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Summary: Barnabas was known as an encourager and this is why God changed his name. Barnabas lives up to his mission from the Lord in the book of Acts and challenges us to follow in his path.

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Stay In like – Barnabas

Illustration:

The Story of Margaret:

The Story of Margaret: From Messy Spirituality (pages 45-56)

Cast:

Actor Margaret: Ashley

Actor teacher Ms. Garner (Vivian)

Actor Jesus: David

Actors: 5 students from youth group?

The Story of Margaret:

Scene In the background – School set up – teacher - students

For almost 40 years, Margaret had lived with the memory of one soul-scarring day in the one-room schoolhouse she attended. From the first day Margaret came to class, she and Ms. Garner, her bitter and harsh teacher, didn’t get along. Over the years, the animosity between them only worsened until one fateful day when she was nine years old, Margaret’s life was forever changed.

Scene of actors (Teacher scolding Margaret silently, Margaret giving her the attitude face other kids in class watching the scene play out).

That day, Margaret frantically raced into her classroom after recess, late again. Ms. Garner was furious. ‘Margaret!”

Actors (the teacher motions to Margaret to come to front - silent).

Pastor Mike: She called her to the front of the class!

Actors - (Margaret moves toward the board and teacher).

Pastor Mike: Margaret walked slowly to the teacher’s desk was told to face the class, and then the nightmare began.

Actor - (turns and faces the class, teacher looks at class with finger pointed and freezes)

Pastor Mike: Ms Garner ranted, “Boys and girls, Margaret has been a bad girl. I have tried to help her to be responsible. But apparently, she doesn’t want to learn. So we must teach her a lesson. We must force her to face what a selfish person she has become. I want each of you to come to the front of the room, take a marker, and write something bad about Margaret on the board. May be this experience will motivate her to become a better person. Margaret stood frozen next to Ms. Garner.

Student actors – come to board and write bad things about Margaret.

Pastor Mike: One by one, the students began a silent procession to the board. One by one, the students wrote:

Student 1: Margaret is stupid!

Student 2: Margaret is selfish!

Student 3: Margaret is fat!

Pastor Mike: They wrote smothering words and slowly extinguished the light in Margaret’s soul.

Student 4: Margaret is a dummy!

Student 5: Margaret is a loser!

Actors - (Students leave along with teacher – Margaret stands alone starring at the board frozen in time)

Pastor Mike: On and on it went, until twenty five terrible scribbling of Margaret’s ‘badness’ screamed from the blackboard. The venomous sentences taunted Margaret in what felt like the longest day of her life. After walking home with each caustic word indelibly written on her soul , she crawled inter her bed, claiming sickness, and tried to cry the pain away, but the pain never left, and forty years later, she slumped in the waiting room of a Christian psychologist’s office, still cringing in the shadow of those twenty-five sentences. To her horror, Margaret had slowly become what the students had written.

Actor- (Margaret turns from the board and places her hands over her eyes as if crying and then freezes).

Pastor Mike: Margaret’s teacher knew exactly what she was doing. She knew the power of name-calling. Margaret was humiliated by thoughtless and cruel act, robbed of the sparkle in her eye, cursed to live the rest of her life in the shadow of that nightmarish experience.

Actor – (walks around a little stops again and looks at board -frozen).

Pastor Mike: 40 years later Margaret is still impacted deeply by this event. She shares her struggle with the therapist over a 2 year period of time. After decades of depression and anxiety, she had finally sought help and was having some success in moving on. Two long years of weekly counseling helped Margaret to finally extricate herself from her past. It had been a long and difficult road, but she smiled again. The counselor takes her through a healing journey. The counselor asks her, “Margaret, I know this will be difficult, but just to make sure you’re ready to move on, I am going to ask you to do something. I want to go back to your school-room and detail the events of that day. Take your time. Describe each of the children as they approached the board, remember what they wrote and how you felt-all twenty-five students.” In a way, this would be easy for Margaret. For forty years she had remembered every detail. And yet, to go through the nightmare one more time would take every bit of strength she had. After a long silence, she began the painful description . One by one, she described each of the students vividly, as though she had just seen them, stopping periodically to regain her composure, forcing herself to face each of those students one more time. Finally, she was done, and tears would not stop, could not stop. Margaret cried a long time before she realized someone was whispering her name. “Margaret, Margaret, Margaret.’ She looked up to see her counselor staring into her eyes, saying her name over and over again. Margaret stopped crying for a moment.

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