In order to teach the Youth Group the importance of decision making, sometimes we play 'Let’s Make a Deal'. We have been teaching from Proverbs and about how to make wise decisions. We play the game at a fairly quick pace, so the youth have to make some snap decisions. They will often turn around to the group looking for help as to what bag or bucket to choose from.
We start by asking for a volunteer and then we invite that youth to come forward and choose Bag #1 or Bag #2. Once they decide which bag they want to choose something from, we have them look away from the bag and reach in and grab something.
It could be something ‘good’ like a new toy or some candy or it could be a ‘not so good’ item like a broken chewed pencil, a toothpick or a crumpled paper towel. Once they have taken their item out of the bag, we then offer them the option of keeping their item or trading it in for what is in one of three bowls. We do not give them a lot of time to think about it, forcing them to make a quick decision.
If they decide to keep the item then they go back and sit down with their item, however, if they decide to trade it in they return the item they picked and then they reach in the bucket they have chosen. At this point there is either a lot of laughing, because they traded a new toy for a used toothbrush or there are oohs and ahh’s because the new item definitely was better than the first.
Then, we challenge them by offering them one more choice, to keep what they have or trade it in on an unknown item in one of two buckets. After either keeping the item in their hand or trading in their item for another ‘treasure’, they return to their seat.
One of the true blessings for us is to see the youth when they reach in and pull out a brand new Bible. Every time it has happened the youth has looked delighted. One time one of the Thai youth reached in and got an English Bible. I explained that the Bible was in English and that he could trade it in for something else, he hugged the Bible to his chest and said he wanted to keep it. He went and sat down and held the Bible like it was a priceless treasure. . .and that it is! What a wise young man.
We have been blessed with seeing the youth that ‘won’ Bibles carry them to and from Bible study faithfully.
We have also been blessed to hear how God has spoken to their hearts as we have challenged the youth to read a chapter of Proverbs every day. We explained to the youth that sometimes when you have to make a decision you have plenty of time to pray, or to ask for counsel from someone you trust. But, sometimes circumstances require us to make on-the-spot decisions; and that is where Proverbs comes in.
The Book of Proverbs in the Bible is replete with words of wisdom for us to live by. We explained to the youth that when they have to make snap decisions it will be helpful to them to have words of wisdom from the Bible in their hearts and minds, so that they can call on them as they try to make wise decisions.
Proverbs 22:17-21 “Incline your ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply your heart to my knowledge, for it will be pleasant if you keep them within you, if all of them are ready on your lips. That your trust may be in the LORD, I have made them known to you today, even to you. Have I not written for you thirty sayings of counsel and knowledge, to make you know what is right and true, that you may give a true answer to those who sent you?”
1 Timothy 4:11-13 “Command and teach these things. Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.”
Deuteronomy 11:18-19 "So commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these words of mine. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.”
Psalm 119:11, 105 “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. ... Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
So, my challenge to each of us is to read a chapter of Proverbs every day. The youth have been reading from Proverbs for over a month now, and with 31 Proverbs it works out really well to read one a day completing all of them in a month. As the youth had read through all 31 Proverbs, they started at Proverbs 1 again and they found that they now comprehend some things that they did not understand the first time through. Praise God!
I know that I am finding the same thing as I read through Proverbs and the rest of the Bible. God’s living Word is continually opening up to us in new and refreshing ways.