Going Deeper

All Things New

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Great message for the new year…

How many of you make New Year’s resolutions? People make them because they feel like the new year is a new start, a fresh beginning to start over again.

But with God everything and every day is new!

Read Titus 3:3-7

‘Washing of Rebirth’ – NEW CREATION

Humans are a 3 part being…spirit, soul, and body.
Let’s examine this through the eyes of a computer geek. I’ll explain it in computer terms…
The outer case of the computer is the body.
The hard drive is our soul.
The operating system is our spirit.

When we are born again (rebirth, new creation), we still have the same case (body) we still have the same hard drive (soul) with all the mess on it, but God wipes out the old operating system and gives us a new one. This new operating system works far better than the old one. If we follow the manual that comes with our new operating system (the Bible) we can start to clean up our messy hard drive and get things straightened out. And the cool part is that we have 24-hour, on-site tech support!

Read Ezekiel 36:26 and 2 Corinthians 5:17

The word in the Greek that is used here for ‘new’ does not mean ‘new’ as in something new in time like, “I bought a new car, it’s a ’95.” The word means new as in new in nature, something completely different and far better. Like a caterpillar becomes something new when it becomes a butterfly. Before the metamorphosis, it was a slow moving caterpillar that was bound by gravity to walk on the ground. If it wanted to travel 1 mile it could take weeks, even months for it to get to it’s destination. But after its ‘rebirth’, it comes out a completely new creature. No longer bound to walk on the ground. It has a new freedom like it’s never had before. It can fly! It can soar high about the ground that once held it captive. If it wants to travel that same mile, it can probably do it in less than an hour. Its whole life has completely changed.

‘Renewal’ – NEW THINGS EACH DAY

God is not like a video game that you buy for your computer, play it for a while, beat the game and then just kinda get bored with it. He has a new expansion pack ready for you to download every day! He has new things to share with you every day to help you face whatever may be ahead.

Read Matthew 13:52 and Romans 12:2

The important thing to remember about this expansion pack is that you don’t just wake up with the expansion pack ready to play. You have to be willing to set aside the time to go on to the Internet and download the expansion pack.

Well, the same thing with God, you don’t just wake up renewed everyday. It takes some work and discipline on your part. You need to set aside that time with God every day to read, pray and just talk with God, and as you do that, He will show you new things, teach you new things, and help you in whatever way you need.

Mercy – NEW MERCIES EACH DAY

Another cool thing is that God has given us a reset button. If our computer crashes because of all the junk on our hard drive, God has shown us how to reboot our computer, run a scan disk to find the problem and then he’ll tell us how to fix it.

Read 1 John 1:9 and Lamentations 3:22-23

End by giving an invitation for salvation, rededication, or just a general renewed commitment…

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Amazing Mobsters Lesson

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The Mobster game is super! while we played it, I came up with the idea of blending in a lesson. The townspeople put 5 people on trial as accused mobsters, they got 2 out the 5 right. We talked about false accusations based on assumptions instead of proof, and how we do that in real life by the way a person looks or acts. We had 3 falsely accused people, which means we had 3 mobsters in the townspeople group that were “hiding” their “sins” or trying to blend in to accuse others so they would not get found out. It really made the group do some soul searching, and was great fun for all.

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An Acceptable Offering

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Old Testament religion seemed to revolve around offerings and temple worship. Everything was given in accordance to the levitical laws. Offerings date back even further though — right to the time of Cain and Abel. One offering was acceptable the other was not. In the New Testament Jesus speaks of two men who went to the temple to pray. One prayed “about himself”. The other beat his chest and begged for mercy! (Lk 18:10-14) One’s prayer was accepted, one was not. The living sacrifice in Rom. 12:1,2 is the acceptable offering in the N.T. The real acceptable offering to God in the O.T. was not so much the blood of bulls and goats but obedience and a contrite heart.(see I Sam 15:22, Isa 66:1+2 et al). HERE IS THE CHALLENGE: COMMUNICATE THIS IN LESS THAN FORTY-FIVE MINUTES!
Here is my suggestion, but you can probably come up with one that will suit your group much better.

a) Choose four people the week before to compose two short skits. One will portray Cain and Abel, the other skit will portray the self-righteous man and the publican [Lk 18-10-14]. (They only need be three minutes each!)
b) Play the song “To Obey is Better Than Sacrifice” [by Keith Green- No Compromise] or have it done as a solo while the people are in silent meditation.
c) Sing the song “Lord You Are More Precious Than Silver”. Have the group suggest modern substitutes for the words. Sing the song using the words that they suggest (e.g. Lord you are more precious than my friends…).
d) You can take up a few different types of offerings that day.
i.) A pledge to God given on a slip of paper.
ii.) A vow of obedience in a certain area of their life.
iii.) Human Offering Plate! One by one the people can step into a rope circle on the floor at the front. When everyone is in the circle they could sing a song of surrender or dedication to Jesus. If there are too many people they can go up one row at a time or something while an offertory hymn or song is playing. The leader could pray over each group that goes to the front.
e.)If there is still some time remaining, songs of dedication, obedience and service should be sung at that time.

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Anchored in Christ

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Goal
Teach that only Christ is suitable for us to put our faith in

Items needed
a chair or stool
a bed sheet
string cut into four or five foot sections one for each student
index cards

Directions
Tie several pieces of string to the chair and the rest to the index cards. On the index cards write some things that people tend to put their faith in (money power it’s also a good idea to put your own name). Then label the chair “Christ” place the index cards on the seat and cover with the sheet with the strings leading out.

Have everyone gather around the chair and grab a string. Have everyone pull their string and discuss how all these things let us down but Christ never fails.

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And The Trumpet Shall Sound

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This can really be done indoor or outdoors. You need at least 15 people, but the more the better.

You will need to prepare beforehand a piece of paper for each of the youth. Write on each piece of paper:

1. A job occupation
2. A personality disposition (scheming, fastidious, mean, etc.)
3. If they are Christian or non-Christian (Important to give no more than 1/3 of the youth “Christian”)

Hand each youth a piece of paper and tell them not to show it to anyone else. The MC will say that the youth room, church building, outdoor field, or retreat center that you are at represents our city. They are all citizens of that city. They have each been given a job (or unemployment), a personality trait, and been told if they are Christian or not. For some time, they are going to live in this city. They are allowed to do whatever they want during that time. I also encourage them to think of a specific person that fits their characteristics (helps them to act like someone different) and imitate them.

Let them go to it and have the youth workers make sure no one is not participating or causing unnecessary trouble (maybe the workers can be the city police…). You’ll be amazed how creative the youth will be. After around 20-30 minutes, play a loud trumpet blast from a stereo or a real trumpet. Have everyone gather into the starting room. Separate the Christians on one side of the room and the non-Christians on the other side. Explain that Judgment Day has come. All of those who were Christians or who converted to Christianity are in Heaven. All of the rest are now in Hell.

Ask first the non-Christians why they didn’t become Christians. You will get a variety of answers. Probably some will say “No one ever told me about it,” or “How was I to know?” That is a good time then to turn to the Christians and ask them why the others are in Hell. Ask them very gently but directly if they tried to witness and why or why not.

You can end this part of the discussion explaining that we do not know the day or the hour, but one day there will be a separation of believers and unbelievers. At this point it is good to bring the two sides together and have an open discussion on what our responsibility is to persuading others to accept Jesus and how the youth can strengthen each other in doing so.

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Anger

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Anger: Bible Base: John 2 13-22 Jesus Cleanses the Temple

Way in:
Demonstrate what pent up anger can do to us.
Give each member of the group a plastic 35mm film canister and a piece (about one third of a tablet) of Alka-Seltzer. They half fill the canister with water, then, all together, drop the Alka Seltzer in and push on the lid. Place all canisters on a tray. Explain that sometimes, when we get angry, the feelings inside of us well up, until….
After 20-30 secs each canister should then “blow their top” giving an impressive display.
Today we will be looking at anger, what it does to us, how we cope, and how Jesus displayed his anger.

Introduction of Anger.
Draw up Four Faces of Anger
(For illustrations I used pictures of faces showing the kind of anger – Clipart on Windows2000/XP has some, search on “anger”)

INJUSTICE
A rule, a belief, or an objective is being threatened or abused. Unfairness.

INJURY
You are disrespected, rejected, or ignored. Sense of insult or humiliation. Can be physical or psychological.

INVASION
Your freedom or personal space is being restricted or violated. Your identity is being attacked.

INTENTION
You have energy and determination to do something about injustices, injuries, and invasions. You challenge the status-quo.

– Get group to suggest situations that give rise to each facet.
– Which one, mostly, causes them to get angry?

Bible: John 2 13-22 read together as group.
– What was Jesus angry about?
– Did he direct his anger at certain people, or what they were doing?
– What “face of anger” was Jesus displaying.
– What does this reading tell us about getting angry and being a Christian?

Drama
First explain that when we get angry, we react in two different ways:
– Purposeful – showing self-control, and a degree of consideration for others.
– Spontaneous – Unplanned with little or no self-control.

Also our anger expressed can be:
– Constructive – where we respect other peoples’ feelings and boundaries, and don’t threaten either.
– Destructive – where you protect your own identity and violate other peoples’ feelings and identity, deliberately or unconsciously.

Hand out drama pieces to four pairs and give them a chance to rehearse.
Each drama piece shows an angry parent confronting a teenager who has come home late. Get them to work out whether this is on the doorstep when the teenager comes home, or the next morning. Each drama will portray one box in the matrix.


Draw matrix :
ððððððððððððððððPurposefulððððSpontaneous
ððððððððððððððð|————|————-|
ððððððððððððððð|ðððððððððððð|ððððððððððððð|
Constructiveððð|ðððððððððððð|ððððððððððððð|
ððððððððððððððð|————|————-|
ððððððððððððððð|ðððððððððððð|ððððððððððððð|
Destructiveðððð|ðððððððððððð|ððððððððððððð|
ððððððððððððððð|————|————-|

Drama Pieces

Purposeful and Constructive Anger……….
I’m angry. I let you go out on Friday night with the understanding you’d be home by eleven o’clock. Or, if you were going to be late, we agreed you’d call beforehand. When I didn’t hear from you, I was very worried. What happened? I want to talk to you about you going out, and the consequences if this happens again.

Purposeful and Destructive Anger……….
I can’t believe how irresponsible you were last night. You didn’t call. You made me sick with worry. Do you expect me to trust you with going out late at night now? We’ll have to see when you can go out like that again.

Spontaneous and Constructive Anger……….
What the heck has happened! I was expecting a call. I’m really angry. I stayed up because I couldn’t sleep. (Teenager tries to explain, but parent is not really listening and interrupts with emotional voice) I’m too upset to talk about this now. I’m going to bed. We’ll discuss this incident, and the rules for you going out, later on in the morning.

Spontaneous and Destructive Anger…………
(In a rage) You inconsiderate idiot! I should slap you! You silly, stupid… I’m here, scared to death, not knowing what has happened to you. You could have had an accident, been raped… How should I know! Do you call? No, you couldn’t care less. You just think about yourself, self, self… I’ll give you something to think about! You’ll never ever go out late again, d’you hear! Get out of my sight!

Get each pair to present their drama.

After each piece ask the group what word would best describe how the parent behaved. (Write it in the matrix).
Tips:
Purposeful and Constructive – Assertion
Purposeful and Destructive – Hostility
Spontaneous and Constructive – Passion, Suffering.
Spontaneous and Destructive – Rage

– How did Jesus behave?
– Why?
– What would be different if Jesus had behaved differently?
– How do they behave when they get angry?
– Does the Bible story teach them anything about how to behave when you get angry?

Quiet Time.
(Play some relaxing classical music and light a candle)
Think about the times people have got angry with us, and why.
Think about the times we got angry with someone and how we behaved.
Share with God any hurt you have inside
Admit to God where you think you might have done wrong.

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Another Youth Group Devotional

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Months before your youth group leaves for a mission trip, youth retreat, etc… try writing a devotion for everyday you will be gone on the trip. In the devotions write about an issue or a verse of scripture that you have been trying to get across to the group. If you talk about an issue, be sure and use a verse of scripture to enhance the idea your are trying to get across. On every day’s devotion make the opening remarks be personal (to the group as a whole or individualy). In the devotions be sure and include what God showed you through that particular devotion. Also, be sure and include a blank page with lines on it so the youth can write their responses or prayer requests or quiet time on it. Add an extra devotion so they will read it when they get back home.

At the front of the devotion book, put a cover page. Put a picture of that youth’s favorite animal, sport, christian symbol, etc…
Put the name of the youth on the front of each notebook (I found out that a small 1/2 inch three ring binder was just the right size. On the very first page of the notebook, write a letter of encouragement to that youth. Include their strengths and reasons you admire them.

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Armor of God

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If you have a group that tends to be rowdy, this should grab their attention while letting them get a good laugh and learn a valuable lesson. You will need a bag full of “ammo” (such as rolled up socks or foam balls), and a sheet of paper with instructions written on it. It should say something like, “Don’t listen to what (insert leader name) tells you to do. He/she will try to decieve you. Even if people around you do it, you must not listen.” Fold the instructions and give them to one of the youth in your group, telling them to read it immediately, but not to tell anyone what it says. Once he/she has read the instructions, ask for volunteers, telling them that you will give them a surprise if they volunteer (make sure you try to get the one with the instructions to come too). Pick two or three and lead them to your bag of “ammo.” Reach in, grab some ammo and begin throwing it at your volunteers. Once you stop laughing, regain control and get to the point. Ask these questions, “Why did the volunteers listen to me?” “Why didn’t (insert name of youth who had instructions) volunteer?” Have the youth who didn’t follow read the instructions he was given. Then ask, “What do the instructions represent?” Follow up by reading Ephesians 6:10-18 and a discussion about the armor of God and the importance of following God’s “instructions.

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Armor of God

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This is a great illustration that you can involve your audience with. It applies to almost everyone because most kids have been around at least one of these sports. I have used if for many years speaking in front of many different types of kids and it always seems to be a hit. I played baseball in college and I currently race 4 wheelers. From both of these sports I have acquired an abundance of equipment. There are two ways that I use this illustration. The first is using my catchers gear, and the second using my motocross gear. For example:

Baseball:
Belt of Truth: Belt that holds pants up. Talk about how you have to have a true foundation in truth to be able to compete.

Breastplate of Righteousness: Chest Protector, we must live a righteous life, and people must be able to tell by looking. We also need to guard our hearts against the attacks of Satan.

Shoes of Readiness: Baseball shoes, I also include my shin guards. When a catcher is waiting in the dug out while his team is hitting he often wears his shin guards to be ready because you cannot predict what may happen. Always be prepared.

Shield of Faith: Catchers Mit. Satan can attack in small blows, but over time they add up. Anyone can catch a few balls with their bare hands, but to catch a lot may begin to hurt and cause injury.

Helmet of Salvation: Helmets are not for fun, a catcher can put everything on and go out to the plate, but the game does not start until he puts his helmet and mask on. This means business. The same is for out committment to Christ. When we choose that relationship, we are telling Christ that we are ready!

Sword of the Spirit: This would be my bat. you can’t score any runs if you are not prepared for offense. Just like you cannot win a battle if you don’t have any ammunition.

When i use my Motocross gear it is as follows:

Belt of Truth: Kidney belt, used for support of internal organs. Still a foundation of gear for a racer.

Breastplate of Righteousness: Chest Protector. Sometimes sponsors put their logos on the front for others to see. This is a good example of how we should advertise for Christ in a positive way.

Shoes of Readiness: Riding boots, designed specifically for racing to protect the rider. It is not legal to race without boots.

Shield of Faith: Goggles, gloves, knee pads, elbow protectors. All used for secondary protection against the unexpected and also for the small things like rocks that can add up in a long race.

Helmet of Salvation: My helmet. It is illegal to race without a helmet as well, this means business. you have to make a commitment to racing to actually put on the helmet and race. Anyone can put on clothing and walk around, but to put on a helmet means it’s time for battle. Much like committing your life to the Lord.

Sword of the Spirit: My 4 wheeler. Without it I am not ready to race, I can only watch. Same for the Bible. Without it, I may never be ready when i am called.

I have also used football equipment, but most people don’t keep old football gear, but if you have it just plug it in.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to email me. Have a great day!

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Armor of God – Silly Version

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When teaching Kids about the Armor of God, it’s always good to use an illustration. My fiancé and I try to take a less traditional approach on Bible lessons, so they children don’t get bored or tune us out because they are so familiar with it. So on this particular lesson we brought in a bunch of old goofy items and had each child wear a different piece or “armor.”
Helmet of Salvation: crazy “cat in the hat” type hat with wild colors and stripes (then we taped a cross on it)
Breast plate of Righteousness: an old velvet vest turned around (so the buttons are in the back) with a cross tapped on it
Shield of Faith: a large pillow (a sham works better so they can put their arm inside to hold it more like a shield)
Belt of Truth: an old “cowboy belt” w/ a large buckle
“Feet fitted w/ the Gospel of truth”: Large house shoes
Sword of the Spirit: a large roll from wrapping paper and a paper towel roll that we cut and glued and made into the form of a sword.
Afterwards the children went into the main sanctuary and told the adults what each piece meant. It was not only a chance for the kids to learn and have fun, but also for the adults to see what their children were doing.

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