The past several years our youth group has gone on a camping trip down to southern Indiana. We spend the weekend relaxing, playing games, and having fun. The entire place encompasses about 10 acres of the most amazing land you could find in Indiana. In the middle is a small lake with some big fish. Many a night has been spent trying to catch those catfish! On top of that, the owners have planted and maintained a beautiful herb garden as well as walking paths and places to be alone.
One of the elements we try to add in during our camping trip is a daily devotional. This year we decided to write the devotional based off of some of the herbs and various locations on the property. Obviously, if you try this for your own group, this won’t work for everyone. However, if there is something you’d like to use or modify please feel free. Maybe you could just picture the scenes and go through the devotional yourself. Any way you use it please enjoy the “Herbal Meditations.”
1. Cross on arch in herb garden (John 19:19) - Jesus was mockingly called the “King of the Jews.” Is he the “king” of your life? How can you tell? Can others tell? Discuss how “kingship” is shown in people’s lives.
2. Doll in the lake (Exodus 2:3) – Why was Moses set adrift in the river? Who are the people that provide protection for you in different areas? How does God protect us (Hebrews 13:5-7 & Joshua 1:5)?
3. Love in a puff (Matthew 28:19) – I thought of 2 things when I was told about this flower. One is the idea of the Trinity. What do you know about the Trinity? The other is the idea of relationship. The Trinity forms a perfect example of relationship. Who do you admire most in your family? How well is our youth group doing at being family? What suggestions do you have. How can you be part of the change?
4. Grape arbor (Jeremiah 8:13) – If you had to be a fruit what would you be and why? Go to John 15:5 and read it together. What is “spiritual fruit?” What fruit are you producing? How can you even produce fruit (v. 4)? Do you consider yourself a disciple? Do you know what a disciple is? Read verses 8-10 from John 15.
5. Cedar tree behind the garden (Psalm 92:12) – The cedar is describes as a strong tall tree. In a guitar, cedar is used as a soft wood for the top of the guitar. It is very responsive to the lightest touch. Are you responsive when God says something to you? Do you know how to listen to God? The verse also says that the righteous will flourish. What does righteous mean? Are you flourishing? Are you being righteous?
6. Mint (Matthew 23:23) – Spices were presented at Christ’s birth and used for burial at his death. Here we see them being offered by the Pharisees. Why did Jesus say “Woe…?” What should they have been doing? Turn to Micah 6:8 and read that verse too. What does it say that we should be giving? What do each of them mean? Are you giving them?
7. Frog rock (Revelation 16:13) – Frogs are used here and in Exodus 8:2. In both cases it is not a good thing. In one passage they are a plague and in the other they are coming out of the mouth of the dragon, Satan. Frogs are a lot like our tongues or our talk. They could represent both good and evil. Go to the book of James and read the following verses (James 1:19, 26/3:1-12). What do you see as you read these passages? Too often we are a plague with our words. We even bring death (Proverbs 18:21). Spend a few minutes discussing this as a group.
8. Crown of thorns (John 19:2) – Jesus Christ took on human form, came to earth, lived a perfect human life, and died on the cross, taking the penalty for our sin upon himself so that we might know a full life with the Savior. This is also known as the incarnation, God becoming flesh. What do you know about crucifixion? It is probably one of the most barbaric forms of death ever invented. The world tells us we are good. The Bible says we are not (Romans 3:23, Psalms 14:1-3, Jeremiah 17:9). Therefore, Jesus had to come and die so that we might live. Take a few minutes and consider what that means for your life.
9. Prayer rock (Matthew 26:36) – What is your prayer life like? Be specific and be honest. Why do we tend to be so weak when it comes to prayer? Pastor John Piper says that “until you realize that life is a war you don’t know what prayer is for.” Do you think you are in a war? Who is your enemy (Ephesians 6:12)? In a battle there are 4 groups of people (as far as I can tell). One is the enemy. Another is the person who fights the enemy. A third is the innocent bystander and the fourth is a P.O.W. The prisoner of war is out of commission and really ineffective in the battle. Which one of the four people are you? Spend some time praying by yourself. Finish by praying together out loud.
10. Barn (Joel 1:17) – Turn to Proverbs 3: 9, 10 and read it together. What are the different sources of wealth that you have? What are the things you are giving to God? What things are you holding back? Some versions use the word “firstfruits.” What does that mean? Look up inside the barn at the hay loft. In the right season this loft is stacked full of hay. The hay could represent God’s provision for you. God will not leave you lacking in what you “need.” It may not always be what you want but it will be what you need (Matthew 6:25-34). Is it hard to trust or believe that God knows what He is doing? Why or why not? God will give you what you need.