Category Archives: Decision making

Proactivity (GAME)


Audience

Teens, Adults

Time

30 minutes
Description

This game helps participants to recognize the need for being proactive in addressing problems rather than procrastinating, hoping things will change or avoiding the problems altogether.  Participants will make decisions about which problems (from a given set of scenarios) to address with their limited time and resources.

 

Scriptures

2 Samuel 13-18 (for the story of Amnon’s rape of Tamar, Absalom’s revenge and coup against David and the war that followed – Had David intervened early in the conflict, much of the destruction and loss could have been avoided.)

 

Materials

o  Copies of the worksheet, “Proactivity – Game Card” (one per participant.  This document can be found on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at www.teachingthem.com.)

o  Bible (if you choose to look at the Bible verses mentioned above to give context for the game)

o  Prize for the winner (optional)

Preparation

o  Print out the “Proactivity – Game Card” worksheet (one per participant)

 

Procedure

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

  • “We’re going to play a game called ‘Proactivity.’”
  • “The purpose is to show you how important it is to address problems at the early stages before the get unmanageable or cause too much disruption.”
  • “On your worksheet, there are six different problems.”
  • “They are each at a different level of intensity on a scale of 1-10.”
  • “A level 1 problem is not causing much tension or having much impact.”
  • “A level 5 problem is causing measurable tension and negative impact.”
  • “A level 10 problem is totally disruptive and requires immediate attention.”
  • “The game is played in four rounds.”
  • “At the beginning of each round, you have an opportunity to make an intervention on two of the six problems.”
  • “You ‘intervene’ by placing an ‘X’ over the square for the upcoming round on two of the problems.”
  • “This indicates that you have taken action to prevent the problem from getting worse.”
  • “If I announce during the next round that the problem has gotten worse and that it has increased in levels, you do not have to count those extra levels on your sheet.  You prevented them from happening.”
  • “In the following round, you can choose to use your two interventions for the same two problems, for two new ones or for a mix of one new and one old.  It’s up to you.”
  • “Your goal is to finish with the lowest overall score, and your score will be determined by adding up the levels from each round for each problem.”
  • “For example, if one problem starts at a level 3, increases three levels in the second round, increases two levels in the third round and increases four levels in the forth round, your total score for that problem would exceed the maximum level of 10 (unless you used an intervention during one or more rounds.)”
  • “If your score reaches or exceeds the maximum of 10 points, you incur a 5 point penalty for that problem.”
  • “In the same example, if you used an intervention on the second (3 pts) and fourth rounds (4 pts), you don’t have to count those points in your total.  Your score for that problem would only be 5 pts (3 pts in the first round and 2 pts in the third round).”
  • “The trick is anticipating which problems are about to escalate the most in the coming round so that you can avoid the points by using an intervention.”
  • “What questions do you have before we begin?”  (Answer questions.  Then, follow the process outlined below.)
  • “Here are the six problems you are currently facing.”  (They can read what you are saying on their Game Cards.)
  • “Problem #1: Two staff members are in a relationship, but they are currently not speaking to one another.  This is currently at a Level 2.”
  • “Problem #2: Two senior leaders are having a conflict with one another.  This is currently at Level 4.”
  • “Problem #3: A staff member has shown up late to work several times this week.  This is currently at a Level 3.”
  • “Problem #4: A project has missed two of the early deliverables.  This is currently at Level 5.”
  • “Problem #5: You have a sore tooth.  This is currently at Level 2.”
  • “Problem #6: Your spouse is irritated that you are working too many hours.  This is currently at Level 3.”
  • “Before I announce the changes for Round 2, pick two of the problems that you want to intervene on (i.e., take action on to prevent them from getting worse).  Place an ‘X’ on Row 2 in the column for that problem.” (Allow them a moment to mark their “X’s.”)
  • “When I announce the changes, you don’t have to write any change in these two places, because you have taken action to prevent them from getting worse.”
  • “Here are the changes for Round 2.  As I read these, write the number of points in the box on Row 2 for each problem.”
    1. ROUND 2

                    i.     Problem #1 – The couple won’t work on a project team together. Add 2 points.

                    ii.     Problem #2 – No change.  Add 0 points.

                    iii.     Problem #3 – The staff member missed an important deadline.  Add 2 points.

                    iv.     Problem #4 – The project team is forecasting that they will go over budget.  Add 2 points.

                    v.     Problem #5 – You can’t eat out of that side of your mouth.  Add 3 points.

                    vi.     Problem #6 – Your spouse made several sarcastic jokes at a party about you being “home for a short visit” in between trips.  Add 1 point.

  • “You should have something in every box on Row 2 now.  Two squares will have an ‘X,’ and the rest will have a number.”
  • “Before I announce Round 3, mark an ‘X’ in two boxes on the third row to show that you are doing an intervention on those problems.”
  • “Here are the changes for Round 3.”
    1. ROUND 3

                    i.     Problem #1 – The couple had a loud argument at the office.  Add 4 points.

                    ii.     Problem #2 – The senior leaders’ teams are taking sides. Add 3 points.

                    iii.     Problem #3 – No change.  Add 0 points.

                    iv.     Problem #4 – The team reworked the budget and got the costs back under the limit.  Subtract 2 points.  (If a team used an intervention on this problem for this round, they can put an ‘X’ over the 2 points in Round 2.)

                    v.     Problem #5 – A piece of tooth fell out.  It’s hard to focus on anything.  Add 4 points.

                    vi.     Problem #6 – You had a fight about your travel schedule.  Add 4 points.

  • “All the boxes on the third row should have something in them now.”
  • “Before I announce Round 4, mark an ‘X’ in two boxes on the fourth row to show that you are doing an intervention on those problems.”
  • “Here are the changes for Round 4.”
    1. ROUND 4

                    i.     Problem #1 – The female member of the couple filed a sexual harassment lawsuit.  Add 5 points.

                    ii.     Problem #2 – Staff on both teams are sabotaging the efforts of the others.  Add 5 points.

                    iii.     Problem #3 – The staff member missed three days of work in the last two weeks. Add 3 points.

                    iv.     Problem #4 – A major milestone has been missed.  Add 3 points.

                    v.     Problem #5 – Your tooth is abscessed, and you need a root canal.  Add 4 points.

                    vi.     Problem #6 – Your spouse took the kids and left to stay with her parents.  Add 6 points.

  • “Now it’s time to add up your scores.”
  • “If any of your scores is equal to or greater than 10, you have to add a 5-point penalty for allowing that problem to blow up on you.”
  • “Anytime you ignore something important for long enough, it will be both urgent and important to get your attention.”
  • “Add this penalty to your Total to get your New Total.”
  • “After you’ve added each column, add each of those totals together to get your Grand Total.” (You might want to award a prize for the lowest overall score.  Afterwards, have them discuss the Debrief Questions below.)

 

Debrief Questions

  1. What was challenging about the game?
  2. What are some of the major teaching points?
  3. How will you apply them to your life and work?
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Filed under Decision making, Games that Teach, Initiative, Priorities, Problem solving

Courage of Your Convictions (EXERCISE)


Purpose

This exercise challenges participants to make decisions and defend them to their peers.  They will go through several stages of defending their decisions and then coming to consensus.  At the end, they will be able to score themselves based on how well they defended each of the decisions.

Setup

  • Print copies of “Courage of Your Convictions – Worksheets” (one per participant).  You can download it on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at www.teachingthem.com.  There are eight different worksheets to choose from.  Each one will take up to an hour to complete through all four stages, so you will probably only want to use a few during any given workshop.
  • Hand out colored markers (one set per participant of blue, red, yellow, green and purple markers).  You can use anything colored – paper or posterboard squares, colored paperclips, manipulatives used for teaching young children, colored dots, etc.

 

Timing

Explaining the Exercise: 5 minutes.

Stage 1: 20 minutes

Stage 2: 10 minutes

Stage 3: 10 minutes

Stage 4: 10 minutes

Debrief: 15 minutes (Save the debrief until you have done all worksheets that you are doing to do.)

Procedure

  • Read through the instructions on the first page of the “Courage of Your Convictions – Worksheets” document, and then let them start discussions.  (It may be best to read just Stage 1 and Stage 2 at first.  Once those are completed, share Stage 3, and when that is completed, share Stage 4.  When all four Stages are complete, pass out another worksheet or (if you are done) have them answer the Debrief Questions at the bottom of the first page of their worksheets document.)
  • The process is as follows:
    • Participants will review different scenarios and choose a response.
    • Then, they will reveal their response to their peers and defend their choice.
    • The group must then work toward consensus.
    • Once that is achieved, groups will be mixed, and each team member must then defend the group’s decision to the new group.  However, in the end, they must come to consensus.
    • Participants then return to their original groups and explain what happened – adding new information and rationale to the discussion.  In the end, they must come to consensus again.
    • Finally, participants will grade themselves based on the number of times they changed their decisions.  A high number of changes is not desirable, because it show that they were too easily influenced by the groups (and did not have the “courage of their convictions”).
    • The debrief is saved until the completion of all worksheets.

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Filed under Choices, Consensus, courage, Decision making, exercise, leadership, Problem solving

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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Filed under Abraham, Abram, Challenges, Choices, Decision making, discipleship, faith, God's Plan, God's Will, Jesus, Joseph, Lesson, Listening to God, Obedience, Object Lesson, Repentance, Satan's tactics, Spiritual Growth, temptation, Transformation, unity

Symptoms, Sources, Solutions (GAME)


Audience

Teens, Adults

Time

20-30 minutes
Description

This game helps participants to understand a simple problem-solving model and to remember that we should always look for the Sources of the problem before we try to implement Solutions.

Scriptures

Isaiah 5:1-30

Materials

o  Symptoms-Sources-Solutions Cards (can be found at www.teachingthem.com on the Lesson and Material Downloads page in the file, “Symptoms-Sources-Solutions Cards.ppt” – you will need 6-10 sets (a set is made up of all three cards, Symptoms, Sources and Solutions) for every 3-5 participants.)

o  Card stock paper (preferred – you will need one sheet per set of cards that you print.  For example, if you have 20 participants and divide them into four groups of five, you will want to have at least 24 sets of the cards (this allows each group to have at least six sets of cards).  This would require 24 sheets of paper.)

o  Scissors or cutting tool

o  Flipchart and markers

o  Prizes for the winners (optional)

o  Bible (optional)

Preparation

o  Print out the Symptoms-Sources-Solutions cards.

o  Divide the number of sets (all three cards) you printed by the number of groups you will have in the class.

o  Cut out the cards.  (Each card should be cut out individually.  In other words, each Sources card, each Symptoms card and each, Solutions card should be separate from the others.  Make sure that you keep each group of cards separate from the others so that you don’t accidentally give one group an incomplete set.  Each group should have 6-10 complete sets (all three cards).)

o  Shuffle each group of cards so that they are in random order.  (Keep the groups separate from each other, and set them aside to be used during your workshop.)

o  Take the scrap pieces of paper or card stock, and divide them up evenly between the groups.  Groups will use these as “dividers” to separate each complete set of cards as they play the game.  Each team will need from 5-9 dividers, depending upon how many sets of cards you give them.

Procedure

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

  • “I have a simple problem solving model that I would like to share with you.”
  • “It’s called ‘Symptoms-Sources-Solutions.’”  (Sketch the tree on a flip chart or whiteboard as you talk.)
  • “Symptoms are the part of the problem that is obvious.  They are above the ground like the branches of this unhealthy tree.”  (Label the top of the tree, “Symptoms,” and make the tree look unhealthy, like the example on the Symptoms card.)
  • “Symptoms are the first things you notice about the problem, like when you get sick – the first things you notice are the Symptoms – a rash or a scratchy throat or a fever.”
  • “These things are not the real problem; they are just the evidence of the problem.”
  • “To find the real problem, you need to look for the Sources – the root of the problem.”  (Label the roots of the tree, “Sources,” and make them look unhealthy with skulls and crossbones (like the example on the Sources card) or in some other way.)
  • “A good doctor won’t just solve your Symptoms by giving you a pain killer, some cream and a bandage.”
  • “If that’s all he does, you might feel better for a little while, but your problem isn’t going to go away.”
  • “As soon as the pain killer wears off, the pain will be back, because the pain is just the messenger that tells you that the problem exists.”
  • “Symptoms are a messenger, and you don’t want to just hide the Symptoms.”
  • “You want to listen to what they are trying to tell you – that something is wrong and needs your attention!”
  • “A good doctor will look for the Source of the problem that the Symptoms point to, because he recognizes that Symptoms are a very helpful way of learning about a deeper problem.”
  • “Once he understands where the Symptoms are coming from, the doctor can prescribe a Solution that will get rid of the Symptoms by removing the Sources.” (Write “Solutions” in big letters over the tree.  Make the tree healthy by crossing out your skulls or other negative illustrations and drawing some fruit on the tree.)
  • “I would like for you to remember this model (Symptoms-Sources-Solutions) and how important it is to do the steps in the right order, so we’re going to play a game that will accomplish that.” (Hand out the stacks of cards facedown to each group.  Also, give each group a stack of 5-9 “dividers.”)
  • “Please leave the cards facedown.”
  • “The strips of paper that I gave you are ‘dividers’.”
  • “Please give these to one person at the table.”
  • “For the cards, one person should deal them out facedown to all remaining group members (other than the one who has the dividers).”   (Allow a moment for them to deal out the cards.)
  • “It’s okay if some people get more cards than others.  You will be working together as a team in this game.”
  • “There are three different types of cards that you have in front of you.”
  • “Some are Symptoms cards; Some are Sources cards and some are Solutions cards.”
  • “The objective of the game is to be the fastest team to assemble all your cards in the right order.”
  • “For example, when I signal the start of the game, each person will pick up the top card on his/her deck and look at it.”
  • “If it says, ‘Symptoms,’ that person will slap his or her card face-up in the center of the table.”
  • “Then, someone with a card that says, ‘Sources,’ will slap his or her card face-up on top of the Symptoms card.”
  • “Finally, someone with a ‘Solutions’ card will slap his or her card face-up on top of the Sources card.”
  • “This completes a set, so the person with the dividers should now slap down a divider strip to separate the first set of cards from the next set.”
  • “Once the divider slip is on top of the Solutions card, anyone who has a ‘Symptoms’ card can now slap it down face-up on the same pile.”
  • “You continue like this until all of the cards in everyone’s stacks are played.”
  • “Whenever you slap down a card, you can draw a new one off the top of your deck and look at it.”
  • “If someone mistakenly slaps down a card in the wrong order (for example, slapping a Solutions card on top of a Symptoms card), then he or she has to pick it back up off the pile in the center and put it facedown underneath his or her stack of cards.”
  • “If no one has the correct card in his or her hands, and no one can play, everyone must ‘burn’ their card (which means that they have to put it facedown underneath their stack of cards in front of them) and draw a new card.”
  • “When everyone finishes, groups should inspect their cards to make sure they are all in the right order with dividers between each complete set of three cards (Symptoms-Sources-Solutions).”
  • “Each set that is correctly laid is worth one point.”
  • “If they slapped any cards in the wrong order and didn’t notice until the end of the game, they lose one point for each incorrect set.”
  • “The team that has the highest points wins.”
  • “If there is a tie for points, then the team that finished earliest with the highest points wins.”
  • “What questions do you have?”  (Answer any questions.  Then let them play a round.  Award a prize for the winning group if you like.  You might want to let them play several times.  Then have them answer the following debrief questions.  NOTE: If you want to use the Scriptures linked to this game as a teaching point, have participants read Isaiah 5:20-25 and create a flipchart with a drawing of a tree.  Then, have them label the parts of the tree with the Symptoms and Sources of the problem.  They can also list God’s Solutions to the problem and brainstorm alternative Solutions that Jerusalem and Judah could have enacted that would have resolved the Sources and eliminated the Symptoms in a more positive way.)

 

Debrief Questions

  1. What was difficult about the game?
  2. What comparisons can you make between the challenges in the game and the challenges related to problem solving in real life?
  3. What do you think are some of the consequences of going straight from Symptoms to Solutions in real-life problem solving?
  4. How can you prevent this from happening?
  5. What lessons can you take away from the Symptoms-Sources-Solutions model and game?

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Filed under Challenges, competition, Decision making, Game, Games that Teach, Needs Analysis, Overcoming obstacles, Performance, Problem solving, Solutions

Cross-Cultural Leadership (DEVOTION)


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

  • Exodus 2:11-22
  • Exodus 3:7-22
  • Exodus 4:10-19, 27-31
  • Exodus 5:1-23
  • Exodus 6:1-12
  • Exodus 7:8-13, 22-24
  • Exodus 12:31-38
  • Exodus 14:10-31

 

  1. What cross-cultural challenges did Moses face in each instance of his leadership?
  2. How successful was he in dealing with them?
  3. How did his early failure impact his future efforts?
  4. What helped Moses to be successful in his later efforts?
  5. What lessons can we take from his experience?

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Filed under conflict management, Conflict Resolution, culture, Decision making, Devotion, leadership, Management, Moses

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