Here Comes the Boom (Overcoming Struggles)
Main Point: If we want to prevail in life, we must get up every time we are knocked down. We must never, ever give up because God blesses those who endure.
The Movie Clip: Here Comes the Boom
What happens when a school is forced to make massive budget cuts, causing a teacher to lose his job in the process? A co-worker decides to moonlight in the UFC to help save his job, of course! That’s the basics behind Kevin James’ hit comedy Here Comes the Boom.
Rick Voss (Kevin James) is a biology teacher by day, and UFC underdog by night. Helped by Marty (Henry Winkler), Nurse Bella (Selma Hayek), and others, Mr. Voss battles the odds – and the opponents – to help his friend keep his job.
Not only is the film hilarious, but the movie is rated PG and is completely free of any innuendo.
Introducing the Clip:
If you saw Here Comes the Boom, you know it’s about a teacher who tries to save his co-worker’s job by making money in UFC fights after class. The film was absolutely hilarious, and totally clean, and also provided a few life lessons that are very helpful to you and me. I want to show you one of those lessons right now. In this clip, Mr. Voss, the teacher/fighter, goes to see a special coach to learn how to strike, but the coach thinks he’s too old to train. Rather than have his time wasted by a wannabe fighter, the coach throws his absolute worst at Mr. Voss to see if he “really” wants to go through with the training. Take a look at what happens in the ring.
Note: This film is available for rent or purchase; pick up a copy and cue it up to the scene mentioned below.
BEGIN CLIP AT 0 HOURS 52 MINUTES AND 36 SECONDS (in Chapter 8).
- (This is a long clip, so the scene script will focus on the key dialogue. While training with Niko, Mr. Voss says he needs to learn how to strike. Niko says he knows a coach, but the coach probably won’t take him on as a student; Mr. Voss wants to try anyway. They go and see the coach and the coach puts him in the ring with not one fighter, not two fighters, but three TRAINED fighters. It’s brutal! But in the end, Mr. Voss handles the beating and earns everyone’s respect. After practice, they all gather around a meal.)
Mark: Guys. Hey guys. Guys! Listen up. Hey, listen up, I got something to say. From Genesis 32:24. “And when he saw, he prevailed, but not against Him.” Jacob was tough, man. He wrestled all night with God at Peniel. He was tired. He was beat. He had a dislocated hip. But he refused to submit. By sunrise, he had won the Lord’s respect. Well tonight Scott, you earned our respect. I just want you to know, I got your back. (Sitting down…) Let’s eat boys.
Niko: Hey that Superman punch, that was awesome. Yeah, that was crazy.
Mark: What’s the matter? You don’t like my wife’s cooking?
Mr. Voss: I can’t lift my arms.
Wow, I feel aches and pains just watching that clip! Scott took a beating from those three guys in the sparring ring, but he kept on getting back up each and every time he was knocked down. He was so driven to save his friend’s job that he was willing to put up with the pain to accomplish his purpose. What about you? Have you ever had to endure such pain and resistance and suffering to do something? If so, I sure hope it was worth it! God calls you and I to do lots of HUGE tasks in life, and they will rarely be easy. But the truth is, if we want to prevail, we must get up every time we are knocked down. We must never, ever give up because God blesses those who endure. Let’s spend the next few minutes taking a look at that Bible passage that Mark referenced in the clip to see if we can learn more about this.
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 CIRLCE: As we get started, let’s all take a second to share our names and our favorite sports.
- ASK A FEW: Most of us probably know by now that Mr. Scott Voss was a high school biology teacher who fought in the UFC to earn money for his co-worker at school so he wouldn’t lose his job. Would you have been willing to go through that kind of physical punishment for a friend? Why or why not?
- ASK A FEW: Why did Mark (the special trainer) put Scott in the ring with all those fighters?
- ASK A FEW: What would you have done if you had to fight two guys at a time…or three?
- ASK A FEW: How did Scott handle himself in the ring…and what did he get out of it?
- ASK A FEW: Do you think there was a moment in the ring when Scott thought he should just give up? Why or why not?
- ASK A FEW: At dinner later that evening, Mark stood up and talked about Jacob wrestling with God. What do you think was harder: wrestling with God or fighting three MMA fighters? Why?
- ASK A FEW: Have you ever been in a situation similar to Scott’s where you were taking a pounding from something or someone and just wanted to quit? If so, what did you do?
- ASK A FEW: Is there any good that can come out of struggling/wrestling with something in life? Explain.
Read the following passage:
NOTE OF CONTEXT: Your students will need to get the backstory on this passage, or they may miss the point. Jacob was a tricky guy. When he was younger, Jacob made his older brother Esau give up his birthright blessing for a bowl of soup. After Jacob’s father Isaac blessed him, Esau was enraged and felt cheated. He vowed to kill his little brother, but their mother intervened and sent Jacob away. While he was gone, he got married, had children, and became very rich and powerful. But he knew that he must go back home, face his brother, and do all the things God commanded of him. That’s where our story picks up, on the return trip home.
Genesis 32:1-32 (NIV)
Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him. 2 And when Jacob saw them he said, “This is God’s camp!” So he called the name of that place Mahanaim. 3 And Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother in the land of Seir, the country of Edom, 4 instructing them, “Thus you shall say to my lord Esau: Thus says your servant Jacob, ‘I have sojourned with Laban and stayed until now. 5 I have oxen, donkeys, flocks, male servants, and female servants. I have sent to tell my lord, in order that I may find favor in your sight.'” 6 And the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, “We came to your brother Esau, and he is coming to meet you, and there are four hundred men with him.” 7 Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed. He divided the people who were with him, and the flocks and herds and camels, into two camps, 8 thinking, “If Esau comes to the one camp and attacks it, then the camp that is left will escape.” 9 And Jacob said, “O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, O LORD who said to me, ‘Return to your country and to your kindred, that I may do you good,’ 10 I am not worthy of the least of all the deeds of steadfast love and all the faithfulness that you have shown to your servant, for with only my staff I crossed this Jordan, and now I have become two camps. 11 Please deliver me from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau, for I fear him, that he may come and attack me, the mothers with the children. 12 But you said, ‘I will surely do you good, and make your offspring as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.'” 13 So he stayed there that night, and from what he had with him he took a present for his brother Esau, 14 two hundred female goats and twenty male goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams, 15 thirty milking camels and their calves, forty cows and ten bulls, twenty female donkeys and ten male donkeys. 16 These he handed over to his servants, every drove by itself, and said to his servants, “Pass on ahead of me and put a space between drove and drove.” 17 He instructed the first, “When Esau my brother meets you and asks you, ‘To whom do you belong? Where are you going? And whose are these ahead of you?’ 18 then you shall say, ‘They belong to your servant Jacob. They are a present sent to my lord Esau. And moreover, he is behind us.'” 19 He likewise instructed the second and the third and all who followed the droves, “You shall say the same thing to Esau when you find him, 20 and you shall say, ‘Moreover, your servant Jacob is behind us.'”For he thought, “I may appease him with the present that goes ahead of me, and afterward I shall see his face. Perhaps he will accept me.” 21 So the present passed on ahead of him, and he himself stayed that night in the camp. 22 The same night he arose and took his two wives, his two female servants, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 He took them and sent them across the stream, and everything else that he had. 24 And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. 25 When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. 26 Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” 27 And he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” 28 Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.” 29 Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him. 30 So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered.” 31 The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip. 32 Therefore to this day the people of Israel do not eat the sinew of the thigh that is on the hip socket, because he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip on the sinew of the thigh.
I love the movie Here Comes the Boom because it was so funny, but taught very serious lessons at the same time. One of those lessons was that we should never ever give up…no matter what. That’s what Scott Voss did for his fellow teacher who was in jeopardy of losing his job. He worked hard, got in the ring, took a lot of punches, and ultimately saved his job (even though we didn’t watch the whole movie).
Jacob did much the same thing. Here was a regular guy, just like you and me, who literally wrestled with God all night long…and was richly rewarded for it. He didn’t back down, he didn’t quit, he didn’t throw in the towel, and God blessed him for it! Now, of course, God could have vaporized Jacob in an instant because He’s God, and we know that because after “wrestling” with Jacob for hours, we’re told that God simply “touched” Jacob on the hip and dislocated it. But God limited Himself and put Himself on Jacob’s level, and Jacob hung in there…all night long!
That’s the lesson that we need to learn, too. If we want to prevail in life, we must get up every time we are knocked down. We must never, ever give up because God blesses those who endure. If Scott would have tucked his tail and ran, the coach would never have trained him. If Jacob would have given up, he would not have been as blessed by God.
So here are my questions for you to consider as we wrap up:
- What are you wrestling with right now? I don’t mean that you are in a literal boxing ring or wrestling match with God, but some of you are in the middle of some big decisions right now. So, what are you wrestling with right now?
- How close are you to giving up? If you’ve been at it a long time, you may be tired, you may be exhausted, you might even be depressed because you can’t see a light at the end of the tunnel. So, are you thinking about giving up?
- What will you forfeit if you give up? What’s it gonna cost you to “step out of the ring”? If you duck out now, how will your life suffer because of that decision?
- What blessing do you think is in store for you if you stick it out and hang tough with God? When God calls us to something, it’s rarely easy, but it’s always worth it. Granted, what you’re going through might be difficult, but God hasn’t made a mistake in His plans for you.
I sincerely hope that you hang in there. God has something great for you, I’m sure, but if you’re wrestling right now, it’s probably because God is bending and forming and shaping you into something He wants. That’s often a painful process, but it’s always what’s best, too!
I’m going to pray and ask God to give you some encouragement in your struggle right now, but if you want to talk more about it after we’re done, hang around and grab one of our adult leaders. You might be in a fight right now, but you don’t have to fight alone!
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.