OPENING ACTIVITY: What Are Your Priorities?
Ask your students to make a list of five things that are a priority for them to do either when they get up in the morning or go to bed at night, things such as take their medicine, take a shower, etc., then ask how they decide what their priorities are each day.
OPENING STORY: [Make copies of the story for your students or read it aloud]
WENTZ DEFENDS HIS FAITH IN RESPONSE TO CRITICS
Setting his priorities straight is not a problem for Philadelphia Eagles NFL quarterback Carson Wentz. He says he’s not bothered by critics on social media who chastise him when he shares his faith in Jesus Christ because he is “doing everything for the Lord.”
The 24-year-old Wentz, a five-time NCAA Football Championship Subdivision National Champion, has been asked a couple of times recently how he handles the criticism he receives for regularly sharing his faith on his social media platforms.
Recently, Wentz appeared at Eastern University’s Olson Field with two of his teammates to discuss their faiths with The Associated Press’s sports writer Rob Maaddi and his co-hosts during a live episode of the “Faith on the Field” AM radio show.
Wentz, who was the second overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft after a successful collegiate career with North Dakota State University, says he has no problem tolerating a few nasty tweets every time he shares his faith on social media because he realizes there are many who’ve paid a much graver price for their faith.
“If you’re grounded in the world, criticism is hard,” Wentz explained on the show. “But Christ was nailed to a cross, and Paul went to jail for talking about Jesus, so I can stand a few negative tweets.”
In an interview with CSN Philly published recently, Wentz added that any criticism he receives for sharing his faith publicly will not change how he uses his platform as a professional athlete to advance God’s kingdom.
“I have seen [negative] things here and there,” Wentz was quoted as saying. “It is what it is. But they’re still reading it, they’re still following me. They’re still hearing what I believe to be true, so it’s a fine line. Without a doubt, I want to use my platform to make a difference [in] people’s lives.”
Anyone who goes to Wentz’s Twitter profile will know almost immediately that he’s serious about his faith. Wentz pinned a tweet to the top of his profile from June that reads: “You can’t earn grace. It’s free. It’s the greatest gift there’s ever been and will be. Accept it. Jesus is waiting for you and loves you #AO1.”
The AO1 (Audience of One) hashtag used in the tweet refers to Wentz’s AO1 Foundation, which was established this year with the mission to “demonstrate the love of God by providing opportunities and support for the less fortunate and those in need.” The foundation cares for the poor, provides unique opportunities for the physically challenged, and provides service dogs to youth in Philadelphia.
Additionally, Wentz and Eagles teammates Trey Burton and Zach Ertz have teamed up with Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins and other Redskins players to raise money and awareness for the International Justice Mission, a Christian charity devoted to protecting the poor and vulnerable. The goal of the organization is to rescue victims and bring justice to perpetrators of crimes such as sex trafficking, slavery, sexual violence, property violence, and police brutality.
“AO1 comes from the perspective of doing everything for the Lord, working for the Lord instead of for earthly masters,” Wentz said in an interview with Main Line Sports.
Wentz is one of six Eagles who regularly participates in a team Bible study group that meets at least three times per week, The News Journal reports. Everyone on the team is invited to join the group, and many times other players who are not in the usual core study group will join them.
Although not everyone on the Eagles team is a Christian, Wentz explained in The News Journal interview that he’s not afraid to share his faith with those around him.
“I’m very open about my faith,” Wentz said. “I’m not going to hide from it or back down. I also like to try to walk the fine line … [not] hitting people over the head with the Bible—that’s not what I’m about.”
“It’s definitely a balance, and I’m always learning how to walk that line. I always tell people that if you love something, you’re going to talk about it—your wife, the Eagles, your job, whatever. I love Jesus and I’m going to talk about it,” he continued. “You can’t be around me for more than 20 minutes; it’s probably going to come up.”
Now ask your students to form small groups and discuss their answers to these questions.
- How would someone know if God is a priority in your life?
- Would you say He is your first priority? Explain your answer
- What other things in our lives do we often put ahead of Him? Why?
(When you are finished with the questions, go on to Step 2 in your Adult Teacher’s Guide.)
Eagles QB Carson Wentz
Looking for Steps 2 & 3?
You can find Steps 2 and 3 in your teacher’s guide; your Step 4 appears below. To purchase a teacher's guide, please visit: Bible-in-Life or Echoes
THE ONE TRUE GOD
Our God reigns, and Jesus is the king of Kings! There are no other gods but the one true God, and there is no other place He must be in your life but first! When God is first, everything else falls into place. As Scripture tells us, “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness” (Matt. 6:33). Whatever else you may be putting ahead of Him is less than Him and will never satisfy you as He will.
Have your students return to the groups they had in Step 1 to discuss this question.
- Write a short poem to God celebrating His Lordship in your life, then commit to making Him your first priority this week and in the weeks to come.
Close the class in prayer, asking God to help you make Him first in your life and commit to putting aside this week anything that keeps you from putting Him first.
THE BIBLE IN THE NEWS
The Bible’s place in American society is examined in a new book
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