Enhancer of Joy
God's Steadfast Love
Lesson Developed by
Tips to Prepare
The main illustration in this lesson takes a bit of preparation. You will need a Jenga block stacking game. Take each block and write supportive roles on them. Leave enough room for students to write on them later. You can repeat labels. The bottom three of the stack should be labeled “God.” Then use mother, father, friend, sister, brother, parent, coach, teacher, counselor, etc. to fill the remaining blocks. If you have a small model house, place it on top of the Jenga pile. Alternatively, you could write on note cards, but reading off of cards will not help foster conversation as much as playing the game will. If you would like to reuse the game, don’t have teens write on the blocks, but just state the characteristics of the people
- Jenga or cards
- Bibles for teens
Setting the Atmosphere
Set chairs in a circle or sit in a circle and create a place for prayer with a cross, candle, or other Christian sign in the middle. After prayer, remain in the circle but move the candle or cross so that Jenga is now in the center. Return the cross for closing prayer.
The goal is to teach about the immutability of God by talking about his steadfastness. Leaders guide teens to explore things in their lives that give them a solid rock to stand on, allowing teens to talk about friends, family, teams, activities, but emphasizing the difference between those things and God’s immutability.
In this session, youth will begin to explore God’s immutability and how we can learn about His character.
It is most important that ministers grasp what immutability is. Immutability can be defined as the fact that God’s essential nature does not change. God’s character is that of constant, unchanging love. Knowing that God is immutable and completely reliable allows us to have faith. While humans are fickle and our emotions are easily swayed, God’s love for us is steadfast. This is a concept that appears simple, but becomes tricky as it is so different from the way humans operate.
Gather (5 minutes)
- Opening Prayer: For this session, use a popcorn prayer where each teen goes around to pray. Leaders may either begin or end. Ask teens to specifically pray for or thank God for someone who is a support in their lives (mother, friend, etc.). Even if teens are not comfortable praying more than that, they should be able to mention the name of one person.
- Greeting One Another: After the prayer, go around and ask teens to tell you why they prayed for a certain person and who that person is to them. If a group is unfamiliar with one another, use this time to do names, ages, or other icebreaker questions (i.e. what’s your favorite kind of noodle?).
- Introduction of Session: Today teens will explore the idea that God is God, and we are not God. You will look at how God is different than us, and how we can know him in that difference. Read the scripture focus from Matthew.
Engage (30 minutes)
Activity 1: Jenga!
Set up the game of Jenga so that teens do not see what is written on the blocks. Make sure the three God blocks are on the bottom and the house is placed on top. The house is what Matthew was speaking of in the gospel. Begin to play Jenga, but every time someone removes a block, ask them to identify why a the role (i.e. a friend) is a good support, and why they might be a bad support or have shortcomings. When teens pull the God blocks, ask them why God is a different kind of support. If they cannot fully articulate this, that is fine at this point. Play until the house falls, although if it falls quickly, reset and continue play until teens have each pulled two or three blocks. Leave the blocks fallen in a pile in the middle of the room.
Activity 2: Discussing Bible Verses
Introduce this activity by explaining that the reason God is different than all those other sources of support because He is immutable. It may be helpful to read the definition of immutable as described below. We often end up trying to understand God by fitting him into categories we already have: father, friend, or counselor. The problem with those molds is that God is so much more than just a friend. Just as those with absent fathers have problems understanding God as father, we all have problems understanding God’s friendship because none of us have perfect friendships. By studying the differences between God and us, we can break out of these molds.
Assign teens in groups of two or three to find and discuss one of the following Bible verses on God’s difference. Give them time to talk in groups, and then come together and have them explain how that verse told them about God. Guide them to use the surrounding passage and scripture. Use Bible verses such as Isaiah 55:8-9, Numbers 23:19, 1 Samuel 16:17, 2 Samuel 22:32, Psalm 33:11, Psalm 102:26-27, Hebrews 13:8, Deuteronomy 31:8, James 1:17, Daniel 7:14, Hebrews 1:10-12, etc.
Reflect (20 minutes)
Activity 3: Question After Sharing
- How do we know who God is if all these verses say he is so different than us and we cannot know him? Allow teens to answer, but then remind them that Colossians 1:15 says that Jesus took the image of the invisible God, therefore we know what God is like because he made himself man and came to us in Christ.
- Have teens go back to their Bibles in groups and spend about 5 minutes in the Gospels looking for characteristics of Jesus.
- Give them paper or notecards to take notes of these characteristics.
- Return to the Jenga pieces in the middle of the circle.
- Going in the circle, ask teens to find a role on the Jenga piece and write in an adjective they found in the gospel so that now the role describes God. For example, ‘friend’ becomes ‘steadfast friend’ or ‘caring friend,’ and ‘father’ becomes ‘loyal father’ or ‘consistent father.’
- Help teens see these roles as much bigger when they apply to God. God is not just a friend, but unlike any friend we have ever known because of his immutable love.
- As teens write on blocks, have them rebuild the pile on top of the three God blocks, and place the house on top.
Send Forth (5 minutes)
- Sum-It-Up: God is more than we could ever imagine. He is a better father, friend, and counselor than we will ever know on earth. As such, He is a solid rock on which to build our lives. He is trustworthy and worthy of praise.
- Closing Prayer: Close with a popcorn prayer where you ask each teens to simply complete this sentence “God, thank you for being a __________ (role). Help me to see you in this way.” For example, thank you for being a faithful friend; a supportive coach; an encouraging mother, etc.