Being a true Christian means we endure all things and never…ever…give up.
The Movie Clip:
Those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength
In 1971, racial tensions were being felt everywhere in America, but especially in the South. When Coach Boone (Denzel Washington) is assigned as head coach over an integrated team, the bitterness of a small town grows even greater.
Remember the Titans
is not just a story about high school football. It’s a story based on real life events that shows how people must overcome their difficulties and cooperate with one another in order to achieve all that they want. In the end, we see that love can prevail over evil… if we let it.
Introducing the Clip:
Remember the Titans
was one of those movies that could stir you to become a better person, if you let it. The movie follows the newly appointed African-American head coach to a high school football team in the South that is torn up with racism. The boys on the team, and the coaches themselves, have to learn how to get along and play together as an inter-racial team playing its first season together. In the scene I am about to show you, the players have finally started to get along… a little bit… but it’s hard to be a team when everyone around them is hoping they fail. They have been through a lot, together. They have suffered some setbacks and the going has definitely gotten tough. Let’s take a look to see how they respond.
BEGIN CLIP AT 1 hour 03 minutes and 47 seconds (in Chapter 19).
The African American players enter the gym chattering amongst themselves. They are greeted by the Caucasian players on the team.
END CLIP AT 1 hour and 5 minutes and 49 seconds.
Stanton: Where’s Coach, man? What do he want with us now?
Blue: Coaches ain’t called this meeting tonight.
Lastik: We did.
Stanton: We outta here. (whole group grumbles as they turn back for the door)
Julius: Ya’ll gonna walk out on your teammate like that? He say he got something to say. He say ya’ll got to listen!
Bertier: Turn around! Turn around! Where you going? Turn around!
Blue: Coach Boone brought us this far, ya’ll, but he ain’t gonna be there for us forever, man. So what? We won a few games. And ya’ll fools think that’s something? Man, that ain’t nothin’, ya’ll! And you know what else? We ain’t nothing either. Yeah, we came together in camp. Cool. But then, we right back here and the world tells us that they don’t want us to be together. We fall apart like we ain’t a damn bit of nothing, man. And ya’ll think we done won something? Man, we ain’t won nothing ya’ll. Nothing!
Lastik: Rev, what’s that you’re always telling me when I get sick of trying to keep up with my grades and stuff? (he starts singing like Rev…) Even youths grow tired and weary, even young men stumble and fall, but those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength.
Rev: Say Amen! Amen. That what I’m talking about. Amen. Amen, right.
Player: That’s right, Rev.
Lastik: (still singing) They will soar on wings like eagles.
Rev: Like eagles, ya’ll. Like eagles, ya’ll.
Lastik: They will walk and not grow faint.
Rev: Yeah! Can I get an Amen? (the team starts clapping their hands in unison, chanting “yeah”)
Bertier: We’re playing Groveton Friday night, ya’ll. Ya’ll gonna play like you ain’t got no heart?
Whole Team: No!
Julius: Do ya’ll want a victory?
Whole Team: Yeah!
Bertier: Do ya’ll want a victory?
Whole Team: Yeah!
Bertier: Turn it in. (the team gathers into a huddle)
After all these players had been through… the racism, the hard work, and the team losses… they were at a breaking point. In the face of all the adversity, one player, Lastik, remembered a Bible passage that “Rev” was always talking about. He quotes Isaiah 40:30-31 and tries to encourage his team to stay strong. Like this team, we must also rely on the Lord’s help if we are going to endure the hardships of being a Christian in the world today.
Divide into Small Groups:
Let’s go ahead and split up into our discussion groups, and then afterward we’ll come back together for a final word.
CLICK HERE for a quick training article on how to maximize your small groups using our small group format—a great resource to equip your small group leaders.
- AROUND THE CIRCLE: As we begin, let’s all take a second to share our name and our favorite football team.
- ASK SOMEONE: In the scene we just watched, we saw a group of football players, who were initially beaten down and upset, become fired up and excited about pressing on when one of the players quoted a passage from the Bible. Can you remember what that passage said? (leaders – if the students cannot remember it, have them look it up in Isaiah 40:30-31)
- ASK A FEW: What does this passage mean to you?
- ASK A FEW: It’s clear from this clip we watched that the players got “pumped up.” Was there ever an experience you had that got you “pumped up” to serve God or remain faithful to Him in some way? If so, can you share it quickly?
- ASK A FEW: What are some things that can get us “pumped up” to be better followers of Jesus Christ?
- ASK A FEW: Let me ask the opposite question: Have you been “on fire” for God, only to see your desire and passion begin to fizzle? If so, could a few of you share those experiences?
- ASK A FEW: What are some of the things in life that can rob us of our motivation to remain faithful to God?
- ASK A FEW: What do you do when you find yourself in moments like these, when you want to give up or give in – when you want to be less than faithful to God?
Read this passage:
ASK A FEW: What are some things Peter tells us to do in this passage to remain strong? (leaders – think clearly, control ourselves, pray, love each other, open our homes to each other, serve each other, speak the words of God, etc.)
ASK A FEW: OK, we just listed several “to-do’s” from this passage. Can you give me a specific example of how we can do each of these in our lives today to stay strong or remain faithful?
1 Peter 4:7-11 (NCV)
7 The time is near when all things will end. So think clearly and control yourselves so you will be able to pray. 8 Most importantly, love each other deeply, because love will cause people to forgive each other for many sins. 9 Open your homes to each other, without complaining.10 Each of you has received a gift to use to serve others. Be good servants of God's various gifts of grace.11 Anyone who speaks should speak words from God. Anyone who serves should serve with the strength God gives so that in everything God will be praised through Jesus Christ. Power and glory belong to him forever and ever. Amen.
(For example, I won’t let my mind wander into tempting thoughts that will lead me astray and rob me of my desire to serve God.)
Love each other…
Serve each other…
Speak godly words…
ASK A FEW: Which of these is the easiest for you to do? Which of these is the hardest?
ASK A FEW: What are some other practices/things we might do to stay strong or remain faithful to God? (leaders – ideas may include Bible study, accountability groups, prayer groups, serving others, confession, etc.)
ASK A FEW: Which helps us stay strong or remain faithful more… the things we do or the grace of God? Why?
AROUND THE CIRCLE: Which one of these things from 1 Peter 4:7-11 will you commit to doing this week?
AROUND THE CIRCLE: How do you hope it will change your life?
Tonight we watched a video clip about some football players who were about to crumble from all the pressure and burdens being piled up on them. Just when it looked like they were gonna cave, one of the players remembers the Bible passage his friend was always quoting… the one from Isaiah about getting strength from the Lord.
We also read a passage from 1 Peter 4 that talked about some of the things we can do to help us stay strong and remain faithful in the difficult times we face in life. There are several really helpful practices we can implement to stay strong… like prayer, Bible study, loving others, serving others, etc.
Let me tell you how important these practices are. We cannot endure all that life throws at us as Christians if we are not doing these things. Let me give you an example of what I’m talking about.
Some of us in here may be soccer fans. We have a favorite team, maybe even a favorite player. We want to be just like him or her. We own their jersey, we know their stats, and we try to imitate them when we head out on the field. But, if we are not willing to exercise, or train, or practice, or sweat, or risk injury, or put in long hours on the field, we eventually give up on playing soccer and move on to something easier, like underwater basket weaving.
Our favorite soccer players are as strong as they are because they work hard and are faithful to their task. We must be faithful to God! He has given us Himself and several ways we can stay connected to Him so we will not crash and burn.
Many of us are searching for something that lasts. Heck! We wanna last! We want to endure and stay strong and faithful. It’s hard work, but it’s worth it.
Let’s close in prayer and spend some time talking to the God who loves us who also renews our strength so we can be faithful to Him in all we do.
Close in Prayer.