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What Are You Building Your Life On?
Jesus Our Solid Rock

Main Point of Discussion: Help students think about the foundation of their lives—what they are building their lives on.

Discussion Starter Option:

  • Ask: We’ve all seen the terrible natural disasters that have affected so many people around the world recently (the tsunami in Japan, tornadoes in the Southern and Midwestern U.S., wildfires in Arizona, etc.) If you had a 10-minute warning that a disaster was about to hit your house, what things (non-human) would you take with you? What things are important to you?

Video Clip Option:

  • City Slickers clip with Curly talking to Mitch about the meaning of life—that it’s all about “one thing” and that each person needs to find out what that one thing is (you can watch it here:

  • Important Parent “Heads Up”: The City Slickers clip contains a few swear words.

Three Simple Questions (with Answers You May Be Looking for):
    Q: What’s going on in this clip?
    A: Mitch is going through a midlife crisis and is amazed at how Curly—who doesn’t have any of the “stuff” Mitch has (or the accompanying headaches)—seems to have life all figured out. It’s all about “one thing.”

    Q: How do you suppose we—as serious Christ-followers—should react to this clip?
    A: We should remember that Jesus is our “one thing.”

    Q: How can we move from healthy, Bible-based opinions about this clip to actually living out those opinions?
    A: How we react to life going wrong will say a lot about what each of our “one things” are! So as believers, we need to put aside the trappings of life every day because they just don’t last. They’re not firm foundations. And if they do “last,” consider very seriously how those “things” affect how you prioritize God in your life! If you’re comfortable and without any spiritual challenges, you might consider whether or not you’re stepping out in faith enough and trusting God enough.

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:

“Things” are not the only elements that are important to many of us. People, talents, and abilities are also. Maybe you like music, baseball, drawing, family, and friends. I’m going to pass out a piece of paper to each of you. When you get your piece of paper, tear it into five pieces. Then write down the five most important "things" in your life on the different pieces (people, things, whatever).

After your family members are done writing on their pieces of paper, say, Let's hear some of the things you came up with.


  • Hold the five pieces of paper in your hands—and now drop any pieces that have material possessions written on them (because they were stolen).

  • Okay, if any pieces have the name of a person (friend or family member), drop those pieces (because those people died).

  • If any pieces contain a physical characteristic like beauty, muscles, drop those pieces (because you contracted a disease).

  • If any pieces contain a talent or ability, drop those pieces (because you got in a wreck and lost it permanently).

This is the end of the exercise. Now it’s time for the discussion questions. Above all, don’t appear as if you have a “canned” discussion in your head and rattle off questions like a teacher giving a pop quiz—your kids get enough of that in school. This is a guide, primarily—not a verbatim script. Just familiarize yourself with the content here and start a conversation in the most natural, unforced way you know how.

Discussion Questions:


  2. HAVE ALL YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS ANSWER: What was the hardest card to drop?

  3. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Most cultures believe in life after death. Which of the “things” you wrote on your cards prepare you for the inevitable conclusion of your life, "death"?

  4. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: If you had to narrow life down to it being about "one thing," like in the movie clip, what would it be?

  5. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: How do you know it's the right thing? Does that exercise we just did help you analyze that decision?

  6. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: How does the exercise affect how you look at the other areas of your life?

  7. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Does it provide you with any hope for the future?

  8. HAVE ALL YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS ANSWER: Will the "one thing" be just as important to you in 10 years as it is now? Explain your answer and how you can begin thinking about your “one thing” more frequently and seriously this coming week.

Wrap Up:
Consider these statements:
  1. He who dies with the most toys...wins. (Actually no; he who dies with the most toys…still dies.) What do you think you’re going to take with you?
  2. There are no U-hauls on a hearse.
  3. If you don't have a foundation for the life to come, than your foundation on earth is shaky.

During an earthquake the houses that survive have solid foundations. We know how solid the foundations of our lives are by how we respond during tragedy and tough times. If we crumble, then we’re basing our lives on poor foundations. As an example, if our life foundation is having a lot of money—and then we become paralyzed from the neck down—then all the money in the world won't help us. At that point we’d feel very deeply how poor a foundation money is.

Have one of your family members share how he or she became a Christian, how God is the most important thing in his or her life, and the difference God has made. (e.g., "I used to pursue ________, but I never found happiness, and I realized that they were temporary things, expendable things- God is the only thing that can be the one thing in our life.")

Close in Prayer

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