Category Archives: Abraham

Bargaining with God (DEVOTION)


As a group, read the following Scriptures, and then discuss the questions below.

  • Genesis 18:16-33
  • 2 Kings 20:1-6
  1. Do you think it’s okay to “bargain” with God?  Why or why not?
  2. How would you compare or contrast these two examples of bargaining with God?
  3. Do you think it’s possible to change God’s mind through these types of prayers?  Why or why not?
  4. If you continue reading in Genesis 19, you learn that Lot was saved with his two daughters.  But shortly afterwards, Lot got drunk, and his daughters slept with him.  From these incestuous acts, the nations of Moab and Ammon were created.  These two nations became a thorn in the side of Israel, waging war with them and leading their people into idolatry.  Do you think Abraham would have bargained for Lot if he had known what the outcome would be?  Why or why not?
  5. If you keep reading in 2 Kings 20 (verses 12-18), you learn that after Hezekiah recovered, he welcomed emissaries from Babylon and showed them all the treasures of his kingdom.  Isaiah tells Hezekiah that his pride has caused the future downfall of Israel and that all these treasures will be carried away to Babylon.  Hezekiah lived 15 more years, and during that time, he fathered Manasseh, who reigned 55 years and undid almost all the good work his father had done.  He led Israel into idolatry and “shed so much innocent blood that he filled Jerusalem from end to end…” (2 Kings 21:1-18)  If Hezekiah had known the final outcome of his bargaining, do you think he would still have done it to gain 15 more years of life?  Why or why not?
  6. Back to the first question…Do you think it’s okay to “bargain” with God?  Why or why not?
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Filed under Abraham, Abram, Hezekiah, Negotiation, prayer

Name Change Toss (GAME)


Time

10-15 minutes
Description

God often changed someone’s name in Scripture to identify his or her potential, and other people in authority renamed characters for various reasons. This matching game challenges children to select both the old and new names of the Biblical characters and throw a beanbag on each one to earn points.

 

Scriptures

  • John 1:40-42

 

Materials

  • Masking tape (1 roll)
  • Permanent marker (1 – darker color)
  • Name cards (A PowerPoint file with these names is available on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at www.teachingthem.comin the file called, “Name Change Toss – Name Cards.”):
    • Abram (Exalted Father); Abraham (Father of Many)
    • Sarai (Argumentative); Sarah (Princess)
    • Jacob (Deceiver); Israel (He Struggles With God)
    • Ben-Oni (Son of My Trouble); Benjamin (Son of My Right Hand)
    • Lo-Ruhamah (Not Loved); Ruhamah (Loved)
    • Lo-Ammi (Not My People); Ammi (My People)
    • Simon (Listens and Obeys); Peter (the Rock)
    • Saul (Prayed For); Paul (Humble)
  • Beanbags (2) or something similar that children can toss onto the grid
  • Bible

 

Preparation

  • Select a space to play the game.
  • Create your 4×4 grid with masking tape (each square should be about 8”x8”).
  • Create or print your name cards.
  • Lay the name cards down (one per square in the grid) in random order (face-up). Separate the old and new names from each other.
  • Lay down a strip of masking tape about six feet away from the grid, and label it, “Tossing Line” with a permanent marker.
  • Have your beanbags ready
  • Practice the script.

 

Procedure

Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

  • “In Bible times, your name was very important.  It told what people could expect from you.”
  • “When God changed your name, it was because He knew your potential and wanted to share His plan for your future.”
  • “Can anyone think of someone from the Bible who had their name changed?”  (Acknowledge responses, and share the meanings of any of the following names that are mentioned.
    • Abram (Exalted Father); Abraham (Father of Many)
    • Sarai (Argumentative); Sarah (Princess)
    • Jacob (Deceiver); Israel (He Struggles With God)
    • Ben-Oni (Son of My Trouble); Benjamin (Son of My Right Hand)
    • Lo-Ruhamah (Not Loved); Ruhamah (Loved)
    • Lo-Ammi (Not My People); Ammi (My People)
    • Simon (Listens and Obeys); Peter (the Rock)
    • Saul (Prayed For); Paul (Humble))
  • “Let’s play a game to try to match the old and new names of some of these biblical characters.”
  • “Follow me over to this grid that I’ve made on the floor.” (Lead children to the grid.)
  • “You will take turns throwing the beanbags and trying to hit both the old and new names.”
  • “You have to make your toss from this line.” (Point out the Tossing Line.)
  • “If you get both the old and new names for any person, you can remove both cards, get two points and try again.”
  • “If your beanbags land on names that aren’t a match or off the grid, the next person in line gets to try.”
  • “The person with the most points when all the cards have been collected wins.”
  • “Does anyone have any questions?”  (Answer questions, and then line up the children behind the Tossing Line.  Let them take turns tossing two beanbags each.  If they get a match, they can collect the cards and try again.  If they don’t, the next person in line gets a turn, and the person who missed rotates to the back of the line. Play several rounds if you have time, and then ask the Debrief Questions below.)

 

Debrief Questions

  1. How important do you think your name is in today’s times?
  2. Why do you think Jesus changed Peter’s name from Simon to Peter?
  3. How do you think it made Peter feel?
  4. Do you think Peter ever became a “rock” for God?  Why or why not?

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Filed under Abraham, Abram, Game, Names, Paul, Peter, Purpose, Sarah

God’s Permissive Will (OBJ LESSON)


Time

45 minutes
Audience

Children, Teens, Adults

 

Description

This object lesson teaches about how God’s permissive will works with God’s unchangeable will.  It uses the stories of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph and his brothers to illustrate how God allows us to make choices but brings even our bad choices and sin into alignment with his perfect will in the end.

 

Scriptures

  • Genesis 2:16-17; 37-50
  • Numbers 23:19
  • Deuteronomy 30:15-20
  • Joshua 24:14-15
  • 1 Samuel 15:29
  • Malachi 3:6
  • Romans 8:28
  • Hebrews 6:17
  • James 1:17

 

Materials

  • One red rope – about 15-20 ft long
  • Five ropes (any color other than red) – about 15-20 ft long each
  • Printout of the file, “JJ  – God’s Permissive Will – Choices Cards (OBJ LESSON).” 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.
  • 70 clothespins
  • Large paper clip or rubber band
  • Bag to hold clothespins, Choice Cards and ropes

 

Preparation

  • Print out “JJ – God’s Permissive Will – Choice Cards.”  (There are 35 pages.)
  • Cut each of the pages in half down the line in the middle to make 70 separate Choice Cards.
  • Put ropes in your bag
  • Put the clothespins in your bag so that you can carry them during your lesson.
  • Put the Choice Cards in numerical order (the numbers are on each card) with #1 on top and all the rest following.
  • Clip or rubber band these cards together, and put them in your bag.
  • Practice the script.

 

Procedure

Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

  • “God’s will is difficult to understand.”
  • “In some parts of the Bible, it says that God’s will never changes.”  (Have volunteer(s) read one or more of the following Scriptures out loud: Numbers 23:19, 1 Samuel 15:29, Malachi 3:6, Hebrews 6:17, James 1:17.)
  • “But we know from other parts of the Bible that God allows us to have free will – meaning, He lets us make choices.”  (Have a volunteer(s) read one or more of the following Scriptures out loud: Genesis 2:16-17, Deuteronomy 30:15-20, Joshua 24:14-15.)
  • “This is sometimes called ‘God’s permissive will,’ which means that God gives us permission to choose to do something different than His will.”
  • “These Scriptures make me wonder how God’s will can always stay the same even though we do things that are not in His will.”
  • “Why don’t our bad decisions mess up God’s perfect and unchanging will?”
  • “I’m going to show you how this all works.”  (Ask for two volunteers.  Give them each one end of the red rope, and have them stretch it out as far as it will go across the room.)
  • “Let’s say that this is God’s unchanging will.”
  • “It stays the same no matter what.”
  • “On this end, we have ‘Before time began,’ and on the other side, we have ‘Eternity.’”
  • “God’s will is outside of time.  It was here before time began and will continue on after time ends.”
  • “This rope represents our free will.”
  • “There was a time in the Garden of Eden when God’s will and man’s free will were tied together.”  (Tie the two ropes together near the ‘Before time began” end.)
  • “But that didn’t last long, because Adam and Eve chose to do something against God’s will when they ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.”
  • “Whenever people step away from God’s will by using their free will to do something wrong, it looks like this.”  (Ask for another volunteer to come up and hold the “free will” rope away from the “God’s Will” rope.  Leave the two ropes tied together, but have the volunteer just hold the rope a few steps away from the “God’s Will” rope.)
  • “That first sin was followed by many more, and I don’t have time to tell you about all of them.”
  • “Instead, I’ll focus just on one family – the family of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph.”
  • “I’m picking this family, because they are God’s chosen people, the ones He made a promise to bless.”
  • “The story started with God making a promise to Abraham.  Abraham was old and didn’t have any children, but God promised to make him the father of many nations.  His son Isaac was the child of that promise.”
  • “At this point, Abraham’s free will was lined up with God’s will, so the two ropes are together.”  (Have volunteer who has the “free will” rope come back to the red “God’s will” rope and hold both ropes together.  Pull out Choice Card #1 from your bag.  Show it to the audience. Clip the two ropes together using a clothespin.  Anytime a Choice Card says, ‘GOD’S WILL – BOTH ROPES’ at the bottom, clip the two ropes together.)
  • “Isaac grew up and got married.  His wife Rebekah couldn’t have children, so he prayed for her.  God answered his prayer and gave them two children, Esau and Jacob.”
  • “What do you think?  Was Isaac’s free will still lined up with God’s will at this point?”  (Listen to responses.)
  • “Sure it was!  Isaac wanted what God wanted, and God blessed him with two children.”  (Show Choice Card #2, and use the clothespin to clip the two ropes together.)
  • “Esau and Jacob fought with each other in their mother’s womb, and God told Rebekah that Jacob would one day rule over his brother Esau.”
  • “Do you think it God’s will that the babies fought in the womb?”  (Listen to responses.)
  • “I don’t know for sure if babies know enough to use their free will, but let’s say that it could be possible.”
  • “That means that their free will separated from God’s will.”  (Have ‘free will’ rope volunteer take a step away from the ‘God’s will’ rope so that the two ropes separate.  Make sure he/she doesn’t pull hard on the rope and rip the Choice Cards that are already on it.  Use a clothespin to clip Choice Card #3 to just the ‘free will’ rope. Draw out Choice Card #4, and show audience.)
  • “Jacob’s name in Hebrew means, ‘He deceives,’ and it’s a great name for Jacob.  He was one of the trickiest people in the whole Bible.  The first trick we know about is when he convinced his brother, Esau, to sell him the birthright of the firstborn son in exchange for a bowl of stew!”
  • “The birthright of the firstborn son was a special privilege given to the boy who was born first, and it made him the leader of the family when the father died.  It also gave him twice the inheritance of the other children, so it was pretty important.”
  • “Now we know that God said Jacob would one day rule over Esau, but I’m pretty sure this is not how God planned for it to happen.”
  • “God didn’t need Jacob to trick Esau.  God would have made His will come true without tricks.”
  • “So, this choice that Jacob made was definitely away from God’s will!”  (Clip Choice Card #4 with a clothespin to just the ‘free will’ rope.  If you have lots of participants, you could give the choice card to a volunteer and have him/her clip it and then stand by it to represent that choice.  There will be 70 choices total, so you might have each volunteer represent several choices.  Draw out the remaining Choice Cards in numerical order while telling the story of God’s chosen people.  The cards are listed below for your reference along with important story elements.)
  1. REBEKAH AND JACOB – Tricked Isaac into giving Esau’s blessing to Jacob (It wasn’t enough that Jacob stole the birthright from Esau; he felt he had to steal his blessing, too.  (The blessing was a special gift from the father that helped a child to know what his or her future would be like.)) FREE WILL ROPE
  2. ESAU – Threatened to kill his brother, Jacob (Esau was so mad when he found out, that he promised to kill Jacob as soon as their father died.) FREE WILL ROPE
  3. REBEKAH – Tricked her husband, Isaac, into sending Jacob away to find a wife among her brother’s people (Now we know where Jacob learned to be so tricky.  His mom was a trickster, too!  She saved Jacob’s life by sending him where Esau couldn’t get him.  It’s good that she saved Jacob’s life, but she didn’t trust God to help.  Instead, she told a lie.  That’s away from God’s will.)  FREE WILL ROPE
  4. GOD – Promised land to Jacob in a dream and told him that he would have many descendants (God met Jacob while he was running away and renewed the promise that He had made to Abraham and Isaac.)  BOTH ROPES
  5. JACOB – Fell in love with Rachel as soon as he saw her (When Jacob arrived at the land of his relatives, he saw a girl named Rachel and fell in love with her.  God wants us to fall in love.  This was lined up with God’s will.)  BOTH ROPES
  6. JACOB – Worked for Laban for seven years in order to marry his daughter, Rachel. (It was the custom for these people at this time that a man would pay a woman’s father for the privilege of marrying her.  Jacob didn’t have any money or property, so he worked for seven years as payment.  This was honorable behavior.)  BOTH ROPES
  7. LABAN – Tricked Jacob into marrying Rachel’s older sister, Leah (Jacob wasn’t the only tricky person.  His uncle Laban wanted to marry his oldest daughter off before Rachel got married, so he tricked Jacob into marrying her. That’s definitely away from God’s will.)  FREE WILL ROPE (have volunteer step away from ‘God’s Will’ rope to hold ‘free will rope’ and show the distance between the two.  You might want to have them step in the other direction from the first time in order to make the best use of space.)
  8. JACOB – Was angry with Laban but agreed to work for Laban for seven more years so that he could marry Rachel, too.  (Jacob loved Rachel very much and still wanted to marry her, so even though he had been tricked, he agreed to work seven more years to pay for her hand in marriage.  That’s pretty romantic, but the problem with it is that God doesn’t want us to marry more than one person.  This is away from God’s will.)  FREE WILL ROPE
  9. LABAN – Tricked Jacob many times in order to make him keep working for him. (Laban wasn’t satisfied with having Jacob work for him for 14 years. Jacob was a talented shepherd, and Laban got rich while Jacob was taking care of his sheep.) FREE WILL ROPE
  10. 14.  GOD – Blessed Jacob by giving him many herds and many children (12 sons and 1 daughter).  (This is the beginning of God fulfilling His promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.) BOTH ROPES
  11. 15.  RACHEL and LEAH – Competed with each other to see who could have the most sons for Jacob.  (In their culture, they believed that you were more important if you had more sons.  Leah was able to have six boys, but Jacob didn’t love her.  He loved Rachel, but she couldn’t have children for many years until God finally let her have Joseph and Benjamin towards the end of her life.)  FREE WILL ROPE
  12. JACOB – Ran away from Laban.  Laban chased him, but God warned Laban in a dream not to hurt Jacob.  (I’m not sure if it was God’s will for Jacob to run away or not, but God protected Jacob, so we will say that this was lined up with God’s will.) BOTH ROPES
  13. JACOB – Wrestled with God until God gave Jacob a blessing. (While Jacob was traveling back to the land his family lived in, and angel of the Lord (probably Jesus) came to earth and wrestled Jacob.  Jacob wouldn’t let go until God blessed him.)  BOTH ROPES
  14. 18.  ESAU – Forgave his brother Jacob, because he had been very blessed by God over the years they were apart.  (Jacob was worried about his brother still being mad at him, but he was surprised to find that Esau had totally forgiven him.)  BOTH ROPES
  15. SIMEON AND LEVI – Took revenge on people who hurt their sister, Dinah, by killing all the men in the town.  (When Jacob settled his family in Shechem, a man hurt his daughter, Dinah.  Her brothers took revenge by killing every single man in the town.  Jacob never forgave his sons for what they did.)  FREE WILL ROPE
  16. GOD – Allowed Rachel to die giving birth to Benjamin, Jacob’s youngest child.  (Sometimes God allows bad things to happen, and we don’t understand why.  There are times when we find out later what God was doing, but we won’t know all God’s reasons for what He allows to happen.  We just have to trust Him.)  BOTH ROPES
  17. JACOB – Loved Joseph more than any of his other children.  (Because Joseph was the firstborn child of Rachel, the wife Jacob loved and because some of his other sons had disappointed him, Jacob showed favoritism to Joseph.)  FREE WILL ROPE
  18. 22.  JOSEPH – Told his father about the bad things his brothers had been doing. (Joseph saw his brothers do some pretty bad stuff, and he told his dad about it.  I think it was the right thing to do, but it made his brothers really mad at him.)  BOTH ROPES
  19. 23.  JOSEPH’S BROTHERS – Hated Joseph because their father loved him more.  (It was obvious to his brothers that Joseph was their dad’s favorite, so they hated him.)  FREE WILL ROPE
  20. 24.  JOSEPH – Had two prophetic dreams that showed he would one day rule over his family.  (These dreams were from God, because they eventually came true.)  BOTH ROPES
  21. JOSEPH – Told his brothers about his dreams. (I think this was a mistake.  Joseph might have been showing off to his family, and all it did was make them all angry with him and hate him more.)  FREE WILL ROPE
  22. JOSEPH’S BROTHER – Hated Joseph because of his dreams.  FREE WILL ROPE
  23. 27.  JACOB – Made a special coat of many colors for Joseph, because Joseph was his favorite.  (This was another mistake.  The coat was a special coat like the one rulers would wear.  It was a coat for people who didn’t have to work, and it made Joseph’s brothers hate him even more.)  FREE WILL ROPE
  24. 28.  JACOB – Sent Joseph to check on his brothers and bring him back a report. (And another mistake!  Didn’t he realize how much his sons hated Joseph?  The brothers were working, and Joseph was wearing his fancy, no-working coat.  And Jacob sent Joseph to tattle on his brothers – not good!)  FREE WILL ROPE
  25. 29.  JOSEPH’S BROTHERS – Threw Joseph in a well and then sold him to some slave traders. (Joseph’s brothers were sick and tired of their little brother, and they decided to get rid of him.)  FREE WILL ROPE
  26. 30.  JOSEPH’S BROTHERS – Tore his robe and dipped it in blood.  Then they let their father believe Joseph was killed. (They hid what they did by making Jacob think that Joseph had been eaten by a wild animal.)  FREE WILL ROPE
  27. 31.  MIDIANITES – Sold Joseph as a slave to Potiphar, the Egyptian and captain of the guard for Pharoah. (God is never happy when people are treated as slaves.)  FREE WILL ROPE
  28. 32.  JOSEPH – Served Potiphar faithfully and honored God.  (Suffering can often change your heart, and I think Joseph grew up a lot when he was sold as a slave.  During this time, he learned to trust God and do his best even in a bad situation.)  BOTH ROPES
  29. 33.  GOD – Was with Joseph and gave him success in everything that he did.  (When we are lined up with God’s will, He blesses us and blesses us!)  BOTH ROPES
  30. 34.  POTIPHAR – Put Joseph in charge of everything in his household and trusted him with everything he owned.  (Even people who don’t believe in God can be in line with God’s will sometimes.  Potiphar was so impressed with Joseph that he gave him responsibility for everything.) BOTH ROPES
  31. 35.  POTIPHAR’S WIFE – Tried to get Joseph to kiss her.  (What?!  She was married!  Definitely not in God’s will!)  FREE WILL ROPE
  32. 36.  JOSEPH – Refused to sin against Potiphar and God and avoided Potiphar’s wife whenever possible.  (Good for him!)  BOTH ROPES
  33. 37.  POTIPHAR’S WIFE – Lied about Joseph to her husband and said that Joseph tried to kiss her.  (Oooh….she’s not a good person!) FREE WILL ROPE
  34. 38.  POTIPHAR – Put Joseph in the prison where the king’s prisoners were kept. (It’s interesting that he put Joseph in this special prison for Pharaoh’s prisoners.  That gave Joseph opportunities to meet important people.  Still, Potiphar shouldn’t have put him in prison for something he didn’t do.) FREE WILL ROPE
  35. 39.  JOSEPH – Served the prison warden faithfully and honored God while he was in prison.  (Joseph was put into prison unfairly, but he still chose to trust in God and honor God by working hard.)  BOTH ROPES
  36. 40.  GOD – Was with Joseph and gave him success in everything that he did. (Again, when we line up with God’s will, He blesses us.)  BOTH ROPES
  37. 41.  THE PRISON WARDEN – Put Joseph in charge of everything and everyone in the prison.  (Because Joseph was so trustworthy, the warden trusted him with everything.  God was definitely at work.)  BOTH ROPES
  38. 42.  THE CUPBEARER and THE BAKER – Offended Pharaoh.  (We don’t know what happened, but Pharaoh was mad at two of his top servants.)  FREE WILL ROPE
  39. 43.  PHARAOH – Put the cupbearer and the baker into prison. (It’s hard to know if Pharaoh was being fair or not, but God was going to use it.)  BOTH ROPES
  40. 44.  POTIPHAR – Assigned the cupbearer and the baker to Joseph. (Potiphar was in charge of the prison, and he apparently still had some trust in Joseph.) BOTH ROPES
  41. 45.  THE CUPBEARER and THE BAKER – Both had dreams on the same night, but they were sad because they didn’t know what the dreams meant.  (Sometimes God is the One who gives people dreams.) BOTH ROPES
  42. 46.  JOSEPH – Noticed their sadness, asked to hear their dreams and then interpreted them.  He asked the cupbearer to remember him when he returned to Pharaoh. (Joseph had interpreted his own dreams in the past and knew that God could interpret these dreams through him.  In this case, Joseph told them that the cupbearer’s dream meant that Pharaoh would restore him again in three days and that the baker’s dream meant that Pharaoh would kill him in three days. Joseph asked the cupbearer to remember him and get him out of prison.)  BOTH ROPES
  43. 47.  PHARAOH – Restored the cupbearer and killed the baker, just as Joseph had predicted.  (Exactly as Joseph had interpreted the dreams, the cupbearer went back to work, but the baker was killed.) BOTH ROPES
  44. 48.  THE CUPBEARER – Forgot about Joseph for two years.  (Not cool!  Joseph got him free, and he totally forgot about Joseph.)  FREE WILL ROPE
  45. 49.  PHARAOH – Had two dreams that worried him.  (These dreams were definitely from God.  One was about seven fat cows that got eaten by seven skinny cows, and the other was about seven healthy heads of grain that got eaten by seven sick heads of grain.)  BOTH ROPES
  46. 50.  PHARAOH – Called all his magicians and wise men, but no one could interpret the dreams. (God was saving the interpretation for Joseph.)  BOTH ROPES
  47. 51.  THE CUPBEARER – Remembered Joseph and told Pharaoh about his ability to interpret dreams.  (Finally!) BOTH ROPES
  48. 52.  PHAROAH – Called for Joseph to come to interpret his dreams. (It’s just about to get really good!) BOTH ROPES
  49. 53.  JOSEPH – Interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams and gave him advice about how to prepare for the coming famine.  (Joseph didn’t take any of the credit for his ability.  He gave it all to God, and he helped Pharaoh understand that the dreams meant there would be seven years of plenty of food followed by seven years of starvation.)  BOTH ROPES
  50. 54.  PHARAOH – Put Joseph in charge of all of Egypt, gave him his official ring, robes, chain and chariot and gave him a wife. (Pharaoh realized no one would do a better job than Joseph at saving the country, so he put him in charge of everything!) BOTH ROPES
  51. 55.  GOD – Allowed a famine throughout all of the world.  (A famine is a bad thing, but God allowed it to help many people stop believing in false gods and start believing in Him.)  BOTH ROPES
  52. 56.  JOSEPH – Managed the food in Egypt well so that no one had to starve during the famine. (God gave Joseph excellent management skills, and he saved so much food during the good years that there was plenty of food for everyone during the seven years of famine.) BOTH ROPES
  53. 57.  JACOB – Sent Joseph’s brothers to Egypt to get food for the family.  (It wasn’t just the people in Egypt who couldn’t grow food during the famine.  People all over the world started coming to Egypt, because they were the only ones with food.)  BOTH ROPES
  54. 58.  JOSEPH – Recognized his brothers when they came to buy grain but didn’t reveal his identity.  (Joseph knew that he had to test his brothers to make sure that they had changed.) BOTH ROPES
  55. 59.  JOSEPH – Tested his brothers to see if his younger brother, Benjamin, was still alive.  (First of all, Joseph was worried that his younger brother might have been killed or sold into slavery, so he made his brothers go and get him to bring him to Egypt.)  BOTH ROPES
  56. 60.  JOSEPH’S BROTHERS – Returned home to get Benjamin, but they had to leave Simeon, who was put into prison.  (To make sure that they would come back, Joseph made them leave Simeon behind.)  BOTH ROPES
  57. 61.  JACOB – Didn’t want to let his sons take Benjamin, but he finally gave in when they got too hungry.  (Jacob was afraid that the ruler (actually Joseph) in Egypt might keep Benjamin, so he didn’t want to let him go.  In the end, though, they needed the food for survival.) FREE WILL ROPE
  58. 62.  JOSEPH’S BROTHERS – Returned to Egypt with Benjamin and two times the money needed to pay for food.  (They returned with twice the money, because Joseph had their money put back in their grain sacks before they left the first time.  That shows that he had forgiven them.  He didn’t want their money, and he didn’t want to get even.)  BOTH ROPES
  59. 63.  JOSEPH – Tested his brothers one more time to see if their hearts had changed.  (Now that Joseph saw Benjamin, he was relieved, but he still wondered if his brothers were the same, evil people that they had once been, so he tested them one more time by sending them back with a silver cup hidden in Benjamin’s sack.  After they had left, he sent his official to find out who “stole” his cup.  He wanted to know if they would sacrifice Benjamin for their own safety.)  BOTH ROPES
  60. 64.  JUDAH – Offered to be Joseph’s slave if Joseph would just let Benjamin and the others go. (To Joseph’s surprise and joy, Judah offered to become a slave in order to free Benjamin.  Judah was the brother who led the others to sell Joseph into slavery, but his heart had changed over the years.)  BOTH ROPES
  61. 65.  JOSEPH – Revealed his identity to his brothers and sent them back to get their father and bring him to Egypt. (When he was sure that his brothers had changed, Joseph told them who he was.  They had dinner together, and he told them the whole story.  Then, he sent them back to get the whole family.)  BOTH ROPES
  62. 66.  PHARAOH – Approved for Joseph’s family to live in the best part of Egypt.  (Pharaoh trusted Joseph so much and was so grateful for his wise leadership that he gave Joseph’s family the best land in Egypt to live in.)  BOTH ROPES
  63. 67.  JACOB – Brought his whole family to Egypt.  (70 people in all!)  BOTH ROPES
  64. 68.  JOSEPH – Reunited with his father and family and received his father’s blessing.  (Jacob was so happy to see Joseph alive!  The two had a great reunion.)  BOTH ROPES
  65. 69.  JOSEPH – Forgave his brothers for the terrible things they had done to him. (Joseph really forgave his brothers.  In fact, he told them that he knew they meant to hurt him, but God allowed it to happen so that he could save many lives.) BOTH ROPES
  66. 70.  MOSES – Led the Hebrews out of Egypt and into the Promised Land. (And that wasn’t the end of the story, because Jacob’s family lived in Egypt for 400 years.  During that time, they were protected from the evil religions that were in the country of Canaan, where they had come from, and they were able to grow from 70 people to over 2 million.  When the time was right and the Hebrews were ready, God sent Moses to lead them out of Egypt and back into the Promised Land of Canaan.)  BOTH ROPES
  • CONCLUSION:
  • “Notice how often people in this story did their own free will apart from God’s will.”
  • “But also notice that God always brought events back in line with His will.”
  • “So here’s the answer to how God can allow us to have free will and sin but still accomplish His perfect will in the end…”
  • “No matter what these people did, God would take it and use it for His purposes.”
  • “Even when they sinned, He turned it around and made it work for good.”
  • “In the end, God brings everything in line with His will.”  (Grab the end of the Free Will rope.  Then go to the “eternity” end of the red rope, and pull on the Free Will rope until it straightens out right next to the red rope.  This shows how God brings everything into alignment with His purposes in the end.)
  • “You’ve probably noticed that the ‘God’s Will’ rope is red.  That’s to symbolize the blood of Jesus, that has the power to bring our Free Will into alignment with God’s Will.”
  • “Satan is a bigger trickster than Jacob, Rebekah and Laban put together, and he constantly tries to get us to pull away from God’s Will.”  (Gently pull several of your volunteers back away from the red rope as they hold onto the “Free Will” rope.)
  • “But no matter what he tricks us into doing, God offers to help us line up with His will if we will just trust in the blood of Jesus.”  (Pull the ropes together again.)
  • “When you accept Jesus’ sacrifice of His own life on the cross as payment for your sins, God brings everything in line with His will.”
  • “He will take all the bad and sinful choices you made and use them in a positive way.”
  • “He will take all the terrible things other people did to you and use them in a positive way.”
  • “And even though you can still make choices that take you away from God when you are a believer…”  (Pull one of your volunteers and the “Free Will” rope away from the red rope.)
  • “If you ask God for forgiveness, He will bring those bad choices back into line with His will.”  (Pull the ropes together again.)
  • “Romans 8:28 says that God will use ALL things for the good of those who love Him.”
  • “God is pretty amazing, don’t you think?”  (Acknowledge responses, thank your volunteers and allow them to be seated.)

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Joseph’s Journey


For summer camp this year, I’ve written ten Challenges (Bible activities for small groups and a leader to do together – sometimes in competition with other groups) and some large group lessons on the story of Joseph. They are all located on the Lesson and Material Downloads page (see the link at the top of the screen), and you can find them alphabetically in the list. They all start with the letters “JJ” for “Joseph’s Journey.”

Hope you can find some lessons that will be useful for you!

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Negotiation Game (GAME)


Audience

Children, Teens, Adults

Time

30-40 minutes (longer if you use the Bible study at the end)
Description

This game teaches about negotiation skills and going for win-win.  It has elements of a “Gotcha” activity (an activity where participants are set-up to fail in order to create an awareness of a learning need).  Teams compete with each other and often end up doing worse overall than they could have done if they had cooperated and gone for win-win.

Scriptures

o  Genesis 18:1-33

Materials

o  Flipchart and marker

o  Notecards that say “Win-Win” on one side and “Win-Lose” on the other (one per team)

o  (Optional) Projector, Computer and Screen to display PowerPoint slides with the rules and the debriefing questions.  You can access these by downloading the file “Negotiation Game – Slides” on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at http://www.teachingthem.com.)

o  (Optional) Prizes for the highest-scoring team.

o  Bible

Preparation

o  Write “Win-Win” on one side of each of the notecards.

o  Write “Win-Lose” on the other side of the same notecards.

o  Draw a score chart on the flipchart.  It should look like this (add more columns if you have more teams):

Team #1 Team #2 Team #3 Team #4
WW / WL Points WW / WL Points WW / WL Points WW / WL Points
Round 1
Round 2
Total After 2 Rounds
Round 3
Total After 3 Rounds
Round 4
Total After 4 Rounds
Round 5
Final Score

Procedure

Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

  • “Let’s play a game about negotiation.”
  • “In this game, your team will have two choices: go for Win-Win or go for Win-Lose.”
  • “Win-Win means that you want to win but only if the other teams can win, too.”
  • “Win-Lose means that you want to win even if it means that another team might have to lose.”
  • “In a perfect world, we would always go for Win-Win, but this isn’t a perfect world.”
  • “I’m going to give you incentives for going for Win-Lose that will make you have to think hard about what you want to do.”  (Share slides on the PowerPoint if you want to.)
  • “Each round, your team will decide if it wants to go for Win-Win or Win-Lose.”
  • “You will make your decision known by holding up this card.” (Show one of the notecards, and show both sides so that they can see their choices.  Pass out one card to each team.)
  • “If ALL the teams go for Win-Win, the facilitator gives each team 100 points.”
  • “If more than half the teams go for Win-Lose, the facilitator takes away 100 points from every team.”
  • “But if less than half the teams go for Win-Lose, the facilitator gives the Win-Lose teams 200 points and takes away100 points from the Win-Win teams.”
  • “We will play five rounds.”
  • “Each team should now select a Negotiator.”
  • “This person will meet with the Negotiators from the other teams before each round and have three minutes to come to an agreement about what strategy to take.”  (Allow teams to select a Negotiator.  This person will have to be the Negotiator for the entire game.)
  • “What questions do you have before we start to play?”  (Answer questions.  Then, give the Negotiators time to meet outside the room for three minutes.  Afterward, have them come back to their teams.  On the count of three, have the Negotiator on each team raise their card with the side that has their choice (Win-Win or Win-Lose) facing you.  Record these choices on the flipchart, and assign scores to each team.  Then, allow 5 minutes for the team to discuss changes to their strategy before starting the process over again and sending the Negotiators outside the room.  Run all five founds.  If everyone is choosing Win-Win, you can add pressure by doubling the point amounts for a particular round.  When you’ve finished the game, award a prize for the highest scoring team if you want and have the teams discuss the Debriefing Questions below (and also on the 2nd PowerPoint slide.)

Debriefing Questions

• What makes the win-win strategy difficult?

• What are the problems with the win-lose strategy?

• How should we handle it when we are going for win-win, and someone takes advantage of us?

• Why should we strive for the win-win strategy?

Idea for Bible Lesson

If you want to do this game is connection with a Bible lesson, try having participants read Genesis 18 and answer the following questions:

1.    What did Abraham do before the negotiation that helped make it successful?

2.    What did Abraham do during the negotiation that helped make it successful?

3.    Was Abraham going for Win-Win or something else?  Why do you think so?

4.    Why do you think Abraham stopped at ten?

5.    Could he have gotten the Lord to agree to a lower number?  Why do you think so?

6.    What practices of good negotiation can you use in your negotiations?

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Filed under Abraham, Abram, competition, Game, Games that Teach, Intercession, Negotiation

Negotiation (DEVOTION)


In your table groups, read through the Scriptures below and then answer the following questions.

Genesis 18:1-33

1.    What did Abraham do before the negotiation that helped make it successful?

2.    What did Abraham do during the negotiation that helped make it successful?

3.    Was Abraham going for Win-Win or something else?  Why do you think so?

4.    Why do you think Abraham stopped at ten?

5.    Could he have gotten the Lord to agree to a lower number?  Why do you think so?

6.    What practices of good negotiation can you use in your negotiations?

 

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Comfort Zone (OBJECT LESSON)


Audience

Children, Teens, Adults

Time

10-15 minutes
Description

This game helps participants to understand how important it is to step our of our comfort zones in order to grow.  You can use the story of Abraham (Abram at the time) leaving his country and his family and everything he knew as a reinforcement of the lesson.

Scriptures

o  Genesis 12:1-9

Materials

o  Rope (about 30 feet or more) or a garden hose

o  Balls (about 5 – alternatively, you can just wad up scrap pieces of paper)

o  Laundry basket or trash can

o  Bible

Preparation

o  Tie the rope or garden hose into a loop.

o  Use the rope or garden hose to make a small circle on the ground (about 1 ft – 1 ½ ft in diameter).

o  Coil the excess rope or garden hose on top of this circle so that you have only one circle.

o  Set up the trashcan or laundry basket about 20 ft away from the circle (further if you want to increase the difficulty).

o  Practice the script.

Procedure

Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

  • “How many of you know what a comfort zone is?” (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “A comfort zone is a place or situation where you feel safe, comfortable.”
  • “When you are in your comfort zone, you don’t take risks.”
  • “Those are uncomfortable, so they can’t be in the zone.”
  • “In your comfort zone, there is no progress or growth, because progress and growth only occur when you take risks and step out of your comfort zone.”
  • “God asked Abraham (Abram at the time) to leave his comfort zone.” (Have a volunteer read Genesis 12:1-9.)
  • “Abraham had to leave everything that he knew (his family, his friends, his country, his home….) in order to follow God’s leading into a strange country.”
  • “The trip would take months, and it would be full of risk to Abraham, his wife, his nephew, Lot, and their servants.”
  • “They would face dangers from animals, thieves, foreign kings, fatigue, potential starvation and other threats.”
  • “But Abraham could not experience God’s blessing from inside his comfort zone in his home in Haran.”
  • “To experience God’s blessing, Abraham had to take a risk.”
  • “Let me show you a demonstration that will help you understand comfort zones better.”
  • “I’m going to need a volunteer.”  (Select a volunteer from the group.)
  • “Let’s pretend that this is your comfort zone.”  (Position volunteer inside the coil of ropes or garden hose.)
  • “Don’t you feel all comfy in there?”
  • “Now, let’s pretend that you have a goal that you want to achieve.”
  • “Your goal is to get five (or more if you like) shots in a row in that basket/trash can.”
  • “You can take shots only from inside your comfort zone this first time.”
  • “How many shots do you think you will make?”  (Listen to response, and share it with the audience if it was too quiet for them to hear.)
  • “Well, let’s try.  Take your shots.”  (Allow volunteer to take all his/her shots. Share the score with the audience.)
  • “Not so good.”
  • (Ask volunteer…) “What do you think would help you to be more successful?”  (Listen to response, and shear it with the audience if it was too quiet for them to hear. If the volunteer doesn’t mention stepping out of their comfort zone, prompt them.)
  • “Let’s try that.”  (Allow volunteer to take one step, as big as they can, out of their comfort zone.)
  • “But wait.  That wasn’t very scary.  Stepping out of your comfort zone has to have some risk involved.”
  • “Otherwise, every place on earth would be your comfort zone.”
    “Let’s make it more scary.”
  • “Can I get another volunteer?”  (Select another volunteer.  Make him (or her) stand five feet away from the first volunteer.)
  • “This person represents the risk of stepping out of your comfort zone.”
  • “He (or she) has to stand right here and count to ten slowly (“one, one thousand, two, one thousand, three, one thousand….”).”
  • “When he gets to ten, he can try to tag our first volunteer, the shooter, as long as he is out of his comfort zone.”
  • “But if the shooter goes back into his comfort zone, he can’t be tagged there.”
  • “However, he still has to make all five shots, either from within the comfort zone if he hasn’t don’t it already or out of his comfort zone if he is brave enough to come out one step.”
  • “Do both my volunteers understand how this works?”  (Answer any questions they have.  Then, let your shooter try to make the shots, stepping no more than one step out of the comfort zone. If the risk person tags the shooter, the shooter can’t shoot anymore shots.)
  • “That looked challenging.”
  • “But something interesting happens when you step out of your comfort zone.”  (Uncoil the rope or garden hose to make it twice as big as it was.)
  • “Your comfort zone grows!”
  • “Now you feel comfortable going further than you went before.”
  • “So, let’s try it again.”
  • “Our risk person will count to ten slowly before he tries to tag our shooter.”
  • “Our shooter can step one, big step outside of his comfort zone and take five shots without getting tagged.”  (Allow them to try this.)
  • “It’s getting easier.  Let’s do it again!”
  • “The comfort zone increases, because our shooter took a step out of it during the last round.” (Uncoil the rope or garden hose another loop or even two (depending on how fast you want to finish the exercise) to make it bigger. Then let the shooter try to make his shots again.  If the shooter makes all his shots, you’re done.  If he doesn’t, you might want to run the exercise a time or two again.  When you are finished, thank and dismiss your volunteers and close with the following comments.)
  • “So, you can see how a comfort zone works.”
  • “Whenever you take a risk and step out of it, it grows.”
  • “The more you do it, the easier it will be to accomplish your goals.”
  • “Remember our story about Abraham?”
  • “He took a huge risk, but every step out of his comfort zone helped him to grow in his faith in the Lord.”
  • “By the time Abraham reached the Promised Land, he had learned to put his complete faith in the Lord.”
  • “He needed that faith to help him wait the 25 years for God’s promise of a son to come true.”
  • “He would need it again to pass the test of almost offering Isaac as a sacrifice to the Lord.”
  • “Abraham could never have the faith to do those things if he had stayed in Haran.”
  • “If you want to experience God’s greatest blessings, you’ve got to follow Him out of your comfort zone.”

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Filed under Abraham, Abram, Belief, blessing, Challenges, Character, Comfort Zone, courage, faith, God's Plan, God's Will, Obedience, Object Lesson, Sarah, test, Trust