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Spiritual Growth Agendas

What Are You Looking For?
Who/What We Surround Ourselves With


Main Point: Don’t surround yourself with garbage when you want something better.

Discussion Starter: Woman Taken Out With Trash

Read the following article that’s taken from an actual occurrence in Mississippi (as recorded on Fox News’ website).

    A Mississippi woman is lucky to be alive after being picked up and nearly crushed by a garbage truck. The unnamed woman was looking for her keys Wednesday morning in a dumpster behind her Ridgeland, Miss., apartment complex, reports the Clarion-Ledger of Jackson. As tends to happen, the dumpster was picked up by a garbage truck, turned over and emptied into the truck's waste compactor. The truck put the dumpster down and kept going on its rounds. A couple of miles later, someone heard screams and told the driver, who was about to start crushing the load of garbage. The woman, who complained of joint pain after climbing out of the back of the truck, was treated at a local hospital and released, according to Waste Management district manager David Myhan. Myhan advised people who think they've lost something in the trash to call his company instead of diving into dumpsters. "We take this real seriously," he said. "We do not want people getting in our containers."

The article can be found online here: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,124743,00.html

Transitional Statement:
Now that story is silly. But isn’t it funny how we sometimes look in the wrong place for something. And I’m not talking about keys. I’m talking about when we’re looking for significance, value, purpose, or even pleasure . . . and we look for it in the wrong place. Maybe even a place that we swore we’d never venture. If that’s ever happened to you, pay close attention to the conversation we’ll have tonight. It might keep you out of garbage cans forever.


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: As we get started, let’s all take a second to share our names and whether we’ve ever had to go dumpster diving to find something we accidentally threw away.

  2. ASK A FEW: Do you think the woman was foolish or wise to go into the dumpster after her keys? Why?

  3. ASK A FEW: In that story, a woman had something of value – her keys – get lost in a bunch of garbage…literally. In what ways do we allow the same thing to happen in our lives? (Leaders – We might let love get lost in lust. We might let sacrifice get lost in selfishness. We might let prayer requests get lost in gossip. On and on and on….)

  4. ASK A FEW: What is some of the garbage that surrounds us today?

  5. ASK A FEW: This woman knew it was garbage she was diving in to. Do we usually know it’s garbage that we’re diving in to? Why or why not?

  6. Read the following passage:

      Colossians 3:2-5 & 17
      2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
      5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.
      17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

  7. ASK SOMEONE: What does the verse say we should fill our thoughts with? (Leaders – Verse 2; some translations say “Heaven” instead of “above.”)

  8. ASK A FEW: How do we do that, exactly?

  9. ASK A FEW: What are some of the “things” we should set our minds on?

  10. ASK SOMEONE: What are the things Paul tells us to put to death. (Leaders – Verse 5.)

  11. ASK A FEW: Same question: how do we do that, exactly?

  12. ASK A FEW: Why do you think Paul called those things in verse 5 “idolatry”?

  13. ASK A FEW: What does Paul mean when he says “do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus”?

  14. AROUND THE CIRCLE: Very specifically, how will you keep the valuable things in life away from all the garbage?

Wrap Up:
Tonight we took a peek at how sometimes we give garbage a chance to creep into our life even though we know better. We also learned what the Bible has to say about that. We should have nothing to do with this garbage, or as the Bible calls it, sin.

Hopefully, all of us now have a game plan of how to get rid of this garbage. If not, I want you to think about who can help you do that. Do you need someone to come into your life and help you take out the trash? If so, that could be one of us. In a moment, we’re going to pray for one another and then dismiss. But before we do, let me strongly encourage you to speak with one of our adult leaders before you leave if you need help.

Let’s go ahead and break up into groups of 3 and spend a few moments praying for one another.


(Give students a few moments to pray. When everyone’s done, continue….)

In his book Finishing Strong, Steve Farrar writes, “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you’re willing to pay.”

When that woman went diving into the garbage can, she almost faced the same reality. You do as well when you search for real value among piles of garbage. If you need help, get it before you leave here tonight.


Close in Prayer

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