Illustration: Be Joyful Always

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

1. Ask, “Who wants a Starbucks card?”

2. Pick somebody to come get it. Keep that person with you in front of the group. Say, “This is your card. You didn’t do anything to deserve it, but it’s yours. How do you feel about that?”

3. Take the card away and give it to another person at random. Tell that person it’s now her card to keep.

4. Ask the first person, “How did that make you feel? I’m kind of a jerk, huh?”

5. Ask the second person, “How do you feel about getting her Starbucks card?” (mixed feelings)

6. The Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 to be joyful always. We will lose things in life, and it won’t be fair at times. However, lasting joy is not in what we have here on earth. It’s what God gives us that we can’t lose.

7. Pull out another Starbucks card to give to the original person so now both people have Starbucks cards. Some of us have lost “Starbucks cards” in life. Some of us aren’t ever going to get them back. Some of us will get something better, some of us will just learn to do without. Either way, no matter what, this isn’t our source of joy. We can have joy in good times and bad when God is the source of it, rather than earthly things.

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Dennis Beckner
Dennis Beckner has served in youth ministry leadership for Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA since 1999. Dennis is a contributor and speaker to youth training events, writing projects and other engagements. Contact him at his blog, VolunteerYouthMinistry.com.

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