Adult & Teen Discussion Guide
Life is messy – no one makes it for very long without collecting a few scars along the way. Brokenness in our past -or present- can turn us inward and drive us to cover up our story, but if we let Him, God can use the worst of our lives to bring some of the greatest change in others.
Luke 5:31-32 [NLT] “…Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.”
Jesus is not looking for the best and brightest, He’s searching for broken people who need saving – which just happens to include you.
Q . What’s an example of a hurt, failure, or dark season in your past which you’d rather keep hidden or forgotten?
Q . What emotions do you feel when you remember that event or season?
Q . Jesus didn’t run away from you because of it- He ran toward you because of it. How does that alter how you feel about your past?
1 Timothy 1:15-16 [NLT] “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I (Paul) am the worst of them all. But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life.”
Q . Think of the emotions you felt when you remembered the scars from your past. How do you think Paul felt about his?
Q . It’s easy to see how Paul’s visible life change was an example of God’s grace. How might God be able to use your hurts, failures, and dark seasons (as well as the healing that He brought or is bringing) to be an example to people in your world?
Q . The story of God’s transforming power in your life may be the key to someone else being born again. How does that change your willingness to be open about it?
3. Prayer Focus
Take a few minutes as a family: thank Jesus for searching you out and healing your brokenness. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you boldness to share your story so others can find healing.
Family with Small Children Discussion Guide
God Can Do It
1. Power Verse
Luke 18:27 “What is impossible for people is possible with God.”
What’s Up: “God Can Do A Lot With A Little!”
This week, we continue our series called, “Elisha: God’s Powerful Prophet.” In this lesson, we learn from an amazing story of a widow in desperate need of God’s POWER! She found out that God can take the little bit we have and turn it into something amazing! We learn that God is our source, and, when we obey him, blessing follows obedience. God can use what little we have to do POWERFUL things!
2 Kings 4:1-7 (NIRV)
“The wife of a man from the group of the prophets cried out to Elisha. She said, ‘My husband is dead. You know how much respect he had for the Lord. But he owed money to someone. And now that person is coming to take my two boys away. They will become his slaves.’ Elisha replied to her, ‘How can I help you? Tell me. What do you have in your house?’ ‘I don’t have anything there at all,’ she said. ‘All I have is a small jar of olive oil.’ Elisha said, ‘Go around to all your neighbors. Ask them for empty jars. Get as many as you can. Then go inside your house. Shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars. As each jar is filled, put it over to one side.’ The woman left him. Then she shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her. And she kept pouring. When all the jars were full, she spoke to one of her sons. She said, ‘Bring me another jar.’ But he replied, ‘There aren’t any more left.’ Then the oil stopped flowing. She went and told the man of God about it. He said, ‘Go and sell the oil. Pay what you owe. You and your sons can live on what is left.’”
Q. Why did the woman need money?
Q. What was the only thing the woman had in her house?
Q. What did Elisha tell the woman to borrow from her friends?
Q. What did the woman do with the oil in her jar? When did the oil run out?
Very often, we sell ourselves short. We begin to compare ourselves to others – our talent, our abilities, our money, our family – and we convince ourselves that we have very little to offer God. However, God does not ask us to out-perform, out-give, or out-do our friends and neighbors. God asks us to be faithful with what He has given us. No matter how “little” our lives may be, if we give God what we have, He will use us to accomplish BIG things for Him.
Q. Have you ever faced a hopeless situation that God used to do something big?
Q. How can you be faithful to God? What talents or abilities do you have to use?
4. Prayer Focus
Pray for your children that God would use them to do big things for His kingdom and would use their little to do a lot.
GOD NOTICES RIGHTEOUS BEHAVIOR
What does God notice about Job?
What would God say He notices about you to Satan?
What does joy in the Lord provide for us?
If any of the following were taken from you could you still have joy in the Lord?
Family, Health, Wealth/job
What does God give to us when we get our joy/delight from Him?
WE WILL NEVER BE TESTED BEYOND WHAT WE CAN WITHSTAND
What are we to do when confronted with trials?
Job is a man walking in darkness.
What are we to do when walking in darkness?
How do we know Job accomplished this?
It has been said faith that has not been tested cannot be trusted.
What does the testing of our faith produce in us?
What did Job do, that God had asked him to do, before God restored his losses?
Job 41:8 & 10
The Lord isn’t finished with you until you can say, “Not only is Jesus necessary, Jesus is enough.”
John chapter 18 deals with the events surrounding the arrest and trial of Jesus. Jesus is arrested after Judas’ betrayal and taken first to Annas, then to Caiaphas and ultimately to Pilate the Roman Governor. It is during his time at the High Priest Caiaphas’ residence that Peter’s betrayal takes place and that’s what I want us to consider today.
Have you ever wondered what caused Peter to betray Jesus?
Especially after Jesus told Peter that it would happen. You would think that Peter would be especially on guard after Jesus warned him that he would betray him three times before the rooster crowed. Yet Peter did exactly what Jesus said he would do. What factors could have created enough fear to have Peter, who just hours earlier had been willing to draw a sword and attempt to kill a man to defend Jesus, to now deny him? Before we get too hard on Peter, let me remind you of what Peter and all the disciples thought was going to happen.
Jews during the time of Jesus had a very particular idea of what the coming Messiah would be. He would be a king, a mighty, warring king. I believe that they all believed that he would be very much like King David, who with God’s help, had conquered all the enemies of Israel and had established them as the greatest nation in that part of the world. The Jewish people thought that he would fill all three roles of prophet, priest, and king. Because they had an erroneous view of what God was, they certainly had an erroneous view of what the Messiah who was to come from God would be.
We see glimpses of that in sections of scripture like Matthew chapter twenty and Mark chapter ten where the mother of James and John asks Jesus to let her sons sit on his left and right when he establishes his kingdom. She’s not asking about heaven, they think that Jesus is going to become the king of Israel. They believe that he’s going to take over from the Romans, expel them from Israel, and become King and High Priest all in one.
With all of that in mind, imagine what it does in Peter’s heart and mind when he sees Jesus arrested. Perhaps he can see Jesus when one of the officials near the high priest strikes Jesus for the way that he responded to one of the high priest’s questions (18:22). Can you imagine the confusion and doubt that begins to eat away at Peter’s faith? Have you ever expected one thing to happen and something totally different happened? Have you ever felt the disappointment of expecting something only to be let down? Of course you have. We all have. Now imagine that this disappointment isn’t just about a single issue, but rather that this disappointment touches everything you hope for now and everything you have ever hoped for. Now you have some sense of what Peter was feeling.
In that moment of doubt and confusion, Peter denied that he was a follower of Jesus. I think I understand. I even think that I might have done exactly the same thing. However, Peter’s story doesn’t end there. If you’ve read the first few chapters of the book of Acts, you know that Jesus picks Peter back up, dusts him off, encourages him, fills him with the Holy Spirit, and uses him to change the entire world!
Even if at times you have doubted who Jesus is and his purpose for your life, be encouraged. Jesus is patient and he knows how we are made. He’ll not only prove himself to you as he did Peter, he’ll use you to change the world as well!
Once again this morning I am faced with a daunting task. Take a chapter full of truths and things worthy of being mentioned and pick just one to bring before you. Today we are looking at John chapter 14. Jesus is continuing to instruct his disciples concerning his departure. They don’t yet realize what is about to happen to Jesus and he knows that the events that are about to unfold will shake them to their core.
You and I have the benefit of being able to look back at this chapter knowing all that eventually happened to Jesus but these men hear and examine these things through a totally different mindset. Consider if you will, their most likely frame of mind.
I think that they are still expecting Jesus to be a Messiah very different from the one that Jesus actually is. They expect a Messiah that will throw off the Romans or anyone who oppresses Israel. A ruler who is like King David and who will establish Israel as a great power once again. A king who will take the throne of Israel and perhaps even take them up the ladder with him. Someone impervious to death or any challenge to his rule. In short, someone and something very different from who Jesus was.
Jesus knew that they were expecting one thing and were about to get something totally different.
Isn’t that the framework for how most of our greatest disappointments, setbacks, or fears occur? We anticipate one thing and something totally unforeseen happens. Or we imagine that the worst is going to happen. These men are about to have their greatest disappointment ever. They are about to face their greatest fears ever and all of this centers around the events that are about to happen and they don’t see it coming.
With all that in mind it is all the more powerful when Jesus says…
John 14:27 (ESV) “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
If you read this chapter with this frame of mind, you see that the entire chapter feels like Jesus giving his disciples something to hold on to in the days ahead. Jesus is creating an anchor for their faith. Jesus is laying down bedrock for them to be built upon. I think that’s what he meant when he said, “Not as the world gives do I give to you.” This kind of assurance is not found in money or power or position. It is found only through our faith in who Jesus is and who we are!
My personal theology says that there is a place in God that each of us can reach, where faith grows to a level that this world begins to loose its hold on us. Where the circumstances of our lives pale in comparison to not only what awaits us in heaven, but also what Christ has built within us here and now. I refer you to Ephesians chapter one where Paul writes about the Holy Spirit being the down payment of our eternal inheritance. For me, that has to mean that even on this side of eternity, I can procure some of what heaven will be. I see this all over the writings of the apostles.
Paul writes in Philippians 4:11 (ESV) “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.”
I’m after this kind of trust and faith in Jesus’ care for me. I have no doubt that out in front of me are some things that I don’t expect. My prayer is that today Jesus would prepare me for those things and that when they come, I’ll rest in him and that my heart won’t be troubled.
I’m praying the same for you!