Here's the latest Bible study I wrote for interlinc -- it's in the Fall 2008 Youth Leaders Only magazine (YLO 73)
Artist: Ronnie Freeman
Album: God Speaking
Label: White Apron Entertainment/KOCH Records
Writer: Kirk Moore
Ministry: Union Congregational Church, United Church of Christ
Location: Somonauk, Illinois
This study encourages students to examine their life path and to be challenged to change direction from their way towards God’s way.
Have students stand in lines or rows with enough room to stretch their arms fully. All students should be facing in the same direction. (towards you) Tell the students, "On the count of three – simply turn around." After counting and seeing some students turn 360 degrees around and some turn 180 degrees, tell all the students that you meant for them to turn around. (Don’t tell them what exactly you mean.) Say "Let’s try again." On the count of three I want you to jump in the air and try to turn around before your feet hit the ground." After counting and seeing some students jump 360 degrees around and some jump 180 degrees, tell all that you meant for them to turn around. This time explain that you mean turn around and go in the opposite direction. A third time have them lay on their stomachs (in the same places they were standing and jumping) Tell them that on the count of thee you want them to turn around and face the opposite direction- without getting up off of the ground. After counting and laughing as students try to get themselves turned around while still on the ground, say "Tonight we’re talking about turning around – turning away from the things we want and turning towards the things God wants for us."
Say: Christian music artist Ronnie Freeman’s song "Breakaway" (Yes, there’s more than one song with the same title! You can use this line to let students know that you’ve heard the Kelly Clarkson tune.) Here’s how he describes the backround of the song, "I’m learning about the responsibilities He gives us in the journey of life—decisions that He has empowered us to make through the person of the Holy Spirit."Breakaway" is an expression of that determination to make those hard—but right—decisions."
Play: Breakaway from Ronnie Freeman
During the song, have students fill in the blanks of a few lyrics from the song. (Want the student worksheet? Ask for it in the comments!)
Say: "Do whatever it takes, whatever you need to make a change – to see a new day." Ronnie Freeman’s song is a challenge to take positive steps to change the way we live our lives if that way isn’t the way God wants. Ronnie also says thisabout the song: "I find that I don’t get desperate, hungry, tired or angry enough at all the things I allow to slowly destroy me. Sometimes I feel like I’ve been waiting my whole life for God to part the waters, instead of considering that He might be asking me to take a boat."
Ask: Think about things in your life that God wants you to change. Repentance is a word that literally means "to turn around." For us that means turning away from sin and turning towards God. Let’s look some more at what we can learn from the Bible.
Say: Before Jesus arrived, John the Baptist was preaching in the wilderness. He talked about repentance.
Invite students to read Matthew 3:1-2 and Luke 3:11-14.
Ask: What was John the Baptist telling the people to do? What do you think he’d be saying to you if you asked him "What should I do?" today?
After a few minutes of discussion, Say: After John was no longer on the scene (If you’d like, you can run through a quick synopsis of John in the wilderness, John baptizing Jesus and then John’s imprisonment before Jesus started his public ministry) Jesus started saying something identical to what John had said.
Invite a student to read either Matthew 4:17 and Mark 1:15
Say: John said it, Jesus said it, it was in the song – and we’ve started talking about it. Can you think of things in your life that you know you need to change, yet you think that you’ve gone so far in the wrong direction that you think it’s too late?
C.S. Lewis (You might know him as the author of the Chronicles of Narnia) wrote this in his book, Mere Christianity: We all want progress. But progress means getting nearer to the place where you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turning, then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road;
Think for a little about the road you’re on and how you could make an about-turn to walk back on the right road.
Wrap-up: Turning everything in our lives over to Jesus isn’t an easy thing. And ‘pretending’ to do it because we’re expecting to get it all back isn’t really trusting Jesus with everything in our lives. But Jesus does promise that if we really turn everything about our lives over to him, we’ll find true life.
Closing prayer: Thank you, Jesus, for being someone we can trust with everything about us. Please help us to trust you completely – with everything that we are. Thank you for promising that with you, we’ll find true life. Amen