This week in our series "Drama & Dedication: The Life of the Prophets", we talked about Daniel. Daniel was a young Jew who was exiled to Babylon (remember what we said about Babylon last week?). Daniel ended up being one of a group of young men who were chosen to enter training for the king's court...maybe in hopes of being loyal subjects to the king one day. Many of us can remember several stories in the Bible with Daniel in them...stories like Daniel and the lion's den, Daniel interpreting King Nebuchadnezzar's dreams, Shadrach, Meshack and Abednego and the fiery furnace. To get us in a "Daniel" sort of mind frame, we acted out a spontaneous melodrama which is a no-rehearsal, slapstick humor skit! Ours was entitled "Daniel in His TV Den" (a new take on Daniel in the Lion's Den). We even had people acting as chairs and tables!
Obviously, our skit wasn't exactly how the real story went. But sometimes with these stories that it seems we have heard one thousand times, we start to miss or forget the point of them. But these stories in Daniel are not just well known, they are timeless. They still speak to us today and they can have new things to teach us each time we read them! Daniel's stories offer us great looks at integrity, wisdom and courage.
We split into middle and high school groups and took a look at several of the well known stories in Daniel. We did a sort of "book review" and identified examples of how Daniel shows integrity, wisdom and courage in each of these stories. We talked about how Daniel stayed true to himself and his faith, took time to examine his situation and pray to God before reacting, and showed true courage and strength in times of trial. We realized that often today's society goes against these virtues...we are encouraged to conform and change who we are just to please everyone and get ahead in life. Unlike Daniel, there is typically little threat to our lives based on our religion in our country and time, but we are still faced with challenges where we must also show integrity, wisdom and courage. We read other Scripture passages that can teach us more on how to display these virtues (see passages like Psalm 1:1-3, 2 Timothy 3:14-15, Psalm 28:7 and Isaiah 40:31). Ultimately we see that Daniel practiced his faith on a daily basis and that helped him stand up to the trials he faced. We are also called to do that same! How are you showing integrity, wisdom and courage this week? Comment on this post with your answers.
We then played a few games including "Cat and Mouse" as we are reminded to have courage and listen for direction even in dark times, and "Big Bunny". Check out the pictures below!
This week in our series "Drama & Dedication: The Life of the Prophets", we took a look at the prophet Habakkuk. We started with playing a game called "Is that your final answer" where groups were given dates that commemorate actual events in history. They had to come up with their own events for each date and try to convince the rest of the group that theirs was the real answer. We had everything from Anti-Boredom Month (a real thing-July 1-31 every year!) to Cheeseball Day (a made-up date, though I wouldn't doubt it exists!). We talked about how, like we did in the game, often people think they have the answers to questions and try to convince others that their answers are true. We know when we have questions about God or our faith, we can look in the Bible and talk to God. But, sometimes we are still not clear on the answers after we do those things. The prophet Habakkuk was dealing with similar issues.
Habakkuk lived in Judah. The good King Josiah had recently died, along with all of his spiritual reforms. The new king, Jehoiakim II, was basically a puppet for Egypt. He completely reversed all the good reforms of Josiah and his reign was unjust and violent. In addition to the new reign of a horrible King, the country of Babylon was getting stronger and dominating all of the surrounding countries. The Babylonians were ruthless, evil and destructive. And this is when Habakkuk's dialogue with God begins.
Habakkuk complains to God about what is happening and asks his first question (Habakkuk 1:2-4). He says, how long do we have to wait, God? When are you going to help us out of this awful situation we are in? So then God answers Habakkuk in verses 5-11 and tells Habakkuk that God is on the way and that he's going to use the Babylonians to accomplish His purpose....the Babylonians? Really? Habakkuk is very confused. Why is the world would God use these horrible evil people? But Habakkuk trusts God and knows that God will take care of things, even if he is confused at how God will actually do it. So Habakkuk sits quietly, watching and waiting for God's explanation.
In time, God replies and basically says that He can use whomever he wants to accomplish His purpose. But not to worry, because Babylon will not escape judgment for their unjust behavior. Evil will not control the world! Habakkuk still doesn't know what exactly is going to happen, but he comes to realize that God is in control and he must trust God. So Habakkuk sings a song of praise to God's power, love and overwhelming majesty!
We then split up into middle and high school groups and talked a little deeper about how we can stop, look and listen for God like Habakkuk did. Even when we don't get detailed answers to our questions, Habakkuk reassures us that God is always there, ready to listen to us in our doubts and distress. How are you stopping, looking and listening for God? What's preventing you from stopping, looking and listening for God? Comment on this post with your answers.
Then we had a little fun, racing to build free standing towers made of spaghetti noodles and mini-marshmallows, and playing a game called bin ball. Check it out:
FUMC Youth joined with youth across the country on Sunday morning in participating in the "Souper Bowl of Caring". FUMC Youth collected money and canned food items to be donated to FACES as they helped "tackle hunger" in our local community. They ended up collecting $419.57 and 28 food items!!! Check out these pictures of our youth in mission:
Then we gathered at the Kinne's house that night for a Super Bowl Party! We watched the game on the big screen, played games, and ate lots of pizza and snacks!
This week in our series "Drama & Dedication: The Life of the Prophets" we finished up Isaiah! We focused on the misplaced trust Judah was dealing with by creating alliances with larger nations in order to gain protection. Isaiah continued to warn Judah about their misplaced trust, but they refused to listen to God's message. In order to gain a better understanding of what was going on, we did a little "visual history". Different students took on the roles of people like Abraham, Moses, and the King of Judah. We had various areas of the room labeled as countries such as Assyria, Canaan, Israel, Egypt and Judah. In each of these areas were a stack of books. These books represented the customs, material possessions, and general way of life of these various places. As I read through the history, each character had to move to the respected area the history was talking about and pick up some of the books their, symbolizing that they are a part of that nation's culture. Amanda, who played the King of Judah, ended up with a stack of books too high to carry, since Judah kept making alliances with other nations.
In exchange for protection, Judah was to adhere to the customs and culture of the nations they were in alliances with. Judah, therefore, was leaving behind their own faith in God as a result of these alliances. When we try to keep too many people happy, things get chaotic and confusing and we often forget who we really are and what we really believe. At the end of our "visual history" we didn't remember which "books" belonged to which nation and were confused, stressed and tired from carrying them all around.
We split up into middle and high school groups and talked more in depth about God's message to Judah through Isaiah. We realized that relying and trusting in people is not necessarily a bad thing...it's only harmful when we put our full trust in those who ask us to compromise our faith and beliefs in return. We discussed other things that might cause our faith to become weak like the Judeans, and how we can work on eliminating or staying strong in our faith despite those things. When we gathered back as a large group, we read Isaiah 40:28-31 together. This Scripture passage offers us good news and words of hope and strength when we may be feeling weak or watered down in our faith. Before going home, we each received a piece of paper with this Scripture passage printed on it so that we could continue to reflect on Isaiah throughout the week.
Then we went down to the social hall and had some fun running around playing games. Take a look:
Don't forget THIS Sunday, February 6th, is our "Souper Bowl of Caring" mission collection for FACES during the 8:30 & 11am worship services, and our Super Bowl Party starting at 6pm Sunday night! RSVP to me (Lyndsie) so I know how much pizza to get!