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Gulf Oil Spill

Main Point of Discussion: Sin is like a spiritual oil spillage that permeates our world, and only the gospel of Jesus Christ can cap its outbreak and reverse the effects.

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

  • This clip of the oil spill was featured on ABC News (June 2010) and contains the actual footage of the blowout. It’s a great visual to set up the metaphor of sin being very much like a disastrous pollutant in our lives that desperately needs to be capped.

  • 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.

Introducing the Clip:
Let’s look at a clip about the BP spill that released millions of gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico and heavily damaged the economy, lives, and the environment. As you watch it, pay attention to what feelings and thoughts come to mind as you see the degree of the blowout spewing into the water.

The Clip:

Three Simple Questions (with Answers You May Be Looking for):
    Q: How do you feel after watching the video clip?
    A: Sad. Dirty. Angry that our fellow humans could do damage like that.

    Q: How do you suppose we—as serious Christ-followers—should react to the oil spill?
    A: We should be part of the movement in the church that truly cares about what happens to our planet.

    Q: How can we move from healthy, Bible-based opinions about this situation to actually living out those opinions?
    A: We should resolve to no longer be part of the problem, but to be part of the solution to prevent spills like this from ever happening again—to be part of the solution to do all we can to care for our planet.

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, try out another song. 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:

I don’t know how you felt watching the gushing oil pollute the waters, but I get an overwhelming sense of urgency to cap the spillage and stop the damage. Today we are going to draw some parallels between the images you saw and the spiritual condition of the world.

More Discussion Questions:

  1. HAVE ALL YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS ANSWER: Tell everyone about a time when you made a big mess—and if you got in big trouble.

  2. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Do you believe the people responsible for the spill should pay for the damage? Why or why not?

  3. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What would you feel about people who knew how to fix the spill but kept the solution to themselves?

  4. Read the following passage:

      Romans 5:12; 17-19 (NLT)
      When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned…For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ.

    Say: Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone who will receive this gift. Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous.

  5. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What similarities exist between this passage and the oil spill? (Parents—answer you may be looking for: one act of disobedience caused a sinful ‘spillage’ into the human race)

  6. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What does it mean to be made ‘righteous’? (Parents—answer you’re looking for: entering into a state of right relationship with God)

  7. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: If we don’t share the good news of Jesus with others, are we like people who know how to stop the oil spill but refuse to do so? Why or why not?

  8. HAVE ALL YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS ANSWER: This week, how can the gospel not only stop the spill, but make formerly polluted lives beautiful and pristine?

Wrap Up:
Tonight we’ve talked about the terrible damage that the oil spill has done in the Gulf of Mexico, and how there is a parallel between this disaster and the sinful condition of the world and our lives. The great news is that through Jesus’ death and resurrection, the sinful spillage in our lives is capped, and His righteousness cleans up the mess and makes us clean and whole again. Now in closing I want to show you what this looks like.

Bring out a clear glass pitcher and fill it with water. Add a few drops of food coloring to show how sin clouds and pollutes our lives. Then pour in some bleach, and in a few minutes the water will become clear again. Read 1 John 1:9.

Close in Prayer

Written by Lane Palmer

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