6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: What happens when you subject the following items to Hot Water? Carrot, Egg and Coffee. The carrot turns to mush, the egg turns hard and the Coffee’s flavour is released. Which one do we imitate when under pressure?

Youth Service - Reaction to Hardship – Carrot, Egg, Coffee

(Start by boiling carrots, an egg and coffee in three separate pots)

Who’s been watching the Olympics?

• Any special Olympic moments that stuck out for you?

• What is fascinating about the Olympics is that we see individuals and teams under enormous pressure

• And its an interesting study in human nature to watch how various athletics react to that pressure

• We saw Ian Thorpe an experienced campaigner shed tears of relief after he won the 400m freestyle

• We saw Jodie Henry’s freshness as she faced the media after winning the 4x100 relay with her answer to the dumbfounded journalists wondering how they had done it - “that’s what we do!”

• We watched as the Chinese and American divers lost their nerve after a spectator climbed on to the diving board dressed in a tutu and took a dive off the high board to impress his girlfriend

• We watched as the fastest men in the world strutted their stuff in the lead up to the 100m final

• Maurice Green even has GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) tattooed on his arm – he finished third and looked a bit of a goat

• We watched as a team of rowers turned on a team mate for quitting 600 meters from the finish

• And we watched a Greek tragedy unfold with the circumstances surrounding the gutsy comeback from surgery of Jana Pittman

• So we witnessed a whole range of human emotions – some reacted well to the pressure, some reacted poorly

The Olympics is a microcosm of real life

• Every day you and I face pressures – the pressure to get out of bed and go to school, pressure of exams, the pressure of work, pressure to pay the bills, pressure of family life, pressure to be a Christian

• And just as we saw in the Olympics we all react to pressure in different ways

I have three items here, some sliced carrots, an egg and some coffee

• While we’ve been talking I subjected these three items to boiling hot water

• I need a volunteer to help me

• Can you feel the carrots for me? How do they feel? Soft

• Okay, break the egg and peel off the shell

• And finally can you sip the coffee

• each of these items faced the same adversity, boiling water, but each reacted differently

• The carrot went in strong, hard, but after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak.

• The egg went in fragile, its thin outer shell protecting its liquid interior. But after sitting in the boiling water, its inside became hardened

• The ground coffee was unique in its reaction. Both the carrots and the egg allowed the boiling hot water to change them whereas the coffee changed the water

So the question I have for us to consider today is which one of these three objects are we when adversity knocks on our door?

• How do we respond?

• Are we like a carrot that gives the appearance of being hard and tough, but when a little pain and suffering comes along we wilt and become soft and mushy?

• Are we like the egg, which starts out flexible and easy going, but when subjected to the hardships of life we allow them to harden us and make us bitter

• Our shell may looks the same on the outside, but inside we have allowed circumstances to make our heart hard and tough

• Or are we like the coffee bean where the hot water makes us into something better, useful and stronger

Going to get you to do some work today, want the adults to mix with the kids in three or four groups


• Want you to help the kids come up with some Biblical examples where someone started off tough like the uncooked carrot and wimped out when they were put under pressure?

• Peter denied Jesus, Saul and His army against Goliath, Esau and Jacob and the bowl of soup


• Examples in the Bible where someone allowed adversity to make them hard and bitter like the egg?

• Cain, Saul wanted to kill David because of jealously, Judas betrayed Jesus, the Pharisees


• And Biblical examples where the pressure of the situation made them stronger like the coffee?

• Abraham, Joseph, Joshua and Caleb, David and Goliath, Daniel and the Lions Den, Peter in jail, Paul

• Ask groups to share their examples

Why does God allow us humans to suffer pain and pressure?

• Want you to think back to the example of the coffee. What did the hot water do to the coffee that it didn’t do to the carrot or the egg? The hot water or the pressure the coffee was subjected to made it into something better

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