Category Archives: Bible study

Lectio Divina (DEVOTION)


Lectia DivinaTime

25-40 minutes
Description

This method of studying Scripture was originally established by St. Benedict in the 6th Century.  Lectio Divina means “divine reading.” It focuses on Scripture as the Living Word and engages us holistically: heart, mind, spirit and body. Use this method when you want participants to go deep into a particular Scripture passage and come away with personal Words from God.

 

Scriptures

  • Any of your choosing

 

Materials

  • Optional – Slide that describes the four parts of Lectio Divina to use as a handout or to project on a screen (You can download the slide from the “Lesson and Material Downloads” page at www.teachingthem.com.  It’s named, “Lectio Divina – Slide.”)
  • Optional – Computer, LCD projector and screen if you want to project the slide
  • Bible

 

Preparation

  • Optional – set up screen and projector to project slide or make copies of the handout for all the participants.
  • Practice the script.

 

Procedure

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

  • “We’re going to use a method of studying Scripture that was originally established by St. Benedict in the 6th Century.”
  • “It’s called Lectio Divina, which means ‘divine reading.’”
  • “It focuses on Scripture as the Living Word and engages us holistically: heart, mind, spirit and body.It is made up of four steps: (Advance slide each time as you mention “heart, mind, spirit and body.”)
  1. We Read or Hear the Word and allow it to speak to our hearts. (Advance slide.)
  2. We Reflect on the Word with our minds. (Advance slide.)
  3. We Respond to the Word by praying through our spirits. (Advance slide.)
  4. We Rest in the Presence of God with our bodies. (Advance slide.)
  • “Let’s practice this.  I need a volunteer to read the Scripture we’ll study today.”  (Have a volunteer read the Scripture you have chosen.)
  • “This was the Read step.”
  • “Now, I would like you to Reflect.”
  • “Take about five minutes and think about what you’ve heard.”
  • “What is God’s personal message for you through His Word today?”
  • “If it helps you to journal your thoughts as a way of reflecting, feel free to do so.”  (Allow five minutes for reflection.)
  • “Would anyone like to share a personal Word or insight given to you by the Holy Spirit.”  (Allow several people to share.)
  • “I need another volunteer to read the same Scripture again.  Listen carefully for words or phrases that God wants to highlight for you.”  (Have a volunteer read the same Scripture.  Sometimes it’s good to try different translations or even different languages if your participants are multi-lingual.)
  • “Let’s Reflect again, but this time, do it in your groups (or in pairs).”  (Allow groups or pairs 10 minutes for discussing what they are hearing from the Scriptures.)
  • “Okay, let’s read the same passage one more time, listening carefully for God’s unique message for you.”  (Have a volunteer read the passage again.)
  • “Now it’s time to Respond and Rest.”
  • “Take the next 10 minutes, and pray and rest in God’s Word for you.”
  • “You’ll take the first few minutes to pray – or take as long as you need.”
  • “When you finish praying, just sit quietly, and try to keep your mind clear.”
  • “Allow the Holy Spirit to continue to speak to you during this time. (You can have participants pray individually or in pairs or in a group. After they finish praying, they will sit quietly until the time has expired and just allow the Holy Spirit to continue to speak to them.  When the time is up, you can ask people to share what they heard through the study and how they feel about Lectio Divina as an approach to doing devotions.)

 

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Woman at the Well, The (LESSON)


 

Time

30 minutes

 

Description

This lesson teaches how Jesus worked through a woman that society had given up on to bless her community and draw them to Christ.  The woman at the well was a Samaritan, a woman and a sinner – three reasons a Jewish rabbi should not have been talking with her, but Jesus didn’t care.  He saw the best in her and partnered with her to bring a community to know Him.

 

Scriptures

  • John 4:1-30, 39-43

 

Materials

  • Jar for woman at the well
  • Something to represent Jacob’s Well (This could be simply a piece of cardboard with bricks drawn on the side that faces the audience, or you can be more elaborate if you have the time and resources.)
  • Tape
  • OPTIONAL – Notecards for script.
  • Cans/glasses of cola, tea/coffee, energy drink, juice, water
  • Table to set everything on
  • Two pieces of fabric to use as veils for drinks
  • Glasses with pictures or other representations of money, fame, power, love, cars, other religions and a Bible. (There are pictures for each of these in the downloadable file mentioned below.)
  • The following supporting materials can be found at www.teachingthem.comon the Lesson and Material Downloads page.
    • “Woman at the Well – Spiritual – Physical Signs”
  • Bible

Preparation

  • Select a drama team (Jesus and the woman at the well) to act out the roles in the story and share the teaching notes with them so that they can be prepared to act them out.  You might want to write their lines on notecards so that they will have them available when they are acting.
  • Set up “Jacob’s Well” at the front of the teaching area.
  • Print out “Spiritual and Physical Thirst Signs.”
  • Put each picture from the “Spiritual and Physical Thirst” file in a separate glass.
  • Set up a table with all the different drinks (cola, tea/coffee, energy drink, juice, water) on them, and put a veil over it so that it cannot be seen until you reveal it.
  • Under a separate veil (but on the same table if you only have one table), set up the “spiritual thirst quenchers” (power, cars, different religions, money, houses, love, entertainment, drugs, God’s Word –pick which ones you want to use) in separate glasses.
  • Put a piece of tape on the back of the “Spiritual” and “Physical” signs so that you will be able to stick them to your props.
  • Put markers in the Bible in the place where you want your volunteers to read the Scriptures for the lesson.
  • Practice the script.

 

Procedure

  • “I want to tell you story.” (Get volunteer to read John 4:1-3.)
  • “Jesus had some enemies, the Pharisees, in particular, who were trying to cause Him problems.”
  • “They didn’t like that He was becoming even more popular than John the Baptizer.”
  • “So Jesus decided to return to Galilee, where it would be easier for him to teach and train His disciples.”  (Have volunteer read John 4:4-6.)
  • “That’s strange.  Jesus went through Samaria.”
  • “The Jewish people hated the Samaritans, because they used to be Jewish but married foreigners and worshipped foreign gods that weren’t real.”
  • “Just about any other rabbi and his disciples would have hated the Samaritans so much that they would have gone AROUND Samaria just to avoid them.”
  • “But not Jesus!  He went straight through.”
  • “He stopped to rest, and His disciples went into town to get something to eat.”
  • “But Jesus didn’t just stop here to rest.  He had a meeting planned.”
  • “The time and the place He chose for the meeting were important.  It was about noon – the hottest time of the day – and He was at Jacob’s well, where people came to get water.  The other attendee was just about to arrive.”  (Have volunteer read John 4:7 up to the point Jesus starts speaking.)
  • (Have Drama Team enter.  Samaritan Woman comes to the well, carrying her jar on her shoulder.)
  • (Jesus says to her: “Will you give me a drink?”)
  • (Samaritan Woman: “Why are you asking me for a drink?  I’m a Samaritan and a woman.  Jews don’t talk with Samaritans.”)
  • “Jews weren’t supposed to talk to Samaritans, and Jewish men (particularly Jewish religious men) were not supposed to have private conversations with a woman.”
  • “Also, we don’t want to miss that she is coming to the well by herself at noon, the hottest part of the day.  This wasn’t the custom.”
  • “Women went to go get water in the early morning or in the late evening, when it was cooler.”
  • “Pulling up well water was difficult work.  You had to let your jar down 30 or 40 feet and then pull it up again full of water, and you can bet, it was HEAVY!”
  • “Then you had to carry it home, which was probably a mile or more away.”
  • “And getting water was a social time for the women.”
  • “They all went together and talked and laughed and shared stories during these times – but not this woman.”
  • “This woman didn’t feel comfortable around the other women.  They didn’t like her, and they made fun of her and talked about all the bad things she had done.”
  • “So, it was no wonder that she came at the worst part of the day; she wanted to avoid everyone else.”
  • “This woman was what everyone called ‘a sinner.’”
  • “So there are three reasons Jesus isn’t supposed to talk to her – she’s a Samaritan, a woman and a sinner.”
  • “Jesus is breaking all kinds of man-made rules here.”
  • (Jesus: “If you knew who you are talking to, you would have asked for living water.”)
  • “Jesus keeps doing unusual things!”
  • “What is He talking about?  Jesus is saying that if she had known that she was talking to God, she would have asked for Him to help her.”
  • “He says that He has this stuff called, ‘living water,’ to give her.”
  • “Touch your neighbor and ask, ‘What dat?’”
  • “Well, it’s not the water you can touch or see.  That’s what the woman came for.  That’s why she has her water jar.”
  • “No, this kind of water isn’t physical water; it’s spiritual water.”  (Stick “Physical” sign to Jacob’s Well.  Stick “Spiritual” sign on Bible, and show it to the audience.)
  • “Jesus does this all the time.  He’s taking something that’s physical that she already knows about, like water and being thirsty, and comparing it to something spiritual that she doesn’t know about.”
  • “He’s saying that just like you can fix physical thirstiness by drinking water, you can fix spiritual thirst by getting some living water.”
  • “Touch your neighbor and ask, ‘Can your spirit get thirsty?’”
  • “You bet it can!”
  • “God made each and every one of us with a spiritual thirst for Him, because He didn’t want us to be satisfied living without Him.”  (Unveil different beverages.  Move the “Physical” sign over, and put it on the table under the beverages.)
  • “If you were physically thirsty, which one of these would you drink?”
  • “Well, any of these will work a little, but the best option is water.”  (Hold up each of these as you talk about them.)
    • “Sodas have lots of sugar, so they make us fat and increase our chance of getting diabetes.”
    • “Juices taste good, but they have lots of sugar, too.”
    • “I like coffee and tea, but they raise my blood pressure.”
    • “And this energy drink will wake me up, but it’s full of sugar, as well.”
    • “Water is the best, because your body is over 60% water.  For kids, it’s actually higher than that.”
    • “When God made water, He made a perfect solution for our physical thirst.”
  • “Just like we’ve invented all kinds of ways to satisfy our physical thirst, we’ve also invented lots of ways to satisfy our spiritual thirst.” (Unveil glasses with various “spiritual thirst quenchers” in them.  Move the label for “Spiritual” over, and put it on the table under these “thirst quenchers.”  Hold up each of these as you refer to them.)
    • “Some people think having lots of money will make the thirst go away.”
    • “Some think having a nice car, or a big house will do it.”
    • “Some try to make it go away with love – they have lots of boyfriends or girlfriends.”
    • “Some do it with other religions, and some do it with entertainment.”
    • “But the problem is, none of these will satisfy us for long.  They just fill us up and dull our spiritual sense so that we can’t tell where the original thirst is coming from.”
    • “There is only one thing that will satisfy our spiritual thirst – the Bible.”
    • “This is what Jesus was talking about when He offered the Samaritan woman living water.”
    • “Once you have God’s Spirit in your heart, His Word will bubble up in you like a spring of water, and you will never be spiritually thirsty again.”
  • “So, that’s what He’s talking about, but unfortunately, the woman didn’t understand yet.”
  • (Samaritan Woman: “You don’t even have a jar.  How will you draw up this “living water?”  Are you claiming to be greater than our father, Jacob, who dug the well and drank from it himself?”)
  • “She still thinks He is talking about physical water.  ‘You don’t even have a jar!  You must think you’re better than the one who dug the well if you can get water out of it without a jar!’”
  • “So Jesus tries to help her understand.”
  • (Jesus: “Physical water quenches your thirst for a little while, but I’m offering you a special kind of water that will quench your thirst forever.”) 
  • (Samaritan Woman: “Give me some of that!  Then I won’t have to come here every day.”)
  • “Now, watch this!  Jesus is about to do something really unusual.”
  • (Jesus: “Go get your husband and come back.”)
  • (Samaritan Woman: “I don’t have a husband.”)
  • (Jesus: “You speak the truth.  You have had five husbands, and the one you’re living with isn’t your husband.”)
  • “What’s Jesus doing?  He’s testing her to see if she will be honest with Him.  He’s willing to give her what she’s asked for, but she has to pass the test first.”
  • “You see, Jesus knows why she comes to the well at noon.  He knows about the shame she feels in her heart because of all the men who have told her that they don’t want her.”
  • “She’s had five husbands who have each divorced her, and the man she’s with now doesn’t even respect her enough to marry her.  That’s why the other women at the well gossip about her.”
  • “Jesus is putting his finger on the deepest wound in her life, but He only touches it to heal it.”
  • “And to her credit, she tells the truth, so Jesus commends her for her honesty and He lets her know that He knows everything about her.”
  • (Samaritan Woman: “I know Messiah is coming, and when He comes, He will tell us all things.”)
  • (Jesus: “I who speak to you am He.”)
  • “This is big!  This is huge!  This is the only time in Scripture where you will see Jesus come right out and say that He is the Messiah.  He told people plenty of times that He is God, but He didn’t use the title ‘Messiah,’ because too many misunderstood what it meant.”
  • “They thought that Messiah would be a king who would come wage war against the Romans, but Jesus didn’t come to judge the earth; He came to save it!”
  • “So, the only person He tells that He is the Messiah is a sinful Samaritan woman – someone He wasn’t even supposed to be talking to!”
  • “Jesus saw the best in her.  And He made her one of God’s children that very day.”  (Drama Team sits.)
  • “The woman at the well joined Jesus’ team that day, and she was so excited, she left her water jar behind and brought all her neighbors to join Jesus’ team, too.”  (Have volunteer read John 4:28-30.)
  • “She was so excited that she forgot what people thought about her.  She forgot her shame, and she told everyone she could about Jesus.”
  • “And this is the part that really excites me!” (Have volunteer read John 4:39-42.)
  • “This Samaritan woman was the most disrespected member of her community, but her excitement about Jesus was contagious and people had to believe her because she was so convinced that Jesus was the Messiah!”
  • “After two days of listening to Jesus, they believed that he was the Savior of the world.”
  • “Jesus can use anyone to carry His message – even those with the most terrible sins and reputations.”
  • “All that He asks is that we believe in Him and share what we know in our hearts with those around us.”

 

Rhyme Time

Even when our life’s a mess

Jesus will use it to heal and bless.

 

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Healing the Sick (DEVOTION)


Read Matthew 10:1-8, and then discuss the questions below in your table groups.

  • Why do you think Jesus gave the disciples power to heal the sick?
  • Why does Jesus often link the coming of the Kingdom of God with healing the physical body? (See also: Matthew 11:1-6)
  • What do you think this means for Christians today?
  • How is our ministry contributing, and what else could we do?

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Project Management Series – Nehemiah (DEVOTION)


This series of devotions is designed to be completed over several days.

 

Devotion – Project Management Series (Nehemiah)

Project Initiation & Planning

In your groups, read the following Scriptures. Then answer the questions below.

  • Nehemiah 1-2
  • What steps did Nehemiah take to initiate and plan this project?
  • Who are the people in these roles: project manager, team, customer, sponsor, stakeholder?
  • What agreements does Nehemiah make with different groups or individuals?
  • What requests does he make from different groups or individuals?
  • What is the project scope?
  • What can we learn from how Nehemiah managed this project?

 

Devotion – Project Management Series (Nehemiah)

Project Execution

In your groups, read the following Scriptures. Then answer the questions below.

  • Nehemiah 3
  • Create a project plan for building the wall. For each task, identify:
    • Owner
    • Duration
    • Due Date (assume an overall project deadline of 4 months)
    • Cost/Budget
    • Who Pays?
    • Put the tasks in order and identify predecessors and successors (be creative with this, since it’s not clearly stated).
  • Identify the critical path by placing asterisks by critical path tasks.

 

Devotion – Project Management Series (Nehemiah)

Risk Management

In your groups, read the following Scriptures. Then answer the questions below.

  • Nehemiah 4-6
  • What unexpected events threated to take the project off plan?
  • Which threats were internal to the team, and which ones were external?
  • How did Nehemiah deal with them?
  • How could he have prepared for them in advance?
  • What can we learn from Nehemiah’s example?

 

Devotion – Project Management Series (Nehemiah)

Risk Management

In your groups, read the following Scriptures. Then answer the questions below.

  • Nehemiah 7:1-5, 70-73; 8:1-18; 9:1-3, 38; 10:28-39; 11:1-2; 12:44-47
  • What things did Nehemiah do that would help to ensure the sustainability (ability to be maintained) of the project?
  • How do you think these would help?
  • What promises did the people make?
  • What can we learn from these Scriptures?

 

Devotion – Project Management Series (Nehemiah)

Project Close-Out

In your groups, read the following Scriptures. Then answer the questions below.

  • Nehemiah 12:27-43
  • How did Nehemiah celebrate the completion of the project?
  • What can we learn from Nehemiah’s example?
  • Why do you think celebration and close-out might be important?

 

Devotion – Project Management Series (Nehemiah)

Monitoring & Evaluation

In your groups, read the following Scriptures. Then answer the questions below.

  • Nehemiah 13
  • What happened after Nehemiah returned to Babylon?
  • What promises from Chapter 10 did the people break?
  • What could Nehemiah have done to prevent these problems?
  • What is the importance of monitoring and evaluation for the success of a project?
  • How should it be done?

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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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Contagious Contact (Obj Lesson)


Time

15-20 minutes

Description

This object lesson teaches that spending time with God can have a contagious impact on everyone around us.

Scriptures

  • Exodus 34:28-29

Materials

  • One large jar of gold glitter
  • A drop cloth or piece of fabric (about 4 feet long and 3 feet wide)
  • Bible

Preparation

  • Open the Bible up to the passage in Exodus, and sprinkle some gold glitter onto the page.
  • Open up the drop cloth or sheet, and sprinkle a large amount of glitter all around.
  • Carefully conceal the drop cloth / sheet or fold it up and put it aside.
  • Arrange for two helpers to come and help you open the sheet when you give the cue.

Procedure

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

  • “Here’s what happens when we spend time with God.”  (Ask for a volunteer to come to the front.)
  • “When you read your Bible or spend time in prayer or worship, a little bit of God rubs off on you.”  (Have the volunteer read Exodus 34:28-29 out loud.  It’s okay if he/she has to move some of the glitter out of the way in order to read the passage.)
  • “Moses spent 40 days on the top of a mountain in the presence of God, and when he came back down, his face glowed with the glory of God.”
  • “When you spend time with God, your face may not actually glow, but God’s glory still shines through you.”  (Have volunteer put his/her fingertips into the gold glitter and then touch his/her face.)
  • “Then, as you go out and live your life, everyone you come in contact with gets a little bit of contact with the glory of God.” (Have the volunteer go into the audience and shake hands with a few people and then return.)
  • Now, if you spend time with God every day, a lot of His glory is going to rub off on you.” (Have volunteer put his/her entire hands into the glitter and then touch his/her face.)
  • “Now when you go out and live your life, you’re going to really bless people with the glory of God.  Their lives will be better, because they had contact with you after you had spent time with God.”  (Have volunteer go out and shake hands with different people this time and then return.)
  • “But what if, like Moses, you spent a lot of time praising and worshipping God, praying to Him and reading His Word?”
  • “What would that look like?”
  • “I think it would look a little like this.”  (Have the two helpers you selected before your lesson come and lay out the drop cloth or sheet with glitter on it.  Then, have your volunteer lay down on it and roll around a few times.  When they are pretty well covered in glitter, have them go around hugging people.)
  • “The more time we spend with God each day, the more we will be able to share His glory with those we come in contact with.”
  • “As Christians, we should always leave people, places and things better than they were when we found them.”

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Radio Waves


Time

15-20 minutes

Description

This object lesson teaches about how both God and the devil are competing for our attention. It uses the metaphor of radio towers sending signals to a radio.

Materials

  • Old radio (doesn’t need to work)
  • Two wire hangers
  • Aluminum foil
  • Printouts from “Radio Waves Construction” slides (see “Lesson and Material Downloads” page.)
  • Tape

Preparation

· Make radio tower headpieces for two children. (Directions are in the “Radio Waves Construction” file on the “Lesson and Material Downloads” page.)

· Practice the script.

radio-waves-construction

Procedure

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

  • “Hey! I found this old radio at the house, and I thought I would see if it still works.” (Pretend to find a station while making a static sound effect.)
  • “Have you ever had this problem? You can’t find a clear station on the radio.” (Listen for responses.)
  • “It’s frustrating, right?”
  • “That reminds me of how we communicate with God.”
  • “A lot of people say that they have a difficult time hearing God speak to them. Do you ever have a hard time hearing God speak to you?” (Listen for responses.)
  • “I understand what you mean, because I have a hard time, too, sometimes.”
  • “Let’s explore what causes this.” (Ask for two volunteers to come up. Place one of the radio tower headpieces on each one of them. Then place them at either end of the stage or teaching area so that one is on your left, and one is on your right. Ask them to make hand motions toward you like they are sending you signals.)
  • “Let’s pretend that these two people are different radio station towers and that I’m a radio.”
  • “This one is W-I-A-M, which are the call letters for Yahweh Broadcasting. In other words, this is God.”
  • “This one is K-L-I-E, which are the call letters for Lucifer Radio. In other words, this is the devil.”
  • “Now, the way a regular radio works is that it picks up radio waves from a radio tower.”
  • “You can change which station the radio is listening to by turning the dial.” (Pretend to twist your nose and then lean toward the station you are “hearing” at that moment.)
  • “The different radio stations compete with each other to get your attention.”
  • “Our two radio stations are in competition with each other, too.” (Make sure that both your volunteers are still making hand motions toward you.)
  • “If the devil can get you to listen to his radio station, he knows you won’t be listening to God’s radio station.” (Twist your nose, and lean toward the KLIE radio tower.)
  • “Whenever you listen to the devil’s radio station, it tells you to do what you want to do – not what God is asking you to do.”
  • “In fact, if you listen to the devil’s station long enough, you start to move closer to it so that you can hear it more clearly.” (Move closer to the volunteer with the KLIE radio tower.)
  • “It begins to sound really good to you, and you want to listen to it more and more.” (Demonstrate that you are really enjoying what you are hearing from KLIE.)
  • “Notice that WIAM is still sending me signals, but I’m not tuned into God’s station, so I don’t hear them.”
  • “And even if I decide I should start listening to God’s station, it won’t come in clearly right away.” (Twist your nose and lean toward the WIAM radio tower. Make a static noise and look like you are having a hard time hearing the station.)
  • “The reason I’m having trouble hearing God’s station is because I’ve moved so far away from it and because there is a lot of sin in the way.” (Ask for four or five volunteers to come up, and position them between you and the WIAM radio tower.)
  • “These guys represent all the sin that has sprung up in my life. They get in the way of the signals that WIAM is sending me.”
  • “So, if you’re not hearing God talk to you, maybe it’s because you are listening to His competitor’s station.”
  • “Maybe it’s because you are too far away from His signal and have too much sin between the two of you.”
  • “Does anyone know how I can get rid of all this sin and get closer to WIAM?” (Listen for responses. Specifically, you want to hear that you need to repent (say you are sorry) and ask for forgiveness.)
  • “That doesn’t sound too tough. ‘God, I’m really sorry for listening to your competitor’s radio station. I want to listen to You again. Will you please forgive me?’” (After you’ve said this, have your WIAM volunteer push through all the volunteers representing your sin in order to get near to you. Dismiss these volunteers, and then follow the WIAM volunteer back over to his/her side of the stage. Demonstrate that you are enjoying listing to God’s station.)
  • “You know, the great part about listening to WIAM is that I don’t feel guilty after I tune in. I always feel guilty after listening to KLIE.”
  • “Now, how do I make sure that I stay tuned into God’s station?” (Listen for responses. You are listening for responses such as ‘read your Bible,’ ‘pray,’ ‘go to church’…)
  • “Exactly! Now, don’t be surprised if when you first start reading your Bible, you hear a lot of static at first.”
  • “The words might be difficult to understand, and even when you understand them, they just look like words.”
  • “That happens, but keep tuning in to God’s station every day, and something cool starts to happen…you start to fine-tune your ability to hear God in what you read, and the words start to jump to life for you!”
  • “You will start to enjoy tuning in each day, and then you will start moving closer and closer to his tower.” (Demonstrate moving closer to the tower.)
  • “Before long, you won’t be interested in picking up the devil’s station at all.”
  • “He can do his best to get your attention, but you won’t pay any attention to him.” (Have KLIE volunteer make desperate gestures to try to get your attention, but ignore him/her. Then thank your volunteers and dismiss them.)

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