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252 Groups

March 2013, Week 4 Compact K-5

FOR LEADERS ONLY GOD VIEW: the connection between FORGIVENESS and God’s character, as shown through God’s big story From the Old Testament to the New Testament, the Bible is full of story after story of God forgiving His people. He forgave when the Israelites mistrusted Him as they wandered the wilderness. He forgave when they disobeyed the judges He established. He forgave when the disciples doubted His Son. Through His everlasting love, God continues to forgive us today and draw us closer to Him. God’s ultimate demonstration of forgiveness was on the cross. When Jesus died, He made a way for us to have a right relationship with God again. God chose to forgive us first. We respond to that by offering forgiveness to others. Forgiveness is deciding that someone who has wronged you doesn’t have to pay. When we choose to forgive others, it’s a response to the great love and forgiveness God has shown us. Forgiveness means letting go of what someone did to us in order to restore the relationship. But forgiveness isn’t always a simple exchange. What if the person never apologizes? Forgive anyway. What if the person does it again? Forgive again. What if the person never changes? Keep on forgiving. By controlling how you respond, and making an alternate choice to forgive, you can delete the impact of what that person did to you. This month, let’s think about how: (1) Forgiveness is a response to God first forgiving us. (2) Forgiveness is a way we can show others God’s love for us. (3) Forgiveness can restore broken relationships. (4) Being forgiven can change the way we live.

This week, we’re discovering: In this week’s Bible story, Jesus is teaching his followers about the best way to live their lives (Matthew 7:1-5). One of the principles He teaches is about judging. Jesus uses the example of someone who should clear the plank of wood out of his own eye before trying to clear sawdust out of his friend’s eye. Our Bottom Line is: Be careful not to judge others, because you’ve been wrong too. We have all done things wrong throughout our lives, so we should be careful not to judge others for even tiny things they are doing wrong. Consider your own wrong before pointing out other people’s mistakes. We can learn to assume the best in other people. The monthly memory verse is: “Forgive the things you are holding against one another. Forgive, just as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:13, NIrV A forgiving spirit helps us see others the way God sees them. God’s love for us gives us the benefit of the doubt and wants to see us do better. We need to approach others the same way.

©2014 The reThink Group, Inc. All rights reserved. • www.ThinkOrange.com Adapted by KD/WaldheimUMC/Feb 2014

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252 Groups

March 2013, Week 4 Compact K-5

Blinded by the Plank Bible Story: Blinded by the Plank (plank and speck principle) • Matthew 7:1-5 Bottom Line: Be careful not to judge others, because you’ve been wrong too. Memory Verse: “Forgive the things you are holding against one another. Forgive, just as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:13, NIrV Life App: Forgiveness—deciding that someone who has wronged you doesn’t have to pay. Basic Truth: I need to make the wise choice.

Plug In: Focus the Energy (Small Groups, 10-15 minutes) 2. Whose Wrong Voice? What You Need: No supplies needed What You Do: Have kids sit in a circle and close their eyes. Walk around the outside of the circle and tap someone on the head. That person should say “I was wrong” and nothing else. But, they can disguise their voice if they choose. Then, have kids keep their eyes closed and raise their hands if they think they know whose voice they heard. Call on one kid to guess who was speaking. If the kid who said the phrase is revealed, they are out. Play until only one kid remains. What You Say: “You guys did a great job of saying you were wrong, even if it was just for a game. [Transition] Today, we are going to hear about why Jesus wants us to admit when we are wrong.”

Worship Join the congregation in the sanctuary for the first set of songs.

Power Up: Engage the Heart (Large Group, 20-25 minutes) Assistant enters in his geeky attire. Opener ASSISTANT: “Good morning, recruits! Does anyone remember what we’ve been talking about all month long? (Allow time for responses.) That’s right! We’re talking about forgiveness! Forgiveness is deciding that someone who has wronged you doesn’t have to pay. CG: Forgiveness Slide “Well, it’s another sunshiny, beautiful day back in church version two-point-oh, brought to you by Geekforce! I don’t know if you can tell, but I am in an EXCEPTIONALLY good mood this morning. Do you want to know why? It’s because today, some VERY lucky Small Group Leaders are going to have the opportunity to become initiated as fellow SENIOR MEMBERS of the Geekforce!

©2014 The reThink Group, Inc. All rights reserved. • www.ThinkOrange.com Adapted by KD/WaldheimUMC/Feb 2014

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252 Groups

March 2013, Week 4 Compact K-5

Straighten up your tie and stand a little taller as you swell with pride. “As senior members, these Small Group Leaders will have instant access to the Geekforce Coffee Lounge, the Geekforce Gaming Hub, the Geekforce LAN Party Room, the Geekforce Programming Library, the Geekforce Virtual Reality Simulator … all this and more awaits these lucky new recruits! There is, uh—there is a catch, though. See, senior Geekforce members have to dress the part. The Senior Geekforce uniform is how we determine who’s who back at headquarters. So, in order to make sure the uniforms are done right, I will need some help. First, I will need two Small Group Leaders who are interested in becoming Senior Geekforce members. Then, I will need each Small Group Leader to bring two kids to help them out. Any volunteers? Gather Leaders and kids onstage, each next to a bin full of “geeky” clothing. “All right recruits, this is going to be fairly simple. We will put a clothing formula up on the screen. Kids, you’ll have to dig through your clothing bin and dress your leader just like the picture on screen. The first team to get their Leader decked out in the proper Senior Geekforce attire will win a fabulous prize and immediate initiation into the Geekforce! Are you ready? On your mark, get set … GO! CG: Picture of completely dressed Geekforce member—white button-down shirt, necktie/bowtie, suspenders, glasses, socks and flip-flops The winning team members get a geeky prize and all participants get a Geekforce Badge. ASSISTANT: “Excellent job, one and all! You know, I never really thought about it until I saw you Small Group Leaders wearing it, but we may need to rethink the Senior Geekforce uniforms. They kind of make you guys look like a bunch of geeks. Oh, well! Why don’t we all put our hands together for [name of Leader]? We actually need you guys a bit later to help with the Bible story so you can head backstage.” Leaders can take off the geek attire. SETTING UP THE STORY LEADER: “You guys can sit down—thanks for worshipping with me! Today, we are going to talk about a time when Jesus spoke about judging others. As He spoke, He used an eye-catching example to illustrate His point; He talked about a plank. Does anybody even know what a plank is? Assistant enters, hears the question and starts waiving his hand emphatically. ASSISTANT: “Oh. Oh. Oh. I know! I know! EVERYBODY KNOWS WHAT THAT IS!” LEADER: (Taken aback) “Uhhhhh … okay. [Assistant’s name], what is a plank?” ASSISTANT: “It’s when one person lays face down with their arms by their side. As they are laying down, a friend takes a picture and posts it on their favorite social media site!”

©2014 The reThink Group, Inc. All rights reserved. • www.ThinkOrange.com Adapted by KD/WaldheimUMC/Feb 2014

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252 Groups

March 2013, Week 4 Compact K-5

Assistant lies down to demonstrate what planking looks like. Assistant simply needs to lie down on the ground, face down and needs to look as stiff as possible with arms by their side. LEADER: “No, [Assistant’s name]. That is not correct. What you are referencing is called planking.” ASSISTANT: “Wait! What I meant to say was that a plank is something my mom does when she works out! It’s some weird exercise that kinda looks like a push up … only not. Assistant drops down to demonstrate a plank. He should be in a push-up position except with his body’s weight on the forearms, elbows, and toes, instead of on his hands like a normal push-up. ASSISTANT: (Obviously struggling to do the exercise) “And it is really, really hard. My mom is SUPER strong.” Assistant collapses onto the floor. LEADER: “No. That is not correct. A plank doesn’t involve any of your mom’s exercises.” Assistant slowly stands back up. ASSISTANT: “Oh! Wait! (Slapping self on the forehead.) Duh! Jesus was talking about pirates!” LEADER: “Huh?” ASSISTANT: “Ya know. (Next lines need to be spoken in Assistant’s best pirate voice.) How’d ye like to scrape the barnacles off of me boat after I make ye walk the plank? Argg!” LEADER: “No. Jesus was not talking about pirates or ‘walking the plank.’ A plank is simply a piece of wood.” Leader drags out a long wooden plank and small vial of sawdust. ASSISTANT: “Oh. Right.” LEADER: “Not only did Jesus talk about a plank, but He also talked about something called sawdust which are teeny, tiny pieces of wood literally about the size of dust. Jesus was explaining that judging other people is wrong, so He gave this example, (Open Bible and read Matthew 7:3-5.) ‘You look at the bit of sawdust (hold up the vial of sawdust) in your friend’s eye. But you pay no attention to the piece of wood—(holding up the plank) in your own eye. How can you say to your friend, “Let me take the bit of sawdust out of your eye?” How can you say this while there is a piece of wood in your own eye? You pretender! First take the piece of wood out of your own eye. Then you will be able to see clearly to take the bit of sawdust out of your friend’s eye.’ (NIrV)

©2014 The reThink Group, Inc. All rights reserved. • www.ThinkOrange.com Adapted by KD/WaldheimUMC/Feb 2014

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252 Groups

March 2013, Week 4 Compact K-5

“Now, what Jesus is saying here is that we shouldn’t judge others for little, nitpicky stuff. Hold up vial of sawdust. LEADER: “When we’ve got our own BIG stuff to own up to. Hold up wooden plank. “I imagine it’d be pretty hard to see with a big piece of wood in your eye, huh? Now, I could give some examples of situations that Jesus could be talking about, but where’s the fun in that? Instead, WHO wants to be the next lucky contestant on …” Leader should put on a very loud blazer and/or bowtie. “… ‘PLANK OR SPECK!’? The game show straight from Church Studios that lets YOU play the judge! Could I have two volunteers? LEADER: “Alright, contestants, this week you’re up against the reigning champion! Introducing—” ASSISTANT: (Interrupting) “—the incredibly talented, the brilliantly suave, the dashingly handsome, the over-all cool guy …” LEADER: “Riiiiight! Introducing, [Assistant’s name]!” Lead crowd in applause. “The game is simple: I will present the two of you with a scenario. You are allowed to ask your Leaders for help. Since [Assistant’s name] is the reigning champion, he gets to answer first. What we’re looking for is the BEST POSSIBLE REACTION to the situation I describe. It will be a multiple-choice question. And if you select the correct answer, you get a point. This first one is easy just to get you warmed up. Ready? Here we go! CG: Scenario Slide 1 SCENARIO 1: THE UNRELIABLE LEADER: “Your teacher likes pairing up people in class to work on projects together every week. Last week, you completely forgot the assignment and didn’t do any of the work for it, but your partner, Bobby, helped you out before class started and got it done. This week, you’re paired up with Bobby again, but uh-oh! Bobby forgot to make the poster for the presentation! What do you do? CG: Answer Slide 1 LEADER: (Reading slide) “Should you: A, create a scene and yell at him in front of the rest of the class so the humiliation prevents him from making the same mistake again? B, give Bobby the cold shoulder? Or lastly, C, quickly help Bobby complete the poster before the class starts just like he did for you the previous week? [Assistant’s name], go ahead and give us a guess first.” ASSISTANT: “Well, CLEARLY this Bobby person is no good and completely unreliable. I think the best course of action is answer ‘A.’”

©2014 The reThink Group, Inc. All rights reserved. • www.ThinkOrange.com Adapted by KD/WaldheimUMC/Feb 2014

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252 Groups

March 2013, Week 4 Compact K-5

LEADER: “What about you, [kid’s name]? Allow kid to confer with Leader and respond. Direct the kid toward the correct answer C. “The correct answer is C! [Assistant’s name], what were you thinking? That was so incredibly wrong, I’m a little embarrassed for you. (Turning to volunteer) Great job! You get a point! All right, enough of the easy stuff! Time for round two. CG: Scenario Slide 2 SCENARIO 2: THE KLUTZ LEADER: “You are playing soccer this season and have your first big game. Earlier, you had the ball right at the other team’s goal but missed kicking it in. Instead of getting mad, your teammates patted you on the back and said, ‘That’s okay!’ Now, the game is almost over and the score is tied. The other team has the ball and wouldn’t you know it, Bobby, your pal from school is right there, ready to block the kick. But the player from the other team manages to get around him and score a goal. Bobby totally missed the block and the other team wins. CG: Answer Slide 2 LEADER: “Do you: A, encourage Bobby after the game and tell him not to worry about it? B, demand that Bobby be kicked off of the team because he’s no good? Or finally, C, talk about Bobby’s terrible soccer skills to everyone on the team? [Assistant’s name], what is your guess?” ASSISTANT: “Well, it’s obvious by this point that Bobby can’t do anything right. So I’m going with the answer B.” LEADER: “Okay. What about you, [kid’s name]? Allow kid to respond. Direct the kid toward the correct answer A. LEADER: “The correct answer is A! [Assistant’s Name], once again you are incredibly wrong. Not even close. (Turning to kid volunteer) Great job, [kid’s name]. You just earned another point toward victory! “And now we have come to the final question. To make things interesting, this question will be worth THREE POINTS. That means if [Assistant’s name] gets it right, he can still walk home with the fabulous prize. Are you ready, guys? CG: Scenario Slide 3 SCENARIO 3: THE LAZY LEADER: “I’ll take that as a yes. Last scenario: you really want to go hang out with your good friend Bobby, but your mother has told you that NO ONE is allowed to leave the house until both you AND your sister have cleaned your rooms to spotless perfection. Normally, it takes you days to clean your room, but you figure that the sooner you get it done, the sooner you can hang out with Bobby. So you work hard for an hour or two and get your room completely spotless. Satisfied with your work, you head

©2014 The reThink Group, Inc. All rights reserved. • www.ThinkOrange.com Adapted by KD/WaldheimUMC/Feb 2014

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252 Groups

March 2013, Week 4 Compact K-5

to your sister’s room to check on her progress, only to find that she’s sitting on top of a pile of dirty laundry, playing with her Barbies. What do you do? CG: Answer Slide 3 “Do you A, go to your sister’s room and stare at her until she gets the job done? B, rat her out to Mom because Mom needs to know that her daughter is acting in complete disregard to her authority? And then yell at her for keeping you from getting to hang out with Bobby? Or C, go to your sister’s room to help her complete the daunting task of cleaning her room? What do you say, [Assistant’s name]?” ASSISTANT: “Easy question! It’s plain to see she is inexcusably lazy and has an obvious disrespect for Mom. The answer is B. Am I right or am I right?��� LEADER: “Alright, guys, what’ve you got for us? Allow one of the kids to respond. Direct the volunteers toward the correct answer C. LEADER: “Perfect! Once again, [kid’s name] is correct! It is obvious there is no plank obscuring your vision and that means you WIN! And the winner of ‘PLANK OR SPECK?’ gets his very own wooden carpenter’s pencil, to remind him to check his own actions before he calls others out on theirs. Well, that’s all for ‘PLANK OR SPECK?’ Give it up for [kid’s name]!” Award the kid a carpenter’s pencil. Direct kid back to his seat. Assistant exits. WRAPPING UP THE STORY LEADER: “It is easy to make judgments and notice all the flaws of others while overlooking your own mistakes. Jesus’ way of reminding us we have our own problems was by saying, ‘First take the piece of wood (picking up the wooden plank) out of your own eye. Then you will be able to see clearly to take the bit of sawdust (holding up the vile of sawdust) out of your friend’s eye.’ (Matthew 7:5, NIrV) The job of judging others does not belong to us because we are not perfect. Nobody is perfect. Only God is perfect. He’s the only one who can judge. Let’s leave the judging up to Him. Let us pray.” Prayer LEADER: “Dear God, thank You for the reminder that we are not perfect! Please help us to recognize the planks or large mistakes we are currently making and ask You for forgiveness. And also, please help us not to judge or label others for their mistakes. Rather, help us to be loving and forgiving. We pray these things in Jesus’ name, amen.” Closer Assistant enters wearing his Geek attire and completely covered with sticky notes from head to toe. The more sticky notes, the better. Each sticky note needs to have a label on it such as bully, clumsy, lazy, smelly, unreliable,

©2014 The reThink Group, Inc. All rights reserved. • www.ThinkOrange.com Adapted by KD/WaldheimUMC/Feb 2014

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252 Groups

March 2013, Week 4 Compact K-5

etc. It is okay to repeat labels as long as there are a lot of labels. ASSISTANT: “That was an awesome game show to help us remember Matthew 7:3-5. Now I know what you are thinking. ‘What’s up with all the sticky notes? Aren’t you the founding member of Geekforce?’ Well, like I’ve said before, sometimes I like to go old school and this is one of those times. If you look closely, you will notice each and every sticky note has a label written on it. It is a mean name that you could call somebody. For example— Assistant pulls several labels off and reads them to the kids. After reading each sticky note, wad it up and throw it on the floor. The following lines need to be read in between reading sticky notes and wadding them up on the floor. “Jesus wasn’t a fan of labeling or judging. We’re not supposed to judge others. Read several more sticky notes. “Nobody’s perfect. Not me. Not you. Read several more sticky notes. “We should not judge because chances are, you’ve made similar mistakes. It’s not hard to label other people as (use air quotes) ‘weird,’ ‘clumsy,’ ‘lazy’ and a whole Assistant of other names. I’m sure all of us have been a little weird or clumsy or lazy from time to time. And those are just a few labels. Have you ever seen someone being mean at school? It is easy to think of that person as a ‘bully’ every time we see that person. However, let’s not let a single action of a person define who that person is. After all, most of us have done or said something to hurt someone else. Instead of judging others, we need to forgive them. “Our Bottom Line says it best: [Impress] be careful not to judge someone else, because you’ve been wrong too. “Instead of sticking a label on someone … Brushes off all the remaining sticky notes onto the floor. “What if we forgive others when they make mistakes. People of Geekforce, this is no easy task. But then again, neither is waiting for the creation of a teleportation device! But it’s something I have to do.”

©2014 The reThink Group, Inc. All rights reserved. • www.ThinkOrange.com Adapted by KD/WaldheimUMC/Feb 2014

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252 Groups

March 2013, Week 4 Compact K-5

Catch On: Make the Connection (Small Groups, 25-30 minutes) * 1. God’s Eye (application activity / review the Bible story) What You Need: School glue, craft sticks, various colors of yarn What You Do: If the early arrivers didn’t make the Popsicle stick X’s, help kids each take two sticks and glue them together at the center perpendicularly. Then allow kids to choose a few colors of yarn. Tie the yarn in a knot around the center of the cross. Wrap the yarn around one stick in a loop, then turn the cross 90 degrees and wrap the yarn around the next stick. Continue wrapping a single loop and turning the cross until you create a diamond-shaped center. Be sure to wrap each loop snugly against the previous one. Cut the yarn off and tie a new color onto the end. Continue wrapping and turning to create a new ring outside the first one. Cut and tie again each time you want to change yarn color. Leave about half an inch of each end of the sticks uncovered to prevent yarn from slipping loose over the ends. Leave about six inches of yarn at the end of your last color. Thread the end under one of the loops on a stick and tie the yarn in knot, leaving a big loose loop to hang the God's eye from. What You Say: “Good job on these ‘God’s eyes.’ In our Bible story today, Jesus said to focus on the plank in our own eyes, not the sawdust in other peoples’ eyes. What He meant was that we should focus on our own flaws and ask forgiveness for those instead of focusing on other peoples’ mistakes. These craft sticks are a little smaller than a plank, but we can still [Apply] keep them in our rooms or in our backpacks this week to remind us not to judge other people. God wants us to [Impress] be careful not to judge someone else, because you’ve been wrong too. [Personalize] (Tell kids about a time you judged someone too quickly.)” 2. I Judge You, You Judge Me (application activity / great for active learners) What You Need: A ball What You Do: Guide the kids to stand in a circle and toss the ball around. After they have thrown it around a few times, have them close one of their eyes. As soon as someone misses the ball, they are out. Play until the final two kids remain. Play again, having them catch it as they jump up and down and/or while standing on one foot. What You Say: “Sometimes it seems so easy to judge other people and think they should have done something or not done something else. We might have thought the ball someone else missed would have been easy to catch. But, we don’t always know what someone else is going through. We have our own problems to take care of and we should [Impress] be careful not to judge someone else, because you’ve been wrong too. [Apply] This week, remember that you have been wrong, so you shouldn’t judge others.” TO ADAPT DUE TO LIMITED SPACE: If you have a limited amount of space, toss a beanbag or even a wadded-up piece of paper instead of a ball. Pass out Parent CUE cards as adults arrive for pick-up.

©2014 The reThink Group, Inc. All rights reserved. • www.ThinkOrange.com Adapted by KD/WaldheimUMC/Feb 2014

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Elem week 4 lesson