Main Point: Jesus chased us one-by-one with His perfect love. We should chase our friends one-by-one with His love, as well.
The Movie Clip:
Forrest Gump needs little introduction. The iconic character conceived in the early 90’s – and who was responsible for Elvis’ dance moves, the leak of the Watergate Scandal, and so much more – still dominates pop culture as one of Hollywood’s greatest personalities.
Played by Tom Hanks, the character of Forrest Gump is instantly lovable. The boy overcomes a childhood disorder that partially paralyzes him, goes to the University of Alabama on a football scholarship, and then joins the Army to fight communism in Vietnam. That’s just the first half of his life!
All across the twists and turns of Forrest’s life, he meets and impacts people in a powerful way. One of the lives that intersects his own is that of Bubba, a young black man that quickly befriends Forrest. Their relationship is the center of this clip and discussion.
Introducing the Clip:
Even though the movie is older than everyone in our student ministry, everybody knows Forrest…and everybody knows Bubba. These two characters are the lovable duo from the 90’s hit, Forrest Gump. These two guys meet while serving in the Army during the Vietnam War. They make big plans to own a shrimping business after the war is over, that is, if they survive. The clip I want us to watch is one of the sadder ones from the movie, but this sad scene also shows us the love that Forrest had for his “best good friend” Bubba. Take a look.
The clip is available for free on WingClip’s site at the following link:
I love how that clip ends. Forrest screams out, “I gotta find Bubba!” Then he goes charging into the jungle one more time, even though he’s surrounded by enemy soldiers and an air strike is about to take place. But that’s just how much Forrest cared for his friend, Bubba. Forrest loved him enough to take massive risks on his behalf, and went in after him, over and over again, to save him. You know, what Forrest tried to do for Bubba is exactly what Jesus has done for us. Jesus chased us one-by-one with His perfect love. Since He’s rescued us from our sin, we should chase our friends, one-by-one if necessary – with the love of Christ.
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 get started, let’s all take a second to share our names and our favorite movie of all time.
- ASK A FEW: How much did Forrest care about Bubba, and how do you know based on this clip? (Leaders – Even though we never see Bubba in this clip, we know Forrest loved Bubba very much because he was willing to keep putting himself in harm’s way to save him.)
- ASK A FEW: Even though we never see Bubba in this clip, can you imagine what he was thinking as he lay there, injured, all alone, and behind enemy lines?
- ASK A FEW: What (all) was Forrest willing to risk to reach and save Bubba?
- ASK A FEW: What do you think compelled Forrest to keep running back in after Bubba? How do you know?
- ASK A FEW: Would you have done what Forrest did? Would you run back into a war zone for your loved ones? Why or why not?
- ASK A FEW: Do you know if you have any friends that would run back into a war zone for YOU? If so, who?
- ASK A FEW: In a way, Jesus has done for YOU what Forrest tried to do for Bubba. What was that? (Leaders – This is crucial: the students need to know that God sent Jesus to rescue us from our sin, and Jesus chased us one by one by one by one until He finds us and we place our trust in Him. The major difference is, Jesus doesn’t save us from some enemy; He saves us from our sin and Hell.)
Read the following passage:
Luke 15:4-7 (NIV)
“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ 7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
The clip we watched from Forrest Gump is one of the most iconic and stirring of the whole film. In it, Forrest repeatedly puts himself in harm’s way to save his friend Bubba. Over and over again, he went running into a war zone to save his friend.
Then, we read a story from the life of Jesus in which He talks about a shepherd who goes in search of one lost sheep, leaving the 99 others behind. While some of us may think, “Eh, why worry about one stupid sheep?” those of us who have been that one lost sheep who was found by Jesus understand how important it was that Jesus come after us and rescue us from our sin. Jesus saved us, and Heaven celebrated that occasion.
For those of us who’ve been that one lost lamb, we are grateful Jesus pursued us with His love. I think a powerful lesson is at play here. I believe that we should also pursue our friends who are lost with the love of Jesus. It doesn’t matter where they are, what they’ve done, or how long they’ve done it. They are lost and need Jesus. They are alone and need His love.
I think Jesus wants to use us to go after our friends…one-by-one.
In our small groups, we asked about the friends who would come after us. We also talked about those loved ones of ours who need to be found by the love of Jesus. I sincerely hope that you are willing to risk running after your friends and family members with the love of Jesus.
As we come to a close, I want us to spend a few moments in prayer for those we are going to chase after this week. Let’s each grab two prayer partners and pray for the lost sheep in our lives. I will close us in prayer when we’ve all had a chance to pray in our groups. But if you want to talk about what to say to your friend or family member, or you need some advice or ideas, hang around and we can talk after we’re done.
Close in Prayer
Written by David R Smith
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.