Going Deeper

Colored Snow

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This illustration is awesome if you have an area of untouched snow around you meeting place. I began the night by giving the youth ketchup and mustard bottles (the ones you can by for a dollar at the grocery store) filled with water and food colors. Then I allowed them to make “snow art.” I then gathered them together and wrote out the word sin in the snow with red food colored water. Then, I asked them to shout out sins that people commit against God. As they shouted out the sins, I marked the snow with a streak of red until the bottle was emptied and we were left with a red stained area in front of us. I then read from Isaiah 1:18-20 and told them about the saving Grace of God. To finish, I had them kick the white snow over the red stained area to make it white again. Every kick represented a sin or temptation in their own lives that Jesus has forgiven.

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Coloroom prayer!

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This activity takes about an hour to complete. It isn’t a brand new idea, but a salad of other ideas that I found really good. Thanks to those whose ideas I’ve incorporated =]

This is good especially for groups who have yet to grow a prayer culture/habit, those who are unaccustomed to praying for a longer period of time in one sitting.

Materials needed:
– candle
– lighter
– aluminum tray
– ball of yarn
– post-it pads
– lecture pad
– 2 pieces of colored paper (I used 4 colors; red, green, blue, yellow)

I used 4 rooms (because I used 4 colors). On the door of each room, I stuck one sheet of each colored paper to let the youths know which room is which color.
Inside each room, I stuck the other sheet of the corresponding color (blue to blue, red to red, etc.).
On the colored papers stuck inside the room, I wrote prayer instructions for the youths.

Divide the youths into groups by giving them each colored (corresponding to the colors you’ve chosen) post-its (so if you have 4 colors, have 4 groups). Get at least one leader to follow each group.
Tell them to go into the room that had their color (blue to blue, etc.) and there they’ll find instructions of what to do in that room. After they’ve finished doing whatever they’re to do in that room, move on to the next (rotating rooms, so each group would have gone through all 4 rooms in the end.)
Note that at all times, each room can only hold one group.
Tell them that at each room, each and every one of them will talk with God.

(red) “think of one sin that God has been convicting you of. Remember a sin is something you’ve done that displeased God (e.g. lying, disobeying your parents, being disrespectful). Also remember that a sin is also something you didn’t do, and because you didn’t do it, it displeased God (e.g. not being nice to someone who was simply different from you). Write that sin onto the post-it pad.
Now right a prayer to God with regards to that sin on that post-it pad onto the lecture sheet. Ask Him for strength, for courage, and for His blessings..”
When they’re done, the leader lights the candle and asks the youths to burn their post-it (with their written sin on it).
Tell them that they’ve taken a step to getting rid of their sin, to becoming more and more like Christ. But just because they’ve burnt it doesn’t mean it’s gone. And that’s why they’ve still got their written prayers on that lecture sheet. Every time they look at that prayer, they remember that they’ve given that sin to God; they’re no longer slaves to that sin!

(blue) “have one person start by holding onto the ball of yarn. Tell the group one thing you’ve learned about God from the bible study sessions they’ve had together. After doing so, that person holds onto the end of the yarn before tossing it to another person. They cycle continues until everyone has shared.”
What results is a yarn-web. The leader then explains to them that this is what holds them together as a group – their love for God. The fact that they’re there learning together about God. Fellowship.
Then taking turns, each person prays for the Group for the next year (e.g. we did this activity at the end of 2007, so we prayed for 2008).

(yellow) “read Psalm 8. Think about your life so far, going back as far as you can remember. Now think about a characteristic, a trait, a truth about God that is so evidently displayed in your life. Tell God about that. Thank God for that. Praise God for that.”
Again, taking turns, each person presents hisher own act of adoration, by taking time and thanking and praising God for who He is.

(green) “think about this year (for us it was 2007) that you’ve spent together as a Group. Think about the friendships they’ve made, the lessons they’ve learned, the time they’ve spent together in each others’ company. Thank God for those memorable times.”
Once more, each person presents his thanks to God.

After each group has finished all 4 stations, gather everyone together and close with a prayer.

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Coloured Snow – Variation

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This is for those of us who don’t have snow where we live.
This illustration is awesome if you have an area of sand (playground, beach) around you meeting place. I gathered them together and wrote out the word “sin” in the sand with red food colored water. Then, I asked them to shout out sins that people commit against God. As they shouted out the sins, I marked the sand with a streak of red until the bottle was emptied and we were left with a red stained area in front of us. I then read from Isaiah 1:18-20 and told them about the saving Grace of God. To finish, I had them kick the sand over the red stained area to make it white again. Every kick represented a sin or temptation in their own lives that Jesus has forgiven.

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Comic Strips & The Bible

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Give each student a comic strip which has the words in the conversation balloon removed (or paste balloons over the words). If you study a biblical passage, students are asked to rewrite the passage then write the new dialogue in the conversation balloons. If you discuss an ethical or moral question, the comic strip characters are used to suggest the student’s opinion about the subject. Discussion usually follows spontaneously from the use of this enjoyable medium.

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Complete Forgiveness

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Using a large bowl of water, talk to youth about how this represents their life. It represents sports they are involved in, time at school, time they spend hanging out with friends, things they say, movies they watch, etc. Then take a pepper shaker and tell the youth that this represents sin. As you sprinkle the pepper over the bowl of water, talk about how it represents that lie they told last week, they gossip they passed onto a friend, or the way they disobeyed their parents. Share with the youth about the power of God’s forgiveness and choosing to live for him. Using two sticks taped together like a cross, dip the end of the cross in dish washing liquid. Explain that the moment that we asked Christ for forgiveness and we ask him into our hearts, he immediately washes away that sin. When you dip the soapy end of the stick into the bowl of water, it immediately sends the pepper to the edges of bowl, representing Christ’s forgiveness of our sins! It is really cool!!

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Connect The Hearts

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I use this as the first cabin devotion when working at camp. It really shows the kids that we are connected for the week!

You will need a ball of yarn or string. Everyone must sit in a circle on the floor. Start with the person in charge, they will hold the yarn ball and tell everyone their name, age, where they live and something about themselves (you can have them tell different stuff that you feel important! I had myself and co-counsellor share our tetimonies) then when they are done sharing they throw the yarn to someone else but keep holding on to their part. Everyone shares and throws the yarn and holds onto their part of the yarn, then once everyone has gone and the last person is holding the yarn ball you all set down the string. I explained to my cabin that for the week we were together our hearts were conected and that our cabin devotions was a safe time and our cabin a safe place.

They were all free to share what they felt they needed to in the cabin and during devotions. I told them that no one was going to critisize anyone for what they felt or wanted to know and that they could always ask myself and my co-counsellor anything about GOD. They really were impacted with this connection that was illustrated and we had a lot of great devotions. I felt that our cabin was drawn closer through this object lesson about connecting hearts together.

(It also works to use duck tape and leave it on the floor all week. Just have the kids write their name on their spot. You can even sit the same way all week for devotions for a constant, silent impact.)

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Controlling Your Tongue

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This is to illustrate the importance of our words, how it’s important to watch what we say to others. The only thing you need is a cow tongue.
I asked the kids, “who here is smarter than a cow?” Of course they all raised their hands. I asked, “Have you ever heard a cow cuss? Backtalk their mom? Lie?” (no) Drop a big ol’ cow tongue on the table in front of them (yes, it’s embarrassing buying cow tongue and if you’re squeamish like me, horrid to touch). Point out how enormous this tongue is. And yet they have no trouble controlling it. Point out how small ours are in comparison, and yet we have a real task in watching what we say. You have to take it from here. I think you get the point!! I just talked about how the saying “sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me” is so very untrue. I stress that our words can hurt, but that they can also build someone up or give praise to God. Good discussion followed!

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Copy the Master (Imitators of Christ)

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Form one or more groups of 4 or 5 students. You can have as many groups as you’d like. Give each group a simple drawing (from a coloring book, clipart book, etc.) to re-create. Here’s the catch: only the first person in each group can try to copy the original. He/she can trace the original drawing, or just try to copy it freehand. Then, the next person in the group has to copy the first person’s drawing. The third person has to copy the second person’s drawing… and so on… By the time you get to the last person, the drawing looks completely different than the original.

The lesson is, we should be imitators of Christ, not of each other.

Another activity that illustrates this same point is “Chinese Telephone”. You get in a circle (at least 7 people). The leader whispers something into the ear of one person and that person whispers the same thing into the ear of the next person, and so on. When it gets to the last person, you’d be pretty surprised at what he/she thinks was said.

Another thing that illustrate this point or showing the students a 30 second commercial from a VHS tape. Then, show them the same commercial that was a copy of a copy of a copy of the original tape.

One last thing that illustrates this point is showing the students a picture. Then show them a photocopy of a photocopy of a photocopy of the original picture.

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Count Your Blessings

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A fun activity to remind us that we all have something for which we can be thankful to God!

Materials
1. A blank sheet of paper and something to write with for each person.
2. A timer

Activity
1. On your signal to begin, everyone should write down everything they are thankful for that can be described in two words or less.
2. Set a timer, for two minutes (or less) and tell them to begin.
3. When the timer goes off each youth must count how many items they have.
4. The person with the most items should read their list and if anyone else has those items on their list also, then everyone who has the items must cross them off the list. Only unique items remain.
5. The next person continues in the same way, calling out the items that remain on his/ her list. If the item is unique it remains. If someone else has the same item than all who have it cross the item off their lists.
6. Continue until everyone has gone, then each person must count up the unique items he or she has on the list.
7. Award a prize for the person with the highest number of unique answers.

Discussion
1. What was the most surprising thing that someone was thankful for?
2. How did creating your list affect you?
3. Did you have more or less items than you thought you would have?
4. How did it make you feel when you discovered that others felt blessed for the same things as you?
5. Of all the things on your list, which is most significant for you?

Scripture
Colossians 3:17

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Covered

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The discussion was opened up by asking the children how they felt about rainy days. Rainy days can be very troublesome. Our clothes get soaking wet, our hair gets wet, cars splash the water onto the sidewalk where we walk. Then we used an unmbrella, and even a raincoat or poncho can be added for demonstration purposes. If we have that umbrella with us, it is symbolic of God and his covering grace. No matter what kinds of storms we face in life, no matter what the trouble is, God covers us through them all. He will protect and keep us together.

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