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Overwhelming Blessings (OBJ LESSON)


IMG_2673

Time

15 minutes

Description

This object lesson uses a tower of cups and a waterfall of liquid to demonstrate how God blessed everyone around Joseph because of Joseph’s faithfulness to God.

Scriptures

  • Genesis 37:12-36; 39:1-6, 20-23; 41:53-57
  • 2 Corinthians 2:9 – The Voice translation: “God is ready to overwhelm you with more blessings than you could ever imagine so that you’ll always be taken care of in every way and you’ll have more than enough to share.”

Materials

  • Notecard (1)
  • Cup Tower
    • Clear, plastic cups (41)
    • Transparent tape (“Scotch” tape or another brand) (1 roll)
    • Double-sided foam tape (1 roll)
    • Pitcher
    • Water
    • Large spoon (for stirring)
    • Tray or clear basin (to catch any water that overflows the cups)
    • Food coloring (I recommend a darker color such as green, red or blue.)
  • Bible

Preparation

  • Write 2 Corinthians 2:9 from The Voice translation on a notecard.
  • Create a cup tower.
    • Stack the cups in five layers.
    • The bottom layer will have 18 cups.
    • The next layer will have 12 cups.
    • The next layer will have seven cups.
    • The next layer will have three cups.
    • The top layer will just have one cup.
    • It may be helpful to assemble each layer separately first and to tape the cups together at the rims with transparent tape.
    • Then, place a piece of double-sided foam tape wherever three cups will be supporting an upper layer cup.
    • Finally, place your layers on top of each other one-by-one, and press gently to get the double-sided tape to stick.
    • You don’t need your cup tower to last forever, but you don’t want it to fall apart during your lesson as you add the weight of the water to the upper layers.
    • See the photos below to help you assemble the cup tower.

Cup Tower

  • Place your cup tower into or onto the clear basin or tray.
  • Test your cup tower, but pouring water into the top cup, and ensuring that water cascades into the lower levels of cups.
  • Fill the pitcher with water, add food coloring, and stir.
  • Bookmark Genesis 39:20-23 in your Bible so that you can find it quickly when you need someone to read it out loud.
  • Practice the script.

 

Procedure

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

  • Joseph was sold by his brothers and had to go to serve as a slave in Egypt.
  • He was sold to a man named Potiphar, who held a very high position in Pharaoh’s court.
  • Pharaoh was the king of Egypt, and Potiphar was the captain of his security team.
  • Potiphar was probably very wealthy and had a large household.
  • He put Joseph to work, and he was soon very pleased with how hard-working and responsible Joseph was.
  • The bible says that Joseph “succeeded in everything he did as he served in the home of his Egyptian master.” (Gen 39:2)
  • Potiphar was so happy that he made Joseph his personal attendant and put him in charge of his entire household.
  • Then, an amazing thing happened!
  • The bible says, “the Lord began to bless Potiphar’s household for Joseph’s sake. All his household affairs ran smoothly, and his crops and livestock flourished.” (Gen 39:5)
  • In other words, Potiphar’s life got better BECAUSE Joseph was there!
  • Potiphar wasn’t even a follower of God, but God blessed him, because he had Joseph living in his house.
  • Here’s what’s really cool!
  • This doesn’t just happen with Joseph; it happens with you, too!
  • When you are following God and doing what He says to do in your bible, God is so pleased with you that He blesses you.
  • But God loves to bless you with much more than you need. (Have volunteer read 2 Corinthians 2:9 from The Voice translation: “God is ready to overwhelm you with more blessings than you could ever imagine so that you’ll always be taken care of in every way and you’ll have more than enough to share.”)
  • That’s such a great Scripture!
  • Let me show you what that looks like. (Ask for a volunteer to come help you, and bring out your cup tower and your pitcher of colored water.)
  • In this stack of cups, you are this top cup, and the other cups are the people around you.
  • When you are pleasing God by doing what He wants you to do, He blesses you.
  • Let’s pretend that this liquid is God’s blessing in your life. (Show pitcher of colored liquid, and help your volunteer pour it into the top cup in the stack. Keep pouring after the cup is full, and the liquid will start to spill over into the other cups, which will then spill over into the other cups. Continue pouring until all the cups are full.)
  • God overwhelms you with his blessings!
  • It’s more than you could ever imagine!
  • You are taken care of in every way!
  • And you have more than enough to share!
  • See how all the people around you get blessed, because you are doing what God wants you to do!
  • You take God’s blessing with you everywhere you go. (Thank and dismiss your volunteer.)
  • So Joseph is in Potiphar’s house, and Potiphar is being blessed.
  • But through some unfair events, Joseph was thrown into prison.
  • You might think Joseph would have been angry with God for allowing this to happen, but he continued to trust God even in prison.
  • And you know what God did? He blessed the prison because of Joseph. (Have a volunteer read Genesis 39:20-23.)
  • God overwhelmed Joseph with blessings, and they poured out onto the people in the prison. (Gesture toward the cup tower.)
  • You know what happened next?
  • Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, had some dreams that troubled him.
  • He heard that Joseph knew how to interpret dreams, so he released Joseph from prison and had him interpret his dreams for him.
  • When he heard how wise Joseph was, he promoted him to the second highest position in the entire country.
  • He put Joseph in charge of all the food in Egypt, and Joseph managed it so well when there was plenty of food that there was enough for all the people during a terrible famine that lasted for seven years.
  • In fact, Joseph had saved so much food during the good times that there was enough to feed the people of other countries when they ran out of food.
  • The people of these nations bought food from Egypt and made Pharaoh very rich.
  • Again, God overwhelmed Joseph with blessings, and those blessings poured out onto the people of Egypt and the nations around Egypt.
  • God can do the same thing through you!
  • If you do what God wants you to do, God will bless you and everyone around you!
  • (You may want to have the kids say the following Rhyme Time a few times to reinforce the main teaching point.)

 

Rhyme Time

When we do what God wants us to do

God blesses us and those around us, too!

 

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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.

Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 1.38.43 PM

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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I’ve Got This! (DRAMA)


HUMOR - Don't Worry - I've Got ThisTime

5 minutes
Description

This quick drama illustrates our need to invite God into our work.

Materials

  • None

Preparation

·      Practice the skit, and memorize the lines.

Procedure

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

[SCENE: God is sitting patiently as John comes to work at the beginning of the day. God stands, brightens and smiles when He sees John, but John doesn’t notice God. God sighs and sits back down.]

 

JOHN:          [Stretching, popping knuckles, getting ready for a day of work] “Whew! Tough day ahead! Lots of things to do. Let’s see….[pointing at imaginary things around the room] I’ve got to move this heavy thing and push on that unmovable boulder. Then, I’ve got to deal with this prickly cactus of a problem, and finally, I’ve got to diffuse this ticking time bomb. [sarcastically] It’s going to be a great day!”

GOD:            “Good morning, John. Do you need any help with all that work?”

JOHN:          [Looks back over his shoulder and notices God for the first time] “Oh, hi God. Thanks for the offer, but I’ve got this!”

GOD:            [shrugs] “Okay, have it your way.” [watches with mild amusement and curiosity as John tries to lift the first object. In the middle of John’s efforts, comes closer and squats down to get a better look.]

JOHN:          [goes to the imaginary heavy object and tries to lift it. Grunts and strains. Tries different positions. Huffs, puffs and sweats but fails to lift it. Finally gives up in disgust.] “Well, that’s not ready to move. I’ll come back to it later.”

GOD:            “You’re sure you don’t need any help?”

JOHN:          [waving God off] “No, no…I’ve got this.” [moves to the unmovable boulder, walks around it and plans how he will move it]

GOD:            [looking at the boulder and then at John] “That looks tough.”

JOHN:          [still looking at the boulder] “Yeah, I’ve been pushing on this boulder for months, and it hasn’t moved even a little.” [with new determination] “But, today’s the day!” [gets ready to push] 

GOD:            [looking concerned] “Uh, John…are you sure that’s the direction you want to push that?”

JOHN:          “Pretty sure! I’ve tried everything else, so this has to work.”

GOD:            [talking to Himself] “Hmmm….I don’t remember you asking me what to do with it.”

JOHN:          [pushing and pushing on the boulder] “This…….time……you……are…..going……to…..move!” [gives it one last kick! Waits a few seconds in anticipation, then cheers as the boulder begins to roll down a hill.] “Ha! Yes! I finally did it!” [realizes in horror that the boulder is about to roll right through a crowd of people] Oh no! Oooooh no! Watch out, everyone! Move out of the way! Run! Run for your lives!”

[Both John and God cringe and cover their eyes as the boulder crashes into the crowd and creates a huge mess.]

GOD:            [uncovering His eyes] “That didn’t go very well, did it?”

JOHN:          [ashamed and uncovering his own eyes to see the damage] “No. What a disaster!” [then, with a look of hope] “Hey! Could you clean that up for me? Please! I promise not to do it again!”

GOD:            “Well, there are going to be some pretty significant consequences, but I’ll get you through them. Just remember to ask for my help before you make a mess next time, okay?”

JOHN:          [moving to the next challenge – the prickly cactus of a problem] “Yeah, sure God. You bet!” [looks at the cactus from multiple angles, trying to figure out how to move it] “Now for this prickly cactus of a problem.” [reaches in, and pricks his finger on a cactus spine] “Ouch! That hurt!”

GOD:            “Hey, John. Are you sure you want to handle this on your own?”

JOHN:          [sucking on finger] “It’s okay. I’ve got this. I know just the way to deal with things like this.” [pretends to put a blanket around the cactus] “I’ll just cover up the prickly parts, and then I’ll be able to move it.” 

GOD:            [looking doubtful]

JOHN:          [takes a few deep breaths, then bear hugs the cactus and moves it to the other side of the room, yelping all the way.] “Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! Ow! Ouch! [whines like a puppy]

GOD:            [watches him go, shaking His head]

JOHN:          [returns, gingerly removing spines from his arms, legs, chest and face. Grimaces and expresses pain as he pulls out each spine.]

GOD:            “How did that go?” 

JOHN:          “Not so great, really. That’s going to hurt for awhile.” 

GOD:            “Yeah, I think so. Remember, I’m here if you need me.” 

JOHN:          “Thanks, God. I appreciate it.” [turning to the last problem – the ticking time bomb] “Now for this ticking time bomb just waiting to explode!” [looks thoughtfully at the bomb, trying to figure out what to do with it.]

GOD:            Uh, John?

JOHN:          [lost in concentration]

GOD:            [more urgently] John?

JOHN:          [oblivious to God’s question]

GOD:            [shouting and startling John out of his concentration on the bomb] JOHN!

JOHN:          [startled] “Yes, God?”

GOD:            [stepping between John and the bomb and moving John to the side] “Why don’t you let me handle this one so that you don’t hurt yourself?”

JOHN:          “But I can do it! I’ve got this!”

GOD:            “John, stop and think about what has happened so far today. How is doing everything on your own working for you?” 

JOHN:          [sighing and dropping his head] “Not so great, I guess.” 

GOD:            “Right. Not so great. John, you don’t have to do the work alone. I’m right here, and I want to help.”

JOHN:          “But I feel like it’s my responsibility and that I should be able to handle it.”

GOD:            “John, if I want something done, I can get it done myself. I don’t actually need you in order to get the work done.” 

JOHN:          [looking wounded] “Ouch!”

GOD:            [putting His hand on John’s shoulder] “Listen to me. I don’t need you to do the work, but I want you to do it…with me. I enjoy our time working together. The problem is that you keep forgetting to invite me.”

JOHN:          “It’s just that I’ve been doing this for years, and I feel I should be better at it by now. I want to do big things for you, and I want you to be proud of me.”

GOD:            “John, I am proud of you! I delight in you! But I didn’t create you for the work; I created you for relationship. I just save some of the work for you so that we have something to do together.” 

JOHN:          “Does that mean you will still love me even if I don’t get the work done or if I make a mess of it?”

GOD:            “Exactly! I’m not depending on you for the results. I’ll take care of those myself. I just want you to show up each day ready to help.”

JOHN:          [visibly relieved, as if a heavy weight has been lifted off his shoulders] “Oh, wow, that’s a relief! I’ve been so afraid that you were going to be disappointed in me if I couldn’t do it all.” 

GOD:            [putting His arm around John’s shoulder and giving him a squeeze/side hug] “Relax, I’ve got this!”

[Both exit]

[END SCENE]

 

Debrief Questions

  1. What is your reaction to what you saw in the skit?
  2. In what ways do you relate to John?
  3. What is God saying to you through what you’ve seen and heard?
  4. What will you do differently as a result?

 

 

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Ideas for Using Icebreakers, Energizers and Games Effectively in Learning


PHOTO - Icebreaker

The following tips might be helpful to you as you use icebreakers, energizers and games in your facilitation.

Connect to Your Content

Whenever possible, connect your icebreakers and games to the content.  Don’t just use them to increase energy; this is not the best use of your time.   You should be able to debrief the activity and make connections to one of your learning objectives.  (P.S. You can apply this principle to devotions, worship and even breaks sometimes.)

Provide Clear Instructions

Give instructions a little at a time and more than one time.  If you give all the instructions at the beginning, participants are likely to get confused or forget them.  Make sure you repeat the instructions, because there are always some who are not paying attention or don’t understand the first time.

Practice Before You Facilitate

Icebreakers and games rarely go as you planned them in your mind, and practice can help you see the flaws.  As you practice, think about how the activity will sound and feel to the participants.  Putting yourself in their place will help you see where you need to make adjustments.

Design Your Debrief

Design really good debrief questions to make sure they get the main ideas.  Icebreakers and games are fun, and participants often forget they are learning while doing them.  This is great, except that if you don’t do the work to connect what just happened back to the content, they may leave without learning what they needed to learn.

Set Clear Boundaries for Competition

When people compete in games, they get pretty upset if you change the rules in the middle or at the end.  They will be very creative in coming up with new ways to reach the goal, so you have to decide whether or not you want to allow creative solutions that may feel like “cheating” to other groups or individuals.  Make sure your rules are clear and comprehensive, and then stick with them.

Schedule for Downtimes

Icebreakers, energizers and games can be a very effective way of increasing engagement levels, especially when everyone is feeling tired or distracted.  The best times to schedule them are: at the beginning of the day, after breaks and after lunch.  It’s also a good idea to have a few extra energizers ready in case you can tell you are loosing your participants’ attention.  Try to keep icebreakers and energizers under five minutes so that they don’t eat up your facilitation time.

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Customer Expectations (DEVOTION)


Customer SatisfactionAudience

Teens, Adults

 

Time

30 minutes
Description

This devotion explores how expectations impact satisfaction levels.  This can be used to talk about meeting customer expectations.

 

Scriptures

  • Matthew 21:18-20 (Jesus’ disappointment with the fig tree that wasn’t bearing fruit in season)
  • John 2:6-10 (The head of ceremonies’ delight at the unexpected surprise of the best wine served last.)
  • Revelation 3:15-16 (Jesus’ disappointment with the church of Laodicea for being lukewarm)

 

Materials

  • None

Preparation

  • None

 

Procedure

  • Have participants work in groups and read the passages mentioned above.
  • Then, have them answer the Debrief Questions below.

 

Debrief Questions

  1. Why was Jesus so upset in the first two Scriptures?
  2. Why was the master of the banquet so delighted?
  3. How does this apply to how we deal with our customers?
  4. What should we strive to do?

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8 Elements of Good Training Design (BIBLICAL CASE STUDY)


4MAT  Wheel 2Time

20 minutes
Description

This Biblical case study uses Bernice McCarthy’s 4MAT model to explore the teaching styles of Jesus.  Use it after you have taught about 4MAT’s eight wedges.

 

Scriptures

  • See the chart below.

 

Materials

  • Chart on the following page (1 copy per person or group)

 

Preparation

  • Print out copies of the chart and distribute them to all the participants.

 

Procedure

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

  • “In your groups, discuss each of the following situations, and decide which of the eight elements it corresponds to.”
  • “It’s possible that there will be more than one answer.” (Have groups work together to select the elements.  Allow 20 minutes for group work.  Then share the recommended answers below.  These answers are not definitive.  If there is disagreement, discuss it as a group and come to agreement based on the best evidence.)

 


Recommended Answers

  1. Extend, Improve
  2. Connect
  3. Preview, Inform
  4. Preview, Inform
  5. Practice, Extend
  6. Connect
  7. Practice, Extend
  8. Preview, Inform
  9. Preview, Inform
  10. Practice
  11. Practice
  12. Practice
  13. Practice
  14. Preview
  15. Practice
  16. Connect
  17. Discuss, Inform
  18. Inform
  19. Practice
  20. Practice
  21. Extend
  22. Inform
  23. Connect, Discuss, Preview, Inform
  24. Perform
  25. Discuss, Preview, Inform
  26. Inform, Extend
  27. Extend, Improve
  28. Perform
  29. Improve, Perform


 

8 Elements of Good Training Design

 

As a group, think about the following things that Jesus did as He prepared His disciples to lead the Church.  Consider His time on earth to be like a very long workshop.  How do each of His actions match up to the eight elements of good training design. (Some actions have more than one answer.)

 

What Jesus Did

Scripture

Connect Discuss Preview Inform Practice Extend Improve Perform
1. Listened to teachers in Temple and asked them questions Luke 2:41-50

2. Turned water into wine John 2:1-11

3. Talked with Nicodemus John 3-1-21

4. Talked with the woman at the well John 4:5-26

5. Invited Peter, Andrew, James & John to follow Him Mark 1:16-20

6. Performed healings and other miracles Various

7. Appointed some disciples as Apostles Mark 3:13-19

8. Gave the Sermon on the Mount Matthew 5-7

9. Taught in parables Various

10. Slept in the boat during the storm Mark 4:35-41

11. Sent out the 12 Luke 9:1-6

12. Asked the disciples to feed the 5,000 John 6:4-13

13. Allowed Peter to walk on water Matthew 14:24-33

14. Said, “I am the Bread of Life.” John 6:35

15. Asked the disciples who people said He was Matthew 16:13-20

16. Let Peter, James and John witness the Transfiguration Mark 9:2-8

17. Debriefed the Transfiguration as they came down the mountain Matthew 17:9-13

18. Talked with Peter about paying the Temple tax Matthew 17:24-27

19. Allowed the disciples to argue about who was the greatest Mark 9:33-35

20. Sent the 70 out in pairs to visit towns Luke 10:1-16

21. Debriefed the 70 when they returned Luke 10:17-24

22. Discussed how to inherit eternal life with the expert in the law Luke 10:25-37

23. Spent time with Mary and Martha Luke 10:38-42

24. Allows Mary to anoint him for burial Mark 14:3

25. Debriefs the anointing Mark 14:4-9

26. Met with men on the road to Emmaus Luke 24:13-32

27. Asked Peter to feed His sheep John 21:1-25

28. Gave the “Great Commission” Matthew 28:16-20

29. Sent the Holy Spirit at Pentecost Acts 2:1-13

 

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