High School

You against the World

Lesson 12 

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Winter 2019-20

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By: Jill Meek  

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February 16, 2020

Lesson Focus:

Following Jesus isn’t always easy.

Bible Basis:

John 16:1-3, 20-22, 32-33

Materials Needed:

Step 1:

  • Internet access

Summary & Links:

By watching a video about the royals, students will consider staying true to their values amidst criticism or pressure as they explore how following Jesus isn’t always easy.

Memory Verse:

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.
—1 John 2:15

Step 1:

By watching a video about the royals, students will consider staying true to their values amidst criticism or pressure as they explore how following Jesus isn’t always easy.

Materials Needed:

  • Internet access

When Meghan Markle married Prince Harry, it was presented as somewhat of a fairy tale. At the same time, the challenges that come with being part of the royal family were always part of the conversation as well. There is a tremendous amount of expectation, pressure, and publicity that comes with the title, which can be a lot to deal with even if you are seen as dealing with it well. For the Duchess, however, she also has to deal with people criticizing her choices and the way she takes on this role. Every day she will make choices about how to stay true to herself amidst royal pressure or public criticism.

Play the following video [1:28]:
Duchess of Sussex criticized

  • How do you think you would handle life as a royal? (Accept all reasonable answers. Some may think it sounds fun or glamorous or would be willing to go along with it all, while others may feel strongly they aren’t interested in or suited to any of it. Many will find themselves in the middle, liking certain aspects but not others.)
  • What does it feel like to stay true to yourself or make a different choice amidst criticism or pressure from others? Tell about your experience. (Accept all reasonable answers. Sometimes it does not feel great; you may feel left out or second-guess your decision. Sometimes it feels empowering or you see the benefit later on. Students will have varied experiences with this.)
  • Do you ever feel that the standards, expectations, or choices of others are at odds with following Jesus? (Accept all reasonable answers. Some will have experienced this in a vague sense, others more distinctly, and some perhaps not at all, depending on their friend group, their understanding of what it means to follow Jesus, etc.)

The tough news is that following Jesus in a fallen world can be challenging, but the good news is that Jesus Himself experienced such challenges, and He’ll be with us along our 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:

  • None

Culture is defined by a group’s values, customs, practices, and norms. Sometimes our culture as Christians is at odds with that of the world around us. So what are we to do? How are we to live? These are some of the questions Christians have asked and discussed through the ages as they sort out the practicalities of following Jesus in this world. Let’s think on it together.

  • How would you describe the culture you live in? That is, what are the values, customs, practices and norms seen around you? (Accept all reasonable answers. Students may describe their personal teen world, the community they live in, or the larger culture in the US or modern day society worldwide, which will impact their answers.)
  • How do you think God relates to this culture? For examples, does God reject this culture, love it, can He be found in it, can/does He work with it to change it at all? (Accept all reasonable answers. This is a tough question but may prompt very good discussion. You might have everyone demonstrate their own final answer with a pose that describes God’s posture toward the current culture.)
  • How do you think Christians should relate to the culture around them? (Accept all reasonable answers, perhaps using prompts similar to the previous question. Again, you might have everyone demonstrate their own final answer with a pose that describes our posture toward our culture.)

No matter our posture toward the culture around us, we can stay rooted in our faith as the winds of culture push and pull us, whether we’re the lone tree on the block or among a forest. 

  • What practices keep you rooted or connected to your faith? (Accept all reasonable answers, such as prayer, reading the Bible, singing songs in worship, journaling, time in nature, conversations with friends, being at church, etc.)

Encourage students to carry out these practices this week, enlisting a friend as an accountability partner to do it together or to remind them to do it. Encourage them to create a culture with this accountability person where God has top priority. Meeting with this person once a week for prayer and encouragement would be an excellent way to spend this new year.

Close in prayer.

Spread the word

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