Main Point: When God gives us a second chance, we need to take full advantage of it, for ourselves and others.
Discussion Starter: Second Chance Texas Texter
Chance Bothe, a young man from Texas, knows exactly what the dangers of texting and driving can be. In early 2012, he was texting while driving home from college and ran off the road into a ditch nearly killing himself. The ironic thing is that his last text message he sent was, “I need to quit texting because I could die in a car accident and then how would you feel.”
Chance suffered extensive injuries related to the accident. He has now gone through surgeries and physical therapy for months, and has recovered greatly. He’s still not perfect – and may never be – but he’s staying busy making sure others don’t make his same mistake.
Take a look.
The Video Clip:
The online video is available at the following link:
It’s somewhat ironic to me – and probably others – that Chance’s last text message was “I need to quit texting because I could die in a car accident and then how would you feel?” Even though he knew the dangers of texting while driving…he did it anyway. Although he received a massive second chance from God, he still had to pay a heavy price for his mistake, as you could see in the clip. It’s pretty cool that Chance is now taking the time to do all he can to make sure that other people don’t make the same mistake he did. That’s what we should be doing, too. When God gives us a second chance in life, we must take full advantage of that opportunity, for ourselves, and others!
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.
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- AROUND THE CIRLCE: As we get started, let’s all take a second to share our names and whether or not we’ve ever gotten a second chance at something in life?
- ASK A FEW: In the clip, Chance said he was lucky. Do you think it was luck or something else? Why?
- ASK A FEW: In the clip, the reporter said that nearly 200,000 wrecks are caused each year by texting while driving. That means millions of people do it. Do you know someone who texts and drives at the same time?
- ASK A FEW: What kind of second chance has Chance received, and what’s he doing with it?
- ASK A FEW: Even though Chance has received a second chance, there were still consequences for his actions. What were some of them? (Leaders – He was almost killed, he suffered great physical ailment, he was hospitalized, he wrecked his truck, he probably lost a lot of money through insurance cost and medical bills, and he’s had to spend lots of time in therapy learning how to walk and talk again.)
- ASK A FEW: Is it possible to learn from others’ mistakes? Do people do that these days?
Read the following passage:
Jonah 1:1-17 (NIV)
The word of the LORD came to Jonah son of Amittai: 2 “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.” 3 But Jonah ran away from the LORD and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the LORD. 4 Then the LORD sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. 5 All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship. But Jonah had gone below deck, where he lay down and fell into a deep sleep. 6 The captain went to him and said, “How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god! Maybe he will take notice of us, and we will not perish.” 7 Then the sailors said to each other, “Come, let us cast lots to find out who is responsible for this calamity.” They cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah. 8 So they asked him, “Tell us, who is responsible for making all this trouble for us? What do you do? Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?” 9 He answered, “I am a Hebrew and I worship the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land.” 10 This terrified them and they asked, “What have you done?” (They knew he was running away from the LORD, because he had already told them so.) 11 The sea was getting rougher and rougher. So they asked him, “What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?” 12 “Pick me up and throw me into the sea,” he replied, “and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you.” 13 Instead, the men did their best to row back to land. But they could not, for the sea grew even wilder than before. 14 Then they cried to the LORD, “O LORD, please do not let us die for taking this man’s life. Do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man, for you, O LORD, have done as you pleased.” 15 Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm. 16 At this the men greatly feared the LORD, and they offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made vows to him. 17 But the LORD provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights.
Read the following passage:
Jonah 2:1-10 (NIV)
From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the LORD his God. 2 He said: “In my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me. From the depths of the grave I called for help, and you listened to my cry. 3 You hurled me into the deep, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers swept over me. 4 I said, ‘I have been banished from your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple.’ 5 The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head. 6 To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you brought my life up from the pit, O LORD my God. 7 “When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, LORD, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple. 8 “Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs. 9 But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. Salvation comes from the LORD.” 10 And the LORD commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.
We just heard the story of Chance, the Texas Texter. He almost died in a car accident, doing something that many of us in this room do: texting while driving. I don’t want to get too far off topic, but IF you also text while driving, this needs to serve as a warning to you.
In fact, that’s what Chance’s life is about now. He tells people the mistake he made, and then encourages them NOT to make the same foolish mistake he made. It’s not rocket science, if you think about it. We drive cars at 60mph – that’s 88 feet per second! – so it’s impossible to control our vehicles and our cell phones at the same time.
Chance is spending some important time helping those who are making the same mistake he’s made. He doesn’t want anyone else to go through what he’s gone through. And why should we? We can see what happened to him. We should learn from his mistake.
But we should also help others learn from our mistakes. Nobody in this room is perfect. We’ve all made seriously bad choices in the past. It might be to cross a line (sexually) with our significant other, it might have been to cheat on a test, or it might have been to lie to a friend. No matter what the foolish and sinful mistake was, if we are willing to humbly talk about it, others may be able to learn from our mistakes.
If you want proof of that reality, just look at Jonah’s life. Boy, did he screw up! But God used that to save thousands of other people in the city of Nineveh. He used Jonah; He can use you too! But the question is, Will you let Him?
I’d encourage you to be honest about the mistakes you’ve made in the past. I’m NOT saying to go around with a megaphone telling the world all you’ve done wrong. That’s not wise. I’m merely saying to confidently and humbly help those you see making the same mistakes you’ve made in the past. Who knows who you’ll help?
But like Jonah and Chance, you may save somebody’s life.
Close in Prayer
Written by David R Smith
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.