Summary: The first in a series of messages aimed at encouraging youth to be all that they can be by leveraging the power given to them through the Holy Spirit.

"Now to him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that you can ask or think according to the power that works within you." (Ephesians 3:20)


The theme for this workshop is “Youth Exploring Their Potential Through Prayer, Faith and Singing The Praise”. Each night, we will attempt to share a Word from God that will help you to get some meaning from the theme, to understand the meaning of each word or phrase in the theme, and lastly help you to affirm your relationship with our Lord, our Savior, Jesus the Christ.

The forces of evil seek to temp you and distract you with the pleasures that the world has to offer. Satan’s sole purpose is to rob you of the gift of eternal life that our Father in heaven has given us through His Son, Jesus. Satan wants to steal your joy. Satan wants to do everything in his power to keep you from reaching your full potential in life.

To illustrate, we will review the details of two experiments that were done by a team of marine biologists. The first test involved studying the life and behavior and a great white shark.


Has anyone seen the movie “Jaws” or any of its sequels? Well, it was that type of shark that wreaked so much havoc in the lives of the people in those movies. That huge, ferocious shark was a great white shark. I believe Jaws weighed over 5000 pounds and was over 30 feet long. Is that just in the movies? Hmmm.

In their research, the marine biologists reported that great whites, in their natural habitat, have the potential of reaching 3500 pounds and 20 feet in length (now, that’s the biggest one they’ve seen).

Now, here is the interesting thing they discovered during their study. They discovered what happened when a great white shark was raised from a baby in a small aquarium. What they discovered was mind -blowing. Are you wondering what they discovered?

They discovered that even though a great white shark has the God-given capacity to grow up to 20 ft in length and weigh up to 3500 lbs. - when confined to a small aquarium, it would only reach 12 to 15 inches in length and only weigh 15-20 lbs. They discovered even though it would have reached full chronological maturity (as far as age is concerned), it would be well short of reaching its full potential otherwise.

The second experiment the marine biologists conducted was with a pike. Pikes are long, eel-spaded fish with long blunt noses. They get to be about 4.5 feet long and weigh around 50 pounds. Whenever it was feeding time the marine biologists would dump a large bucket of the minnows in the tank where the pike was. Minnows are pikes favorite meal, you know. The pike would swim rapidly around the tanks gobbling every minnow in sight. And in a very short period of time, the pike would have devoured every minnow in the tank.

Here’s what they did to the pike. This time at feeding time, they decided to lower a glass cylinder into the tank, so that the pike would be inside of the cylinder. Because it was clear glass the pike could not tell that there was any change in his environment. The next thing the marine biologists did was to pour another large bucket of minnows into the tank. Immediately the pike began to scurry and scramble aggressively trying to devour his dinner, his favorite meal, minnows. Unfortunately, his hunger would go unfulfilled. With every lunge, with every attack, the pike would continually bump his nose into the glass wall of the cylinder.

Surprising, after a very short time, the pike stopped lunging. The pike stopped trying to attack the minnows in any shape, form, or fashion. The pike just stood motionless expect for the movement of his fins to keep him afloat. Once the marine biologists saw this, they removed the glass cylinder. Consequently, the minnows were swimming all around the pike, right in front of him. He could have started his dinner at any moment, but he didn’t. He just stood there. The pike had given up to the point where he literally staved to death.

So, what do those illustrations have to do with exploring your potential? I’m glad you asked. First of all, to solve any problem you experience in life, you have to know what causes the problem.

Secondly, you must recognize that many of you have the same things limiting your potential as the shark and the pike had limiting them.

In school, if you make straight A’s then it can be said that you have conquered or overcome the problems that you faced in your studies, right? Well, allow me to give you three A’s that will help you reach your potential in this life.

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Talk about it...

Harry Bratton

commented on Nov 10, 2006

very well presented I can use some of the illustrations

Daniel Harman

commented on Jun 11, 2009

Quality message Duran, well laid out & good use of some fantastic illustrations! Gonna use some of this for a message on potential. Thanks :)

John Steffen

commented on Jun 22, 2017

The Great White illustration would've been a good one if it were true. Great Whites do not survive in captivity at all - the whole story of a great white only reaching a length of 12 to 15 inches if raised in a small aquarium is completely false. Biologists have tried and tried to raise great whites in an aquarium with zero success -- they all die.

Joe Salcido

commented on May 22, 2019

Great point John Steffen, and I believe that fact helps the illustration. A great white was not designed by God to live in captivity where it is certain to face a premature death. It was meant to stealthily navigate the deep dark ocean around the globe. Young people, like the great white were not designed by God to live in a little box carved out by man. We were created to conquer and have dominion and to innovate, invent and change the world for the glory of God! Just a thought.

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