Preteen Lesson – God is Always Present

Over the past few months my family has gone through a number of challenges (don’t worry, all this has a lot to do with the preteen lesson below).

Here’s a quick overview of the major setbacks we faced:

We thought our 15 year-old son, Ethan, was in a “life funk”. It turned out the root problem was much simpler than we originally thought. After a series of unfortunate events, a lot of deep conversations, and tons of reflection, it became apparent he was really unhappy being homeschooled. So, 2 weeks ago he started Mandeville High School after being homeschooled since 3rd grade. He’s been a happy camper since. The “funk” has lifted and he’s doing well. On the other hand, my wife Jena is kinda mourning the loss of him no longer being homeschooled. She’s working through it.

Jena, my wife has had some weird physical stuff going on since the Augusta Ironman back in September. She wasn’t able to finish the race and ended up spending the night in the ER. We drove back home the next day anxious & confused as to the root of the problem. The doctors originally thought it could be an issue with her heart or maybe her lungs. At one point, we thought she might not be able to train anymore, which would be a big deal for her. She loves training and competing in triathlons. It’s a huge part of her life. After countless visits to a dozen or so doctors we’re still not sure exactly the root of the problem. But, we do have somewhat of an idea of what’s going on. She’s doing better now and training to run in the Boston Marathon in April. Then, she plans on doing an Ironman shortly after. It’s been a humbling & enlightening experience for her. She’s been able to refocus her priorities in life and set healthy boundaries. But the fear of the unknown is still lurking in the background since symptoms still exist. She’s moving forward with caution.

An upsetting event happened with a family friend that shifted the fabric of our family. For privacy reasons, I can’t go into detail about exactly what happened or who it was, but it shook the 5 us to our core. We got the news a few days after Thanksgiving, and the entire event opened up a lot of conversations for all 5 us (Jena & our 3 kids – Ethan, Joey & Emma). It reconnected us as a family. We realized how disconnected we all were from each other over the last 2 or so years. Since then, so much has changed for all 5 of us. We’re deeply connected to each other more than ever. Thankfully, the situation with the family friend is much better now.

Our SUV’s engine stopped working. We had a 2008 Chrysler Aspen with over 165,000 miles on it. While driving home from getting our Christmas tree, the engine out of the blue stopped working. The engine needed to be replaced at a cost of $7,000..yikes! With the new engine, the vehicle would have only been valued at $6,000. So, we were forced to get a new used vehicle, which I really didn’t want to do (I’m cheap). We ended up getting a GMC Yukon XL, which we really like. But dang…SUV’s are expensive these days!! Poof…there goes a bunch of money we had in savings (for the deposit, tax, title, license, etc.)

All these events happened within the last 4 months. That’s a whole lot to hit at once.

But God is always present. He moved in so many ways in all of these circumstances. He showed up. Our family learned a lot and grew a lot as a result of all of these setbacks. We’re closer to God and each other.

The preteens in your ministry face problems as well.

They need to know that God is present with them all the time. When they experience problems, anxiety, and fear…God is present.

That’s why we created this free preteen lesson.

I hope you enjoy it!

Nick Diliberto, Preteen Ministry

Preteen Lesson – God is Always Present

Bottom Line: God will never leave or forsake His children
Bible: Deuteronomy 31:6, Joshua 1:9, Joshua 6, Romans 8:38-39

LEADER OVERVIEW
When Joshua took the reins of Israel, God made a promise to Him. God promised that He would never leave or forsake Joshua. He promised that He would go before Him so that Joshua would never have to fear. Hebrews extends this promise to us. We can trust and know that God goes before us because God will never leave or forsake His children.

SUPPLIES
Candy or prizes for Fear Factor participants

TEACH

Today, we’re going to look at one of the many promises that God makes to us in His Word.

As we study God’s promises, 2 Corinthians 1:20 is a very important verse for us to read and think about.

2 Corinthians 1:20 says, “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.”

In a world of broken promises, it’s so awesome to know that God is faithful to keep all His promises.

The greatest proof we have of His faithfulness is found in Jesus Christ. We can trust God to keep His promises because He has kept His first and most powerful promise—the promise of a Savior.

To kick things off today, I have a question for you. Have any of you ever been afraid?

Can you tell us about a time when you were scared and what made you so scared? (Pause for responses)

No matter who you are—big, small, short, tall—we all suffer from fear.

At some point, we encounter a situation, an animal, or a person that just makes us scared.

In fact, there is actually scientific proof that humans can be scared of just about anything.

Since we’re talking about fear, let’s play a game called Name that Fear!

I’ll give you the scientific name of a phobia or fear, and you will guess what the person is actually afraid of.

For example, arachnophobia is the fear of what? (Pause for responses)

Right, it’s the fear of spiders. Ok, let’s play!

Give preteens the name of a fear or phobia.

Allow them to guess from the multiple-choice options for what the person actually fears.

Toss out candy or prizes for correct answers.

(Correct answers are in bold.)

1. Coulorophobia is the fear of:
a) clowns b) bright colors c) people with long hair

2. Ablutophobia is the fear of:
a) brushing your teeth b) washing or bathing c) things that are blue

3. Omphalophobia is the fear of:
a) belly buttons b) other people’s feet c) Oompa Loompas

4. Hoppopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia is the fear of:
a) really, really long words b) being attacked by wild animals c) monster hippos

5. Anatidaephobia is the fear of:
a) oversleeping b) nocturnal animals c) being watched by a duck

I think hearing about all those weird fears has actually made me more afraid!

Who knew there were so many phobias and fears that can creep into our lives?

So, let’s look at one of God’s promises that helps us to face all the fears and challenges of life.

We’re looking at God’s promise to never forsake us.

Does anyone know what the word forsake means? (Pause for responses)

Forsake is just another word for leave or abandon.

So, this promise means that God will never leave His children.

No matter what challenges stand in front of us or what fears we face, we can be confident that God is with us and will never leave us.

God first made this promise to the Israelites after He delivered them from slavery in Egypt.

As the people faced the enemies that stood between them and the land God had promised them, God reassured them with this promise.

Look at what God said to Moses in Deuteronomy 31:6.

Deuteronomy 31:6 says, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

When Moses died, Joshua took over leading the Israelites.

The Lord spoke to Joshua and made him this same awesome promise.

Joshua 1:9 says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Over and over, God was repeating this promise to His people.

He wanted them to trust that He would lead them and always be with them—no matter what they faced.

As Joshua was getting the opportunity to lead the Israelites into the land that God had promised, this promise was about to be put to the test.

The Israelites were camped beside the Jordan River, and directly across was the city of Jericho.

Jericho was a well-defended city. It had not one wall, but two.

The outer wall was six feet thick, and the inner wall was twelve feet thick.

This would not be an easy city to conquer, but it stood between the Israelites and the Promised Land.

Joshua and the Israelites remembered God’s promise but they had to be wondering how God would pull this one off!

Joshua received specific instructions from the Lord.

The Lord told him to march around the city once a day for 6 days, and to march around the city 7 times on the seventh day.

After the 7th lap, the priests would blow a loud horn, all the soldiers would shout, and God said the giant walls of Jericho would fall right down.

This seemed like really odd battle plans, but Joshua believed God was faithful to keep his promise to be with him wherever he went.

He trusted that God would never leave or forsake His people.

So, Joshua followed God’s instructions.

So, after the Israelites marched once a day for six days and then seven times on the seventh day, the priests blew the trumpets just as the Lord had instructed them to do.

This was the moment of truth! What if they shouted and nothing happened?

Was God still with them or did He leave?

Joshua 6:20-21 tells us what happened next – “When the trumpets sounded, the army shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so everyone charged straight in, and they took the city.”

They devoted the city to the Lord and destroyed with the sword every living thing in it—men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep and donkeys.

When Joshua and the Israelites faced the biggest challenge and probably a lot of fear, they remained confident in God’s promise to never leave or forsake them.

And God was faithful to keep His promise.

He gave them the victory! God will never leave or forsake His children.

That is today’s bottom line, so let’s say it together.

God will never leave or forsake His children.

This promise that was made to Moses and Joshua has been extended to all of God’s children.

Even when we face fears and challenges, we can be courageous because God is with us and will always be with us.

Here is what this promise means to those of us who believe in Jesus as Lord.

When you face the fear of heading to a new school, God has promised to be with you and never leave you.

When your family is going through a tough time, God has promised to be with you and never leave you.

When you mess up and face the consequences of bad choices, even then God is with you and will never leave you.

Before you head to small group, let me read Romans 8:38-39.

You’ve probably heard this verse before, but it seems to be a great way to wrap up today’s teaching.

Romans 8:38-39 says, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

No matter what fear or challenge you are facing, there is nothing that can separate us from God.

He is and always will be with us.

God will never leave or forsake His children! Let’s pray.

SMALL GROUPS
 – Memorial Stone

Before small group, locate a large landscaping rock or brick for the group.

Several times in the Old Testament, we see God’s people wanting to remember His actions and His faithfulness.

When Joshua and the Israelites crossed the Jordan River, they took 12 stones and stacked them in the river as a memorial, or a picture to help them remember, what God had done for them.

These Memorial Stones were reminders that God is with His people—even in times when they didn’t feel Him.

I have this rock, and I thought it might be a fun idea for us to talk about the ways God has been faithful to us.

Maybe he has helped you make new friends at school, helped you through a rough time with your family, or just always provided for you and your family.

We need to remember God’s faithfulness to keep His promise to never leave or forsake.

As we share, we’ll write those words here on this rock. It will be something to help us remember God’s faithfulness at all times—even the hard times.

Be prepared to share a personal story of God’s faithfulness to get the conversation started.

Don’t force the conversation or force preteens to share.

If no one shares, ask them to think of Bible stories that show God’s faithfulness and write those on the rock.

After the activity, discuss the following questions as a group and do activity:

What questions or comments came to your mind during Large Group?

When are some times in your life that you might be afraid?

Do you think Joshua and the Israelites were afraid? What are some of the things they might have been afraid of?

What promise did God make to Joshua? What does this promise mean to us?

What was so odd about the battle plans God gave to Joshua? How do you think the Israelites reacted?

How might the army of Jericho have reacted?

What happened next? Why do you think God chose to defeat Jericho this way?

How does this promise help you to be courageous in the face of fear and challenges?

Like this lesson? Check this out…

PRETEEN LESSON ON FRIENDSHIPS

 

2 Responses to “Preteen Lesson – God is Always Present

  • I was truly encouraged by this message. Like the lesson. Thanks

    • Hi Millie! Thanks for reaching out to us! We are so happy to hear that this message was so encouraging for you. God Bless!

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