Just Give It Up!
The purpose of this study is to help young Christians realize that following Jesus doesn’t require a few changes — it causes drastic changes.
Activate Your Audience
Set up a video camera in a private room to record each young person making a statement. The statement will be what was whispered to them by the previous participant. The statement is whispered only once, and the person on camera must attempt to repeat what she/he heard. This is just like sharing gossip in a circle, only you get to see how the message deteriorates with each person. There will be a drastic change from the original message to the final one, illustrating the point.
If you don’t have a video camera, play the game in a circle with each person simply whispering to the next.
Sample message: Henry Barfinsnickel, with flaming sword in hand, soundly defeated the Great Fugi monster atop Mt. Carmel before receiving his much-deserved dessert: a hot fudge sundae.
Discuss with the group how the message deteriorated and why. Then, shift gears by talking about how drastic the change was from the original to the final. Explain that this drastic change is the same kind of change Jesus is looking for in his followers.
Build a Bridge
Ask people to share what it would be like if they were suddenly blind/deaf/paralyzed for the rest of their lives. What changes would have to be made? Are those changes simple or drastic?
I. The followers of Jesus did not follow a list of rules (Like the Rich Young Ruler – Matthew 19:16 – 22)
A. They did not follow Him because they were supposed to
B. They did not follow Him because they were forced to
C. They followed Jesus because they wanted to
II. The folowers of Jesus did not become religious (Like the Pharisees – Luke 11:42)
A. They did not change their appearance
B. They did not change their language
C. They became imitators of Jesus
III. The followers of Jesus made drastic changes in their lives to follow Jesus
A. They didn’t just adjust their daily schedule — they left their jobs, homes, & families
B. They didn’t just drop a bad habit or two — they became a separate entity on earth
C. They didn’t devote a few hours a week — they lived and died for the name of Jesus
IV. What made them follow Jesus
A. He always saw good in them. He always sees good in you (Psalm 139).
B. He loved them in spite of their sin. He loves you in spite of yours (I John 1:9 – 10).
C. He was patient when they fell. He’ll be patient when you fall (Psalm 23).
D. He offered the best life of all. He offers you the best life of all (John 10:10).
V. Don’t follow Jesus for the wrong reasons
A. Duty (I’m supposed to or God will get me)
B. Force (My parents make me)
C. Habit (I just grew up in church — Christianity is my religion)
VI. Follow Jesus because you want to
A. Spend some time with him
B. Read the four gospels — listen to the message
C. No one who actually spent real time with Jesus ever stopped following him (The Pharisees and other outsiders knew about him, but his disciples knew him personally).
Do Something About It
7. Spend time with Jesus before school starts. Read the gospels. Listen to what he has to say and watch what he does. Then make your decision. You won’t be disappointed.
8. Make some drastic changes. Don’t let your Christian life be boiled down to church attendance, a cool Bible, and a few Christian T-shirts. Devote your life to him if you choose to follow him and leave everything else behind.