Created to Praise. Leader Guide Unit 1 lesson 6

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1 Created to Praise Leader Guide Unit 1 lesson 6

2 Scripture Psalm 8 Lesson Overview: Spiritual Dimension Busy, over-scheduled preteens don t often take the time to stop and smell the roses. When they do get a break from their busy schedules, most students park in front of a computer, cell phone, TV, video game, or good book. We want our preteens to embrace the practice of praise and wonder as they revel in the vastness of God s creation. Helping them see the value in this practice is the topic of this lesson. Creation can grow in us a sense of wonder, patience, gratitude, humility, and, ultimately, lead us to God himself. As our students learned in the first lesson of this series, the Creator is a God worthy of praise. This lesson can help your students experience the practice of praise in creation, and help give them a right definition of what praise is and why we do it. Biblical Commentary In Psalm 8, David is in awe of God s creation and man s role within it. The idea that God would choose to use people and give them dominion over the earth amazed David. Psalm 8 begins and ends with the same praise of God: How majestic is your name in all the earth! (verses 1, 9). David starts and ends this psalm with the recognition that creation belongs to God. He then goes on to talk about the strength of God being shown, in that the weakest will defeat the strong. People, even children and infants, represent the strength of God (verse 2). David is again amazed at the value God has placed on people in verse 5 as he calls them a little lower than the angels and crowned with glory and honor. God has given people an important role in his creation to be about the work of restoration. It s a job not to be taken lightly. As God s image-bearers, we are to be about not just living in his creation, but renewing it as well. Reflect on these themes: Do you stand in awe and wonder of God s creation? Has God used you recently to be a tool of restoration in his creation? How does your care of God s creation reflect God s goodness to the people around you? Think about your students: Are your students in awe of God s creation? If not what are some roadblocks to them doing so? Do your students understand the honor and value of praising God and his creation? What is stopping them from understanding? How would you evaluate their understanding of worship and praise? How can you help them see outside the box? Resources Bibles Printed copies of Psalm 8 in a few different Bible versions Printouts of song lyrics and singers/songwriters Printouts of inventions and inventors Paper Pens Copies of handout Messages to Parents and Preteens For Preteens: The following are a couple of text messages, tweets, and Facebook statuses you could send out to preteens in order to promote the meeting and prepare them for it. Read Psalm 8 this week in preparation for our next meeting. Bring your questions and your best dance moves. Take a few minutes this week to spend some time in creation and thank God for something that you see. We ll be talking about this at our next meeting. 2

3 For Parents: Here are some text messages to get parents and preteens talking before your next meeting, and a follow-up to equip parents to continue encouraging their preteens to engage in living in God s mission. This week we re talking about being created to praise God. Spend some time this week with your preteen in creation, and pick one thing to praise God for. Read Psalm 8 this week with your preteen. Share with them something(s) that you praise God for in his creation. Dear Parents, This week we wrapped up our series on image. Our last lesson focused on how we are created to praise God. By spending time in God s creation we can t help but experience wonder, patience, gratitude, and humility. Spending time in creation naturally leads us to the Creator. It s important for us to stop and gaze in wonder at God s creation and thank him for all he has given to us. Use the following questions to help spark discussion about what we talked about this week: How does spending time in creation make us thankful to God? Why is it important to praise God and thank him for creation? How might our family find ways to praise God for creation together? Let me know if you have any questions about this series. Thanks for entrusting your preteen to me. 3

4 Lesson Guide This lesson would be a great opportunity to take your group outside into nature. Find a park, sit under a shady tree, or walk through the fall leaves. For the Explore portion of the lesson you will need to find some song lyrics (make sure they re appropriate). Print them off along with the name of the band or singer. You could also do pictures of famous inventions and the inventors. Also, invite several artists from your church community to speak with your students during the Engage section about how they worship God with their art. Think about inviting a photographer, painter, poet, sculptor, digital artist, filmmaker, etc. Explore Student Goal: Students will discover that they already praise things in their own lives. Welcome your students and open with prayer. ASK: Would you rather write a hit song but be anonymous, or be famous for doing nothing? What if the only way to communicate with people was to paint pictures? Read through the song lyrics and see how many students can guess the name of the band or singer. Another option would be to hold up pictures of famous inventions and see if students can tell you who invented it. SAY something like: Isn t it funny that we can often remember the name of songwriters or inventors, and we have no problem giving them praise for what they have done, but when it comes to praising God for the best creation ever, sometimes we really struggle to do it? ASK: Does it seem strange that we praise people for doing good things? (Think sports fans breaking records, famous painters, anything made by Apple, etc.) Do you think God wants us to praise him for what he has created? Does he deserve it? Encounter Student Goal: Students will discover that they were created to praise God. SAY something like: Many of your may remember stories of David in the Bible. Can any of you name some of the stories about David? (David and Goliath, David and Jonathan, David and Bathsheba, King David, David as a shepherd, etc.) One of the interesting things about David is that he liked to write psalms. Psalms are kind of like songs or poems. David wrote many of the psalms in the Bible. Today we are going to look at one in particular. Ask a student to read Psalm 8. ASK: In your own words, what is David talking about in this psalm? SAY something like: David is in awe of what God has created and what people s role is in his creation. ASK: Have you ever been somewhere in nature and just found yourself in awe? Where were you? What did you see/experience? Hand out copies of Psalm 8 in two or three different versions of the Bible. The New Living Translation and the New Century Version are great for this exercise. Make sure they are printed out line-by-line in one column. Explain to students that today they are going to write their own psalm alongside the published version of Psalm 8 on their handout. They can do this on their own or in a group. Sometimes it is fun to try and make them rhyme, but it s not necessary. After students have finished, ask them to read theirs aloud if they would like to. ASK: If you were going to write a psalm for the bible to praise God s creation, what things would you highlight in creation? Why do you think we forget to thank God for his creation? Have you ever been in a situation where you were regularly spending time praising God? (Camp, retreats, etc.) How has that changed you? How are you different when you are doing this regularly? Engage Student Goal: Students will find ways to praise God for his creation. SAY something like: When most of us think of worship, we think of singing. However, singing is just one way we can praise God. Today I have invited some people from our community to share with you how they praise God. 4

5 Invite the people you have chosen to share with your group the way they praise God and his creation. (They don t have to be professionals just people who love God and use their art to worship him.) Make sure your group has time to ask questions and thank each person afterward. ASK: Did any of those forms of praise stand out to you? Ask students to choose the top five things they praise God for on the handout sheet by circling them. Next ask them to underline the two things they praise God for the least. Have them share why they circled certain things and why they underlined others. Closing ASK: What is one way you could try to do this week to praise God and thank him for his creation? Would you be willing to bring the result of your praise (a song, painting, sculpture, etc.) with you next week to share? Close in prayer by reading Psalm 8 together. 5

6 Worship Together EXPLORE: Spend some time in worship together. If you have a student who is capable and willing to lead your group in worship, ask them to do so. You could also invite an adult leader to do the same. Another option would be to attend a church service together and crash the worship time. After the musical worship time is ended, ask the students about their experience worshiping through music. Did they like it? What do they think is the purpose? What would they change if they were leading the musical worship? Reading Through the Psalms encounter: Challenge your group to pick a different Psalm that highlights creation each day during the next week and read it together. Have students write down their thoughts and impressions about each passage and have them bring it with them to the next meeting. Creating in Creation Creative Options ENGAGE: Find an inspirational place in creation and ask students to create a psalm of their own. It could be a poem, a picture, a photo, a song, etc. Give them time to create and worship and then share with each other afterward. Collect your students art and place it somewhere where you all will be reminded to praise God for his creation. 6

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