Before the Session
Facilitator: In advance of the session
- Review today’s scripture text and the session activities to help better facilitate the discussion.
- Prepare a set of cards from a standard deck of playing cards, and have two six-sided dice available (See Context).
- Provide an envelope, paper, and pen for each person (See Closure)
- Listen to the FaithElement podcast for this session.
- Use the social media prompts on this session’s webpage to help youth begin engaging the session them ahead of their gathering.
Show the Facebook year in review clip and ask:
- What was your favorite thing about 2016?
- What was your least favorite thing about 2016?
- What do you think 2017 has in store for us?
- What images from this video stick out to you the most and why?
Using the ace through six cards, separated by suits, from a standard deck of playing cards, give each person a card at random, telling them not to show anyone else their card. Use each suit’s cards before giving out additional cards. Once everyone has a card, have each person pick a partner and show them their card, but not let anyone else know what is on it.
Have the pairs add the total number on their cards (for example if one has an ace and another has a four, their total is five), then roll a pair of six-sided dice, and call out the sum of the roll. If any pair’s cards equal the sum of the rolled dice, each person in that pair scores a point. Reform different pairs and repeat this process until someone has scored ten points. Ask:
- In what ways was this about luck or about strategy?
- How did you feel not having much control over your outcome?
- How much control do you think you have over your own life?
- Given as how you have the ability to make your own choices, how much control does God have over what happens in your life?
- In what ways do those two conflict?
Read Ecclesiastes 3:1-13, then watch the Bible Background Video.
Ask your group:
- How do you feel about this list of things that will happen to you?
- In what ways does this passage make things seem like we have no control over our own lives?
- In what ways does this passage teach us that we do control our own lives?
- What parts do we control?
- According to this passage, how does God want us to respond to the unpredictable and uncontrollable things that happen to you?
- In what ways does it bother you or give you peace to know that you do not make this world turn?
Continue by asking:
- Even though God is in control, how can we make a difference at our school, our jobs, and or our homes?
- How might enjoying your life help you to better handle the difficult things that life throws at you?
Give each person a piece of paper, envelope, and pen and tell them to write on the envelope “Do not open until December 31st, 2017”. On the piece of paper, encourage them to write how they plan on making the world a better place in 2017, and how they plan to enjoy life even in the midst of the uncontrollable things that will happen to them. Each person can write it as a letter to themselves, or in whatever form they wish. When they are finished, allow volunteers time to share their paper with the group if they wish, then put have everyone place their paper in their envelope and seal it. Invite individuals to put the letter in their bible, take it home and put it in a sock drawer, or do something else to preserve it so they can open it again on New Years Eve.
Close this session in prayer
Writer: Don Breeden