Saturday, March 10, 2012

John 10: 1-3 The Good Shepherd

Help Me - I Can't See: Blindfolded - Oh, that Explains It.
John 10: 1-3 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.

Opening Teaching Drill: Blindfolded Follower

Material Need: 

1) At least 3 students - a Follower, a "Good" leader and a "Bad" leader.

2) A Blindfold

3) A Target to lead the follower to - suggestions, a hula hoop, a piece of paper, a square taped on the ground - someplace that is easy to set up AFTER the student is blind folded.

How to Play the Game:  Tell the "Follower" that he is going to be led to the target (whatever it is going to be - see 3 above), and that if he gets there is 1 min (or 3 or 5 or whatever time you think will be good for your players) he wins.  Tell him also that one of the leaders is a "Good" leader and one is a "Bad" leader, and it is up to him to decide which one to follow.

Blindfold the follower, place the target, and say go.

See what happens.  You might see/hear the follower ask questions to determine who to follow, you might hear leaders yelling instructions at the follower.  You will probably hear one trying to lead, and the other trying to obstruct - but you never know.

Play as many times as you have time for with different players.

When you have finished, ask them questions like:
a) How do you know who to follow in the game?
b) What happens if you follow the wrong person?
c) Can you change from the Good leader to the Bad, or from the Bad to the Good?
d) What does it feel like to be blind?
e) Once you have selected who to follow, even if it was the wrong choice, how did it feel?
f) If you picked the "Bad" leader, how did it end?

Tell them that God, specifically Jesus, is just like the game.  We are Blind to much of the spiritual world, the things that God has in store for us.  Yet, God has sent us Jesus and the Holy Spirit to give us both ears and eyes to see Jesus with, to hear his voice, so we can follow him. 

Read the VERSE.  Tell them that if they can not hear the Voice of Jesus, do not know his voice, that they can. Tell them to ask one of the Adult or Teen leaders Today ---  This would be an opportunity to bring them the Good News.

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This is the part of the Children's Service where we sing praise and worship songs and take a collection, though this is not necessary ...  

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John 10: 1-21 - the Rest of the Story: 

The Goal of the Second Part of the Lesson is to deepen their understanding of "The Good Shepard."

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.

So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.  And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”

There was again a division among the Jews because of these words. Many of them said, “He has a demon, and is insane; why listen to him?” Others said, “These are not the words of one who is oppressed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”
The Bigger Teaching Drill: Blindfolded Follower Too

Same game, but this time the Good Leader and the Bad Leader both have goals, both appear the same, and you don't let the other students know who the Good Leader or Bad Leader is - just play the game, and keep score as to how many each leader wins ... the only players you change are the Bindfolded followers.

Start them blindfolded, and if you want to have some more challenge, have them spin 10 or 20 times around counting out loud with the other students, until you say go.

Play the game until the get to one goal or the other.

How to explain the Game:  Ask all the students who they think the Good and Bad leader was, and let them explain why - draw the discussion out as long as you can.  It can go many different ways, but I would expect it to go either to it was hard to tell the difference between good and bad to Bad was most fighting, and Good was mostly encouraging, depending on who you picked to play good and bad.

When they are done explaining to you who was who, tell them who was who.

Then tell them that with God there is a way to know who the good leader is.  We already know his name.  Read the rest of the verses to them.

Explain and discuss as much as you can as you read it, paying particular attention to the sacrifice Jesus made for them - that the nature of the Good Leader is sacrifice and love -- lead them to lead a life of sacrifice and love.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Munching of Bread - John 6:48

The Purpose of this Lesson Plan is to teach the meaning and life application of John 6:48 (ESV): I am the bread of life.

Understanding what BREAD meant to pre-Plague populations. (Before the Plague destroyed nearly 25% of the earths human population in the 14th century. Bread was an easy to grow grain that enabled the massive population centers to eat.  It was the major food stuff of the Roman empire, and continued to be for the peasants throughout the middle ages.  After the plague, fruits, meats and vegetables became more accessible to every day humans.

So, in a VERY REAL way, BREAD was life to the people in the roman world, and therefore when Jesus taught about bread, everyone knew it was necessary for life itself.

Important Stuff Drill: 

Materials: A boy and a girl who will Follow Directions (one of each)

Method: Break the Class into two teams, I am assuming here boys and girls. If you pick another division, like tall and short, then the two in material is one tall one short, rather than one boy and one girl.

A Questioner, You or some other Teen or Adult helper is the Judge. You tell the students that the goal is to take one step at a time to get form point a to point B. They have to earn the right to take a step by answer a question, and they take turns.

The Question: What is something that is absolutely necessary for life. (Like oxygen, water, food, nitrogen, shelter etc.)

Every time they give a correct answer, according to the Questioner, that person gets to take a step toward the final point.  First one there wins.  

Feel free, if you have time, to discuss or lecture on each answer they give, or all at once at the end.  The purpose is to get them to understand what is actually important to life.

Once they have that piece of knowledge, tell them what you have time for about Bread's importance to life in Roman times. (It was so important that if Roman Legions had to eat meat, they frequently revolted and killed their general - unless they got bread.)

Then read to them the verse.  Either ask them or tell them how important Jesus was saying he was to life.

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This is the point where we sing, and do collection, but you can do whatever you want.
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Purpose of Part II Drill - To teach them to actually listen and understand, and that frequently our desire to get it right outweighs our desire to listen and obey.

Name of Drill: Go Game (Created by Steve MacGregor of McCoy's Action Karate)

Needed: Children and two lines or walls.

How to Play: Have players line up touching the lines with their finger only - no weight, or they lose before they start.  Tell them that they are to run from one line to the other when you say GO, and not to run when you say anything else, including RUN, GOPHER, GOING .. they only run when you say go.  If they leave when you do not say go, they are out, and must sit down off the playing area.  If they are the last to the other line, they are also out. Last one in wins.

After and/or during play, explain to them the meaning of the game.  If they listen, and do not anticipate, they have a chance of winning the game.  If they anticipate, trying to win, they will GO at the wrong time.  If you have time, have them talk about that, and play again.

The Scripture:  Read to them:

Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand

After this Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias.And a large crowd was following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing on the sick.Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples. Now the Passover, thefeast of the Jews, was at hand.  Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do.  Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii[a] worth of bread would not be enough for each of them to get a little.” One of his disciples,Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?” 10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, about five thousand in number. 11 Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted. 12 And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.” 13 So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten. 14 When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, “This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!”
15  Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesuswithdrew again to the mountain by himself.

Jesus Walks on Water

16 When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea, 17 got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. 18 The sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing. 19 When they had rowed about three or four miles,[b] they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were frightened. 20  But he said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” 21 Then they were glad to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.

I Am the Bread of Life

22 On the next day the crowd that remained on the other side of the sea saw that there had been onlyone boat there, and that Jesus had not entered the boat with his disciples, but that his disciples had gone away alone. 23 Other boats from Tiberias came near the place where they had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. 24  So when the crowd saw that Jesus was not there, nor his disciples, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum, seeking Jesus.
25 When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” 26 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you sawsigns, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 27  Do not work for the food that perishes, but forthe food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” 28 Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?”29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” 30 So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? 31  Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” 32 Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34 They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”
35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe.37  All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 39 Andthis is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son andbelieves in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

Explain the Scripture.  Jesus does an awesome job explaining himself.  Read it.  Ask them to tell you what it means, and how it relates to the go game.