Going Deeper

Crabgrass

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Object:
A bunch of weeds or better yet, a clump of crabgrass!

Discussion:
A man wrote to the department of agriculture to find out how to cope with the crabgrass that was spoiling his lawn. They gave him a number of suggestions, and he tried them all, but nothing worked. Finally, he was completely frustrated, and sought help again, informing them that every method they’d suggested had failed, and his yard was still filled with crabgrass. He got back a rather short reply which read, “We suggest you learn to love it.”

You can probably relate to that problem of crabgrass if you have ever tried to remove habitual sin in your life. You may feel you have tried everything and nothing works. Change eludes you! The sin remains and maybe even grows!

Unfortunately too often, in a our failures at living a life a purity, we give up and come to live with our sin and maybe even love it.

One of the key struggles in the Christian walk is dealing with the process of change as we struggle to live a life of purity. Lasting change never comes about without a change in attitude, a change in heart. When we hate sin as God hates sin, we will be committed to avoid sin and live a life of purity.

But we also have to realise that we can never change our sinful nature in our own strength. We must cry as David cried, “Create in me a clean heart, Oh God” (Psalm 51:10) and “renew a right spirit within me.”

When God creates a new heart in us, new actions will follow. Only through constant renewal in the Lord will the new actions remain and take root in your life.

* What are some of the areas of your life where sin seems to taking over your lawn?
* What are the attitudes about those sins that need to be changed before you can eliminate them from your life?
* Ask God, as David did, to create in you a clean heart, to change those attitudes to agree with His.
* Ask God to daily renew your heart and strengthen your spirit. Depend on him. Trust in Him. Trust in his strength.
* And when you fail, don’t give up. Confess ask God to renew a right spirit within you!

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Creation? Evolution? Puzzled?

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To demonstrate that the theory of evolution involves very little evidence and a lot of imagination, use this activity along with a teaching on evolution vs. creation.
Purchase one of more 60-100 piece puzzles with unusual animals or bizarre creatures. Tell the group that we are studying evolution and they will pretend to be archeologists digging for clues. Divide into teams of 2-3 kids and give each group about 3 puzzle pieces as clues. Choose these puzzle pieces carefully including things like teeth, claws, horns-things the kids can be creative with. Tell them that these are all the clues that have been dug up at their dig site so far and have them draw a picture of the creature that these clues came from. There’s a lot missing so they must be creative. If any of the groups are frustrated, you can give them a few more puzzle pieces. When they have drawn their creatures, show the whole group the pictures and the clues. Conclude with saying that very creative people have taken little bits and pieces of bones and teeth and have constructed false “Missing Links”. You can also show pictures of “Java Man”, “Peking Man” etc. and disclose the pieces of evidence that these discoveries were based on. “Unlocking the Mysteries of Creation” is a good source book for this.

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Creative Weekend Retreats

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Some interesting ideas:
1.) Times of silence (after an evening meeting for a couple of hours)
2.) Weekend of study: fellowship and everyone gets their homework done. Everyone brings homework, terms papers etc.
3.) Minority Weekend: Give group a glimpse of prejudice. Divide the group into 2 sub-groups. Each sub-group plays the role of a minority for half of the weekend.

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D.I.Y. Cinema

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Every once in a while it is worth splashing out on your youth group and a good way to do it is to provide a free cinema in the church. Pick a comfortable sized room and deck the floor with bean bags and large cushions. Set up a projector screen at one end and black out any windows. Hire a video projector (not really that expensive) and have someone on hand to provide coffee, tea, soft drinks, popcorn and nachos (all for FREE). Start the evening with a few simple icebreaker type games, then get the group to vote on a selection of films (rented in advance) and show the one they choose. I would recommend that you keep away from showing any overt Christian content – any unchurched friends the group brings along will benefit from seeing that Christians are people who are also capable of just having fun once in a while. The youth group itself will enjoy having the leaders serve them all evening (i.e. as ushers, serving food, etc.).

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Dart Test

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Dart Test

A young lady named Sally, relates an experience she had in a seminary class, given by her teacher, Dr. Smith. She says Dr. Smith was known for his elaborate object lessons. One particular day, Sally walked into the seminary and knew they were in for a fun day. On the wall was a big target and on a nearby table were many darts. Dr. Smith told the students to draw a picture of someone that they disliked or someone who had made them angry, and he would allow them to throw darts at the person’s picture. Sally’s girlfriend drew a picture of a girl who had stolen her boyfriend. Another friend drew a picture of his little brother. Sally drew a picture of a former friend, putting a great deal of detail into her drawing, even drawing pimples on the face. Sally was pleased with the overall effect she had achieved. The class lined up and began throwing darts. Some of the students threw their darts with such force that their targets were ripping apart. Sally looked forward to her turn, and was filled with disappointment when Dr. Smith, because of time limits, asked the students to return to their seats. As Sally sat thinking about how angry she was because she didn’t have a chance to throw any darts at her target, Dr. Smith began removing the target from the wall. Underneath the Target was a picture of Jesus. A hush fell over the room as each student viewed the mangled picture of Jesus; holes and jagged marks covered His face and His eyes were pierced. Dr. Smith said only these words… “In as much as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto Me.” Matthew 25:40. No other words were necessary; the tear filled eyes of the students focused only on the picture of Christ.

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David And Goliath (Summer)

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We started out our lesson with the story of David and Goliath read from the Bible. With, of course, some explanation for the younger crowd. Then we proceeded to go outside and utilize a water balloon launcher which I made from surgical tubing and a funnel to launch balloons at a small dot on a pole that was about 9 feet high. Explaining to the kids that without out God’s help (like the help David had) it is impossible to hit it on the first time. The kids had a blast and learned a lesson.

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Death Comes Calling

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This idea is actually from the pastor of the church I work for, named Jürgen Schmidt.

Hand out three small strips of paper (equal length) to each of the youth. Then have them write one person or thing that is the most important to them on each piece of paper(they can come up with anything – Mom, house, computer, friends – as long as it is physical in nature. No writing of God or Jesus, for example.).

Then they must hold all 3 pieces of paper in their hands like holding a deck of playing cards. The MC explains that the youth workers represent death and death is going to come and take away one of their pieces of paper randomly. Have the workers do so. Then ask the youth what they lost.

They will probably expect the exercise to be over, but then say that death keeps on coming back. Have the workers take a second of their pieces of paper. Ask what they still have left. Of course, the youth will be clinging on to their last piece of paper very tightly. It is at this point that you have death come around a last time and take what’s left from them.

The youth will have a range of emotions following this. The MC should then explain that that is what happens in life. Death eventually takes all, including our own lives. This can lead into a great discussion. But do make sure to end off with explaining how Christ’s resurrection conquered death giving us access to eternal life after death. And God’s future kingdom will eliminate death completely. Encourage them with this good news and encourage them to share it with others.

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Deceiving Appearances

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Take a chocolate bunny that is hollow and drill a small hole in the bottom of it. Then covered the inside with barbecue sauce and melt some more chocolate to spread back over the hole as if it never was there. Then have a volunteer come up and eat the chocolate. They will be in for a big suprise. Finish the lesson by showing them that things in life aren’t always as good as they appear.

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Devil’s Advocate

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Here’s something I sprung on the kids when I wanted them to take a serious look at how they live their lives in today’s society. I had them to pretend to be the Devil’s servants. They would each have to come up with what they think the Devil would want in 5 different areas:
1) how people view Jesus
2) how people view Christians
3) how people view the Bible
4) how people view evil
5) how people view goodness
(Of course, the areas you would want to deal with can be anything you think the kids would respond to best.) After that, I have the kids think of strategies to accomplish the Devil’s goals for each area. Let the kids be creative here. Then as a follow-up, do the same activity with God as the focus.

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Dig It!

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Utilizing Luke 8:1-15, illustrate the parable of the sower and the seeds. Start the lesson by giving each youth some real seeds. You may allow 1 or 2 to have a shovel or set of posthole diggers. Lead the group outside and tell about the first spot the sower sowed seeds. Then on a solid pathway (sidewalk, etc.). let a digger attempt to dig a hole and ask 2-3 youth to plant their seeds. Ask youth what will probably happen to the seeds. Explain this as the Bible explains and that the seed represents the Word of God. “The question today is, is your heart like this soil?” Move to a rocky area and repeat the process, then to a weedy area, then to a fertile area still repeating the process of actions. At the end, ask all to bow for prayer and for God to reveal to them the type of soil they really are. Most youth seem to be in the weedy soil, where the worries of this world choke them out. May close in popcorn prayer if desired.

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