Going Deeper

Without God We Can Do Nothing

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John 15:5, Philippians 4:19

Preparation: None

Visual Aids: checkerboard, floppy disk, headphones

Good morning, boys and girls. How are you? This morning I want to play a good game of checkers. Would someone like to play with me? [Wait for volunteer, then present the empty checkerboard and place it between you and the volunteer.] OK, you go first. [Wait for the look on the young volunteer’s face to be obvious to all.] Oh, hmm. It seems I have forgotten the checkers. We can’t play checkers without checkers, now can we? OK, well, I have something else we can do. [Take out floppy disk.] I have a really neat computer game here on this disk, and I’d like to show it to you this morning. Can you see it? [Hold up the disk and wait for the children to say no.] Why can’t you see it? [Wait for response.] Hmm, we can’t very well play the game without a computer. OK, how about this? I have a really good song I want to listen to this morning. [Put headphones on. Wait for children to point out that you have nothing to listen to.] Oh, I don’t have a radio or tape player or CD player, so the headphones don’t do me much good, do they? [If time allows, continue with one or two more of your own examples.] Well, kids, what was wrong with all of the things I wanted to do with you today? [Wait for responses.] There was something missing. Without checkers, you can’t play checkers. Without a computer, a floppy disk is no good. Without something to plug into, headphones are useless. And you know, without God we are nothing. Did you know that? Without God, we can do nothing. Can you say that with me? “Without God, we can do nothing.” But with God, we can do all things. Say that with me. “With God, we can do all things.” Let’s pray that God would help us remember that without Him, we can do nothing, but with Him, we can do anything.

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Worship Jenga

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Set up a game of Jenga, but have pieces of paper blu-tacked to each Jenga piece, with stuff written on it, such as names of God, or promises of God. Get the youth sitting in a circle, and play Jenga. Each time they take a piece, they have to read what is on it, and say a short thank-you prayer for what they have read. If the tower falls over, just build it up again. Afterwards we wrote some of the names of God that were on the blocks onto A4 sheets and stuck them around the room. The youth then went around the room and spent a few moments at each one, reflecting and saying thank you to God.

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You’ve Got Prayers

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I went to the local office supply store and bought do-it-yourself postcard and printed them up with the following message:

You’ve been prayed for!
The Youth Fellowship of Christ Congregational Church prayed for you today. May God shower love and grace down upon you and hold you always safe in the palms of God’s loving hands. May peace and love be yours through Christ Jesus. Amen.

I used our desktop publishing software to make them look jazzy. I then got from the church secretary a list of every single person in our church database and made labels for the postcards. The cards went into a big ole cardboard box that is wrapped up like a present with a hole in the top. Every Wednesday evening at our group’s prayer and worship time, we pass the box around and everyone picks out one card. We then read aloud the names of each card and pray specifically for that person. The next morning, I mail the cards to the people we’ve prayed for.

This has been a very powerful outreach tool for our kids, teaching them to pray for others, especially people they may not know. The people who receive the cards often tell us that the prayer cards reached them at a time when the felt particularly in need of prayer, and some of the people who have received cards have begun attending services regularly again.

Peace and Blessings
Bess

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Your Worth In God’s Eyes

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You hold up a $20 dollar bill and ask if anyone wants it. They will all raise their hands and beg for it. Then you crumple the bill up and say well it is not perfect anymore do you still want it? The kids will still raise there hands. Then put it on the ground and step on it and rub it into the ground. Ask again if they want it. They will still raise there hands. Now, rip it a little and ask again. This time tell them this bill is crumpled, stepped on, and torn…do you still want it. The kids will still raise there hands and you explain from there that the bill represents their lives. They started out new and crisp and clean, but over the years they become crumpled, and stepped on and torn up (give examples about some of the sin in their life) but that God still wants you. No matter how crumpled up, stepped on and torn up you are God still wants you.

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Youth Group Devotional

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Instead of using daily devotional guides published by your denomination, have your youth group write their own. This gives the young people a chance to express their ideas about the Christian faith. Most importantly, the kids will want to read the devotional because they know the authors and they can relate to their own peers better. Sample Format: Day and Month, Scripture, Commentary, Thought for the day.

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Youth Group Prayer Project

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Help your kids put prayer into practice with this community builder. Obtain a set of mailing labels preprinted with the names and addresses of church members. Then photocopy a short form letter for each family or person on the mailing list, telling people they’ll be prayed for by the youth group kids the coming week. Also photocopy some practical prayer suggestions for kids to use. During a youth group meeting, give each person two or three mailing labels, envelopes and form letters. Or give out some names each week for a few weeks. Also supply stamps and the prayer suggestions. Have kids mail their letters and then pray daily for the people they mailed them to. At a later meeting, have church members tell kids ways their prayers were answered during the time kids were praying.

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Zerubbabel’s Troubles

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Maybe its just me but I seem to hear a lot of camp speakers telling kids to dream big dreams, GOD SIZED DREAMS, but they sometimes miss the fact even huge visions have humble beginnings that require the work of the Holy Spirit.

So in a world where bigger is better, and business says go big or go home it is sobering to return to the story of the rebuilding of the temple. Sure it wasn’t Solomon’s temple, and people whined for the old days, but it was God’s plan and God’s Spirit that directed the project.

As you do this Bible Study have kids list great things that they would love to see God do in the world. Maybe even follow up on some of the big dreams they have be challenged to dream. List them and leave them on the board, white board, or power point screen.

Then read this scripture from the message from Zechariah 4 (you might want to provide some brief background on the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple)

Then he said, 6″This is GOD’s Message to Zerubbabel: “You can’t force these things. They only come about through my Spirit,’ says GOD-of-the-Angel-Armies. 7″So, big mountain, who do you think you are? Next to Zerubbabel you’re nothing but a molehill. He’ll proceed to set the Cornerstone in place, accompanied by cheers: Yes! Yes! Do it!'”

8 After that, the Word of GOD came to me: 9″Zerubbabel started rebuilding this Temple and he will complete it. That will be your confirmation that GOD-of-the-Angel-Armies sent me to you. 10Does anyone dare despise this day of small beginnings? They’ll change their tune when they see Zerubbabel setting the last stone in place!”

The Day of small beginnings
Share with the group something along the lines of … God has given us some big ideas but we have no right to despise the little things that God wants us to do. God’s greatest feats have begun very small and then they grow very large..

You may want to do a bit of an object lesson here with seeds of different sizes, a penny, and/or a grain of rice. (you could tell the story of the peasant who asked the emperor for a small gift. All he asked was that the emperor would double the rice on each square of a chess board until it reached the last square. The Emperor could not grant the request because by the time it reached the last square it would require all of the rice in china)

Have student suggest other things that start small but become very large, like a human embryo, or a virus epidemic.

Zerubbabel’s trouble was that as he lay the corner stone there were probably those standing around saying –It won’t amount too much –You need to go big or go home..

God had another plan– from these humble beginnings God would rebuild the temple as a sign that he would revive his people.

Faithful in Little Faithful in Much
When the first three students in Texas met at their flag pole to pray they had no clue that it would grow into an international movement called See You at the Pole. They just met to pray because someone had to do it.

With all of this talk of grandiose dreams we cannot sit and wait for our ship to come in. Instad like the setting of the first stone in that temple we need to begin with the basics of our Christian life –the foundaion for all future success. If we try to walk before we can run we fall flat on our face.

EGAD! Ideas began as a college assignment and grew into one of the most popular youth sites on the internet.

The Bible study can end with a challenge, possibly have students plant their dreams somewhere on the church property. Not allowing them to die, but sewing them in faith. Have students share what foundational things they will need to plant in their lives to build the kind of foundation that will support a future of service to Christ

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