Hearing 'The Voice' is the theme of this session.
In The Voice, we have a bunch of judges listening to singers and then deciding which ones are good enough to stay and which one has to be kicked off the show.
The judges are people in the music industry and other singers and musicians. This is always a live show with an audience cheering for the contestants (well, usually!)
Video Clip of The Voice 2013 (official BBC link)
Direct Link - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMzQJ9H_MoU - do a youtube search if link gets removed or broken or use another clip!
What voices do you listen to in life?
The voice of a parent or someone who looks after you? The voice of a music act or performer you're into? The voice of a mate? The voice of a fashion guru or a movie star? The voice of those around you in school, college, work? Or maybe you don't want to listen to any voices except your own!
Many of these voices aren't necessarily bad, but we need to be sure that the main voice we're hearing is the voice of God and not ourselves, the devil who is your enemy or other people. This isn't because we're arrogant or trying to be spiritual super heroes! It's because God knows best in all things - he created the world and knows all things. Compared to God we know nothing put together!
Even when we don't specially hear from God about something, if we know the Bible then we know God and can make decisions based on the kind of thing that God would want us to do!
So we need to hear The Voice and then obey The Voice! And here's the best news... if we mess up, God doesn't kick us out!
Game - Guess the young person (in the style of The Voice)
Have 3 people (probably youth leaders but could be anyone) sat in chairs (preferably office type swivel chairs) at the 'stage' end of your room, facing away from the 'audience' (ie. facing the back of the stage). So make sure the young people are all seated behind the judges so the judges cannot see them.
Now choose one of the young people to stand up behind the 'judges'. It's important they and all the young people remain silent so no-one gives away the identity of the young people. You (or someone who knows the young people well) must also act as the 'host', as the 'judges' will soon be asking questions and you will be the one providing the answers.
Each of the 'judges' have three 'yes or no' questions to guess who the person is standing behind them. If a judge thinks they know who the young person is, they swing round in their chair and say who it is. They must also be careful not to give away who the young person is, if they are wrong, as the 2 other 'judges' will also have a chance to guess.
If the judge is right they get points, if they're wrong the game continues. If no-one wins, next contestant...
Hearing God's Voice - John 10.1-10
‘Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognise a stranger’s voice.’ Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.
Therefore Jesus said again, ‘Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full...
Have you ever seen a sheepdog at work? I hadn't until recently when I saw a bit of Countryfile which happened to be on a guy and his sheepdog. The farmer had different whistles and commands for his dogs (each of which did a different task - rounding up sheep in the field and getting the sheep into the van to be driven to another field). The dog heard the farmer and obeyed him straight away, each time! The dogs were far wiser than most of us Christians who often don't hear God's voice, don't obey straight away or don't obey at all !!
Link to Countryfile via BBC iPlayer - the video is no longer there but it is the episode on 'Fife' (from June 2013).
(Go 35.32mins in for the clip (3 mins).
We need to be more like the sheep dog, hearing what God calls us to do and then doing it. Remember that if God asks us to do something, if we don't fully obey him it's not really obeying him at all. He may say, "Go and give that person £10". You may think "I don't want to give them that much - here's £5". But that person may really need £10 and because you only give them £5 they may miss out on something, or maybe God has to get £5 to them some other way! So we need to hear God's voice and obey God's voice.
Jesus tells us that his followers listen to, hear and obey his voice:
1. We need to be listening for his voice at all times. His voice comes through the Bible, prayer, spending time in worship, through other Christians and through promptings that we get on the inside of us. Nothing God asks us to do will ever go against the Bible.
2. Followers of Jesus act on what his voice says - following him. "His sheep follow him because they know his voice". When Jesus called the disciples, the Bible says they followed him. Following Jesus always leads to action. We don't do things to be made right with God, but we do things as a result of God working in our lives - we just can't help loving others, giving, being kind and telling people about Jesus!
3. Knowing God's voice also protects us. If we know the voice of Jesus we will run away from any other voice. We will run away when the devil tempts us with bad thoughts or to do things we know are not right; we will run away from when friends get us to do wrong things; we will say sorry to God when we are selfish.
The 'Pen' Game
This is the game where you set up a small obstacle course made up of some rope on the floor, or use some masking / gaffa tape etc. You have 2 teams (or more, depending on the size of the group). What happens is that each team chooses one 'sheep' and one 'farmer'. The sheep and the farmer decide on a series of communications using only whistles as the 'sheep' will be blindfolded and the 'farmer' will act as the guide through the maze for the 'sheep'.
So for example the whistle 'language' needs to include commands for walking forward, stopping and turning right or left (how are they going to work out how to do degrees of turning left or right..?!) The most successful group will be the ones who get the 'sheep' through the maze most accurately. Make sure they are properly blindfolded !!
The Voice and Our Christian Lives
On the TV programme 'The Voice', the emphasis is on the singing voice of the contestants and in a way this kind of reflects the world we live in where life is always about 'me'. The famous Frank Sinatra song 'I did it my way' is like the anthem of the world! Our anthem should be 'I did it HIS way' (meaning God). On the TV programme, the contestants get voted off if they're not good enough and are often competing against each other.
But there is a huge difference with God:
1. It's not about us, it's about God. As people say, history is really HIS Story (God's story). The Bible isn't about what we can get out of God, it's really about God's love for us.
2. God is always there, always helping us, always ready to forgive us and welcome us back! He will never vote us out or off. People sometimes reject God then try to blame him but God never turns his back on us.
3. Each of us has a different 'voice', a different thing to do in this world. With the example of the sheep dogs that we looked at earlier, we see that different dogs have different things to do. That's the same for us. We are all one church but we all express our faith in unique ways because God has made each of us unique. Find what God has for you and follow his plan - but don't be selfish and closed to other ways God may want to use you!
4. As Christians, we are not competing against each other. I once heard about a church that said "If you're serious about Jesus you'll come to our church." Another one recently ran a campaign in my city saying that if you cared at all about those who don't know Jesus you'd be at their conference! This isn't the right attitude. We need to work together. The people around the world are sick of churches that don't live out what they say and that can't work together or don't know what they believe. It's time to stand up for God's Voice and stop being pathetic!
5. It sounds totally cheesy but with God we really are all winners! The Bible tells us that we live our Christian lives for the 'prize' of knowing God, of living for ever with God in heaven which will be beyond anything you can begin to think of. The Bible says, "If God is for us, who can be against us" (Romans 8.31) and that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ (Romans 8.37-39). With God on your side, you'll never lose!!