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Don't Try This at Home

There’s something beautiful about an object lesson that begins with, “Don’t try this at home.”

I really don’t know how Tim Shoemaker managed to get them to publish this, but his book, “Dangerous Devotions for Guys” has several cool object lessons that proved spot on for our man trip to the desert- cuz they live up to the name.  They are dangerous and dangerous was just what we were going for.  It was the perfect place for these object lessons too because there’s nothing to catch on fire, no carpet to worry about destroying, and no shortage of open space.  There is however a shortage of hospitals near by, so reading the fine print is kinda important. 🙂

The first night’s lesson would be after dark so we took advantage of the lack of light and taught our students how to use a coat hanger, a squirt bottle, a candle, some duct tape, and a bottle of Isopropyl Alcohol to make a flame thrower.

I didn’t have any time to test any of these experiments out before I did them, so I was concerned that one might bomb and then I’d be stuck with a lousy object lesson.  But not one proved to be this way.  And the personal flame thrower turned grown men into kids again.  It was legit and so much fun!


And this led perfectly into a conversation about the power of our choices.  We talked about how our decisions we make are powerful and dangerous.   We challenged young men to be dangerous for the Kingdom of God in all they do and to lead lives that were worthy of imitation.

1Timothy 4:12  Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.  (niv)

1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1  So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.  Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God—  even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.  Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ. (niv)

1Corinthians 11:1  Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.  (esv)

As we challenged students to submit their lives to God, so that he could direct their power and infuse them with a power for good, I was reminded that each of them is less than four years away from telling them they have full power to direct their own life.  This weekend was about giving them the keys to do that, long before they are 18.

Thanks Tim for the object lesson.  I owe you one. It was nothing short of an epic memory maker for sure.

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Brian Berry is a proven veteran of student ministry. He serves as the generation ministries pastor at Journey Community Church near San Diego, California, where he works directly with the high school ministry and oversees a staff that is responsible for infants through teens. Brian is also a frequent blogger, writes and teaches for youth workers, and is the author of both As for Me and My Crazy House and Criticism Bites. He speaks at various conferences, camps, and retreats for a variety of audiences. He is married to Shannon, and they have five kids.