This may be old news to you, but there was a pivotal moment in the New York Giant’s season that led to their Superbowl victory. Some would say that the moment had nothing to do with the X’s and O’s, or the coaching, the preparation, or anything like that. Some would say, even the players, it came down to an object lesson. The object lesson came when a high school teacher was given the opportunity to speak at the NY Giant’s chapel and handed out poker chips, told them to put their name on the chip, and asked them if they were “all in?” You can hear more about it here:
I am part of a team that trains the student staff in our YL region and I was talking to them last week about the book of John. In our region we are focusing on the book of John this year. One of the unique features of the book of John is the “I Am” statements. As you may know, when Moses encountered the Lord in the burning bush and asked the Lord what to tell people as His name, the Lord replied “I Am Who I Am” (Exodus 3:14). So when we are reading through the book of John we find the author using this phrase “I am” as an important tool to communicate Jesus’ divinity and the Lord’s identity. As I was teaching this I gave our student staff some ideas about how to utilize these in club talks, campaigner talks, team devotionals, etc. Here are a couple of them:
1. I am… the bread of life (John 6:35)
Just like our need for food, Jesus is the food we need for life. I suggested using a loaf of bread as an illustration to talk about how we need food and what happens when we are hungry or don’t have food. A few of the Wyldlife leads said they thought this object lesson would work well with their kids.
2. I am… the light of the world (John 8:12, 9:5)
Throughout scripture we see a contrast of the “light” and the “dark”. It starts in Genesis and works its way all the way through. I recall my leader, Kathy Mason, doing a talk when I was in high school when she turned off the lights during her talk to illustrate what it is like in the dark. This would be a good time to talk about what it is like when you don’t know what to do, when you aren’t sure where to go for help, when you don’t have answers, when you feel alone, and more. Then, after it almost gets uncomfortable and people’s eyes are getting adjusted to the dark (which is another illustration you can use), turn on a flashlight and talk about Jesus being the “light” of the world. Jesus lights up dark places, shows us the world around us as it really is, shows us who God is, allows us to even see who we really are, etc. There is a lot you can do with this!
My friend Twiggs years ago showed me a short foreign movie about the famous story of the drawbridge operator who closed the bridge on his son in order to save the people on the train. If you can watch it in its entirety, I recommend it. We watched it after camp with an all-area campaigners and had powerful small group discussions afterwards.
I used this earlier this year in a cross talk. I think there are lots of ways to use this clip. It is not a perfect analogy of the cross or atonement (for example, Christ’s death was voluntary by Christ, not an “accident”), but there are some very powerful themes that this clip is able to get right to.
Earlier this year we had a follow-up discussion in campaigners about this clip. Here are a few of the questions we used…
Q: What do you think those people were thinking when they crossed the bridge?
Q: How is this similar about the way people treat God?
Q: How did the father feel about his son?
Q: How do you think the father felt about the people on the train afterward?
Q: What does the movie motivate you to do in your relationship with God?