I know the New Years holidays have passed, but we are planning our Friday Night worship this week and it has a new beginnings type of theme. I got to thinking that people might want to do that sort of lesson on Wednesday so I am going to post this in a rough form and maybe you can use some of it.
- Introduction of the Seed motif
- Dramatic Reading (Ecclesiastes and also something about growth and environment)
- Seed prayer thing (pass them out now)
- Seed Object Lesson
- Opening of Stations
Introduction to the Seed Motif:
We meet here tonight to look back at our lives and where God has brought us and to look ahead to what God can do through us over the course of this next year.
We are like seeds waiting to be planted. God has been working in our lives. This is evident in the fact that we are here. Just as a seed shows that there were parent plants your presence here shows that God has been at work in your life. The seed also shows amazing potential. Every oak tree grows from a single small acorn. And as we look at a seed we see the shadow of the plant that it will become.
God has invited us to be a part of his plan to change the world. He has called us to take part is sharing his love with those around us. He has great things ready for us this year and great plans to glorify his name through us as we learn and as we grow. Like the seed when we look close we can see the shadow of the person you will become.
But all of that potential will remain simply potential unless you make a choice to follow God. Following God’s path isn’t easy. Choosing God’s way isn’t choosing the simple way.
Jesus says in John 12
I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.  The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.  Whoever serves me must follow me
Choosing God’s way requires turning away from some of our own desires and some of the things that we have been chasing after. It means dying to self and choosing God as your Lord. It isn’t an easy path, but it is a necessary one. Only when you choose God’s path can you grow to be who God has planned for you to be.
Hold this seed in your hand. Think about the plant that it came from. Imagine the plant that it will become…Now Think about this past year of your life. Spend some time on the good and the bad things. Are you different now than you were at this time last year? Did you fulfill all that God had planned for you…Look at your seed. Think about its potential. Think about what it can become…Imagine there are glowing words written from the inside that you can read…These words are the plans God has for you this year. Do you see anything at all? What do the words say?
Take your time and listen for the words that God speaks to your heart. He has called you to change the world and he has a mission for you this year… Think about your potential think about what you can become with God.
Some of those plans of God may conflict with your own desires for you life…if so acknowledge those now, don’t try to hide them…which would you prefer? Life your way or God’s way?…be honest with how you feel…ask God to give you a heart for his way…hold out your hand and offer you seed to God…ask him to use you this year…ask him to fulfill his plan in your life…
Now close your hand and hold your seed close to you…say a short prayer of thanks to God for choosing you…thank him for inviting you to His grand adventure…
Father God, You have called us to a grand adventure, a holy quest. You have called us to be a part of your plan for changing the world. Help us each to let go of our lives and let you have control. Help us to seek out your path and follow your design on our lives. Let us grow this year as you work in our lives. Let all that we do be worship to you. Amen.
1. There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
2. a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,
1. a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,
2. a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,
1. a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
2. a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away,
1. a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,
2. a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
1. Over the past year we have experienced many things
2. Our days have been full of triumphs and defeats laughter and heartache
1. We have walked close to God in worship and have walked through long dry days searching for his face
1. We have reached out to new people and taken the love of Christ to new places
and we have ignored hurting people around us and hoarded God’s love for ourselves.
2. But no matter what we have done this year we are not the same people who sat here a year ago
1. We have learned new truth and seen new revelations we have grown, we have changed,
2. We have become
1. But we aren’t at the end of our journey yet, in fact our quest is only just beginning
2. God is calling us to join him on his quest to change the world. He is inviting us to jump into his life of adventure
1. So we stand here at the start of another year
2. With new decisions,
1. New joys
2. New pains
1. New experiences
2. New expectations
1. New life stretching out before us
2. We are filled with such potential
1. Like a seed we may not seem like much now, but God has a plan for us to grow
2. To become more than we have ever dreamed
1. The question is will you choose God’s adventure
2. Will you choose to follow the path that God has placed before you
1. Will you choose to take up this quest to take God’s truth to the ends of the earth
2. Will you choose to take up this quest to take God’s love to the people around you right here and now
1. We are filled with such potential
2. Will you remain a seed
1. Or will you chose God?
Seed Object Lesson
Move the pot onto the table
If you were going to plant this seed in this pot you probably wouldn’t leave this thing like it is. You would take the time to remove the weeds and other things that might hinder the growth of your seek.
After you plant the seed you wouldn’t just leave it there or it would never grow. You would add water and sunlight to the pot so that your seed could grow into an adult plant.
For you to reach your potential this year you need to do some preparation of the environment as well. Some of you may need to weed your lives. Some of you have some relationships that aren’t God’s best for your lives. Some of you are making some choices about what you watch and listen to that you need to remove from your lives. Some of you need to remove the fear that you have of talking to people about God. Some of you need to remove that hidden sin that you have been holding on to for all of this time. Whatever it is make a commitment tonight to remove the weed from you life.
You also need to add s
ome things to your soil. You water your soil when you spend time with God. Spend time praying and reading your bible. Find ways to worship him privately and with other people. Get involved in the things that God cares about—helping others. Choose right now to spend more time with God this year
Finally understand that only God can make your life grow. You can do all of the right things, but if you try to do them without God you will never grow. God is the sunlight that you need. He is the life that you are desperate for. Never forget to turn daily towards him. Let this be a year that you grow to all that God has planned for you to be.
Introduction to the Stations:
As we close tonight you are invited to spend time here worshiping with God. Don’t feel like you need to always been involved in a station. Feel free to simply sit in silence at God’s feet. Remember that after you have participated in one of the stations you are free to head downstairs, but please do so quietly. Let’s pray and continue to worship together.
Take one of the dry erase boards from this table and a dry erase marker, find a Bible and a quiet place to be by yourself. If there aren’t any dry erase boards come back in a few moments.
As we look to move into this new year it is important to start with a clean slate. Read 1 John 1:9. Confession is really just our agreeing with God that we have messed up. Think back over the past year and search your heart for sins that you haven’t owned up to yet. Most of us try to justify the things that we do wrong in our lives. Don’t try to make excuses just stand tall before God and admit that you have messed up. Make a list of the things you have done wrong on your board.
Once your list is complete read 1 John 1:9 again. All of those sins that you have been holding on to God wants to forgive. Pray and ask God to forgive you of each specific sin wiping it off the board as you do.
Now look at the board that you are holding. It is a clean slate. That is the same as your life. The wonderful, scandalous thing about God’s grace is that he continually makes your heart fresh and new. Go into this year rejoicing that God has forgive you and given you a new clean life.
Once you are finished take the board and marker back to the table. Be sure to clip the rag back onto the board.
Take this sheet, a pen, and a Bible and find a place to sit by yourself
Read Psalm 100
Around this time of the year it seems that everywhere you turn you see another list: top 10 videos of the year, top 15 reality show moments, etc. Use this time to make your own list about the past year. Using the back of this sheet, come up with 25 things that you can thank God for that happened this year. These things can be little or big don’t worry about trying to think of the perfect thing just let your gratitude flow from your heart.
Once you have finished attach your list to the wall with the others. You may want to spend some time reading what others are thankful for and add your gratitude to theirs.
Get a Bible and find a seat here at this table.
Read 2 Corinthians 5:17
If you are in Christ you are a new creation. Too often we forget that we are to be something different, that we aren’t like everyone else, that we have been changed. At the start of this new year it is a good time for you to remember that you have been made new.
Take one of the butterfly outlines and cut it out. As you are cutting think about what new things God is calling you to this year. Are there some things that you need to remove from your life? Are there some actions that you need to start taking?
Once you have cut out the butterfly on the left wing write some of the things that you need to remove from your life. On the right wing write the things that you feel God telling you that you need to start doing. Don’t make decisions so outrageous that you can’t possibly live up to them. For instance God probably isn’t calling you to read your Bible for 5 hours a day, but he may be telling you to read a little every day.
Once you have created your resolutions list take your Butterfly home with you and put it somewhere that you can see it everyday to remind you of the fact that you are a new creation.
Take this sheet, the “My Own Psalm” sheet, a pen, and a Bible to a place where you can sit by yourself.
Too many times we come into worship and we simply recite the words of others. While it isn’t bad to use songs that others have written there is something special when you use words that come from your own heart.
As we look at this new year spend some time and compose your own new Psalm of praise to God. You can use the outline provided or you can come up with a totally new Psalm. Once you have finished take it home as a reminder to continual find new ways to praise God this year.