Going Deeper

A Cleansed Past: The Room

3.50 avg. rating (71% score) - 4 votes

In that place between wakefulness and dreams, I found myself in the room. There were no distinguishing features except for the one wall covered with small index card files. They were like the ones in libraries that list titles by author or subject in alphabetical order.
But these files, which stretched from floor to ceiling and seemingly endless in either direction, They had very different headings. As I drew near the wall of files, the first to catch my attention was one that read “Girls I have liked.” I opened it and began flipping through the cards. I quickly shut it, Shocked to realize that I recognized the names written on each one. And then without being told, I knew exactly where I was. This lifeless room with its small files was a crude catalog system for my life.
Here were written the actions of my every moment, big and small, in a detail my memory couldn’t match. A sense of wonder and curiosity, coupled with horror, stirred within me as I began randomly opening files and exploring their content. Some brought joy and sweet memories; others a sense of shame and regret so intense that I would look over my shoulder to see if anyone was watching.
A file named “Friends” was next to one marked “Friends I have betrayed.” The titles ranged from the mundane to the outright weird. “Books I Have Read,” “Lies I Have Told,” “Comfort I have Given”, “Jokes I Have Laughed at.” Some were almost hilarious in their exactness: “Things I’ve yelled at my brothers.”
Others I couldn’t laugh at: “Things I Have Done in My Anger” “Things I Have Muttered Under My Breath at My Parents.” I never ceased to be surprised by the contents.
Often there were many more cards than I expected. Sometimes fewer than I hoped. I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the life I had lived. Could it be possible that I had the time in my years to write each of these thousands or even millions of cards? But each card confirmed this truth. Each was written in my own handwriting. Each signed with my signature.
When I pulled out the file marked “TV Shows I have watched,” I realized the files grew to contain their contents. The cards were packed tightly, and yet after two or three yards, I hadn’t found the end of the file. I shut it, shamed, not so much by the quality of shows but more by the vast time I knew that file represented.
When I came to a file marked L”ustful Thoughts,” I felt a chill run through my body. I pulled the file out only an inch, not willing to test its size, and drew out a card. I shuddered at its detailed content. I felt sick to think that such a moment had been recorded. An almost animal rage broke on me.
One thought dominated my mind: No one must ever see these cards! No one must ever see this room! I have to destroy them!” In insane frenzy I yanked the file out. It’s size didn’t matter now. I had to empty it and burn the cards. But as I took it at one end and began pounding it on the floor, I could not dislodge a single card. I became desperate and pulled out a card, only to find it as strong as steel when I tried to tear it. Defeated and utterly helpless, I returned the file to its slot. Leaning my forehead against the wall, I let out a long, self-pitying sigh.
And then I saw it. The title bore “People I Have Shared the Gospel With.” The handle was brighter than those around it, newer, almost unused. I pulled on its handle and a small box not more than three inches long fell into my hands. I could count the cards it contained on one hand. And then the tears came. I began to weep. Sobs so deep that they hurt. They started in my stomach and shook through me.
I fell on my knees and cried. I cried out of shame, from the overwhelming shame of it all. The rows of file shelves swirled in my tear-filled eyes. No one must ever, ever know of this room. I must lock it up and hide the key. But then as I pushed away the tears, I saw Him. No, please not Him. Not here. Oh, anyone but Jesus. I watched helplessly as He began to open the files and read the cards. I couldn’t bear to watch His response. And in the moments I could bring myself to look at His face, I saw a sorrow deeper than my own. He seemed to intuitively go to the worst boxes.
Why did He have to read every one? Finally He turned and looked at me from across the room. He looked at me with pity in His eyes. But this was a pity that didn’t anger me. I dropped my head, covered my face with my hands and began to cry again. He walked over and put His arm around me. He could have said so many things. But He didn’t say a word. He just cried with me. Then He got up and walked back to the wall of files. Starting at one end of the room, He took out a file and, one by one, began to sign His name over mine on each card.
“No!” I shouted rushing to Him. All I could find to say was “No, no,” as I pulled the card from Him. His name shouldn’t be on these cards. But there it was, written in red so rich, so dark, so alive.
The name of Jesus covered mine. It was written with His blood. He gently took the card back. He smiled a sad smile and began to sign the cards. I don’t think I’ll ever understand how He did it so quickly, but the next instant it seemed I heard Him close the last file and walk back to my side. He placed His hand on my shoulder and said, “It is finished.” I stood up, and He led me out of the room. There was no lock on its door. There were still cards to be written.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” —Phil.4:13

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

(My “People I shared the gospel with” file just got bigger, how about yours? )

This is an example of the cards we used….

Name: Church:
Do you have questions about:
Salvation? Yes No
Life Choices? Yes No
Rededication? Yes No
The Bible? Yes No
Would you like to talk to someone about these questions? Yes No
Would you like someone to pray for you? Yes No About?_________________________
If you would like someone to talk, how can we reach you?_______________________________
Return this card to the appropriate place & receive a surprise gift.

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A Cross Movement

3.00 avg. rating (65% score) - 2 votes

At the intimate soft song part of a worship set, have one of your artsy youth paint during a song like, The Wonderful Cross. The youth should paint different sins that you face like: lust, lying, stealing, etc. in the shape of a cross. This should be done in the color black. After the cross is finished, the kid should paint a thick red line over the words in the shape of the cross. Then pour water over all of it and smeer it with his or her hand.

This is very powerful and gives a visual so that it involves more than just one of the bodies senses.

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A Light in the Darkness

5.00 avg. rating (88% score) - 1 vote

You’ll need:
– 1 glow slow stick per person (purchased at Walmart, etc.) NOT POPPED (not glowing)
– 1 large nametag sticker per person

Beforehand, on each nametag, write “Jesus’s Love” or “Love of God” (something to that effect). Give each kid a glow stick that hasn’t been popped. If you like you can demonstrate beforehand how to make them glow.
Turn off all the lights in the room (it’s best to do this in total darkness). With the lights off, give each kid one of the name tags & have them put it on his shirt. Talk to them about how sin has caused the world to become dark. Then talk about how we have to “let our light shine before men…” and, one by one, have them pop their glow sticks (make them glow). When they do this, you should be able to read the name tag. This shows how we must let OUR light shine in order for others to see the love of Christ.

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A Light In The Darkness 2 (revised)

5.00 avg. rating (88% score) - 1 vote

First off, follow the original “Light in the Darkness” post, but here’s the difference. On about half of the name tags, draw blurry lines through the phrase “Love of Jesus.” Follow the instructions from the original post for the discussion, but point out that on about half of the group, the message of the “Love of Jesus” appears to be somewhat blurry. You can say something like, “even though you are a Christian, sometimes your actions and words don’t always convey the love of Jesus.” Say, “people at school here you say that you are a Christian, but they also see you act in ways that don’t glorify God, so your message of the love of Jesus is blurry.” The whole point is even though we are a light, sometimes our message of Christ’s Love is not so easy to see in us because we blur it with sin. Don’t straddle the fence! Don’t blur the message of Christ’s Love!

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Abrahamic Covenant

4.00 avg. rating (78% score) - 1 vote

The Abrahamic Covenant described in Genesis 15 is a graphic tale of God’s commitment to us. Symbolically animals are torn apart and only God passes through the pieces indicating that he alone bears the penalty if the blood convenant is broken. In this worship activity students will carry a cross through items of value to the students that are laid out on the floor of the room. The cross is the place where God paid for the broken covenant. A detailed reading of the passage must precede the activity and students should only pass through the items laid out on a voluntary basis. Following this solemn activity songs of praise should be offered up in thanks for what God has done for us through Christ, honouring his commitment in the covenant

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Acheiving Balance

4.25 avg. rating (83% score) - 4 votes

Acheiving balance for teens is complicated since they are given to extremes. The mature student is the one who understands this balance and learns to walk in it each day. A lesson on balance could begin with a game where students stand on a beam raises slightly above the floor and hold a pillow in one hand. At the word go they try to make the other student lose their balance. A substitute for this can be a clip from an old movie called Karate Kid where Daniel San must balance to defeat his opponents.
The next part of the study would include a topical study of the many balances in the bible. Depending on your time frame, choose any of the following balances that we are to should understand and experience:
– grace and works
– mercy and justice
– love and truth
– faith and reason
– liberty and holiness
– being in the world –not being of the world

After discussing passages that apply to one or more of these balances have students respond to the question -Where is the balance point between these two options. List them on a chalk board, white board, or type them into your power point or other presentation program.

Next have students share areas in their own life where they go to extremes instead of find and acheiving balance,

Lastly have students write our one change that they can make in their life that week which would move them closer to balance in that area of their life.

End the time of reflection in prayer for students to be able to find greater balance in that area of their walk with God.

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Actions Speak Louder

5.00 avg. rating (97% score) - 9 votes

Talk about actions speaking louder then words. At the end of the talk have the students follow these instructions (you will also be doing the instructions):

1. Hold your hand in the air.
2. Wiggle all five fingers.
3. Make a circle by connecting your thumb to your index finger.
4. Wiggle your other three fingers.
5. Tell the students to place the circle on their chin, but you place your circle on your cheek.

Most of the students will place the circle on their cheek because they are following what you doing and not what you’re saying. It helps to show the power of actions and the confusion that arises when word and actions contradict each other.

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Adoration

3.00 avg. rating (65% score) - 2 votes

Adoration is an activity that basically teaches kids that worshiping is not always just singing. You have, perhaps a small group of kids. All you need is a chalkboard or a white board and one writing utensil. Play quiet music for approx. 15min. and pass the pen to one person. That person can then approach the board and write one or two words that he/she is thankful for (forgiveness). Then the student passes the pen to anyone in the room, and so on until each person has finished their own public adoration. After each student has finished allow the group as a whole to reflect upon what has been written. This way you can give your praises to God by meditating and thanking Him for what He has done.

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Airing Out Dirty Laundry

4.00 avg. rating (79% score) - 11 votes

Tools needed: Rope, clothes line/rope, clothes pins, dirty laundry (old soiled clothes), paper, and magic marker, Bible.

Purpose: To encourage teens to share their burdens through prayer and Godly counsel, not on social network sites or through texting.

Before your class arrives hang a rope across the classroom and hang your dirty clothes up. Make signs which state gossip, rumors, personal information, personal failures, family problems and personal relationship problems. Leave some blank paper for you to solicit responses from your students.

When your class arrives someone in the group will more than likely ask what is going on with the clothes hanging up. Explain to the class that you brought your dirty laundry in so they could see it. More than likely that will get a negative response from the class and you can tell them you thought that they would want to see you’re your dirty laundry.

There are a lot of young people who do not know the term “Airing out your/my dirty laundry out”. Explain to the students what the term means, or used to mean, it’s unacceptable to talk in the community about ones personal affairs. It used to be unacceptable to share information about someone else’s personal affairs. Ask those ways people are airing out their “dirty laundry”. Ask your students if media is being used to air out dirty laundry. Explain to the class how the internet, Facebook, and other social media sites are being used to air out dirty laundry. Just as we would not hang our dirty clothes out in front of our houses for all to see, especially under garments, we should not hang out our personal information for all to see through texting and other electronic means.

Most states have laws now concerning cyber-bullying which can be interpreted by others as being when we put out negative information about others using electronic means (refer to your local state laws).

On each piece of clothing attach the words and the responses from the class. Explain each word and how it can cause damage to the person their talking about and to their own personal testimony. Explain that the internet is a powerful tool but is and can be used for the wrong purpose.

With my class I used Gal. 6:2 “Bear ye one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ”. You can also use James 5:16 “Confess your faults one to another”. It should be noted that this should be done with fellow Christians or to Godly counsel, not on a social network site. The purpose of this sharing is so Christian’s can pray for you, and when they share with you, tell it to God and not others. There are many scriptures that address rumors, gossip, ect…. encourage your teens to bring topics to you that burden them so you can show them through the Bible how to resolve or get the answer to their problems/burdens.

NOTE: Today’s teens are faced with many challenges. Explain to your teens that if they receive information about someone hurting themselves or others it is their responsibility to tell a trusted adult who will help resolve the problem. Create an atmosphere in your classroom that your students will share with you but let them know you are obligated to share harmful information also.

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All Things Are Possible With Christ

0.00 avg. rating (0% score) - 0 votes

This is a great way to illustrate the verse, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
First you take an index card and ask everyone if they think you can cut a hole in it big enough to fit anyone through it. Then, while teaching the lesson fold the index card in half the fat way. cut thin lines up and back never cutting through the folded side. The lines should zig-zag up and down. When finished turn it so the folded side is up and cut through each fold across the top except the first and last fold. When you open it up it should be a huge circle that anyone can fit through. If it doesn’t work the first time try it again, because it is tricky. Practise it at home first!

UPDATE:
——————————–
OK, I have gotten some emails concerning the first submission of this illustration. I will try to explain a little better.

Hold index card the tall way. Fold from top down, keep folded for the whole process. Start by cutting a thin line from the top to the bottom, but don’t cut through the bottom. Then go from the bottome up slightly over from the first line. You should try to fit like 13 or 14 lines across. End with a top to bottom cut. Now hold the card the way you started, (fold on the top), and cut under each fold except the first and last, (they will hold the circle together). You cut through the folds by tucking your scissors under the fold, so the scisoors are horizontal and the fold is still on top. When you have done this, you should be able to open it up carefully, and have a very zigzaggy circle! Hope this works better!

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