Middle School

Expect the Unexpected

Lesson 2 


Winter 2018-19


By: Kelsey Grulke 


December 08, 2019

Lesson Focus:

Expect the unexpected from God.

Bible Basis:

Isaiah 7:14; 9:1b, 6-7; Luke 1:26-27; Matthew 1:18-23

Materials Needed:

Step 1:

  • Internet access
  • Paper (1 sheet/student)
  • Pens/pencils
  • Optional: Prize for winner(s)

Summary & Links:

Students will use a video clip to play a guessing game about how things grow and begin discussing how they feel about the unexpected.

Memory Verse:

  • Internet access
  • Paper (1 sheet/student)
  • Pens/pencils
  • Optional: Prize for winner(s)

Step 1:

Students will use a video clip to play a guessing game about how things grow and begin discussing how they feel about the unexpected.

Materials Needed:

  • Internet access
  • Paper (1 sheet/student)
  • Pens/pencils
  • Optional: Prize for winner(s)

Welcome your students as they enter and begin a casual discussion on big surprises that have happened in their lives. Maybe an unexpected gift they received or a grade they were surprised they had achieved—maybe a surprise trip, etc. Share a surprise from your life too.

Handout paper and pens/pencils. Let’s start off today by doing a little guessing game. You’ll be given the name of five foods. Write down how they grow. For example, if “orange” is called out, you’d say it grows on a tree in a warm climate. If you don’t know, make something up! When we’re finished, we’ll watch a video that shows us the real story. You may choose to offer a prize to the winner or winners. 

Read the following list of foods to your class. Allow time between each food for the students to write down (or guess) their answer.

Chocolate (cocoa)

When everyone has written their answers, watch this video to see how they actually grow [1:59]:
Five Foods That Grow in Unbelievable Ways


Go back through the answers after the video is over and see who got the most right; award prize(s) if you desire. Answers:

Cashews (seeds that grow out of the bottom of a cashew apple)
Chocolate/cocoa (seeds from a cacao pod that are dried and roasted)
Pineapple (on the ground. One pineapple per plant.)
Asparagus (on the ground. You eat the whole plant.)
Artichoke (it’s a flower. It’s harvested before it blooms.)

  • Which plant was the most surprising to you? (Answers will vary.)
  • Did you have any wrong ideas of how certain things grew? (Answers will vary.)
  • Finding out how a plant grows is a small surprise. How do you handle a big surprise in life? What if something really turns your previous ideas upside down and you have to change the way you do things as a result? (It takes me a while to accept it when my ideas have to change. I get angry at first. I try to take it in stride, etc.)

It can be hard for us to adjust when things or ideas in our lives change, but we’re not alone. When God started setting things in motion to send His son to earth, a lot of people were in for some big unexpected changes. Let’s read about some people in the Bible who had a huge surprise.

Looking for Steps 2, 3 & 4?

You can find Steps 2 and 3 in your teacher’s guide. To purchase a teacher’s guide, please visit: Bible-in-Life or Echoes.

Step 4:

Materials Needed:

  • Whiteboard and markers
  • Index cards
  • Pens/pencils
  • Optional: Markers/colored pencils
  • Earlier, we talked about how Mary and Joseph might have felt when they found out Mary was pregnant with God’s Son. Beyond just their feelings now, what kind of consequences could Mary and Joseph’s obedience to God have? (Accept all reasonable answers. These could include both positive and negative: God is happy with them, they get the privilege of being around God’s Son, their community shuns them, they lose friends, etc.)

When we are open to expecting the unexpected from God, just like Mary and Joseph were, it will have consequences in our lives too. Let’s brainstorm some of the consequences (positive and negative) our actions could have when we’re open to God working in our lives.

Choose a volunteer to stand at the board and record answers from the class during your discussion. First, brainstorm some actions your students might take when they’re open to God’s unexpected work in their lives. Some answers might include: Sitting next to the new kid, helping my parents with chores, choosing not to complain about dinner, sharing my video games with my younger sibling, etc. Once you’ve brainstormed a list of possible actions, brainstorm some of the possible consequences, both positive and negative. Some answers might include: I gain a new friend, I lose old friends. My parents are grateful for my help, I lose out on some “me time.” I make my sibling happy; I get annoyed by my sibling; I have a broken video game.

  • Imagine Mary and Joseph sitting down and making a similar list of the consequences of being open to God’s unexpected movement. Do you think they would have decided it was worth following God? Why? (Yes, even though they probably faced some negative consequences, being a part of God’s unexpected entrance into the world would have been worth it.)
  • And you? Do you think it’s worth it to be open to God’s unexpected movement in your life? (Yes, being on God’s side is always the best answer, even though there might be some negative consequences.)

This week commit to being open to watching for ways God is working in the world around you. Remain open and willing to do God’s will, even though He might ask you to do something unexpected. Remember that even though it might not make sense to you at the time, God’s plan is always the best and will always work out for the best.

Challenge your students to pray daily for God to remind them to be on the lookout for how He might be at work in their lives. Hand each student an index card and ask them to write the word OPEN on one side. Give them time to embellish their card if you have time. Ask them to carry around their index card for the week and write down at least one time during the week that they could see God at work in an unexpected way. Ask them to write how they responded as well. Challenge them to bring the card back next week to share God’s unexpected work with the class.

End with prayer, asking God to help you all stay open to his unexpected work in the world.

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