Pre-Trip Devotion #1

STOP, DROP, AND ROLL!

(Note to youth leaders: These devotions are meant to be a starting-off place to help prepare your group for this year’s Group Mission Trip experience. Please feel free to adjust the material to fit your context. We want to SERVE you as you prepare your group to GO SERVE during Summer 2022!)

For the next three devotions, we’ll look at a passage from Isaiah. As you prepare to present this material, we recommend consulting a commentary. Read about Isaiah 6 and 2 Chronicles 26 for a deeper understanding of the context.

Crowdbreaker: Hit the Road! 

Use the following websites to find 10 pictures of offbeat tourist places in the United States. One at a time, show the photos on a screen and see if students can guess each location.

https://www.countryliving.com/life/travel/g33450032/road-trip-stops-every-state/

https://www.insider.com/tourist-attractions-us-2018-4

Ask:

(Allow time for a few students to answer.)

From the Bible

Say: Sometimes we see something that makes us STOP and just stare. Maybe we visit a place like the Grand Canyon and just want to pause and take it all in.

During the next few weeks, we’ll talk about a life-changing moment for Isaiah, one of God’s prophets. Isaiah didn’t just see and tell about future events. He also prophesied about many things that Jesus Christ would experience and do.

Let’s read Isaiah 6:1-8

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3 **And they were calling to one another:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”

At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.” Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.” **8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” (NIV)

Say: **I know what you’re thinking. A lot is happening in those verses! A king is dying. Isaiah is having a vision of God on his throne. Angels are flying around everywhere. The temple is shaking. Hot coals are touching people’s lips (don’t try this at home!). **

It may seem confusing, but don’t worry. I’ll explain everything throughout the next three weeks. Today we’ll tackle just the first four verses.

Let’s unpack what the Bible is saying.

Say: We often remember time based on what happened. Some memories are good; others aren’t so good. For example:

*That’s the type of situation Isaiah is talking about in chapter 6. *In the year that King Uzziah died… It was a memorable time in Isaiah’s life, and not in a good way. Uzziah became king at age 16, and he started off great. He decided to seek God’s ways in everything he did, so God blessed him. For a long time, everything Uzziah did was successful, thanks to God’s blessing. The king defeated and drove away armies that had bullied the nation of Israel. Uzziah built towers to protect his people from invaders. **

And then it all went wrong. Uzziah took credit and became prideful of his accomplishments. He began to do things that God commanded him not to do.

Why do we bring this up? Because it’s on Isaiah’s mind.

Consider: This year, has something happened, good or bad, that you’ll never forget? Take a moment now to partner up and share with each other.

(Allow up to 5 minutes to share.)

Say: Would anyone like to share with the group? (Allow for 3 or 4 responses.)

Say: Thank you for sharing. Life changes constantly. We can’t control what happens, but most of the time we can control how we respond.

While Isaiah was in the temple, he STOPPED. He saw a vision of God. Let’s read that description again, from Isaiah 6:1-4.

I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;  the whole earth is full of his glory.”

At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.

Say: That must have been awesome to see!

Ask: If you were Isaiah, what would you have done in that moment?

(Give the group time to respond.)

Say: The best word to describe Isaiah’s response to seeing God is AWE. Not “aww, that kitten is so cute,” but AWE as in he just saw something AWESOME. When we go to ____________ (insert your mission trip destination), **God will be at work through you, me, and the other trip participants. God may use you to change someone else’s life. And God may use someone else to change your life. **

Wrapping It Up

Ask: What do you hope happens on our trip? Take a moment to think, and then we’ll share with one another.

(Pause for a moment and then let some students share.)

Say: We don’t know exactly what can happen, but we can hope about what will happen. The one thing we know is that God will be with us every step of the way. This is exactly what Isaiah must have been feeling in that moment: ANTICIPATION.We know that God will do something; we just don’t know what.

Discussion
Ending

As we pray, let’s thank God that he already knows what challenges we’ll face. Let’s thank God for the awesome things to come. Let’s thank God, in advance, for how he will change our lives through this mission trip.

Close in prayer.
 
After praying, share any announcements you may have.

Pre-Trip Devotion #2

STOP, DROP, AND ROLL!
 
Crowdbreaker: How long did THAT take?

Use this website to create a game or visuals about how long it took to build different monuments around the world.

https://visual.ly/community/Infographics/travel/how-long-did-famous-structures-take-build

Say: It’s amazing to think that God has given us humans the ability to think of something, a monument or building, and then take years to construct our vision. In a way, it’s one of the ways God made us in his image. We create. We work. We build.

Sometimes when something new is built, something older, broken down or decaying, has to be torn down or removed. Before God was ready to use Isaiah as a prophet, something in Isaiah's life needed to be torn down.

If you remember last time, Isaiah had a vision of God on his throne. This happened one day while Isaiah was visiting the Temple in Jerusalem. Let’s read again what happened in Isaiah 6:1-8:

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”

At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.” Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.” Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” (NIV)

Say: I’ll admit that a lot of strange things are happening in this Bible passage. It’s stuff we aren’t used to seeing unless it’s in a movie or TV show. But this really happened! And the part we’ll talk about today is the burning coal. We aren’t recommending this! In fact, I need to say this is something 100% not to try at home.

Think of this as a giant one-time illustration. It’s an example to show that God wants two things for us:

  1. God wants to forgive us.
  2. God wants us to leave sin behind.

Say: When Isaiah saw God, he essentially DROPPED to his knees and realized something. Isaiah realized that God is holy, different, completely without sin. Immediately, Isaiah is ashamed of the words he sometimes uses. In verse 5, he says:

5 “Woe to me!” … “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”

Say: For whatever reason, Isaiah realized he said things that didn’t honor God. For whatever reason, that’s the sin that came to mind when Isaiah saw God. Maybe it’s because Isaiah was in the temple, a place of worship. What do people use to worship God? Their mouths, a lot of the time. So maybe the huge difference between God and Isaiah makes Isaiah feel unworthy to be near God, much less to even worship God.

Say: Let’s read what happens next in Isaiah 6:6-7.

Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”

Say: This must have felt like a dream or q nightmare. But an angel grabs a hot coal from the altar and puts it on Isaiah’s lips. (OUCH!) This seems strange, but God has a reason, and it’s symbolic. The action not only shows that God wants to forgive the sin in Isaiah’s life, but God also wants to REMOVE the sin from Isaiah’s life.

Say: Last time we talked about how, on our mission trip, God may use you to change someone else’s life for the better. Some of us probably thought, “There’s no way God will use me! I’ve said this, done that, looked at something I shouldn’t have. I’ve been disobedient, rude, and hateful. There’s no way God wants to use me.”

Say: No matter how big your list of sins is, in Christ that isn’t what God sees in us. What God sees in us is our potential. It’s almost as if God sees our sins and simply says: “Let me get rid of that for you.” It sounds simple. Almost sounds too good to be true. And it is. It is TOO GOOD. And it is TRUE.

Ask: Is a sin in your life holding you back? Do you still feel guilty about an event in your past? Do you carry a weight of shame because of something you’ve done?

Say: I want us to do something together. We’re going to “DROP to our knees” and take some time to ask for and receive God’s forgiveness. Let’s spread out in our room. Make sure you can still hear my voice. (Give everyone a chance to move.) Everyone, close your eyes and lower your head. Don’t look around. Respect everyone else in this moment.

Say: God doesn’t want you to feel the weight of your sin. The fact is, Jesus died for your sin so you don’t have to live in it. You don’t have to carry the guilt and shame anymore. Let’s take a quiet moment to ask God to forgive us for the things we’ve done that we feel guilty about.

(After a few moments, continue.)

Say: God’s forgiveness is real. God’s forgiveness is complete. Just as the coal cleansed Isaiah, God is cleaning up your life for you. You don’t have to try to earn this. God is doing it for you, if you’ll just trust in him.

Say: Next, let’s use this quiet moment as an opportunity to thank God for his forgiveness. Let’s do that now. Quietly thank God for cleaning your life and forgiving your sin.

(Give everyone a moment to pray again. Then call them all back together.)

Say: One last thing. This moment changed everything for Isaiah. Today may have been just a reminder for you. But for the person next to you, it may have been a life-changing moment. So let’s remind each other: “You’re forgiven.” Stand up now and say that to at least six people in this room.

End with a closing prayer and announcements.


Pre-Trip Devotion #3

STOP, DROP, AND ROLL!

Crowdbreaker: If You Could Go Anywhere

Say: Imagine this: You’ve been offered a trip for you and three other people. You can go anywhere you want, stay anywhere you wish, do anything you’d like.

Ask:

  • Where will you go?
  • What will you do when you get there?
  • Who will you take along?
  • And the biggest question: WHY?

Say: Partner up and share!

(Give everyone 5 or 10 minutes to share.)

Ask: Who would like to share their dream trip?

 

(After someone shares, ask, “Who else would take that trip?”)

Say: If you remember from our previous devotions, Isaiah had a life-changing encounter with God. Isaiah saw a vision of God on his throne, and it STOPPED him. Isaiah realized the depth of his sin and DROPPED to his knees.

Today we’ll discover that it was all part of God’s plan.

So one final time, let’s read through Isaiah 6:1-8.

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”

At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.” Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.” Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” (NIV)

Say: I want to see if you noticed something. God never speaks until he asks: Whom shall I send? And who will go for us? Everything Isaiah experienced and felt was just from seeing God. So when God finally speaks, it really means something. God could have sent his angels. They’re obviously awesome and powerful and would get anyone’s attention. But God chooses a person—someone like you and me.

Say: Sometimes we feel intimidated. No matter how ready and tough you think you are, eventually something comes along that you can’t handle by yourself. During those moments, you need God.

(As the leader, share a story about how you felt God leading you to do something you’d never done before. Share how God used you and what he taught you.)

Say: You see, we all have moments where we’re intimidated by jumping out into the unknown. Even if you’ve been on a mission trip before, you’ll admit they’re all different. But one of the most comforting things is that God has called you and has been preparing you for this moment—and the ones to come. God is getting your heart and mind ready for what he has in store for you to do and for you to receive.

Say: And just like Isaiah, we need to respond, “Here am I, send me!”

Ask: How does it feel to know that God has called you into this moment and is preparing you for what you’ll experience?

(Allow time for responses.)

Say: A small church in Southwest Oklahoma takes a mission trip to Central Mexico almost every year. They’ve developed a relationship with a church in the city of Puebla. They regularly go help the church, never knowing what they’ll be doing until they arrive. Sometimes the task involves going door to door sharing the Gospel. Sometimes they help put on events for children in impoverished communities. And sometimes the tasks change from day to day.

The Oklahoma pastor who led the trips until his retirement developed a phrase to keep everyone’s perspective, anticipation, and expectations in check: “Everything is beautiful.”  

  • If 20 people believe in Jesus for the first time in a single afternoon, “Everything is beautiful.”
  • If hundreds of children and their families enjoy a daily festival the church hosts in the local town square, “Everything is beautiful.”
  • If 14 people have to cram into a single pickup camper to get from one location to another, “Everything is beautiful.”
  • If dinner that night consists of only snacks from hotel vending machines because all the restaurants are closed, “Everything is beautiful.”
  • If everything gets rained out, “Everything is beautiful.”
  • If last year’s experience was the best week of your life and this year’s was the worst, “Everything is beautiful.”

That phrase enabled a more than 20-year relationship between the churches. Why? Because it was their way of saying every morning and evening: “Here am I, send me.”

Every day you’ll need to get up and say in your heart and mind, “Here am I, send me.” Maybe as a group we need to say it every evening at camp during our devotions: “Here am I, send me.” And remember, you’re not saying that to your leaders; you’re saying it to God.

Let’s take a moment to say that phrase together. I’ll have you repeat it after me.

Let’s try it: “Here am I, send me.” (Let them repeat it.)

Close your eyes and say it as a prayer: “Here am I, send me.” (Let them repeat it.)

One more time: “Here am I, send me.” (Let them repeat it.)

Let’s close our time with a prayer.

After praying, give any last-minute announcements.