Main Point: Life hinges on the decisions we make, so we should make good decisions. If we’re in good situations, it’s usually because we’ve made good decisions. If we’re in bad situations, it’s usually because we’ve made bad decisions.
Discussion Starter: Rolling the Dice in Life
Lay out twelve index cards (in a rectangular fashion) that have a number printed on one side and a “situation” written on the other side. Make sure the “situation” side of the card is facing down so it cannot be read, while the number side is facing up, so that it can be read. (Number the cards 1 through 12 to correspond with the possible combinations of the two die. If your small groups are larger than 5 students, you may want to make duplicates for each number. That way, if two kids roll a 7, they can each pick up the 7 card.)
For the “situations,” you may want to write any “situation” students could find themselves in. For instance:
- Get in an argument with parents
- Go “too far” with boyfriend/girlfriend
- Help a friend who’s going through a really hard time
- Cheat on a test at school
- Join the youth prayer squad
- Share your faith with a friend
- Lie to a loved one
- Use alcohol and/or drugs
After you have your cards in place, and your students gathered around them, you’re ready to start. Just give the two die to a student and have him/her roll them. If he rolls a 6, then he has to pick up the card labeled with a 6…but don’t let him look at it yet! Then hand the die to the next student. After she rolls them, have her pick up the corresponding card, without looking at it. Follow this same procedure until all of your students have had a chance to roll the die and pick up a card.
Say: “Life is not random. Life is greatly dictated by the decisions we make from day to day, and from moment to moment. If we make good decisions, life usually goes well. If we make poor decisions, we can end up hurting ourselves and even others.”
“Alright, we’ve all rolled the Dice of Life. We’ve all picked up a card with a ‘situation’ written on the back of it. Most of us are intrigued by what’s written on the back of them, so let’s all take a second to find out our fate.” (Have students read the card backs and give them a few seconds to laugh or moan or comment.)
Aren’t you glad life isn’t based on a roll of the dice? No doubt, some of us were disappointed with the results found on the backside of our cards. Let’s spend the next few minutes talking about what our life situations ARE based on. I think you’ll like it a lot better than just rolling the dice.
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 liked what our card said on the backside.
- ASK A FEW: Are each of these situations places you could find yourself in fairly easily? Why or why not?
- ASK A FEW: Do you think these situations were “purely accidental” or “based on our decisions”? Why?
- ASK A FEW: Does anybody think “rolling the dice” is a good way to make decisions in life?
- ASK A FEW: Can anybody share a better way of making decisions? (Leaders – Allow the students to share a more godly way of making decisions, if they can. Hopefully a few of them will say things like “ask a parent,” or “pray,” or “read the Bible.”)
Read the following passage:
1 Peter 4:1-8 (NIV)
Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. They think it strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation, and they heap abuse on you. But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to men in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit.
The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
Tonight, we talked about the importance of making godly decisions. Some people just go through life rolling the dice, but we saw where that can get us: in trouble, in heartbreak, in despair. But when we make godly decisions, our lives usually turn out better. The same can be said of making poor decisions: we when make bad decisions, we usually wind up in bad circumstances.
Making decisions defines us. They are very important. In fact, making decisions is so important that God actually commanded the ancient Israelites to fashion a certain type of clothing for the High Priest to wear when he went before God to make decisions on behalf of the people. Check out what Exodus 28:15 & 30 say:
- Fashion a breastpiece for making decisions – the work of a skilled craftsman. Make it like the ephod: of gold, and of blue, purple and scarlet yarn, and of finely twisted linen. Also put the Urim and the Thummim in the breastpiece, so they may be over Aaron’s heart whenever he enters the presence of the LORD. Thus Aaron will always bear the means of making decisions for the Israelites over his heart before the LORD.
But, some of us in here have already made some really bad decisions, and perhaps, we’re paying the price for them, now. The last question you answered in your breakout groups was, “Do you need to talk about a decision you’ve made, or need to make?”
If so, I want you to know that we’re not going anywhere tonight until we get a chance to chat with you. If it’s important to you, it’s important to us. So, after we pray, come and grab a leader so we can help you. We love you.
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.