cozy christian mystery
B is for Be the Character!
So here we go: Gather your listeners together for an mystery-laced story you're about to share for them to solve! And ask them to be on the lookout for themselves as you tell it (which character are they?). And when you and they are ready, read this story out loud. Have fun!
The Unsuspecting Suspect
On the escape from illuminating lights and sirens, a suspect outruns his shadow to an office building and locks himself inside. Armed and dangerous, he takes the bystanders within hostage on the top floor. And media helicopters eavesdrop on their newest crime star now pacing back and forth, hugging his guilt, just wondering how he got here. And suddenly electricity is lost, the gas shuts off, and the phone begins to ring.
On the other line of that phone is a negotiator. And in a soft voice, this peacemaker begins to calmly bargain with the suspect deal by deal, hostage by hostage.
"Hey…" The suspect insists, "turn the electricity back on!”
"Gimme a hostage.” The negotiator counter-demands.
"Alright… w-What about the gas?”
"What about releasing another hostage?”
"As long as the door’s opening, are you hungry?”
"Is your appetite worth two more hostages?”
It's a slow crime scene rhythm they move to. But its non-political speed couldn't be faster if they tried! So negotiations continue to achieve as the suspect enjoys the homegrown fruits delivered inside (Galatians 5:22-23). In fact, the suspect gets so distracted with the success of this give-and-take formula (James 4:2), that he doesn’t even realize he’s out of hostages until the sound of mysterious footsteps get louder and louder towards him.
Surprisingly, there’s a knock on the door (Revelation 3:20). And, as the suspect prepares to surrender to police, it’s the negotiator who walks inside completely unarmed (John 14:16). And sitting beside the suspect, the negotiator declares, "Now that you’re all alone, I want you to finally realize that you were the real hostage all along!”
Glancing at his weapon, the suspect replies, "Whatd-ya mean? I’ve been in control from the very beginning!”.... To Be Continued
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
What do you think? Is the negotiator kidding for strategy? Was the the suspect really in control from the very beginning? Could they both be right? Find out in a moment by reading the ending inside the book. For Bible Teachers, reveal the answer to your audience but only after completing the "Biblical Algebra" lesson plan.
Next Letter is I for Illuminating Lights & Sirens (Click Here)
Special Thanks to WordPlay & Image Reflections Publishing
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask.
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.
And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever
Illuminating Lights & Sirens
Symbolism ~ Now let's "combine like terms" to the story symbols! Share biblical clues with them throughout the session. Bring these elaborations up as they become most relevant. Have everyone write down the scriptures connected. But save the symbolism and fun facts about of the Negotiator and the Suspect till the end.
Additional Notes in The Story
- Notice the suspect was never pronounced a criminal (Colossians 1:13-14)
- Realize the subliminal lack of police jurisdiction (public opinion)
- The locked building (or heart) was never damaged or burglarized (Jeremiah 17:9-10)
- Observe the automatic reflex to surrender to police (public opinion) even when they are merely sensed to be around.
- The Negotiator never claimed any affiliation with police (public opinion)
- Perceive that God did not come inside until the heart (building) was isolated and pure (Matthew 5:8)
- This whole story animates predominately around the Holy Spirit, our current leader (John 14:26)
- Notice the geography of God coming inside the heart (Proverbs 21:2)
- The Negotiator once addressed the suspect as "my friend (John 15:14).”
- Observe the devil’s physical absence, and it’s ongoing pattern today
- Notice the so-called hostages were silent, and never put up a fight against the man's authority during his cooperation with God
- Notice the first and last word of the entire parable is "on you."
Buildings & Bystanders
Thy Neighbor ~ This section addresses the spiritual influence of other heart types around us. So ask a volunteer to re-read the story's scene: "...Armed and dangerous, he takes the bystanders within hostage on the top floor. And media helicopters eavesdrop on their newest crime star now pacing back and forth, hugging his guilt, just wondering how he got here..."
Next, ask everyone to consider what it means to be spiritually "armed and dangerous." What would their behavior be like? And what might a bystander be up against? (As they look for themselves in this story, perhaps they are the bystanders!) Now challenge your class to consider "the fool" in the book of Proverbs. Then introduce Proverbs 17:12, which is "lions and tigers and fools... oh my!" Ask everyone to write down these upcoming 20 scriptures "so we will won't be a fool's innocent bystander." This is compliments of our staff. Read to them the short, funny essay on The Top 20 Biblical Signs of a Fool
L for Loosing Electricity (Power)
The electricity in the story is a symbol of original dominion. Ask another volunteer to re-read this story scene:
"...And suddenly electricity is lost, the gas shuts off..."
As the story's "electricity" represents "original power," announce to your listeners that "people who are spiritually 'on the run' will find themselves in a 'powerless' place." Meanwhile the gas (or hot air) represents "rhetoric and excuses" when power cannot be successfully restored. (Notice the gas outlasted the power.) With your audience still looking for themselves in this story, offer, "perhaps you guys are the Electrician!"
This section addresses restoring power with The Spiritual Toolbox (Click Here)
I for Inside the Building (the Heart)
The building represents the heart and everything happening inside it (I Samuel 16:7). So with that, take a quick poll on this question: "How many of you think the suspect will eventually surrender?" Then widen the discussion more by asking why or why not? The answer for this dilemma is featured in the essay When Jacob Becomes Job (Page 61). Reading this to your class will reach out to the vulnerable hearts of men. So be prepared to pause. And, of course, they're all still looking for themselves in this story. Also consider sharing Biblical Algebra's Jonah = Y (why?)
Okay! Eye's back on the board. Go to C for Calls from the Negotiator.
C for Calls from the Negotiator (The Holy Spirit)
Re-read the passage below:
... and the phone begins to ring..."
At this point, teachers, let's reach out to those who haven't yet accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. To do this, ask the entire class who they think the Negotiator might be. Then ask if anyone ever feels like a phone is ringing for them in their own heart. Pause for all curiosity.
Consider sharing The Parable of the Visiting Son which explains Jesus with the symbolism of today. Also some of your class believers may wish for a "better connection" supernaturally. To begin, propose the book's challenge to Change the Date's Date. Read aloud.
Moving along, go to A for Allowing Some Releases.
A for Allowing Some Releases (Letting Go)
Revisit the following excerpt:
" The suspect insists, "turn the electricity back on!”
"Gimme a hostage.” The negotiator counter-demands.
"Alright… w-What about the gas?”
Now is the time to pose a question to your class. Ask them, "Does this suspect suffer from... Apologize-a-phobia?
Click to learn about it, it's side effects, and the cure for Apologize-a-phobia (Click Here)
Next. Go to L for Level Up
L for Level Up
This is Christian's Challenge (from the Parable of the Thirsty Cup). Print this out & solve the puzzle! You'll need the answer to use it as a password for the "Algebra" section. Good luck.