Get in the Game – Summer 2012

Brent Weber leading kids in worship at Highland Lakes Camp, Summer 2011

Summer 2012 Camp Curriculum

Introduction:

This camp curriculum is written as an 8-session series.  Certain sessions can be combined or eliminated to adjust to camps with fewer sessions.  “Get in the Game” is a title attributed to the planning committee for Mt. Lebanon Baptist Summer Camp 2012.  The discussion questions are written by Jesse Joyner.  Please include this info if you share this.

Big Idea:

“Get in the Game”.  God wants us to stop being spectators and start becoming players in His game (the Kingdom of God).

Bible Focus:

The Bible is full of heroes and heroines who show us what it means to be an active participant in God’s game.  We will look at 8 people in the Old Testament who show us both how to and how not to be participants in God’s kingdom.

Sporting Theme:

This summer is the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, England.  We will use inspirational stories and events from Olympic history (and some current stories) to help illustrate the Biblical ideas of each lesson.

Memory Verse:

(this can be only the first verse for the younger kids)

Hebrews 12:1-2 (NIV)

1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.  2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Teaching Sessions

Session 1: “If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em” (Genesis 32:22-32)

Jacob was a crafty man.  The grandson of Abraham, he got himself into a lot of trouble.  But one day, God showed him who was in charge by sending a mysterious angel to wrestle him in the middle of the night.  Let’s find out who won that wrestling match….

 

Session 2: “We All Have Different Gifts Given By God” (Exodus 35:30-36:8)

Bezalel is not very well known.  But he performed a great service for God and His sanctuary when Moses and the people traveled towards the Promised Land.  Let’s find out what he did and why his example is important for you and I today….

 

Session 3: “How Will You Use Your Strength?” (Judges 14:1-16:31)

Samson was probably the strongest man in the Old Testament.  He was given the special ability of great strength by God.  Let’s find out whether he used that strength for good or evil….

 

Session 4: “Your God Will Be My God” (Ruth 1:16)

Ruth was a simple girl from a simple town.  But her bold faith took her to a place that made her an indispensable part of God’s plan to save the world.  And kids today can be like Ruth in God’s plan still today…

 

Session 5: “Help a Friend Find Strength in God” (1 Samuel 18:1-9; 20:11-42; 23:16-17)

Jonathan was King David’s best friend.  The only problem was that Jonathan’s dad was David’s enemy.  So what happened to their friendship?  Let’s find out….

 

Session 6: “Blessed Are the Peacemakers” (1 Samuel 25:23-35)

Abigail had a really mean husband.  But that didn’t stop her from making sure that there was peace between her angry husband and King David.  Her bold actions very likely prevented a battle that could have killed many people.  We can help bring peace where there is strife in this world today, all in the name of Jesus, the Prince of Peace….

 

Session 7: “God is Our Priority Above All Things” (Esther 7:1-8:17)

Esther is one of the most courageous women in the Bible.  She put everything on the line (including her life) to do what was right and stand up for God and His chosen people.  Let’s see how her example can be lived out today….

 

Session 8: “Follow God’s Directions!” (Jonah 1:1-4:11)

Jonah was a prophet who ran into some trouble at sea.  Could it have been because God told him to go one way and Jonah went the exact opposite way?  What happens when we don’t follow God’s directions?  Let’s find out….

 

 

Session 1: Jacob

“If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em”

Genesis 32:22-32

 

Jacob was a crafty man.  The grandson of Abraham, he got himself into a lot of trouble.  But one day, God showed him who was in charge by sending a mysterious angel to wrestle him in the middle of the night.  Let’s find out who won that wrestling match….

Olympic Event: Wrestling (Gardner vs. Karelin)

Bible Story: Read Genesis 32:22-32 together

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Have you ever seen a sport wrestling match (not WWE, we’re talking about school wrestling or Olympic wrestling)?  Have you yourself ever tried that kind of wrestling?  What was it like?  How did the winner win?
  2. Who usually wins wrestling matches?
  3. What happened to Jacob when he was crossing the Jabok River?  Who do you think that mysterious person was?
  4. What would you have done if you were Jacob that night?
  5. What was Jacob’s new name after the wrestling match?  Why did he get that name?
  6. You can try to be your own god in life, but will you ever be stronger than the One True God?  What is life like when we go against God?  What is life like if we join God’s side?

Summary: God sent an angel to wrestle with Jacob and it was a close match.  They wrestled all night long.  The angel gave Jacob a limp and Jacob demanded that the angel bless him before they parted ways.  The angel gave him a new name, Israel, which means “wrestled with God”.  Jacob left a new person and was strengthened in his walk with God because of it.

Bottom Line: God is the one who strengthens us in life.  If we try to fight Him, He’ll win, and we’ll want to join His side.

 

Session 2: Bezalel

“We All Have Different Gifts Given By God”

Exodus 35:30-36:8

 

Bezalel is not very well known.  But he performed a great service for God and His sanctuary when Moses and the people traveled towards the Promised Land.  Let’s find out what he did and why his example is important for you and I today….

Olympic Story: Medal-Making (show pictures of Olympic medals which can easily be found online)

Bible Story: Read Exodus 35:30-36:8 together

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Did you notice in the Bible story which medals Bezalel was gifted in crafting? (Gold, Silver, Bronze!).  He was an Olympian medal maker!
  2. Was Bezalel a very famous person in the Bible?  Have you ever heard of him before?
  3. Where did Bezalel’s skill come from, according to the Bible story?
  4. Some people are very famous and do big things in front of lots of people.  Can you name some superstars in today’s culture?
  5. Other people do things “behind the scenes” and never become famous, but their work still glorifies God and their gifts are just as important to God’s Kingdom as more “famous” people.  Bezalel was like this.  Can you think of gifts that God gives us that might be more “behind the scenes” gifts? (praying for people, studying and learning things, helping people outside of the limelight, writing, creating and designing things, etc.)

Summary: Bezalel was filled with the Spirit of God and glorified God by doing “behind the scenes” work (making beautiful crafts and arts for the tabernacle).  He shows us that you don’t have to be famous or have the “up front” gifts to do big things for God.  We all have different gifts and all are equally necessary in God’s kingdom.

Bottom Line: God gives us all different gifts and those gifts are all equally needed in God’s kingdom.

Session 3: Samson

“How Will You Use Your Strength?”

Judges 14:1-16:31

 

Samson was probably the strongest man in the Old Testament.  He was given the special ability of great strength by God.  Let’s find out whether he used that strength for good or evil…

Olympic Event: Weightlifting (find pictures & videos online and show the kids Olympic weightlifting).  The world record is 580 lbs (that one man lifted with barbells)!

Bible Story: Read Judges 16:1-31 together

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What is the heaviest thing you have ever lifted?  Have you ever tried to lift something but you weren’t able to because it was too heavy?  What happened?
  2. How do people usually get stronger?
  3. Where did Samson’s strength come from? (the Spirit of God)
  4. God used Samson’s strength to do some good things.  Do you know what some of those things were? (defeating God’s enemies at the time, the Philistines)
  5. Samson had a problem.  There was one thing that would always distract him from doing the right thing.  What was that? (he always seemed to hang around the wrong kind of women, which was his downfall)
  6. Delilah found out what was necessary to take away Samson’s strength.  What was that? (cut his hair)
  7. Samson is listed as a hero of the Bible in the book of Hebrews (Heb 11:32), but he’s one of those heroes who could have been so much more had he not been distracted by women.  What are some things in your life that can distract you from living the full calling that God has on your life?

Summary: Samson had a gift of strength.  He used it to defeat evil.  But he also let evil into his life (through women) and lost his strength because of it.  He died in bondage to the Philistines, but was able to ask God for his strength one last time to take out his captors with him (by pushing the pillars of the Philistine temple down).

Bottom Line: God gives us our strength.  He wants us to use it for His kingdom and we can fully do that when we avoid temptations and distractions.

Session 4: Ruth

“Your God Will Be My God”

Ruth 1:16

 

Ruth was a simple girl from a simple town.  But her bold faith took her to a place that made her an indispensable part of God’s plan to save the world.  And kids today can be like Ruth in God’s plan still today…

Olympic Event: Tennis (show pictures and videos from Olympic tennis easily found online – particularly the life of Monica Seles, because she will be highlighted in the teachings at camp)

Bible Story: Read Ruth 1:16 and give the kids a summary of the book of Ruth

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Have you ever heard of Monica Seles?  She was the number one women’s tennis player in the world about 20 years ago.  She won a bronze medal in the Olympics for the USA.  But she’s from Yugoslavia.  So how did she do that?  Well, she changed her citizenship to become an American.
  2. There was a special woman in the Bible who changed her citizenship.  We just read about her.  What was her name? (Ruth)
  3. Ruth wanted to go with her mother-in-law, Naomi, even though Naomi encouraged her to stay behind.  What did Ruth end up saying to Naomi? (your people will be my people and your God will be my God)
  4. What kinds of things do you think Ruth had to give up to leave her home country?  Do you think that was hard?
  5. Ruth later made a bold move and courted and eventually married a guy named Boaz.  Do you know why Boaz is well-known?  (Boaz and Ruth were the great-grandparents of King David, which was the family line that eventually brought us Jesus Chris, the Savior of the world)

Summary: Ruth gave up her home, her country, even her own religion – to follow the one true God.  This placed her in a new country where God used her bold faith to become an ancestor of Jesus Christ – a necessary part of God’s plan to save the world.

Bottom Line: Following God means we have to give up a lot of things in life – sometimes the things we hold very dearly and closely.  But God always has a bigger plan in mind when we follow Him as our God.

Session 5: Jonathan

“Help a Friend Find Strength in God”

1 Samuel 18:1-9; 20:11-42; 23:16-17

 

Jonathan was King David’s best friend.  The only problem was that Jonathan’s dad was David’s enemy.  So what happened to their friendship?  Let’s find out….

Olympic Event: Archery (Im Dong-hyun, world record holder and legally blind, but refuses corrective eye surgery).  Also Derek Redmond (Dad helping across line)

Bible Story: 1 Samuel 18:1-9; 20:11-42; 23:16-17

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How many of you have a best friend (BFF)?  How many of you have lots of BFF’s?  What makes someone a great friend?
  2. How would you feel if the parents of your best friend hated you?  What would that do to your relationship with your best friend?
  3. Have you ever shot a bow and arrow?  Did you hit the mark?  Was it hard or difficult?
  4. What kind of relationship did David and Saul have?  What about David and Jonathan (Saul’s son)?
  5. Jonathan had a boy shoot arrows into a field.  Why did he do that?  What was the message that he eventually send to David?
  6. Do you have any friendships that need to be fixed?  Are you willing to help your friends grow closer to God, even if it means other people might not like you for it?

Summary: Jonathan and David were best friends, even though Jonathan’s father Saul wanted to kill David.  Jonathan saved David’s life.  More importantly, Jonathan, helped David “find strength in God” (1 Sam 23:16).  Those are the kinds of friendships we want to have: ones were we help one another find strength in God.  Furthermore, the original word for “sin” meant “to miss the mark”, like an archer missing his or her target.

Bottom Line: Ultimately, Jesus Christ is our BFF.  He is the example of the sacrificial love we should show to one another in our friendships here on this earth.  Today, help a friend grow closer to God – help them across the finish line – and that will hit the target on the bullseye.

Session 6

“Blessed Are the Peacemakers”

1 Samuel 25:23-35

 

Abigail had a really mean husband.  But that didn’t stop her from making sure that there was peace between her angry husband and King David.  Her bold actions very likely prevented a battle that could have killed many people.  We can help bring peace where there is strife in this world today, all in the name of Jesus, the Prince of Peace….

Olympic Event: Gymnastics.  I’m going to tell you a story about “The Magnificent Seven”.  These were young women (teenage girls) who showed the world that young women can accomplish big things.  You might think the Bible is full of stories about men.  But there are plenty of heroines in the Old Testament, and Abigail is one of them.  She brought peace like a graceful gymnast.

Bible Story: Read 1 Samuel 25 together

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Have you ever been really mad at someone else?  What did that feel like?
  2. Did someone have to come and “make peace” between you and the person you were mad at?  Why do you think that person did what they did?
  3. Who was really mad at David in the story in 1 Samuel 25? (Nabal)
  4. Do you know what “Nabal” means? (fool)
  5. What did Abigail do to bring peace between David and Nabal? (she met up with David before he reached Nabal and brought tons of food and gifts to calm him down)
  6. Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God” (Matt 5:9).  What does that look like in your life today?  How can you be a peacemaker?

Summary: The Magnificent Seven in the 1996 Olympics did an amazing thing and won a team gold for America against Russia and Romania (powerhouses).  Abigail also did an amazing thing and put her life on the line to bring peace between David and Nabal.  Nabal eventually died and Abigail ended up marrying David.

Bottom Line: We are called to be peacemakers in this world – to offer peace between groups and individuals who want to harm one another – all by the strength of and in the name of Jesus Christ.

Session 7

“God is Our Priority Above All Things”

Esther 7:1-8:17

 

Esther is one of the most courageous women in the Bible.  She put everything on the line (including her life) to do what was right and stand up for God and His chosen people.  Let’s see how her example can be lived out today….

Olympic Event: Track and Field: Jesse Owens and Eric Liddell.  Tell the story of how both of them stood up for the higher good (Jesse Owens, in the face of Hitler; Eric Liddell, in the face of people who wanted him to compromise his faith-commitment to the Sabbath).  AND Rowing: The guy who waited for the ducks and still won the gold.

Bible Story: Read Esther 7:1-8:17 together

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Think of a time when you had to make a tough decision between two things.  It could be anything, like what to order at McDonalds or who to pick to be on your dodge ball team on the playground.
  2. What are the reasons why you choose one thing over another (because the burger is tastier than the chicken sandwich or that kid is a better sport than that other kid)?
  3. What if someone told you to choose between punching your best friend in the face or not having any friends at all?  That’s tough – you wouldn’t want either of those.  But if you had to pick, which would you pick and why?
  4. Esther had to make a choice between risking her own life or seeing her people (God’s chosen people) slaughtered by the wicked Haman.  Which did she choose, and why?
  5. Are you willing to use God and His Word (the Bible) as your guide to making decisions in this life?  Even when it seems that bad things will happen to you if you follow God’s plan?

Summary: Jesse Owens and Eric Liddell both chose the higher ground when they were faced with a decision.  Esther did the same thing – and the Bible says that she was placed into this story “for such a time as this”.

Bottom Line: God will place us in situations for certain purposes and He will give us the strength to choose His way, even when it’s a scary decision to make.

 

Session 8

“Follow God’s Directions!”

Jonah 1:1-4:11

 

Jonah was a prophet who ran into some trouble at sea.  Could it have been because God told him to go one way and Jonah went the exact opposite way?  What happens when we don’t follow God’s directions?  Let’s find out….

Olympic Event: Swimming and the curious case of Eric Moussambani.

Bible Story: Read the book of Jonah together.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What happens when you disobey your parents?
  2. Why do you want to disobey your parents when they give you instructions?
  3. What instructions did God give to Jonah? (go to Ninevah and preach against it)  What did Jonah do instead? (went to the opposite side of the known world to Tarshish)
  4. What happened to Jonah?  (His disobedience led to God bringing a storm upon the sea and the sailors threw Jonah overboard because they found out he was disobeying God; then Jonah was swallowed by a large fish; he prayed to God, committed to obeying God and God delivered him from the fish)
  5. God eventually had compassion on the city of Ninevah, much to Jonah’s dismay.  Should we obey God even when we disagree with God’s ways?

Summary: Jonah had a problem with obedience.  When he obeyed, he still wanted his way, but God had different plans for Ninevah in the end.  This made Jonah upset.  But God is in charge, and He can do as He pleases.  Our job is to obey.  God’s job is to be God (all sovereign, all powerful, all knowing, all loving, etc.)

Bottom Line: Obey God.  Follow his instructions – even when you don’t like the outcome.

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