Category Archives: Daily walk

Fortunately-Unfortunately (CHALLENGE)


Time

10-15 minutes
Description

This Challenge teaches what happens to us is not as important as how we respond to what happens to us.  If we trust God with even our “unfortunate” events and circumstances, He can use everything for our good.  Participants will tell a story and take turns making the events of the story either “fortunate” or “unfortunate.”

Scriptures

  • Genesis 37-50
  • Proverbs 3:11
  • Romans 8:28

Materials

  • Challenge Card (The file for printing is called, “JJ – Fortunately-Unfortunately – 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 – any size – 1 per group

 

Preparation

  • 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).
  • Practice the script.

 

Procedure

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

  • “We’re going to do a group Challenge today.”
  • “It’s called, “Fortunately-Unfortunately” 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.”
  • “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 how God can make good things come out of bad situations.”
  • “We’re going to play a short game called, “Fortunately – Unfortunately.”
  • “First, we have to select the person who will start the game.  I want everyone to hold up one finger.”  (Make sure everyone holds up a finger.  Then have them do the following.)
  • “Now point that finger straight up in the air as high as you can make it go.”
  • “I’m going to count to three.  When I say, ‘three,’ I want everyone in the group to point at the person you think should start the game.”
  • “Ready?  Okay, One….Two….Three!”  (If any groups end up with a tie for the number of fingers pointed at different people, have them do it again until the tie is broken.)
  • “Alright, this person is going to start you off by telling the first part of a story.”
  • “They will tell you about 15-20 words about any topic they want, but the story has to start with, ‘Once upon a time…’”
  • “For example, ‘Once upon a time, there was a man who liked to eat pickled porcupines…’”
  • “Then, that person will stop right there, and the person on their right will pick up the story where they left off.”
  • “But before they tell anymore of the story, they have to say, ‘Unfortunately…’ and then share something unfortunate about the situation or person.”
  • “They will tell about 15 words of why things are so unfortunate, and then they will stop.”
  • “The next person will pick up the story where they left off, but he/she will start by saying, ‘Fortunately…’  Then they will tell us what is so fortunate about the situation.”
  • “This keeps going with each person alternating their stories to be ‘fortunate’ or ‘unfortunate.’”
  • “You will keep going around your group until I say to stop, so you will probably have several tries at making up ‘fortunate’ and ‘unfortunate’ parts of the story.”
  • “The only other rule is that you can’t kill anyone in the stories.”
  • “Does anyone have any questions before we get started?”
  • “Alright, those of you who were picked to start, begin your stories!”  (Allow three to five minutes for storytelling, then ask them to finish the part they are on and turn their attention back to you.)
  • “The point of this game is that there are always two ways of looking at the things that happen in our lives.  You can view almost anything as either fortunate or unfortunate.”
  • “If you search for it, even something very bad can have a fortunate side, particularly if you are willing to trust God with it.”
  • “Romans 8:28 says, ‘And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”
  • “The Scripture says that God will works in ‘some’ things for our good, right?”  (The kids should answer, ‘NO!’)
  • “Oh, it says, God works in just the fortunate things, right?” (The kids should answer, ‘NO!’)
  • “In just the things where we make good decisions?”  (‘NO!’) 
  • “What does it say?  …God works in ALL things for the good of those who love Him.”
  • “Sometimes when ‘unfortunate’ stuff happens to us, it’s God’s discipline in our lives, because the Bible says in Proverbs 3:11:  ‘My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent His rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those He loves, as a father the son he delights in.’”
  • “But that means that even when God is disciplining you for your sin, He is doing it for your good!”
  • “And it’s even better if you admit that you sinned and ask for forgiveness.  Then God can really use it for your good!”
  • “He uses EVERYTHING that happens in your life to be a blessing to you!”
  • “So, even when something happens that looks bad, it’s a great idea to praise God for it.  That shows that you trust Him to use it for your good.”
  • “It’s less important what happens to you than how you respond to what happens to 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 God can use everything to bless them and prepare them for His good work.)

 

Debriefing Questions

  1. Do you think the things that happened in Joseph’s life were fortunate or unfortunate?  Why?
  2. Are there things in your life that looked unfortunate at first but turned out to be fortunate?
  3. How could you look at bad things in your life in a positive way?

 

Rhyme Time

God has a purpose, a plan and a dream; My present struggles are not what they seem!

 

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Filed under Abundance, Attitude, Challenges, Daily walk, Expectations, Failure, Hardship, Joseph, Paradigm Shift, Scarcity

Center of God’s Will (CHALLENGE)


Time

10-15 minutes
Description

This Challenge teaches that the safest place for us is in the center of God’s will.  Groups will create a board (representing God’s will) with handles and then attempt to spin it upside down with a cup of water on it.  If they do it correctly, centrifugal force will keep the water in the cup.  The metaphor is that when everything is “spinning” around us, the center of God’s will is the best place to keep us from being “upset.”

 

Scriptures

  • Genesis 37-50
  • Isaiah 26:3

 

Materials

  • Future board – 1 square per group – about 18”x18” (You can substitute other materials, such as plywood or heavy cardboard.)
  • Note card – 1 per group
  • Marker – (just 1 for the Preparation stage)
  • Tape – (just 1 roll for the Preparation stage)
  • Something sharp that can be used to put a small hole in the four corners of the board (just 1 for the Preparation stage)
  • Plastic cups – 2 per group (They only need one, but it’s possible that it might break.)
  • Twine – 4 lengths of about 2.5 ft per group (These will provide handles for the board so that it can be spun.)
  • Gallon jug of water – 1 per group
  • Challenge Card (The file for printing is called, “JJ – Center of God’s Will – 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

 

Preparation

  • Write, “GOD’S WILL” on the note card, and tape it to the center of the board.
  • Put a small hole in each corner of the boards so that the groups can thread twine through it and tie a knot on the bottom side.  (These will provide handles for spinning the boards.)
  • Put all the materials in a Ziplock bag. – 1 per group (This should include two plastic cups and four lengths of twine.)
  • 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).
  • Tape the future board to the Ziplock bag, and put the water where groups can reach it.
  • Practice the script.

 

Procedure

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

  • “We’re going to do a group Challenge today.”
  • “It’s called, “Center of God’s Will” 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, some cups, some string, a board and some water.”
  • “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 staying in the center of God’s will.”
  • “You will have to create your ‘God’s Will’ board.”
  • “Here are the instructions – you can build as I share them with you.”
  • “Tie a knot at one end of each piece of twine.”
  • “Thread one piece of twine through each of the four holes in the future board.”
  • “Pull the twine through until the knot stops the rope from continuing through the hole.”
  • “Tie the unknotted ends of the twine together in one, big knot above the board (on the God’s Will side).  (Make sure that each rope is the same length from the knot to the board.  Otherwise, your board will not hang flat.)”
  • “Fill the cup ¾ full of water.”
  • “The water represents you.”
  • “Your challenge is to place the cup of water on the board, hold the top of all four strings where you tied them together, and spin the board with the water in a circle so that the water goes upside down several times before you stop spinning.”
  • “This represents the challenging times in our lives when everything seems to be spinning around us.”
  • “It’s difficult to keep from getting ‘upset,’ but if we stay in the center of God’s will, it’s a lot easier than if we are outside of His will.”  (Let several participants try to spin the board and the water.  Whenever they spill the water, refill the cup, and let them try again.  Give them some help if they need it.  Speed is important to take advantage of the centrifugal force.)
  • “Isaiah 26:3 says, ‘(God) will keep in perfect peace all who trust in (Him), all whose thoughts are fixed on (Him)!’” (NLT)
  • “That means that if we keep our trust in God and keep thinking about Him, we will have peace in difficult times.”
  • (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 when they trust and obey God, they stay in the center of His will.  Then, He makes bad things work for their good.)

 

Debriefing Questions

  1. What usually happens if the water cup is near the edge of the board when you spin it?
  2. What usually happens if it is near the center of the board?
  3. What do you think it means to be in the “center of God’s will” in your life?
  4. How can you do this more often?

 

Rhyme Time

If we trust Him and obey, God makes bad things go OUR way!

 

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Filed under Challenges, Daily walk, God's Will, Obedience, Object Lesson, Science, Science experiment, Teaching

Bloom Where You Are Planted (CHALLENGE)


Time

10-15 minutes
Description

This Challenge makes the point that we can make a choice to honor God even if difficult situations.  Joseph was sold into slavery by his own brothers, but he was such a trustworthy slave, that Potiphar put him in charge of everything in the house.  When Joseph was accused by Potiphar’s wife and thrown into prison, the prison warden soon put everything under Joseph’s authority, because Joseph was so faithful in how he handled his responsibilities.  Participants will plant flowers in a mixture of gravel and water jelly crystals to show that you can still bloom when you are in a bad place.

Scriptures

  • Genesis 37-50
  • John 4:10-14

 

Materials

  • Water Jelly Crystals – (You can order them from Steve Spangler Science for approximately $40 plus shipping and handling. (2.27 kg (5 pounds)
    Item #: WSAC-900) Order early, because they may take up to two weeks to receive. It’s important that the crystals are clear and not colored.  You can find these crystals at http://www.stevespanglerscience.com/product/1283.
  • Challenge Card (The file for printing is called, “JJ – Bloom Where You Are Planted – 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.)
  • Small, potted flowers (preferably seedlings with some leaves but before they bloom, but this is flexible) – 1 per person
  • Small, clear, plastic cups – 1 per person
  • Gravel – enough to fill each plastic cup about ¾ full
  • Ziplock bags – gallon size – 1 per group
  • Scoops or large plastic spoons – 1 per group
  • Gallon jug of water – 1 per group

 

Preparation

  • Divide the water jelly crystals evenly so that you have the same amount for each group, and place them in Ziplock bags.
  • Add a scoop or large plastic spoon to each bag for scooping out crystals.
  • Add enough plastic cups for each person in each group.
  • Divide the gravel evenly among the groups, and put it into a bag or some other container for each group.
  • Set aside enough flowers for each person in each group.
  • 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).
  • Practice the script.

Procedure

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

  • “We’re going to do a group Challenge today.”
  • “It’s called, “Bloom Where You Are Planted” 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, cups, water jelly crystals, and a scoop or spoon.”
  • “Each group will also have some flowers, gravel and water.”
  • “When I tell you to go, open your Ziplock bags, and read the Challenge Card.”
  • “You will then take the small seedlings out of their planter and shake off the soil so that all you have is the plant with exposed roots.”
  • “This represents Joseph, who was taken out of the good soil of his home and family.”
  • “Next, take a handful of gravel rocks and a handful of water jelly crystals, and mix them together.”
  • “Then, put them into your clear, plastic cup.”
  • “This represents the bad soil that Joseph was planted in when he was sold into slavery by his brothers and then again later when he was thrown into prison for something he didn’t do.”
  • “Plants can’t usually grow in rocks, because they need nutrients from the soil and something to hold the water when it rains.”
  • “That’s why we added water jelly crystals.  They hold water and help the roots to get the refreshing water that they need to grow.”
  • “So here’s the secret reason why Joseph was able to continue to grow even though he was in a bad place.”
  • “God was with him.”
  • “The water jelly crystals represent God’s presence in Joseph’s life.”
  • “Plants need normal water to thrive, but people need LIVING WATER, which is God’s Word and presence, to thrive.”
  • “Jesus says in John 4:10 that we can ask Him, and he will give us living water.”
  • “Then, He says in John 4:13-14 that ‘Everyone who drinks (regular) water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water (Jesus) gives them will never thirst. Indeed, the water (Jesus) gives them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’”
  • “That means that if you depend on Jesus, you will have eternal life with Him in heaven.”
  • “Put your finger into the gravel and water jelly crystals and make a hole for the seedling to be planted in.”
  • “Then, plant the seedling in the gravel, and move the gravel and water jelly crystals around the root.”
  • “Finally, add some water to about halfway up the cup.”
  • “Now, let’s set these aside.  We’ll watch them during the week (or weeks) to see if they thrive in their new soil.  They may even bloom!”
  • (When you are finished, have them answer the Debrief Questions below (also on their Challenge Cards.  The Rhyme Time is a reinforce to help them remember that if they continue to trust God, He will make even difficult situations a blessing for them.)

 

Debriefing Questions

 

  1. Do you think the flower will bloom where you planted it?  Why or why not?
  2. Why do you think Joseph was able to succeed in difficult situations?
  3. How could you “bloom” when you find yourself in a difficult place?

 

Rhyme Time

If we trust Him and obey,

God makes bad things go OUR way!

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Filed under Abundance, acceptance, activity, Challenges, Character, Choices, Coping skills, courage, Daily walk, Hands-on, Hope, Joseph, Object Lesson, Overcoming obstacles, Scarcity, struggles, Transformation, Waiting on the Lord

Conversation Starters for Teenage Girls (SCENARIOS)


Audience

Teen Girls

Time

30-45 minutes
Description

These scenarios are intended to provide conversation starters for teen girls and a skilled and caring mentor.  They can also be used in group settings, but an adult guide should still be present to provide perspective and wisdom.  The cards address many challenging situations in which young girls might find themselves.

 

Scriptures

o   N/A

 

Materials

o  Scenarios worksheets (attached – 1 per person) or “Conversation Starters for Teenage Girls – Cards” (a file that you can download at www.teachingthem.com on the Lesson and Material Downloads page.

o  Something to write with (if you use the worksheet – 1 per person)

o  Something to write on (if you use the worksheet – 1 per person)

o  Bible

Preparation

o  Review the scenarios and delete or pull out any that you don’t want to address.

o  Print the worksheets (1 per person) or the scenario cards (1 per group)

o  Practice the script.

Procedure

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

  • “There are many challenging situations facing teenage girls today.”
  • “If you haven’t thought about how you will prepare for them or respond to them, they could surprise you, and you might find yourself under pressure to make the wrong decision.”
  • “Today, we are going to ask you to think about some of these situations and give your opinion about how you should prepare for or respond to them.”  (If you are using the worksheet, pass it out now, and let the girls have 15-20 minutes to complete it.  You can then discuss their answers as a group, or you can have them turn them in so that you can review them before discussing them at your next meeting.  If you are using the cards, lay them face-down in the center of the group, and have the girls take turns drawing one and responding to it.  Then, allow the other girls to share their thoughts, as well.  Sometimes what they say will be enough on the topic, but at other times, you may need to redirect them by sharing your perspective.  Whenever possible, reference biblical principles.)

 

SCENARIO WORKSHEET

Take some time, and read through each of the following scenarios.  Write how you think you should handle each situation on a separate sheet of paper.  Be sure to number your answers.

 

1.     You and your boyfriend have been dating for three months.  Recently, he has begun to bring up the subject of sex to get your opinion on it.  He says that he wouldn’t ever want to do anything that you didn’t want to do, but you can tell that he is hoping you will say it is okay.

2.     One of your girlfriends confessed to you that she has been thinking about suicide.  Her parents have been fighting for years and are now going through a divorce.  She is unpopular at school, and the boys make fun of her because she is heavy.  Recently, she has even stopped turning in her homework, and her failing grades are getting her into trouble with her parents and with school administrators.

3.     At a party, a popular girl invites you to join her and her friends as they take hits of acid.  You initially say, “No, thanks….I’m okay,” but they begin to make fun of you for being so “straight” and “pure.”  They laugh at you and tell you it’s time to grow up and stop being such a little girl.

4.     You are out driving on a date with a cute boy, and he reaches across you to open the glove compartment of his car.  As he does so, his arm brushes your chest.  You are embarrassed, but he is very apologetic, so you say it was no big deal.  However, an hour later, he does the same thing at dinner as he reaches for the ketchup.

5.     You and a girlfriend are out at the mall.  As she reaches to pick out a bracelet that she likes, you see that she has several dark bruises on her arm under her shirtsleeve.  When you ask her about it, she says that she bumped into something, but you aren’t convinced.  The bruises look like finger marks from her arm being squeezed too hard. You keep asking her about it until she confesses that her boyfriend got angry the other day and shook her a little.  She assures you that it’s the first time anything like this has ever happened.

6.     The word is out all over school about a famous celebrity sex video, and you are surprised to find that someone has sent you the link through email.  Your friend is watching over your shoulder when you open the email and tells you that you should click on the link.  “Everyone has seen it except us,” she says.

7.     Report cards come out, and you are surprised to see that you got a “B” in a class that you should have failed.  You didn’t turn in three assignments this semester, and you’ve been dreading getting your grades.  What was even more surprising is that your teacher commented on how much you’ve improved in getting your homework done.  You’re pretty sure that he made some kind of mistake in his grade book, but you are reluctant to bring it up, because an “F” means you will be grounded and miss this weekend’s social.

8.     A friend has started to look tired all the time.  She has dark patches under her eyes, and she no longer seems to have any energy or spark.  She has also been losing a lot of weight, which is confusing, because she eats more than you or any of your other friends.  You’ve begun to wonder if she might be throwing up whenever she goes to the bathroom after you eat out together.

9.     It is obvious to you that the girls who wear the tightest clothing and the shortest skirts get the most attention from the guys.  You’ve always been modest in what you wear, but it hurts that none of the guys is ever interested in you.  One guy even asked you why you wear “old lady” clothes.

10.  You’re out at the movies with a guy.  When he opens his wallet to pay for your tickets, you notice that he has several condoms in it.

11.  You catch your older brother looking at a pornographic magazine in his room.  He first begs you not to tell, then threatens to get you back if you say anything to Mom or Dad.

12.  You wake up late one night when you hear a noise in the dark.  You look out your window and see your older sister sneaking back into her room.  You look at the clock and see that it’s 4:30 a.m. The next morning, your parents tell you to wake up your sister, and you smell alcohol on her breath when you go to get her.

13.  You’ve got a new teacher – a young guy just out of college, and he is really cute.  All the girls are talking about him.  One day, he asks you to stay for a few minutes after class so that he can talk to you about your last paper.  He is very excited about your writing abilities and tells you that you have talent.  This meeting is followed by several others, and he offers to coach you to help you really develop your writing skills.  You have been meeting a few times a week after school for several weeks, and one day at your meeting, he reaches out and puts his hand on yours.

14.  One of your girlfriends just found out that she is pregnant.  She says that there is no way she can have a baby.  Her parents would do something crazy like sending her to live with her aunt in another state.  Her boyfriend is trying to help her raise the money for the abortion pill, and she has asked if you can help out with a little money.

15.  One of the girls in your first period class is upset, because someone stole her iPod out of her backpack.  This girl is really irritating and has always been mean to you, and you are a little amused to see that something bad has finally happened to her.  Unfortunately, you know who stole the iPod.  You saw one of your good friends listening to it yesterday after school, and you know it is the same iPod because of a scratch that it has on the back cover.

16.  You are at a school social with some friends.  When it is time to leave, you realize that the friend who drove you there has been drinking and is in no condition to drive.  You offer to drive for her, but she refuses and says that she is just fine.

17.  You are at a concert with some friends, and someone passes a joint down the row of seats.  You expect your friends to pass it back the other way, but to your surprise, they all take a hit and then pass it to you.  When you start to refuse, they begin to tease you and put the joint in your face.  They say that you are going to get high off the second-hand smoke anyway – why not enjoy it all the way?

18.  You’ve told your parents that you are going to a sleepover at a friend’s house, but when you get there, you find out that the girls have planned a secret trip to a local dance club.  They are busy getting dressed and putting on make-up so that they look “legal,” and one of the girls says that she is a good friend with the gatekeeper at the door.  He promised that he would let them all in as long as they looked old enough.

19.  While at the mall one weekend, you and your girlfriend meet a couple of cute guys.  They are from your school, but you don’t really know them.  You eat together at one of the fast-food places, and then the guys ask if the two of you can give them a ride home.  When you hesitate, they say, “Come on, it’s not far from here.  It will only take you a few minutes.”

20.  You get a friend request from someone on Facebook.  You don’t recognize the name, but they have lots of the same friends as you, so you approve the request.  As soon as you do, the person starts to chat with you.  You start to chat while looking up his profile.  Unfortunately, you still don’t recognize him, but he looks pretty normal in his photos and he goes to the same high school as you.  He is asking you questions about what you like to do on the weekends and when you aren’t working on homework.

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Filed under Challenges, Character, conflict management, Conflict Resolution, Coping skills, courage, Daily walk, Decision making, Fear, leadership, Obedience, Priorities, purity, Relationships, self-image, Self-worth, Sex, Sexual Purity, struggles, temptation, test, Witness

Lazarus (DEVOTION)


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

John 11:1-44 (entire chapter)

1.    Why do you think Jesus waited before going to Mary and Martha?

2.    Have you ever had a time in your life when you desperately prayed for God’s help but God chose not to give you what you asked for?

3.    What do you think God’s purposes are in these situations?

Now, think back through the story, and put yourself in the role of Lazarus.  Instead of focusing on Lazarus’ physical sickness and death, though, now focus on your spiritual sickness and death before you became a Christian.

4.    How is the story about Lazarus’ resurrection like your own story of spiritual rebirth?

5.    What insights does this give you about the story?

 

Facilitator Notes for Large Group Debrief

o  Like Lazarus, we were dead, but our sickness which led to death was spiritual rather than physical.

o  Jesus waited until we were aware of our deadness before He brought us into life everlasting.

o  Releasing Lazarus from the grave was a visual representation of what Jesus was about to do for all of us.

o  When Jesus rolled away the stone from His own grave in the garden, He rolled away the stone for all of humanity.  Death could no longer hold us!

o  The stone that blocked our way to new life has been rolled away.

o  Jesus calls our name and invites us to come out to enjoy new life with Him.

o  Unfortunately, many of us chose to stay in our tombs rather than respond to Jesus’ call for us to come out.

o  As long as we stayed in our graves, we were still dead in our sin.

o  But for those of us who responded when Jesus called our names, we have new life!

o  But that’s not the entire story of how we got free, because even though we had been freed from the power of death, we, like Lazarus, were still bound in our grave clothes.

o  Satan had wrapped us up pretty tightly.

o  Many of us emerged from the grave, but we weren’t truly free yet.  The sins and scars of our past still held us.  We wanted to be free to enjoy the life that Jesus promised, but we didn’t know how to separate ourselves from those grave clothes.

o  Some of us are still bound today.  We still don’t know how to get free of our past.  What we did or what was done to us prevents us from experiencing the full joy of our new freedom.

o  Like the burial custom practiced in Lazarus’ time, Satan tied our hands and our feet, wrapped us in grave clothes and veiled our faces.

o  He tied our hands, because it’s with our hands that we do God’s WORK.

o  He tied our feet, because it’s with our feet that we WALK with the Lord.

o  He veiled our faces, because it’s with our faces that we bear WITNESS to God’s glory.*

o  Many of us are alive in Christ but still tied up in sin, guilt, shame, pain, or ignorance that keeps us from our WORK, our WALK and our WITNESS with and for God.

o  It sometimes takes a long time to recognize our freedom, and we need the help of the Church to get free.  We need our brothers and sisters in Christ to do for us what those who witnessed Lazarus raised from the dead did for Lazarus.  We need our brothers and sisters to “Take off (our) grave clothes and let (us) go!”

o  We can’t get free ourselves.  This is part of the role of the Church.

o  So, as we see other brothers and sisters emerge from the grave, we need to step forward and help them in whatever way God gives us.  We need to get them free from their grave clothes.

o  And if you are still bound and don’t know how to get free, don’t try to do it alone.  Turn to your brothers and sisters in Christ and to Christian professionals who can help you to cut those bounds and walk free in Christ.

 

* There are at least three important veils in Scripture. Moses wore his veil to hide God’s glory when he came down from the mountain, because the sinful people couldn’t stand the bright holiness of God. But when Jesus died, the veil in the temple was ripped from top to bottom because all could now have access to a holy God through Christ. Satan wants to keep us veiled like Lazarus, but it’s no longer necessary to hide God’s glory.

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Filed under Daily walk, Devotion, God's Will, Healing, Jesus, Martha, Mary, Resurrection, Witness

Out of Orbit (Obj Lesson)


Time

10-15 minutes
Description

This object lesson teaches about how difficult it can be for us to stay focused on following Jesus.

 

Scriptures

  • Philippians 3:12-14

Materials

  • A toy rocket or spaceship (or if you don’t have anything like that, improvise with a cardboard tube or just about anything else – the kids won’t mind)
  • One large ball (preferably yellow or orange)
  • Several smaller balls of varying sizes
  • Permanent marker
  • Index cards (one for each ball)
  • Tape
  • Bible

Preparation

  • Write the following words on different index cards, “SON,” “WORLD,” “Jealousy,” “Bitterness,” “Selfishness,” “Unkindness,” “Worry,” “Doubt,” “Foolishness,” “Pride,” “Fear,” “Greed,” “Ignorance,” or any others that you want to use.  The only ones that are required are the “SON” card and the “WORLD” card.
  • Tape these cards onto different balls.  The “SON” card should be taped to the largest ball.
  • Practice the script.

 

Procedure

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

  • “Do any of you ever have trouble staying focused on following God?”  (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “Me, too!  It’s so hard to always do what is right and stay on the path toward Him.”
  • “We are kind of like a rocket ship heading toward the sun (but actually, we are headed to the S-O-N, because we won’t burn up when we reach Him!)”  (Ask for enough volunteers to hold all the props you’ve brought – one for the rocket ship and one for each ball.  Put the person holding the “SON” ball at one end of the room, and place the person with the “WORLD” ball and the person with the rocket ship at the other end of the room.  Space those with the balls along either side of the path between the large ball and the rocket ship.)
  • “Before we know Jesus, we are stuck in the WORLD’s orbit.”  (Guide the person with the rocket ship by the shoulders to make several orbits around the person with the “WORLD” ball.”
  • “But then, we catch a glimpse of the SON and decide we want to follow Him.”
  • “We break free from the WORLD’s orbit and start heading toward the SON.”  (Guide the person with the rocket ship slowly toward the SON, but as soon as you get to the first person with a ball on the path, break off and orbit around that person.”
  • “Unfortunately, on the way to the SON, we get distracted by ________ (name whatever is printed on the card on the ball), and we go into orbit around it for a while.” (Keep going around this person.)
  • “The more times we go around _____________ (say what is on the ball again), the more we hate it, but it is soooooooo hard to break free from its gravitational pull!”  (Keep going around this person.)
  • “We keep seeing the SON every time we pass around __________________ (say the name of the ball), and eventually, His power pulls us free of the orbit of the dead planet we have been circling.”  (Break free and start back toward the SON.)
  • “Not everything is a temptation for us, so we will be able to pass some of these dead planets without any problem, but our Enemy, Satan, is not going to give us up without a fight.
  • “He will put a very tempting planet in our path, and sure enough, we will get distracted looking at it and get sucked into its gravitational pull!” (Guide the person with rocket to begin orbiting this new dead planet.)
  • “Even though the planet looked tempting from a distance, when we get close to it, we find that it is empty and lifeless.  It doesn’t satisfy.”
  • “The SON won’t let us forget Him.  We will see Him on every orbit, and eventually, He will pull us free from that dead planet and set us back on the path toward Him.”  (Guide the person with the rocket to break away and head toward the Son.)
  • “This keeps happening over and over and over again.  It’s very frustrating!”  (Guide the person with the rocket to get sucked into one orbit and then break away and then get sucked into another orbit and so on….)
  • “But there is good news!  The closer we get to the SON, the easier it gets to break free from these temptations.”
  • “We get stronger and stronger in our faith and our ability to resist temptation, and we stay longer and longer on the path toward the SON.”
  • “We just need to keep striving to reach the SON.  Paul says in his letter to the Philippians, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12-14)
  • “Paul was saying that he doesn’t look back at what’s behind him; he just keeps straining toward what is ahead of him.”
  • “He keeps his ship pointed toward the SON, and when he gets off-course, he gets back on-course as soon as possible to follow the SON.”
  • “One day, it will be time, and the SON will bring us the rest of the way to Him when we join Him in heaven (or when He comes back to join us on earth).  (Guide the person with the rocket ship to the SON and have him orbit the SON several times before ending the lesson.)

 

 

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Filed under Challenges, Daily walk, God's Will, Jesus, Obedience, Object Lesson, Pride, Repentance, sanctification, Satan's tactics, Spiritual Growth, temptation

Red Light – Green Light (GAME)


Time

15-20 minutes
Description

This game is a twist on the popular “Red Light – Green Light” game that kids often play.  It’s high energy with a spiritual teaching point at the end.

Scriptures

  • Jonah 1:1-3
  • Hebrews 12:1-2

Materials

  • None

Preparation

  • Select a wide-open space to play the game.
  • Choose a highly-visible object or point to be the “Finish Line” and another place to be the “Start Line.”
  • Practice the script.

Procedure

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

  • “How many of you have played a game called ‘Red Light – Green Light’ before?”  (Look for a show of hands.)
  • “Well, we’re going to play a game like that, but I’m going to change the rules just a little.”
  • “In ‘Red Light – Green Light,’ everyone starts at a starting line, and the person who is leading is far away.”
  • “The leader faces everyone and says, ‘Red Light!’ and everyone has to freeze right where they are.”
  • “If the leader sees anyone moving even a little, he can send them back to the start line.”
  • “But when the leader turns his back to everyone, he says, ‘Green Light!’ and everyone runs as far as they can toward him before he turns around again and says, ‘Red Light!’”
  • “The first person to reach the leader and tag him wins and gets to be the new leader for another round of the game.”
  • “So, those are the regular rules.  Here are my new backward rules.”
  • “Instead of running toward the leader, you are going to run away from the leader.”
  • “The first person to reach the finish line will be the winner.”  (Tell them what the finish line will be, and point out where everyone will start.)
  • “Does that make sense to everyone?”  (Look for questions and respond.)
  • “Okay, the other rule is still the same.”
  • “When I’m facing you, I’ll call out, ‘Red Light!’ and everyone has to freeze right where they are.”
  • “But when I turn around, I’ll call out, ‘Green Light!’ and you can run like crazy!”
  • “Any questions?”  (Respond to any questions.)
  • “Okay, I’ll be leader first.”  (Position yourself in the middle of the “Start Line,” and have everyone line up on either side of you along the same line.  Start by facing them.  Then quickly turn around and yell out, “Green Light!”  Don’t give them much time to run.  Quickly turn back around, and yell, “Red Light!”  If you see anyone still moving or even twitching (depending upon how strict you want to be with the rules), make them come back to the “Start Line.”  Repeat this process until someone reaches the “Finish Line.”  Then make that person the new leader.  Run through several rounds of the game, and then bring everyone back for a debrief using the following questions.)

Debrief Questions & Discussion

  1. “What did you think of the game?”
  2. “Let’s pretend that the leader of the game is like God.  How does the game compare to how some people act toward God?”  (You are listening for someone to mention that people are often moving away from (even running away from!) God.  Running away from God is the equivalent of sinning and putting distance in our relationship.)
  3. “That reminds me of someone in the Bible who ran from the Lord.”  (Have a volunteer read Jonah 1:1-3.)
  4. “Jonah ran from the Lord.  How did that work out for him?”  (Listen for someone to mention that he was swallowed by a great fish for three days.)
  5. “Not so well, right?”
  6. “So, if the leader is God, what could the ‘Red Light!’ and ‘Green Light!’ represent for Christians?”  (You are listening for someone to say that the red light is like when we feel God is watching us and we have to be on our best behavior.  The green light is like when we pretend God isn’t watching and we can do whatever we want, even if it’s bad for us to do.)
  7. “Do you think this is the way God actually acts toward us?”  (Hopefully the kids will know that it is not the way God acts toward us.)
  8. “So how DOES God act toward us?  What’s different than the game?”  (God is always watching over us.  Even when we don’t feel close to Him, He hasn’t turned away from us.   He never gives a “Green Light” to sin.  And even though He always has a “Red Light” to sin, He isn’t trying to catch us doing something wrong.  He is encouraging us to come running to Him and not away from Him.)
  9. “The Scriptures say that we should be running toward God.”  (Have volunteer read Hebrews 12:1-2.)

10.  “We should keep our eyes on Jesus and throw off anything that might slow us down as we race toward Him.”

11.  “So, let’s change the rules again, and this time, everyone see how fast you can get to God with no ‘Red Lights!’”  (Choose someone to be the leader/”God,” and have the kids line up at the former “Finish Line,” which will now be the new “Start Line.”  When the leader/”God” says, “Green Light!” everyone should race to see how fast they can reach and tag him.  Instruct the leader not to give any “Red Lights.”)

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Filed under acceptance, Christianity, Coping skills, Daily walk, Fear, forgiveness, Game, Games that Teach, Jonah, Obedience, self-image, Trust