Planes, Trains and Automobiles
Main Point: We gotta make sure we’re going the right direction in life, or we’ll have to face the consequences.
The Movie Clip: “You’re Going the Wrong Way!”
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles was your classic 1980’s comedy. This film starred Steve Martin and John Candy as two very different men who tried to make it all the way from New York to Chicago any way they could, hence the name of the movie.
Neal (Martin) is the executive type, and Del (Candy), well, Del is anything but. Regardless, as Neal tries to make his way home from New York to Chicago, much to his chagrin, he is accompanied by Del all the way. During the trip, they both learn a lot about one another and from one another.
Unfortunately, the film is rated R for language.
Introducing the Clip:
Most of you weren’t even born when Planes, Trains, and Automobiles came out, but it was hilarious. Basically, fate joins two men in New York as they try to make it to Chicago in time for Thanksgiving. When the airlines are snowed in they go for the trains. When the train breaks down, they try cars. In this hilarious scene from their ridiculous journey together, Del accidentally gets on the highway going the wrong way. Let’s take a look and see how he handled it.
BEGIN CLIP AT 59 minutes and 16 seconds (in Chapter 19). Or this clip is available to download and purchase from WingClips.
- (2 NOTES: If you want to, you can start this clip in Chapter 18, “Stuck Behind the Wheel.” Not only does it provide a GREAT perspective on John Candy’s classic comedic ability, but it also sets the context for why the two weary travelers find themselves driving down the wrong side of the interstate. Secondly, in the key scene, there is one swear word at 59:46. You can easily mute this line, however.)
Man: Holy Sh*t. Look at that guy on the wrong side of the highway. He’s gonna kill somebody! Hey! Hey!
Neal: Hey, what’s going on?
Del: Some joker wants to race.
Man: (frantically motioning) Turn around!
Neal: Don’t race. That’s ridiculous.
Del: Alright. C’mon. Let’s go.
Man: Put your window down!
Neal: He wants something.
Del: Ahhh…he’s probably drunk.
Man: You’re going the wrong way!
Man and Woman: You’re going the wrong way!
Neal: He says we’re going the wrong way.
Del: Oh he’s drunk. How would he know where we’re going?
Neal: Yeah, how would he know? (turning to the man and woman across the median) Thank you. Thanks a lot. Terrific.
Del: Thank you. What a moron.
Man: You’re going in the wrong direction!
(Del motions that the two of them are drinking.)
Man and Woman: You’re going to kill somebody!
(Neal finally notices that something is wrong.)
Man: You’re going the wrong way!
(Neal looks up at the highway and notices the two tractor trailers barreling down on them.)
(As their car squeezes between the two trucks, both men scream. After the near miss, the men pry their hands off the dashboard and steering wheel.)
Sometimes in life, you and I get headed in the wrong direction. When that’s the case, there are signs around us that tell us we are off course. If we heed those signs and warnings, and return to the right path, we are blessed. If we don’t turn around, we risk all sorts of trouble. We must make sure that we are living our lives in the right direction.
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 the longest road trip we’ve ever been on.
- ASK A FEW: In the clip we just saw, it was clear that Neal and Del didn’t know they were going the wrong way. Why not?
- ASK A FEW: What were some of the indicators that should have told them that they were headed in the wrong direction?
- ASK A FEW: Why do you think they ignored the warnings of the other drivers?
- ASK A FEW: Sometimes in life, we get turned around and headed in the wrong direction. Are there indicators telling us that we are going in the wrong direction, and if so, give examples?
- ASK A FEW: In this silly clip, Neal and Del paid the price of having their car wrecked. What are some of the consequences we face when we live in the wrong direction?
Read the following passage:
Deuteronomy 30:11-20 (NLT)
11 “This command I am giving you today is not too difficult for you to understand, and it is not beyond your reach. 12 It is not kept in heaven, so distant that you must ask, ‘Who will go up to heaven and bring it down so we can hear it and obey?’ 13 It is not kept beyond the sea, so far away that you must ask, ‘Who will cross the sea to bring it to us so we can hear it and obey?’ 14 No, the message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart so that you can obey it.
15 “Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster. 16 For I command you this day to love the LORD your God and to keep his commands, decrees, and regulations by walking in his ways. If you do this, you will live and multiply, and the LORD your God will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy.
17 “But if your heart turns away and you refuse to listen, and if you are drawn away to serve and worship other gods, 18 then I warn you now that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live a long, good life in the land you are crossing the Jordan to occupy.
19 “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! 20 You can make this choice by loving the LORD your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life.
If there’s one thing I want you to walk away with from here tonight it’s this: it’s way too easy to start heading in the wrong direction in life. When that’s the case, we stand in danger of facing some pretty serious consequences.
The good news is, there are all sorts of indicators that tell us that we are off course. For instance, we have God’s Word that directs our paths. It can teach us how to live righteously, in the way that pleases God. We also have our friends and loved ones that can help guide us when we step off the correct path. We also have our leaders here at church who can help steer us down the right path.
Sometimes, we are that person for someone else. We see a friend beginning to stray, and we can jump in and start telling them that they are going in the wrong direction.
God desperately wants us to live our lives in the right direction. He wants us to avoid the pain that comes from disobeying Him and sinning against others. He even wants us to help others live that kind of life.
So, tonight, if you are off course in your life, hang around and talk to one of our adult leaders before you leave. We want to help get you back on track. And if you know of someone who needs some help getting back on the right path, we’ll even talk with you about that and give you some great ideas you can use to help them.
Close in Prayer.
Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Guy's Guide to FOUR BATTLES Every Young Man Must Face; 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.