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Chewing on God's Word
NOTE: As I write this week’s idea of the week, I’m sitting in the hospital while they do the preparation for chemotherapy for lymphoma. It’s been an eventful past couple of weeks since I was diagnosed and I missed last week’s idea of the week.

This week’s lesson is centered around bubble gum. When I think of bubble gum there are a couple of things that come to mind. First, when you unwrap it and first place it in your mouth, it’s kind of hard and not very flexible. But when you chew on it a while it becomes not only flexible, but you can then fill it with air and expand it to make huge bubbles. Chewing the bubble gum for me is a lot like meditation on God’s Word. I’ve had a lot of time to do that in the hospital as they run all the tests to decide the chemo regiment and make sure I will be able to tolerate it. Like bubble gum, you have to chew on God’s Word a while to get the full flavor and experience it more fully. At first it may seem kind of HARD to understand but you just need to chew on it awhile. God’s Word, unlike Bubble Gum, never loses it flavor. And once we’ve meditated or chewed on it a while, we become more flexible and useful to God. He can stretch us and fill us and use us.

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Bubble Gum Games

Bubble Gum Blowing Contest – You can play this game as individuals, or with representatives from multiple teams. Give each youth 2 pieces of gum. On your signal, they must unwrap the bubble gum, chew it, and blow a large bubble. The largest bubble wins. Give the youth 60 seconds to blow their best bubble. The easiest way to time the game is to play some upbeat energetic music and then stop the music after 60 seconds as a timer. (NOTES: You might want to have a ruler for measurement. Also, if you add a little peanut butter to bubble gum you can blow even bigger bubbles. Peanut butter also works wonders for getting bubble gum out of hair.)

Bubble Gum Blow-Out – Tape a piece of paper to the wall at an easily reached height for your youth. You’ll need one for each team. On “go”, each player has to race to a table on the other side of the room to get a piece of bubble gum. They must then. They then unwrap it and start chewing it to get it flexible enough to blow a bubble. A once they blow the bubble they must stick it to the paper on the wall for their team, using only their mouth. No hands are allowed. The first team to have every member stick a bubble to the paper wins. (Note: Some brands of bubble gum are easier to stick to the paper than others)

Bubble Gum Matchup – You will want to buy several different flavors or colors of bubble gum. Give everyone about 5-10 pieces of different bubble gum flavors or different colored individually wrapped bubblegum balls. (Be sure to tell them not to eat it yet.) Tell them they have about 1 to 2 minutes to get all the same color of Bubble Gum. To do so they need to trade with other youth. The first person to trade and get all of one color wins.

Bubble Gum Swing – Youth pair up for this game, and it can be played with the entire group or a representative from each team. For each pair, tie a piece of bubble gum to a string so that when the end of the string is placed in a person’s mouth, the bubble gum is about 6 inches from the floor. One youth in each pair holds the string in his or her mouth and swings the bubble gum to their partner. The partner must catch the piece of bubble gum into their mouth while standing up straight and at no time can either person use hands. They must then chew the bubble gum as quickly as possible and blow a bubble. The first pair to do so wins, but you might want to continue the game until several more are successful.

Bubble Gum Art – Give each youth one or more pieces of bubble gum to chew, a toothpick and an index card. Allow them a few minutes to chew the bubble gum, place it on the index card and then create a sculpture of something on the index card using only the toothpick as a tool – no hands. You can either give them a specific object to sculpt or you can let them come up with their own sculpture. If you allow them free reign with their creations, give each person an opportunity to show off their creation. You can also give other youth an opportunity to guess what the scultpture is. The person with the best and most creative design, as determined by the peer group is the winner. You can have several categories of winners, like “Most ingenious,” “Most Creative,” etc.

Bubble Blow Up – Give a representative from each team a Blow Pop sucker. The first one to unwrap it, and bite into it, to the gum, and blow a bubble wins.

Bubble Gum Treasure Hunt – Young Life Twist: Bury a piece of bubble gum in plate of flour. Without using their hands, youth have to find the gum and blow a bubble. First to do so wins.

Bubble Race – First person in a pair to blow and pop ten bubbles in a row wins. Face your opponent (this is important, it means you can cheat by making your rival laugh and they won’t be able to blow a bubble) and on the count of three start blowing. Bubbles have to make a pop or they don’t count and you can’t make your bubble pop by sucking it backwards. It has to pop while it’s being blown outwards. The first one to ten wins.

TAKE IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL

Discussion:

  • What is your favorite kind of bubble gum? Why?
  • Why do you choose to chew bubble gum? The flavor, to blow bubbles, or simple to have something to chew on or pass the time?
  • What does it mean to chew on something?
  • What is the benefit of chewing something for a long time?

MAKE IT SPIRITUAL

* In what way is meditation in God’s Word similar to chewing gum?

In many of these games, we rushed to chew the gum quickly so that we could simply blow a bubble. We didn’t take it slowly or take time to enjoy it and fully experience the flavor, but we simply chewed it just enough to get something done. Unfortunately this is the same way many of us treat our Bible reading. We read just enough to get the job done, but we don’t really meditate on it or or take time to really enjoy it. In the Bible, we are often commanded to meditate on scripture. We are also told to taste and see that God is good.

* When given a piece of gum, do you quickly chew it and swallow it, or do you chew it for a while and enjoy it?
What is your favorite food? Have you ever chewed your favorite food very slowly so that you can taste every nuance of the flavor and truly enjoy it? This is a lot like meditation.

MAKE IT PRACTICAL

Meditate means to take your time to think long and hard about something, to focus on something or someone in order to get the most out of it.
What are some ways we can meditate on scripture?

Here three of my favorites:
Look up key words in the verse in an English Dictionary. How does the full meaning of the words expand your understanding of the scripture?
Read a verse emphasizing a different word each time. For example, John 3:16
FOR God so loved the World….
For GOD so loved the world….
For God SO loved the world…
For God so LOVED the world….
ETC… How does each emphasis bring more depth to the meaning of the verse?
3. Read it in various translations.

MAKE IT PERSONAL

  • Make sure you have a personal bible reading plan or devotional book you use to mediate on scriptures.
  • Set aside some time each day to meditate on Scripture.
  • Keep a journal of your insights as you meditate on God’s Word each day.

SCRIPTURES

1 Corinthians 3:1-3 – “And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men?”

John 16:12 – “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear.”

Hebrews 5:12 – “In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!”

1 Peter 2:2 – “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation,”

Joshua 1:8 – “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”

Psalm 1:1-6 – “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; ”

Psalm 119:9-11 – “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”
MORE IDEAS? See “Creative Object Lessons”

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