This is a very 'Christian' assembly - it could be used as a God slot in a youth club or something, or in a Christian school. It probably wouldn't work in high schools that well. Check it, develop it and see.
We all want to be rich. Many people play the national lottery every week. Do you know what the chances of winning with all 6 numbers are? 1 in 13,983,816 which is approximately 1 in 14 million. Even to get the £10 prize with 3 winning numbers we find that there is a 1 in 56.7 chance (click here for info). So, on average, you'd have to buy 57 lottery tickets at £1 each to win £10, a loss of £47.
We are constantly fed the message that to be rich is to be happy and successful. That if you have riches and money, then you have everything.
But is this true? OK, having money may help in some ways but I guarantee it's no key to happiness. Many individual pop stars have a deep sense of unhappiness, many wealthy people are lonely, many have committed suicide, had relationships break up and aren't sure who to trust - is this friend a friend only cos of money? And what about health? All the money in the world can't buy you health or stop you dying.
Jesus had to say a lot to say about riches, so does the Bible. I want to take you through one story.
There was this real rich guy. He had everything. He had the works. Nice car, good job, lots of fit women hanging around him, he had the bling, knew all the top people. He had it all. But this guy had this feeling biting away at him. Although he had the lot, he wasn't happy. He bought the latest 4x4 vehicle, bought a 42" Plasma TV, had the bassiest in-car system, he was pampered with facials and all the works at his luxury spa. But nothing seemed to help. He met loads of different women, hooked up with them, but couldn't find that inner happiness.
He wasn't a bad guy - he didn't steal, he looked after his mom and dad, he was pretty honest, he lived a good life. He knew about the 10 Commandments in the Bible and didn't feel like he'd broken any of these. But he did like his money and his lifestyle.
One day he heard about this guy Jesus. He had heard that Jesus had the key to happiness, to eternal life. He wanted to find out and wasn't gonna let other people get in his way. He found out Jesus was in his neighbourhood one day and drove down there, parked up the Porsche and saw Jesus. He legged it across to Jesus and said, 'Teacher, what do I need to do to find happiness and eternal life man?' This guy Jesus looked at him and said, 'Well, a good start is to obey the 10 Commandments, look after your parents, don't steal..' The rich guy interrupted him. 'Yeah, yeah, I've done all that.'
Jesus paused, looked into his eyes. The guy felt like Jesus was really listening to him but looking into his heart. Then Jesus spoke, 'If you wanna find life and truly live and be happy, go away and sell all your goods, all your cars and jewellery. Give it all to the poor. Then you will find eternal life.' The rich guy stood, stressed out. Give away all his money, all his stuff? There was no way he could do this. He looked at Jesus one last time, that slowly stumbled back to his car, feeling numb and empty inside.
If anyone watched England vs France in Euro 2004 they'll know that England were 4 minutes away from beating the French. For 89 minutes they gave it their all, concentrated and played together, focused and determined. Then they lost it, did some dumb things and the French equalised and then won with a penalty. We were all gutted, people even rioted across our cities.
For the rich guy, money was everything. He'd obeyed every rule that was in the Bible. He understood 95% of what was needed to follow Jesus. But Jesus looked into his eyes and saw the truth.
You know when you've messed up at home or haven't done work for school. You know when a teacher looks into your eyes and you're thinking, 'man they've sussed me.' cos you know that they know you're lying, it's like they're looking behind your eyes and can see the truth.
This is what Jesus was like with the rich guy. Jesus saw that the thing stopping the rich guy from getting right with Jesus was his love of money. Jesus wasn't saying everyone's got to give away their money, no, it was just for this guy. The rich guy was so close to God's Kingdom, but he didn't want to give that extra 5%. So, just like England, he missed out.
As Christians, we believe we have to give our lives completely to Jesus and make a new start. If you've never made this decision, maybe this is a challenge to you. You can't hold on to the past and stuff that God doesn't want you to do. Maybe today is the day that Jesus is challenging you. Riches don't make you happy. But God doesn't mind people being rich! He only minds if riches or wanting to be rich comes before God. So make a change today. If you want life, get Christ.
MY TESTIMONY (a freestyle rap I did)
Man I used to fight with the hoolie hardcore
Feared the early morning police bash up on my door
My life was meaningless, trapped inside my head
Wished I was dead, blood red, nuff said
Trapped in the drugs scene on the wrong side of the law
Come down from those pills blew my head, raw, sore
Tried to find meaning, tried to find truth
But aloof in my youth, uncouth, no proof
Of Divine intervention til that day that cracked my world
Got back from time out, but heard the shout unfurled
My brother was taken, killed while on mission
His commission complete, with mine in remission
A slap on my face, a kick in my gut
Was stuck in a rut, but now time to cut
Cut loose from these chains that held me tight down
Gave my life to Christ, the new sound, light, profound
Jesus stepped down, lifted me and carried me
From a place face down, changed my reality
I was lost in the darkness and needed a light
Then found the love of Christ radiating so bright
Now I worship my King through hip hop with integrity
Not looking for my fame, I ain't no celebrity...
Still life is a struggle but won't go back there
Trapped like a fly in a spider's web and lair
Wanna spread light, peace, Christ with all my life
Wanna pass on knowledge, lock it down and keep it tight
So I write, I emcee, I design and serve my King
While people do they're own thing, I'm boxing in Christ's ring
See when all is said and done and all is stripped away
You see Jesus is the answer and he'll lead you in the way...