Main Point: No matter what you are facing, God loves you and wants to work good things in your life, but you must choose to follow Him.
The Discussion Starter:
Nick Vujicic was born in Australia without any arms or legs. These days, he spends a lot of his time in a wheelchair…that is, when he’s not playing soccer, surfing, fishing, swimming, boating, vacationing, or speaking to thousands of young people about the importance of making good choices in life.
Nick is now a fairly well-known Internet celebrity. His videos have been watched over 100 million times on YouTube and other places. Furthermore, he travels the globe, helping young people make solid, godly decisions that will change their lives.
In this clip, you’ll see Nick interacting with Oprah and Pastor Rick Warren (from Saddleback Church) about his circumstances, his beliefs, and his choices.
Nobody would argue that Nick was dealt a poor hand in life. He was born without arms and legs, and for the first part of his life, he struggled with depression, loneliness, and suicidal thoughts. But Nick learned about God’s love for him and he made a choice that changed his life. Nick made the conscious decision to give his life to Jesus and that was the game changer for him. Nick’s message to you and me is a simple one: regardless of our circumstances, our chemistry, our situation, or our environment, we must choose to follow God because God loves us and is working for our good. That’s a powerful truth worthy of some discussion, so let’s break into our small groups to talk about it.
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 whether or not we’ve seen any of Nick’s online videos.
- ASK A FEW: What do you think it was like for Nick, growing up with no arms or legs?
- ASK A FEW: Do you personally know someone who is in a situation similar to Nick’s? If so, explain.
- ASK A FEW: According to the video clip, what was the turning point for Nick in his childhood? What happened that enabled him to surge on after his suicide attempt? (Leaders – He heard about another man who was disabled, yet pushed on in spite of his difficulties. He said that gave him strength and determination to fight in life.)
- ASK A FEW: What can you infer about Nick’s relationship with God from this clip?
- ASK A FEW: What was the big decision that Nick said he made in dealing with his difficulties? (Leaders – He talked about believing God, accepting Jesus’ love, and trusting that He was working things out for Nick’s good.)
- ASK A FEW: On this show, Oprah and Pastor Rick Warren were talking about “chemistry, connections, circumstances, and consciousness,” as the things that affect our choices. Which one of those affects your choices the most?
- ASK A FEW: In the course of the video, while Nick was climbing the stairs to the stage, he quoted Romans 8:28 which says, “…in all things God works for the good of those who love Him….” How does it make you feel to know that God is working on our behalf for our good?
Read the following passage:
Romans 8:22-39 (NIV)
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. 26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will. 28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. 31 What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all– how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died– more than that, who was raised to life– is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Nick didn’t have an easy life growing up. Not only did he NOT have arms and legs, he DID have the comments and negativity of others. It was so bad at one point that Nick decided to end his life. Thank God, he failed. Now, his life stands as an example to all of us that God loves all of us and is working for our good if we love Him.
So, in light of what we’ve seen and talked about in our time together, let me ask you: what are you facing in life? What struggles are close to you? What are you having to walk through and wade through? I might not know what it is, but it’s something that you deal with every single day of your life.
More importantly, how are those situations affecting your relationship with God? Are you handling those circumstances strongly, or are you about to cave? Do you feel like giving up, or are you desperately chasing after God?
I want to encourage you with this simple, but life-changing truth: God loves you and wants to work good things in your life. That’s what we learned from the 8th chapter of Romans. But there was a condition put on that promise: we must love Him, too! We must CHOOSE to follow God in all areas of our lives, good and bad, healthy and unhealthy, happy or sad.
There is no benefit for us if we cave, crumble, or collapse under the pressures of life. We must continue to press on in spite of our circumstances and our difficulties. Thankfully, we have God’s love to help us. I don’t want you to leave here without understanding this powerful lesson. God wants to be with you at all times, even the difficult ones.
I’m going to pray and ask God to be with us in a powerful way, to help us and encourage us, and ultimately, to help us live for Him. If you need some extra loving and encouragement, hang around and talk to me or one of our adult leaders after we close in prayer. You are not alone. God is with you and so are we!
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.