Category Archives: spiritual disciplines

Spiritual Practice Cards (JOB AID)


I created this job aid for a spiritual retreat I have coming up.  It’s a list of 40 spiritual disciplines or practices arranged on cards and organized by the type of spiritual practice each one is.  The information on the cards in compiled from a large number of sources, but I’m particularly indebted to the work of Adele Calhoun, Dallas Willard, Richard Foster, and John Ortberg.

You can download the full card deck on the Lesson and Materials Download page under the name “Spiritual Practice Cards (JOB AID)“, but here is one card that shows what they look like and how to use them.

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Ideas About How To Use the Cards

  • Give a deck of all 40 cards to participants, and ask them to find three practices that they are interested in learning more about.  Have them read the Scriptures and other information on the card and then share what was most interesting for them.
  • Have small groups share a favorite practice and a new practice that they would like to try and tell why.
  • Ask participants to come up with ways they could combine two or more of the practices together, and have them share what impact they think combining them will have on their experience.
  • Provide self-directed time during a retreat or workshop, and encourage participants to experiment with new practices.  (Some practices, like Labyrinth Prayer, will require additional resources.  Others, like Rule for Life, will require you to share a few examples, which are easy to find on the internet.)  Have participants come back from the self-directed time and share about their experience.
  • Ask participants to choose a practice that requires  or benefits from partnering with another person, and have them try it together.
  • Have participants share about a favorite practice and how they do it differently from any of the methods listed on the card.

If you think of other creative ways to use the cards, please leave me a comment.  I would love to learn from your experience.

 

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Joseph’s Journey


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

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

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Priorities – Mary vs. Martha (DEVOTION)


Read the following Scriptures, and discuss the questions below as a table group.

  • Luke 10:38-42
  • John 11:1-3, 17-44
  • John 12:1-8
  1. Compare and contrast the two sisters.
  2. What is Mary doing that is similar in each of these Scriptures?
  3. What is Martha doing that is similar in each of these Scriptures?
  4. Why do you think Jesus said that Mary’s choice was better in the passage from Luke?
  5. How are you sometimes like Martha?
  6. What is the danger of living our lives like Martha all the time?
  7. What is the best combination of Mary-type priorities and Martha-type priorities for your life?

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Filed under activity, Character, Devotion, Martha, Mary, Priorities, spiritual disciplines, Spiritual Growth, Spiritual Health

Needs Analysis (DEVOTION)


As a group, read the following Scriptures, and use the form to do a needs analysis of the situation.

Matthew 17:14-20         Mark 9:14-29       Luke 9:37-43

Symptoms

  • What are the main issues?
  • What isn’t working well?
  • What is obvious about the problem(s)?

Suffering

  • What pain is it causing?
  • Who/what is impacted by the performance gap?
  • What is it costing individuals, the team or the organization?

Significance

  • What are the organizational goals that are being impacted by the lack of performance?
    • (If possible, tie these in with the organization’s strategy, vision or mission.)
  • What is the potential cost to the organization if the goals and outcomes aren’t achieved and the performance problem isn’t addressed?

Success

  • What is the desired performance?
  • What does success look like?
  • What are the expectations?
  • How will we know when we get there?

Status

  • What is happening now?
  • What level of performance is currently being achieved?
  • What are the gaps between the desired performance and the current performance?

Sources

  • Why is the gap happening?
    • Know, Grow, Whoa, Mo, Go
  • Who or what is responsible?

Solutions

  1. 1.    Suggest
  • What do you recommend?
  • Who should do what by when?
  1. 2.    Select
  • Typically done by key leaders or stakeholders.
  1. 3.    Start
  • Typically done by key leaders or stakeholders.
  1. 4.    Status (Celebrate or Start Over)
  • Return to the Status step to evaluate the effectiveness of the solution.

 

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Weakness (DEVOTION)


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

  • Psalm 10:2 (the wicked man hunts down the weak)
  • Psalm 41:1-3 (blessed are those who have regard for the weak)
  • Isaiah 40:29-31 (He increases the power of the weak)
  • Ezekiel 34:16 (I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak)
  • Acts 20:35 (we must help the weak)
  • Romans 8:26 (the Spirit helps us in our weakness)
  • Romans 14:1-4 (accept the one whose faith is weak)
  • Romans 15:1 (bear with the failings of the weak)
  • 1 Corinthians 1:26-29 (God chose the weak things to shame the strong)
  • 1 Corinthians 9:22-23 (to the weak, I became weak)
  • 1 Corinthians 12:21-26 (the weaker parts of the body are indispensable)
  • 2 Corinthians 11:30 (I will boast of the things that show my weakness)
  • 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (for when I am weak, then I am strong)
  • Hebrews 5:1-3 (the high priest is subject to weakness)
  1. How does God feel about weakness?
  2. How is this different from how the world often feels about and acts toward weakness?
  3. How are we called to respond to weakness?
  4. How do these Scriptures relate to the weaknesses people have in regard to the work that they do and the relationships that they are in?
  5. Do you think God wants us to fix our weaknesses?  Why or why not?

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Tapped In (OBJ LESSON)


Time

15-20 minutes
Description

This object lesson teaches that you need to stay connected to Jesus in order to have the power to live a godly life and produce the fruit of the Spirit.

Scriptures

  • John 7:37-39, 15:1-5
  • Galatians 5:22

Materials

  • Garden hose (long enough to reach your teaching area from the water spigot
  • Short garden hose (a hose reel leader hose works well)
  • Two quick connect adapters for the hose – need to have an automatic stopper so that the water doesn’t continue to flow after you disconnect it
  • Water nozzle (as small as you can find so that you can use it to fill water balloons)
  • Water supply that you can hook the hose to
  • Nine large balloons (purple is the best color for the lesson if you can find it – you may want to have extra balloons in case any pop or have a leak)
  • Posterboard – one sheet of any light color or white
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Permanent marker to label nine, small signs with the name of the nine fruits of the Spirit
  • Lanyard or twine
  • Clear, plastic tub to hold the balloons as they fill with water
  • Thin piece of plywood or piece of plastic or metal (4 ft long) with nine 3/4 in holes drilled in it about 5 inches apart and 5 inches from the end of either side of the board.  (You can often find a piece of metal that has pre-drilled holes in it that will work just fine near the shelving part of your local hardware store.)
  • Drill and ¾ inch drillbit (if you need to make the board mentioned above)
  • Nine, large washers with a ½ inch hold in the center (the washers must be big enough that they won’t fall out of the balloon once you put them in the opening)
  • Bible

Preparation

  • (SEE DIAGRAMS AT END OF LESSON)
  • Connect the hose to the water spigot.
  • Connect the quick connect adapter (the one with the automatic stopper) to the end of the hose, and turn on the water.  Use a steady stream of water but not full force – maybe about 1/4-1/2 turn.
  • Connect the short hose to the quick connect adapter at the end of the longer hose.
  • Connect the other quick connect adapter to the end of the short hose, and screw on the water nozzle.
  • Run the hose segments and the nozzle into the teaching area.
  • Make a large sign that says, “DISOBEDIENCE,” and put it on the lanyard/twine so that someone can wear it around their neck.
  • Ask a volunteer to be your “DISOBEDIENCE” volunteer and to be ready when you call them.  Give him/her the sign to wear when the time is right.
  • Put a washer in the opening of each balloon.
  • Push each balloon through one of the nine holes in your board.  The opening of the balloon and the washer should be on top of the hole with the rest of the balloon below the board.
  • Put the board with the balloons across the clear, plastic tub so that the balloons hang down into the tub.
  • Cut out nine, small rectangles from the posterboard (each about 4 in long and 2 in tall).
  • Write the nine fruits of the Spirit (Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-Control) on these.
  • Tape the signs to the bottom of the tub on the outside, facing the audience.  Each sign should be in front of a different balloon.
  • Practice

Procedure

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

  • “I’m going to show you why it is so important for you to stay close to God.”
  • “The night before Jesus was crucified, he said something very important to his closest disciples.”  (Have volunteer read John 15:1-5.)
  • “Jesus was making a comparison between His relationship with His disciples and a grapevine.”
  • “Jesus said that He is the grapevine.  That’s the thickest part of the plant that is rooted to the ground.”
  • “He said that the disciples are branches and that the branches hold the fruit.”
  • “We know from Galatians 5:22 that the fruit that Jesus is talking about is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (If the kids are not familiar with the fruit of the Spirit, you might want to take a moment to describe each one for them.)
  • “And He says that if we (as the branches) don’t stay connect to Him (the vine), we won’t have any of this fruit.”
  • “But….if we stay connected to Jesus, we will have LOTS of fruit.”  (Ask for a volunteer to come to the front, and allow him/her to help you in the following demonstration.)
  • “I don’t have a grapevine here today, and even if I did, we don’t have an entire season to watch the grapes grow on the vine.”
  • “So, instead of using a real grapevine, I’m going to use this hose, this nozzle and these balloons to demonstrate what Jesus is talking about.”  (Ask volunteer to hold the nozzle at the end of the hose.)
  • “Imagine that this hose represents Jesus as the vine.”
  • “Through Him comes a steady flow of living water, which the Bible tells us is the Holy Spirit according to John 7:39.”  (Turn on the nozzle (if it isn’t already) and have the volunteer point it into the tub.  Have another volunteer read John 7:37-39.)
  • “This nozzle represents us as the branches, and these nine balloons represent the fruit of the spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  They are like the grapes on the vine.”
  • “Now, the goal is to produce fruit and lots of it.”
  • “We produce fruit by filling the balloons with the water.  This is like the Holy Spirit flowing through us (the nozzle) to do the good works that the fruit represents.”  (Allow your volunteer to begin to fill one of the balloons.  Turn off the nozzle when the balloon is full enough that the water doesn’t come shooting back out the top – over half-way.)
  • “But by itself, this nozzle is pretty useless.  It has no water of its own to share.”
  • “We can’t connect just the nozzle to a balloon and fill it.”  (Disconnect the nozzle from the hose and give it to the volunteer.  Ask them to try to fill the balloons with just the nozzle.)
  • “That’s what it’s like if we try to do God’s work without God.”
  • “There is just no power in it.”
  • “So we have to stay connected to the hose if we want to have the power to do the work that God has given us to do.”  (Reconnect the nozzle, and let the volunteer continue filling the first balloon.  When it gets about full, start filling up another balloon.)
  • “What does it mean to be connected to the hose?  In other words, how can we stay connected to Jesus so that His Spirit flows through us and produces fruit?”
  • “There are two things we need to do in order to stay connected to the hose/to Jesus.”
  • “We need to spend time with God, and we need to obey God.”
  • “If we do these two things, we will stay connected to Jesus, and His power will flow through us and produce lots of fruit.”  (Allow volunteer to keep filling balloons slowly.  Don’t allow them to fill all the balloons before you finish the next part.)
  • “How can we spend time with God?”  (Listen to answers.  You are looking for things like, “Go to church, worship, praise, pray, read your Bible…”)
  • “Excellent! During those times, God will tell us what He wants us to do in our lives.”
  • “But spending time with Him is not enough.  We have to also do what He says.”
  • “Sometimes, we know what God wants us to do, but we don’t want to do it.”
  • “That’s called ‘DISOBEDIENCE’ (bring your “DISOBEDIENCE” volunteer forward), and it’s disconnecting the hose so that the living water won’t pass through.” (Have “DISOBEDIENCE” volunteer disconnect the hose so that the water stops.)
  • “Disobedience stops the flow of the living water coming through your nozzle.”
  • “Another word for ‘disobedience’ is ‘sin.’”
  • “Sin stops the flow of God’s power, which He sends through His Holy Spirit, through you.”
  • “But it’s easy to get the living water flowing again. What do you think you have to do?”  (Listen to responses.  You are looking for someone to say, “obey.”)
  • “That’s right!  Obey, and living water flows through you again to create more fruit.”  (Have “DISOBEDIENCE” volunteer reconnect hose, and allow volunteer to fill in the rest of the balloons.  Then dismiss the volunteer.)
  • “So what are the two things we need to do to stay connected to God?”  (Listen for the answers, “spend time with Him” and “obey Him.”)
  • “Fantastic! Let’s all go and produce lots of fruit!”


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Filed under Annointing, Daily walk, Fruit of the Spirit, Hands-on, Listening to God, Obedience, Object Lesson, sanctification, spiritual disciplines, Spiritual Growth, Spiritual Health, Transformation

Contagious Contact (Obj Lesson)


Time

15-20 minutes

Description

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

Scriptures

  • Exodus 34:28-29

Materials

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

Preparation

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

Procedure

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

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

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