Adult & Teen Discussion Guide
1. Primary Statement
When grief, poverty, stress, or other hardships press down on us, the pain can overshadow our identity. The truth is, God has created each of us with a unique identity and purpose; something no season of hardship can delete.
2. Bible Verse
Genesis 17:1-5 [GNT] “When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, ‘I am the Almighty God. Obey me and always do what is right. I will make my covenant with you and give you many descendants.’ Abram bowed down with his face touching the ground, and God said, ‘I make this covenant with you: I promise that you will be the ancestor of many nations. Your name will no longer be Abram, but Abraham (which means, ‘father of many nations’), because I am making you the ancestor of many nations.’”
God spoke over Abram’s life and identity before his situation changed. He had a purpose for Abram’s life that infertility couldn’t overcome. It was a hardship, but it wasn’t his identity.
Matthew 16:17-18 [ESV]
“Jesus replied, ‘You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you… Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.’”
Jesus spoke over Peter’s life and affirmed his purpose, even knowing Peter would deny him 3 times. Even a hardship of Peter’s own actions couldn’t change God’s purpose and plan.
Q. Have you ever experienced a hardship that redefined your life? Do you think that situation shipwrecked God’s purpose for your life?
Q. God saw leadership in Peter, even knowing he would falter. When you miss the mark, does it change your identity in Christ? Does it change God’s purpose for you?
Q. Think of someone in your life who has been redefined by hardship. What would you say to them about their identity and purpose? Do you think God feels the same way about you?
4. Prayer Focus
Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for giving you an identity and purpose. Ask Him to strengthen that sense of identity through seasons of hardship and to be a help to others walking through difficult seasons.
Family with Small Children Discussion Guide
1. Power Verse
“I Will Love And Pray For My Enemies!”
Luke 6:27 “…love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you.”
This week we continue our series “Say What?” by talking about something very important, love. Love is easy when it comes to people we like; our friends, our family, BUT it can be quite difficult when it comes to our enemies. Jesus commanded us to love the people who hurt us. We need to pray for them, even when it isn’t easy! We must learn to love our enemies!
Read: Acts 9:1-20
But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. 3 Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. 4 And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” 5 And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.6 But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” 7 The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. 8 Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. 9 And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.
10 Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” 11 And the Lord said to him, “Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying, 12 and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.” 13 But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. 14 And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.” 15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. 16 For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” 17 So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized; 19 and taking food, he was strengthened.
Saul Proclaims Jesus in Synagogues
For some days he was with the disciples at Damascus. 20 And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.”
Q. Who was the man Jesus sent to Saul to lay hands on him? Do you think he was scared?
Q. What if he hadn’t obeyed God and gone because he saw Saul as his “enemy”?
Q. Do you believe God changed Saul’s heart? How does that change who he was and how other’s should see him?
God changed Saul. He went from being an enemy to being a follower of Jesus! Paul was no longer anyone’s enemy because Jesus had changed him and his heart. Jesus changed us, He changed Paul, and God can change others too!
Identifying Our Enemies:
Q. Do you feel like you have any enemies in your life?
Q. Who are they? (It’s okay, have courage to name the people that you struggle with. There may be people who pick on you or who hurt your feelings.)
Q. How can we love our enemies and follow God’s plan for our lives like Ananias did? (We can pray for them, show kindness, etc.)
4. Prayer Focus
Spend time praying together as a family for the people in your lives who may be enemies. Pray God will help you love them with Christ’s love and show compassion to them!