Tag Archives: new life

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.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

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

The Legend of the Candy Cane (GAME)


Time
15-20 minutes (or more, depending upon how many times you play)

Audience

Children & Youth

Description

This matching game is a fun one to play at Christmas.  It takes the elements of “The Legend of the Candy Cane” (apocryphal) and uses it to make connections between the popular Christmas candy and truths about Christ.  Even though the widely circulated story of how the candy cane originated is not true, we can still find meaning and symbolism in the candy that will help us to appreciate our Savior.

Scriptures

  • Exodus 12:22-23
  • Psalm 51:7
  • Isaiah 53:5
  • Matthew 1:23, 5:12, 26:28
  • John 10:11
  • Romans 6:4, 9:33
  • 2 Corinthians 5:21

Materials

  • Printouts of “Legend of the Candy Cane – Cards.ppt” (available at www.teachingthem.com on the Lesson and Material Downloads page).  There are enough cards in the printout for two teams.  If you will have more teams competing, you will need more copies.
  • Scissors or a paper cutter (to cut out the cards)
  • A simple, red-and-white candy cane to use as an example
  • Flipchart or whiteboard and markers
  • Optional: If it bothers you that participants will be able to see the images through the paper, you might want to use a heavy stock of paper, or you might even want to glue the cards to cardboard or posterboard before cutting them out.
  • Optional: Small prizes for the winners – I recommend candy canes to fit with the theme.
  • Bible

Preparation

  • Print out the cards.
  • Optional: Glue the cards on top of the cardboard or poster board (to prevent participants from being able to see the images through the paper).
  • Cut out the cards.
  • Sort the cards into sets.  (There are two identical sets in each printout.  Most matching games have you match identical cards, but in this matching game, participants will match a characteristic of the candy cane with its meaning/symbol.  So, each set will contain one of each of the following cards: “White,” “Red,” “The Rock,” “J-Shape,” “Stripes,” “Peppermint,” “Hard,” “Sweet,” “Hyssop,” “Sinless,” “Blood,” “Shepherd,” “Born of a Virgin,” “By His Stripes,” “Jesus,” “Wash Me Clean,” “New Life,” and “Heaven.”
  • Shuffle the cards, and lay them out in three rows of six cards each.  (The cards should be laid out face-down.”)
  • Practice the script.

Procedure

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

  • “Have any of you ever heard “The Legend of the Candy Cane?”  (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “It’s this story that has been sent around the internet and on different websites about how the candy cane was created and why.”
  • “It says that a man created the candy cane to be a witness to Jesus Christ and that each of the characteristics of the candy cane pointed to our Lord.”
  • “Unfortunately, some people checked out the story, and it turns out not to be true.”
  • “The candy cane has been around for about 300 years, and it started out as just a simple candy.”
  • “However, that doesn’t mean that we can’t find symbols of Christianity in the candy cane.”
  • “Many times, God uses something to bring glory to Himself even when mankind didn’t intend to give Him glory.”
  • “I think the candy cane can definitely bring glory to God.”
  • “Let’s look at it more closely.”  (Hold up a candy cane for the participants to see.)
  • “What are some of the things you notice about the candy cane?”  (Hold up you hand to show that you want them to raise their hands to be recognized one at a time.  As you call on them, you might want to write what they say on the flipchart or whiteboard.  Then, ask them to tell you what this characteristic might represent in the Christian faith.  Several characteristics will have two meanings.  You will have to give them some guidance, but let them come up with as many as they can.  The main responses you are looking for are written below.
    • White = Sinless (2 Corinthians 5:21); Born of a Virgin (Matthew 1:23)
    • Red = Blood (Matthew 26:28)
    • Hard = The Rock (Romans 9:33)
    • J-Shaped = Jesus, Shepherd’s staff (John 10:11)
    • Stripes = By His stripes… (Isaiah 53:5)
    • Peppermint = Hyssop (Exodus 12:22-23), Washes Me Clean (Psalm 51:7)
    • Sweet = New Life (Romans 6:4), Heaven (Matthew 5:12)

There may be additional connections that the participants can make, but they won’t be included in the matching game.  As you make the connections, you might want to have someone read the Scriptures listed above.  Some Scriptures may need a little background information to connect them to the symbol.)

  • “See!  We came up with at least eleven connections between Christianity and the candy cane!”
  • “That can’t be accidental.  God must have hidden these truths in the candy cane for us to find.”
  • “Now, let’s play a game to help us remember these connections.”
  • “It’s a matching game, like when you turn a face-down card over and then try to remember where its match might be.”
  • “How many of you have played a game like this before?”  (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “I’m going to divide you into teams before we play.”  (Divide participants into evenly-sized groups – as much as possible – based on how many sets of cards you prepared.)
  • “Here’s how it is played for those of you who haven’t played before.”
  • “Each team has a set of 18 cards, placed face-down in front of you.”
  • “Your goal is to match all the different sets before the other teams do.”
  • “You will do this by turning over two cards at a time.”
  • “You will take turns on your team being the person who turns over the cards.”
  • “Once you turn them over, you cannot change which cards you’ve chosen.”
  • “I will look at the two you’ve chosen and tell you if you have a match or not.”
  • “If you have a match, I will let you make a set and take the cards off the board.”
  • “Sometimes, you may match two cards that actually need a third card to make the set.”
  • “You will be able to tell if there is a third card when there is a #3 in the corner of the two cards you have turned over.”
  • “Whenever this happens, I will let you turn over one more card to see if you can make a full set.”
  • “If you turn over the third card, I will let you remove the cards from the board.”
  • “If you turn over two (or three) cards that don’t match, you will have to turn them back face-down in the same place you found them.”
  • “After I’ve looked at all the cards, we’ll go to the next turn, and someone else in your team will turn over the cards.”
  • “The first team to match all their sets wins!”
  • “Do you have any questions?”
  • “Are you ready to play?”  (Start the game.  Do one round at a time, so that you will be able to tell which team wins.  If you have a prize picked out for the winners, you can hand it out then.  If you finish quickly, you can shuffle the cards and play again.  For a more challenging game, you might want to combine two sets of the cards to make a total of 36 cards for each team.)

1 Comment

Filed under Christianity, Christmas, Game, Games that Teach, Hands-on, Jesus