Sometimes You Have To Get In The Dark To Get Out Of The Dark
Get blindfolds and anoint them as your youth comes in give them one and have them place it on their wrist, don’t tell them what it is or what it is for. When you get started have them go sit in a place away from someone else. After everyone has moved and they are sitting alone tell them to take it off of their wrist and place it around their eyes, make sure they can’t see. Have them to empty their minds and put their mind on God. It has to total quiet. Walk around the room to a few people and tell them things like “I am here”, “I am always with you”, and “You are never alone” after you have done that have the people that you told repeat what you have said. Let everyone know that God is always by their side we just have to take time and listen. Turn on some worship music and let the Lord have His way.
Sometimes in life people think they are to busy to worship God. You need to take time. Make Him your number ONE. When it comes time to worship don’t worry about what is going on around you, or what someone might think of you if you raise your hands. Worship the Lord. The whole purpose of the blindfolds is so that you will put your mind on God and give Him the praise and worship that He so deserves. Sometimes you have to get in the dark to get out of the dark.
May the Lord bless you always.
Pretty simple. We ran out of power to our house sound last Sunday night and had to think on our feet. Our worship leader and lead guitarist (both youth) just grabbed some candles and greatly polished silver trays to put them on. We blacked out everything and lit candles around Paul and Jennifer. The effect was awesome to say the least. There was NO amplification whatsoever. Straight acoustic worship. Taught me a great deal about the simplicity of worship. Just when we youth pastors think we have to have the greatest sound system with the latest color lights, all God really needs is two in His Name. Wow, what a concept.
Have you ever noticed people talk about some product they really believe in, or some movie they enjoyed, food they love, car they want or person they admire? They really talk it up sometimes, and you can hardly shut them up. But when it comes to talking about Jesus, the same people have very little to say. It is a sad situation that people can so easily praise the things of this world and have nothing enthusiastic to say about their savior! This experience is designed to help God’s children to be more able to “brag” about Jesus.
a) During the week, interview teens about their favourite rock group. Ask questions like: What makes this group so good? How do you feel about this group? What would you do to get tickets to see them in concert? What does their music do for you? etc. If possible record the interviews on tape or video. At the worship time play, or read their “praises” to the group. Explain that to praise is both telling God how good He is and letting others know how good He is.
b) Choose a short psalm of praise, or a portion of a longer one (8-10 verses). Distribute it to the group (photocopied) and do a reading in unison. Then sing a few songs of praise.
c) Now allow them to “boast in Christ” as Paul said our only boasting should be. Choose volunteers to stand and brag about how great Jesus is! (If people are reluctant, give them time to gain the courage or to think as you go into another song of praise. Try to create a spontaneous natural atmosphere. The same kind that exists when two boys are trying to claim that their favourite car is better than the others.
d) Close the worship with a challenge to praise Jesus, or to brag about him to their worldly friends.
e) A solo of praise, either written by someone in the group or chosen by someone in the group would be very fitting.
This was a devotion that proved to be great success.
Set up food and drinks (you can also add music to make the time even more festive). We had soda in plastic wine glasses (with lemon wedges) and finger foods.
Start your program about ten minutes after it is supposed to start. When it does start, block the door so that no one else can come in. Then welcome the youths who are there. Invite them to mingle, have fun, eat some food for the next 1000 seconds. During that time set up two groups of chairs – the groups must be facing each other.
Whenever someone comes late, they are told that they must stay outside. Even if they had been there before and had left to come back, they weren’t allowed in,(we had people trying to sneak in the backdoor). At the end of 1000 seconds (approx. 16 minutes), let those who are early sit on one group of chairs. Then lead those who were late to the other side.
Ask one of the early youths to read Matthew 25: 1 – 13.
Then ask one or two (or three) of the latecomers why they were late.
Ask one of the latecomers to read Luke 12: 35 to 40.
Then ask the early youth why they were early.
Afterward read Luke 14: 16 – 24.
We then asked a few of the youths to explain the purpose of the exercise.
We need to be ready for when Jesus comes. Which side do you want to be on when Jesus actually comes? In the Kingdom rejoicing? Or outside trying to get in? Don’t let any excuse keep you out of heaven.
The gospels record seven last statements that Jesus made on the cross. Each one has significance for believers today. Each one gives greater insight into the mind and the suffering of Christ. Begin the worship time with seven lit candles. Turn out the lights in the room and introduce the meaning of the worship time. Invite the worshippers to participate in the scene of the crucifixion. Have seven members of the group read the sayings at the appropriate times. The order could be:
1. Read the saying.
2. Lead a song that relates to that saying.
3. Have one person pray a short prayer.
4. Then blow out one of the candles. Have a time of praise in the dark when ALL the candles have been blown out.
Some of these ideas may have seemed so structured that they leave very little room for the Holy Spirit to interject. It is my hope that you would not use any idea that you have not already prayed over in His presence. Seek Him for ideas, that will lead the people into a greater awareness of who He is. There are many symbols of the Holy Spirit, dove, water, oil, wind, fire. There are as many facets to His personality; counsellor, advocate, baptizer, guide comforter, source of power. To base a worship time on the Holy Spirit you can highlight any of these symbols or any of these aspects of His personality or function. There are also nine fruit of the Spirit in Galatians and at least nine gifts of the Spirit in I Corinthians. Once again the possibilities are numerous:
a) Place a sign on the door of the room where you meet. “Welcome to the Upper Room. Please come in. Find a spot and begin praying ” (Chairs could be placed around the edges of the room. The lights could be dimmed, or curtains closed. You can have a praise tape playing. I found that some people are apprehensive about entering a room when people are praying, especially if they have arrived late. To avoid this problem, you can have one volunteer to act as an usher to make sure that no one remains outside the door until they think it is alright for them to enter the room.) You should be in the room praying. It helps sometimes if you are praying and praising out loud so that the others will not feel inhibited to do likewise. No one wants to draw attention to their prayers, so the more fervently you pray the more comfortable they will feel to seek the Lord.
b) When I did this I purposely had no set plan and chose to pray that the Lord would guide me. What ended up happening was that about seven members felt comfortable to enter the room. We all sought the Lord together, praying that the Holy Spirit would give us direction about how to reach out to the rest of the members of our group.
c)After praying separately for about fifteen minutes I called the group together and we united in a prayer huddle. Each person prayed about the burden on their heart in turn.
d) We joined hands and worshipped by singing praise songs without any music. The Spirit was leading each person to just sing out a new song and the others joined in.
e) The Holy Spirit came upon the group and everyone was praising God in an unknown tongue except those who were never baptized in the Holy Spirit. Some of the teens who had not spoken in tongues in months or years, began to do so.
f) I then counselled the group to find their own spot to pray again on their own. The room was almost quiet. Some teens were in tears. Some prayed in tongues. Everyone was praying with an unusual intensity.
g) I felt led to pray for those who had not received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. One of them did and began speaking in tongues. I also went to pray for the rest of the people in the room. I was helping bear the burden on their hearts.
h) After I had prayed for each person they each were feeling a sense of victory in prayer. We all began praising God. We gathered together in praise, and sang loudly with great joy. We composed ourselves somewhat and opened the door to invite all those waiting at the door to come in for the message. I allowed time for the ones who had been praying to testify to what God had done in their lives, sang a few songs and went into the message.
This will only take 10-15 minutes. Good for Sabbath school or retreats. Items needed: small 3″ x 5″ cards or pieces of paper, pens or pencils, and a jar or box representing a trash can. Hand out the pieces of paper and pens to the youth and ask everyone to write down at least one sin or worldly thing that takes them away from God. Could be anything that person thinks is a vice in their lives. (i.e. listening to rock music, watching too much T.V., or swearing)
Tell them that no one will ever see this piece of paper, but God will know what you have written. Tell them all to pray and ask that God give them the strength to let go of these sins.
Now tell them to shread the papers into the smallest possible pieces and then place these pieces of paper into the jar or box that will be passed around. After the container is filled take it up to the front and pray that God take these sins away for good and ask for God’s forgiveness. Before you pray, you can talk about how Paul had a sin that he called “a thorn in his flesh” found in 2 Corinthians 12:6-9. But, no matter how bad you think you are or how hard it might be to let that sin go, read that text, where verse 9 says, “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” Afterwards throw away the trash in to a real trash can so that no one will ever be able to see those sins again.
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.