Saturday, October 08, 2016

Middle School Youth Lesson - Samson & Luke Cage - Judges 13 - 16

Middle School Youth – Samson’s Strength and Being a Hero of Our Time

Start with Pizza Party.

Competitive Game

Ask each youth to blow up a balloon and then tie a string to it.  Next, have them tie the string to their ankle.  The goal of this game is for each youth to protect the balloon tied to his own ankle while trying to pop the balloon tied on the ankles of other youth. 

Team maker Game

Invite the youth to pair up.  Have the pairs sit back-to-back.  They have to stand up together without their hands or arms touching the floor.  Then have the youth get in groups of three and try this again.  Then four. Then five. See if you can get the whole group together to stand up as one.

Pop Culture Reference

TV Show: Luke Cage

“Everyone has a gun, no one has a father.” – Luke Cage

Luke Cage is an average guy who has done some time and is trying to find his way – except for one special gift – he is “immune to bullets.”

His skin is impenetrable.

Watch Luke Cage trailer on YouTube or Netflix.

Takes place in the streets of Harlem where turf wars are taking place.

In his world, we see that what is right and what is wrong isn’t always clear.  We see that sometimes the criminals sometimes do good moral things.  Sometimes the people who are good and moral do things they shouldn’t do.

Luke Cage has his superpower, but he still has to make choices about how he will live.  Which is very human!  He has come up with a moral code to guide him – he doesn’t curse or drink and he keeps an even temper.  But, he is loose when it comes to women – and he doesn’t hold himself in check when it comes to how he intimately connects with them. What are some of the things that guide your moral code?

Bible Story

Samson is the story of a man who was born with a purpose and a superhero power.  He was actually a lot like Luke Cage.  Let’s read his story.  See Judges 13-16

Mary Kate at Christianity Cove suggests the following selection of Scripture if not reading all of Judges 13 – 16:

Judges 13: 1-5
Judges 13: 24-25
Judges 14: 1-6
Judges 16: 4-6
Judges 16: 17-19
Judges 16: 20-22
Judges 16: 26-30

Discuss the Following:

What was Samson’s superhero power?

What was Samson’s moral code? (What is a Nazirite?  See Numbers 6:1-21)

What or Who distracted Samson from his purpose?

What was the result?

Did he still achieve his purpose?  Do you think it could have been achieved in a different way?

How are Samson and Luke Cage alike?

What are your superhero strengths?

What might be your purpose?

Application Activity

One student stands on chair – other youth gather around chair.  The student on chair tries to pull the other youth up onto the chair. Tell the youth on the floor to resist being pulled up on the chair. It should be difficult for the student to pull the other youth up.  Then reverse the situation such that the youth on the floor try to pull the student on the chair off the chair.  This time the student on the chair should try to resist being pulled off.  Pulling the student off the chair should be much easier than pulling the youth up onto the chair.  Talk about how it is easier to be pulled down in life then pulled up.  Then have the youth try the first part of this exercise again, except this time the youth on the floor desire to be pulled up onto the chair.  Discuss with the youth how this illustration tells us something about peer pressure and evangelism.  When we share our faith or encourage our peers to do what is right, they need to have some interest or desire in order to be pulled up.  Otherwise, their resistance might pull us down into the temptations of negative peer pressure.

Idea Time

As a group discuss desires for the youth ministry of the church.  Describe a perfect church youth gathering.  What would it look like?  What would we do?  What would we learn?  How would we serve?  How would we worship?  How often would we meet?  Who do you want to invite?  What should be our goal as a group?
Time of Prayer

As a group share praises and prayer requests and then have the youth pray for each other.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Infertility Rap

Wrote this a while back...

The Infertility Rap:

You think it is ‘bout baby lust –

You R partially wrong – it is much more –

Social circles, legacy, old age plan –

Who will take care of me,

Holidays and High School football games

& no excuse to see a Disney movie;

It’s ‘bout little girls playing w/dolls

Who never grow up to be called mom

& not having an answer when someone asks you ‘bout your kids,

Its broken dreams &

Love unseen &

Missing family photographs.

It’s about grief without a RIP,

Timed intimacy & meds;

Awkward questions, awkward answers,

Awkward moments – too bad!

You see infertility

Is about more than just

Not having a baby

It is reoccurring grief &

A future not conceived.

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

God is the one who creates Life - even in the midst of infertility medical care!

As my husband and I go through more intensive fertility care treatment, the reality that only God creates life becomes an ever more present reality. We can only work together with the medical team to create a more conducive environment for life to begin. The same can be said in other aspects of our lives.  The church, for example, can only create a more conducive environment for conversion and spiritual growth.  We can create an environment that acts as a stimulus for spiritual life, but only God can spark and grow that life!

Paul writes to the Corinthian church as captured in our Bible, "I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God's service; you are God's field, God's building." (1 Corinthians 3:6-9, NIV translation of Greek).