Bible Study & Prayer

Burning Your Idols

Read the first commandment (Ex 20:3)
Read the account in Acts 19 where the people burned all the articles associated with the Devil.

Paper grocery bags, markers/crayons/whatever, lighter or matches and a safe place for fire.

Ask if anybody has ever seen an idol in person? Then why is this verse in the Bible? An idol is anything we worship instead of God. As this goes on, hand out paper grocery bags and markers. Have group make an Idol that represents what they are most tempted to place in front of God. Each can explain what their idol is about.

Provide an opportunity to burn their Idols if they are serious about keeping God first in front of these temptations.

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Canned Food Scavenger Hunt

Just before Thanksgiving we divide into small groups, about 5-6, and set them loose on the town with adult drivers. Each team has a list of canned food items that are needed in our church food pantry. Points are awarded according to the difficulty in finding certain items, for example, green beans are worth less than potted meat. This is a fun way for the students to help build up the food pantry which we give to those who come to the church asking for help. It is amazing how much canned food we have collected during these scavenger hunts.

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Cassette Tape Games

Everybody has a bunch of old cassette tapes from when you would record services on tape rather than CD. We took some of the 90 minutes sized ones and had 3 games.

First, we split up into teams and raced to see who could empty theirs the fastest by pulling out all the tape. It must be in one piece to win.

Next, with all the tape lying in the floor, we challenged kids to use cassette tape to pull a truck. Each group had ideas that worked but one way is best. If you take all the tape from a 90 minute cassette, cut into 6 ft lengths, braid and twist together, you will be able to pull a truck on level ground. Wrap and twist 3 strands, then take 3 twisted strands and wrap and twist them. Then take all those twisted wrapped strands and twist and braid them together. Loop the rope over a ball hitch and pull. “Make sure someone is in the drivers seat to put on the brakes in case someone falls or to keep the truck from crashing!”

Third, take a long unbroken tape and have kids make art sculpture on the wall with scotch tape… like connect the dots or make a cityscape.

Last you can teach on a number of different biblical themes. I taught on being surprised in seeing God move in our life in unexpected ways, the same as we were to imagine a thin cassette tape pulling a truck.

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Celebrity Bible Chair

A mix of Musical Chairs and Celebrity Head. Play the Musical Chairs game like you normaly would but with every person wearing a paper hat with a photocopy of celebrity’s face on it. You call them by their name (eg. Winnie the Pooh, Tiger Woods or Nicole Kidman). When the music stops, the person without the chair has to answer correctly a Bible question. Do a celebrity wild card every couple of questions where the person left standing has to answer a question about “themselves” instead (eg. What do you love eating Winnie?”) If he or she answers correctly then he or she gets to stay in the game. Keep on going untill there’s only one person left.

Meantime, if anyone drops their hat they are out. Winner gets 1 million points for their team. Bible questions will have multiple choice and be fairly easy. eg:
1. Who was the strongest man in the Bible?
a. Gideon b. Samson c. Goliath

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Choosing Good Friends

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

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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Christmas Investigation

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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Cleaning Up The Mess

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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Colored Snow

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!

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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