TV-PG, 2006, Warner Bros
Main Point: We must intentionally get rid of or at least see past our distractions and keep our focus on eternal things.
Attention Grabber: TV Series – Smallville, Season 3, Episode 10: Whisper.
is a television series based on the adolescent / early adulthood of Clark Kent, before he officially takes on his role as Superman. The series is pretty clean and very entertaining, placing much focus on the development of characters and script writing (but there are a lot of cool special effects too). If you were ever into Buffy the Vampire Slayer
, but you’re looking for something a little more down to Earth and fun to watch, I would definitely recommend trying Smallville
. But be careful if you’re easily addicted to television programs, because this series is a good one.
Clip: Concentrate on my voice, Son
The clip that we are using is one of those rare, ultra-crisp illustrations of a very biblical principle. In this episode called Whisper
, Clark has been blinded by his own powers when the heat beams coming out of his eyes were reflected back at him. Now his body has compensated for the loss of sight by developing a new ability of ultra-hearing. Unfortunately, Clark is having a hard time learning to focus his hearing. In this particular clip, Clark has turned on all of the machines in the barn, trying to train himself to focus on only one individual sound at a time. His parents walk into the barn and decide to help. In the midst of all of the noises, his father whispers quietly, giving Clark something specific to listen for. At first Clark has great difficulty hearing the voice, but after a few moments he is able to hear his dad clearly. The scene begins with a camera-shot of the barn from outside at approximately 19:37 (in the middle of chapter 3), and ends after his father’s last line—“Good”—at approximately 21:59.
Today we’re going to talk about focus. Have you ever had a hard time focusing on something? Like right now, a couple of you are probably already having a hard time focusing on what’s going on up front, because you’re thinking of something else that’s going on at home. Or you’re thinking of schoolwork you have to do for tomorrow, or you’re thinking of something that happened earlier today. Well, don’t feel too bad. In fact, to help you focus a little better, let’s watch a video clip from the show Smallville
. In the clip, Clark Kent (also known as Superman) has been temporarily blinded. And now he’s realized he has the ability of super hearing. But just like us, even Superman has to learn how to focus. Let’s watch and see what happens.
(Stop at 21:59)
(Begin at 19:37)
DAD: Clark! You mind telling us what’s going on in here?
CLARK: I’m trying to focus my hearing.
MOM: I take it you’re not having much luck.
CLARK: If I don’t get a handle on this, I can’t save Pete.
(MOM and DAD shut off machines.)
DAD: Clark, Judge Ross was at the house.
CLARK: I know, Dad, I heard. Playing chicken with the kidnappers is not a good idea. They’re going to kill Pete. I’ve got to focus. Help me.
DAD: Alright, let’s get to work then.
(They turn all the machines back on.)
MOM: Listen for your father’s voice.
(DAD begins to whisper inaudibly among the machines. CLARK tries to focus but has difficulty. Then, quietly, DAD’s voice is heard.)
DAD: (very quiet) Alright, Clark, concentrate. Concentrate on my voice, Son.
(DAD accidently knocks a nail off the table and CLARK winces as the sound is magnified in his ears.)
DAD: Clark! Clark!
CLARK: Dad, it’s okay. It’s okay. For a second I could hear you.
DAD: That’s great. I was barely whispering. Okay, let’s keep working. (DAD begins to whisper again.) Focus, Clark. Focus on my voice. Can you hear me?
Sometimes, it is just so hard to focus. The problem is that there are so many things to distract us. If there were no distractions in your classes, how much easier would it be to get stuff done? But there are just so many things out there to distract us. The same goes with our relationship with God. Most of us don’t mean to turn away from God. Sometimes we’re just distracted. But we really need to learn how to keep our focus on what’s important. We’re going to split up into our small groups now and figure out what the Bible says about how important it is to keep our focus.
Divide into Small Groups
CLICK HERE for a quick training article on how to maximize your small groups using our small group format—a great resource to equip your small group leaders.
- AROUND THE CIRCLE: What would be the worst secret weakness a superhero could ever have? Why would it be the worst?
(Now allow your small group to talk a little bit about secret weaknesses and superpowers. Chances are they’ll start coming up with more and more ideas. Allow them to get distracted briefly. When you’re ready to start the discussion, get the students’ attention.)
- ASK A FEW: Do you see how easy it was for me to distract you with some random question? We are supposed to be having a discussion about what the Bible teaches about focus, and yet we’re already distracted! Why do you think we get so easily distracted sometimes?
- ASK A FEW: When are the times you find it most difficult to focus on something? Is it when you’re supposed to be doing homework? Is it when the teacher is trying to teach something from up front? Is it at church?
- ASK A FEW: What are the things that distract you so easily from that stuff? (Stay more focused on the lighter things like school, etc. Save the spiritual things for later in the discussion.)
- ASK A STUDENT: Do you think that Christians sometimes have a hard time focusing on God?
- ASK A FEW: Why do you think that is?
- ASK A FEW: Try for a moment to think from God’s point of view. What do you think He wants us to be focusing on most of the time?
Let’s see what the Bible has to say about this.
ASK A FEW: When Paul, the author of Colossians, tells us to focus on the things above, what is he talking about? (Look for answers such as HEAVEN, JESUS, GOD’S MORALS, TRUTH, etc.)
Read Colossians 3:1-2
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
ASK A FEW: What do you think the world would be like if Christians kept their minds and hearts on these things?
ASK A FEW: Paul tells us to not set our minds on earthly things. What kinds of things do you think he’s referring to when he says “earthly things?”
ASK A FEW: What do Christians normally get distracted by?
Paul actually continues writing about this and he lists off some of the things that Christians are distracted by. Let’s see if we can pick them all out.
ASK A FEW: What are some of the things Paul lists as distractions?
ASK A FEW: Which of these do you see have distracted today’s society from being a society that follows God?
AROUND THE CIRCLE: Everyone has at least one thing that tends to distract them from keeping their eyes focused on God and the things above. What are one or two things that tend to be your distractions?
ASK A FEW: How would your life be different if you were able to focus less on these earthly things, and focus more on God, on Heaven, and on other things above?
AROUND THE CIRCLE: What do you think you need to do in order to get rid of your distractions?
Read Colossians 3:5-10
Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
Let’s take some time right now and pray for each other. Let’s go around the circle again, and in just one short sentence, say what your distraction is, and then we’ll each take turns praying for the person on our right. It doesn’t have to be a long prayer, just simply a sentence or two asking God to help the person next to you out. (You may want to start with yourself, so the students know what to say. Then, go ahead and open in prayer by praying a quick one- or two-sentence prayer for the student on your right.)
Paul tells us to keep our hearts and our minds on things above. Gosh, it would sure change my day if I could stay focused on God and on Heaven all day long. Imagine talking to your friends when you’re thinking about how badly Jesus wants people in Heaven. Imagine how you’d treat your siblings if you were thinking of God’s love and how awesome it is. If you could keep your focus on things above, wouldn’t your life absolutely change? Think for a moment about the things you prayed for in your small group. God wants to help you one day at a time to put those things to rest. Remember today what you’ve said you need to do in order to get rid of your distractions. Maybe it’s a friend you need to spend a little less time with. Maybe it’s a particular music group you need to stop listening to. Whatever it is, remember to see it for what it is: a distraction from the things above. This week, let’s keep our focus on the most important things. Don’t be deceived. The things above are so much better than the earthly things. Let’s together keep our focus on things above this week. Let me pray for you before we end tonight.
Written by Matt Furby