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									       Barefoot Ministries®

                Message Outlines:
                The Call of Abram
Topic/Theme:
This text deals directly with teens who are searching out their identity. Teens often have a
very fragile self-esteem or identity. They often feel like they have nothing they can offer
to God. This text is very helpful to show that God values them not for what they can or
can’t do, but for who they are. God chooses to use those who realize that the call of God
is all about Him. In addition, many teens wonder about God’s will for their life. God’s
will is much bigger than a mystery map of future events. Rather, God’s will for their life
can be found by daily being obedient to God. Do you want to find God’s will? Love God
and your neighbor each day and much of life will fall into place. Furthermore, when the
big decisions of life come, God will be a natural part of the process. Sometimes there is a
right and wrong choice. Other times, God could really bless multiple paths. He just asks
that whatever we do, it be for Him and His glory.

Scripture:
Genesis 11:27—12:9

Get to the Point:
Out of barrenness and despair God calls us to find new life in living for Him.

Context Commentary:
Chapters 3-11 of Genesis depict an unending escalation of human sin in God’s creation,
until it reaches a point in Noah’s story at which God feels forced to destroy (nearly)
everything and start over again. After recounting the story of The Flood and the Tower of
Babel, Genesis leaves us with a most significant question: Would God again align
himself with creation?

Indeed, God does decide to work with and within human history and culture to bring His
message of holiness and life to the world. God does so by starting small—God chooses
an elderly, childless couple as the new beginning. God comes to this couple in their
barrenness—just as He comes to the world in its barrenness.

This is a bridge in the narrative from the history of humanity to the history of Israel. We
must not read the story of Abraham in isolation; it is intentionally connected to the stories


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of Jacob and Joseph. The promises of land, descendants, and blessing to the nations are
only partially fulfilled in the story of Abraham. The promise of divine protection appears
to have been fulfilled in much larger measure, though Abraham so often acts in fear that
at times he seems to have forgotten it.

Walter Brueggemann says there is no more significant section in Genesis than Genesis
11:27—12:9. It serves both as an introduction to and summary of Abraham’s career. It
looks forward through the patriarchs to the kingship of David. Abraham’s obedience to
the divine call, forsaking his homeland and family for the worship of the Lord in the land
of promise, stands as an example and an incentive to all his descendants to follow suit.

This story begins a series of narratives in which God speaks and the patriarch usually
responds in faithful obedience, a pattern repeated many times in Genesis. Abram, like
Jacob and Joseph had to leave his home to find God’s blessing in a foreign land.

*Works Referenced:
       — Wenham, Gordon J. Word Biblical Commentary Vol. 1 Genesis 1-15 (wenham), (Nashville:
          Nelson Reference, 1987).
       — Brueggemann, Walter, Genesis: Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and
          Preaching, (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1982).



Outline and Options:

Icebreaker: Scavenger Hunt
Split the teens into four or five groups for a scavenger hunt. The teams need to be sent to
different corners of the room. For this scavenger hunt, they may only use things that they
have on them (ie: things in their wallet, in their pockets, etc.); they are not allowed to go
to other people or places. Each team must select a designated runner. The youth leader
will then say one item at a time (ie: dollar bill, comb, a shoelace, drivers license, piece of
unchewed gum, student id, 1990s penny, etc.). Once the team acquires the item, the
“runner” takes it to the leader, who should be stationed in the center of the room equal
distance from the corners. The first team to get the item to the person in the middle gets
one point. Play to as many points as you’d like.

Outline:

    1. Wrap up of icebreaker

            a. How many of you were surprised at how much you actually had on you?

                Often our first reaction is to discount what we have. It is easy and natural

                to assume everyone else has more to give.




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           b. In life, we often think that God will only use those who are the most

               talented. Yet God also wants to use those who think they might not be

               good enough.

Illustration Option 1:
Ever get a phone call when you just sit down after a long day at school. You have
finished your homework in time to watch your favorite program or game, and then the
phone rings. Even though you really like the person, the conversation comes as a
bother?? “Uh-huh, yeah,” you mutter in response, trying to act like you are listening. You
really don’t want to be bothered. You have planned out these next moments of your life,
and any change in it is annoying.

   2. Do you try new things or are you happy with what you know?

Illustration Option 2:
When you go to a restaurant do you order something different or do you order the same
thing? Some order something new because they love the adventure and excitement of
trying something new. Others order the same thing because they want to make sure that
they are going to like what they ordered. If they order something new, it might be good,
but it might also be a disappointment.

   3. The unlikely people:

           a. Think of individuals in the Bible whom God chose who thought they were

               not good enough for God to use them.

           b. Think about people He used that everyone else thought were not good

               enough.

                   i. Joseph—a Hebrew slave who was mistreated, falsely accused, and

                       betrayed by his brothers. Yet God raised him up to the second most

                       powerful person on the earth.

                  ii. Moses on Mt. Sinai declared to God all the reasons why God

                       should not use him. Yet God used him to deliver the Israelites from

                       Egypt.


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                 iii. David, who was not Samuel’s choice, was picked by God to

                       become a great king.




Further Study:
Have the teens chart the beginnings of Joseph, Moses, and David. Have them look at how
they began: How did they or their world view them? How did God use them despite poor
circumstances or how they measured up in their world? A good resource is Discovering
the Old Testament, by Alex Varughese, et. al., (Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press, 2004).

                  iv. Gideon was from the defeated nation, his tribe was the lowest, his

                       clan was the most disgraced, and he was the lowest of his family.

                       Yet God choose him.

                  v. The 12 uneducated disciples who helped spread the Gospel of

                       Christ all over the known world.

Interactive Drama:
Have the students act out the text. Then have the students’ dialogue about things that God
has asked them to do. Talk about the times they thought they could or could not do those
things which God was asking.

If you have ambitious teens, ask several of them ahead of time to prepare a present-day
skit where God asks a teenage girl named Abby to do something that seems impossible.
Let them have fun with this. The key thing is to make Abby a down and out teen whom
every one else has overlooked. It will be important that God’s blessings to her come only
after she leaves what is comfortable.

   4. Abram was another unlikely fellow. He had no land, no heirs, and no country.

           a. He received a mandate from God to leave his country and go where God

               would lead him.

                   i. God begins this new history with a hopeless context; He speaks

                       His powerful word directly into a situation of barrenness.

                            1. Abram and Sarah were without resources.



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                           a. Sarah was infertile.

                           b. Without children the man had no one to perpetuate

                                 his name and the wife enjoyed little prestige and

                                 much frustration, for she had no alternative career

                                 to motherhood.

                           c. In old age, childless couples had no children to care

                                 for them, and after death, had no one to carry out

                                 the funerary rites regarded as vital to the soul’s

                                 well-being in the afterlife.

                2. God’s word carries in itself all that is necessary to begin a

                      new people in history.

b. Abram received a promise of blessing from God

       i. The three things promised were

                1. To bless Abram

                2. To bless those whom Abram blessed and curse those whom

                      Abram cursed

                3. To bless all the peoples on earth through Abram

      ii. This blessing is a commissioning. Israel’s well-being carried

           potential for the well-being of other nations.

                1. The barren ones are mandated for the needs of the others.

      iii. The main reason and entire point God chose Abram was so that

           Israel could be a blessing to the world.




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                              1. This is a great reminder for the Church: that we exist not

                                    for ourselves but to be salt, light, and ultimately, a blessing

                                    from God to a dark and bland world.

             c. Abram would not be able to bring about this blessing on his own; it would

                have to be a God thing.

Interactive Questions:
Have your students get in groups and discuss their answers to the following questions:
       * Why did God choose Abram to be the father of His special people?
       * If you were Abram, what would be most attractive to you about God’s
promises?
       * If you were Abram what would be hardest to believe about God’s promises?
       * Why do you think Abram built altars in Canaan?
       * How have you learned to hear God’s call in your life?
       * Who has gone with you on your journey of faith?
       * What does this story teach you about God’s call on your life?
       * What might God want to do through you?


   5. The reality is that all the characters in the Bible’s story line were insignificant.

             a. God often uses individuals who are aware of their complete dependence

                upon Him.

             b. It is not what talents or gifts you do or don’t have, but if you are willing to

                let God use you.

   6. We must recognize our complete dependence on Him, so God will be able to use

       us.

             a. God calls the hopeless ones into a community with a future.

             b. The only way out of barren life is to leave one’s security behind.

             c. The whole Abraham story is premised on this irony: to stay in safety is to

                remain barren; to leave in risk is to have hope.



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           d. This begs the question: do we want to be out of our barrenness?

Media Clip:
Les Miserables. Use this movie clip, which is near the beginning of the movie, to
illustrate how we are all unlikely candidates and how we all must eventually face our
own sinful selves, and realize there is forgiveness and we can move on. Sometimes, this
is very difficult to do—strangely, it is even more difficult when there is someone who
believes in us. It is hard to bear our shame when someone else believes in us more than
we do ourselves.

Start: When the guards bring Jean Val Jean back to the bishop’s house.
End: When the scene goes black.

In Les Miserables, Victor Hugo brings us the character of Jean Val Jean. Val Jean is a
thief who has been imprisoned for 18 years. He is wretched and filthy, and a danger to
society and he knows it. One night he asks a bishop for some food. The bishop invites
him in. Jean Val Jean refuses. “Don’t you know who I am? I am a prisoner.” The bishop
replies, “I know who you are.”

During dinner, Jean Val Jean sarcastically thanks the bishop for dinner and a place to
sleep. Val Jean then tells the bishop, “Tomorrow I will be a new man.”

That night Jean Val Jean steals some silver from the priest. The bishop catches him in the
act and Val Jean violently strikes the bishop who crashes unconscious to the floor. Val
Jean then leaves. The next day Val Jean is caught by the authorities and brought back to
the bishop to face his accuser. The priest later offers him complete forgiveness, absolving
him of the crimes. This grace transforms Jean Val Jean.

   7. Cost of hope

           a. Jesus Christ has looked at your life, at every level of your brokenness and

               has brought a word of hope and life.

           b. But like Jean Val Jean you must own your redemption. The gift of eternal

               life and purpose comes to you freely. But to except it, will cost you

               everything.




                   Permission to photocopy for local church use granted by Barefoot Ministries®.

								
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