Category Archives: Nehemiah

Gates of Jerusalem (GAME)


Gates of JerusalemTime

20 minutes
Description

This game teaches about the gates of Jerusalem during Nehemiah’s time and uses them as a metaphor for how we should conduct our Christian Walk.  Participants will play a dice and memory game to familiarize themselves with the gates and the lessons that they teach.

Materials

  • Printouts of the file, “Gates of Jerusalem – Cards.”  (You can download this file from the website www.teachingthem.com on the Lesson and Material Downloads page.)
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Dice (2)
  • Small candies to use for rewards for right answers (enough for everyone to have 2-3 pieces each)
  • Lamination sheets and a laminator (optional – best if you plan to play the game multiple times)
  • Bible

Scriptures

  • Nehemiah 3
  • Psalm 23:4, 119:97-98
  • Matthew 4:19, 24:27
  • John 1:29, 7:38
  • 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
  • Ephesians 6:10-17
  • Hebrews 12:1-2
  • 1 John 1:9
  • Revelation 19:11, 22:12

 

Preparation

  • Print the file “Gates of Jerusalem – Cards.” (in color, preferably)
  • Cut out the pictures and their descriptions.  (Be careful not to separate the pictues form the descriptions underneath them.)
  • Fold the pictures over so that the descriptions are on the opposite side.
  • Glue the two sides together.
  • Laminate all the cards. (optional)
  • Arrange the cards according to the order pictured on the second slide in the file with the cards.
  • Mark the Scriptures in your Bible with a bookmark so that they will be easy to find.
  • Practice the script.

Procedure

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

  • “We’re going to play a game to teach us about the gates of Jerusalem during the time of Nehemiah.”
  • “We can read about these gates in chapter 3 of the book of Nehemiah.”
  • “In this chapter, Nehemiah organizes everyone to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem so that they can protect themselves and their Temple from their enemies.”
  • “The gates he mentions in the story were real gates at the time, but we can also use them as a reminder about how we should live as Christians.” (Point out the cards you’ve laid out in the shape of the walls of Jerusalem.)
  • “These cards represent the walls and gates of Jerusalem.”
  • “The ones that look like rocks are the parts of the wall.  They don’t move.”
  • “The ones with pictures on them represent the gates, and you can open the gates by turning over the card.”  (As you go through the next part of the script, turn over the cards and read the descriptions on the opposite side.  Then, return the cards to their original position with the picture showing up.)
  • “The first gate is the Sheep Gate.  It was used to bring sheep into the city for sacrifices, and it was very close to the Temple for this reason.  It reminds us that Jesus went to the cross like a sacrificial lamb.  We should remember that He died to pay for our sins. When we accept this gift, we become Christians.”  (Have a volunteer read John 1:29.)
  • “This first gate represents the gate we walk through when we give our hearts to Jesus.”
  • “The second gate is the Fish Gate.  This gate was used by fishermen to bring their fish into Jerusalem to sell.  It reminds us that as followers of Jesus, He is calling us to become “fishers of men.”  That means that we should try to help others know about Jesus.”  (Have a volunteer read Matthew 4:19.)
  • “The third gate is the Old Gate.  We aren’t sure why it was called the Old Gate, but it may have been because it was part of an older city and brought to Jerusalem.  It reminds us that God’s Truth is older than time.  When Satan tries to trick us with lies, we should use God’s Truth to fight against him.”  (Have a volunteer read Ephesians 6:10-17.)
  • “The fourth gate is the Valley Gate.  It opened into a valley on the west side of the city of Jerusalem.  Mountaintops are exciting, but valleys are hard.  They represent the difficult things we go through that help us depend on God and make us stronger.  There is nothing growing above the treeline on a mountain, but valleys are typically lush with growth.”  (Have a volunteer read Psalm 23:4.)
  • “The fifth gate is the Dung Gate.  This is the gate that led to the Valley of Hinnom, where the people burned their garbage.  This gate represents how God uses the valleys in our lives to show us some of our garbage and sinfulness.  When God shows us what is sinful and bad in us, we should get rid of it like smelly garbage (or poop!) so that we can follow Jesus.”  (Have a volunteer read Hebrews 12:1-2.)
  • “The sixth gate is the Fountain Gate.  It was at the end of the Pool of Siloam, and provided refreshing waters for the people of the city.  It represents the streams of Living Water that should flow from us to bless others.  Once we have gotten rid of the ‘dung’ in our lives, God’s Living Waters (which represent God’s Word and His Spirit) can flow through us.”  (Have a volunteer read John 7:38.)
  • “The seventh gate is the Water Gate.  This gate was at the beginning of a famous tunnel that King Hezekiah dug to bring water into the city in case enemy armies lay siege to Jerusalem.  Because the water came through a tunnel, it couldn’t be poisoned by their enemies.  The Water Gates reminds us that we should wash every day in the Word of God by reading our Bibles.  God’s Word is always pure, and Satan can’t poison it.”  (Have a volunteer read Psalm 119:97-98.)
  • “The eighth gate is the Horse Gate.  It was the gate where the horses were taken for water.  Horses in the Bible represent war, so this gate reminds us that we should always be ready to do battle with spiritual forces of evil.  (Have a volunteer read 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.) It is also pointing forward to the time when Jesus will come again.  The Bible says He will come again riding on a white horse.  (Have a volunteer read Revelation 19:11.)
  • “The ninth gate is the East Gate.  It was on the east side of the city and faced the Mountain of Olives.  This gate is very important for Jews and Christians, because the Bible tells us that Jesus will come the second time from the East.  This gate reminds us to have hope because Jesus is coming again.” (Have a volunteer read Matthew 24:27.)
  • “The tenth and final gate is the Inspection Gate (or Muster Gate). It opened to a road that led to Miphkad (“appointed place”).  This is where the people were numbered for the Temple tax.  It reminds us that we should take time at the end of each day to allow God to review the day with us.  If He brings to mind sins we have done, we should confess them and ask for forgiveness.  (Have a volunteer read 1 John 1:9.)  It also points forward to the time when Jesus comes again.  There will be a time of judgment for believers called the Bema Judgment.  At this time, He will evaluate all that we have done and reward us for our good works. (There is no punishment at this judgment.).”  (Have a volunteer read Revelation 22:12.)
  • “In the story in Nehemiah, he mentions the Sheep Gate again at the end of chapter 3.  This is to remind us that everything begins and ends with Jesus and that He is coming again.”
  • “So, here’s how to play the game.”
  • “The youngest person goes first.”
  • “He or she rolls two dice and then has to tell us the name of the gate for the number he/she rolls and what the gate means.” (Point out the numbers in the upper, right-hand corner of each gate picture.  The Sheep gate is numbered both 1 and 11, because it is mentioned twice in the story.)
  • “For example, if you roll a 2 and a 3, that equals 5.  You would have to tell us the name and meaning of the Dung Gate.”
  • “If you roll a 12, the person on your left gets to pick which gate you have to tell us about.”
  • “If you get it right (or mostly right), you get a piece of candy!”
  • “After your turn, the person on your right gets to roll.”
  • “Ready to play?  (Play several rounds.  Then, you can use the Rhyme Time below to reinforce the message and the Debrief Questions to apply the lesson to their personal lives.)

 

Rhyme Time

When gate meanings are unlocked

We understand our Christian walk.

 

Debrief Questions

  • Which gates are hard for you to understand? (Explain to help make their meaning clearer.)
  • What gates have you already gone through in your life?
  • What was that like?
  • Which gate do you think is the coolest?  Why?
  • Who could you teach about the gates?
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Strategic Planning and Nehemiah (BIBLICAL CASE STUDY)


Audience

Teens, Adults

Time

45 minutes
Description

A Biblical Case Study is an exercise that uses Scripture to practice the use of modern business and leadership tools.  In this case study, participants will use the first four chapters of the book of Nehemiah to create a strategic planning Waterfall Model (i.e., Mission, Vision, Strategy, Tactics, Outcomes, Values, Environment).

 

Scriptures

Nehemiah, chapters 1-4

 

Materials

o  Copies of the file “Strategic Planning and Nehemiah – Slides.ppt” (can be found at www.teachingthem.com on the Lesson and Material Downloads page.  There are two slides in the presentation, and you can either project them with an LCD projector or print them out to be used as handouts. 1 copy per table group if you print them out.)

  • Flipchart paper and markers for each table group (1-2 pages each).
  • Masking tape (if you want to hang the flipcharts on the wall)

o  Computer, LCD projector and screen (OPTIONAL)

o  Bible for each table group

Preparation

o  Print out the “Strategic Planning and Nehemiah – Slides.ppt” file. (or have it ready to project with the LCD projector)

o  Practice the script.

 

Procedure

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

  • “In strategic planning, there is a simple model that shows the basic elements of a strategic plan and how they relate to each other.” (Hand out Waterfall Model printout, or project on the screen.)
  • “It’s called the Waterfall Model, and it gets it’s name from how each element spills into the next from top to bottom.”
  • “It starts with the Mission.  The Mission is ‘Why we exist.’”
  • “It’s our purpose, why we do what we do.”
  • “Once we’ve designed it, it shouldn’t change very often.”
  • “At the bottom of the Waterfall are the Outcomes.  Outcomes tell us ‘What we hope to achieve’ through our Mission.”
  • “These are specific and measurable goals that let us know if we are achieving our Mission along the way.”
  • “In strategic planning, design your Mission first and your Outcomes second so that you know why you do what you do and what you want to accomplish.”
  • “Below the Mission is the Vision.  The Vision is ‘Where and what we want to be.’”
  • “A Vision is different from a Mission, because it defines a specific point in the future – a long-term goal that we want to reach.”
  • “It paints a picture of the future that tells us how far we want to go or what we want to become.”
  • “It’s likely that an organization, a team or an individual will have many Visions for the future, creating new ones each time the old ones are achieved, but they will probably only have one Mission.”
  • “Below the Vision is the Strategy.  Strategy tells us ‘How we plan to get there,’ and it’s specifically related to the Vision.”
  • “It gives us a mid-term (as opposed to long-term or short-term) set of instructions about how we will reach our Vision.”
  • “It’s more specific than Vision, but it is less specific than Tactics, which are below it on the Waterfall.”
  • “The idea of Strategy is that it gives us the big picture of what our major efforts will be to achieve the Vision.”
  • “Below the Strategy are the Tactics.  These are short-term plans that tell us very specifically ‘What we need to do.’”
  • “Tactics are an action plan that tell who does what by when.”
  • “While it is good for the leadership team of an organization to create the Mission, Vision and even the Strategy, the group doing the work should usually come up with the Tactics.”
  • “This is because they understand the work that needs to be done better than the leaders and because it is important that those doing the implementation of the Vision and Strategy have ownership of what they are doing.”
  • “They are more likely to own what they are doing if they have an opportunity to determine some or all of the Tactics that they will be using.”
  • “If we did a good job with our strategic plan, the Tactics will align with the Strategy to help us to accomplish the Vision, and Outcomes will be achieved along the way.”
  • “There are two other elements that we have to consider.”
  • “The first is Values.  Values tell us ‘How we behave’ as an organization, a team or an individual.”
  • “Values reflect the things we really care about, and they should have influence on every part of the Waterfall model.”
  • “For example, if we had a Value for Integrity, it would not be okay to achieve our Outcomes by doing something dishonest.”
  • “Our Strategy couldn’t involve taking advantage of people, and our Vision couldn’t be to reach a goal at any cost.”
  • “The last element is Environment.  Environment describes “The conditions in which we operate.’”
  • “It includes things that work for us and things that work against us, e.g., competition, culture, government, law, technology, economy, etc.”
  • “We need to consider what Environment we are working in so that we can anticipate how to take advantage of opportunities and minimize threats.”
  • “Moreover, the Environment is constantly changing and will force us to make adjustments in our Vision, Strategy, Tactics and even our Mission and Outcomes at times.”
  • “So, this is the Waterfall Model of Strategic Planning.  What questions do you have before I have you practice using it?”  (Answer any questions.)
  • “To practice using it, I would like for each table group to create a flipchart with a Waterfall Model for Nehemiah as he worked with the Israelites to build up the walls of Jerusalem.”
  • “You can find the story in the book of Nehemiah.  We will work just with chapters 1-4.”
  • “We could use the entire book, but that might take too long, so I’ve limited the exercise to just these first four chapters.”
  • “On your flipcharts, you will make a Waterfall Model that shows Nehemiah’s Mission, Vision, Strategy, Tactics, Outcomes, Values and Environment.”
  • “The information may not be explicitly stated for each of the elements, so it’s okay to make an educated guess about what it might be.”
  • “For example, Nehemiah never tells us his Mission, but we can infer it from what he says and does in the story.”
  • “Does anyone have any questions before we get started?”  (Answer questions.  Then allow 20-30 minutes for them to create their flipcharts.  When everyone is done, have each team present their flipchart to the larger group.  Debrief by asking each group to share what they learned from the exercise and how they will use it.)

 

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Project Management Series – Nehemiah (DEVOTION)


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

 

Devotion – Project Management Series (Nehemiah)

Project Initiation & Planning

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

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

 

Devotion – Project Management Series (Nehemiah)

Project Execution

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

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

 

Devotion – Project Management Series (Nehemiah)

Risk Management

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

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

 

Devotion – Project Management Series (Nehemiah)

Risk Management

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

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

 

Devotion – Project Management Series (Nehemiah)

Project Close-Out

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

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

 

Devotion – Project Management Series (Nehemiah)

Monitoring & Evaluation

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

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

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