Introduce prize bags or envelopes: Do you
like to participate in contests? Most contests have only one winner or
maybe a second-place and third-place winner. This is a contest where
everyone who plays can be a winner. Look at these prize bags. I want
everyone to have one, but you must agree to play. Who will play? [Look
for agreement to play.]
This is how we will play. The goal of the contest is to become more like
Jesus each day. To be allowed to play, you must be willing to follow
Jesus as your Savior. I know what you are thinking. You want to know
what is in the prize bag! Let us look inside. [Select a bag and review
the contents. The contents are five labels with a phrase and related
Bible verse and some sweet candy treats. Read the related scripture
1. Citizen of Heaven (Philippians 3:20)
2. A New Creature (II Corinthians 5:17)
3. Certificate of Eternal Life (John 5:24)
4. Ticket to Resurrection of Life (John 5:29)
5. GRAND PRIZE: Becoming like Jesus
(Philippians 3:9 - 10)
This candy is to remind you that following Jesus
is a sweet experience!
The game we have been playing is called Life.
Everyone can play. Paul said in Philippians 3:14, "I press toward the
mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." Paul is
telling us that the goal is NOT going to heaven. The goal is to
take the time God gives us on earth to become more and more like Jesus.
We do that by letting God change us from the inside out. First, inwardly
in our hearts, and then outwardly in the way we live and behave. Eternal
life begins the moment we are born again (that is, born spiritually by
our faith in Jesus). We look forward to that day of resurrection when we
will be given our new heavenly bodies. Meanwhile, we spend our lives
following Jesus. It is all about Jesus: learning to love Him and serve
Him, day by day, and becoming more and more like Jesus every day.