|Synopsis: What would Jesus do at home? An in-depth look at how Jesus dealth with his family, and how youth can follow his example. Includes icebreaker and learning activities.|
Read the Conditions of Use Statement.
WWJD at Home?
To teach youth to honor and obey their parents
To teach youth to have a positive relationship with their siblings
Activate Your Audience
Have everyone in your group stand up and get as close to each other as possible. Ask everyone to close their eyes and raise one hand high into the air. Instruct each person to reach as far away from themselves as possible and grab onto someone else’s hand – do not let go. Do the same thing with the left hand. Now, instruct your group to untangle themselves from this knot without letting go of anyone’s hand.
Sometimes you feel like your life at home is in knots. You want to be free, but you’re all tangled up with your parents and siblings. There is a way, though, to be free without letting go of the love you have for your family.
Build a Bridge
à One blank sheet of paper for each youth
One pencil for each youth
Explain the following instructions. "Draw a large circle in the center of your sheet of paper. Place the tip of your pencil in the very middle of the circle and do not lift it. Now, without lifting the pencil from the paper, draw a line that starts in the middle of the circle and stops on the outside of the circle. Your line cannot cross the border of your circle." Let your youth have fun trying to figure this one out. They will complain that it cannot be done, or ask you for help. Don’t give anyone any hints. Give them five to ten minutes to solve the problem. If no one does, explain it to them using the following solution.
Place your pencil in the middle of the circle. Take one corner of the sheet and fold it over to where your pencil is. Draw your line onto the corner and onto the other side of the sheet. Slide the fold back to its original position until your pencil is safely outside the circle, and then draw the line back onto the original side of the sheet. You have now successfully drawn a line from the center of your circle to the outside of the circle without lifting your pencil or without crossing the border of the circle.
Sometimes we feel confined at home. We feel trapped, like someone has drawn a border around our lives. We want to get out. want to taste freedom. Often, we feel as if the only way to get "outside the circle" and experience true freedom is to cross the border, or violate the boundaries, that God has given us through our parents and families.
However, just like with the brain teaser you just did, there is a trick. You can experience true freedom without violating the boundaries that your parents and family have given you. Instead of violating the boundaries, you must look turn your life over Jesus. Just like you turned the sheet of paper over in the solution to the brain teaser, when you turn your life over to Jesus, he will help you experience true freedom while living with the family that God has given you.
Communicate the Word
A telemarketer dialed his next number. After one ring, a quiet young voice answered, "Hello."
"Greetings," the salesman said. "I would like to speak with your mother, please."
"She’s busy," replied the boy, who could not have been more than three years old..
"Could I speak with your dad?" The boy replied with the same answer.. "Is anyone else there that I could speak with?" the salesman urged..
"The police," whispered the boy."
"The police! Would you let me talk to them?"
"They’re busy," stated the voice flatly.
Dying from curiosity, the salesman said, "Who else is there?"
"The firemen," said the child..
"Firemen! Are they busy, too?" the salesman asked. After hearing the boy’s reply, the salesman asked, "What is everyone so busy doing?"
The boy said, "Shh. They’re looking for me."
Many teenagers today think that in order to get love and attention; in order to get freedom and privacy; in order to make their life more exciting -- they think that they have to LEAVE their family or at least REBEL AGAINST, or even HURT their family. That’s what that little boy thought. He thought that he had to hurt his family by not telling them where he was; that he had to leave his family by hiding in the closet, that he had to disobey his family by doing something he had been told not to do -- in order to get the things he wanted.
Why do we think that? Why do teenagers think we have to hurt, rebel against, and get away from our families in order to get the things they want? Because Satan is no dummy! He knows what you want -- and he knows that those basic needs and desires are God-given -- so what do you think Satan is going to do with God’s plan? Exactly what he’s been doing from the beginning. He’s going to trick you into thinking that you need to leave, hurt, and rebel against the very institution that God set up to provide for your needs. When actually -- and here’s where you need to listen -- actually, the truth is, God gave you your family IN ORDER THAT you could have all of these things -- not to keep you from having them. Your family is where you find the things you want: love and acceptance, independence and privacy, and an exciting life where things happen. Your family, no matter how messed up you may think it is, is God’s gift to you to help you fulfill the desires you have for your life.
If you want acceptance and love; if you want independence and privacy; and if you want to make exciting things happen in your life -- then you need to learn and live like Jesus at home.
Your basic needs at home.
1. To get attention and love from your family (Luke 2:1-7; John 19:25-27)
Whether you are living with one parent, both parents, grandparents, stepparents, or foster parents -- you have basic need to feel love, attention, and acceptance from your family. You want them to notice you and care you and understand who you are.
Ask your group to share specific ways that they desire to have attention and love from their parents. Examples could include wanting a parent to come watch a sports event that they are participating in, or just hearing Mom or Dad say, "Hey, I love you."
c. Examination and Discussion
Jesus’ parents were not rich. They did not even find a room to stay in on the night Jesus was born. Jesus could have been upset. He could have blamed his parents for not doing more to take care of him. He didn’t. We never find a single example in the Bible where Jesus complained about or talked back to his parents. He was thankful for the care given to him. He showed his gratitude in a specific way on the day that he died by making sure she had a home.
1) How did Jesus’ parents give him attention and love?
2) What is the greatest thing your parents ever did to show you their love?
3) What is the greatest thing that your brother/sister did to show you love?
4) What is the greatest thing you have ever done for a family member to express your love?
5) How can you express your love and appreciation to your parents?
God gave you the parents you have. They may not be perfect, and they may not be rich. However, they have given you love and attention, and will give you more if you express your gratitude to them for their care. Do what Jesus did, and do specific things to show your parents that you appreciate the love and attention they have given you.
2. To have freedom and privacy (Luke 2:41-52)
As you grow up, every day you learn to be more independent. Mom used to dress you and feed you and bathe you and move you from one end of the room to the other before you could walk. As the days went by, you learned to walk and to feed yourself and take a shower and pick out your own clothes to wear. These things didn’t happen overnight -- they occurred gradually. Now that you are older, somewhere between 12 and 18, you have a growing desire to do things on your own -- without your parents telling you what to do and when do it and how to do it. That’s a natural, God-given desire as you make the transition from teenager to adult. That growing desire isn’t met overnight -- it happens gradually.
A young girl walked outside and noticed a cocoon moving and bouncing along the sidewalk. She bent down watch, and noticed that a brand new baby butterfly was trying to emerge. The butterfly wanted the freedom be able to fly, but it was having a tough time. It didn’t seem to be able to get out of the cocoon on its own. The girl decided she would help. She picked up the cocoon and gingerly pried the opening wider so that the butterfly could escape. The baby insect did indeed crawl out, but something was dreadfully wrong. It could fly, and its body was odd-shaped.
The girl took the baby butterfly to her science teacher at school the next day. Her teacher explained the problem. "A new butterfly must struggle as it comes out of the cocoon. As it squeezes through a small opening, the pressures forces fluids out of the old caterpillar’s body and into the new wings so it can fly. Since you opened the cocoon and took away the struggle, that butterfly will never fly."
In the same way, God has planned it so that you must gain your independence slowly and surely – not so that you can simply experience struggles, but so that one day you can fly (do all that God has planned for you).
Examination and Discussion
Jesus had every right to stay in the temple as long as he did. After all, he is twelve years old – the Jewish age of manhood. He is also God! He wanted the freedom to spend time doing what he wanted to do. He wanted the privacy of being alone and away from his parents. However, when his parents finally found him and expressed their concerns, Jesus did two things. First, he calmly stated how he felt. Second, he was totally obedient to his parents by going home with them. He lived at home for another eighteen years! (See Luke 3:23).
1) When Jesus had free time, what did he do with it? (He did God’s will)
2) What should you do with your time? Be specific.
3) What types of freedom do you wish you could have (free time, etc?)
4) What do you think is unfair about the restrictions that your parents have placed on you?
5) How do your brothers and/or sisters restrict your freedom or invade your privacy?
6) How can you imitate Jesus by telling your parents how you feel and being obedient to them?
God didn’t give you your parents to restrict your freedom. He gave them to you to help you prepare for your freedom. Jesus spent thirty years at home, and three years in ministry. He spent ten times as much time at home as he did changing the world. He considered his time at home valuable training for his freedom.
God has specific plans for your life (Jeremiah 29:11-13). Those plans include preparing you for a life of freedom. You can experience that freedom if you will honor your parents and be obedient to them for as long as you live with them.
3. To live an exciting life (John 7:1-11; Acts 1:14)
No one wants to have a boring, humdrum life. However, many youth today say that they live in a house, not a home. Frequently, communication is the problem. Parents feel that youth don’t appreciate them. Youth feel that their parents don’t understand them, or that siblings are hurting (not helping) their lives.
Allow everyone in your group to share what he/she wants to be in ten years. Allow each person to share why he/she wants this life. The common denominator should be that it is something exciting and worthwhile.
Examination and Discussion
Jesus’ brothers did not believe in his claim to be the Son of God. In this situation they made fun of him and tried to bully him into doing what they wanted. Jesus was not intimidated by their bullying. He did not give into their demands. He did not get angry. Rather, he responded them with respect and did what he originally intended to do.
Because Jesus did what God wanted, and not what his brothers insisted, he went on to live an exciting life. He was crucified, but he rose again. Shortly after his resurrection and ascension, you find all of his brothers meeting together with the disciples in prayer. Now they believe in him. They no longer make fun of him. They worship him. His family now accepted him and loved him.
1) How did Jesus respond to conflict in his family?
2) How should you respond to conflict in your family?
3) What kinds of exciting things would you like to see happen at your house?
4) Describe the best time that you ever had with your family.
You can have an exciting life with the family you have if you learn to get along with your family members. At times, you will argue with your parents or your siblings. Whenever this happens, treat them with respect and listen to what they have to say. Imitate Jesus by always doing what is right, even in the face of conflict. You will have more exciting times at home and outside your home.
Do Something About It
Ask your group to share specific ways that they can follow Jesus’ example by showing appreciation to their families, obeying their parents, and improving their relationship with their siblings. Discuss how their families would change if they began living like Jesus at home.
Close in prayer.
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