David C Cook COVID-19 Response

High School

Survival Guide

Lesson 1 


Summer 2021


By: RLD Editorial Team 


June 06, 2021

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Lesson Focus:

Use the Bible as your guide to life. ECHOES Focus: That your students follow God’s commands out of a belief in their trustworthiness.

Bible Basis:

Psalm 119:1-8, 137-144

Materials Needed:

Step 1:

  • Internet access

Summary & Links:

Your students will look at the unsung heroes of Mount Everest, drawing parallels between the climbers’ need for guides and our own spiritual journeys.

Memory Verse:

Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my savior, and my hope is in you all day long.
—Psalm 25:5

ECHOES verse:
I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
—Psalm 119:11

Step 1:

Your students will look at the unsung heroes of Mount Everest, drawing parallels between the climbers’ need for guides and our own spiritual journeys.

Materials Needed:

  • Internet access

Humans are attracted to extremes. Whether it’s the deepest, fastest, scariest, or tallest, our species is constantly trying to push the envelope, even when it’s extremely dangerous to do so.

  • What does the phrase “biting off more than you can chew” mean? (Allow your students to discuss this phrase as a class, eventually landing on something resembling taking on more than you can handle.) 
  • Have you ever “bitten off more than you can chew?”

Nowhere is this phrase illustrated more intensely than on the world’s highest mountain, Mount Everest. Since Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay first conquered the mountain in 1953, thousands have attempted to reach the dangerous summit with often disastrous consequences.

The phrase “biting off more than you can chew” is well known in the area surrounding Everest. In the last 65 years, over 250 people have lost their lives on the mountain. Many of these climbers died because of a lack of preparation and overconfidence in their abilities. Their meager skills proved to be insufficient in combating the subzero temperatures, lack of oxygen, and fickle weather. Just last year, three people died in a single incident from altitude sickness.

Sherpas, the guides who help climbers summit Everest, have made climbing this mountain accessible to more people. Even with such an aggressive 21st century fatality rate of 7 persons per year, it is widely accepted that this number would be far greater if not for the native Nepalese mountaineering guides known as “Sherpas.”

  • What parallels can you draw between the Sherpa rescues and our faith? (Give your students a chance to work through this question together, using their responses to lead into Step 2 of this lesson.) 

Show the following video to your students [1:17]:
Sherpa breaks his own record with 24th Mount Everest summit

In much of life, we take the role of the inexperienced climber, charging into situations without sufficient preparation, hubris clouding our judgement. Ultimately, we end up lost, gasping for air, searching for anything to help us down the mountain. Accordingly, God and the survival guide He’s given us can be likened to the Sherpas who risk their lives to save those with nowhere else to turn.

Today, we’ll look more closely at God’s survival guide—let’s see what God has given us to keep us out of harm’s way.

Looking for Steps 2, 3 & 4?

You can find Steps 2 and 3 in your teacher’s guide. To purchase a teacher’s guide, please visit: Bible-in-Life or Echoes.

Step 4:

Materials Needed:

  • Pens/pencils (1 per student)
  • Paper (1 piece per student)
  • Whiteboard and marker (or screenshared document)

If your class is meeting online, invite teens to bring pens/pencils and pieces of paper with them to class.

So far, we’ve talked about our need for God’s Word in our lives and used the perils of unprepared mountaineering as a metaphor of our need for guidance. For the sake of continuity, let’s keep using our mountaineering analogy, comparing proper trekking preparation to proper spiritual preparation as we develop a process that encourages our use of the Bible to guide our life.

Hand out paper and pens/pencils. If your class is meeting online, invite teens to have those items ready. As you share the following, write the training points on the whiteboard or screenshared document so that your students can copy them down. Alan Arnette is a mountaineering junkie, having climbed Everest three times and summiting in May of 2011 at the age of 58. Since then, he’s created a website devoted to helping others meet their climbing goals. In one article, Arnette details the training methodology he used before getting into “Everest shape”; his training process consisted of the following steps:

  • Create a training schedule
  • Be consistent and pace yourself
  • Don’t ignore nutrition
  • Put on the right equipment
  • Seek advice from experts

Now write the following references on the whiteboard or screenshared document: Isaiah 40:31; Ephesians 6:11; John 4:14; Proverbs 21:5; Psalm 119:105. Using Arnette’s process as a framework, instruct your students to look up the Scriptures in their Bibles or Bible app and then connect each bullet point with a Scripture and biblical principle. For example, “Setting up a training schedule,” could correlate to Proverbs 21:5 “Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.”

The rest of the verses could be paired with the training points as follows:

  • Create a training schedule (Proverbs 21:5)
  • Be consistent and pace yourself (John 4:14)
  • Don’t ignore nutrition (Isaiah 40:31)
  • Purchase the right equipment (Psalm 119:105)
  • Seek advice from experts (Ephesians 6:11)

Once your teens have connected each point with Scripture, challenge them to put these ideas into practice in the coming week by taking the first step and developing a spiritual training schedule that they can commit to and documenting any change that occurs in their faith in the process.

Close in prayer, thanking God for guiding us safely up life’s “mountains” through His Word.

Additional resources:
Welcome to alanarnette.com – Climbing the world to end Alzheimers

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