“Our Choices Affect Ourselves” Bible Study

Choices

 

Big Idea: Unhealthy choices lead to unhealthy consequences

Introduction

Proverbs 2:11 – 19 explains why it is so important to make wise choices. Making wise choices will lead to positive results. It will keep you safe from harm and cause your life to better. Walking in the ways of the Lord will lead to the blessings that are described in Deuteronomy 28. It is so important to make wise choices in order to live a good, healthy life.

Unwise choices are dangerous because of the consequences that may occur. Some of these consequences may be broken relationships, unwanted pregnancy, a night in the drunk tank, a tainted reputation, emotional pain, or financial instability. However, when we make wise choices, our relationships tend to be healthier, our criminal record remains unblemished, we tend to develop a reputation for being a generally good person, and we tend to be better off financially.

God wants us to live the best life that we can possibly live and that is why he has given us his law. He has told us how to obtain a good life and that is by striving to live like Jesus did.

 

Reading Guide

Day 1: Deuteronomy 28: 1 – 5

Day 2: Deuteronomy 28: 6 – 10

Day 3: Deuteronomy 28: 11 – 14

 

Questions for Discussion

  •       Why is it important to make wise choices?
  •       Why is it difficult to make wise choices?
  •       How can we know what is wise and what is unwise?
  •       Who are some wise people that we can model our life after?
  •       What are some practical steps that we can take to make               wiser choices?

 

Action Step

Find a verse from Proverbs that will remind you to be wise and put it up in your locker at school.

“Choices” Series Recap

Choices

 

March 22/23:            Our choices affect ourselves

March 29/30:            Our choices affect others

April 5/6:                   Our choices affect God’s kingdom

April 12/13:              Making the wise choice

 

Introduction:

            The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

 

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

 

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way

I doubted if I should ever come back.

 

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

That famous poem was written by Robert Frost in 1920 and despite its popularity, it is often misinterpreted. Many people read this poem and think that it is about taking “the least traveled path.” However, in the poem, Frost makes the statement that the two paths were actually worn about the same and they had about the same number of leaves covering them. Throughout this poem, Frost is looking back on this choice that he made at one point in the past and he is wandering how his life would have been different if he had chosen differently, if he had taken the other path. He expresses regret at not being able to take the other path, while at the same time not regretting the path that he did choose. He actually wishes that he could have gone both ways in this decision.

He recalls deliberating about both choices that, at the time, seemed so similar, but undoubtedly would lead to two completely different outcomes in his life. At the end of the poem, he switches from talking about the past to talking about the future and about how he will tell other people about this monumental decision with a sigh. This sigh expresses both regret and self-satisfaction because he is glad and sorry at the same time. But, instead of dwelling on his regret, he will hide this from people and tell them about how happy he is that he made the decision that he made and how great it has made his life.

We make choices everyday and some lead to regret and others lead to satisfaction. Some lead to pain and suffering and others lead to joy and happiness. And some lead to a little bit of both. Some choices have consequences that last temporarily and some lead to more permanent results. We may choose to go to a buffet for dinner and later regret that decision because of the pain of overeating. But, this decision has only temporary consequences unless we continue to make the same choice over and over. More often than not, it is a series of decisions that lead us down a path toward regret, but sometimes, there are monumental decisions that we make that could turn out to be devastating.

It is so important that we think before we act and deliberate about making the wisest choice that we can so that in the future, we will not have to cover up our regrets like Robert Frost did. The choices that we make today affect what happens tomorrow. They not only affect our lives directly, but they also impact the lives of others and could possibly affect their decision to follow Christ or not. Our choices are important. And so it is important that we be wise when making them.

 

 

Sermon Descriptions

Our choices affect ourselves:

Jeremiah once wrote, “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.” We come to crossroads everyday and we have to make a choice of which path we will take. Will we take the wise path or will we take the foolish path? Sometimes teenagers do not deliberate very long before diving headlong into a decision and often that leads down a foolish path. However, God instructs us to be wise and careful about the decisions that we make.

Our choices affect others:

Most decisions that we make on a daily basis are made with little to no thought. Some decisions are ultimately inconsequential, but others can have a lasting impact. When we give little thought to the decisions that we make, we do not give consideration to how those decisions might impact others around us. It is so important to consider the implications of actions before we make choices because one wrong decision can affect the life of someone else.

Our choices affect God’s kingdom:

God calls us to make wise decisions not only because he wants our lives to be blessed and he wants us to bless others, but also because the salvation of someone else may be on the line. In our interactions with non-Christians, it is important for us to make wise choices and act like Jesus because the choices that we make tell them something about who Jesus is. When our unwise choices negatively affect them, they will assume that the one that we follow will negatively affect them as well. This could be the deciding factor of whether they choose to accept Jesus’ free offer of grace.

Making the wise choice:

Being prudent in our decision-making is not easy. In fact, it is way easier to make choices with no deliberation whatsoever. By disciplining ourselves through practical, simple steps and following through with the things that Jesus teaches, we can begin to make wise choices on a daily basis. When making wise decisions becomes a daily habit, our lives will be blessed, other people’s lives will be blessed and we will be able to lead people into a life-changing relationship with Christ.

 

 

Reading Guide:

Week 1: Deuteronomy 28

Week 2: Philippians 2

Week 3: 1 Peter 2

Week 4: Matthew 7

 

 

Family Challenge:

Give your student a gift to remind them to make wise decisions. Give them a physical item that they can keep on them at all times to remember that the decisions that they make affect the family. When they go out of the house and into the world, they are representing you as parents. Their behavior is a direct reflection of how you raised them and when they make wise choices, they represent your family well. This item can be a piece of jewelry like a necklace or a ring. It can be something that they keep on their key ring, in their pocket or in their backpack. Make sure that they know that anytime they see it or feel it, they should be reminded to make wise decisions.

“Daniel” Bible Study

OldSchoolScreen

 

Big Idea: Sometimes following God will get you some haters

Introduction

            Haters are people who try to step on others so they can either appear or make themselves feel better. They get an ego trip by making other people feel bad. They are addicted to the feeling that they get from the false sense of superiority that putting down others gives them. They look at others and see how well they do at something or how good their life is going and that makes them feel bad about themselves. So, to feel better, they hate on people.

When we follow God and live for Christ, it causes other people to examine their own life. When they examine their own life against the life of a Christ-follower, they realize that the sinful life that they live is ultimately without purpose. When they come to this conclusion, they get angry and take it out on those that do have purpose in their life. They try to be like Daniel Day Lewis in “There Will Be Blood,” when he repeatedly shouts, “I drink your milkshake!” But the only way that they can actually drink your milkshake is if you let them get to you.

It is difficult to deal with “haters,” especially if you have a people-pleasing personality. The other government officials in Daniel’s story were haters, but he focused on pleasing God more than what all those other people thought. Even though it can sometimes be hard to not care what other people think, it is important for us to only seek the approval of God and of other people who are also striving to live their life for Christ.

 

Reading Guide:

Day 1: Daniel 6: 1 – 9

Day 2: Daniel 6: 10 – 19

Day 3: Daniel 6: 20 – 28

 

Questions for Discussion

  • Why do you think that we seek the approval of others?
  • Why is it so hard when other people disapprove of us?
  • Why is it so hard to ignore haters?
  • What are some practical ways that we can avoid seeking the approval of others, especially non-Christians?
  • What are some things that we may need to change in our life to begin living for God’s approval?

 

Action Step

Partner up with someone else in your group to text throughout the week to encourage one another to seek God’s approval and not other people’s.

“Jonah” Bible Study

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Big Idea: God offers grace that we do not deserve and we should too.

Background Information

            The story of Jonah is a lot like the parables that Jesus told in the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). The parables were earthly stories with spiritual lessons behind them. The story of Jonah closely parallels the events that transpired throughout the ancient history of Israel. If you read have ever read through the Old Testament, you have probably gotten bogged down by archaic laws and weird stories about battles and wars and you may have wondered why anyone would have even taken the time to write it all down.

But throughout the Old Testament, there is an overarching storyline about the people of Israel. And here it is in a nutshell: God made a covenant with the people of Israel. This covenant basically stated that God would love them and bless them as long as they remained faithful to him. So, throughout the story, the people of Israel turn from God. When they do, the blessings that God promised them were taken away. When bad things started to happen to them, they turned to God for help. When they did, God gave them the blessings again. But once times were good again, the people turned their backs.

This cycle continues throughout the story until two major events happen. The first event occurred in 722 BC when the nation of Assyria conquered the northern half of Israel and took the people into slavery. The second event happened in 587 BC when the nation of Babylon conquered the southern half of Israel and took the rest of the people into slavery. These events are represented by the things that happen to Jonah in the fourth chapter.

Jonah sits down outside the city and a plant grows up to offer him shade from the sun. This represents the growth of the nation of Israel in power, wealth, and global prestige. The height of the nation’s power occurred under King Solomon. Next, a worm comes and eats through the roots of the plant and kills the plant. The worm represents foreign religions infiltrating Israel and causing the people of Israel to worship false gods instead of the one true God. This worm effectively ate the roots, which was the people’s faithfulness to God. This caused the plant to die, the culminating event being the conquering of the northern portion of Israel.

Last, God sends a scorching east wind to blow against Jonah. This represents the conquering of the southern portion of Israel. Jonah’s constant complaining mirrors the complaints of the people of Israel during their time in slavery and Jonah’s anger reminds us of the anger of the people of Israel as foreign nations seemingly receive God’s favor instead of the ones who believe they are God’s only favored people. The Israelites took pride in being the people of God and held a deep disdain for other nations because they thought they were better. When God showed favor to other nations, the people of Israel burned with anger toward God.

 

Reading Guide

Day 1: Jonah 1 – 2

Day 2: Jonah 3

Day 3: Jonah 4

 

Questions for Discussion

  • Have you ever wanted God to punish someone for something they did to you?
  • Have you ever wondered why good things happen to bad people?
  • Why is it so difficult to forgive other people?
  • Why do you think that God forgives those people?
  • How can we work toward forgiving the way God forgives?

 

Action Step

Write a poem or a song about how God has forgiven you similar to the one in Jonah chapter 2.

“David & Goliath” Bible Study

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Big Idea: Sometimes “giants” aren’t that scary

Introduction

Watch this 15-minute video to set up the lesson. This is Malcolm Gladwell’s TED Talk called “The Unheard Story of David and Goliath.”

http://www.ted.com/talks/malcolm_gladwell_the_unheard_story_of_david_and_goliath.html

 

Reading Guide

Day 1: 1 Samuel 17: 1 – 18

Day 2 : 1 Samuel 17: 19 – 36

Day 3: 1 Samuel 17: 37 – 53

 

Questions for Discussion

  • What are some things that might be considered “giants” in our lives?
  • Why are those things so scary?
  • Do you have an example of a time that a “giant” turned out to be not so intimidating?
  • How can we draw courage from the thought that the things that we see as “giants” may not be so scary?
  • How can use this lesson in our daily lives?

 

Action Step

Identify something in your life that you would consider a “giant.” Make a list of reasons why that “giant” is not scary or intimidating at all.