Illustrations

Anchored in Christ

Goal
Teach that only Christ is suitable for us to put our faith in

Items needed
a chair or stool
a bed sheet
string cut into four or five foot sections one for each student
index cards

Directions
Tie several pieces of string to the chair and the rest to the index cards. On the index cards write some things that people tend to put their faith in (money power it’s also a good idea to put your own name). Then label the chair “Christ” place the index cards on the seat and cover with the sheet with the strings leading out.

Have everyone gather around the chair and grab a string. Have everyone pull their string and discuss how all these things let us down but Christ never fails.

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Bearing Your Cross

Make a large cross (we used 6×6 beams) that’s about 5×7 or larger. Have youth try to carry it (or get a rope and drag it) individually, then have others join in. It will show the importance of ‘Bearing Your Cross’ with fellow Christians along the way.

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Carrying Around Sins

Materials needed: A couple of bookbags, and books

Have the youth walk around with an empty bookbag on their back; ask them to add a book for every sin they have committed. (lies, lust, sex, not praying, disobeying parents, not following the Laws of the Lord, etc…) The more books that are added, the harder it is to walk around.

Showing it gets harder and harder as we continue to walk around with our sins burdening us. Just let them go, confess them to God and let Him handle them.

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The Fool

(Salvation)

One day a king called his faithful court jester into the palace. ‘Little jester. I want you to take this wand and search the entire kingdom, and when you find someone more foolish than yourself, present to them this wand.’ The jester went on his way, and looked everywhere. He searched here, and there, every place he could find. As he returned, he noticed the king had taken ill. ‘Little jester, I am very sick, and will be going far, far away.’ ‘Have you prepared for your journey Sire?’ said the jester. ‘Why, no. I haven’t’ the king said. ‘Then Your Majesty, I must present to you this wand!’ Would the jester give YOU the wand?

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Knowing God’s Word

In the Marines they have an exercise that is called “The Bag.” In the Marines you are encouraged to name your rifle, the reasoning behind it is that you will never forget it, or forsake it, because it is your life line. “The Bag” is a simulation of night time problemsolving. A soldier has a bag placed over his head and he is told to take he weapon apart and then put it back together again. The reasoning behind this is that during a fire fight, if your gun gets jammed you can fix the problem with out using your eyes. The key is to know your weapon, every single part and how it works together.

2 Tim 2:15
15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

Heb 4:12
12 For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

We need to know the weapon that God has given us to do battle against the forces of darkness.

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Glittered Trash

This is an illustration to show that sin is sin no matter how glamorous it looks.

You need a big bag of trash and glitter. The trash illustrates sin. That sin is messy, smelly, just plain nasty, just like trash. But Satan comes along and tries to tells us that sin isn’t as bad as it looks. Just what he told Eve. Now sprinkle glitter on the trash. Explain this is what Satan does to sin. He make it look all fun and glittery. Then show that even though the trash has glitter on it it’s still trash. Just like sin. No matter how great it looks it’s still sin in the end.

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Blindfolded Initiative Task

First you blindfold all the youth and tell them they are no longer allowed to talk ‘or else’. Then you whisper a different number to each of them. The numbers can be any range, we threw some minus numbers in once, they don’t have to be consecutive, (ex. 1-2-3..), you could go -4 -3 -1 -1 0 2 4 4 7 8 9 13 17 40… and so on, depending on how hard you want it to be you can spread the numbers out, or make em’ close, with no negitive numbers.

Without talking or being able to see the kids have to put themselves in order from least to greatest. Some times this goes on for a long time and most kids give up and just sit down. At this point you can take off the blindfold of one of the kids who’s actually putting effort into it and let them have their sight, yet they still can’t talk.

Once they think they’ve completed it, go through the line asking them their numbers. Once they have successfully completed the task, have them sit down and ask them how it made them feel. You will get a range of answers like frustrated, or angry. Then you can do a little devo about how, it’s like how we are sometimes lost and we can’t see where we are going in life. And when people come along and try to pull us or push us different ways, and we are afraid to trust them, or we just want to give up when things get tough. Or sometimes we are holding on to something we think is safe and the right thing, but maybe God has a better place for us. It’s hard to let go. God is in control and He see us and is with us even though we don’t realize He’s there. You can go other ways with this too. It’s just an example of a debrief we used.

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Bean Activity

This is a pretty serious game that only work with large numbers of people (read: 50+). Everyone takes seven beans from a bucket of beans. Form a circle with all the people. Explain that the game is serious. Pick one person in the circle to start the game. That person (person A) puts their beans in their pocket, and then moves to the inside of the circle. They then face the person next to them (person B), and ask if the person has any medicine for them. If person B says, “Yes,” then they give them one of their beans. Otherwise, person B tells person A, “I have no medicine for you.” Person A then moves on to the next person in the circle (person C).
Once person A moves on to person D, person B follows them, asking person C if they have any medicine. As person A moves on, person B follows, then person C follows. The circle will double back on itself. Once person A reaches the end of the circle (the gap they left when they started) they put all the beans they collected aside, and pull out their seven beans. Those are the only seven that they may give away.
At the beginning of the game, people are more likely to give away beans, so the first people to go around the circle wind up with many beans. But by the end, some people will end up with no beans, because other gave them all away and had none to give them. The game should be quiet except for people asking, “Do you have any medicine for me?” so it may be helpful to have meditative music in the background. I will repeat that this is a serious game, and I have seen grown men crying at the end because they had no beans to give away to people who had none.
Once the game is over and everyone has had a chance to go around the circle, it may be helpful to debrief and talk about why people gave beans, or how it felt to tell someone they had nothing to give. It is even more poignant when the supply of beans is clearly visible, and even overflowing in the middle of the circle. This game asks more questions than it answers, about our generosity, about our arrogance (it’s not our job to save everyone; that’s God’s), about our foolish attempts at wisdom in deciding how to give our beans away. It may be helpful to split into small groups to discuss, or give time for people to deal with what the game meant to them.

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Library Mix

Use when discussing topics such as: creation, order from chaos, inspiration.

This game is a lot of fun, but can only be played where you have access to a lot of books, e.g. beside a home or church bookcase or library.

Get everyone to choose a book, including yourself. Select a passage e.g. page 18 line 4 or the first 4 words on page 23, and get everyone to read out their bit in turn. You get some amazing juxtapositions and it can keep a group going for ages.

Variation: if you can get a stack of poetry books (try jumble sales) you can synthesize some amazingly surreal poems – one line per person.

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God or Mammon?

This is a great way to introduce a discussion on Matthew 6:24. I used it in conjunction with a month long study on oppression, how people use money to oppress others and it is God’s desire His people not be oppressed. Why did Jesus specifically use money when pointing out one cannot serve two masters? Why didn’t He use alcohol, or any number of other things, even possessions in general?

You will need 2 pennies, 1 nickel, 2 dimes, 2 quarters, 4 dollar bills, 1 five dollar bill and 1 two dollar bill. Cut each clue into a strip, fold and have one youth draw. Have them read aloud the clue and let the group figure the answer out together. The person who drew the clue gets the coin or bill once the group figures it out. The fun is who gets the penny and who gets the five! You can make up new riddles if you want to add bigger bills or more bills depending on the size of your group. Now, can you guess which clue goes with which coin or bill? Have fun!

Considered one of our greatest presidents, this man shines on as the Great Emancipator.

Not once, but twice, this great American President appears, but alas you must add thrice to win this prize!

Carried on its back, the scene is set. Let us sign the great Declaration bringing our Independence from that oppressive agent Britain that twice taxed us without representation.

A fitting notation for our first president!

The Great Seal of the United States carries the motto Novus Ordo Seclorum: New Order of the Ages beneath a single Pyramid.

This smackeroo has an average life of 22 months according to the American Federal Reserve and makes up 45% of all US Currency circulation.

Thirteen appears all over this currency, but alas you must divide it by the same to get its equivalent.

My face in profile represents more in number than it does facing forward in paper.

Redesigned in the last century to accommodate all 50 states, my quantity is only half that much.

The longest sitting president am I; now etched in profile forever in silver.

The torch glows bright on my back with olive branch and oak at my side representing a tithe.

The only coin of my color, my back and front bear the same images as my paper friend.

My face on one side, my home on the other but count five coppers to get my grin!

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