Bible Study & Prayer

Here’s Mud In Yer Eye

I was sitting at my computer a few weeks ago, trying to come up with a new idea for the tenth grade class that I teach at my church. God blessed me with the following idea. I don’t know if it’s ever been done but I know I’ve never heard of it before. Here goes: Rather than make this an outdoor event and subject to parental objection, I trimmed it down to a more subdued indoor event, however, it would be great as a more involved outdoor event also.

Prior to class, I mixed up some mud, medium/thin in texture and carried it to class in a sealed plastic container. At some point during class, I selected (Use your own means of selection) four students (2 girls and 2 boys) to participate. They were allowed to take turns spreading mud on each others faces. Everyone had fun, including the bystanders. After this was done, I quickly diverted their attention to something else. It could be anything, another lesson, a Christian song, or whatever. After a while, the mud begins to dry and crack and finally, after the various diversions, I said, “and now back to the mud.” You might ask if anyone can guess what it’s all about.

The points I made were as follows (there are probably several other possible points that could be made): Playing in the mud represents when we sin, that is, it was fun and silly and we were having a great time, but, when we were through, the mud began to dry and crack and really feel uncomfortable. The brief moment of fun wasn’t worth the prolonged discomfort of the drying mud. Of course when we sin, it is only by the Blood of Jesus that we are cleansed. Finally, let them go wash off “the sin.” (Of the four students, three of them were visibly uncomfortable while one of the boys seemed to be ashamed and kept his head hung low. It really was like sin) Anyway, modify it as you like, I hope you like it and feel blessed by it.

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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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Zerubbabel’s Troubles

Maybe its just me but I seem to hear a lot of camp speakers telling kids to dream big dreams, GOD SIZED DREAMS, but they sometimes miss the fact even huge visions have humble beginnings that require the work of the Holy Spirit.

So in a world where bigger is better, and business says go big or go home it is sobering to return to the story of the rebuilding of the temple. Sure it wasn’t Solomon’s temple, and people whined for the old days, but it was God’s plan and God’s Spirit that directed the project.

As you do this Bible Study have kids list great things that they would love to see God do in the world. Maybe even follow up on some of the big dreams they have be challenged to dream. List them and leave them on the board, white board, or power point screen.

Then read this scripture from the message from Zechariah 4 (you might want to provide some brief background on the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple)

Then he said, 6″This is GOD’s Message to Zerubbabel: “You can’t force these things. They only come about through my Spirit,’ says GOD-of-the-Angel-Armies. 7″So, big mountain, who do you think you are? Next to Zerubbabel you’re nothing but a molehill. He’ll proceed to set the Cornerstone in place, accompanied by cheers: Yes! Yes! Do it!'”

8 After that, the Word of GOD came to me: 9″Zerubbabel started rebuilding this Temple and he will complete it. That will be your confirmation that GOD-of-the-Angel-Armies sent me to you. 10Does anyone dare despise this day of small beginnings? They’ll change their tune when they see Zerubbabel setting the last stone in place!”

The Day of small beginnings
Share with the group something along the lines of … God has given us some big ideas but we have no right to despise the little things that God wants us to do. God’s greatest feats have begun very small and then they grow very large..

You may want to do a bit of an object lesson here with seeds of different sizes, a penny, and/or a grain of rice. (you could tell the story of the peasant who asked the emperor for a small gift. All he asked was that the emperor would double the rice on each square of a chess board until it reached the last square. The Emperor could not grant the request because by the time it reached the last square it would require all of the rice in china)

Have student suggest other things that start small but become very large, like a human embryo, or a virus epidemic.

Zerubbabel’s trouble was that as he lay the corner stone there were probably those standing around saying –It won’t amount too much –You need to go big or go home..

God had another plan– from these humble beginnings God would rebuild the temple as a sign that he would revive his people.

Faithful in Little Faithful in Much
When the first three students in Texas met at their flag pole to pray they had no clue that it would grow into an international movement called See You at the Pole. They just met to pray because someone had to do it.

With all of this talk of grandiose dreams we cannot sit and wait for our ship to come in. Instad like the setting of the first stone in that temple we need to begin with the basics of our Christian life –the foundaion for all future success. If we try to walk before we can run we fall flat on our face.

EGAD! Ideas began as a college assignment and grew into one of the most popular youth sites on the internet.

The Bible study can end with a challenge, possibly have students plant their dreams somewhere on the church property. Not allowing them to die, but sewing them in faith. Have students share what foundational things they will need to plant in their lives to build the kind of foundation that will support a future of service to Christ

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Weekly Bible Challenge

This idea started when the Bible lesson was the great commission from Matthew. The verse said Jesus and the eleven disciples went up the mountain. I asked them if anyone knew why there were only 11 not 12. No one knew. So I told them if they found the answer I would give them a candy bar.
The next week I had a different question.
Surprisingly, they enjoyed finding answers. In fact, one week I didn’t have one and they were disappointed. I think this is a good way to get them to open their Bible and become familiar with the stories and people.

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Sin Burial

Have the kids write down a sin, problem or something preventing them from being close to God. Have a “funeral procession” to a prearranged site, dig a grave (complete with a marker) and have the kids toss their “sins” into the grave with a prayer of commitment. Cover the grave and the marker can remain as a permanent reminder of this commitment.
*** Be sensitive to the youth. If there has been a recent death in the church or the life of a teen it’s obviously better suited for another time.

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Our Biblical Hair-itage

Form 2 or more groups. Give each group some mousse, hair spray, a hair dryer, towel, brush, comb, and Bible. This works well on retreats since most kids already have these items with them. On newsprint, write the list of the Bible passages listed below. Have groups choose a passage, read and then decide on a hairstyle to represent it. Let them go to it! Videotaping is a good idea.
After the fun and games discuss the Bible passages by answering these questions:
“What happened in the story or verse?”
“What’s God’s message?”
“How can we apply that message to our lives today?”
Gen 11:1-9 (Tower of Babel) Ex3:1-12 (the Burning Bush) Ex 14:19-29 (the parting of the Red Sea) Judges 16:4-20 (Samson’s haircut) Song of Solomon 4:1 (Your hair is like a flock of goats) Mark 10:13-16 (Jesus blesses the little children) John 15:5 (I am the vine, you are the branches) Acts 27 (Paul is shipwrecked).

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T.A.W.G. – Time Alone With God

T.A.W.G. Time. Time alone with God. When all of the youth gather in the morning at a retreat or for their meeting the leader reads a Bible verse, poem, short devotion, etc. The group then disperses to go off alone. This is their time to meditate and concentrate on God’s word and their committment to Him. This worked really well at the camp I work at. The kids got a lot out of it!

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Balloon Confessions

This illustration has a double purpose to it. You will need a balloon, filled with helium (so it can rise into the air), and markers. Give each of the youth their own balloon and a marker, and have them write one sin on that balloon. Then have them write on the balloon something to the effect of “Lord, please forgive me/take this sin…” You then have all the youth release their “sins” up towards heaven. Someday when that balloon comes back to earth, whether it be whole or blown up, maybe it might land in someone’s back yard, and that is a way to maybe reach out to someone, or make them curious. I hope you enjoy this idea, and maybe the message will reach someone, and give them new hope.

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Amazing Mobsters Lesson

The Mobster game is super! while we played it, I came up with the idea of blending in a lesson. The townspeople put 5 people on trial as accused mobsters, they got 2 out the 5 right. We talked about false accusations based on assumptions instead of proof, and how we do that in real life by the way a person looks or acts. We had 3 falsely accused people, which means we had 3 mobsters in the townspeople group that were “hiding” their “sins” or trying to blend in to accuse others so they would not get found out. It really made the group do some soul searching, and was great fun for all.

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Persecution Month

Each week for a month talk about persecution. Meet in the basements of different homes and only tell the youth what street you are on each time. Make a fish (><>) lawn ornament to stick in the lawn each week and they have to look for that to know which house you’re in.

The first week gather and talk about persecution in the early church and where the fish symbol came from.

Second week make them take off anything they are wearing that identifies them as Christians (our host gave us t-shirts to use if needed) as they come in the door. All our scripture was on pages torn out of a Bible. Talk about the persecution that is going on right now in foreign countries.

The third week start the meeting with a short intro about something (we used announcements) and have several big guys in riot gear come storming in, break up the meeting, and forcibly remove the leaders. Give the youth some time in the basement to think and talk on their own before bringing them all upstairs to talk about what we would do if this were reality here in America.

The fourth week, meet together at your usual meeting place and write letters to Christians in persecuted countries. You can get addresses from Voice of the Martyrs.

We had great success with this and really had the youth thinking about persecution and whether they were willing to die, or worse yet be tortured, for their faith for months after!

Next time I want to try and get the whole group hauled down to the station and put in a jail cell to finish out the lesson on the 3rd week.

Be creative, it makes a lifetime impact!

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