devozine

For Youth Workers Post

Xtreme Emotions

Steven Lefebvre

“In the Habit” session for devozine meditations for November 11–17, 2013.

MAKING THE CONNECTION 

       (Watch video)

MEET THE WRITER

devozine StevenL video shotMy name is Steven Lefebvre. I work with the youth and young adults at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Before my life of working at a church, I was the lead vocalist in a hardcore band. These days, I spend my free time being an armchair film critic, reading comic books, and playing much quieter music (well, sort of). I’m also an amateur champion of darts and dodge ball. I’m a huge fan of going to baseball games in the summer and to college basketball games in the winter. Professionally, I have an interest in monasticism, biblical studies, and pastoral care. Feel free to read my blog.

 

STUFF YOU WILL NEED

 

PLUGGED IN

 

CHECKING IN

Invite the group to play a game; I call it Shockwave. Ask people to line up in two lines with an equal number of players and then to sit on the floor in their lines. Position a referee at one end of the two lines, and place at the other end one dry-erase marker standing up on the floor within arm’s reach of the person at the end of each line. Ask the players on each team to hold hands; and ask people to close their eyes, except for the person sitting at the front of each line.

Explain that he referee will flip the coin. If it lands heads up, the person at the front of the line will squeeze the hand of the person next to him or her, who squeezes the hand of the next person in line, and so on until the person at the end of the line feels the squeeze and grabs the marker. The first person to grab the marker gets a point for his or her team. If the coin lands tails up, the first player in each line should not squeeze the hand of the person next to him or her. However, if the shockwave is started anyway, the person at the end of the line who doesn’t grab the marker wins a point for his or her team. When everyone understands the rules, begin the game.

Here’s the twist for the lesson: Secretly instruct one or two people in the group who are especially extroverted to celebrate wildly after their team wins a point. Encourage the group to play the game a few times so that the players you have chosen have a chance to celebrate.

After the game, discuss:
       How did you experience the wild celebrations?
       Did the celebrations seem selfish? arrogant?
       How did the losing team experience the wild celebration?
       How did the winning team experience it?

 

EXPLORING THE WORD

Scripture: Luke 17:11–19

Invite group members to read the story of the ten lepers in Luke 17:11–19. Jesus healed a leper and later commended him for his faith when he returned to say thank you. I want to focus on one particular aspect of the story: What set this man apart was that he returned to praise God, and this saved him.

I’m sure that when the other lepers discovered they had been healed, they celebrated as well; but the one who returned to Jesus was made whole not only physically but spiritually as well. Out of the ten lepers, only this one’s celebration was part of the kingdom of God.

The kingdom of God is about physical healing and resurrection, but it is also about reordering God’s relationship with God’s people. In other words, Jesus could go around healing everyone in the world; but if we don’t change and relate to God in the way we were created to, then the world is still broken. At the root of all our problems is a broken relationship with our Creator.

This passage is profound because it puts everything in its proper place. What happened in the leper’s actions was that his relationship with God and with himself were put into their proper place. This is what ultimately made him whole.

When it comes to our emotions, no matter how extreme they may be, we need to remember where God fits in. When we act out our positive or negative emotions, is God being praised or glorified? Is our anger, grieving, or joy serving God?

Invite discussion:
       What place does God have in our lives? Where does God belong?
       How can we put God in God’s proper place in the good times? in bad times?
       Are our celebrations glorifying God or ourselves?

 

SHARING IN PRAYER

Ask group members to offer one-sentence prayers about the place God belongs in their lives.

 

TAKING IT FURTHER

Think of what you will do this week that will evoke a strong emotion. Maybe you will watch a sporting event, see a good friend at school, deal with a conflict at home, or develop a new love interest. Come up with a plan to be sure God is in God’s proper place for this one circumstance.

—from devozine In the Habit (November/December 2013). Copyright © 2013 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.
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