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Posted by Daniel Maddry on



Bible: John 15:11

Bottom Line: God’s joy dwells in you as you dwell in Him.


  • Index cards
  • Timer (optional)


Before students arrive, write down a variety of items on index cards.

Be sure to choose things that can be easily described.

Some words you might consider using are: candy, kitten, tornado, cheeseburger, elephant, etc.

Divide students into two teams of equal size.

Choose one person from each team to be the “contestant.”

Both people will stand facing each other at the front of the room.

Have a leader stand at the front and hold a timer/stopwatch.


In this game, students will race against the clock to come up with as many descriptive words as they can to describe an animal, food, object, etc. 

When the game begins, the leader will put 10 seconds on the clock and then call out the word on a card.

Each contestant will take turns saying one word that describes the word on the card until one contestant can no longer describe the word or time’s up.

For example, if you call out "trash" one contestant would say, "smelly" and the other would say "gross," etc.

The winner of each round will be the contestant that can call out the most words to describe the word on the card before time’s up.

Descriptive words must not be duplicated for the same card.

The winning contestant will add one point to his or her team.

Then, two more contestants will be chosen, and the next round will begin.

The team with the most points at the end of the game will win!


Say: As we played that game, some of you sounded like you would explode as you were coming up with answers - you wanted your team to win!

Ask: Have you ever been so happy that you felt like you would burst?

What occasion or event caused you to feel that way?

Allow a few responses from students. 

Wouldn’t it be great if we could continuously feel that kind of happiness?

Ask: Have you ever experienced a disappointment that left you feeling like all happiness was sucked out of your life?

What caused that feeling?

Allow a few responses from students.

Did you notice that everyone’s answers were different?

Why? Because our experiences and lives are all different from each other.

One thing all of us have in common is a desire to be happy.

In 2017, Time Magazine conducted a survey that found only 33% of the American population says they are happy.

So, that means that if I look around this room about 3 out of every 10 people would say they feel happy.

Ask: If you don’t feel happy, then how you do feel?

What do you think people would say who don’t feel happy?

Allow a few responses from students.

Unfortunately, happiness is a fleeting feeling – it doesn’t last forever because it’s a feeling.

The Bible makes a significant distinction between joy and happiness.

When the word “happy” or “happiness” is mentioned, it’s referring to a feeling, like we just mentioned.

Romans 12:15 (NLT) says… “Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.”

2 Corinthians 7:16 (NLT) says “I am very happy now because I have complete confidence in you.”

But joy is not a feeling or emotion; it goes much deeper than that.

Read John 15:11. (NLT)

These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

Do you think of God/Jesus as being joyful?

Because in this scripture we read that God desires that His joy will dwell in you and become part of who you are.

It’s actually an extension of God’s joy that lives in you.

Joy can overcome anything and everything in this world if it's allowed.

If it's chosen.

With joy, there is hope.

With joy, hardship offers growth and opportunity.

Joy is a state of being, a state of peace and content.

Let’s also think about this… God always does everything to the fullest.

He doesn’t partially save and redeem you – He completely redeems your life.

He doesn't give you partial peace; He gives you total peace in your heart, soul, and mind.

So, of course, God wants your joy to be “full.”

Raise your hand if you’ve ever thought this before – “I could be happy if _______.”

Maybe the “blank” in your life is….

If I had a best friend or someone to talk to…

If my parents didn’t fight…

If my family had more money…

If I made better grades in school…

The difference between happiness and joy is that you can have empty blanks in your life and still feel peace, hope, and joy.

How? Because God doesn't leave you with empty blanks – He fills them and makes you complete.

Even if everything in your life isn’t perfect, God’s joy can dwell in you as you dwell in Him.

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