Reviewing and renewing Biblical faith through story and study

Friday, November 30, 2012

2013 GCY-JWoP - Day 6 - Agents of Justice and Beauty (7/9)

Junior/Teen Study Guide

Day 6 - Agents of Justice and Beauty


“Welcome to the Change Agents Group meeting once again,” Mr. Malku said. “Did you get a chance to be a friendship evangelist, this week?”

“Yes,” Melissa said. “A little girl got knocked over by a big kid and I was able to help her up and stay with her while the nurse looked after her bumps and scratches.”

“I helped an old lady,” said Stephen, “with her shopping. She was pushing a cart full of bags to her car. I asked if I could load them into her car and take the cart back for her. She was very grateful.”

“Good work,” Mr. Malku said. “What about disciple making? Did you guys get a chance to do any of that?”

“Sort of,” Nic said. “There were two guys about to fight in a basketball game. I stepped between them and told them God had better plans for both of them. They laughed, but it worked. They stopped fighting!”

“That’s classic,” Drake said. “Did you have a whole sermon ready if they wanted one?”

“Only the sermon I preach by the way I play now,” Nic said. “I get lots of complements about no longer getting violent. Everybody has noticed.”

“That’s great,” Mr. Malku said. “I’m proud of you for adjusting your behavior. What about teaching what Jesus taught? Did anybody get a chance to do that?”

“I did,” Shane said. “I have a friend who is very interested in Christianity. I talked to him a few times this week.”

“You sure he’s not just being quiet, hoping you’ll go away?” Drake said. “Like a lizard that sits really still, hoping nobody sees it.”

“Very funny, Drake,” Shane said. “You know John. We talk all the time. He’s not pretending.”

“Fair enough,” Drake said, smiling. Then he flicked his tongue in and out and darted his eyes from left to right.

Everyone laughed.

“Well,” Mr. Malku said, “it sounds like last week’s lesson has taken root in us. Let’s keep making disciples, teaching what Jesus taught and leading people to baptism!”

“Our opening question tonight is have you had something happen that changed the way you see life?”

The room was silent for a few moments as the group thought about the question.

“Earlier this year,” Liam said, “I went on a fly-and-build to a third-world country. At first it was like a holiday. Then I noticed how different life was for the people there. When a little boy asked me for my shoes, and I realized he wasn’t barefoot by choice, it really got to me. Life is hard for most of the world. That changed the way I saw everything when I got home. We have so much. We should be thankful. And we should share.”

“That’s a powerful story,” Mr. Malku said. “Anyone else with a story to share? A life changing moment?”

“When my mom left,” Stephen said. “It was really hard. My dad said it wasn’t my fault, but it took me a long time to believe that. I was sad for a year. Everything was in a haze all the time. Then, one day, I kind of stepped out of the haze. I still miss Mom, but I have lots of things to be thankful for—like you guys!”

“Thanks, Stephen,” Mr. Malku said. “That’s tough stuff. I’m glad we are able to be part of your life. Anyone else have a worldview changing event to share?”

“When I was an only child,” Drake said slowly, “Life was so good. Then, I had to share everything. That was hard.”

Everyone snickered as Shane shook his head. “Seven minutes, Drake,” Shane said, “I seriously don’t think you remember anything from the first seven minutes of your life!”

“You even stole that from me,” Drake said sadly, “My only good moments, gone!” Then Drake laughed. “Oh, I guess you’re not that bad. Hey, is that my shirt you’re wearing!?!”

The room filled with laughter again.

Through the sounds of merriment came a familiar voice, “Dinner is served!”

“And the Kingdom is growing!” The group shouted as they hurried to the table.

“Who wants to bless the food?” Mr. Malku asked.

“I will,” Chloe said. “Dear Jesus, thank you for this yummy food. And thank you for my mom who cooks so good! Amen!”

“Amen!”

Mr. Malku allowed the group to enjoy their food for a few minutes and then asked, “How does our worldview shape the way we see and do things?”

“What is a worldview?” Chloe asked.

“Uh, maybe the way we see the world,” Nic teased. “Just like it sounds - World! View!”

“Not fair, Nic. We all learn new things every day.” Mr. Malku said. “Chloe’s ahead of you now.”

“Hey!” Nic said. “That’s not fair! Quick, teach me something.”

“But it has to be something I already know,” Chloe said. “Or else I’ll learn it too and stay in the lead!”

Everyone laughed. Mr. Malku said, “That’s how worldviews work. As we learn things about life, knowledge, religion, other countries – our worldview changes.”

So a worldview,” Shane said, “is the filter we see the world through. The filters change like filters on a camera. Everything we see is shaded by whatever worldview we have.”

“That’s a very good illustration, Shane,” Mr. Malku said. “How do the cross and the resurrection of Jesus change your worldview?”

“Wow,” Stephen said. “It made a big difference for me. It was like the clouds parting to let the sun shine through on a dark stormy day.”

“Why did it make that big of a difference?” Drake said, “You still had the same house, the same clothes, the same school. What was so different?”

“It must be hard for the rest of you,” Stephen said. “You haven’t lived in the dark. You’ve always had the Jesus story shining in your life. Before you showed me Jesus, I felt like there was no purpose or hope in life.”

“I think you’re right,” Shane said. “I just don’t get it the way you do.”

“You remember the sermon, two Sabbath’s ago, when I came to church with you?” Stephen said. “Your dad told the story of that guy who ran away from home with his inheritance.”

“The Prodigal Son,” Drake said.

“Yeah,” Stephen said, “It’s like the story of the prodigal son, only if you didn’t know the father and home even existed. You’re just stuck out there thinking there is nothing better to hope for or to do with your life.”

“That would be a sad place,” Liam said. “Is that really what it was like for you?”

“Pretty much,” Stephen said. “And now I feel like I’m walking home. And it feels good. Sometimes I even feel like running just to get there faster!”

“Thanks for sharing, Stephen,” Mr. Malku said. “Once we grasp the new worldview the cross and the resurrection give us, God starts layering the filters. Let’s look at one together in Psalm 146.”


Group Discussion Time

Read Psalm 146.
God wants to hear the world sing verses 1 and 2. How does the rest of this Psalm make the song possible?
What does God want to see on earth?
What word would you use to label God’s desired “worldview” in this passage?
What impact could God’s people have on the world today if living this worldview?
How can we live verses 7-9?
As believers in Jesus, desiring the salvation of others, how can we bring justice to others before the Judge arrives?

Story Conclusion

“So justice is very important,” Mr. Malku said. “God wants us to bring justice—looking after the broken people—in the world.”

“We can also bring justice to the planet,” Drake said, “by caring for the beauty of nature. Like we said last week.”

“Very true, Drake,” Mr. Malku said. “I think you may have found your calling in life. You seem very passionate about making things right in Creation.”

“I’ve been thinking about it a lot,” Drake said. “I’m going to focus on Earth Sciences at school.”

“That is a great idea,” Mr. Malku said, “You know the first chapter of the Bible is all about how careful God was in His creative work? After each day of Creation He saw what He made and said it was “good.” After the creation of Adam on day six, He said it was “very good.”  

“He created everything slowly,” Chloe said.

“One week to create the entire planet!” Nic laughed, “That doesn’t sound slow to me.”

Stephen asked, “Couldn’t he have just said, ‘let there be a planet for my people’ and it would have appeared fully formed?”

“I guess so,” Nic said.

“Then giving a full day to each part of Creation,” Stephen said, “clearly shows He wanted to experience it in detail, because He loved it.”

“And He wants us to love and care for Creation, as well,” Drake said, “by making it beautiful!”

“Good thinking, boys,” Mr. Malku said. “So, Change Agents, over the next week, let’s see what we can do to be agents for justice and beauty in the world.”

“We will,” the group said.

“Alright,” Mr. Malku said. “Until next week, what are we?”

The group spoke as one, “We’re Change Agents!”

“And why are we Change Agents?”

“Because we’re changing the world for Jesus Christ!”

“Very good!” Mr. Malku said, “I’ll see you back here next week. Let’s pray. Any volunteers?”

“I’ll pray,” Nic said. “Dear Jesus, help us make a change in our world this week. Help us to create justice and beauty in the world around us. Amen.”

“Amen!”
 
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