January 19, 2014 FOR LEADERS ONLY GOD VIEW: the connection between KNOWLEDGE and God's character, as shown through God's big story From a young age, Jesus grew in His understanding of God’s plan throughout time. He studied, asked questions, and listened to teachers. But all that knowledge didn’t stay inside of Him. When it mattered most, Jesus was prepared for whatever tests Satan threw at Him. He taught others the importance of building their lives on a strong foundation of knowledge of God’s Word and putting that knowledge into practice. Knowledge is discovering something new so you can be better at whatever you do. Landscapers and gardeners have to know the needs of different plants. Professional athletes need to know the rules of their sport. Professors need to know the subject matter they teach. But the most valuable knowledge isn’t found in a textbook, manual, or Google search. The knowledge everyone needs, no matter their profession or stage of life, is found in God’s Word. The knowledge we glean from the 66 books of the Bible tells us how to live our lives day in and day out. But that knowledge is not an end in and of itself. We can know all there is to know about God, but if we don’t put any of our knowledge into practice it is worthless. We believe that God’s Word is the best place to discover something new about our world and ultimately ourselves. And when we put those discoveries into practice it changes us from the inside out and impacts the choices we make and the way we live. God is the source of all truth. We need to dig into His Word and discover that truth for ourselves. This month, let’s think about how: (1) The Bible is full of important information we need to learn. (2) Having knowledge is not enough. You have to put that knowledge into practice. (3) When we know what God says, we will know Jesus and His plan for our lives.
This week, we’re discovering: In this week’s Bible story, Jesus is tempted by Satan in the wilderness (Luke 4:1-13 Supporting: Matthew 4:1-11). But Jesus was prepared! He knew all of scripture and was ready for any and all of Satan’s tricks. Our Bottom Line is: discovering what God says helps me make the wise choice. When Jesus was tempted, He was able to fight Satan with truth from Scripture. But His knowledge wasn’t something He was born with. Just like you and me, He had to discover it before He could use it. That’s why it’s important for us to find out what God says and know His Word well enough to use it when we are tempted to do something wrong. The monthly memory verse is: “God has breathed life into all of Scripture. It is useful for teaching us what is true. It is useful for correcting our mistakes. It is useful for making our lives whole again. It is useful for training us to do what is right.” 2 Timothy 3:16, NIrV When tempted by Satan, Jesus used Scripture to do the right thing. He knew its power and made wise choices because of His knowledge.
THE Man vs. Wild Bible Story: THE Man vs. Wild (Jesus tempted in the wilderness) • Luke 4:1-13 (Supporting: Matthew 4:1-11) Bottom Line: Discovering what God says helps me make the wise choice. Memory Verse: “God has breathed life into all of Scripture. It is useful for teaching us what is true. It is useful for correcting our mistakes. It is useful for making our lives whole again. It is useful for training us to do what is right.” 2 Timothy 3:16, NIrV Life App: Knowledge—learning something new so you can be better at whatever you do. Basic Truth: I need to make the wise choice.
Plug In: Focus the Energy (Small Groups, 10-15 minutes)
Math Expert What You Need: Large piece of paper, marker What You Do: Ask kids if any of them consider themselves to be an expert in math. Then ask kids to tell you things they’ve learned about math, and write down their responses. (You might need to ask questions, such as: What have you learned other than addition? What is a fraction? How do you use math in real life?) Then ask what tools they have or can use to help them become math experts. Write down their ideas. What You Say: “When we study and listen to our teachers we can learn a lot about math and other subjects. When we study the Bible and listen to what God says, we can learn to make wise choices. [Transition] Let’s listen today, we’ll learn about how we can use God’s Word to make wise choices.”
Power Up: Engage the Heart (Large Group, 20-25 minutes)
Worship LEADER: “Hello, hello, hello. Today is going to be a great day. I can feel it. I want you to stand up on your feet. Get ready to lift your voice and get loud, to sing out, to move around. We’re gonna kick things off singing some songs of praise. Every day we have a choice to make. We can make the wise choice to do what is right or we can make the wrong choice. I know I want to choose every day to make the wise choice and to walk in the light of Jesus! C’mon, let’s get loud and have some fun. Here we go!” SFX: “I’m Gonna Walk” / track 6 from Turn It Up LEADER: “That was awesome. This next song is really a prayer we should pray before we do anything. Before we learn or hear any of the awesome things that are planned for us, let’s pray and invite God to lead us where He wants us to go. Let’s commit to do the things that He invites us to do. In all things, let’s choose to follow God with our whole life. Let’s give it all to Him today. Sing this together.” SFX: “I Will Follow” / track 9 from Zapped Assistant jogs in, wearing the same winter clothes from Week 1. Opener ASSISTANT: “What is up, you guys?! Well, I’ll tell you what is up, and that’s my excitement level about the Olympics! We’ve been learning so much about all these cool winter sports this month, and it’s got me stoked to watch them soon. I’m gonna be the (air quotes) ‘Best Winter Olympics Watcher from a Sofa’ that ever was, with all my newfound knowledge of winter sports. Just like we’ve been learning this month …
CG: Knowledge Slide “Knowledge is learning something new so you can be better at whatever you do. So yeah, I’m gonna be WAY better at the sport of winter-sports-watching-from-the-sofa after this month, and so will you guys! But today we’re going to jump right in to a new sport because I’m SURE I know how to play this one. After all, what could there be to learn about ice hockey? The name says it all! “So, who’s ready to play? I need two volunteers.
Select your volunteers. “To figure out how to play this game, we just need to think about the name. ‘Ice,’ well, that’s a given. (Hold up a plastic bag with ice cubes in it.) Then ‘hockey.’ (Say it a few times with the final time like you finally figured it out.) Hockey. Hockey. Hockey. Hooocky. Haaaawk-y. Clearly this sport has something to do with hawks! “I don’t know how much you guys know about hawks, but I do know that they have huge claws on their feet called talons. Super cool, right?! Maybe the game of ice hawk-y has something to do with picking ice up with your toes! “Let’s try this! All right, guys! This is how it’s gonna work. You’re going to race each other across the room with a piece of ice. But as you might have guessed, you won’t be carrying it in your hand or even kicking it. Nope, you’re going to carry it with your talons … I mean, toes! The first one to get to the other side wins. Have the volunteers take off their shoes. Give them each a piece of ice and direct them to stand behind your starting line. “On my count, race to see who can cross the finish line with your piece of ice. Remember, no kicking! Only carrying it with your toes is allowed! “On your mark, get set … Go! Leader enters while the game is playing and looks confused. After the game is over, Assistant dismisses the volunteers to their seats, but never notices the Leader. “That was some seriously amazing ice hawk-y, you guys. LEADER: (Clearing throat) “Ummm, [Assistant’s name].” ASSISTANT: (Afraid to turn around) “Oh no.” LEADER: “What?” ASSISTANT: (Still not turning around) “You’re going to tell me that ice hawk-y has nothing to do with either ice or hawks, aren’t you?” LEADER: “Well, sort of.”
ASSISTANT: “You know what? Don’t even tell me. I don’t think I can handle the truth right now. I’m just so disappointed about the hawk part. You go ahead and tell your story and I’ll figure something out.” Assistant exits, hanging his head. SETTING UP THE STORY LEADER: “Wow, I hate being the bearer of bad news for [Assistant’s name]. Thankfully, I have GREAT news
for you guys, because I have a really cool, true story from the Bible to share with you today. It’s a story that shows us just how much knowledge—knowledge of the right thing: God’s truth—helps us [Recycle] make the wise choice. “We’re continuing our journey through God’s big story, and we’re right in the middle of learning about Jesus’ life here on earth. Though Jesus was God’s Son, He studied and learned like other children. By the time He grew up and was baptized in the Jordan River, He knew God’s Word and always listened to God. Assistant enters quietly, dressed as a sleazy car salesman-type character, and freezes. “After Jesus was baptized, instead of sending Him from the Jordan River back home to Nazareth, the Spirit of God led Jesus away from everyone and into the desert. For forty long days and nights, Jesus ate nothing as He spent time alone among the rocks, preparing Himself for the work ahead. At the end of this time, you can imagine how incredibly hungry He was! That’s when … Spotlight on Assistant (If you have the ability, shine the spotlight whenever Assistant speaks.) “… The devil spoke up. STONES TO BREAD Assistant unfreezes. ASSISTANT: (Very sleazy-like and over the top) “‘If you (point to the air beside you, as though talking to Jesus) are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.’ (Luke 4:3, NIrV) Assistant freezes again. LEADER: (To the kids) “What do you think? Do you think Jesus took the deal? On the count of three, shout out either, ‘Deal’ or ‘No deal’! “One, two, three!” Give the kids a chance to shout their response. You may need to whisper to capture their attention back to the story. “It sounds like most of you saw what Jesus saw. What the devil told Jesus to do WAS possible. Jesus DID have God’s power: He could have changed even rocks into a feast! But Jesus knew He was only supposed to do what His Father told Him. So, He answered the devil with God’s own words, straight from Scripture: (Open the Bible and read Luke 4:4.) “Jesus answered, ‘It is written, “Man doesn’t live only on bread.”’” (NIrV) Assistant unfreezes. ASSISTANT: (Manic laughter) “Oh, a challenge? Very good. Very good. Shall we take a little trip?” (Hand out, palm up.) Assistant freezes again. WORSHIP SATAN LEADER: “The devil led Jesus to a high place, overlooking the lands far below. Cities and forests and fields and rivers spread out in a beautiful patchwork. It seemed all the beauty and riches of the entire world were in view.” Assistant unfreezes.
ASSISTANT: “See the kingdoms? (Sweeping gesture with palm up.) I’ll give you all the power and glory that comes from ruling over them. ‘It has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to.’” (Luke 4:6, NIrV) LEADER: “The devil’s voice seemed to drip with honey as he offered to let Jesus rule over the whole world. But there was one little catch.” ASSISTANT: “It will all be yours … (Hand out, palm up.) IF you worship me.” (Hand on chest.) Assistant freezes again. LEADER: (To the kids) “What do you think? Do you think Jesus took the deal? On the count of three, shout out, ‘Deal’ or ‘No deal’! “One, two, three! Give the kids a chance to shout their response. You may need to whisper to capture their attention back to the story. “It must have been tempting to reach out and take a powerful throne over all the nations. But Jesus knew that true, lasting power can only be given by God. Once again, He chose to answer with words from Scripture. (Open the Bible and read Luke 4:8.) “‘Jesus answered, “It is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God. He is the only one you should serve.’”’” (NIrV) Assistant unfreezes.
ASSISTANT: “You choose unwisely. You toss away all the power in the world. Are You REALLY the Son of God?” (Quizzical expression.) Assistant freezes again. THROW YOURSELF OFF THE TEMPLE LEADER: “The devil still wasn’t done tempting Jesus. This time, he led Jesus to Jerusalem, straight up to the very highest point of God’s temple! The city lay far below, the streets filled with people who seemed as tiny as ants. Once more, the devil taunted Jesus.” Assistant unfreezes. ASSISTANT: “‘If you are the Son of God … throw yourself down from here.’” (Luke 4:9, NIrV) (Dramatically thrust your arm out and down.) LEADER: “Then the devil pulled out his last trick. He, too, quoted Scripture!” ASSISTANT: “The Lord will command His angels to take good care of you. They will lift you up in their hands. Then you won’t trip over a stone.” (Luke 4:11, NIrV) (Nagging finger point at the air, patronizingly.) Assistant freezes again. LEADER: (To the kids) “What about this one? Do you think Jesus took the deal? On the count of three, shout out, ‘Deal’ or ‘No deal’! “One, two, three!” Give the kids a chance to shout their response. You may need to whisper to capture their attention back to the story.
“The devil’s mocking words rang in Jesus’ ears. It would have been so easy for Jesus to prove His true identity by flinging Himself off the temple. But instead, He chose wisely. Once again, He answered the devil with God’s Word. (Open the Bible and read Luke 4:12.) “Jesus answered, ‘Scripture says, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”’ (NIrV) “The devil was boiling with rage, but he had no weapons left, nothing more with which he could tempt Jesus.” ASSISTANT: “Suit yourself!” (Pull up on the lapels of your suit jacket, lift your hat up and put it back on your head and walk off.) LEADER: “When the devil was gone, angels came and took care of Jesus. Jesus knew God’s Word and God’s heart behind it so He saw through the devil’s lies. This helped Him to make the wise choice, and resist the devil’s temptations.
WRAPPING UP THE STORY LEADER: “You guys, God knows we're going to be tempted and need help to fight temptation. So through His Word, He gives us what we need to fight temptation. Just like Jesus was able to fight off the devil’s tempting offers because He knew what God’s Word said, you and I can be prepared to make the wise choice when we know what the Bible says. That’s right … CG: Bottom Line Slide [Impress] “Discovering what God says helps me make the wise choice. “But here’s the key: you have to find out what God says BEFORE you’re faced with temptation. Because you’re usually not going to have time to do a lot of research before you respond in a tempting situation. The best thing you can to do prepare is to spend time in God’s Word on a regular basis. Maybe it’s first thing in the morning, or maybe it’s right before you go to bed. Whenever it is, reading and knowing God’s Word is always the wise choice and leads you to make other wise choices! “I have a challenge for each of us today. When you go home, look up a Bible verse that can help you when you’re tempted to do something wrong. If you need help, ask an adult. In fact, you’re going to talk about this in just a few minutes! Look up the verse, write it down, and work on memorizing it this week. That way, the next time you’re tempted, you’ll have the wisdom you need to resist temptation like Jesus did! Let’s pray and ask God for help in saying ‘No’ to sin.” Pray LEADER: “Heavenly Father, we’re so thankful that You have not left us alone in our battle against the devil and sin. We know we need Your help to resist temptation, so thank You for giving us all that we need to know in Your Word. We want to make the wise choice, so please help us do that this week. We ask these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.” Assistant enters quietly during the prayer. Closer ASSISTANT: (To Leader) “Hey [Leader’s name], I heard the story you just told. And it made me realize that while I did SOME research on today’s sport, I wasn’t really being wise about it. I knew today’s sport was ice hockey, and I actually have a book about ice hockey, but instead of doing the work of reading it to prepare for today, I just kind of did some guess work and started Googling about hawks. Turns out, just HAVING a book doesn’t actually get the knowledge in your head. Huh. “So I did a little reading backstage …
CG: Hockey book photo (or a print-out of a book cover, or even better: hold up an actual book) “And here’s something I learned about ice hockey. Did you know it doesn’t actually involve playing with ice after all? Apparently you play ON ice, not WITH it. Who knew? Well, probably everyone but me. But here’s something you may not have known:
(Reciting from memory—you can change this to be a quote from your specific book.) “‘The simplest explanation of ice hockey is to say it is a fast-paced game played on a frozen ice surface by two teams of six players each. These players wear skates and carry a wooden stick that curves at the bottom. They use the sticks to push the playing piece, called a puck, across the ice and into a net to score points, which are called goals. The object of the game is for each team to try to score more goals than its opponent.’ (from Ice Hockey Made Simple: A Spectator's Guide by P.J. Harari and Dave Ominsky) (Exhaling.) “Whew. I’m so glad I learned that—it would have been helpful to know this morning, but now I’m prepared for the next time … like when I compete for the title of (air quotes) ‘Best Winter Olympics Watcher from a Sofa’ next month.” LEADER: (Patting Assistant on the back) “Great job, my friend. You’re really starting to get the hang of this knowledge stuff.” ASSISTANT: “Thanks, man. “Yep, I should have focused on what I needed to know—just like in life, when it comes to making wise choices. “Jesus knew what He needed to know from God’s Word. He knew exactly how to respond to temptation in a tough situation. “The same thing goes for us. It takes knowing what God says to be able to make a wise choice when we face temptation! Like maybe you’re at a friend’s house and a cool-looking link pops up on your favorite website. You’re both tempted to click it, but your parents have told you not to visit sites they don’t look at first. Since you already know that God wants you to obey your parents, it’s easy to see that the wise choice is to wait. “Or maybe your younger brother is playing with the awesome new LEGO model you just put together. You’re tempted to yell at him and yank it away, but you remember that God says for us to be kind to each other. So, you can choose to speak to him calmly and ask for him to please give it back. Here’s the most important thing to remember this week: CG: Bottom Line Slide [Impress] “Discovering what God says helps me make the wise choice. Can you guys say that with me?” ASSISTANT and KIDS: [Impress] “Discovering what God says helps me make the wise choice.” ASSISTANT: “It’s just like our Bible verse this month says: CG: Memory Verse Slide “‘God has breathed life into all of Scripture. It is useful for teaching us what is true. It is useful for correcting our mistakes. It is useful for making our lives whole again. It is useful for training us to do what is right,’ 2 Timothy 3:16.” (NIrV) “Speaking of training, I’ve got some work to do if I want to stand any chance of medaling in winter-sportswatching-from-the-sofa next month, so I’d better run. But you guys definitely want to be back next week, because I think it’s time for us to put into action some of this fun winter sports knowledge we’ve gained this month!”
Catch On: Make the Connection (Small Groups, 25-30 minutes)
Not Going to Do It! What You Need: Sticky notes, pencils, paper bag, garbage can, Bible What You Do: Guide kids to brainstorm things that are temptations to kids their age. (Note: For groups with mostly younger kids, you may need to explain temptation. You can say something like, “It’s that feeling you get when you want to do something you shouldn’t do. It’s like wanting to eat a cookie right before dinner. Or wanting to play with your brother’s scooter, even though you know he doesn’t like you to take it without asking.”) If kids are having trouble brainstorming temptations, you can offer a few ideas such as cheating on a test, lying, sneaking a dessert, taking cuts in line, teasing a little brother, etc.). Instruct kids to write one of these things on a sticky note drop it in the paper bag. Then pass the bag around and tell kids to each pull out a note. They read it aloud to the group and then share how they can use what God says in the Bible to help make a wise choice. (If they get stuck or seem to be answering too vaguely, assist them in looking up Scripture to go along with the temptation they are sharing about. Use the concordance in the back of the Bible if you’re not sure where to draw from.) When everyone has finished sharing, let kids crumple the paper and shoot it into a garbage can as they say with conviction: “Not going to do it!” TO ADAPT FOR YOUNGER KIDS: Have them draw picture on a regular piece of paper. When finished, have everyone place the papers face down in the center of your small group area. Then following directions above to share what the Bible has to say about temptation. They can even crumple up their papers and throw them in the trash and say: “Not going to do it!” What You Say: “God’s Word is powerful. Knowing God’s Word can keep you from making bad choices and getting into trouble. [Apply] The next time you find yourself being tempted, remember what God says you should do, and then do it. [Impress] Discovering what God says helps me make the wise choice.”