Two plates of food: 1st plate of a well garnished succulent barbeque ribs and baked potato and a 2nd plate with an exploded potato and poorly coloured/burnt ribs.
Show your two dishes then say: “Decisions, decisions I wonder wish dish you would prefer?
Comment on how the dish can be cooked quickly in a microwave or more slowly in a crockpot or slow cooker. If time and energy consumption are key for you the microwave is the obvious choice, but the crockpot has by far the superior flavor. There is also the danger that if you don’t prick the potatoes repeatedly or insulate the ribs in a heatproof plastic bag from the microwave’s lightening-like energy your microwave meals could either explode or turn into something uneatable!
Hebrews 12:1-2 reminds us that as we wait for Christ’s return we need to persevere and keep on keeping on. Run the race with patience it says. Jesus warned against our desire for immediacy, with bursts of fervor when we encounter God followed by regression to sin when results are delayed.
What does God EXPECT of us while awaiting His second coming? Stay the course. The gospel account of EXPECTANCY is not microwave fervor, but it is zealous commitment despite the circumstance.
The Second Coming of Christ
You will need
Drawing /painting materials
Read Revelation 1:7. ‘Look He is coming on the clouds. Everyone will see him!’ Encourage everyone to close their eyes and visualise the scene. Better still give them a sheet of art paper and let them draw an image to represent the scene. Prompt their visualisation with the following words:
It’s just a normal day. You are at work/school/home/driving//shopping/having a meal etc. Suddenly there is a commotion outside as people are shouting to one another. The daylight seems to be getting brighter and brighter. You run outside and in the sky you see billowing clouds, and the light becomes so bright, you have to shield your eyes from the glare. Then suddenly incredibly, in the middle of the clouds, is the figure of a man coming in the clouds! Every eye sees him. Share your ‘pictures’.
This event is yet to happen and although the prospect of the scene may fill us with awe, it should not fill us with fear. It is the fulfilment of Jesus’ promise to His followers, that He will return to take us home but as Mathew 24:36 says: ‘No one knows about that day or, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father’. Explore what this means in our lives e.g. we must live each day as if it’s that day when He will return – are we expectant? Are we ready?
The Big Reveal
If your setting is one where you can draw a curtain when you come into the room, have the curtain closed. Have someone behind the curtain unexpectedly read a scripture of promise, so surprising the audience. Encourage the audience to guess who is behind the curtain. Then as they wait” expectantly” slowly open the curtains. (If you do not have curtains, hide the reader behind a door then have the reveal themselves slowly. This experience reminds us that God is a spirit, we do not see Him, yet He requires us to believe His word and acknowledge His Presence, when we come to worship. When we do this we can ‘Expect’ to be blessed. Have two young people prepare and present a role play. One girl gives praise to another girl, Jane, congratulating her on her success in the last competition/recent exam. While this is happening Jane is busy texting and chatting with her friends and taking no notice.
Discuss the role play and link it to the ways in which we sometimes neglect to focus on God when we come to worship. What does God EXPECT of us in worship? We should expect Him to be present even though he is unseen and we should focus on Him. John 4:24 says ‘God is a spirit and they that worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.’
Watch and Wait
You will need
Paper plates, glue, salt, paintbrush, watercolour paints and water
Squeeze glue onto paper plate making an intersecting pattern. Immediately pour salt over the glue lines, making sure the glue is completely covered with salt. Saturate the paintbrush with water, dip it into paint and dab paint onto one of the lines, holding the brush in that one spot. The paint colour will move along the lines as the salt absorbs the water in the paint. After the colour stops spreading rinse off the brush and choose another colour and start that colour at a different spot of glue. The two paints will mix at the point they meet. All this time encourage the children to keep watching and to anticipate what will happen. Ask them what they expected to happen.
Sometimes when things take a long time to happen, we get tired and bored of waiting and watching for it. When we pray to God we need to wait and watch to see Him answer our prayers. Just as we watched to see what would happen with the paint, it’s up to us to keep watching to find out how God will answer our prayers. We know God will always keep His promise to answer us, we just don’t always know when or how.
Pass the Parcel
You will need
Enough sweets/chocolates to share with your group, pre-printed stickers of scripture passages, sticky tape, facility to play music, wrapping paper.
Create a multi – layered parcel with the prize (sweets or chocolates) in the centre that people will enjoy. In each layer, include some verses of praise and adoration from the psalms. Play music and pass the parcel round. When the music stops, the next wrapper is removed and reveals a verse from a psalm. This is read out to the rest of the group. When the prize is revealed, have a message written on it, encouraging the winner to share it with the rest of the group.
Talk with your group that God is so good. Everything He gives and offers is greater than what we could imagine. The Lord is good to those whom have hope/expect from Him. (Lamentations 3:25) God wants to be good to you, but you have to be expecting Him to move in your life. Ask them did they expect to share the prize? Like the prize, God’s goodness isn’t just for our friends, but His goodness is available to all if we would come before Him expecting Him to shower us with His goodness. Like the prize, we can assume it’s not for us and our time has passed. Whether you see it or not, keep expecting because God is longing to be gracious to you. Isaiah 30:18
If you have access to the internet find a countdown clock set it to 1 minute and display on a screen Show the clock to your group. (If you have no internet access, use a large clock with a big second hand.) Allow or encourage them to join in when the countdown approaches zero….. 5, 4,3,2,1, zero!
On ZERO do something exciting: anything from singing a favourite praise song, to unveiling a cake, or letting balloons off. Choose an activity suitable for the age and environment in which you are working
Talk with the group about how the countdown raises our sense of excitement and how it makes us think that something exciting is going to happen. Talk about how every time we come to worship we should have that same sense of EXPECTANCY and anticipation that God will be there and something good will happen.
Worship for Theme of Expectancy
Scriptures reflecting the theme of Expectation
Ephesians 3v.20-21 ‘Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen’
Romans 15:13 ‘Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.’
or from The Message: ‘May the God of great hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope!’
Psalm 20:4 ‘May He grant you according to your heart’s desire, and fulfil all your purpose.’
Psalm 37:4 ‘Delight yourself also in the Lord and He shall give you the desires of your heart.’
Proverbs 13:12 ‘Hope deferred makes the heart sick; but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.’
Isaiah 65:24 ‘Before they call, I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.’
Scriptures that may be used to base a talk on the theme of Expectancy
Luke 7:1-10 The Centurion Servant healed: The Centurion expected Jesus to answer his need
1 Kings 18v.16-39 Elijah on Mount Carmel : Elijah expected His God to answer his prayer
Luke 1:5-23 & 57-66 The birth of John the Baptist: Contrary to human expectation John the Baptist is born
Luke 9: 12-17 The Feeding of the Five Thousand: Jesus provided beyond the expectation of those present
Hymns & Songs reflecting the theme of Expectation
My hope is built on nothing less
In Christ alone
There is a hope so sure
God is working his purpose out
B e thou my vision
Our God is a great big God
Our God is an awesome God
My God is so big, so strong and so mighty
How great Thou art
Order of service for an act of worship based on the theme of Expectation
Welcome (Setting the scene)
Focus Time (Including a call to worship)
Prayer Time (Acknowledging God’s presence)
Worship Time (Song and hymns of praise)
Bible time (A sermon, children’s talk or young people’s address)
Creative prayer Time (An interactive prayer of expectation)
Story Time ( A testimony to God’s faithfulness)
Response Time (Songs and hymns of response)
The notes below give one way the worship time may be developed.
Welcome Time: (Adapt the following according to the age group present).
Welcome those present and then apologise that you are not quite ready to begin. Ask the assembled group if they mind waiting for a few moments. Pause for a moment or two. Create a sense of anticipation and expectancy by looking at your watch, craning your neck, looking around, interspersed with comments like…. sorry to keep you waiting… we won’t be long… we were expecting another guest… I don’ think they’ll be long etc. Point to an empty chair positioned near the front and explain it is for a special guest. Have a bouquet of flowers and a gift wrapped and explain how these are for the guest you are expecting. Build up the atmosphere of expectancy before sharing that, of course, the most special guest at any act of worship is God Himself. We should always expect to meet God when you gather to worship. Introduce the theme of the worship ‘Be Expectant’.
Use Ephesians 3v.20 as a call to worship
20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen
Acknowledging the presence of God and your expectation that through His Holy Spirit He will bless you all
Select three or four worship songs which celebrate the fact that God is with us:
The King is among us
As we are gathered Jesus is here
Comer now is the time to worship
Choose a Bible focus relevant to the age group present e.g. Explore the story of 1 Kings 18v.16-39. Tell the story of the conquest on Mount Carmel in an interactive way engaging the young people in the story. Draw out the message that:
God is able – God can do it!
Elijah prayed, ‘Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.” In response, God sent the fire, even though the prophets of Baal all said ‘Oh no He can’t!’
God will do more that we think
God’s fire not only consumed the sacrifice (which would have been enough) but it also consumed the wood and the stones and the dust and even licked up the water!!! God gave ‘immeasurably more’ than we can ask or imagine!
God received glory
When all the people saw this mighty act, they fell to their faces and began to call upon the name of the Lord!
Creative Prayer Time:
PARTY POPPER PRAYERS (lots of mess, but worth it!)
Give each person a party popper. Remind the group that they should expect that God will answer their prayers and respond to their requests! Isaiah 65:24 says: ‘Before they call, I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.’ Pray that God will bless the work of GB around the world, that more young people may hear about Jesus, that more lives will be changed etc. Add any specific prayers relating to your local or national aspirations! Wait until the end of the prayer and get the whole group to let off their party poppers together with one great big ‘Amen!’ Explain that party poppers are usually used to celebrate! By celebrating your prayer together, you are celebrating the goodness of God and expecting that He will answer your prayers. Refer again to Isaiah 65:24 ‘Before they call, I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.’ The release of the poppers celebrates that He has heard and you are EXPECTING Him to answer.
Invite someone to share a personal story of how their prayers were answered and they learnt that they were right to expect great things from God.
Close your time together by singing a praise and worship song that reflects God’s faithfulness and helps us to anticipate His response to our prayers.
At ICGB we were challenged to ‘keep the main thing’ of Girls’ Brigade the ‘main thing’. We recognised that there are often other issues on our agendas and in our GB diaries that crowd in and become more important or distract our time, energy and prayers away from our main purpose.
As a group what do you consider to be the main purpose of GB?
Do you expect that everything about how GB does things will always remain the same or are you open to, and expectant of, change in order to remain focused on your local purpose to see girls lives transformed and God’s world enriched through GB?
Possible discussion prompts:
Make a list together of the ‘GB matters’ that cause your leadership group to focus on ‘how we do things’ rather than on whether you are achieving your God given purpose effectively. In some areas this may include issues such as ‘uniform’, correct achievement of badges, retaining traditions of GB that may now seem out-dated to a new generation of girls.
Talk openly about the challenges you face as individuals and leadership teams in making GB’s purpose more of a priority than simply retaining your ‘methods and ways’
Consider the issues that take up your agenda time at meetings. Reflect together about whether they are matters that are focused on GB’s actual mission purpose in your area.
Talk together about how to have encourage each other in an attitude of expectancy about new ways developing in GB as you work amongst changing generations of girls.
An open door
At ICGB 2014 we were challenged to see that 1/3 of the world had never heard the name of Jesus and another 1/3 may have heard but have not engaged with Him. 1 Corinthians 16v.9 says ‘I have laid before you an open door’.
As a national board, local company or regional group of leaders, wWhat doors can you see that you confidently EXPECT God to open before you in the year ahead?
Possible discussion prompts:
Consider the different people groups in your community or specific age groups where you could engage more effectively.
An open door leads you to new adventures and new vistas what new things or ways of working is God leading you to?
Expect greater things
I love reading the letter to the Hebrews, especially chapter 11. It is a mind-stretching retelling of the acts of so many disciples of God. Almost every line begins with the phrase… ‘by faith….’ and as you read through the passage your heart soars at the way in which God’s people have achieved so much as they made choices to follow Him, and expected that he would keep His promises to them. Sometimes I think we fall into a trap of thinking that achieving something for God depends on our determination or effort or the size of our ‘faith’. In fact actually faith is all about God. It’s about His absolute trustworthiness, His power, His Holy Spirit. And, in my experience, it’s about my willingness to take steps to join in with Him as he works through me and others in His world.
Faith isn’t really about me at all. It’s about God! That’s why the stories of God at work through his people in history inspire us to expect that God will do even more in the days ahead. 2 Corinthians 4v7 reminds me daily that I don’t need to be someone of great ability or skill or influence to be used by the Lord in these days…but I do need to be open to all he can and will do through me as I expect Him to fulfil His purposes through me – one of his followers. ‘For we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us’
One incredible missionary movement founder, William Carey, was used in his generation (the 1761-1834) by God to lay the foundations of the Baptist Missionary Society (now BMS World Mission). Last year I met a young GB woman from Scotland who joined BMS World Mission for a year to serve God in Nepal.
I wonder if William Carey knew that his faith, his expectancy of God, his discipleship would lead to a world-wide movement where women and men today are involved in life-giving mission? He certainly expressed the challenge of this well through the words of his now famous quote “Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God.”
In the 1890’s women in Ireland set out on an expectant journey with God as they began to reach in to the lives of girls in their community….I wonder if they expected that The Girls’ Brigade would emerge from their ‘jars of clay’?
Let’s continue to expect God to move us on and call us further and use us in existing and new ways as His mission people through GB in 2015!
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