Reviewing and renewing Biblical faith through story and study

Saturday, December 01, 2012

2013 GCY-JWoP - Day 7 - The Future Now (8/9)

Junior/Teen Study Guide

Day 7 - The Future Now

“Welcome back,” Mr. Malku said. “How was your week? Did anyone get a chance to be an agent of justice or beauty?”

“There’s a homeless guy,” Stephen said, “who lives near my dad’s office. I was there on Sunday and asked him if he needed anything. He said he was cold and hungry. So I bought him a blanket and got a footlong sandwich for him.”

“That’s great!” Mr. Malku said. “Good justice work! Anyone else?”

“There’s a boy in my class who can’t read very well,” Liam said. “I talked to him and the teacher and arranged for us to sit together so I can help him. And the teacher said he can have extra time on tests so he can finish them.”

“You’re very observant, Liam,” Mr. Malku said. “God has given you a gift for seeing people’s less obvious needs. Good job. What about beauty? Did anyone have a chance to make things beautiful this week?”

“I cleaned my room,” Melissa said. “And then I got carried away and cleaned the kitchen and lounge room. Mom was suspicious. When I didn’t ask for anything, she was very surprised. She said I was growing into a wonderful person.”

“That’s nice,” Mr. Malku said. “Anyone else have an agent of beauty story to tell?”

“I told a bunch of girls they were gorgeous,” Nic said.

There were snickers around the room.

“And how did that go?” Mr. Malku asked.

“Not so well,” Nic said. “They kept telling me to go away.”

Everyone laughed. “So, Romeo, did you ask them all out on dates?” Drake said.

“No,” Nic said. “It wasn’t like that! I just wanted them to know they were beautiful. I can’t help it if God made lots of cute girls!”

“Hmmm...” Mr. Malku said. “Girls don’t hear enough kind words from us guys, but perhaps you should save those special complements until the right ‘one’ comes along.”

A voice they all loved to hear sang out from the kitchen, “Dinner is served!”

“And the Kingdom is growing!” They replied as they rushed to the table.

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

“I will,” Nic said. “Dear Jesus, thanks for this yummy food and thanks for my mom who cooks such delicious things! Amen.”

“Amen!”

After they had been eating for some time, Mr. Malku asked, “When people become Christians, do they become more useful or less useful to the world?”

Stephen said, “My dad says most Christians are ‘So heavenly minded, they’re no earthly good.’”

“Christians should be more useful,” Shane said, “because they have Jesus’ mission in their heart and love people the way He does.”

“But most of them don’t,” Drake said. “Most Christians ignore the world around them. They go to church and don’t do anything to help others.”

“That’s a bit unfair,” Liam said. “I think most Christians would do great things for God if they were asked.”

“My dad would agree with Drake,” Stephen said. “At least, he would have before I started coming to this group.”

“What do you mean?” Drake asked.

“We drive past this one church every Sunday,” Stephen said. “When we drive past, there are couples and families filing through the big iron gates and into the brick building. My dad usually says something like, ‘Well, they’ve got God all locked up, don’t they?’ or ‘One God in a box, coming up!’”

“Why is he so hard on them?” Shane asked.

“He says they all live for ‘pie in the sky, by and by’ but you don’t see them sharing the pie with anyone outside their iron gates. ‘Caged grace’ is what Dad calls it.”

“Your dad has a lot of one-liners!” Nic said.

“He’s a dad,” Stephen said. “Whenever he says one, I always say ‘dad joke!’ and he laughs. But he doesn’t say them anymore.”

“Why not?” Chloe asked.

“Because now,” Stephen said, “when he sees them, he comments on how different the Change Agents Group is from the ‘penguins on parade.’”

A wave of laughter went around the table.

“How are we different?” Mr. Malku asked. “What has you dad noticed?”

“He says we are ‘out of the box’ Christians,” Stephen said. “We are trying to make a difference in the world outside our church.”

“Because we’re Change Agents!” Melissa said. “We know Jesus wants us to make a difference.”

“Well,” Stephen said, “I guess it shows. And it is making a difference, for my dad at least!”

Shane was scratching his chin. Mr. Malku noticed. “What are you thinking, Shane?”

“Well,” Shane said, “While I have heard my dad preach about God wanting us to be ‘in the world but not of the world’, he also frequently preaches about the Second Coming, Heaven, the Millennium, and the New Earth.”

“Yes he does,” Mr. Malku said. “And I enjoy his sermons very much!”

“I think those things are important,” Shane said. “Or there wouldn’t be so much about them in the Bible, right?” Shane looked up at Mr. Malku who looked at the group, waiting for them to answer.

“This world is not my home,” Nic started to sing. “I’m just a passin’ through!”

Then Chloe joined, “If heaven's not my home then Lord what will I do.”

“See!” Shane said. “Heaven is our home!”

“So says some song,” Drake said. “Where were Adam and Eve created? Earth. Earth is our home.”

“Not the way it is now,” Shane said. “It’s fallen a long way from the Garden of Eden!”

“Home is home, prefect or not,” Drake said. “No matter how far away you go or how long you stay, it doesn’t change where you’re from!”

“You’re both right,” Mr. Malku said. “Let’s have a look at three stories Jesus told about His Second Coming. I think they will bring your two views together. Let’s clear the table and head back into the lounge room.”



Group Interaction Time - Matthew 25

Read Matthew 25:1-13. What were they all doing when the bridegroom arrived? What had half of them done before nightfall? What are the spiritual resources we need to have in ready supply as the time of Christ’s return approaches? What can we do today and tomorrow to increase our stored supply of these spiritual resources?

Read Matthew 25:14-30. What does this passage tell us about those living between the time of Jesus’ ascension and Second Coming? What was each of the servants given? What made the difference at the Master’s return—the amount of money raised, or something else? What can we do today and tomorrow to ensure we are not living in fear, like the third man?

Read Matthew 25:31-46. This story is the climax of Jesus’ “end of the world” sermon. What does it focus on? What makes the difference between the sheep and the goats when Jesus returns? What can we do today and tomorrow to ensure we are standing on His right—sheep of the Good Shepard—when Jesus returns as Judge?


Story Conclusion

“Why have I heard it so differently at church?” Drake said. “We have made wanting to go to heaven into a selfish thing rather than a call to bring God’s kingdom to everyone and everything!”

“These three stories make it clear,” Liam said. “We are supposed to be staying full of His presence, developing our spiritual gifts, and helping ‘the least of these’ at every step of the journey.”

Shane added, “God is serious about looking after who and what He loves.”

“Isn’t that what salvation is all about really?” Chloe asked.

“It sure is,” Mr. Malku said. “But don’t you all want to go to heaven one day?”

The group nodded their heads.

“Of course I do,” Drake said, “I just don’t want to wait.”

“Then don’t wait,” Mr. Malku said. “God wants His kingdom to be alive in His followers now.”

“That’s how He knows,” Melissa said.

“Knows what?” Mr. Malku asked.

“Who belongs to Him,” Melissa said. “They are changing the world, making it a better place for everyone else. The sheep are making things better for everyone.”

“And the goats are eating the roses,” Nic laughed.

The lounge room glowed with the warmth of laughter. “Well, I think you guys have a firm grasp of this topic,” Mr. Malku said. “Now we just need to go create the future—bring God’s kingdom to life.”

“It seems like the last few weeks have all been about the same thing,” Liam said.

“How so?” Mr. Malku asked.

“No matter what the topic is,” Liam said, “we end up deciding to go out and do something good for the world.”

“You’re right,” Mr. Malku said. “Why do you think God keeps repeating Himself?”

“Because people aren’t listening,” Drake said.

“Or they keep forgetting,” Melissa said.

“Are we listening?” Mr. Malku asked.

“YES!” the group shouted.

“And will we be forgetting?”

“NO!”

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

The group sang, “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 and hope to see each of you at Sabbath school. Who will pray?”

“I’ll pray,” Liam said. “Dear Jesus, help us bring your kingdom to life today. Help us to be like the sheep, not the goats. Help us to show your love to the people everywhere who need You so much. Amen.”

“Amen!”
 
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