Love and relationships are always hot topics, but especially in February.
To top it off, the Olympics are on TV right now.
Mash those two together, and you have a prime opportunity to deepen your students’ understanding of what love is.
Here’s a lesson you can utilize or tweak however you’d like.
Hope it serves you – thank you for loving students!
Explain that you’re going to begin your lesson by encouraging them to try to listen to God through two popular songs you’re going to play back to back. The goal for this time is not that they sing along or be entertained by something they may have heard on the radio, but that they try to consider the two different types of commitment being shared here. Dim the lights to minimize distraction, and play these two songs:
- “Say Something” by A Great Big World & Christina Aguilera
- “I Won’t Give Up” by Jason Mraz
[ Option: Combine these two into a video that guides them during this time: http://youtu.be/5-8nHjnPHg4 ]
Talk with the students about what they gained from that time.
- Which of those two songs symbolizes the type of love you’ve seen modeled growing up in our community or culture?
- Which of those two songs symbolizes the type of love you’d like to experience or give another person?
- What do you think it takes from someone to say something that the lyrics in the first song?
- What do you think it takes from someone to say something that the lyrics in the second song?
[ Download this Power Point slideshow for the following ]
Ask students to read the following Bible verses out loud and pause after each one to brainstorm the role that truth might play in a committed relationship, such as marriage.
- Psalm 34:18
- Hebrews 12:15
- Philippians 4:12
Use the Power Point slides to cycle through these points as you share them.
Say something like:
[slide] “The Olympics may have started recently, but reporters, athletes and tourists from around the world began checking into the Sochi hotels even before that.
[slide] Many began describing appalling conditions in the housing there. Hotels are still under construction. Water, if it’s running, isn’t drinkable. This has spilled over into some of the conditions the athletes are enduring, too.
One person said it this way: ‘Almost every room is missing something: light bulbs, TVs, lamps, chairs, curtains, WiFi, heat, hot water. Shower curtains are a valuable piece of the future black market here. (One American photographer was simply told, “You will not get a shower curtain.”) In one hotel, the elevator is broken and the stairway is unlit, with stairs of varying and unpredictable heights. Outside another hotel, there is a bag of concrete in a palm tree, leaking grey down the trunk. Inside, some of the electrical outlets are just plates screwed into drywall.’
[slide] One famous picture is of a sign outside a toilet… the person who posted it said, “People have asked me what surprised me the most here in Sochi. It’s this. Without question… it’s… THIS.” A sign that says “Please do not flush toilet paper down the toilet. Put it in the bin provided.”
[slide] One person spoke about his experience with the hotel lobby… which was non-existent.
“OK, so my hotel doesn’t have a lobby yet.”
“For those of you asking, when there’s no lobby in your hotel, you go to the owner’s bedroom to check in.”
[slide] One woman wrote, “My hotel has no water. If restored, the front desk says “do not use on your face because it contains something very dangerous.”
[slide] She later updated, adding, “Water restored, sorta. On the bright side, I now know what very dangerous face water looks like.”
[slide] Another woman warned, “What your step #Sochi2014 – I’ve noticed on walkway and on sidewalks that not all man holes are covered.”
[slide] A man observed, “Spa and Fitness Center at Gorki Grand Hotel… you get in shape by putting it together?”
[slide] Another guy said, “Good news. I have internet. Bad news. It’s dangling from the ceiling in my room.”
[slide] Other pictures showing the unique conditions the athletes are staying in have also been made popular.
This is certainly not the standard many people would expect of the Olympics, let alone your basic Holiday Inn Express.
[slide] So let me ask an obvious question… why would an athlete, journalist or even a visitor stick this out?
You know the answer, don’t you? It’s the Olympics… even in harsh conditions, it’s the Olympics.
Sure, things are hard. People are experiencing circumstances that would make them want to leave. Yet they aren’t leaving. They’re still there – the athletes, the reporters and the tourists.
Now… how about an honest question – how many of the marriages you know about in your family or extended family… your friend’s moms and dads… your neighbors… how many have approached their marriage realizing that they’re in an Olympic level relationship? That things may not be ideal, but there is a more important Story worth hanging in there on to enjoy?
How many of you realize what’s on the line one day if you get married… that there will be times you will say, “Yeah, these circumstances are less than ideal, but I’m in this for the gold.”
[slide] It reminds me of one more passage of Scripture: 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (read it)
BRAINSTORM: This is a passage about what it means to live life as a Christian, but there are some great principles here about relationships. What from this passage could you apply into what a God-honoring, Olympic-level love kind of marriage could look like?
(let students come up with ideas – affirm them, and then share this summary)
[slide] You all had great ideas. Let me sum up what I see in this passage:
- Understand you are in a marathon, not a sprint.
- Push yourself past your perceived limits.
- Run toward a real goal – no “Wii” running
- Cross the actual finish line.
Remind them of the songs from earlier, and ask them to identify how these ideals either do or don’t play into each song. Ask them to identify what (in their opinion) is the number one quality they need to actually live this out. Let them struggle with this a bit, and then guide them to the realization that they won’t be motivated to love this way until they’ve experienced love this way. This is the kind of love Jesus offers us. He sings the second song over us each day, and models what we see in 1 Corinthians.
Reread the three Bible verses from earlier. Ask students to consider how God is with us at every step of our journey in knowing His love and in how we love others. Invite students to respond to the grace and love of Jesus Christ – this is a great opportunity to help them make a decision to receive Him as Savior/Lord.
If you have time (and if it makes sense to your group), dare them right then and there pray for the relationships now and the potential future marriage they might have one day. Encourage them to even pray for their future spouse – that God would strengthen and love on that person even now.