Rock Skip Robot- The Science of Perfect Rock Skipping
Main Point: God is transforming believers to be like Him. Though we might get frustrated in the process, He invites us to trust that He is committed to getting us to the end.
The Discussion Starter:
At some point most people have engaged in the tradition of skipping rocks in a body of water. In this video, former NASA engineer Mark Rober works to perfect the process of rock skipping. He created a robot that helped refine the variables to learn the best process for getting the maximum skips possible. At one point he highlights the engineering design process, listing the four steps he takes in projects such as this. Rober then says, “So often people want to jump straight to step four, which usually won’t work, but it’s almost worse if it does because you have no idea if you’re close to the optimal design.” He emphasizes the importance of the process instead of skipping ahead to the final step, or simply jumping ahead to the goal.
The Video Clip: This clip is available online at the following link:
God is working in the life of believers to help get them to the optimal design which is being formed in the image of Jesus Christ. It’s easy to get discouraged in the process, or impatient and want to find a way to just get to the end. Let’s take time to talk about this video and what we can learn about how God is changing us.
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 video on how to maximize your small groups using our small group format – a great resource to equip your small group leaders.
1. AROUND THE CIRCLE: When have you tried rock skipping? How did you do?
2. ASK A FEW:What are some things that went through your mind as you watched this video?
3. ASK A FEW:Why do you think Mark Rober wanted to emphasize the importance of following each steps of the engineering design process?
4. ASK A FEW:What are some things that you can think of where you find the process or the steps taken to be annoying, and you’d rather just get to the final step?
5. ASK A FEW:Can anyone think of a time when they skipped some steps to get to the end and it didn’t work out so well?
6. ASK A FEW:Rober talks about making small changes along the way to find the optimal design. In what ways is that similar to how God works in our lives
7. ASK A FEW:Read Ephesians 4:17-24. What are some things you observe in these verses?
Read the following passage: Ephesians 4:21-24
When you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
7. ASK A FEW:What do you think the Bible means when it says to put off your old self? What has that looked like in your own life?
8. ASK A FEW:According to these verses, what does the new self look like?
9. ASK A FEW:What are some ways we can attempt to “skip steps” in the process of God making us like Jesus? Why is trying this a bad idea?
10. ASK A FEW:Find Philippians 1:6 in your Bible and read it aloud. What do we learn from that verse about God’s commitment to making us like Jesus?
11. ASK A FEW: Based on this discussion and these verses, what are some things we can say are true about who God is?
There is no doubt that Mark Rober videos are incredibly interesting. He uses his knowledge of science and his incredible creativity to engage, educate, and entertain. His emphasis of the engineering design process shows his own commitment to achieving the best possible result in the end.
In the same way, God is determined to work in believers to achieve the optimal result at the end of your story. He is always working (John 5:17) and is committed to finishing what He starts (Philippians 1:6). As we saw in Ephesians 4, through the Holy Spirit believers can put off the old self and put on the new self as God works to make them like Jesus.
We work with God in this process in our journey of knowing Jesus. As we spend time with Him, we listen to Him, we deepen our relationship with Him in prayer, and we learn from His Word. As we learn to walk with Jesus, His Spirit changes us and makes our hearts align with His. Sometimes we can get frustrated by our own failures, or by the challenges we face in this life and allow ourselves to get distracted in the journey. We might look to other sources to search for meaning and fulfillment, or simply coast along in this life and “hope it all works out in the end.”
The thing is that the process is everything! We come to know Jesus as we walk with Him, as we talk with Him, and as we do life with Him. He is as present in the difficult times as He is when things are going great. We will never truly be the people He is inviting us to be without taking the steps of walking through this journey of life with Him, listening to Him, investing in our relationship with Him.
Let’s be people who trust that once He starts something, He will finish it. Let’s lean on His strength in the hard times, but refuse to ignore the steps that get us closer to Him. One day when we meet Him face to face, we will be able to point to Him as the one we spent our life with. Walking with Jesus is everything in this life, so let’s take each step with Him and trust Him for all we need along the way.
Rob Chagdes is one of the pastors at Prairie Lakes Church in northern Iowa. In the years since he met Jesus as a sixteen year old, Rob has spent his life working to raise up the next generation to love God and invite others into His unending story. He spends most of his free time with his wife Leslie, their three amazing daughters, and their energetic dog Jedi. You can reach Rob at firstname.lastname@example.org .