Note to the Teacher
The key theme in this lesson is “Surrendering Our Lives.” The icebreaker begins by inviting the students to engage in a simple but difficult task, one that involves surrendering their will to the will of the group. The discussion encourages students to think about how they might surrender to the will of God and allow God to work in them and through them. This may not be so easy, but it is simple. The activity allows the students to engage in the abstract and create something with one simple rule. Times are based on a fifty-minute lesson period but may be adjusted.
1. Icebreaker: Human Knot (10 minutes)
Put all the students in a circle. Have them reach their right hands in the middle and grab a random hand. Then have them do the same with the left hand. They should be good and tangled now. Without letting go of any hand, they need to untangle themselves. Feel free to try this a few times. If you have a lot of students, make it a competition with two groups.
2. Read Scripture (5 minutes)
We begin today in the book of Jeremiah. Jeremiah is the longest book in the prophets, and it was written in the midst of deep suffering. Jeremiah was writing for survivors of war and trauma who had also been exiled from their home. The people had been warned that God was displeased, but they did not listen. They were then to live with the consequences. Jeremiah does share that hope indeed is still alive. Our passage concerns Jeremiah’s experience of God calling him to be a prophet. Jeremiah gave excuses, but God was reassuring.
Read Jeremiah 1:4-10.
3. Discussion (15 minutes)
- The beginning of Jeremiah’s call from God has to do with God’s knowledge of Jeremiah. God says, “Before I created you . . . I knew you.” How does it feel to know that God knew you even before you were born and that God has been with you since your beginning?
- Have you ever felt God nudging you to do something or to speak to someone? What keeps you from following that nudge? Jeremiah tries to tell God, “I’m only a child.” Jeremiah tried to give excuses. But God reminds Jeremiah that God is with him. How does it feel to know that God knows you and God is with you? How do you know that a “nudge” is coming from God as opposed to something else? Whom could you talk with about the things that God may want for you?
- God wanted Jeremiah to surrender completely to God. God wanted the words Jeremiah spoke and the actions he accomplished to be led by God. What do you think “surrendering your life to God” means? Do you think it has to be an “all or nothing” kind of thing? Or are there baby steps that can be taken? Is there something scary or risky about surrender?
- Have you ever taken the time to ask yourself, “How much of my life is surrendered to God?” How might you take the way that you interact with God at church or during youth gatherings into other parts of your life at home or school?
Read Galatians 2:20.
- What might it mean that Christ now lives in you? Does that feel like a joy or a burden? No matter what you are doing (eating lunch, playing video games, going to school, etc.), do you think it is possible for other people to learn about Jesus and faith through the way you live?
- Are there people you can think of who are great examples of “Christ living” in them? What about them makes it obvious and easy to see? Is there anything that they do that you would like to try and do this week?
4. Activity and Discussion (20 minutes)
- A life with God may not always be easy, but it can be simple. Likewise, this activity is simple. Bring a lot of craft items from home or the store and put them all in one bucket or container. Items can include Lincoln Logs, cotton balls, pipe cleaners, construction paper, balloons, and so on. Don’t be afraid!
- Organize the students into pairs or groups of three. Send them to each corner of the room. Dump all the items into the middle of the floor.
- Have the students use the craft items to create something related to the lesson for today.
- Here’s the catch: the students can send only one member of the group to the middle to get craft items, one item at a time.
- Afterward, ask the students to present their constructions and explain what each construction has to do with the lesson today.
- Close in the manner that is typical for you. Consider taking joys/concerns from the students, then asking for a volunteer to close in prayer.
Total time: 50 minutes
- Random craft items from home
- Bucket or container for all the items