Outreach Agendas, Topical Curriculum

What Are You Building Your Life On?

Main Point: Everybody builds their lives on something. Many people choose to build on something that appears solid, but isn’t. In the end, if we haven’t built our lives of God’s Word, then we will crumble.

Discussion Starter: Human Pyramid
Yes, it’s that old classic time-killer, the human pyramid. Before you pull your group together for the small group discussion, have about 6 of the students come up front and try to build a human pyramid. Make sure you have at least 3 on the bottom, 2 on the second row, and then 1 on the very top. Any more than this is fairly dangerous. It’s also a good idea to have a few adult leaders standing by to aid them in their efforts and ensure safety.

After giving them a few minutes, ask the person who was trying to be the “top” a few questions:

  1. Was this an easy task or a difficult task? Why?
  2. What was it like trying to get on top of something that was so shaky?
  3. How solid and steady did you feel up there?

Transitional Statement:
OK, this was a fun way to start our small group discussions. Basically, what you saw was a few of your friends try and build a human pyramid, but as our top person just stated, it wasn’t easy to get on top of something so shaky. The fact is, this simple little game can teach us a powerful truth about life: Everybody builds their lives on something. Many people choose to build on something that appears solid, like a pyramid maybe, but in the end, they find out it isn’t solid at all. Sadly, if we haven’t built our lives on God’s Word, then we will crumble. Let’s spend the next few moments talking about that.

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.

Discussion Questions:

  1. AROUND THE CIRCLE: As we get started, let’s all take a second to share our names and if we’ve ever been successful in building a human pyramid.
  2. ASK A FEW: What makes building a human pyramid so difficult?

  3. ASK A FEW: What happens to most human pyramids?

  4. ASK A FEW: Would you choose to have a human pyramid be your foundation in life, as shaky as it is? Why not?

  5. ASK A FEW: What are some things that people build their lives on today that end up being nothing more than shaky human pyramids?

  6. ASK A FEW: What happens to those people who build their lives on money, friends, fame, popularity, and all those other things we just mentioned?

  7. Read the following passage:

      Matthew 7:21-29
      Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ 24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” 28 And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, 29 for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.

  8. ASK A FEW: Does any part of Jesus’ teaching in this passage surprise you? Why or why not?

  9. ASK A FEW: What does Jesus compare His words to in verse 24? (Leaders – A house built on the rock!)

  10. ASK A FEW: Why don’t the lives built on Jesus’ words, aka the rock, crumble?

  11. ASK A FEW: What does Jesus say all other lives are built on? (Leaders – He compares them to houses built on sand.)

  12. ASK A FEW: Why do you think Jesus said “great was the fall” of those lives built on sand instead of simply saying “it fell”?

  13. ASK A FEW: Give me some modern day examples of “sand.”

  14. ASK A FEW: What are you building your life on? How do you know?

  15. ASK A FEW: For those of you who are building your lives on sand, what changes do you need to make in order to build your lives on the rock?

  16. AROUND THE CIRCLE: How will each of us make sure our lives are being built on the rock of Jesus’ words this week?

Wrap up:
We had some fun in our discussions just now, starting with the comical attempt at building a human pyramid. But hopefully, each of us took to heart the truth behind our activity. There is only one thing we should build our lives on and that is Jesus Christ’s Word.

If you want another example of how important this is, just think about the images you’ve seen on the news when an earthquake strikes a community. The houses that survive are the ones with solid foundations. The houses that crumble are always the ones with a poorly chosen foundation.

And those who chose to build their homes on sand or in a poor place suffer the fate that Jesus talked about: a great fall.

In life, the only foundation that we can trust is that of Jesus’ words. His Word is eternal and unchanging. It’s the only thing we can trust in a world of brokenness and shallowness. Plus, His Word is the only thing that lasts. If you want proof of that, look no further than the sanctuary Bible that sits in First United Methodist Church of Lake City. As chronicled on It’s Like This:

    On the night of May 11th through the early morning hours of May 12th, in 1967, Lake City First United Methodist Church burned for 7 hours. When the smoke finally cleared that terrible morning, parishioners of the church took stock of all they’d lost…and gained.

    During the fire, Lake City FUMC lost its sanctuary, chapel, and children’s education building.

    None of the sanctuary’s walls were standing, and the roof, which had caved in, was totally consumed by the flames. Most of the furnishings were destroyed or unrecognizable. For example, the microphone beside the pulpit was a fused piece of twisted metal. The pews were reduced to a few smoldering planks of useless, charred wood. The oaken pulpit was nothing but a pile of ashes.

    But remarkably – and miraculously – the Bible that rested upon the pulpit was not destroyed as one would expect, given its highly flammable pages. Granted, the leather cover that enclosed the Bible was ruined, but most of the pages of Scripture were largely unharmed.

    The Bible was open to the Book of Job. Upon reflection, it’s easy to see the correlation between Lake City FUMC’s experience and the experiences of Job. Both lost a great deal, but in the end, reveled in God’s Word.

    To this day, the people of Lake City First United Methodist Church understand the power and promise behind the words of Jesus in Mark 13:31 which read: Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

    The Bible is now enclosed by glass and on display in the church’s Fellowship Hall, testifying to the truth of God’s Word.

That’s exactly what we should be building our lives on. It’s the one thing that will not be shakable.

Close in Prayer

Written by David R Smith


Jonathan McKee

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.

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