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On Fire Like a Grill

Main Point of Discussion: As followers of Jesus, we need to have fellowship with other Christians to help us stay encouraged, challenged, and faithful.

Vital Info Before You Get Started: (The following should help you contextualize this important issue so you can have a great discussion about it with your kids.)

  • This discussion starter can actually be used in a number of ways. You can just “describe” this to your family members…or you can actually do it in front of them. This resource is written as though you’re actually doing this in front of them—and if you go that route, you’ll need to be outside with a grill, charcoal briquettes, lighter fluid, matches, and a pair of tongs. (And make sure to rehearse these steps and statements so you can clearly communicate the point.)

  • Standing beside a grill, say this to your family members: One of my favorite things to do is grill for us—cooking up burgers, chicken, steaks, ribs. I like standing next to the flame feeling its heat, listening to the fire crackling, and smelling the sizzling meat. Ahhhhhh…life is good when I’m grilling!

  • The last time we were grilling out as a family, I looked into my grill at the fire…and thought of you guys. Let me explain. We were grilling burgers and dogs and I had everything ready to go. I had my grill, the charcoal, the lighter fluid, some matches, and lots of raw meat. I began by pouring several handfuls of charcoal briquettes into the bottom of my grill. (As you say this, do it in front of them.)

  • The next thing I did was make sure those briquettes were all stacked up nice and tight together. It’s amazing how important that step is. I generally just make a pyramid-looking shape.

  • The next thing I did was douse all those charcoal briquettes in a bath of lighter fluid. (Do this in front of them, as well.) Guys, I really like a big, hot, scorching flame, so I use a LOT of lighter fluid. In fact, I generally soak the briquettes at least twice with lighter fluid. This is tough because it requires patience. I soak them once, and then have to wait about a minute or so, and then I soak them again. But the wait is worth it! Because once I strike the match, oh baby! We got fire! (If possible, take the extra minute or so to soak the briquettes twice. Just kill time by talking about how good the food is gonna taste, or something.)

  • And now it’s time for the most thrilling part: lighting the fire. Because I’ve used a lot of lighter fluid, I stand back far enough to avoid killing myself during the moment of combustion. Are you ready? (Now strike a match and light the briquettes on fire.)

  • Ahhhh…fire! There’s nothing like the smell of charcoal getting hot. I can almost taste the meat now! Mmmm…I’m so happy right now! (Take about 30 seconds to let the flames get nice and hot.)

  • Like I said earlier, the last time I was grilling, I thought of you guys, and THIS was the point when I did. See, I had this really big flame going just like this one; all the briquettes were on fire. Everything was going great. The briquettes were all stacked up; the fire was making a lot of smoke. The grill was getting hot, and the meat was about to go on when I looked at the fire and had this thought: the charcoal briquettes are burning nicely…but only because they stay together! Every single briquette was on fire, and burning hot, but only because they were together.

  • But just to test my theory, I grabbed my tongs and carefully lifted one of the flaming briquettes out of the fire. (Do the same thing in front of them now.) I safely set it on the table and watched something happen to that briquette. Let’s see if the same thing happens to this one. (After you place the flaming briquette on the table, the fire should extinguish fairly quickly. After it does, drive home the main point of this demonstration.)

  • Did you see that? Did you see what happened? The briquette that I pulled out of the flames – that WAS on fire – soon died out. It lost its flame. Do you know why? Because it was separated from the rest of the briquettes. And you know if I were to do this again and again, the exact same thing would happen every time. The briquette that’s lifted out of the flame and set aside by itself will always go out. It will always lose its fire.

Three Simple Questions (with Answers You May Be Looking for):
    Q: What does the on-fire briquette exercise say about spirituality?
    A: Believers need each other—we need to be in close, consistent contact with other Christians in order to stay “on fire.”

    Q: How do you suppose we—as serious Christ-followers—should react to this exercise?
    A: We should be convicted, not only about how much time we spend with believers—but more importantly, the quality of that time!

    Q: How can we move from healthy, Bible-based opinions about this illustration to actually living out those opinions?
    A: We need to structure our lives so that we’re in close contact with other Christians on a consistent basis. Do we go to church consistently? Do we attend Bible studies consistently? (Or do we simply “veg out” with other Christians, not using our time wisely to encourage and uplift each other?) We need to get busy!

Where to Take It from Here:
Wherever it feels natural. If these questions lead to a longer discussion on the topic, wonderful! (There’s a guide just after this paragraph that helps you do just that.) If your kids are barely uttering grunts, don’t get discouraged—the next time it feels right, keep engaging them.

For Deeper Discussion: (If your kids seem into diving in deeper, the following discussion guide can help take you there.)

CLICK HERE if you want to look at a quick training article on small groups and drawing questions out of young people—you may find much of the information applicable as you go through this subject with your family members.

Transitional Statement:

As a Christian, if you live your life closely to other Christians, your flame will burn long and brightly. But if you separate yourself from godly friends and relatives, you will eventually lose your flame. That’s because we need each other! Interestingly enough, even though this briquette has lost its flame, hope isn’t lost. Wanna know why? Because if I toss this briquette back into the pile of other briquettes, within moments, it’s back on fire again! The same is true for us. If we’ve been away from our Christian friends and loved ones, the minute we put ourselves back into those relationships, we regain our fire.

More Discussion Questions:
  1. HAVE ALL YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS ANSWER: As we begin, let’s take a second to share our favorite food cooked on the grill.

  2. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Did you know what was going to happen to the briquette when it was taken out of the fire?

  3. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Was there ever a time in your life when you felt like you were on fire for God but then “lost your flame”? (Parent Note: If it’s appropriate and your family members are willing, you might have a couple of them share their experiences.)

  4. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Why do you suppose it’s so difficult for Christians to be “on fire” by themselves?

  5. Read the following passage:

      Psalm 133 (NIV)
      How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down upon the collar of his robes. It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the LORD bestows His blessing, even life forevermore.

  6. ASK ONE FAMILY MEMBER: How does this Bible passage describe Christians living in unity?

  7. ASK ONE FAMILY MEMBER: What does God do for those who live together in unity?

  8. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What do some of those “blessings” look like in our lives?

  9. Read the following passage:

      Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (NIV)
      Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

  10. ASK ONE FAMILY MEMBER: What are some of the benefits of working together in life?

  11. ASK ONE FAMILY MEMBER: What are some risks of walking through life alone?

  12. HAVE ALL YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS ANSWER: Without naming names, is there someone in your life who has taken himself or herself “out of the fire”? If so, what will you do about that this week?

Wrap Up:
Tonight we saw the importance of staying together. Like those briquettes, if we separate ourselves from one another, we lose our flame. That simple exercise we did earlier paints a powerful message in our hearts: we need each other as we live our lives for Jesus. The cool thing is, when everybody is doing their part, the flame in our lives burns hotter and brighter than at any other time! That’s a good enough reason right there for us to stick together and live our lives the way the two Bible passages said to.

Close in Prayer

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