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New Life (DEVOTION)


As a group, read the following Scriptures.  Then, create a flipchart that compares what you know about the man before and after he met Jesus.

Luke:8:26-34


1.    What changes did you notice?

2.    Why wouldn’t Jesus allow the man to go with Him?

3.    What impact do you think these changes had on the community as the man continued to interact with them in a new way?

4.    Now, look at the story as a metaphor for what happens in a new believer’s life when he/she comes to Christ.  What comparisons can you make?

5.    How should this story influence how we live today?

 

Facilitator’s Notes

Here are some of the comparisons about the before and after conditions of the demon-possessed man you can point out if the group doesn’t notice them.  The middle line represents the man’s encounter with Jesus.

 

BEFORE AFTER
o  Spiritual bondage, demon possessed

o  Naked

o  Social outcast, living in tombs

o  Chained, physical bondage

o  Cursing, shouting, running

o  Hurting himself

o  Freed, delivered

o  Fully clothed

o  Came home

o  Freed

o  Sitting at the feet of Jesus

o  In his right mind

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Filed under Change, demons, Devotion, faith, Jesus, salvation, sanctification, Transformation

Lazarus (DEVOTION)


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

John 11:1-44 (entire chapter)

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Facilitator Notes for Large Group Debrief

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

o  Satan had wrapped us up pretty tightly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

The Roman Road (LESSON)


Scriptures:
Romans 3:23
Romans 6:23
Romans 5:8
Romans 10:9
Romans 10:13

Description: Within the book of Romans, the author has given us a path toward salvation.  Some call it the Roman Road.  This lesson helps participants to memorize the Scriptures of the Roman Road so that they can share it with their friends.

Time: 45 minutes

Materials:

  • Printouts of the Roman Road pictures (You can find these on the Lesson Materials and Downloads page on www.teachingthem.com.  The file is called, “Roman Road – Cards.ppt.”  You will want one enough flash-card size sets for every person to have one.  To get this size, go to File, then Print on the Menu Bar of PowerPoint.  Then, under “Print What:,” choose Handouts (6 slides per page).  Change the slides that you want to print to “From: 2” and “to: 19.”  This will give each person three sets of the six pictures (one with just the chapter and verse, one with just the Scripture words and one with neither).  If you don’t want each person to have all three sets, choose just the ones you want.
  • Scissor or a cutting board to cut out the flash cards
  • Rubber bands or envelopes (one per person in your group)
  • Cut out the flash cards, and put them in rubber bands or in envelopes to make them easy to distribute.
  • Practice the lesson.

o  LCD projector, computer and screen to project the slides (if you don’t have these, you can print out full-sized versions of the slides to use as displays.)
o  Bible

Preparation:
o  Print all the sets of the flash cards
o Cut out the flash cards, and put them in rubber bands or in envelopes to make them easy to distribute.
o Practice the lesson.

Procedure:
Use the following script or modify to suit your needs:

  • “The author of the book of Romans gave very clear instructions about how we can be saved and go to heaven.”
  • “Several Scriptures in the book link together to give us the plan of salvation.”
  • “These Scriptures are often called “The Roman Road.”  (Show title slide.)
  • “There are two reasons for this.  The first is that the Scriptures are in the book of Romans, and they describe the path (or road) to salvation.”
  • “The other reason is called a play on words, or a clever way of using a familiar term in a new way.”
  • “The roads built by the Romans a few thousand years ago were famous around the world during the early church period, because they were all straight, paved roads that led back to Rome.”
  • “The Roman Road in Scripture won’t lead you to Rome, Italy, but it will help you to walk the straight path to Jesus Christ.”
  • “So calling it a ‘Roman Road’ is just a way to make it easier to remember.”
  • “I’m going to take you down the Roman Road, and we are going to memorize the Scriptures together.”
  • “That way, you will be able to share it with your friends if God provides you an opportunity to share your faith with them.”  (Show Romans 3:23 slide, and ask for a volunteer to read it out loud from his or her Bible.)
  • “This means that there isn’t anyone who has ever lived with the except of Jesus Christ who has lived without sinning.”
  • “Our sin makes us fall short of God’s glory, but God is perfect and without sin.”
  • “In the game of ice hockey, if a player breaks a rule, he gets sent to the penalty box, also known as the ‘Sin Bin.’”
  • “In the same way, when we break one of God’s rules, we have to pay a penalty in the ‘sin bin.’”
  • “We put ourselves into spiritual prison, and Satan is the prison warden.”
  • “He can keep us locked up, because we broke the rules.  God has given him that authority over sinners, because God is too holy to allow sinners into His presence.”  (Show Romans 6:23a slide, and ask volunteer to read just the first part of the Scripture from his or her Bible.)
  • “Wages are what you get paid for work you do.”
  • “This Scripture is saying that our payment for the work of sin that we have done is death.”  (RIP on the tombstones in the picture stands for “Rest In Peace,” which used to be a common sentiment when someone died.)
  • “We have earned death because of our sin, and there are two kinds of death that this Scripture is talking about.”
  • “First, there is spiritual death in our relationship with God.”
  • “Sin separates us from God.  It creates a giant chasm between us, and none of us can leap over that chasm to get back to God.”
  • “The second kind of death is the one we are more familiar with – death of our bodies.”
  • “Before Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, they were going to live forever, but because of sin, they ruined their physical bodies.”
  • “What that physical body wears out of gets too sick or suffers a mortal injury, it dies.”
  • “So far, the death rate for human beings is just about 1 to 1 – one death for every life.”  (Exceptions might be Enoch and Elijah.  Show Romans 6:23b slide and have volunteer read it out loud.)
  • “This is a GREAT Scripture!”
  • “We earned death because of our sin BUT God has given us a gift – the gift of living forever with Jesus!”
  • “But notice that it’s a gift.”
  • “A gift is FREE!  There is nothing that you can do to earn it.”
  • “It comes from the generosity of the giver.”
  • “That means that we can’t earn our way into heaven; we can only receive it as a free gift from God.”
  • “Also, a gift is free, but you don’t have to accept it.”
  • “Millions and probably billions of people will live their lives here on earth and never accept the gift that Jesus bought for them.”
  • “Sometimes they don’t accept it, because they don’t know that it exists.  That’s why you have to tell everyone about the incredible gift Jesus bought for them.”
  • “Even more often, though, people don’t accept the gift, because they don’t trust the Gift Giver.”
  • “They think the gift is a trick or too good to be true or not worth having, so they don’t take it, and that’s a terrible shame, because Jesus was thinking about them when He bought it.”  (Show Romans 5:8 slide, and have volunteer read it out loud.)
  • “I said the gift was free, but that’s not totally true.”
  • “Someone had to pay for it.”
  • “It’s free to us, but it cost Jesus dearly.”
  • “Remember that I said that the wages of sin is death – the payment for our sin is that we have to die?”
  • “And remember that we are in the Sin Bin because we broke the rules and that Satan keeps the keys to our prison cell?”
  • “Well there is a way to pay the payment for our sin without us having to personally die.”
  • “In the Old Testament, the Hebrew/Israelites would kill animals to pay for their sins.”
  • “Animals could pay the debt we owed for our sin, because they were innocent and hadn’t sinned.”
  • “The problem with this arrangement, though, was that the death of the animal (really the blood of the animal) couldn’t clear our debt.”
  • “Animals are innocent, but that’s because they couldn’t sin if they wanted to – they don’t have the ability to choose to sin or to not sin.”
  • “So using their blood to pay for their debt was kind of like cheating.”
  • “It wouldn’t really pay for it.  It would just cover their debt for a year, but then the Israelite priests had to kill another animal to cover their sin again.”
  • “This had to happen every year, and they never really got out of Satan’s prison.  We just got to walk around the prison yard some. (joke – not meant to represent anything in doctrine)”
  • “In the end, Satan still owned us.  The Bible says we were his slaves.”
  • “We needed a better solution.”
  • “This is why Jesus came to live as a man on the earth.”
  • “He had to become like one of us and live a life completely free of sin.”
  • “That way, He qualified to pay our debt, because when He died, He didn’t have any debt of His own.”
  • “He took our punishment of death.  He paid our debt for us.”
  • “And the incredible thing is, He came and died for us ‘while we were still sinning.’”
  • “Who does something like that?”
  • “Do you give your friend money when he hasn’t paid you back the money you already gave him?”
  • “Do you buy your enemy a gift while he is cursing your name?”
  • “Nobody does that but God!”
  • “God loves us soooooooooo much that He overlooks our sin, our pride, our selfishness, our betrayal, and He pays the prison warden to get us out of prison!”
  • “That is an awesome God!”  (Show Romans 10:9 slide and have volunteer read it out loud.)
  • “I told you that what Jesus did was a gift and that you don’t have to take it.”
  • “But if you want to take it, this is the way to do it: confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead.”
  • “That’s how you accept the gift.  That’s how you walk out of Satan’s prison.”
  • “You see, when Jesus died for us, He broke the lock off of the prison door.”
  • “Unfortunately, many people are staying in prison, because (like I mentioned before) they either don’t know the lock is broken, or they don’t trust the One who broke it off for them.”
  • “All they have to do is accept the gift Jesus bought, and they can walk straight out of that prison cell, but many choose to stay.  It’s very sad.”
  • “One way of summarizing what you have to do to be saved from the punishment for sin is A-B-C.”
  • “A is for Accept the gift that Jesus bought for you.”
  • “B is for Believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead.”
  • “C is for Confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord!”  (Review A-B-C, Accept-Believe-Confess several times so that they remember it.  Then show the Romans 10:13 slide, and have a volunteer read is out loud.)
  • “This Scripture says that ‘Only God’s favorite people will be saved, right?’”  (They should respond with a loud, “NO!”)
  • “Only those who lead a good life will be saved?”  (Get them to respond with a loud, “NO!”)
  • “Only those who go to church every Sunday?”  (Allow responses.)
  • “Only those who give to the poor?”  (Allow responses.)
  • “Only those who help little, old ladies across the street?”  (Allow responses.)
  • “What does it say?  ‘EVERYONE who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved!’”
  • “Halleluja!  That’s the best news you will ever hear in your life!”
  • “God doesn’t want to leave ANYONE behind!”
  • “EVERYONE who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved!”
  • “You don’t have to be good looking or strong or smart or even good – God bought this gift for EVERYONE!  You just have to accept it!”
  • “On the cross, Jesus paid our entire debt!”
  • “Our bill is cancelled!”
  • “Satan has nothing against us!  He has no power to keep us in prison any longer!”
  • “That’s called the ‘Gospel!’  ‘Gospel’ means ‘good news,’ and this definitely qualifies!”
  • “That’s news so good you just HAVE to share it with somebody!”
  • “So I’m going to help you memorize this so that you can share it whenever God leads you to tell a friend or someone you meet.”  (Go through the next six slides slowly, allowing everyone to say the Scriptures out loud a few times before advancing to the next slide.  After the six slides that show the Scriptures, there are six slides with blank spaces where the Scripture or verse reference use to be.  See if anyone is brave enough to stand up and say it from memory.)
  • “Fantastic, but we need more practice, so I’ve made up some flash cards for each of you.”  (Hand out flash cards to each person.)
  • “I want you to find a partner and go through these flash cards to help each other memorize each step of the Roman Road.”
  • “You will notice that you have three sets of the six pictures.”
  • “One set shows the actual words of the Scripture.”
  • “One set shows just the chapter and verse reference, and the third set is blank – just the picture.”
  • “You can use whatever set you think you are ready to use.”
  • “If you don’t have anything memorized yet, use the one with the words.”
  • “If you kinda have the words, you might want to use the one with just the chapter and verse reference.”
  • “If you think you have it all memorized, use the blank flash cards.”
  • “Tell your partner which ones you want to use, and have him or her hold them up for you until you can say the Scripture.”
  • “Then trade, and you hold up the flash cards for your partner.”  (Ask for questions.  After you have answered them, have them start helping each other.  Allow ten minutes or so depending on time available.  Then give opportunities for individuals to come up front and recite all six Scriptures (if you count Romans 6:23a and b as two Scriptures).)

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Filed under Belief, Christianity, Evangelism, forgiveness, God's Plan, Great Commission, Jesus, memory, salvation, sanctification, Transformation, unconditional love, Witness

Catch! (Obj Lesson)


Time
10-15 minutes

Description
This object lesson illustrates how Satan tries to fill our minds with worries, fears, doubts and many other things so that there is no room for God’s truth, peace and joy.

Audience
Children, youth and adults

Materials
•    Tennis balls (9-12)
•    Permanent marker
•    Posterboard (1 sheet should do)
•    Scissors or some other cutting device
•    Block pattern (You can find this in the file “Catch – Block Pattern.ppt” located on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at http://www.teachthem.wordpress.com.)
•    Clear tape

Preparation
•    Write a different label on each of the tennis balls.  They should read: Worry, Fear, Jealousy, Anger, Doubt, Entertainment, Video Games, Depression, Obsessions, Fatigue, Hatred, Self, Regret, Embarrassment, Cute Boy, Cute Girl (or whatever you think appropriate – they should be things that Satan might use to fill up our minds so that we don’t have room to think about things God wants us to think about)
•    Make several blocks out of posterboard using the block pattern mentioned above and the clear tape
•    Label the blocks: Truth, Love, Joy, Peace, Wisdom, Vision, Faith, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-Control, Righteousness, Hope (or whatever you think appropriate – they should be things that God wants to fill our mind with).  You could also focus on Philippians 4:8 and do blocks that say “True, Noble, Right, Pure, Lovely, Admirable.”  You will need 9-12 blocks.
•    Practice the script.

Procedure
Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):
o    “I want to show you an illustration of the battle for your mind.”
o    “Satan and God are in a war.  It’s evil against Good.”
o    “Your mind and heart are the battlefields on which this war is waged.”
o    “Satan knows that he can’t do anything to damage God, so He tries to hurt the Creator through his creation, and that’s us.”
o    “Satan first wants to hold as many of us prisoner as possible, so that we never get to join God’s army.”
o    “But even after we become Christians and join God’s side, Satan doesn’t give up.”
o    “If he can’t have us on his side, he will at least try to make us ineffective by pulling our minds and hearts away from God.”
o    “Satan knows that if he can win the battle for our mind, we will be ineffective for God.”
o    “So the tactic we are going to talk about is how Satan tries to fill our mind with lots of things so that there is no room for what God wants to put in there.”  (Ask for a volunteer to come forward.)
o    “Let’s pretend that this person represents our minds.”
o    “And let’s pretend that these tennis balls each represent something that Satan want to fill our mind with so that we don’t think about Godly things.”  (Read on of the balls out loud, and show it to the group.  Then hand it to your volunteer.)
o    “If that one doesn’t completely occupy our minds, Satan will give us more things to think about.  (Read several more balls, and hand them to the volunteer.)
o    “He will keep this up, filling our minds with all kinds of junk until they are completely full.”  (Read off the rest of the balls, and hand them to the volunteer, who should be having trouble holding them all.  If he/she drops any, pick them up, and hand them back to the volunteer.)
o    “When our minds are full like this, there is not room for what God wants to put in.”  (Pick up one of the blocks, and read it off.  Try to fit it into the volunteer’s hands, but give up in frustration.)
o    “But who ever said that we have to hold anything that Satan gives to us?”  (Instruct volunteer to drop all the balls and to take the block.)
o    “Now, without all the junk that Satan tries to fill our minds with, there is plenty of room for what God wants to fill our mind with.”  (Read off each of the blocks, and then stack them neatly in the volunteer’s hands.  Keep one for the next part of the lesson.)
o    “Notice how much easier it is to hold the things that God gives us rather than the things Satan tries to fill our minds with.”  (Pick up a few of the balls off the floor, and toss them at the volunteer while saying, “Catch!”  Hopefully, the volunteer will drop everything to catch the balls.  If he/she does, then ask, “Why did you drop all God’s good things to catch what Satan threw you?”  If the volunteer doesn’t fall for the trick, keep tossing balls in his/her direction.  Then say, “It was good that you didn’t fall for Satan’s trick.  He won’t give up.  He will keep tossing bad thoughts at you, and you have to be careful to not accept them.”
o    “If Satan does succeed in getting in one of his thought bombs, the Bible tells us clearly what to do about it.”  (Have volunteer read 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.)
o    “The war we fight is different than most wars.  It’s a thought war.”
o    “When one of Satan’s thought bombs gets in, we are to take it captive to Christ.”  (Have volunteer take one of the thought bombs and hold it up like he/she is giving it to God.)
o    “God will then take that thought bomb and replace it with one of His truths.” (Exchange the ball for a block.)
o    “This war is difficult, and it’s long.  You have to keep fighting all your life to keep your thoughts pure and true.” (Have volunteer read Romans 12:2.)
o    “God wants us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.  That means taking evil and ungodly thoughts captive every time we have them and exchanging them for truth and wisdom with God.”
o    “You see, when God saved us, he gave us a completely new heart, but we have the same mind that we had before we were saved.”
o    “In order to get a new mind, we have to exchange the bad thoughts one by one for good thoughts.”
o    “Maybe a good way to think about it is this: our hearts after trusting Christ are like moving into a brand new house, but our minds after trusting Christ are like moving into an old house that needs a lot of renovation work.”
o    “The good news is that God will help us with all the renovation.  He will be our general contractor, who guides us in all the work.”  (Thank volunteer, and let him/her have a seat.)

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Filed under Brain, Focus, Mind, Satan's tactics, Spiritual Warfare, Transformation