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Music Discussions

If Today Was Your Last Day
09/17/2008

June 23, 2009

Main Point of Discussion: We must pour out our lives each and every day as though it was our last day on Earth.

The Music Video: If Today Was Your Last Day

Although they had a small-time start in Canada, they are now huge in the US. Nickelback smashed onto the Billboard charts in 2001 with “How You Remind Me” and has convinced us to buy more than 14 million albums since then. Included in Nickelback’s trophy case are accolades from the MTV Video Music Awards, the World Music Awards, the Billboard Music Awards, the Juno Awards, and several nods from the guys at the Grammy’s. Nickelback’s presence has been felt in the pop, hard rock, alternative, and metal crowds. In other words, your teenagers know who Nickelback is!

But just because Nickelback is big, doesn’t mean they play nice. From “Fight for All the Wrong Reasons” to “Animals” to “Side of a Bullet,” the band issues its fair share of dangerous messages. Their lyrics are often laced with sex, jealousy, sex, violence, and sex. As much as you may want to turn Nickelback “off,” remember that many kids choose to turn them “up.”

It is possible to teach students about God and His love by using Nickelback’s music without endorsing their music to your teenagers. (The practice of using secular material for sacred purposes goes all the way back to the Apostle Paul. See Acts 17.) You can easily download the video from iTunes for a measly $1.99. Or you can access the song at: http://new.music.yahoo.com/videos/Nickelback/If-Today-Was-Your-Last-Day--209463245

Introducing the Music Video:
While passing out a copy of the song lyrics, say, “You have probably already heard Nickelback’s song “If Today Was Your Last Day” off their “Dark Horse” album. Reference the lyrics if you need to while watching this music video. Then we’ll talk about it together.”

Song Lyrics: If Today Was Your Last Day
    my best friend gave me the best advice
    he said each day's a gift & not a given right
    leave no stone unturned
    leave your fears behind
    & try to take the path less traveled by
    that first step you take is the longest stride

    [chorus]
    if today was your last day
    & tomorrow was too late
    could you say goodbye to yesterday?
    would you live each moment like your last?
    leave old pictures in the past?
    donate every dime you had?
    if today was your last day

    against the grain should be a way of life
    what's worth the price is always worth the fight
    every second counts 'cause
    there's no second try
    so live like you're never livin twice
    don't take the free ride in your own life

    [chorus 2]
    if today was your last day
    & tomorrow was too late
    could you say goodbye to yesterday?
    would you live each moment like your last?
    leave old pictures in the past?
    donate every dime you had?
    would you call those friends you've never seen?
    reminisce old memories?
    would you forgive your enemies?
    would you find that one you're dreaming of?
    swear up & down to God above
    that you'll finally fall in love?
    if today was your last day

    if today was your last day
    would you make it up by mending a broken heart
    you know it's never too late
    to shoot for the stars
    regardless of who you are
    so do whatever it takes
    'cause you can't rewind
    a moment in this life
    let nothing stand in your way
    cause the hands of time are never on your side

    [chorus 2]
Transitional Statement:
This video is an amazing reminder that even though we’d like to think we have a long time to live here on earth, the fact is no one really knows, and there are definitely no guarantees. So in light of that, Nickelback poses a great question:

What if today really was your last day?


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.

Discussion Questions:

  1. AROUND THE CIRCLE: Before we dive in, everybody take a turn and tell us your name and a time when your received great advice about something.


  2. ASK A FEW: What’s some advice you’ve given other people? Did they follow it?


  3. ASK A FEW: What advice did you pick up from the video we just watched?


  4. ASK A FEW: Do most people live like it’s their last day? Why or why not?


  5. ASK A FEW: What are some things you would do if it were your last day?

    Read the following passage from the Bible:
    Explain to the students that this is one of the last things that the Apostle Paul wrote before his impending death (which was probably beheading) for sharing the gospel. In his own way, he is telling Timothy how to live each day like it was his last, and most importantly how to make every day count for eternal value.

      2 Timothy 4:1-8 (NLT)
      I solemnly urge you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus, who will someday judge the living and the dead when he appears to set up his Kingdom: Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.

      For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths.

      But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you.

      As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.

  6. ASK A FEW: Why do you think Paul opens up with a reference to Judgment Day? (Leaders - because knowing that we will one day be judged is a great motivator to make life count)


  7. ASK A FEW: What parallels are there between the song’s lyrics and Paul’s instruction to Timothy?


  8. ASK A FEW: What is the connection between just listening to what you want to hear and chasing after myths?


  9. ASK A FEW: Is one of the myths we chase today the idea that we have all the time in the world to reconnect with friends, forgive enemies, fall in love, and make a difference in the world? Why or why not?


  10. ASK A FEW: Should Christians live each day like it was their last? Why or why not?


  11. ASK A FEW: Besides just for personal fulfillment, what other reason might motivate us to make every day count? (i.e. doing things that will count for eternity)


  12. ASK A FEW: What are some specific signs that you are living each day as if it was your last? (i.e. forgive quickly, treat others with compassion, be generous, etc.)


  13. ASK A FEW: Paul encouraged Timothy to “work at telling others the Good News”, and to “fully carry out the ministry” God had given him. Do you think this is great advice for every Christian? Why or why not?


  14. ASK A FEW: Imagine you spent an entire day reaching out to people with the gospel and carrying out the ministry God gave you. Would that be a perfect way to live your last day on earth? Why or why not?


  15. Read these verses again:

      As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:6-8)

  16. ASK A FEW: What was Paul’s focus as he lived each day? (i.e. the crown of righteousness)


  17. ASK A FEW: How can looking forward to Jesus’ return and the possibilities of receiving the crown of righteousness help us make every day count?

Transitional Statement:
Interesting, isn’t it? Nickelback is giving us the same advice that the Bible gave us nearly 2,000 years ago. The difference is that for Christians, living each day like it was our last means we focus not only on love, forgiveness, and generosity, but also with a desperate desire to reach our friends with the gospel, carry out the ministry God gave us, and look forward to Jesus Christ’s return.


(Pass out 3x5 cards and pens as the students return to the large group.)

Wrap Up:
Tonight we've discussed the concept of living each day as if it was our last, and really what a huge difference that can make in our lives. What is really amazing is that for the Christian, each day really could be our last in light of Jesus' return. I want to give you a chance to think through how you could apply this truth to your life, so I want you to take a few minutes and fill in the blanks with this prompt:

    “If I am going to live each day as if it was my last, I need to:____________”

This might mean dropping a habit, forgiving a friend, or perhaps even trusting in Jesus Christ for salvation.

After the students are finished, share your answer, then ask if any students are willing to share their answers.

Close in Prayer:
Close in a prayer that gives students a chance to trust Christ, then ask God to give everyone courage to make every day count by sharing the gospel, fulfilling God’s calling on their lives, and looking forward to Christ’s return.

Written by Lane Palmer

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Comments on this post

   Brent Clark         2/1/2011 6:53:49 AM

Great resource. I used the music video from iTunes and launched into great small group discussions. The students responded well and this topic really hit home with them. One suggestion could be to have the students turn in their cards and then mail them to them as a reminder of their commitment to live as if today was their last day.















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