Main Point of Discussion: Being bold and taking a stand for what we believe in can have a huge impact on those around us.
The Movie Clip: “It’s called making love, isn’t it?”
The 17-year old version of Mike O’Donnell (Za Efron) made all the right decisions in high school, but somewhere along life’s road – after marrying his childhood sweetheart – he got distracted and his family fell apart. One night in his mid-thirties, at rock bottom, Mike falls off a bridge and wakes up… “17 again.”
He enrolls at the same high school he attended 20 years earlier and tries to right all the wrongs in his family’s life. He watches over his daughter and son (though they think he’s their cousin) and begins to genuinely listen to his wife (though she thinks he’s her nephew). He does all he can to interject himself back into their lives again.
The movie is rated PG-13 because of “language, some sexual material, and teen partying.”
Introducing the Clip:
When Mike O’Donnell’s life turns upside down because of his poor decisions regarding family, he gets a chance to become 17 Again, and assumes the new name Mark. Now, he’s a father trapped inside his 17-year old body. It’s from this vantage point of “dad” that he tries to rebuild his family. I want you to listen to an impactful conversation he had with the teenagers in his health class one day. As he talks about sex, I want you to listen to how he describes it as a dad. Pay close attention to the other kids’ reactions to his speech.
Begin scene at 44 minutes and 40 seconds (in Chapter 12).
- (Scene opens with Mark walking into his health class. He notices the disorder of the classroom… and his daughter making out with Stan. The bell rings and the teacher tries to call the class to order.)
Mark: Hey guys. (As he interrupts Maggie and Stan’s make out session)
Teacher: OK. Settle down everybody. Take your seats. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Stan! Thank you. Thank you. OK, today we will be continuing our discussion on human sexuality. And as we discussed, the official school policy is abstinence.
Mark: Now that is very sensible. I’m glad that someone here has their head screwed on straight. I think all of us should make a pact to abstain from sex. Now, who’s with me, you guys?
(The entire class laughs him off, and some of the students even wonder if he might be gay.)
Teacher: However, let’s get real. I know asking high school seniors to be abstinent is like asking a porcupine to poop goat cheese. Yuck. So, since the majority of you are – or will become – sexually active at some point….
Mark: And that point should be way, way in the future. Right?
Teacher: Well, the official school position is that we prepare you for safe sex now. So please, take one, and pass it down.
(She hands Maggie, who’s sitting in the front row, a basket filled with condoms. She takes one and hands the basket to Stan while Mark languishes behind her due to her decision.)
Stan: (Takes a handful of condoms, slams them on his desk, and says) I have needs. (He goes to pass them back to Mark and then sarcastically says) Ha ha ha. You don’t need these.
(Again the class laughs at Mark’s expense and someone tells Stan to give one to Mark.)
Mark: No. No. You know what? He’s right. He’s right. I don’t need one. You know why? You know why I don’t need one? Because there’s no one I’m in love with. It’s called ‘making love’ isn’t it? Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I think that means you do it with someone you love… and preferably when you’re married. You know? When you’re ready to take that love and turn it into a baby. (This gets some of the girls’ attention, but they are unsure of what to make of it.) Because that’s what love is. It’s that first moment when you hold your baby girl and you didn’t know that anything could be so small or so delicate and you feel that tiny heartbeat and you know that you couldn’t love anything more in the whole world. And you hope that you can do right by that little girl and always be there to catch her when she falls and that nothing ever hurts her. Not a broken arm, or a bad dream, or a broken heart.
Girl: I don’t even want these! Just take them. (She throws the condoms back into the basket she has just taken them out of.)
Girl 2: Me either.
(At this point, the entire class except for Stan begins to throw their condoms back into the basket.)
Stan: Great! Fine! Wonderful! More for me. And now I got enough for the whole weekend. (He leans over and kisses Maggie)
In the clip, you heard Mark say that he believes sex should only happen with someone you love, and preferably sex should only happen after marriage. As fairly similar to biblical values as it was, what was really cool to me was how the other students reacted to his speech. Most of the students were swayed by his speech and decided not to have sex, all because Mark boldly and passionately took a stand on the beliefs that guided his own life.
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 moment to share our names and our favorite subject in school.
- ASK A FEW: In the clip we just watched, Mark took a bold stand in front of the class, and shared his views on sex. What were some of the things he believed about sex?
- ASK A FEW: What were some of the other kids’ reactions to his beliefs?
- ASK A FEW: Do you think the reactions to Mark’s speech were realistic or not? Explain.
- ASK A FEW: In life, are you usually as bold as Mark was in this scene, or not? Why?
- ASK A FEW: Do you think that we can really make a difference in the lives of others if we take a stand on what we believe? Why or why not?
Read the following passage:
1 Timothy 4:1-16 (NIV)
1The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 2Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. 3They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. 4For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.
6If you point these things out to the brothers, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, brought up in the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed. 7Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives' tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. 8For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.
9This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance 10(and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe.
11Command and teach these things. 12Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. 13Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. 14Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you.
15Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.
16Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.
Tonight, we watched a clip about a guy who took a stand on a touchy subject, and actually swayed his peers because of his stance. We also read a passage from the Bible that encourages young people to take a stand for what they believe, and if they do so, will “save yourselves and your hearers.”
That’s encouraging to me! I like to know that I can make a difference if I put action to my beliefs. It’s not easy, that’s for sure, but, I’ve learned, it’s worth it. Every time Christians take a stand for what we believe in, others note it and some are even persuaded because of our bold and passionate example. Take Telemachus for example.
Telemachus was a 4th Century monk who lived in a monastery and felt God calling him to the great city of Rome. Perplexed, he couldn't figure out why God would want him in Rome, but felt an undeniable pressure to go. Putting all he owned in a small satchel, he threw the bag over his shoulder and headed off to the empire’s capital.
When he arrived, he found the city abuzz with activity. Gladiator fights were planned for that same day, and thousands had gathered in the Coliseum to watch the warriors do battle with one another and wild animals. It was then that Telemachus understood why God called him to Rome.
The monk couldn’t believe what he was seeing. Just four centuries after Jesus Christ walked the earth, a civilized nation like Rome had its citizens killing each other… for entertainment!
Telemachus ran to the arena’s edge, climbed over the wall, and went out to the center of the amphitheater, where he positioned himself between two gladiators. He raised his hands and cried out, “In the name of Christ, stop!”
Some of the crowd laughed at him, while others were perturbed at his disruption. One of the gladiators hit Telemachus in the torso with his sword which sent him sprawling into the dust. Telemachus got up and again stood between the two fighters. He repeated, “In the name of Christ, stop.”
This time the crowd had had enough. They chanted “Kill him!” so one of the gladiators took his sword and ran it through Telemachus's stomach. The monk fell into the dust and the sand turned red as his blood poured out onto the floor of the Coliseum.
With his dying breath, Telemachus weakly cried out, “In the name of Christ, stop.” He then died in the center of the amphitheater.
Telemachus’ story doesn’t end there. If it did, it would be a fairly tragic and pointless piece of history. No, Telemachus’s example made such an impact that within weeks of his death, gladiatorial fights in the Coliseum were banned. His death was not in vain. The bold action he took on his beliefs changed history.
Who knows what will happen if we take a stand for what we believe in? Some have put an end to human slavery. Others have led people to place their trust in Christ.
What will you do?
Nothing, if you don’t take a stand for what you believe.
Close in Prayer
Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Bullying Breakthrough; The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices; If I Had a Parenting Do Over; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers on TheSource4YM.com. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.