Going Deeper

Choices

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You really need plenty of prep time for this one. You need: (two of each) security envelopes, small containers, large containers, doors. This presentation is based on the show “Let’s Make A Deal”. I always wear an “old” sportcoat that makes young people laugh. First, ask for a volunteer. The first volunteer must make a “choice” between two envelopes. NO ONE is to open anything until all “choices” have been made. The first volunteer, after making their choice, then chooses a friend to give the other envelope. The second volunteer then chooses between what is originally offered by #1 and the next level of choices. Each volunteer chooses between on thing or another until all “choices” are made. If they choose NOT to accept their first choice then they must choose to whom to give the unwanted “object”. When all the “choices” are made then the openings will begin. Each student must explain (before opening) why they chose that object. Answers will vary but will give you opportunity to disciple youth on reasons behind our making good or bad choices. The envelopes give them a simple choice (money or a blank piece of paper). In the containers another simple choice (cookies or candy). In the containers (this is the tricky one) (a full or empty twelve pack of soft drinks). You show someone (adviser) inside the empty container with the “empty cans in their original box). Normally the adviser will tell the volunteer to choose wrong. In the doors section have one designed for a guy another girl. Behind the guy door an ugly women who chases him to give a big RED kiss. The girl opens to find an “Archie Bunker” type character who hands her a mop or whatever and screams orders to her as he goes out with the guys. You will not lose young people with this because they want to see what you’re going to do. You then close (after the laughter subsides) and explain form scripture how we must make choices in life and how as Christians God’s Word is our best advisor.

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Choosing Good Friends

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Choosing Good Friends

Opening Questions:
– How can you tell what someone is really like?
– Should you be able to tell a Christian from a non-Christian, or are they the same?
– What areas do you look at in a person’s life to see if they are a Christian or not?
– What parts of your life are affected and influence by a relationship with God?

Have two jars ready, one with oil and the other with water colored like oil. These represent two people. One is a Christian who resists the bad influences and friends and the other is a person who allows then to affect his of her life.
At this point give a personal example of a time when you made a poor decision because of peer pressure your friends. The story can be told in the third person and after it is told revealed who it is about. Tell how you learned the importance of wise friendships though the whole process.
Have another jar of water blackened with ink or food coloring. This is to represent sin/bad influences. Pour the black water into both jars to show a person who allows themselves to be influenced by wrong friends, the oil will separate and not allow itself to be changed.
All around us we face temptations. One of the keys to making right decisions is to choose good friends. Friends that love God, friends that will help us do what is right, and friends that I can encourage as well. Proverbs 13:20 says “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.”
Go home and make a list of people that you know. Make one for your class, one for church, and one of the people that you are closest to. Pray for wisdom and ask go down the list one at a time to see if they are people that you should make a point of spending time with or not.
One has only to look at your closest friends to know what you are really like inside. Light has no fellowship with darkness. If you are interested in following God and those that you spent time with are not, than I can guarantee that soon you will either have to (1.) choose new friends or (2.) walk away from your Christian faith. My prayer is that you will choose number the first.

Closing Question:
– What kind of activities do you engage in when you are with your friends (Music, movies, conversation, etc.)?
– Who do you know that encourages others to do what is right?
– What would your friends say if you invited them to Bible Study, Church, etc.?

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Christ Fullfills Prophecies

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I wrote on note cards the O.T. prophecy, also the N.T. fullfillment on another card. Played the game where they had to look up the Scripture and then find who has there match. I gave a small gift as prize. It was fun seeing them look up Scripture most had to use index, then see them interacting through God’s Word it was great!

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Christ The Conqueror

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It is not too late to give praise for victories won thousands of years ago! In fact, it is when the people of God lose sight of His wonderful works on their behalf that we lapse into idolatry, spiritual adultery, apostasy, lethargy and apathy. We need to rejoice in Christ’s victory over sin and death! “Oh grave where is thy victory? O death where is thy sting. Death is swallowed up in victory! Hallelujah!” Is this the statement of your heart today? It will need to be if you hope to convey this truth to your people.

a) Room Set Up: The room should be in total darkness. (Windows could be covered with large garbage bags if you do not have blinds or curtains that will block out the light. Have an overhead of the crucifixion (Excellent graphics of the life of Christ are available from Dawson McAllisters series on The Life of Christ) up at the front of your room as they enter. (If you don’t have access to an overhead, you may be able to put up a cross, a poster or some way to represent the crucifixion.)
b) After everyone is seated you can announce that you are gathered in honour of the greatest event in all history… “I want to take you back to Calvary. Let us focus today on the victory won for us!” (Then play “The Champion” by Carman).

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Christmas Investigation

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Supplies needed: Photocopies of Luke 1:1-4 double spaced, coffee filters cut into 1×2″ strips, small cups with 1/4 inch of water, tape and straws, three kinds of black markers.

Introduction: I adapted a science lesson to introduce the idea of investigating the source of our information. I showed the students a “Merry Christmas” message written on the uncut coffee filter paper. Then I showed them three markers and ask for ideas about how to determine who wrote the message using clues from the markers. Someone may come up with the idea of chromatograpy, if not, tell the students that crime investigation often uses chromatography to analyze ink samples. Help the students set up the chromatography by drawing a stripe across the bottom of a filter strip with each marker. Tape the strip to a straw, lower it into the cup of water so that the stripe does not enter the water and wait for the colors to separate. Now take a sample of the “Merry Christmas” note and use the water to separate the inks in the note to match the correct marker to the note.

While the inks are separating, begin the Bible study with the Luke passage. Have students highlight key words in each verse, discussing Luke’s desire to get the evidence so that he could write the real story for those who did not know what happened when Jesus was born. Emphasize Luke’s careful plan to investigate and document using primary sources. Close by encouraging kids to take a fresh look at the Christmas story and to believe based on the evidence. Even kids raised in church may not know that Luke was not a disciple and had to locate witnesses to write his gospel.

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Circles

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Conducted during a retreat. The participants came from many different places. The goal was to try to respect their uniqueness while moving them into community during a call to worship. With masking tape, a circle is formed on the floor for each person. Lights are dimmed and quiet music is played. Group members are called into the room and remain silent… then say “Let’s worship God.” Each worshipper sits in a circle facing different directions. They close their eyes and reflect on what they left behind. Ask: “What person’s face do you most vividly see? What are this person’s problems? What things have been left undone?” Then ask youth to focus on a nearby person. Ask them to think about that person’s world, leave their circles and sit in pairs. Encourage pairs to share their earlier reflections. Then you can lead the pairs to join up with a new pair. Continue until a new community has been created.

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Cleaning Up The Mess

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I had my group of VBS 5th graders pair up. I gave each pair a card which had a “nasty job” written on it — “being on a road crew that picks up dead skunks”, “changing a baby’s messy diaper” — you get the idea. The groups each had a turn to silently act out the nasty job, while the rest of the class shouted out what was being depicted.

When they were done, we turned to the narrative of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. I wanted them to grasp what a lowly job foot-washing was. Then I asked them to count how many of the nasty jobs were ones that involved cleaning up after someone or something else. All of them were.

I then showed them that Jesus’ work on the cross was the ultimate act of cleaning up after our mess, and that, as we come to Him daily, asking for forgiveness, that He lovingly and gently cleans up our mess again. What a wonderful Savior we have, what a beautiful example of service, and what a responsibility we have to try to live up to that example.

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Coffee House At Camp

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Good activity for the final night at a camp/retreat is to have a coffee house program. At the beginning of the camp, divide the kids into groups of about 7 each. Ask each group to develop a coffee house presentation such as drama, singing, reading, etc. During the coffee house, each group will have the opportunity to make its presentation. Set up for the coffee house by covering the tables with white paper. If the tables can be folded, place them on the floor in the shape of a circle. Have the campers bring their sleeping bags, and blankets to sit or lie upon in front of the tables. Use candles on the tables for light. Have juice and donuts, and popcorn for refreshment. Begin with singing and guitar music. Let each group make its presentation. Close with a time of sharing and prayer.

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Coffee Pot

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The idea of this illustration is to show how the things we fill our minds with eventually fill our heart. Using a coffe maker, put coffee in the filter (Mind). Explain that sin never goes directly to our heart, but it must first pass through the filter of our minds.

It is here that we must recognize whether a thought is pleasing to God, or if it needs to be “taken captive,” and discarded. As we continue to think about the sin, it is like the water flowing through the filter down to the coffee pot (Heart). Eventually, the pot will be filled with the essence of what was in the filter.

If we look at pornography, a spirit of lust will take root in our heart. If we continually fill our minds with images of violence and abuse, our heart will eventually become violent. Eventualy we put
action to those things which fill our hearts! On the flip side, if we fill our minds with the things of God, our heart will reflect the
same.

Phillipians 4:8-9

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Cold Grudges

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(Grudges and Bitterness)

To help illustrate lessons on holding grudges, use ice cubes to represent grudges. Give each youth an ice cube, explaining that a grudge can leave you cold, just like this piece of ice. Have each of them hold the ice cube over their heads. Have them race to see who can melt their “grudge” the fastest, using only their hands. Great correlation include the bitter cold that the “grudge” leaves behind, the “tears” of water streaming down, and how hard it is to get rid of the grudge quickly. You can explain that like a hairdrier, Jesus can help you quickly melt those grudges and dry the “tears.”
TIP: If you have a linoleum or hardwood floor, be careful that you don’t collect too much water on the floors or people could slip when racing.

Related Scripture: Eph. 4:25-27, 31-3

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