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           Most Significant Moment in the History of the World:

                       Original Easter Skit for Youth

Reporter: Hello, my name is Tomas. Some people call me the doubter and I work for the Jerusalem Gazette. I am presently investigating an event which is rumored to have taken place earlier today. Sir, what did you see this morning?

Observer one: There were these three women who seemed very excited...

Read the entire Easter skit by clicking: Easter Skit: Jerusalem Gazette



We received a request to add the following video to this page of the website for Holy Week. A more complete discussion of the video can be found by clicking: Israel Today


Highlights:

The Beauty of the Sea of Galilee

Being baptized in the Jordan River

Nazareth and Caperneum: walking where Jesus walked

The Garden of Gethsemanee outside Jerusalem

The wailing Wall in Jerusalem and those praying


Youth Cope with Strife in Caperston
 

the story behind the comics, click: Christian Comics



Youth Cope with Strife in Caperston
 

CHEST-WeB-PAGE4
CHEST-WeB-PAGE4

To read the comics and ...

the story behind the comics, click: Christian Comics


Dustin-challenged

Standing by the faith in a faraway land

Dustin-stoning

Lent and Love

Ask youth what their understanding of lent is. See if they feel lent is an easy thing to respond to or something that is difficult. Then tell them that Lent tells us many things about love! For more on this activity, please click: Lent and Love


Eleven Prayer Segments Spirit of the living God fall afresh on me Spirit of the living God fall afresh on me Mend me, mold me, fill me, use me Spirit of the living God fall afresh on me

As your Spirit falls afresh on each of us, we ask: (followed by “Let Us Pray”)

  • • Help us to let go of control over our own lives and release control to you.
  • • Fill us with unwavering certainty that your Spirit lives within us.
  • • Purify our hearts from our sins of selfishness.
  • • Open our hearts to your Holy Spirit and in doing so, let us become aware of your will for our lives.
  • • Help us to disengage from distractions, ordinary life events, that interfere with our awareness of your presence.
  • • Help us, O God, to listen to your still, small voice and to know your will.
  • • By faith we ask you to take over our hearts and, in doing so, take over our lives.
  • • Fill our hearts with a godly discipline that we will follow your will that leads to increased faith ... hope ... and love.
  • • May we say “yes” to your guidance and the inner, devotional peace your guidance brings.
  • • May you show us how to share with a needy world the hope and love which comes for people of faith and prayer.
  • • May Deer Park, Long Island, our country and the world be touched by our responsiveness to the needs of all around us.
  • Spirit of the living God fall afresh on me,

    Mend me, mold me, fill me, use me ...

    Spirit of the living God

    fall afresh on me Spirit of the living God fall afresh on me

    Part Two: Change is coming?

    While a Valentines Day activity was planned, the tension in the United States is too great to ignore. So we are replacing it with...

    A President's Day Lesson for Christian Youth

    Ask the youth to name characteristics of what will make an effective leader. It might be helpful to reference the recent inauguration of the President and focus on what characteristics a successful president might have. After making your list, have the youth narrow the list to the five most important characteristic.

    Read Proverbs 8:1-2 and Proverbs 8: 12-15. Point out that the author lists the following as traits of the successful leader: having skillful and godly wisdom, having sound knowledge, having understanding and power and being a ruler who decrees justice.

    For entire activity go to activities page. Click: President's Day


             Readers Needed ... we will reimburse cost of book
    "The Chest of Visions"

    The Chest of Visions is selling at a reduced cost on Amazon.com this season. Click: Reviews Chest of Visions

    For Per Readers Favorite The Chest of Visions is " a totally new concept for involving today's youth in Bible study"

                   Don't miss this opportunity to reach Christian Youth !!

    Review by Melissa Jagel: "Engaging, exciting, entertaining, and easy-to-read! Ferguson's super-cool little book,The Chest of Visions,brilliantly captures the essence of the Gospel message"

    Shirley Johnson review: "I read this book with a thirteen year old girl and once we were finished I asked her how she felt about our experience. She said it definitely made her think about many things in her own life and in her walk with God."


    For reviews and purchase information click ... Reviews Chest of Visions

    For additional reviews, click: " a totally new concept for involving today's youth in Bible study"


    Football Trivia: Question correct, then move towards goal line.





    Read Huchfee's Letter: the Full Story, click : Chaos in Caperston

    Tenth Anniversary Activity


    Christian youth lessonLets Ask God

    This is an activity which provides a means to interact with your youth group. The activity begins with youth picking questions that they would ask God if He were present. This is not as simple as it seems. At first youth tend to be "tongue tied". Once one or two questions are raised, a flood of questions usually follows. The event calls for a few, not many questions, and sometimes a vote can be taken to narrow down the questions to no more than ten. Much can be learned by simply discussing relevant questions youth have.

    Upon picking the questions, three adults are chosen to play the role of God. The questions are given to the adults beforehand to allow time for preparation. We always have three individuals playing the role of God. You do not want to have too many "Gods" as progressing through the list of questions will be challenging.

    A youth is then chosen to play the role of emcee. The questions, to be answered, are placed into an envelope and randomly drawn by youth in the group. Once read, the emcee asks one of the "Gods" to answer the question to be followed by the other two "God people". Each person answers the question in the first person as if he or she is God. This is important. Adult volunteers are not to say, "I think God would say ..." but rather, "I, God, would say ...". They will not answer, "The Bible, God's word reads ..." but will say, "My word reads ...". Answering the questions in this manner gives a sense of authenticity to the answers.

    After all three Gods answer the questions, the emcee opens the discussion to the youth present. One way to encourage discussion is for the emcee to ask if any youth would like to ask a follow-up question. Some questions will lead to more discussion than others and the emcee decides when it is time to move on to a new question.

    This event is an effective event to use when meeting with multiple youth programs. Having adults from each program playing the role of God may lead to a more diversified discussion. More details about this event can be found on pages 49-51 of the book, "Not the Same Old, Done -it-before Youth Meetings".

    See reviews of Not the Same Old, Done-it-before Youth Meetings ... click: Not the Same Old, Done-it-before Youth Meeting (the book)



    New Year 2017: Dare to Change

    Change is coming?

    We've all read the news. From the US election through the expected changes in Europe through the changes in the Asian alliance, chances are that change is on the way. But in what direction is change coming.

    Try the following activity to encourage youth to look at change from a Biblical perspective.

    For entire activity go to activities page. Click: Dare to Change



      




                            This Thanksgiving ... Let Go ... Vote God

  • Let go suspicion ... vote forgiveness
  • Let go contention ... vote hope
  • Let go accusation ... vote love
  • Add the "D" ... "Let Go" becomes "Let God"

    Read the letter of November 6th and learn from the Hugapod people of Caperston. Please click: How Forgiveness Works

    Thanksgiving Feature: Five Kernels of Corn

    This activity is intended as a prelude to a Thanksgiving dinner for our youth group but it could also be done independent of the dinner.

    In order to aid youth to understand the severity of life in the Pilgrim colony, before a Thanksgiving dinner with the youth, have them sit around a decorated table void of food. Then bring out a paper plate for each youth member with five kernels of corn on each. Note that these are not ears of corn but kernels of corn. Youth are then advised that when the Pilgrims arrived from England, life was not easy. Months before the first Thanksgiving feast there had been hardship. Most of their attempts to plant crops had failed. The only success was a New World crop, corn, which the local Native Americans had introduced them to. Nevertheless, only so much corn could be raised and stored and near the end of the winter they were running out.

    Historical records indicate that there was a weeklong period in which food was rationed and the adults of the community, except for the pregnant women, had to live on a ration of five kernels of corn per day. It was the only food the community had as it awaited the early crops of the coming spring, which included wild berries, and the game that would return once the vegetation emerged.

    Youth are asked to eat the five kernels as if that were their daily allotment of food. Briefly discuss what living like this would be like if this is all people had to eat each day. Then it is time for the prepared dinner. The youth should have a greater appreciation for all that we have in this country after this exercise.


    Click if you would like more ideas like five kernals of corn ... Activities for Christian youth

    What about Prayer ... does it work?"

    Remember that the people from Caperston have just recently learned about the presence of God in their world and about prayer. Most have never attempted to pray and probably have no idea how to pray. In the world of Caperston there is no Lord's Prayer recited regularly in church.

    Read more at : Does prayer work?


    Expectations and a Declaration


    During the evening ask youth to share their expectations for the advent season and later compare them to the expectations of the Jewish people at the time of Christ's birth.

    Begin by advising that the group will sing a 'welcome to advent' carol, 'O Come All Ye Faithful'. A verse or two will probably do. Then ask youth to verbally share their expectations. Leaders should record them. There will probably be some reference to the singing of Christmas carols or Christmas music. Sing 'I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day' and discuss how the music of Christmas fulfills our expectations of the season.

    Now refer to the expectations of the Jewish people at the time of Jesus' birth. Two scripture passages are suggested to demonstrate the uncertain expectations the people had for the coming of their Messiah. Daniel 7: 13-14 tells of a human being who, at the direction of God, 'was given authority, honor and royal power, so that the people of all nations, races and languages would serve him. His authority would last forever and his kingdom would never end'. Contrast this to the prediction in Isaiah 42, which reads, 'He will bring justice to every nation. He will not shout or raise his voice, or make loud speeches in the street. He will not break off a bent reed nor put out a flickering lamp. He will bring lasting justice to all'.

    Now ask the youth to shift gears and share what they imagine the three kings were thinking as they traveled a rather lengthy journey to Bethlehem to meet the expected king. Sing 'We Three Kings of Orient Are'.

    Take a moment to explore the reactions of the shepherds. What did they anticipate as the angels appeared to make God's declaration about the child to be born. Sing all three verses of 'The First Noel' noting references to both the shepards and the wise men in the lyrics.

    Now it is time to make comparisons. Read the youth's list of their expectations for the coming Christmas season. What things on the list are similar to those of the wise men and the Jewish people at the time of Christ's birth? Did youth reference peace and justice coming to earth? Did they talk of focusing on the birth of a savior?

    Take time to point out that, undoubtedly, as the wise men traveled to Jerusalem, their expectations of meeting the expected king must have heightened and, possibly, changed. Do our expectations heighten and change, and in what way, as Christmas Day approaches?

    Now point out that the Biblical story in Luke presents us with, not expectations, but a declaration by the messengers of God himself - his angels, who make it clear the essence of the coming of Jesus - 'Glory to God in the Highest and on earth, peace, goodwill to men' (Luke 2:14).

    We ended our session by singing the song ;'Do You Hear What I Hear?' and then pointing out that a response to the season and story of advent is found in the lyrics of the song. Do we hear? Do we see? Do we know him? Do we pray for peace, people everywhere? When we do, the song lyrics conclude, 'He will bring us Goodness and Light'.

    See more Christmas activities in Chapter 18 of Not the Same Old, Done-it-before Youth Meetings.
    click:Not the Same Old, Done-it-before Youth Meeting (the book)
    z
    A God-send for you!

    Laura Cooley of St. Paul's Church, Patchogue, NY writes...

    Not the Same Old Done-it-before Youth Meetings is a God-send!! You have laid out in an organized and easy-to-read fashion so many wonderful ideas and activity plans that we will never again feel uncomfortable when getting ready for our next Christian Youth Group meeting. I am new to the role of Youth Group leader and your book gives me confidence that we can indeed succeed with God's help.

    Not the Same Old, Done-it-before Youth Meetings is now available for immediate download on Kindle.

    See more reviews of Not the Same Old, Done-it-before Youth Meetings. click:Not the Same Old, Done-it-before Youth Meeting (the book)



                   Questions for God!


    Christian youth lessonLets Ask God

    This is an activity which provides a means to interact with your youth group. The activity begins with youth picking questions that they would ask God if He were present. Click ... Let's Ask God

    Click ...New Ideas: Not the Same Old, Done-it-before Youth Meeting


    Halloween Activity: 499 Rules.

    Post a list of outrageous rules in your youth group meeting space, for example:

    If someone is found to be talking to a friend during the meeting, then they must stand up in front of the group and recite the Ten Commandments, adding a new commandment: thou shalt not talk to youth group friends during the meeting.

    If you missed church in the morning, you could not come to Sunday evening youth group.


    There are many other quite silly rules that can be created. Then advise youth that this is the basis for a discussion of the 499 Rules. Let youth wonder if there are 497 more rules to come before stating that the discussion is about the 96 theses Martin Luther presented to the church 499 years ago this Halloween eve.


    Point out that to some in the church Luther's suggestions were nearly as outrageous as the ones presented to the group earlier in the evening. Then ask youth to share what changes have come to the church since Luther"s proclamation 499 years ago. Point out that Luther's primary focus was on the importance of faith, and not our deeds, as the key to eternal life.


    A more detailed discussion of this activity can be found on pages 130 to 131 of the book, "Not the Same Old, Done-it-before Youth Meetings". See below article: "A Godsend for You" by Laura Cooley for more information regarding this book.

    Christian youth lesson

    Food For Thought ...

    "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." Martin Luther King, Jr.

    "BE the change you want to see in the world." Mohandas Gandhi



    Let's start with one of my favorite sayings: Let us be silent so that we might hear the whispers of God. Turn to I Kings chapters 18 and 19. It is not rain but a drought that plagues Israel. The prophets of Baal are the first to dance but it is not the Lord for whom they are dancing. Then Elijah asks the prophets to pour four gallons of water on the sacrifice. He calls on the Lord and ... we all know the story. But the important part is found in I Kings 18 verse 11-12. He finds the Lord and the ability to dance in the rain in a "still, small voice". Let us begin our dance by listening for the whispers of God..

    Try the following activity with your young people to enhance their skills to listen to the voice of God:

    Trust and Prayer: Activity that encourages spoken prayer amidst youth and has been successful on several occasions with different youth programs.

    See more New Year's activities in Not the Same Old, Done-it-before Youth Meetings.
    click:Not the Same Old, Done-it-before Youth Meeting (the book)

    Youth group going on a hike?

    We discussed the group response to a more local hike but imagined that it is 100 years ago. There are no telephones, no internet, no automobiles and our pastor says he heard at a meeting that there are Christian youth in the next town, nine miles away, that want to meet with us. We, then, asked how many people would be willing to take a nine mile hike and back, three hours of walking each way to spend an hour sharing youth group ideas.

    Guess how many volunteers we had? Read more about what we learned by clicking ... Summer Walks


    Teachings from the Story: Temptations - Not an Easy Topic

    How are the temptations of Chihaysu similar to those brought to Jesus? Click: Temptation Activity for an intriguing comparison of Jesus' and Chihaysu's temptations. .

    Teachings from the Story: Are you up to it?

    Read the story of Dustin recorded on May 5th. Dustin tries to persuade his fellow Mountain Youth that there is a better way to go about change than to seek revenge. He calls out, "God, protect Caperston and its people and forgive my fellow mountain brothers..." Click:Am I Up to It? for more details of this lesson.


    Resources that Reach the Hearts of Youth

    This is a game we used in conjunction with the event 'Trust and Prayer' described above. It is listed here as it can be used simply as an activity for fun apart from the more serious event or as part of the below activity. Find a space in your youth area about four feet wide by twenty feet long. Use some tape to mark this game area out clearly. Take six or seven pieces of construction paper and randomly place them in the area that's been marked off.

    Break your group into two teams. Each team is to pick a 'guide' who will direct teammates down the four foot by twenty foot corridor while they are blindfolded. Blindfolded youth must walk from one end of the corridor to the other end without touching the tape boundaries or any of the bombs (pieces of construction paper). Use a stop watch to record the duration of each youth's effort.

    When a youth steps on a bomb or on or past a tape boundary, hit a pot with a spoon or make some such loud noise simulating a bomb going off. Record the number of times errors are made.

    Total the times needed for each team to walk the maze and add ten seconds for each time a bomb goes off. After each youth attempts to traverse the maze, change the locations of the construction paper so that no one can memorize the locations of the bombs. The total team time plus the penalty seconds will determine the winning team. See the activity entitled 'Trust and Prayer' for discussion ideas regarding this activity.

    We would love to hear if this activity was both fun and useful to your group as it has been to ours. Please share your experience by writing to: TimFerguson@christianyouthgroup.org.


    Find more Christian youth group activities by clicking: Activities for Youth

    Rich Young Ruler

    Read Luke 18: 18-27 and ask youth what they think of this command of Jesus to give everything that you own to the poor, then follow Jesus. Discuss to what degree this is possible today. How much "everything" is everything? Does Jesus simply mean something significant?

    Click Rich Young Ruler for the activity.


    From the rising of the sun to its setting ... The name of the LORD is to be praised. Psalms 113:




      The Good News of the Gospel: clear and understandable

                                         Artistically displayed

                                         Thought provoking

    Christian youth entertainment

    Elizabeth Marie review: "In this book we meet youth from two different worlds...Once I opened this book, I couldn't set it down ... I love this book! I think it's perfect for a youth group read and study."

    Lee Ashford from Readers' Favorite writes:

    "The Chest of Visions: Secrets of Caperston� is a well-reasoned, well-written, and intelligently conceived allegory ... a new concept for involving today's youth in Bible study... a correspondence across parallel universes between several teen-aged individuals on two different planets in two different universes.

    If read in its entirety, and considered prayerfully, "The Chest of Visions" should be acknowledged as a significant step forward in Youth Group Study Guides."

    Click for reviews and purchase: ... Reviews of The Chest of Visions

    For youth workers: start the year with ten lessons at the end of the story to use in your youth ministry.


    High School Graduate Send-Off Celebration:

  • Memories Mad Lib
  • Bible Verse Plaques
  • Tell your grads how much you care for them and

    Have fun while doing so

    Click: Seniors Night

    Happy New Year 2015 from Linda and Tim


    Our son shared four New Years Resolutions with me and I have never done so in the past. There is always a first time, so here are mine:

    1. Put into practice the power of forgiveness.*

    2. Listen to those I disagree with because I will probably learn something useful.

    3. Begin each day determined to do something special for somebody.

    4. Begin each day in prayer -letting the Spirit of God lead me in accomplishing resolutions numbers one through three.


    *thanks to the Hugapod nation for Resolution number one.

    Your thoughts are welcome, please write to: Timferguson@christianyouthgroup.org


    Hear ... the Whispers of God

    Develop your listening skills so you can understand the needs of others and so that you can hear the whispers of God.

    Please click ... Whispers of God


                          Books of Christian Youth Activities:

    MEET JOHN OGUTU

    Our youth group is based in Kisumu town in the western part of Kenya. Our community is a fishing town along the shores of Lake Victoria... Our youth enjoy engaging in talent shows where they can showcase their talents. Our talent shows are filled with youth singing, doing comedy, acting in skits, and much more.

    John's Testimony and hopes for his youth group

    John Ogutu of Kenya (see below article) recently wrote to Christianyouthgroup.org ...

    "The events in Caperston are an interesting read for a young Christian. Not only is it interesting, it is also quite engaging for a young Christian mind seeking answers to questions and participating in the story as well. I am encouraged by the way it relates to the Christian environment in relation to our world. I recommend this to all Christian youth groups as an engaging continuous activity. I have purposed to share this with my youth group and encourage them to participate in writing to Huchfee of Caperston and/or to Alex of New York".

     

    To read the story... click March 2015 Letters

     

    How are you ?? I hope all is well ! I am a Christian youth worker located in New York at the Grace Assembly Shiloh Apostolic Church. Last night was our weekly get together and we played your game "Ha Ha". It was such a success and they all had fun. I started to look online for christian group activities last month and I saw and read the details of this game but played it wrong ! (I'm Laughing) I didn't have the details in front of me and instead of stopping at 5 Ha's and then go down to 1 Ha, I let the number keep on going up. It still played out nice and the point is everyone had fun. So thank you for posting that game, I really appreciate it !

    Sincerely,

    Colleen

    Want more details on the Ha Ha game and our popular Lifeboat Game?  Please click:
    Free Activity of the Month :games of insight and laughter

    Thoughts on New Years Resolutions, read the thoughts of Marie Haugh of New York. She writes: " Seriously who could ask for anything more? Power, love and a sound mind! Pease count me in. How, where and when is this possible? Mr. Ferguson addressed the how and the where and I am counting on 2016 to be the when. I want ALL the good stuff Our Lord has planned and I want it sooner rather later. "

    Click Marie Haugh for more on The Sermon.

    A Christian's Christian

    So what does a Christian do about New Year's Resolutions? He or she reviews those made a year ago and evaluates them. The old school grading test so here I go ... these are my four from 1/1/15.

  • 1. Put into practice the power of forgiveness.
  • 2. Listen to those I disagree with because I will probably learn something useful.
  • 3. Begin each day determined to do something special for somebody.
  • 4. Begin each day in prayer -letting the Spirit of God lead me in accomplishing resolutions numbers one through three.

  • So how did I do?

             

  • Lots of talk about forgiveness and not forgiving this past year. I sided with forgiveness but not all the time particularly at work. Grade - B+
  •          
  • Be a better listener. I had to work hard at this one and continue to do so. For my hard work I get a B.
  •          
  • Something special for someone. I did this a lot but everyday. Get a B as I missed a few days.
  •          
  • Begin everyday in prayer. Once again though prayer was a part of everyday beginning the day with prayer was something I became lax at doing. So lets give me a C+.

  • So now what? I guess it is time to refocus and work harder. Any new resolutions?

    Yes - there is a remarkable young man named Mattpaul, who is somewhat spoken of on this website but not enough. He gave his life for his faith and, in doing so , motivated his peers to reach out in faith to follow God's plans for their lives. His story needs to be shared better and that is this years resolution.

    Please share some of yours. We would love to hear them. Write to timferguson@Christianyouthgroup.org.

     

                                               Free Activity of the Month

                                                          Testimonials

    Thanksgiving Feature: Five Kernels of Corn
    This activity is intended as a prelude to a Thanksgiving dinner for our youth group but it could also be done independent of the dinner.

    In order to aid youth to understand the severity of life in the Pilgrim colony, before a Thanksgiving dinner with the youth, have them sit around a decorated table void of food. Then bring out a paper plate for each youth member with five kernels of corn on each. Note that these are not ears of corn but kernels of corn. Youth are then advised that when the Pilgrims arrived from England, life was not easy. Months before the first Thanksgiving feast there had been hardship. Most of their attempts to plant crops had failed. The only success was a New World crop, corn, which the local Native Americans had introduced them to. Nevertheless, only so much corn could be raised and stored and near the end of the winter they were running out.

    Historical records indicate that there was a weeklong period in which food was rationed and the adults of the community, except for the pregnant women, had to live on a ration of five kernels of corn per day. It was the only food the community had as it awaited the early crops of the coming spring, which included wild berries, and the game that would return once the vegetation emerged.

    Youth are asked to eat the five kernels as if that were their daily allotment of food. Briefly discuss what living like this would be like if this is all people had to eat each day. Then it is time for the prepared dinner. The youth should have a greater appreciation for all that we have in this country after this exercise.


    Click if you would like more ideas like five kernals of corn ...
    Activities for Christian youth

    Lent and Love

    Ask youth what their understanding of lent is. See if they feel lent is an easy thing to respond to or something that is difficult. Then tell them that Lent tells us many things about love! For more on this activity, please click: Lent and Love



     

    Please teach our youth to pray ... testimony from England

    We did Trust and Prayer as suggested on your website

     

    When I asked the kids if they had someone they could talk to and trust with a difficult situation, they all said they did. When I asked "If it was something very private and they didn't want anyone else to know, except that friend," their response was, "No they didn't have a friend like that..."

    Pastor Todd Hartsock

    Trust and Prayer is one of many free activity ideas presented in our second website. Read more of Pastor Hartsock's comments and the activity of which he speaks, which is described at: Faith: Christian teen advice How to Pray Activity : a youth group activity that encourages spoken prayer among Christian youth and has been successful on several occasions with different youth ministry programs.

     

    Also try our other free activities including: Bible Trivia from Louis Faithful of Nigeria found at Bible Trivia and more


    Easter Skit ... for Easter Dawn Service

    The eyes of love

    click Look of Love Skit



    Free Activity of the Month

    The Look of Love

    Thaddeus: It was a very long day and an even longer night, Peter.

    Peter: I've had two sleepless nights . . . I . . . just can't get over it.

    Thaddeus: Get over what?

    Peter: The look . . . the look in his eyes, Thaddeus.

    Thaddeus: What look?

    Peter: As he was carrying the cross . . . yesterday . . . to Golgotha.

    Thaddeus: You saw him?

    Peter: Yes, I did . . . I just had to see him . . . after I had failed him so miserably.

    Thaddeus: What do you mean? You failed him?

    Peter: The night he was arrested, I followed him and his accusers. It was the worst night of my life.

    [Mary Magdalene and John approach.]

    John: We couldn't help but overhear. The night of his arrest was terrible. But last night after they took him down from the cross . . . I couldn't get that painful sight out of my mind.

    The eyes of love

    Mary: I was with his mother and John [puts hand briefly on John's shoulder]. Mary was so strong at the cross. She was there for him, her son. It was only later that she let her pain show.

    Peter: I saw him on the way to Golgotha. Thank God someone stepped in to help him with the cross. After I caught his eye, I couldn't bear to follow.

    Thaddeus: Peter, you said that the night of his arrest was the worst night of your life. Why?

    Peter: Because I denied him.

    John: No . . . Peter. You were always the strongest of us all.

    Peter: But John, I denied him. Not once, but three times. He even told me earlier that I would do so. I felt so ashamed. I had to see him again. I knew he was aware of what I did. When the Romans brought him out and started marching Jesus and the others with their crosses, I ran ahead. I had to get somewhere where I could see him . . . face to face.

    Mary: Were you successful, Peter?

    Peter: Yes, I was . . . I had to run a long way, but there . . . up there around the bend . . . the crowd was sparse. He was so tired and struggled so.

    Thaddeus: When he approached, what did you say? Or was it he who spoke?

    Peter: Neither of us spoke with words, but we did speak. I spoke with shame, with tears . . . barely able to look at him except for some fleeting glances.

    John: And Jesus?

    Peter: Jesus' eyes never left me as he approached. I expected to see a look of condemnation, but I got a look of reassurance and eyes filled with love.

    Mary: Why didn't you say something, Peter? It sounds like you needed to tell him how sorry you were.

    Peter: I tried. My mouth opened, but my tongue wouldn't move. Before I knew it, he had passed by me.

    Mary: Please don't be hard on yourself. We are all human. We are all afraid. What will we do without him?

    Pete: He may be dead, but that reassuring glance, that look of love remains with me. When I saw it, I knew I had seen it before but I couldn't remember when. Then, late last night, I remembered. Do you recall the day Jesus called me to walk upon the water?

    John: How could we forget?

    Thaddeus: I couldn't believe how brave you were.

    Peter: Oh, I was brave. I took four steps, looked to the water, lost my faith and sank. Just like when I said I'd always stand up for him, then denied him. That day, when I started sinking, I called out "Lord, save me"�. And he looked at me with those reassuring, loving eyes. I'll never forget those eyes . . . that look of love he gave me two years ago on the sea and yesterday on the way to his death.

    John: You know, I think I know that look. Yesterday, Mary and his mother and I followed him to the cross. He was truly in pain. As he was dying, he made several utterances, but two stood out in my mind. Do you remember, Mary?

    Mary: Absolutely. I couldn't believe he asked God to forgive everyone who did this to him. Just after he said that he glanced at the three of us and we saw that look . . . the look of love that only Jesus had. I'll not forget it . . . even in his death.

    Thaddeus: John, you said there were two things Jesus said that stood out in your mind.

    John: Yes, there were. After asking God to forgive everyone who did this, he looked at me, then at his mother with those reassuring eyes. He said to his mother, "Woman, look at your son,"� and to me, "Son, look after your mother."� His mother and I now know we are to be like a family, and I will take her to my home. I know exactly what you mean, Peter . . . even as he was dying, he displayed a look of love.

    Thaddeus: So where do we go now?

    Peter: We all should go home and rest. Tomorrow is a new day. [Leaves.]

    Mary: Tomorrow is the day we say goodbye to him. A few of us will get up early in the morning to anoint his body . . . then . . . I just don't know.

    Thaddeus Then I shall see you all soon. [Mary and John leave.] And that is what I recall happened that day after his death. Jesus was gone. We didn't know what to do. We remembered his teachings, but they didn't seem important that day. We remembered his miracles, but wondered why he didn't save himself. But we couldn't and I still can't forget those reassuring eyes,�that look of love that was always a part of him. I left Peter, John, and Mary that day and returned to a friend's home outside of the city. I was not around for the excitement of the next morning, so I cannot tell you firsthand. I had to wait to hear later in the day. Now I am an old man. Over thirty years have passed since Jesus was with us, but he is once again alive . . . in this book written by the physician Luke. [Shows a scroll.] I just received it a short time ago, and I'd like to let Luke finish the story. Let's see . . . Luke writes . . . "On the first day of the week, early in the morning, they came to the tomb bringing prepared spices with them. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. And they entered in and did not find the body of Jesus. And it came to pass, as they were perplexed, that two men in shining clothes stood by them. And they became afraid and bowed their faces to the ground. The men said, 'Why do you search for the living among the dead? He is not here; he is risen. Remember what he said to you when he was in Galilee . . .'� And they remembered his words. And they returned from the tomb and told most of us disciples. It was Mary Magdalene, the one who was with Peter, John and me the day before, and two others who first went to the tomb. [Holds rolled up scroll.] This wonderful book by Luke tells the story of Jesus so perfectly. I have read it once and will soon read it again. If any of you are interested, let me know and I'll make it available. Oh, if only . . . if only Luke's story could be read by everyone around the world, then everyone would know of Jesus' teachings, his miracles, his death for each of us and his resurrection. What a different world it could be? Luke's story is wonderful but he was not with Jesus. He can tell you things Jesus taught and things he did, but he cannot tell you of his eyes, his reassuring, loving eyes. Only those who were with him can do so, and there are only a few of us left. Read this book and as you read it, imagine the love that a glance from Jesus shared with each of us, the look of god-sent love.

    We would love to hear if this activity was useful to your group. Please share your experience by writing to: TimFerguson@christianyouthgroup.org.



    High School Graduate Send-Off Celebration:

  • Memories Mad Lib
  • Bible Verse Plaques
  • Tell your grads how much you care for them and

    Have fun while doing so

    Click: Seniors Night
    A President's Day Lesson for Christian Youth Ask the youth to name characteristics of what will make an effective leader. It might be helpful to reference the recent inauguration of a new president and focus on what characteristics a successful president might have. After making your list, have the youth narrow the list to the five most important characteristic. For more details on this activity,please click:

    Presidents Christian Youth Game



    Happy New Year 2015


    My son shared four New Years Resolutions with me and I had never done so in the past. There is always a first time, so here they are and it is time to review them to see how I am doing.

    2015 Resolutions

    1. Put into practice the power of forgiveness.*

    2. Listen to those I disagree with because I will probably Learn something useful.

    3. Begin each day determined to do something special for somebody.

    4. Begin each day in prayer -letting the Spirit of God lead me in accomplishing resolutions numbers one through three.

    I am good with some but not all. Reminders are most helpful. Did you make resolutions this year?

    Your thoughts are welcome, please write to: Timferguson@christianyouthgroup.org


    Food For Thought ...

    "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." Martin Luther King, Jr.
    "BE the change you want to see in the world." Mohandas Gandhi
    Summer Hike - August 29th in the Catskill Mountains in New York.

    Want to join us to Kaaterskil Falls this summer? Write to Mountgote@AOL.com (Tim Ferguson) or call 631-242-2582. We would love to have you join us in God's Country

    .Christian youth ministry opportunity

    Going on your own hike?

    We discussed the group response to a more local hike but imagined that it is 100 years ago. There are no telephones, no internet, no automobiles and our pastor says he heard at a meeting that there are Christian youth in the next town, nine miles away, that want to meet with us. We, then, asked how many people would be willing to take a nine mile hike and back, three hours of walking each way to spend an hour sharing youth group ideas.

    Guess how many volunteers we had? Read more about what we learned by clicking ... Summer Walks


    Lent and Love

    Ask youth what their understanding of lent is. See if they feel lent is an easy thing to respond to or something that is difficult. Then tell them that Lent tells us many things about love! For more details on this activity, please click: Lent and Love




    It's the New Year with new challenges including some difficult times. The saying, "learn to dance in the rain" is a worthwhile self-goal for 2015. It is more than a New Year's Resolution. It is a new way of life! Please share some of your "dancing in the rain experiences" with us and we will publish them on our Activities Page and/or Youth Leaders Page.

    Write to: Timferguson@christianyouthgroup.org


    Christian Rankings

    This activity is intended as a prelude to a Thanksgiving dinner for our youth group but it could also be done independent of the dinner.

    In order to aid youth to understand the severity of life in the Pilgrim colony, before a Thanksgiving dinner with the youth, have them sit around a decorated table void of food. Then bring out a paper plate for each youth member with five kernels of corn on each. Note that these are not ears of corn but kernels of corn. Youth are then advised that when the Pilgrims arrived from England, life was not easy. Months before the first Thanksgiving feast there had been hardship. Most of their attempts to plant crops had failed. The only success was a New World crop, corn, which the local Native Americans had introduced them to. Nevertheless, only so much corn could be raised and stored and near the end of the winter they were running out.

    Historical records indicate that there was a weeklong period in which food was rationed and the adults of the community, except for the pregnant women, had to live on a ration of five kernels of corn per day. It was the only food the community had as it awaited the early crops of the coming spring, which included wild berries, and the game that would return once the vegetation emerged.

    Youth are asked to eat the five kernels as if that were their daily allotment of food. Briefly discuss what living like this would be like if this is all people had to eat each day. Then it is time for the prepared dinner. The youth should have a greater appreciation for all that we have in this country after this exercise.

    Click if you would like more ideas like five kernals of corn ... Activities for Christian youth

    Second Game of the Month

    This is a game we used in conjunction with the event 'Trust and Prayer' described below. It is listed here as it can be used simply as an activity for fun apart from the more serious event or as part of the below activity. Find a space in your youth area about four feet wide by twenty feet long. Use some tape to mark this game area out clearly. Take six or seven pieces of construction paper and randomly place them in the area that's been marked off.

    Break your group into two teams. Each team is to pick a 'guide' who will direct teammates down the four foot by twenty foot corridor while they are blindfolded. Blindfolded youth must walk from one end of the corridor to the other end without touching the tape boundaries or any of the bombs (pieces of construction paper). Use a stop watch to record the duration of each youth's effort.

    When a youth steps on a bomb or on or past a tape boundary, hit a pot with a spoon or make some such loud noise simulating a bomb going off. Record the number of times errors are made.

    Total the times needed for each team to walk the maze and add ten seconds for each time a bomb goes off. After each youth attempts to traverse the maze, change the locations of the construction paper so that no one can memorize the locations of the bombs. The total team time plus the penalty seconds will determine the winning team. See the activity entitled 'Trust and Prayer' for discussion ideas regarding this activity.

    Whether you use this activity on its own or with Trust and Prayer, we would love to hear if this activity was useful to your group. Please share your experience by writing to: TimFerguson@christianyouthgroup.org.

    We would love to hear if this activity was both fun and useful to your grou as it has been to ours. Please share your experience by writing to: TimFerguson@christianyouthgroup.org.

    A local newspaper recently published an article entitled, "Isn't it about time for God 2.0?" It claims ... "We now know more about morality than when the holy books were written, just as we know more about science."

    As a youth leader I have asked, "Do we need 'God 2.0'?" Perhaps. My experience since 1969 suggests that we begin with one thing that is similar between youth in the 1970's and today's youth when thinking of their moral perceptions. In the 1970's our group was offered an opportunity to work with children institutionalized for behavioral problems, spending a few hours on a Saturday afternoon to simply be a friend. I had no problem finding volunteers for these once a month gatherings. In the past 17 years our young group in Deer Park has been offered the opportunity to work with the homeless in New York City, also on a Saturday afternoon. Once again, a generation later, we are able to find volunteers.

    If we are to look for the new moral formula, which applies to many of our young people, how about this: Hope + Justice = Change. Young people are full of hope, whether today's youth or those of the previous generation. Find an outlet, providing a just cause, and they will join in, bringing change to those they serve. And in bringing change to others, they change themselves. A new formula, yes, but based on an old principle (see Matthew 25: 31-46).

    What do you think? Send your thoughts to timferguson@christianyouthgroup.org". I look forward to hearing from you.

    One pumpkin to another!

    A woman was asked by a coworker, "What is it like to be a Christian?"

    The coworker replied, "It is like being a pumpkin. God picks you from the patch, brings you in, and washes all the dirt off of you. Then He cuts the top off and scoops out all the yucky stuff. He removes the seeds of doubt, hate, and greed. Then He carves you a new smiling face and puts His light inside of you to shine for all the world to see."

    Christian Teen Website presents art project: Pictures of Faith