Needle & Haystack – Session 3 – Times Like These

Introduction: This session is part of a 4 part series titled ‘Needle & Haystack’ about how to find God when things are tough which take young people on a journey. These were originally written for a residential weekend and so would work well under a residential context. You could also use them for 4 consecutive weeks.

Items Needed: Pens, Paper, Flipchart, Craft materials (paints, pens, crayons, paper, glue etc.), square sheets of paper, 1 or 2 pictures…perhaps Holman Hunt’s ‘Jesus at the Door’. You need 2 copies of these, one cut into pieces and one that remains whole to show the young people after the activity.

Worship: Start by doing some worship songs either from CD or live

Introduction: This weekend we’ve been thinking about how sometimes it’s hard to find God and sometimes that’s because there’s bad stuff going on and other times we simply can’t explain it….but the two characters we’ve looked at each show us something different about how we can hear from God.

With Samuel, God was calling Him and he didn’t quite get it to start with. He didn’t realise it was God calling until the forth time and Eli had told him to say ‘Speak LORD for your servant is listening’…to hear God Samuel had to be consciously listening for Him!

With Job it al went pear-shaped…we don’t know what kind of relationship Job and God had but we know that Job was committed to God. Everything went wrong around job and he lost everything and so he sat, and said ‘God I don’t know what’s going on but I trust you’ and it took a long, long time…and lots of tests (including unhelpful words from his friends) to hear from God.

Both of these people waited on God. Both of these people were listening for God.

Ask: Last night we looked at different ways God spoke to us…what did we say? (You may want to brainstorm these)

Explain: God speaks to us in lots of different ways but generally speaking we need to be listening for Him…which doesn’t always mean sitting in silence but might just mean being aware of God.

For example if I’m planning a talk on something and I know it’s coming up I suddenly find that God speaks to me in the days leading up to preparing it…it might be that lots of things suddenly tie into the topic or other people give me ideas…but I know that’s God helping me with whatever talk it is I’m planning.

The problem is that a lot of the time we really struggle to find time to actually spend with God…time just chilled out…not doing anything. Even if I’m sat doing nothing there’s probably some music on or my phone is near by and I’m checking Twitter or Facebook…a time when I’m literally doing nothing doesn’t happen because I personally find doing nothing difficult.

Worship/Prayer Exercise: What we’re going to do for the rest of this session is just to spend some time with God…but we’re not going to sit and do nothing we’re going to have a go at doing something whilst doing that.

Give each person in the group a square of paper and have a selection of art materials whether it’s felt tips, pencils or water colours…maybe even some glue and coloured tissue paper on hand. 

Prior to this session try and have found a good picture (such as the face of Jesus or Holman Hunt’s Jesus at the door painting) and have cut it into squares (1 per person in your group)

Encourage the young people to choose 1 art material and to go and find a space. They will be given one of the squares of the picture and need to enlarge it to fill their paper.

Suggest to the young people that as they do the activity they might like to pray or think about what it is their painting.

Together: Get the group back together and show them the full picture and ask them to place their pictures back where they should be. You should have a big version of the picture you gave them…each square a different and unique expression of them to God.

Discuss: Encourage the group to discuss the picture and their experience. Did they notice anything about the section they were painting? Did they know what they were doing? Did they have a chance to pray or speak to God?

Prayer: Close this session with prayer or maybe lead it into some worship depending on the mood of the group.