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.

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