Going Deeper

Lose Your Marbles

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– First go to a toy store and buy a sack of marbles and a fish bowl. The amount of marbles depends entirly on the size of your youth group.
– Next, contact a glass company and ask them to build you a large plexi-glass box (this step can be disregarded if you don’t have the funds to get a box built.)
– Next prepare a sermon focusing on ‘things’ in the youth’s lives that are not sin outright, but are things keeping them from Jesus. These ‘things’ can be anything… I focused on secular music, video games, attitudes, rebellion, etc.

At the end of the sermon, I passed out one marble to every person, put on worship music, and had everybody examine their lives. I instructed them that that marble represents something or someone in their lives that in comming between them and the Lord. After a serious prayer time, I passed around the fishbowl and instructed them to drop their sin in the bowl and leave it there. One by one the sound of the glass marble hitting the glass bowl went through the silent room.

Next, I instructed them to bring all their junk from home and put it into the “Junk Box.” I am pleased to report that the box is filling with secular music, N-Sync posters, and handwritten notes confessing attitudes. The end result has been overwhelming and the Lord has begun a mighty revival in our youth. Parents are coming into the youth to get their kids, who are worshiping (go figure), because they don’t want to leave God’s presense. That’s it… God bless

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Love Letter

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Usually when someone gets a “love letter” in the mail from someone that they really love, they can’t wait to rip it open and see what their loved one has to say. If it was from someone very special to them, they wouldn’t just toss it in a drawer and forget about it. Most people I believe, would want to hear the words that their loved one had written. Of course, if it was personal, they might hide it after they had read it to keep others from seeing it. I also know that many people keep love letters and read them over and over again. I’ll bet that there are some ladies here this morning that have love letters that were written to them many years ago. Maybe some that were sent to them from Europe during World War II.

Well, it just so happens I have a love letter here that I found in the hall. It’s rather interesting but I don’t know who it belongs to. Do you think maybe I should just read it out loud? Well……OK, but I hope it’s not yours.

Dear ___________ How are you? I just had to send you this letter to tell you how much I love you and care about you. I saw you yesterday as you were walking with your friends. I waited all day, hoping you would walk and talk with me also. As evening drew near, I gave you a sunset to close your day, and a cool breeze to rest you. Then I waited, but you never came. Oh yes, it hurt me, but I still love you because I am your friend. I saw you fall asleep last night, and I longed to touch your brow, so I spilled moonlight upon your pillow and your face… Again I waited, wanting to rush down so we cold talk. I have so many gifts for you. You awakened late this morning and rushed off for the day. My tears were in the rain. Today you looked so sad, so alone. It makes my heart ache because I understand. My friends let me down and hurt me many times, but I love you. I try to tell you in the quiet green grass. I whisper it in the leaves and trees, and breathe it in the color of the flowers. I shout it to you in the mountain streams, and give the birds love songs to sing. I bathe you with warm sunshine and perfume the air. My love for you is deeper than the oceans and bigger than the biggest want or need you could ever have. We will spend eternity together in Heaven. I know how hard it is on earth. I really know, because I was there, and I want to help you. My Father wants to help you too. He’s that way, you know. Just call me, ask me, talk to me. It is your decision… I have chosen you, and because of this I will wait… Because I love you. Your friend, Jesus.

Like I said, I hope that letter doesn’t describe you, but then I think we all see ourselves in that letter at times. Do you know that God has sent us all a love letter? And I’m not talking about this one. (Hold up the love letter from Jesus) I’m talking about this one. (Hold up the Bible) He expresses His love to us in here. It say things like “For God so loves us, that he gave His only son.” I am amazed at how many people, who call themselves “Christians” , that will say “Oh yes…I believe in God… I believe in Jesus… I believe everything the Bible says. Have I read it? Well… a little bit once a week at Sunday School. I’m just too busy.” How can we say that we believe something that we’ve never read? It’s not only our right but our duty as Christians to read God’s love letter to us. We wouldn’t throw anyone other loved one’s letter in a drawer and forget about it. And this is a love letter that you don’t hide after reading it. It’s addressed to everyone, so we want to share it with anyone who will listen.

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Love Letter from Christ

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For all of those people in your group that do not feel that they are loved or appreciated, have them try this activity. Give each person within your group (small or large) a piece of paper and a pen/pencil. Tell them that they have just received a letter from Christ Himself! And what’s even more special is that this letter is a love letter especially assigned to them. Have each student write a letter to themselves, pretending it’s from Christ. Have them think long and hard about what Christ might say to them. This could be words of adoration and love, words of encouragement, or words of accountability. This makes them think about how important their relationship with Christ is.

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Love Letter To God

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We did this one year during our annual retreat. We prep the room to make it darker to create a worshipful environment. I first suggested that worship to God is like writing a love letter to God and led them into a few worship songs. After that, while music still playing on the background, I pull out a plain transparency on the overhead projector. I submitted to them that we want to write God a love letter publicly together as a corporate worship to Him. I invited them to come up one by one to write something on the transparency in the form of “I thank You because…” At first it took awhile for the first person to come up. But after awhile, students (and adult helpers) keep coming up to write on the transparency – make sure you prepare more transparencies in case they get filled up. It was a great experience as the whole group watches each other give thanks to God, hence, a corporate worship. At the end, we close with a prayer. It was a very touching experience for our students.

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Majesty, Worship His Majesty!

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Why don’t you allow other people to lead this one! Guide the group in a Bible study on the majesty of God. Assign the group Bible passages to read, such as Ps. 8, Eccl 5:1- 13 or a number of others that show that our God is a “consuming fire.” Give each of the members of the team a copy of these suggestions, but allow them to also modify them after they have read all the assigned Bible passages.
Here is the outline for the worship experience that they will lead:

a) Instruct people that they should be silent as they enter the worship area.
b) When everyone has arrived and is seated, have one member of the worship team read sections from Ecc. 5:1-7. “Stand in Awe of God” could be a banner that could be in the front of the area, or on an overhead as they enter the room.
c) Another member of the group can say something like, “We have been given an awesome opportunity because of the blood of Jesus. We are allowed to enter into the throne room of God. In ancient times if you entered the throne room and the king did not want to see you it was punishable by Death!” Hebrews chapter ten says “Let us come boldly before the throne of grace.” Let us go into the throne room of God. In ancient times if you entered the throne room and the king did not want to see you it was punishable by death!” Hebrews chapter ten says “Let us come boldly before the throne of grace.” Let us do that today, in humility, and in the knowledge that this is only possible because of the blood of Jesus. Let us enter his presence by the blood of Jesus, by allowing him to cleanse us by his blood – Let’s sing (Lord I’m Sorry, Create in Me a Clean Heart, My Eyes are Dry or any other songs of confession and commitment.)
d) Another member of the group can go on from there saying, “Now that we have been purified in Christ’s blood, as it says in I John 1:9 we can “Enter his gates with thanksgiving in our hearts and enter his courts with praise! Lets stand and do just that! (Sing I Will Enter His Gates with Thanksgiving in My Heart … and about six or seven lively worship choruses.)
e) Another member of the team can then read the account of Isaiah’s vision of God in the temple. Is. 6. Then they can say “I want you to close our eyes and envision the presence of the Lord in this place. He inhabits the praises of his people. It is not so much that we enter his presence for the Lord is everywhere. When our hearts are in the right state then are we able to finally experience Him in His fullness. Let’s continue to prepare our hearts for an encounter with God. As you close your eyes I want you to consider, meditate upon his holiness and majesty in this place right now. (Sing: He Is Lord, God, Here, Humble Thyself in the Sight of the Lord, Come Let Us Worship and Bow Down, Jesus We Enthrone You … etc.)
f) One of the members can then say, “The Lord is here. He is here in his majesty, for wherever two or more are gathered in His name he is there in the midst of them, open up to Him and experience His presence in this place.” — Then lead right in to “Lift Up Your Heads to the Coming King, Majesty, I Exalt Thee, Hallelujah etc.. “.) Following this there should be a time of praise, spontaneous and exuberant from the heart. If the worship team can be very free in worship it will definitely encourage others to voice their praises to God.
g) As the praises die down, initiate a period of silence to wait upon God. Pray in your hearts that there will be a manifestation of the Holy Spirit. After that prayer requests can be offered up for the lost, loved ones, needs of the congregation, missionaries and any special requests. This should be followed by further praise and thanks. The offering could be taken up as a final act of worship in the service.

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Making a Difference (Children)

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This quarter in Kid’s Church we have 13 weeks to study the Twelve Disciples…Each biography of our Disciples is put into a book for the children along with Disciple songs like “Fishers of Men” “The Disciple song-He has called us too”,etc,printed out so they will have a treasure to keep after the studies are over. Their own biography and photo included. The 13th week we always have a party…this quarter we are having an upper room party (thanks to ideas from your site). It will include singing the twelve disciples song “He has called us too” while lighting tea candles that surround a large white candle in the center of the circling little candles. We also plan to play the TrainWreck2 game because we have been talking about how we have a lot of things in common.
Also Jesus uses us (just the way we are, as He used His Disciples) to share the Good news with others.Two large tables for the kid’s to sit at while they share rice krispies treats and punch. And a Pentecost Skit to watch, filmed by home camera. The format is like a reporter in Jerusalem interviewing people in the street, Peter explaining what is happening, and mockers. There is an anchorwoman and reporters telling the world that the whole city is turned upside down with the baptism of the Holy Spirit sweeping through the lives of the new believers. We also make up invitations for the children to give to their friends to come to the party. It is a lot of work but we have a lot of fun and the children are really getting the Truth out of the lessons God has given us to share.

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Man, The Law, And God

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This illustration uses a paper chain made with twelve links. The first link says “MAN”. Write one commandment on each of the next ten links. On the twelfth link, write “GOD”. Ask one of the kids to read the word, “MAN”. Ask another to read the word, “God”. Next, ask who knows the ten commandments. The kids will name a few, but may not know them all by heart. Then ask, “How many commands must be broken before we are separated from God?” Have a person rip one of the links of the ten commandment chain to explain how even breaking one sin separates us from God. Ask if they have ever been disobedient at home or at school, and what that does to their relationship with God. Sin keeps us apart from God!

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Marshmallow Porcupine

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The more people you have the better. Form as many lines as you want, but have at least 15 per line, 10 will work, but more is better. Give everybody a toothpick, good round pointed ones,and have them put it in their mouths. Put a large marshmallow on the pick of the first one in line. On go, that person must turn to the next in line and that person stabs the marshmallow with his pick. NO HANDS ALLOWED. Once he has stabbed it, the first person must let go of their toothpick. Now the second person turns to the third person who now has a toothpick coming at them and they must stab it and the second person lets go of their pick. As you get down the line, there are alot of toothpicks coming at the last people. This is a great sight game watching the last peaople trying to find a place on the marshmallow to stab without getting poked too bad up the nose. If someone drops the marshmallow, it goes back to the previous person. Have fun.
[Ed. Note: I don’t think the toothpicks would reach the eye level, but watch out for that possibility. Use your own discretion as to how safe this activity is for your group.]

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Marshmallow Sin

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Pass out one large marshmallow to everyone. Instruct the to NOT do anything but hold it. Once everyone has one, tell them to put it in their mouth but DO NOT CHEW IT OR SWALLOW IT. Just let it sit on their tongue. Then make your announcements, or just talk about anything. This will allow the marshmallow time to dissolve a little bit. After about 5 minutes or more tell them they can either spit it out in the trash can or chew it up and swallow it. Then make the point that if we continue to surround ourselves in sinful lifestyles you will either give in (chew it up and swallow it) or you will get rid of it (spit it out) This is great to lead into a discussion on peer pressure, sin and deliberate sinful lifestyles.

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Matthew 25 & Michael Jordan

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Have one person in your group be Michael Jordan. He then chooses three investors to spend his money. He gives one 10,000 of play money, another 5,000 and another 1,000. He calls them in after a hard season to see what they did, if they are good enough to handle some serious money. Both the 10,000 and 5,000 have doubled their money. The biggest money maker gets Michael’s NIKE account, the other doubler gets his Salary account (Mark envelopes and stuff with money for these accounts.) The just returns the $1,000 and gets tossed.
What did Michael Jordan provide to his investors?
– start up money
– reputation and fame
– basketball skill
What was the investors job?
– to spend someone else’s money to make more
Jesus has done the same
– He gives us talents
– He did the dying
– He did the rising again
What are we to do?
– spend our talents given by him and backed up by him.
– care about others through whatever resources he has given.
– pray for direction

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