Last night I did a one-shot message on "Labels".  Before we started I covered myself in labels on which I had written some pretty negative words - "ugly", "fat", "stupid", "lost cause", "smelly", "loser", "unloved"We opened with some discussion on how labels can be helpful or hurtful, and why people tend to label each other in hurtful ways.  We then read the story of the woman caught in adultery, and talked about the names the men who dragged her before Jesus must have been calling her, and the label she was given as an adulteress/sinner/temptress/worse (and probably rightfully so - sometimes our labels aren't entirely inaccurate!).

But the interesting thing is that Jesus - in a deeply profound way - removes all of these voices from around this woman, before addressing her directly.  Perhaps she expected another label to be heaped upon her - "rejected", "condemned", "mistake"...

But instead Jesus says He does NOT condemn her.  She is "forgiven", "free", "released", "challenged", "called".

I gave each student a blank name tag at the beginning of the night.  During our closing prayer time I asked them to, when they felt God speaking to them, write down the "label" they thought God would place on them.  After the prayer, I asked any who would like to share to explain what their label said and why they felt like that's how God saw them.  It was super-emotional and we had some awesome discussion to end the night.

You can buy blank name-tags at any office supply store or download a template for mailing labels online.

Let me know if you try this exercise and how it goes for you!

- Tim B.


02/04/2011 19:32

Love this idea! I read the post and in a couple of minutes, my mind was flooded with ideas. I think we could look to do this as a series at some stage Thanks for the inspiration!

02/13/2011 16:29

You got it Phil - let me know what you come up with, I'd love to hear about it!

02/17/2011 00:59

Instant is good, no seizing the moment is sad.


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