Opening Activity: Odd One Out
- A Single PowerPoint Slide with the following images on it:
- Knotted Hanky
- Brad Williams (Don’t tell people the name of the person yet. Google: Brad Williams Hyperthymestic for images)
Once the images are on the screen explain that each table needs to decide between them which of the images is the odd one out and why (this is based on a game used in the BBC TV Quiz Have I Got News For You).
The odd one out is the hanky because:
- Elephants are famous for never forgetting faces.
- Brad Williams has hyperthymestic syndrome. He can remember almost every day of his life, easily naming the day of the week, date, month, and year of innumerable personal and public events
- Dolphins are able to remember series of complex instructions
- The hanky is something that helps you to remember
So three are famous for their memories and one is something that helps you to remember.
I wonder what your reaction is to someone asking what you did yesterday. Can you reel it off without hesitation, or do you find it hard to remember details? What about when someone asks you the time moments after you’ve looked at your watch. Can you always remember, or do you have to look at your watch again?
It can be so easy to forget things, and I am not talking about the sort of forgetting that happens as we get older, I am talking about the sort of forgetting which happens because we are too busy, we don’t stop to remember what happened yesterday because we are so busy with today or tomorrow.
Yet life is so much poorer because we forget; taking time to reflect and remember, reliving the memories, the experiences, revisiting the places we have been, the people we have met; those precious memories that become lost in the busyness of life.
You know it is really easy to forget about God as well, and often because of the same busyness, because of the pressures of today and tomorrow; we forget what he has done, we forget the promises he has made. It is even more challenging when what is happening in life around us is the opposite of what God says or has done.
Read The Passage
Let’s cast our minds back to the background to this story. The Israelites have been slaves in Egypt for years, and day after day they cried out to God to be rescued from their awful lives. Then one day Moses shows up and tries to persuade Pharaoh to let the Israelites go; in fact Moses tries 9 times and each time Pharaoh refuses.
However the 10th time is different, something amazing happens. Pharaoh changes his mind and agrees to let the people go. The impossible has happened and it is all down to God!
Yet look how quickly the Israelites forget the amazing things that God can do.
Honestly I cannot blame them; on one hand they the Red Sea in front of them with no way through it, and behind them are the raging armies of Egypt chasing them down and intent on killing them.
Instead of a seemingly impossible situation causing them to look to God more, they forget all about what God has done and what God can do, and go into a blind panic instead.
I doubt any of us will ever find ourselves trapped between the Red Sea and the raging Egyptian armies; but I am sure we all have times of feeling overwhelmed, finding life really stressful, having something so big in our lives it is really easy to forget about God and the things that he has done for us in the past.
But these are the moments where we need to remember God the most. We need to remember how big God is, we need to remember his promises, what he had done, what he can do.
Moses remembered God. Moses had seen what God can do and stood solid and firm because of that, even when he had thousands and thousands of people telling him they are all going to die, he stood firm and remembered God.
As a result the Israelites escape miraculously from the Egyptians; an impossible situation turned around because someone remembered God
I wonder how we can learn from today’s passage and become better at remembering God; Remembering the things he has done in the past, both for us, and for others so that when we are faced with challenging circumstances we can be more like Moses, standing firm and trusting God.
For few mins around your tables come up with some practical ways in which we can better remember God in the midst of life.
Here are some suggestions to add to the answers from the tables
Read the bible – God tells the Psalmist in Ps 102 to write down what God is telling him for future generations to read
Write – We can write down what God has done in our own lives, this is our testimony of God’s faithfulness to us; if we write we also need to read
Pray – Asking God to help us remember him
Praise – thanking God, honouring him for what he has done.
Telling others – the more we speak things out the more likely we are to remember them
The Holy Spirit – …the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you (John 14:26)
Listening to others – be encouraged by their stories and the way God has changed their lives
Stopping to remember – I know that one of the reasons life seems to fly by so quickly that I am so focused on tomorrow that I instantly forget what has happened yesterday; both what I have done, and what God has done.
This talk is followed by the activity “Elephants“