Kingdom of Heaven
Several lift tickets (enough for each student) -- purchase simple, rectangular stickers with your theme verse and place onto the wire attachment thing used for lift tickets. (You can ask for some from a local ski slope or order some online from a ski supply store.)
It’s easy for us to mix up our priorities and it’s easy for our students to misunderstand the idea of the kingdom of God. Many of our students believe that since they have accepted Christ as their Savior they now have an insurance policy protecting them from eternal death. Their faith ends there though and they don’t know how to practically apply it to their everyday life. They fail to realize that God’s plan is not for us to sit around and wait but to work everyday to bring His kingdom to earth. One of the greatest struggles in our students’ lives is that they don’t understand that God can make a difference right here and right now and that he doesn’t want us to just wait until heaven to experience the fullness of a relationship with Him. He wants us to bring heaven to earth!
Key Verse: The Lord’s Prayer – Matthew 6
Key Sentence: On earth as it is in heaven!
Lift Tickets: Have you ever been skiing and seen the guy who has all the right gear, but has no idea how to ski. The guy has the hundred dollar goggles (which I have no idea what those are for because I have never gone fast enough to actually need eye protection.) He has the cool ski pants that are like overalls but cooler because they don’t soak up the snow. He has the scarf, the hat, the great skis, and the “North Face” jacket. The only problem is that he has no idea how to ski. So he buys his lift ticket, that he proudly wears on his jacket year round because it helps with the ladies, but all he does all day is hang out in the lodge.
Some of us have all the gear, and we have even punched our ticket to heaven but we are sitting around waiting for something big to happen. For some of us, God wants us to just point our skis downhill and start moving. It’s a step of faith, but that’s all part of living a life of trust in God. For some of us, God invites us to join him on an adventure that fits our gifts and abilities. He might ask us to go to the top of the biggest, scariest, black diamond run, the pee your pants because the drop is straight down hill, and to just take off. It’s scary and you know you are going to fall along the way but its all part of bringing the kingdom of God here to earth. Regardless, he doesn’t want us just sitting around the lodge bragging about our new North Face jacket.
Options: We did a teaching series called lessons from the lodge, and we filled our rooms with old skis, boots, hats, equipment, etc. We served hot chocolate, we showed videos of extreme skiing and we even got a fake snow blower to blow snow in the room (this may have taken the theme too far but it was actually cheap at the rental store). At the end of the night we gave every student a lift ticket with the phrase “on earth as it is in heaven.” All of our kids loved it and have been proudly wearing their lift tickets ever since.
By Ben Hardman