I don’t normally post my weekly lessons here, but this one is sort of current so I thought I would put it up here for you. This is just the basic outline if you want the student files I can send them to you in Microsoft Publisher if you drop me an email. You can check out the complete text after the link.
This lesson is about Relient K’s song “Be My Escape” which is actually getting radio and MTV time right now so it is a good one to grab the attention of your students. I haven’t really edited the notes so there may be some stuff in there that you don’t understand. Over the next couple of days I will look at it again, but right now I am taking the day off.
Be My Escape
1. We can’t fix our lives on our own
<span style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">I’m stuck inside this rut that I fell into by mistake<p></p></span>
<span style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">I gotta get out of here <p></p></span>
<span style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">And I’m begging you, I’m begging you, I’m begging you to be my escape<p></p></span>
2. We don’t deserve to have God come in and fix us
<span style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">I’ve given up on doing this alone now<p></p></span>
<span style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">Guess I failed and I’m ready to shown now<p></p></span>
<span style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">You told me the way and now I’m trying to get there<p></p></span>
<span style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">And this life sentence that I’m serving<p></p></span>
<span style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">I admit that I’m every bit deserving<p></p></span>
<span style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">But the beauty of grace is that it makes life not fair<p></p></span>
3. Surrender is the only way to be really free
<span style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">And I’ve been housing all this doubt<p></p></span>
<span style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">and insecurity<p></p></span>
<span style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">And I’ve been locked inside that house<p></p></span>
<span style="FONT-SIZE: 9pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">All the while you hold the key<p></p></span>
If I told you this was a Christian song what would you think the songwriter was trying to say with it?
I have liked this song since the Album came out, and now that it is getting national radio play I thought it would be the perfect way to introduce this lesson tonight. The song says a couple of really cool things, but what I love the most is the beautiful way it describes our inability to help ourselves and our desperate need for God to help us out. As we talk about Loving God I want to continue what we were talking about last week and keep looking at this idea that God is the center, God is the star of this world and when it all comes down to it, it is all about Him, not about us, and ultimately I want to look at how that is actually a good thing.
I think there are 3 things we can take from this song that really will help us as we try to see what it means for it all to be about God and not about us.
1 We can’t fix our lives on our own
I think this is the biggest problem facing western Christianity, or at least the part of American Christianity that I am so familiar with. We all feel like it is all about our own commitment, our own decisions to be better, our own resolve to turn our minds around and try to fix it all ourselves.
Turn with me to Jeremiah 2:13. This is one of my favorite verses because I think it speaks so directly to my heart. We have committed 2 sins. We have turned away from God, and we have tried to find contentment on our own. Now doesn’t that just sound like most of the people you know? I know it sounds like me.
We have all found a place in our life where we realized things were wrong and so we made a choice, a determination to fix them. We decided that we weren’t going to live this way any more and we made an act of will to make things different. What I think that most people find is that when they make decisions like this they end up feeling empty and very soon they are right back where they started.
Talk a little about how I wanted to stop being an outcast and I tried to fix myself, but it still left me empty
In the end I thought life was better, but looking back I found I was just as empty inside and just because I changed the outside I didn’t let God come in and heal the hurts that were real on the inside.
The same is true many times for people who try to make God decisions. I have been in youth ministry for a long time (almost 10 years now) and I have found that any time God speaks to teenagers (and adults too for that matter) they say that they are going to start reading their Bible more and stay away from the friends they used to hang with.
These things are good, but they are always going to fail, because most people are resolving to make changes to their outside without surrendering and letting God change our inside. All of the commitment in the world isn’t going to change your heart. It takes surrender.
But most people would rather try to do it on their own because admitting that you can’t do it and surrendering to let God do it is very hard. It means looking at our lives and getting an honest assessment of who you are and what you are.
That leads us to number 2. You don’t deserve to have God fix you.
When it comes to surrender it is important to take a real look at who you are. If you don’t realize who you are in light of who God is then you will never realize your need for surrender. You will always feel like you can fix yourself.
Play a clip of someone showing out and then getting shown that they aren’t really that good in the presence of a master (Phoebe and the good singing person) I couldn’t find this clip in time, but the one where Phoebe is trying to teach the girl who takes her place singing at the coffee shop how to sing smelly cat.
Pass out student sheets (student sheets are simply a copy of Isaiah 6:1-8 and some blank space to write) and have them in groups of no more than 3 come up with an outline of the major themes that occur in this passage. My ideas are below:
God reveals His holiness to Isaiah
Isaiah sees himself in the light of God’s holiness
Isaiah confesses his sinfulness
God offers Isaiah grace
God invites Isaiah into His purposes
Isaiah accepts and is willing to go
When we realize that we can’t fix ourselves and that we don’t deserve God we can surrender to His grace. When Isaiah saw God he realized that he was in a sinner and in desperate need of grace. Most of us spend our time trying to justify ourselves and not really taking a good look at the depravity of our own hearts. It is important to realize that you don’t deserve God’s help, but that it is God’s free gift of grace.
We are worried about really looking at ourselves because we are afraid of what we find. We like our masks and we have begun to believe them ourselves.
And that leads us to the final thought: This surrender thing seems awfully hard, it seems like it goes against everything that you have ever heard before, but when you give up is when you can be really free
Verse: Mark 8:34-35
You wanna save your life? Then you have to give it all up for God.
I want to tell you Brad’s story. Brad was always a good athlete. He was one of those guys who just naturally took to sports. He was strong and quick and coordinated and had enough natural talent to make most guys jealous, but he was best at swimming. He had long strong arms and powerful legs and as a swimmer he had always excelled. He loved spending time in the pool, swimming laps or just playing around with his friends. His mom often joked that he would grow gills if he spent any more time in the water.
The week after Brad graduated from High School he headed off to eastern Tennessee
Part of their trip was to spend a day training for the trip and learning about the river and how to survive should they get thrown out and have to swim. As the instructor talked though the safety procedures Brad barely listened. He didn’t need any rafting guy to tell him about how to swim. The water was Brad’s life and he wasn’t worried about his own abilities to make it back to the boat if he was thrown out.
Well the next day all of the guys piled into 2 boats and headed down the river. Most of the day went very well. They were all thrown from the boat a few times, and they all managed to make it back safely. It was a fun and exciting time for all of them.
After about 3 hours they were all getting tired, but there was still another hour of river to go. As they came around a large rock and dropped down a steep decent Brad toppled over the side into the water. He wasn’t all that worried and immediately started kicking his feet to bring him back up to the surface of the water. After a second or two he realized that he wasn’t get any closer to coming to the top. The water from the drop was pushing him back down. So he changed tactics and tried to swim downstream so that he could pop up a few yards down river, but the water was pushing him back under the falls again and again.
That was when Brad began to panic. He kicked with all of his might to reach the surface and he pulled with his strong arms to try and break free, to break out to the air again. His lungs were beginning to burn and he was desperate for a breath of air.
Just then he remembered what he had heard in training. If you get stuck in a place where you can’t get out, stop swimming and let the water push you back out. Your lifejacket will bring you to the surface if you just quit fighting and let the water take you.
QUIT SWIMMING! That was their big advice. He could do it. He couldn’t bring himself to give up, to stop fighting. But as the pain in his chest grew stronger and his arms and legs got weak he decided that surrender was his only option. He put his hands on his vest and tried to turn his feet downriver and then he just gave up and let the water take him.
It was a scary couple of moments while the water turned him back into the little cove that he was fighting so hard to break out of, but then the water pulled him out of the cove and down the river. In only a couple of seconds that seemed like an eternity to Brad he was out and bouncing back along the surface of the water drinking in the air with all of his strength.
That is the same with us. When we surrender we can become free. We can keep fighting to ge
t out of this room we are in struggling with all of our might to break through and live a life that is truly alive and truly free, but it is only when we realize that it isn’t about us and it is all about God that we can really be free. We must surrender to the one who has the key and who is waiting to set us free.
Why is it so easy to be focused only on ourselves?
What scares you the most about surrendering your life to God? Be ready for some serious and real answers to this question. You might here something like, “because I trusted God in the past and He let me down” that is a very real reason, and you should explore that. Most of the time when people feel that they were let down by God they are again focusing all of the world on them and not on God’s glory. You don’t really need to discount any of these theories, but if others in the group want to speak to them encourage that.
Why do you think so many people focus on things that they can change rather than letting God change them?
What do you think would make it easier for you to surrender to God? Take whatever answers they give, but listen for “to know God better” and then say the closing bit.
The key to surrender is trusting the one who you are surrendering to. Trust happens as you learn more about God and experience Him. Spend this week seeking after God and looking to know more about Him. Don’t seek His help, just try to know more about Him.
Close in prayer by having each person pray this prayer for the person on their right. “Lord help _______________ surrender to you this week and in doing so set him/her free.”