Friday, November 30, 2012

2013 GCY-JWoP - Day 6 - Agents of Justice and Beauty (7/9)

Junior/Teen Study Guide

Day 6 - Agents of Justice and Beauty

“Welcome to the Change Agents Group meeting once again,” Mr. Malku said. “Did you get a chance to be a friendship evangelist, this week?”

“Yes,” Melissa said. “A little girl got knocked over by a big kid and I was able to help her up and stay with her while the nurse looked after her bumps and scratches.”

“I helped an old lady,” said Stephen, “with her shopping. She was pushing a cart full of bags to her car. I asked if I could load them into her car and take the cart back for her. She was very grateful.”

“Good work,” Mr. Malku said. “What about disciple making? Did you guys get a chance to do any of that?”

“Sort of,” Nic said. “There were two guys about to fight in a basketball game. I stepped between them and told them God had better plans for both of them. They laughed, but it worked. They stopped fighting!”

“That’s classic,” Drake said. “Did you have a whole sermon ready if they wanted one?”

“Only the sermon I preach by the way I play now,” Nic said. “I get lots of complements about no longer getting violent. Everybody has noticed.”

“That’s great,” Mr. Malku said. “I’m proud of you for adjusting your behavior. What about teaching what Jesus taught? Did anybody get a chance to do that?”

“I did,” Shane said. “I have a friend who is very interested in Christianity. I talked to him a few times this week.”

“You sure he’s not just being quiet, hoping you’ll go away?” Drake said. “Like a lizard that sits really still, hoping nobody sees it.”

“Very funny, Drake,” Shane said. “You know John. We talk all the time. He’s not pretending.”

“Fair enough,” Drake said, smiling. Then he flicked his tongue in and out and darted his eyes from left to right.

Everyone laughed.

“Well,” Mr. Malku said, “it sounds like last week’s lesson has taken root in us. Let’s keep making disciples, teaching what Jesus taught and leading people to baptism!”

“Our opening question tonight is have you had something happen that changed the way you see life?”

The room was silent for a few moments as the group thought about the question.

“Earlier this year,” Liam said, “I went on a fly-and-build to a third-world country. At first it was like a holiday. Then I noticed how different life was for the people there. When a little boy asked me for my shoes, and I realized he wasn’t barefoot by choice, it really got to me. Life is hard for most of the world. That changed the way I saw everything when I got home. We have so much. We should be thankful. And we should share.”

“That’s a powerful story,” Mr. Malku said. “Anyone else with a story to share? A life changing moment?”

“When my mom left,” Stephen said. “It was really hard. My dad said it wasn’t my fault, but it took me a long time to believe that. I was sad for a year. Everything was in a haze all the time. Then, one day, I kind of stepped out of the haze. I still miss Mom, but I have lots of things to be thankful for—like you guys!”

“Thanks, Stephen,” Mr. Malku said. “That’s tough stuff. I’m glad we are able to be part of your life. Anyone else have a worldview changing event to share?”

“When I was an only child,” Drake said slowly, “Life was so good. Then, I had to share everything. That was hard.”

Everyone snickered as Shane shook his head. “Seven minutes, Drake,” Shane said, “I seriously don’t think you remember anything from the first seven minutes of your life!”

“You even stole that from me,” Drake said sadly, “My only good moments, gone!” Then Drake laughed. “Oh, I guess you’re not that bad. Hey, is that my shirt you’re wearing!?!”

The room filled with laughter again.

Through the sounds of merriment came a familiar voice, “Dinner is served!”

“And the Kingdom is growing!” The group shouted as they hurried to the table.

“Who wants to bless the food?” Mr. Malku asked.

“I will,” Chloe said. “Dear Jesus, thank you for this yummy food. And thank you for my mom who cooks so good! Amen!”


Mr. Malku allowed the group to enjoy their food for a few minutes and then asked, “How does our worldview shape the way we see and do things?”

“What is a worldview?” Chloe asked.

“Uh, maybe the way we see the world,” Nic teased. “Just like it sounds - World! View!”

“Not fair, Nic. We all learn new things every day.” Mr. Malku said. “Chloe’s ahead of you now.”

“Hey!” Nic said. “That’s not fair! Quick, teach me something.”

“But it has to be something I already know,” Chloe said. “Or else I’ll learn it too and stay in the lead!”

Everyone laughed. Mr. Malku said, “That’s how worldviews work. As we learn things about life, knowledge, religion, other countries – our worldview changes.”

So a worldview,” Shane said, “is the filter we see the world through. The filters change like filters on a camera. Everything we see is shaded by whatever worldview we have.”

“That’s a very good illustration, Shane,” Mr. Malku said. “How do the cross and the resurrection of Jesus change your worldview?”

“Wow,” Stephen said. “It made a big difference for me. It was like the clouds parting to let the sun shine through on a dark stormy day.”

“Why did it make that big of a difference?” Drake said, “You still had the same house, the same clothes, the same school. What was so different?”

“It must be hard for the rest of you,” Stephen said. “You haven’t lived in the dark. You’ve always had the Jesus story shining in your life. Before you showed me Jesus, I felt like there was no purpose or hope in life.”

“I think you’re right,” Shane said. “I just don’t get it the way you do.”

“You remember the sermon, two Sabbath’s ago, when I came to church with you?” Stephen said. “Your dad told the story of that guy who ran away from home with his inheritance.”

“The Prodigal Son,” Drake said.

“Yeah,” Stephen said, “It’s like the story of the prodigal son, only if you didn’t know the father and home even existed. You’re just stuck out there thinking there is nothing better to hope for or to do with your life.”

“That would be a sad place,” Liam said. “Is that really what it was like for you?”

“Pretty much,” Stephen said. “And now I feel like I’m walking home. And it feels good. Sometimes I even feel like running just to get there faster!”

“Thanks for sharing, Stephen,” Mr. Malku said. “Once we grasp the new worldview the cross and the resurrection give us, God starts layering the filters. Let’s look at one together in Psalm 146.”

Group Discussion Time

Read Psalm 146.
God wants to hear the world sing verses 1 and 2. How does the rest of this Psalm make the song possible?
What does God want to see on earth?
What word would you use to label God’s desired “worldview” in this passage?
What impact could God’s people have on the world today if living this worldview?
How can we live verses 7-9?
As believers in Jesus, desiring the salvation of others, how can we bring justice to others before the Judge arrives?

Story Conclusion

“So justice is very important,” Mr. Malku said. “God wants us to bring justice—looking after the broken people—in the world.”

“We can also bring justice to the planet,” Drake said, “by caring for the beauty of nature. Like we said last week.”

“Very true, Drake,” Mr. Malku said. “I think you may have found your calling in life. You seem very passionate about making things right in Creation.”

“I’ve been thinking about it a lot,” Drake said. “I’m going to focus on Earth Sciences at school.”

“That is a great idea,” Mr. Malku said, “You know the first chapter of the Bible is all about how careful God was in His creative work? After each day of Creation He saw what He made and said it was “good.” After the creation of Adam on day six, He said it was “very good.”  

“He created everything slowly,” Chloe said.

“One week to create the entire planet!” Nic laughed, “That doesn’t sound slow to me.”

Stephen asked, “Couldn’t he have just said, ‘let there be a planet for my people’ and it would have appeared fully formed?”

“I guess so,” Nic said.

“Then giving a full day to each part of Creation,” Stephen said, “clearly shows He wanted to experience it in detail, because He loved it.”

“And He wants us to love and care for Creation, as well,” Drake said, “by making it beautiful!”

“Good thinking, boys,” Mr. Malku said. “So, Change Agents, over the next week, let’s see what we can do to be agents for justice and beauty in the world.”

“We will,” the group said.

“Alright,” Mr. Malku said. “Until next week, what are we?”

The group spoke as one, “We’re Change Agents!”

“And why are we Change Agents?”

“Because we’re changing the world for Jesus Christ!”

“Very good!” Mr. Malku said, “I’ll see you back here next week. Let’s pray. Any volunteers?”

“I’ll pray,” Nic said. “Dear Jesus, help us make a change in our world this week. Help us to create justice and beauty in the world around us. Amen.”

Want to read the rest of this series?
The rest can be found here.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

2013 GCY-JWoP - Day 5 - The Greater Commission (6/9)

Junior/Teen Study Guide

Day 5 - The Greater Commission

“Good evening,” Mr. Malku said. “Welcome to another Change Agents Group meeting. How was your week?”

“It was awesome,” Stephen said. “Building the birdhouses was fun!’

“That was a great idea, Drake,” Mr. Malku said. “Did you each get a chance to hang your birdhouse somewhere?”

Each of the group members nodded. “I put mine behind the church,” Drake said, “in the trees next to the parking area. My dad said it was ok.”

“Very good,” Mr. Malku said. “I hope the rest of you all asked permission.”

Again everyone nodded.

“Other than the birdhouses,” Mr. Malku said, “How did you guys reveal the children of God to Creation?”

“Melissa and I,” Chloe said, “planted some flower seeds around all the trees at school. Next Spring they are going to surprise everyone!”

“That’s a great example,” Mr. Malku said. “Good job, girls!”

Mrs. Malku’s voice sang from the kitchen, “Dinner is served!”

“And the Kingdom is growing!” The group yelled as they flocked to the table.

After prayer and a few bites of food, Mr. Malku asked, “Who has been challenged to conquer a fear?”

“What kind of fear?” Nic asked.

“Something you thought you couldn’t do,” Mr. Malku said.

“When I was a kid,” Drake said, “I always wanted to be a rock climber. But I was afraid of heights.”

“You’re a great rock climber!” Nic said, “How did you do it?”

“I started with small climbs,” Drake said. “And my coach taught me to trust the ropes by hanging on them and doing practice falls.”

“Wow,” Mr. Malku said. “That’s great. Anyone else conquered a fear?”

“I used to be scared of old people,” Stephen said.

Everyone giggled. “It’s true,” he continued. “When I’d see them in the shops, I would run and hide.”

“How did you overcome it?” Chloe asked.

“Yeah,” Nic said, “You seem to handle my dad just fine!”

A roar of laughter went around the table as Mr. Malku threw his hands up and said, “Hey, thanks a lot!”

“My dad started taking me to visit my grandpa,” Stephen said. “He lived in an old-folks home. I played games with my grandpa and he told me stories. After a few weeks I realized all old people were somebody else’s grandpa or grandma. And that fixed it.”

“Very good,” Mr. Malku said. “Jesus gave His disciples a challenge that must have seemed impossible to them. Tonight we’re going to talk about that challenge because it has been given to us as well.”

“Because we are disciples too,” Chloe said.

“That’s right,” Mr. Malku said. “Does anyone know what the challenge Jesus gave to His disciples is called?”

“The Great Commission,” Liam said. “He said it right before He went up to heaven.”

“Excellent memory!” Mr. Malku said. “Let’s have a look at the Great Commission and the first commission Jesus gave the disciples as He was training them.”

“He gave them two?” Shane asked.

“He sure did,” Mr. Malku said. “Let’s clear the table and head back into the lounge room. Then we can explore both of them.”

Group Interaction Time

Read Matthew 28:18-20. 
At the beginning and end, when Jesus mentions Himself, what does He promise?

What do these two promises (before and after the great commission!) do for your faith?

How should these three verses impact our boldness in living and speaking like Jesus? 
When Jesus said, “teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you,” what commands was He talking about?

Read Matthew 10:5-8. 
Jesus sent His disciples to those who knew God first. What words did He tell them to say? 
What acts did He tell them to do? How have you seen your church—both local and global—demonstrating these words and deeds? 
How could we live these deeds and speak these words in our everyday lives?

Story Conclusion

“So long before He gave them the Great Commission,” Liam said, “Jesus taught them how to do miracles?”

“Looks that way,” Mr. Malku said. “And He promised we will do even greater things!”

“That’s insane,” Nic said. “Can you imagine if we were walking around healing the sick and raising the dead? We’d be on the news every night!”

“Maybe that’s why Jesus said He would be back soon,” Shane said.

“Yeah,” Melissa said, “because if the disciples kept doing miracles like that after He left, the whole world would have known really fast!”

“So what happened?” Mr. Malku asked, “Why didn’t their evangelism change the whole world in a generation?”

“Evangelism?” Drake said. “Evangelism is preaching. Not doing miracles. I know, I’ve sat through my share of evangelism.”

“Is that what happened?” Liam asked. “Did evangelism change from deeds to words?”

“Fairly quickly,” Shane said. “Quick enough that the Good News of Jesus’ miraculous resurrection from the dead didn’t make it all the way around the world before the disciples died.”

“But they made more disciples,” Mr. Malku said, “just as Jesus told them to do.”

“I guess so,” Nic said. “Or there would be no church at all now.”

“True,” Mr. Malku said. “And I don’t think we should be so hard on the disciples. They did their best. Jesus knew it was going to be a long job. That’s why He taught them to make more disciples.”

“We’re disciples,” Chloe said, “because we do things for Jesus in our Change Agents Group and at church.”

“We sure are,” Mr. Malku said. “And how are we participating in the Great Commission Jesus gave? Are we making disciples, teaching what Jesus taught and baptizing those who believe?”

“I’ve been baptized,” Nic said. “So have lots of us.”

“I’m thinking about it,” Stephen said. “Because I do believe in Jesus and want to be part of His Kingdom.”

“That’s awesome!” Nic said. The rest of the group clapped and cheered for Stephen.

Stephen looked at Mr. Malku and said, “Mr. Malku, you’re a disciple maker, aren’t you? I mean, I wouldn’t be making this decision if you weren’t running Change Agents for us. So you’re making disciples, just like Jesus said.”

“That’s kind of you to say, Stephen.” Mr. Malku smiled, “I believe God wants me to disciple my children. That’s why we started this group. It allows Liam, Nicholas, and Chloe to be part of something faith-filled that involves them at their level. I’m glad all the rest of you keep coming back!”

“Well, I love it!” Melissa said. “And you’re my disciple maker, too!”

Everyone laughed.

“What about the other part of the commission,” Mr. Malku asked. “How are we practicing and teaching what Jesus practiced and taught?”

“By making a difference in the world,” Stephen said. “Just like Jesus made a difference.”

“And we talk to people who we help,” Chloe said. “When people get hurt and we care for them, they want to know why we care. So we tell them.”

“We tell them,” Melissa continued Chloe’s thought, “That we love them because Jesus loves them. And we want them to be well because Jesus wants them to be well.”

“This all sounds like a perfect utopia,” Drake said. “But it’s just not reality. Friendship evangelism doesn’t work. Even if we were being nice to everybody every day, what difference would it make really? Is the world a better place? I don’t think so.”

Mr. Malku said, “Drake, is there any way to win a soccer match in the first minute of the game?”

Drake looked completely confused. “Soccer match?” He said, “Um, no, you’ve gotta play the whole game to win.”

“Is it possible to win in the last minute,” Mr. Malku continued, “if your team hasn’t been trying until then?”

“Well, no,” Drake said. “The other team would be way ahead.”

“The winning team,” Mr. Malku said, “plays their best for the entire game. Right?”

“Yes,” Drake said. “But, I don’t see what this has to do with evangelism.”

“If soccer players know that every pass, every block, every shot, every goal is part of the win,” Mr. Malku said. “Then...”

“We should know it too,” Drake said with a smile. “Christianity is like a soccer game. Nice one, Mr. Malku.”

Mr. Malku smiled back, “What is the ‘win’ for us as Christians?”

“Heaven!” Chloe and Melissa sang together.

“Alone?” Mr. Malku asked.

“NO!” Everyone said.

“Who wins the soccer match?” Mr. Malku was looking directly at Drake.

“The team who played best,” Drake said.

“The entire team,” Mr. Malku said, “who played best. We are in this together! Bringing the Kingdom of God to the world, one play at a time! That’s evangelism.”

“That makes sense,” Drake said. “I guess.”

“We often think the goal shots are the most important,” Mr. Malku said. “Not so. Every play of the game makes the win. So the Great Commission is actually a series of acts of service with salvation as the end goal.”

“That’s really cool,” Shane said.

“Alright,” Mr. Malku said. “Until next week, what are we?”

The group said, “We’re Change Agents!”

“And why are we Change Agents?”

“Because we’re changing the world for Jesus Christ!”

“Very good!” Mr. Malku said, “I’ll see you back here next week and I hope to see you all at Sabbath school as well. Who wants to pray?”

“I’ll give it a shot,” Drake said. “Dear Jesus, help us play the game well this week. We want to bring your Kingdom to every person we can. Amen.”

Want to read the rest of this series?
The rest can be found here.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

2013 GCY-JWoP - Day 4 - For God so Loved (5/9)

Junior/Teen Study Guide

Day 4 - For God so Loved

“Welcome back!” Mr. Malku said, “How has your week been since the last Change Agents Group meeting?”

“Great,” Melissa said. “I got an X-ray and my arm is healing perfectly!”

“That’s good news,” Mr. Malku said. “Anyone else want to share about their week?”

“I had fun on Saturday,” Stephen said.

“You came to Sabbath school!” Shane cheered.

“That was really fun,” Stephen said. “It’s like another Change Agents meeting, but a bit different.”

“It was great to have you there,” Mr. Malku said. “Well, we have two weeks to review. Last week we had Dr. Adamson here and we learned about his Four Pillars of the Good Life. Did any of you practice humility over the past week?”

“It’s hard,” Nic said. “I want to be humble, but I’m just so awesome!”

Everyone groaned.

“Even if you do say so, yourself,” Drake said.

“Just kidding,” Nic said. “I did offer my seat on the bus to an old lady.”

“Very nice,” Mr. Malku said. “Anyone else?”

“Um, I’m not sure if this is humility,” Chloe said, “but I helped clean a mess I didn’t make at school. It was recess when I stayed in to help!”

“That is certainly humility,” Mr. Malku said. “How about what we learned the week before last. We talked about how God is always with us because He is the God who sees, hears, and feels. Have any of you experienced the presence of God while you were lonely?”

“I have,” Melissa said. “I don’t like complaining about my arm, but it hurts sometimes and itches nearly all the time. When I’m alone I ask God to calm all the sensations down. And He does!”

“That’s wonderful,” Mr. Malku said. “Anyone else? How has God been present to you when you felt alone?”

“Last week when we were driving home from here,” Stephen said, “my dad was really quiet. I thought he was mad about feeling cornered by Christian kids. So I prayed and asked God to help him, and me. When we pulled into our driveway he put his hand on my knee and we just sat there. I could tell he wanted to say something. After what seemed like hours he said, ‘God is Good, Stephen. God is Good.’ Then he opened the door and got out! He wasn’t mad at all. He was just thinking!”

Mr. Malku wiped a tear from his eye. “That’s very special, Stephen. Thanks for telling us that story.”

“You’re welcome,” Stephen said.

“We’ve been praying for your dad,” Mr. Malku said. “Every morning our whole family prays for him. Last week it was very clear that your dad’s heart is open to Jesus and His Holy Spirit.”

“I think you are right,” Stephen said. “My dad just takes a long time to decide anything. He thinks a lot!”

“Well, he is a scientist,” Drake said. “Scientists are supposed to think about stuff!”

Stephen nodded and the rest of the group smiled at Drake’s comment.

The voice of Mrs. Malku sang out from the kitchen, “Dinner is served!”

“And the Kingdom is growing!” everyone chanted together as they raced to the table.

After prayer and a few minutes of eating, Mr. Malku said, “For our group study today, I have printed a piece of paper for each of you.” Mr. Malku handed small sheets of printed text around the table. “I want you to read it out loud and put your name in the blank. Liam, would you please start?”

Liam read, “For God so loved [Liam] that He gave His one and only Son, so that if [Liam] believes in Him, [Liam] shall not perish but have eternal life.”

The reading continued around the table, each person putting their name in the blank.

When they had finished, Mr. Malku asked, “How did that feel?”

“Really great,” Nic said. “It’s amazing God loves us that much.”

“That’s the Gospel,” Shane said. “It’s powerful.”

“Let’s go around the circle again,” Mr. Malku said. “This time I want you to put the name of the person sitting to your left in the blank.” The group read around the circle again.

“What did you think of that?” Mr. Malku asked.

“That’s special,” Chloe said. “I love telling people Jesus loves them.”

Melissa added, “It was really nice to hear a friend tell you something so wonderful.”

“Good,” Mr. Malku said. “Now I want you to think of someone you love who doesn’t believe in Jesus. Put their name, and their connection to you, in the blank.”

Stephen said, “I’ll start. ‘For God so loved [my dad Marcus] that He gave His one and only Son, so that if [my dad Marcus] believes in Him, [my dad Marcus] shall not perish but have eternal life.’” By the time he finished the sentence Stephen had tears in his eyes. The rest of the group took their turn. When they were finished they were all very quiet.

“How did you feel that time?” Mr. Malku asked.

“It made me realize,” Stephen said, “how much I really love my Dad... and Jesus.”

“I think that’s how this text is supposed to be used,” Liam said.

“Why do you think that?” Mr. Malku asked.

“Because it made me care,” Liam said. “I want to go tell that person right now!”

“Yeah,” Shane added, “I feel like we should go tell the whole world.”

“But like this,” Chloe said. “Telling them on TV or a webpage or something like that isn’t good enough. Everyone needs to hear about Jesus from someone who loves them.”

“Yeah,” Melissa said, “someone who cries when they think about Jesus loving that person.”

“That is lovely, girls,” Mr. Malku said. “I think you are on to something pretty important. Let’s clean up the table and head back into the lounge room. We will finish up in there.”

Group Interaction Time

Read James 2:12-17. 
What does this tell us about our actions? Are they important? 
Do our actions save us? If we are following the law, acting as Jesus would act, do our actions have the potential to help save others? How? 
If we, knowing the good we should do, follow through and bless the world around us, what are we demonstrating about our faith?

Story Conclusion

“Let me ask you another question,” Mr. Malku said. “In John 3:16, what are the words Jesus put in the blanks?”

Everyone pulled out the paper they were given at the table.

Nic read, “For God so loved...”

“The world!” Chloe and Melissa shouted together.

Nic continued, “that He gave His one and only Son, so that if ...”

“Anyone,” most of the room said together.

“believes in Him ...” Nic read.

“They!” the room answered.

“Shall not perish but have eternal life,” Nic finished.

“Very good,” Mr. Malku said. “So who can believe?”

“Anyone!” Shane said.

“And if they do,” Mr. Malku said, “they will be given what?”

“Eternal life!” the group answered together.

“And why did God do this?” Mr. Malku asked.

“Because He loves everyone,” Chloe said.

“For God so loved ...” Mr. Malku said.

“The world!” Chloe answered.

“The word used in the original language of John 3:16,” Mr. Malku said, “is kosmos. God so loved the kosmos.”

“The universe?” Drake asked, truly surprised.

“That’s what cosmos means now,” Mr. Malku said, “‘The universe seen as a well-ordered whole’ but in Bible times it meant “the world as a created, organized entity.”

“I always thought salvation only affected people,” Drake said. “Evidently the death of Jesus makes a difference for the whole of God’s creation – even the trees.”

Everyone laughed.

“It may sound silly,” Mr. Malku said, “but Jesus could have used a word like ‘people’ or ‘his children,’ but in this verse Jesus chose to say kosmos. Why?”

“Maybe because He does love the whole World,” Shane said. “Including the people—and the trees.”

“According to Romans 8:19,” Mr. Malku said, “‘Creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed.’ What do you think that means?”

“That if we are the children of God, we should help nature,” Nic said.

“Because God loves the world,” Shane said.

“This is huge,” Drake said, sitting forward on his seat. “This means Jesus’ gift of eternal life is supposed to inspire us to make life better for the planet.”

“I think you are right, Drake,” Mr. Malku continued, “Just a few verses later, Paul says ‘Creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.’”

“What can we do, now?” Melissa said. “I mean, to make a change in the world for Jesus Christ!”

“Good question,” Mr. Malku said. “It is time to plan our monthly group outing. What should we do to reveal the children of God to the world?”

“We could clean up the junk in the river,” Nic said.

“Or weed a garden for an old person,” Melissa said.

“We could build some birdhouses,” Drake said. “And put them up around the neighborhood.”

Everyone liked that idea and started talking about it rapidly.

“OK,” Mr. Malku said, “I’ll organize a woodworking shop for us on Sunday. Let’s build some birdhouses!”

Everyone cheered.

“Until next week,” Mr. Malku said, “what are we?”

“We’re Change Agents!” the group chanted.

“And why are we Change Agents?”

“Because we’re changing the world for Jesus Christ!”

“Very good!” Mr. Malku said. “I’ll see you back here next week. Who wants to pray?”

“I’ll pray,” Chloe said. “Dear Jesus, We know you love us and now we know you love the whole world, too. Please help us to care for the world this week.  Amen.”

Want to read the rest of this series?
The rest can be found here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

2013 GCY-JWoP - Day 3 - The God Who Stoops (4/9)

Junior/Teen Study Guide

Day 3 - The God Who Stoops

“Welcome to Change Agents,” Mr. Malku said. “Today we have a special visitor. Everyone welcome Dr. Adamson.”

The kids clapped as Mr. Malku gestured toward a tall, thin man sitting in the chair between him and Stephen. Stephen smiled at his dad as the other kids applauded.

Dr. Adamson smiled and made a quieting gesture with his hands, “You can call me Marcus,” he said.

Mr. Malku said, “Thanks Marcus, for making the time to come out and talk to us.”

“My pleasure,” Dr. Adamson said. “I’m sorry you had to start late for me.”

“That’s alright,” Mr. Malku said. “We had dinner first. That should save some time in the discussion. Usually we start with an icebreaker question or activity, but tonight we thought we’d go straight into your story.”

“I wouldn’t mind an icebreaker,” Dr. Adamson said. “I’m not a Christian, like you kids. And I’m feeling a little uncomfortable!”

Stephen patted his Dad’s knee. “You’ll be alright dad. They treat me great and I’m not a Christian yet either.”

“OK,” Mr. Malku smiled. “Let’s break the ice. What is the most uncomfortable thing you have ever done because someone else needed you to? Anyone have a story to share?”

“When Nic had that horrible rash when he was five,” Liam said. “I remember putting the medicine cream on him. It was gross.”

“I had to let you touch me,” Nic said.

Giggles went around the room.

“My Dad was away,” Drake said, “as usual. And we got a flat tire in the rain. We were about twelve, I think,” He looked over at Shane, who nodded, “and we had to change the tire because Mom was wearing her nice shoes.”

“That was hard!” Shane added.

“Thanks boys,” Mr. Malku said.

“I’m feeling comfortable now,” Dr. Adamson said. “I’ve got one, too. I remember one particularly nasty diaper disaster with this one,” he turned toward Stephen who instantly went bright red.

“Dad, NO!” Stephen begged. “Not that story!”

Dr. Adamson was grinning from ear to ear. “Oh, alright,” he said.

“Tell us! Tell us!” The rest of the kids sang together. Stephen was shaking his head left to right with determination.

“A story for another time,” Dr. Adamson laughed.

“Thanks again, Marcus, for joining us,” Mr. Malku said. “Tonight we are talking about ‘The God who stoops.’ I told the group the title last week and Stephen said this was one of your favorite topics.”

Stephen added, “Little me, big world.”

“Ah yes,” Dr. Adamson said, “It’s part of my ‘Four Pillars’ – my core values for life. I believe they hold up the good life. They help keep me focused on my goal and aware of the needs of others. Do you have something I can write on?”

“Here’s something I prepared earlier,” Mr. Malku laughed as he retrieved a small whiteboard on a frame from his office. “Will this do?”

“Perfectly,” Dr. Adamson said. Across the top of the board, he wrote: “Four Pillars.” Then he drew four pillars next to each other. Across the top he put a triangle roof spanning across the four pillars. In the triangle he wrote “Good Life.”

“In short,” Dr. Adamson said, “I am a student. I live to learn. In my work I study time and space from the perspective of my training as a particle physicist. On the scale of the universe, we know nothing. So I study. And that’s what I love to do. Another area that fascinates me is human nature—morality and belief. This is another area with unfathomable depth. What are people? What makes us ‘higher’ than the other animals—because, without a doubt, we are superior in intellect and moral awareness. It is in this line of study—reaching for an understanding of human nature—that I have developed the ‘Four Pillars.’”

“What are the Four Pillars?” Shane asked.

“Ah, yes,” Dr. Adamson laughed and turned back to the board. He filled in each pillar, writing from top to bottom. He wrote one word in each pillar: Truth, Humility, Compassion, Silence.

“In my studies,” Dr. Adamson continued, “I have found these ‘Four Pillars’ by studying the world’s greatest religious teachers. First and foremost, they were all seekers and teachers of Truth. Without being on a quest for Truth, you are not really exercising your mind or spirit. Second, they all modeled and taught Humility. This is what Stephen was talking about when he said, “Little me, big world.” True Humility comes from seeing yourself as a small part of a very big world.  Third, they all lived lives of Compassion. Once you are humble enough to see yourself as a small part of a very big world, you see the rest of humanity, nature, and life in general as worth saving – and you become a change agent – that’s Compassion. And finally, all the great religious sages understood the value of Silence and spent times in silent prayer or thought. I could go on for hours, but that’s it in a nutshell.”

“Thank you, Marcus,” Mr. Malku said. “Are there any questions?”

“Jesus was the greatest teacher ever,” Chloe stated.

Dr. Adamson smiled. “I tend to agree with you.”

“Jesus said He was the Truth,” Shane said.

“Indeed He did,” Dr. Adamson said.

“About Silence,” Melissa said, “Jesus spent whole nights in prayer.”

“He spent forty days in the desert, too,” Shane added, “before choosing His disciples. He was alone, so I’m guessing He was fairly silent!”

“Jesus’ picture should be next to ‘Humble’ in the dictionary,” Liam said. “He was God and became a man!”

“On that thought,” Mr. Malku said, “I’d like you all to turn to John 13.” Liam and Nic handed out Bibles from the bookcase.

Group Interaction Time

Read John 13:1-17.
Did Jesus consider this occasion to be embarrassing? Did Peter?
What role do you think humility played in this story?
Why do you think John saw this event as Jesus showing “the full extent of His love” to the disciples?
Why do you think Jesus used the act of washing His disciples’ feet to begin an evening in which He would redefine all the symbols of the Passover meal?
Through this foot-washing story, what was Jesus saying about those who follow Him?

Story Conclusion

“So, Marcus,” Mr. Malku said, “How have the Four Pillars helped you?”

“They give me something to self-check against,” Dr. Adamson said. “Christians have Jesus and His teachings to turn to. You can ask, ‘What would Jesus do?’ I ask, ‘Is my life being held up by the Four Pillars today? Am I living the Good Life?’ That helps me live rightly.”

“Don’t you think Jesus is real?” Melissa asked.

“Without a doubt,” Dr. Adamson responded. “I’m just not sure about the rest of it. I’m still studying. And as I continue learning, I use the Four Pillars to check my course and correct as needed.”

“What most impresses you about Jesus?” Liam asked.

“His humility,” Dr. Adamson said. “If He was who He said He was, then WOW, Jesus’ humility was off the charts. To be humble you need to forget yourself. And to be God is to be eternally present. So, if Jesus was God, then He is the most unique being in the universe!”

“Maybe He’s from outside the universe,” Chloe said. “Ever think of that?”

“I’ve tried,” Dr. Adamson said with a smile, “but it hurts my head!”

Everyone laughed.

“Liam, in finishing my answer to your question,” Dr. Adamson continued, “in all my study, arrogance seems to be completely incompatible with true spirituality. And Jesus, even if He was just a human, was truly spiritual. He was the opposite of arrogant. And yet He was brilliant. I have a lot of time for Jesus!”

“He has a lot of time for you, too,” Mr. Malku said, placing his hand on Dr. Adamson’s shoulder. “Kids, please turn to Philippians 2:5-8 and read a line each.”

(Have your group read this)
“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!”

“What does this passage reveal about the humility of Jesus?” Mr. Malku asked.

“He took a big step down,” Drake said.

“Again and again,” Shane added.

“Who humbled Him?” Mr. Malku asked.

“He humbled Himself,” Stephen said.

“When Jesus washed the disciples’ feet, He was showing the full extent of His love,” Mr. Malku said. “How was He showing love?”

“By humbling Himself,” Chloe said, “and serving others.”

How can we show the full extent of God’s love in our actions?” Mr. Malku asked.

“By being willing to serve,” Nic said, “however we are asked to serve.”

“Little me, big world,” Stephen said. “It isn’t easy.”

“But it’s worth it,” Dr. Adamson said.

“Dr. Adamson,” Melissa said, “you should become a Christian!”

Dr. Adamson scrunched his face and then smiled, “That’s a big challenge!”

“You’re already trying to be like Jesus!” Melissa said. “That means He’s calling you!”

“Hmmm...” Dr. Adamson looked over at his son, “What’s up with these kids?”

“I told you they were full on!” Stephen laughed.

Dr. Adamson’s eyes twinkled as he returned his gaze to Melissa, “Young lady, thank you for the invitation. I’ll CC you on any action taken by Dr. Adamson in this regard.”

Big smiles came to life on every face around the room.

Alright,” Mr. Malku said. “Until next week, what are we?”

The group swiveled toward Mr. Malku, “We’re Change Agents!” they sang.

“And why are we Change Agents?”

“Because we’re changing the world for Jesus Christ!”

“Very good!” Mr. Malku said, “I’ll see you back here next week and I hope to see you all at Sabbath school. Who wants to pray?”

“I’ll pray,” Stephen said quickly. Everyone looked at him in amazement – especially his father. “Dear Jesus, help us to be humble as we serve in our world this week. As we follow you, may the Four Pillars help us live the Good Life. Amen.”


Want to read the rest of this series?
The rest can be found here.

Dave Edgren ~ Story: Teller, Author, Trainer ~

BOOK DAVE NOW! Dave Edgren is passionate about creating a values-based storytelling culture. In his engaging and often hilarious way,...