Going Deeper

Armor of God (Ephesians 6)

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For a lesson on the armor of God, get Bible Alminacs, and pictures with descriptions of war weapons and protection used in the era when Ephesians was written.
Have enough materials on hand for your group to split up and research one of each of the types of spiritual armor, and connect it historically with themselves spiritually. Begin by reading from the Bible Eph 6 :10-18, and breifly discuss.(WHEN the evil happens, not IF..etc. The idea is to help this concept to be less abstract, and for students to make important corrolations for themselves. I had at least one resource for each group, then they traded off. It would have been even better if I had slides and even more background information, but the students came up with spiritual connections which were great. After plenty of time for groups to do their fact finding, they presented each piece of spiritual armor to the group, and got feedback. Reread the passage from Ephesians, and discuss. Close with prayer asking for each person in the room to remember their armor, and why.
Some things students put together were that the shield of faith- when shields were researched, they used to be soaked in water to extinguish flaming arrows. Jesus is referred to Living Water – soak ourselves in THAT! Keeping our feet fitted with the gospel of peace- when we are on slippery surfaces, if we don’t have the right footwear on, we slip. If we stay in God’s Word, we keep ourselves spiritually stable, the stumbles are less frequent,and when we are in a forward relationship with God, we cannot be growing further and sliding spiritually….the helmet of Salvation – helmets keep our brains in if we receive a blow to the head, or have an accident – just as if we receive spiritual blows, with salvation, we know we won’t lose it- it’s a guarantee. A good swordsman never leaves his sword- he’s always ready! So should we always be ready to share Christ with others, and be ready to stand up for him. The sword is also the only weapon- everything else is defense…hmmm- makes ya think! The breastplate- with it we never need to turn our backs- with God on our side , we can face anything, because he will not turn form us. This is just some of what students came up with- good stuff with visuals, research, and discussion. This activity took about one hour.

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Ball Talk

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Start out with a small (ugly) blue ball. Have a bag full of balls (all sorts) but do not let students see them. Make the biggest jock hold the little blue ball in the center of the staging area. Talk about the blue ball as though it is not very important, point out its faults, blemishes, and potential uses. Tell the students that this blue ball will be our starting point of importance. Then call on another student (preferably girl) and hand them a football. Tell them to stand either side (left or right) of the blue ball in order of importance. Call on other students, handing each a ball (soccer, baseball, softball, basketball, etc) Go into detail as to the importance or lack of importance for each ball. Let each student position themselves in the line of importance while holding their ball. Let the students describe the reasons why they chose to standing where they are always referring back to the “little blue ball” One side verses the other will become the “important” side. When all the balls have been handed out and the students are lined up in order of importance share with them that the line of importance is not from this side to the other but everyone is important in God’s eyes. God sees importance in everyone, as Christians we are to be humble before God and man never giving rise to putting ourselves better than others. 1 Peter 4:6-7

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Balloon Confessions

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This illustration has a double purpose to it. You will need a balloon, filled with helium (so it can rise into the air), and markers. Give each of the youth their own balloon and a marker, and have them write one sin on that balloon. Then have them write on the balloon something to the effect of “Lord, please forgive me/take this sin…” You then have all the youth release their “sins” up towards heaven. Someday when that balloon comes back to earth, whether it be whole or blown up, maybe it might land in someone’s back yard, and that is a way to maybe reach out to someone, or make them curious. I hope you enjoy this idea, and maybe the message will reach someone, and give them new hope.

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Balloon Race

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This is an object lesson that we have used to begin Confirmation classes but is fine any time. Have a big bag of the larger-sized balloons. Line up your group at one end of a large room or sanctuary. Tell them that they are each trying to “fly” their balloons from the startring line past the designated finish line. Of course they fill the balloons full of air and let go–but the balloons almost never go in a straight line! They can fly at right angles or behind you. Use this to illustrate the “Spirit blowing where it will” and that on life’s journeys, we may not be going where we want all the time, but God might have a different destination in mind or a different path to our future.

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Balloon Stomp!

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Ballon stomp is a quick, fun way to get kids in motion, and there are at least two ways to win. Have each person blow up a ballon and tie it with a short string to their ankle. Start facing each other in a circle, and at “GO!” start stomping. The goal is to protect your own balloon while popping as many others as you can. Keep popping even after your own is burst!Applause/prizes go to both the last survivor, and to the person who popped the most.

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Battle of the Sins

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During this night you announce that the youth should dress in army attire. You should also decorate to make it somewhat resemble a battlefield. The theme of the night relates to the spiritual warfare that Christians go through and how our life is a battle against sin…
We had a skit with a youth in the “armor of God” battling against Satan.
The youth truly enjoyed it.

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Be Slow To Anger

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Materials needed:
12-15 nails, hammer, plywood board shaped like a fence (painted white).
Matthew 5:22; Psalms 103:8.
This fence represents our family, friends, or anyone that we have a close relationship with. This fence is a nice fresh painted white picket fence. It is smooth and straight. It is not a perfect fence, as you can see a couple of nails in it. These nails represent different hurts and pains that were inflicted upon it.
How many of you have ever called your brothers or sisters or family or friends hurtful names or hit them or have been mean to them? Well every time you do or say something in anger, this nail must be hammered into the fence.(Line up teens in a single line behind you). Each of you may take a turn to hit a nail in the fence. Look at how ugly this fence is with all those nails in it! It isn’t a pretty sight, is it?
Now every time that you can control your anger and not lash out, you may remove a nail from the fence (remove all nails out of fence). Look at the fence now, it’s full of holes! It looks really bad now, doesn’t it? This is how you and I would look every time someone was mean to us. The scars that are left inside! It doesn’t really matter how many times you say you’re sorry, the wounds are still there. A verbal wound is just as bad, if not worse, than a physical wound!
Remember, your family and friends are like very rare jewels. They make you smile and encourage you to succeed. They’ll listen to you, they share words of praise and they always want to open their hearts to you! (Sounds just like Jesus would do also!) So the next time your friends, or family do something that makes you angry, stop and think about this fence with all the holes in it! Think about the nails and how sharp they are as they pierce through this fence! The pain and hurt that you would feel if the nails poked you.

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Bean Activity

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This is a pretty serious game that only work with large numbers of people (read: 50+). Everyone takes seven beans from a bucket of beans. Form a circle with all the people. Explain that the game is serious. Pick one person in the circle to start the game. That person (person A) puts their beans in their pocket, and then moves to the inside of the circle. They then face the person next to them (person B), and ask if the person has any medicine for them. If person B says, “Yes,” then they give them one of their beans. Otherwise, person B tells person A, “I have no medicine for you.” Person A then moves on to the next person in the circle (person C).
Once person A moves on to person D, person B follows them, asking person C if they have any medicine. As person A moves on, person B follows, then person C follows. The circle will double back on itself. Once person A reaches the end of the circle (the gap they left when they started) they put all the beans they collected aside, and pull out their seven beans. Those are the only seven that they may give away.
At the beginning of the game, people are more likely to give away beans, so the first people to go around the circle wind up with many beans. But by the end, some people will end up with no beans, because other gave them all away and had none to give them. The game should be quiet except for people asking, “Do you have any medicine for me?” so it may be helpful to have meditative music in the background. I will repeat that this is a serious game, and I have seen grown men crying at the end because they had no beans to give away to people who had none.
Once the game is over and everyone has had a chance to go around the circle, it may be helpful to debrief and talk about why people gave beans, or how it felt to tell someone they had nothing to give. It is even more poignant when the supply of beans is clearly visible, and even overflowing in the middle of the circle. This game asks more questions than it answers, about our generosity, about our arrogance (it’s not our job to save everyone; that’s God’s), about our foolish attempts at wisdom in deciding how to give our beans away. It may be helpful to split into small groups to discuss, or give time for people to deal with what the game meant to them.

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Bear One Another’s Burdens

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Tools needed:
Backpacks(6-8 or 1 per child)
Weights, books, or heavy objects

Start out by having 1 backpack filled with weights or books, which will be very difficult for 1 child to carry alone. The other backpacks leave empty. Distribute the backpacks to the children, leaving the one already filled for last. Ask the child if carrying the backpack is difficult. Ask the other children if their backpacks are hard to carry. Then take the objects out of the 1 backpack and distribute them to each of the other backpacks. This should even out the weight of the packs, and then you can illistrate how important it is to carry each other’s burden’s. When we try to carry them alone, it is very difficult, and we struggle. But when we have others ‘bearing our burdens’ with us, it lightens our load!

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Bearing Your Cross

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Make a large cross (we used 6×6 beams) that’s about 5×7 or larger. Have youth try to carry it (or get a rope and drag it) individually, then have others join in. It will show the importance of ‘Bearing Your Cross’ with fellow Christians along the way.

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