|Synopsis: What would Jesus do with his time? An in-depth look at the priorities of Jesus, with practical steps for youth to follow his example. Includes icebreaker and learning activities.|
Read the Conditions of Use Statement.
WWJD with His Time?
Activate Your Audience
Play a game of darts with your group. Make the object to see who can make the first bull’s eye by hitting the very center of the target. Play as long as time permits and see how many bull’s eyes your group can get.
The object of the game that you just played was to try and hit the dart in the very center of the target. Jesus wants you to make him the center of your life.
Build a Bridge
How Do You Spend Your Time?
- A sheet of poster board
- A marker
Draw a large circle on your sheet of poster board and make it visible to your group. Explain to your group that you want to make a pie chart that represents how much time everyone spends on certain activities for the average day. For example, if everyone sleeps an average of eight hours per day, then the pie slice for "sleep" would be one-third if the circle. Continue until your pie is full of slices that represent what your group does on a normal day (TV, homework, quiet time, school, sleep, eating, etc.). .
Once the pie chart is finished, you will probably notice that the largest slices go to sleep and school, and one of the smallest slices will go to quiet times or church or God. Point this discrepancy out to your group and ask, "Does God want us to give him a bigger slice?" Most people will answer "Yes." Then ask, "How much of your life does Jesus really want?" The only answer is 100%, but this creates a problem for the pie chart. Ask "How do you give Jesus 100% of your time if you still have to do these other things (like eat, sleep, homework, etc.)?" Hopefully, someone will come up with the correct answer: You’ve got to make Jesus the center of everything you do.
As your group watches, re-draw your pie-chart by placing a new, concentric circle in the middle of the pie chart with "Jesus" in the middle. Explain, "Jesus wants to be the center of what you do at school, home, work, church, when you’re out with friends, etc. The only way to give Jesus all of your time is to make him the center of everything you do.
Communicate the Word
Give a blank sheet of paper and a pencil to each member of your group. Instruct them to number each sheet of paper from one to five. Ask them to write down the top five reasons that they do what they do. These things are called motives. They could include "getting attention," "for the pleasure," "for God," etc.
When everyone is finished, ask members of your group to share some of the things that they wrote down.
As Jimmy walked home from school, he noticed another boy his age about a block ahead of him. This other boy dropped all of his things on the ground and was having trouble gathering them up. Jimmy ran forward to help. He said, "Hi, my name is Jimmy." The other boy introduced himself as Kevin.
Jimmy walked with Kevin to his house. Kevin invited Jimmy inside, and the two played video games for awhile. Jimmy finally left to go home. The two boys did not become the best of friends, but they talked to each other occasionally at school.
At graduation, Kevin told Jimmy this story. He said, "That day that I was walking home from school and I dropped my things was the day I decided to commit suicide. The reason I was carrying so many things is that I emptied my locker out at school. I had decided to go home and kill myself because I didn’t see anything to live for. However, when you came along that day and spent time with me I decided that I had something to live for."
Jimmy realized that his simple decision to make himself available had saved someone else’s life.
3. Examination and Discussion
Jesus was tired from his journey and needed to rest. He could have thought about himself and found a nice, quiet place to take a nap. He could have found a place away from the heat (it was noon). Instead, he went straight to the center of town to a famous well, where he knew people would be passing by. His intention was to meet someone new and share the Good News.
a. Why did Jesus choose the well as his resting spot?
b. Name places where lots of people go.
c. What is your normal reason for going to these places?
d. If you imitate Jesus, how would you change what you do at these places?
The first rule in sharing Jesus with others is to make yourself available. Look around. Find out where people are going, and then go there with the intention of sharing Jesus.
C. Jesus treated everyone as an equal (John 4:7-9)
Even though we make ourselves available to others, sometimes we allow our prejudices to keep us from sharing Jesus with certain people. We avoid people who are different. God wants us to share Jesus with everyone, not just people who are like us.
The famous explorer Marco Polo had a missionary for a father. Nichelo Polo and his brother Matteo traveled from Europe into the Far East to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. In 1271, they met Kubla Kahn – ruler of the entire region – and told him about Jesus. Kahn told the Polo brothers to return to their home country and bring 100 more missionaries so that his entire kingdom could hear about Jesus. Kahn promised that the missionaries would be given everything they needed to share Jesus with everyone in the Far East.
Nichelo and Matteo returned home and told the pope of their need for 100 missionaries. The pope responded, "Those savages are not worthy to hear about Jesus. I will send no one to that barbaric people, and you are not to return either." For thirty years, no one returned to share the Good News about Jesus. However, during that time, a group of religious monks came into Kubla Kahn’s territory and began spreading the religion of Buddhism. Today, the religion of the entire Far East, which includes about one-third of the world’s population, is Buddhist.
Never give up an opportunity to share Jesus with someone else. You never know how far-reaching the effects may be.
3. Examination and Discussion
This woman had several strikes against her. First, she was a woman and Jesus was a man. Women were not allowed to talk to strange men in public. Yet, Jesus chose to ignore this social custom and speak to the woman. Second, she was a Samaritan and he was a Jew. Samaritans and Jews did not associate with each other. In fact, many Jews hated the Samaritans and considered them an inferior race of people. Yet, Jesus chose to ignore this racial barrier and ask her for a drink. Finally (as you read later in the passage), this woman had been divorced five times and was living with a sixth man. Jesus could have condemned her as a sinful woman who committed adultery. Yet, Jesus chose to look past her faults and see her as a human being.
a. As a man, how could Jesus have treated this woman differently?
b. As a Jew, how could Jesus have treated this Samaritan differently?
c. As God, how could Jesus have treated this sinner differently?
d. Name people that you typically avoid or treat differently because they are different.
e. How can you become a better witness to these people?
Take the name of Jesus to everyone you meet, including those who are very different from you. Don't be prejudiced because of gender, race, social status, or anything else that seems odd to you. Treat everyone as an equal.
D. Jesus made God the center of attention (John 4:10-15)
Our purpose on this planet is not just to indulge ourselves in the pleasures of life. Our purpose is to glorify God – or make God the center of attention.
A group of girls stayed up all night at a slumber party. They played games, talked about boys, dressed up, and watched movies. One of the movies they watched was "Home Alone." In the movie, a seven-year-old boy is accidentally left at home while the rest of the family goes on vacation. The boy, Kevin, manages on his own quite well until he overhears two thieves talking about breaking into the house at 9:00pm.
As the girls watch, Kevin sets booby traps and foils the thieves’ plans. After the movie was over, Ellen said to her friends, "That movie takes its plot right out of the Bible. It’s a story that Jesus told two-thousand years ago."
The rest of the girls couldn’t believe that "Home Alone" and God could have anything in common, so Ellen showed them. She opened her Bible to Matthew 24:42-44 and read the verses. Her friends were amazed. They became curious about what the Bible verses meant. Ellen began to share Jesus with her friends. Before long, three other girls chose to believe in Jesus and ask him to be their Lord and Savior.
Ellen used a movie plot to tell her friends about Jesus.
3. Examination and Discussion
Jesus wanted to turn the woman’s attention away from water and onto God. He could have stood up on the well and screamed Bible verses. Instead, he chose to turn a discussion about water into a discussion about God. He made God the center of her attention. In doing so, he peaked her curiosity. Before long, she was asking to know more about this living water that Jesus described.
a. How did Jesus make God the center of attention?
b. Think of something you do or a place that you go every day. How can you make Jesus the center of attention there?
You can make Jesus the center of attention no matter where you are or what you are doing. Look for a way to compare your current situation with the Good News about Jesus.
E. Jesus got personal (John 4:16-18)
People do not appreciate water until they are thirsty. They don’t realize how much they love food until they are starving. Neither will people realize that they need a savior until they know what they need saving from. You can’t turn away from sin until you know what sin is.
Suppose I came to you and said, "I just spent my entire life savings on the cure for Goopy, a fatal disease. I gave my life to finding this cure, and I want you to have it." You would probably think I was a little crazy. You probably would have no interest in the cure because you don’t even know what Goopy is.
However, if I proved to you that you had the symptoms of Goopy disease, and I convinced you that you were only days away from certain death, then you might be inclined to ask, "Is there any cure for Goopy?" Then, if I show you that I do have the cure and I offer it to you free of charge, you would be very grateful.
In the same way, you cannot convince people that they need saving from sin until they understand what sin is and how it separates us from God.
3. Examination and Discussion
Jesus got personal with the woman, but he did it very gently. He asks her to go and call her husband and come back. The woman realizes her sin and responds by trying to cover up her sin. She says, "I have no husband." Notice very carefully what Jesus does. He does not condemn her for her sin. Rather, he affirms her. He points out that she has just told the truth. He commends her for her honesty. Only then does he remind her that she has been divorced five times and currently lives with a sixth man. He then affirms her again.
a. What could Jesus, who was God, have said to this five-time divorcee?
b. If Jesus had condemned her, how do you think the woman would have responded?
c. What kind of sins are the people around you involved in?
d. Should you condemn these people for their sin?
e. How can you point out the sin, while still affirming the sinner?
When you point out someone else’s sin, you must do so very gently. Imitate Jesus’ example by making a sandwich. Point out something good about the person (the first slice of bread). Gently remind the person of the sinful situation he/she is involved in (the meat). Finally, re-affirm the person (the other slice of bread).
F. Jesus didn’t get sidetracked into an argument (John 4:19-26)
Have two of the youth in your group demonstrate an argument. Tell them to argue over whether or not you should believe in a God that you cannot see. Have one person pretend to be an atheist and argue that there is not God. Have the other try and "prove" that God exists by arguing.
Explain that Jesus never argued, and that Christians should do their best to share the Good News about Jesus without arguing.
3. Examination and Discussion
The woman tried to sidetrack Jesus by starting an argument over who was right – the Jews or the Samaritans – when it came to the subject of where to worship God. Jesus avoided the argument altogether by pointing out that God doesn’t care where we worship – He just wants us to worship Him in spirit and in truth. The woman forgets about the argument and begins to talk about the Messiah. Jesus introduces himself to her as the Messiah.
a. What kind of argument could Jesus and the woman have gotten into?
b. How do you think the story would have turned out if Jesus had argued with the woman?
c. What kinds of arguments do nonbelievers try to start with you?
d. How can you avoid arguing and turn the subject back to God?
Don’t get sidetracked into an argument. Imitate Jesus by being gentle with those who oppose you and refocusing the conversation back onto God without arguing.
G. Jesus encouraged others to share (John 4:27-35)
Sharing the Good News with others is your first call. Your second call is to teach and encourage others to share the Good News as well.
Discuss the following statement with your group. "Give a man a fish, and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime." Explain that if Christians need to train other Christians to share Jesus with others.
3. Examination and Discussion
The disciples were thinking about their stomachs. Jesus was thinking about the people around him. Jesus received a deep satisfaction from winning other people to God. This is what he lived on. It is what he lived for (Luke 19:10).
a. How would the story have ended differently if Jesus had simply thought about eating lunch?
b. Why do you think Jesus received such a deep satisfaction from talking to the woman?
c. After Jesus shared the Good News with the woman, what did she do?
d. Why did the woman go and tell other people about Jesus?
e. How might your world be different if you start telling other people about Jesus?
f. What kind of satisfaction do you think you will get from sharing the Good News?
g. How can you encourage your Christian friends to share Jesus with others?
Spend your time sharing Jesus with others, and encouraging your Christian friends to share Jesus with others. Take a long look at the people around you. Determine who needs to know Jesus and make a plan to talk with them.
Do Something About It
Pass out one sheet of paper and a pencil to each person in your group. Instruct everyone to draw a target with three concentric circles. Place a package of Post-It Notes in the center of your group.
Ask your group to close their eyes and think about the people around them who need to know Jesus. For each person they can think of, have them take one Post-It note and write down the first and last initial of that person. Instruct them to place the Post-It note on their target in the outermost circle. The outermost circle represents people who need to hear about Jesus. Encourage your group to make a plan to share Jesus with this person some time this week.
Explain to your group that after they share Jesus with their specified person, they can then go and move the Post-It note to the next concentric circle. Encourage everyone in your group to continue to pray for the salvation of this individual. If this person comes to know Jesus, the Post-It note can be placed in the very middle of the target.
Encourage your group to keep the targets with them in their Bibles and continue to add more people to it. This will help them make a habit of praying for and sharing Jesus with their friends.
Close in prayer.
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