Tag Archives: Witness

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

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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Filed under Annointing, Bible study, blessing, Christianity, Daily walk, Great Commission, light, Light of the world, Love, Moses, Object Lesson, prayer, Relationships, sanctification, Shekinah Glory, spiritual disciplines, Testimony, Transformation, Veil, 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.)

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Man and the Moon


Time

20-25 minutes

Description

This object lesson makes an analogy between Jesus and the sun and Christians and the moon. It helps kids to learn what why Jesus didn’t take us straight to heaven as soon as we became Christians.

Materials

  • Several white shirts for kids to slip on (large undershirts are easy to get on an off over their other clothing).
  • Black light

Preparation

· Plug in the black light near your teaching area.

· Have shirts ready.

· Practice the script.

Procedure

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

  • “For this activity, I’m going to need four volunteers (or five or six…the number is not important).” (Select volunteers, and have them slip on the white shirts. Ask another volunteer to be in charge of turning off the lights when you ask.)
  • “I have a friend (Author’s note: I’m referring to me – you and I are friends, right?) whose son has a shirt that says, ‘Be the moon,’ on the front. On the back, it says, ‘Reflect the Son.’”
  • “It’s a great picture of our role within the world.”
  • “The moon, we know, sends out no light of its own.”
  • “These volunteers are going to represent the moon. Do any of you have any light of your own that you can show us?” (Take responses.)
  • “Right, because you are representing the moon, and the moon is really just a big, dead, gray rock…or maybe green cheese…but it doesn’t have the ability to send out light.”
  • “However, on clear nights, the moon can sometimes be so bright that you can see clearly by the light it reflects. How does that happen?” (Take responses.)
  • “Exactly! It reflects the light of the sun.”
  • “This black light is going to represent the sun for us.”
  • “When the sun sets… (have volunteer turn out the lights, and then turn on the black light. Try to put the light where the bulb cannot be seen by the audience. You just want them to see the reflection of the light on the white shirts.) …the moon rises, and it reflects the light of the sun.”
  • “’But how does that happen?’, you might ask. The sun is gone. Does anyone know how it works?” (Take responses, and add your own explanation if necessary.)
  • “Right, even when the people in the world can’t see the sun, the moon can (so to speak). The moon is just far enough away from the world that it always has a clear view of the sun.”
  • “Even when our part of the world has turned away from the sun, the moon stays where the light of the sun can still shine directly on it. That way, it can reflect the light back to the world.” (Have volunteer turn on lights, and turn off the black light.)
  • “When the sun comes back on a fresh, new morning, the moon is still there, but we don’t need its light anymore, because the light of the sun is far better than just a reflection of the light of the sun.”
  • “Our role as believers in Jesus is just like the moon’s role in the night sky.”
  • “You see, the Son (S-O-N….Jesus) has gone back to heaven, and the world can’t see Him.”
  • “But He left us here on earth to reflect His light.”
  • “That’s why God didn’t take you straight to heaven when you became a Christian.
  • “It would have been better for you to be in heaven, but God wanted you to stay here and reflect His light to those who can’t see Him.”
  • “We Christians have no light of our own, but it’s our job to shine light into dark places.” (Have volunteer read Matthew 5:14-16.)
  • “This world is like a house with all the lights shut off. You are like a lamp that shines light to everyone around you.” (Have volunteer turn off lights, and turn the black light back on.)
  • “Now, we live in bodies that are dead with sin, just like the moon is a big, dead rock.”
  • “If I turn off this light… (turn off black light) …they don’t shine any light to the rest of us.”
  • “But if they stay where they can see the light… (turn on black light) …then they will reflect the light to everyone else.”
  • “Our bodies are dead with sin, but our spirits are alive in Christ. It’s our spirit that is able to reflect the light of Jesus.”
  • “The people in the world don’t always know where the light is coming from, but it at least makes them curious.”
  • “They may not ask us about our light for a long time, so you might think they haven’t noticed it.”
  • “But I promise you, if you’ve done a good job of reflecting the light of Jesus, there is a time when they will come to you to find out where your light is coming from. Does anyone know when that time is?” (Take responses, and elaborate if necessary.)
  • “Sure, when the lights go out in their life….when something difficult happens to them like a fight with a good friend or failing a class at school or getting in big trouble with their parents…. Those are the times when things are darkest in their lives.”
  • “And when it’s dark, people naturally want to go toward the light. If they have seen your light before, they will come to you.”
  • “That is God giving you an opportunity to share what you know about Jesus.” (Have volunteer turn on lights, and turn off black light.)
  • “What we have to careful about is that we don’t allow the world to get between us and the Son of God.”
  • “Does anyone know what happens when the world gets between the sun and the moon?” (Take responses, and add your explanation if necessary.)
  • “Right, it causes an eclipse. An eclipse can happen when the world blocks the light from the sun so that it can’t reach the moon. Then the moon can’t shine the sun’s light.”
  • “This can happen to Christians, too. Watch this!” (Ask for several volunteers to come stand in between you and the volunteers representing the moon. Then have your volunteer turn off the lights, and turn on the black light.)
  • “These volunteers represent ‘the world,’ which is a name the Bible gives to sinfulness.”
  • “So, really, these volunteers represent sin in our lives.”
  • “When we are sinning, the light of the Son of God cannot reflect off of us.”
  • “A little sin blocks some of the light.” (Move volunteers around so that just one or two are standing in front of the ‘moon’ volunteers.)
  • “A lot of sin in our lives can block the light out completely. (Move volunteers around so that they completely block the ‘moon’ volunteers. Call up more volunteers if you need to.)
  • “Jesus is always shining His light, but it is only going to reflect off of us when we don’t allow ‘the world’ (sin) to get between Him and us.” (Have volunteer turn lights back on, turn off the black light and excuse volunteers to return to their seats.)
  • “One last analogy. If we understand where the moon gets its light, then we know that the moon serves as a reminder.”
  • “When the sun goes away at night, the moon reminds us that the sun is only gone for a little while before it returns.”
  • “Isn’t that really what we are supposed to be about as Christians?”
  • “The Church didn’t exist until Jesus rose again after His death and resurrection.”
  • “He created it, because He was going away, and He left us here to remind the world that He is coming back.”
  • “And He is coming back! The Bible says so. And on that day…” (Have volunteer read Revelation 22:4-5.)

They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 22:4-5)

  • “I can’t wait for that day, but until then, Genesis 1:16 says, “God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day (that’s Jesus) and the lesser light to govern the night (that’s us).”
  • “How do you think we are doing with our part of the job?” (Take responses, comment and then end the lesson.)

A Few More Scriptures That Might Be Helpful

  • “Once for all, I have sworn by my holiness— and I will not lie to David – that his line will continue forever and his throne endure before me like the sun; it will be established forever like the moon, the faithful witness in the sky.” Selah (Psalm 89:35-37)
  • “The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.” (Isaiah 60:19)
  • “The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.” (Romans 13:12)
  • “You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.” (1 Thessalonians 5:5)

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