finish.)
- “That was fun! Probably a lot more fun than Joseph had following Potiphar’s orders, don’t you think?”
- “But you know what really impresses me about Joseph?”
- “Even though the whole thing was unfair…even though he had lost his family and his home and his country and his freedom, Joseph still had a great attitude about the whole thing.”
- “He could have kicked the dirt and complained about how unfair it all was, but he didn’t.”
- “He did his job the best he could. In fact, he did it so well that Potiphar put him in charge of everything!”
- “Joseph kept trusting in God and doing the best he could. He made the best of a bad situation, and God blessed him.”
- “And because Joseph was blessed, Potiphar’s entire household was blessed.”
- “And you know what? The same thing can happen with you!”
- “In your life, you will be in bad situations sometimes. You will be in unfair situations sometimes.”
- “You may not be able to do much about the bad situation, but you can choose your attitude.”
- “If you choose to keep trusting in God when things are bad, He will bless you and everything and everyone around you!”
- “When someone has a great attitude in a bad situation, it really gets peoples’ attention.”
- “They wonder why you have such a great attitude, and they will probably even ask you about it.”
- “When they do, that is your opportunity to tell them about how wonderful God is and how you can trust in him to use ALL things in your life for your benefit.”
- “So, everyone try to be like Joseph in Potiphar’s house – keep doing your best and trusting in God, and then watch and see how He will bless you and those around you!” (When you are finished, have them answer the Debrief Questions below (also on their Challenge Cards). The Rhyme Time is to help them recognize that even when life isn’t fair, God is watching over them. He won’t allow more struggles that they are able to handle with His help, and if they do their best, they will have His blessing.)
- What would be the most difficult thing about being a slave?
- Do you ever have to do things you don’t want to do, because someone makes you do them?
- How can you be more like Joseph in those situations?
Even when life is so unfair,
God won’t allow more than I can bear.
Filed under Attitude, Challenges, Choices, Coping skills, Energizer, Game, Hardship, Joseph, Object Lesson, Overcoming obstacles, Waiting on the Lord
This object lesson teaches that we have no light of our own but that we are called to reflect God’s light to the world. It uses the story of Moses’ glowing face when he came down from Mount Sinai after meeting with God to make the point that the more time we spend with God, the more we will reflect His glory.
- Exodus 34:29-35
- Matthew 5:14-16
- John 8:12
- 2 Corinthians 3:18
- Small mirrors or other reflective surfaces (at least 5-6, but you may want more if you want the entire audience to participate)
- A bright light source and power to make it work (a large flashlight or lamp would work)
- A barrier behind which you will hide the light source (It should hide the light source from the audience.)
- Something (or someone) that can hold the light source steady and point it toward the front of the room.
- Anything you need to darken the room (You will need to block light coming from windows, doors and artificial light sources.)
- Set up the barrier near the front of the room but off to the side. It should allow the light source to show toward the front of the room but be concealed to all other parts of the room.
- Set up the light source and angle the light so that it points toward the front of the room. Turn the light on before you begin your lesson.
- Block light coming from any other light source (but leave the lights on until the appropriate time to turn them off in your lesson).
- Ask someone to turn off the lights for you when you give the signal.
- Set the mirrors or reflective surfaces near the front of the room where you can access them easily.
- Practice the script.
Use the following script and instructions (or modify to suit your needs):
- “One of the most important things we can do as Christians is to give glory to God.”
- “In the book of Exodus (2nd book of the Bible in the OT), it tells the story of Moses when he came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets that had the ‘Ten Commandments’ on them.” (Have someone read Exodus 34:29-35.)
- “Because Moses had been spending so much time with God up on the mountain, when he came down, his face glowed with the glory of the Lord!”
- “It was so bright that the Israelites were afraid of Moses at first, and he had to put a veil over his face when he talked to them.”
- “Paul talks about this story in 2 Corinthians 3:18 (have someone read the Scripture), but he says we should act differently than Moses.”
- “We shouldn’t put a veil over God’s glory; we should let it reflect off of us as brightly as possible.”
- “In fact, he says that as we are being transformed to look more and more like Jesus, we will reflect more and more of God’s glory.”
- “It’s important to remember, though, that this glory isn’t from us.”
- “We don’t have any light of our own.”
- “All our light is reflected light from God.”
- “We should be like this mirror.” (Hold up a mirror to show the audience.)
- “How much light does the mirror emit by itself?” (Acknowledge responses, and lead them to the correct answer if they get it wrong.)
- “The truth is that the mirror cannot create light; it can only reflect light.”
- “Let me show you what I mean.” (Have your volunteer turn off the lights. Be careful not to angle your mirror toward your hidden light source. You don’t want it to reflect any light yet.)
- “What happened?” (Acknowledge responses.)
- “When the lights went out, you couldn’t really see the mirror anymore.”
- “Why is that?” (Acknowledge responses, and guide them toward the right answer – it doesn’t emit any light of its own.)
- “The mirror only reflects – it doesn’t create light.”
- “But who has noticed that there is a light source somewhere in the room?” (Acknowledge responses.)
- “Right! There is a light coming from over there!”
- “Now, none of you can actually see the light source, but you can see the evidence of the light source.”
- “What I mean is that you don’t know what is actually making the light, but you can see what it does – it makes things brighter and better.”
- “God is like that for most of the people in the world.”
- “We can’t see Him, but we can see what He does – He makes things brighter and better.”
- “He pushes back darkness and shines His glory in the world.”
- “Most people don’t know what the Light Source of the world is, but Christians do!”
- “If you are a Christian, you know where the light in the world comes from; it comes from Jesus.”
- “In John 8:12, Jesus tells us, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’”
- “That’s pretty cool – we’ll have the light of life and won’t walk in darkness.” (Angle your mirror so that it catches the light, but point the light away from the audience.)
- “But we aren’t supposed to just keep the light for ourselves.”
- “Jesus was the light in the world while He was here on earth, but now He has gone back to heaven, and no one can see Him.”
- “That’s why he tells His followers in Matthew 5:14, ‘You are the light of the world.’” (Have someone read Matthew 5:14-16.)
- “He tells them, ‘Let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.’”
- “We can’t keep this light to ourselves – we have to let it shine!” (Angle your mirror so that the light falls on someone in the audience.)
- “Here’s what’s great! When you let the light of Jesus shine on someone, there’s a good chance that they will want see that light for themselves.” (Invite the person you shined the light on to come to the front of the room. Give him or her a mirror, and show him or her how to catch the light and angle it toward someone else in the audience.)
- “If they do, then they will start to reflect the light of Jesus in the world, and the person they shine it on might want to see the Light Source for himself/herself.” (Invite the person your volunteer shined the light on to come get a mirror and repeat the process. You can do this as many times as you would like to multiply the number of people shining the light of Jesus.)
- “How cool is this!”
- “By shining the light of Jesus out into the world, we help people recognize how much God loves them.”
- “When people know how much God loves them, they usually will want to see the Light Source for themselves.”
- “But we can’t keep the light to ourselves.” (Have all the mirror-holders angle their mirrors away from the audience.)
- “That would be selfish and disobedient to what God has asked us to do, and no one would know how much God loves them.” (Have them angle their mirrors back toward the audience and move them around so that the light dances around the room.)
- “Jesus tells us how we can reflect His light.”
- “He says in Matthew 14-16 that when we do good deeds because of our love of God, His light will reflect off of us, and people will praise God.”
- “So we’ve got to find ways to do good things for people who don’t know God.”
- “Right now, I want you to quickly think of one good thing you could do for someone (especially someone who doesn’t know God).”
- “Tell the person next to you what you thought of.” (Allow a few moments for them to share their idea.)
- “Who will actually go and do what you thought of?” (Acknowledge responses.)
- “Excellent! That is how we can reflect God’s glory in the world!!” (Thank your volunteers, and let them return to their seats as you have your volunteer turn the lights back on.)