This morning in Sunday School, we began a new study that will take us through to the beginning of the school year called "Half Truths: God Helps Those Who Help Themselves and Other Things the Bible Doesn't Say" by Adam Hamilton. The high school leaders helped choose this study as we look at different everyday phrases/cliches people use and attribute to the Bible that the Bible doesn't actually say. This morning we talked about: "Everything happens for a reason." Each of these statements that we will be discussing do have some part of them that is true (hence the title, "Half Truths"). The statement "Everything happens for a reason" is "true if, in saying it, we mean that we live in a world of cause and effect." But there are 3 major problems with this statement. The first is that it eliminates personal responsibility for our actions. The second is that it makes God responsible for all of our actions. The third is that fully giving ourselves over to this idea can lead to fatalism and indifference. We had a great conversation about free will as we read Deuteronomy 30:11-20 as Moses gave the Israelites a choice, a choice that we are all faced with: Follow God's way, or turn away from God. Each way has different consequences that will occur as a result. I love this quote from Adam Hamilton on the subject of free will: "God gave us a brain, a heart, a conscience, his Spirit, the Scriptures, and the ability to interpret them as guides to help us select the right path" (37). Ask your students questions about today's lesson - they really had a lot to say on this topic!