What are some ways that you feel like you’re letting people down?
If you had to describe the way God feels about you right now, what would you say?
Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin? (Romans 2:4 NLT)
God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant (Romans 5:20 NLT).
Why is it so much easier to believe that God is angry, frustrated, and fed up than it is to believe that He’s kind, tolerant, and patient?
When do you have a hard time believing God is for you?
What are some lies about God you tend to believe?
What are some positive truths that could replace those lies?
How can we, as a small group, remind each other of those truths?
Lord, thank you for your relentless love. Remind us this week that you are kind, tolerant, and patient. Help us to remember the positive truths this week, as we seek to see your love in the world and people around us. Amen.
(Name), may God's grace be sufficient for you today!
This week we looked at the story of Rahab (who was a prostitute) in Joshua 2:1-5 and a follow up to Rahab in Matthew 1:5 where we see Jesus' family tree and the inclusion of Rahab.
Below is a list of people in the Bible who had a flaw, someone we would tend to look at and say "They are not worthy of God for God to use them."
Do you feel like God couldn’t possibly use you? Remember:
~ Noah was a drunk
~ Abraham and Sarah were too old
~ Isaac was a daydreamer
~ Jacob was a liar
~ Leah was ugly
~ Joseph was abused
~ Moses stuttered
~ Gideon was afraid
~ Samson had long hair and was a womanizer
~ Rahab was a prostitute
~ Jeremiah and Timothy were too young
~ David was an adulterer and a murderer
~ Elijah was suicidal
~ Isaiah preached naked
~ Jonah ran from God
~ Naomi was a widow
~ Job went bankrupt
~ Peter denied Christ
~ The disciples fell asleep while praying
~ Martha worried about everything
~ The Samaritan woman was divorced (more than once)
~ Zacchaeus was too small
~ Paul was too religious
~ Lazarus was dead
Before we think God cannot use use or the people around us, remember to assume the best and let God handle the rest!
Share a high and a low from the past week.
What are some ways people label other people or put them into categories?
Why is it easy to believe some people are a lost cause--that they're hopeless?
Joshua secretly sent out spies from the Israelite camp at Acacia Grove. He instructed them, “Scout out the land on the other side of the Jordan River, especially around Jericho.” So the two men set out and came to the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed the night there (Joshua 2:1 NLT).
But someone told the king of Jericho, “Some Israelites have come here tonight to spy out the land.” So the king of Jericho sent order to Rahab: “Bring out the men who have come into your house, for they have come here to spy out the whole land.” Rahab had hidden the two men, but she replied, “Yes, the men were here earlier, but I didn’t know where they were from. They left the town at dusk, as the gates were about to close. I don’t know where they went. If you hurry, you can probably catch up with them” (Joshua 2:2-5 NLT).
Salmon, the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab (Matthew 1:5 NIV).
Why do you think the Bible is full of messed up, imperfect people that God used to do awesome things?
Why is judging other people even more harmful if you're a Christian?
Instead of judging, what are some ways you can show people you believe the best in them?
Why is praying for other people and their future such a big deal (for them and for you)?
Lord, help us to remember to look for the best in people and to trust you with the rest of their lives. Amen.
(Name), you are a child of God!
What’s your favorite fast food restaurant and why?
Why is it so easy to judge other people?
Describe the emotions you feel when someone else judges you.
John 8:3-11New Living Translation (NLT)3 As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.
4 “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery.5 The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”
6 They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. 7 They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” 8 Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.
9 When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman.10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”
11 “No, Lord,” she said.
And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”
When you hear about Jesus’ encounter with the woman caught in sin, what are some things you learn about Jesus?
Do you believe we’re all sinners? Why or why not?
Which sins are you more likely to judge as worse than others?
If you needed to change one thing about yourself (behaviors, attitudes, relationships, thoughts, etc), what would it be?
What are some benefits if you stopped judging other people?
Help us God to remember, each day is a new chance to show our love to you by showing love to all your children. Amen.
(Name), you are a child of God.
We’re Teaching This:
Everyone loves a good story. Even if you hate reading, you probably don’t mind movies, TV shows, or a great musical. There is just something about a story, a good story that we can’t resist. When we were little, all the great ones started with “Once upon a time”. They were tales of heroes and villains, evil queens, noble princes, and fairy godmothers. And while the characters in our favorite stories look different now, not much else has changed. We still love to see the good guy win, the bad guy lose, and the couple live happily ever after. Maybe it’s because, no matter how old you are, great stories have the power to pull you in and make you feel like you’re a part of them. Jesus knew that and He often told stories, called parables, that worked the same way. His stories may not have involved princesses or evil villains, but as we take a look at four of these famous parables we may just find that the characters look more familiar than we could have ever imagined.
Think About This:
A quick internet search reveals the worries many parents feel when it comes to their teen’s friends. “How to spot a bully”. “How to spot a bad influence”. “How to spot the wrong crowd”. There is plenty to worry about when it comes to your student’s friends. And while we all want our students to show good judgment when it comes to friends, our tendency as parents may be to judge too quickly. One friend has too low of a GPA. Another has too many extracurricular activities. One talks too much and another is too quiet. It’s hard to know which qualities our students should accept in their friends and which ones should put that friend on the proverbial no-fly list.
But what if, as parents, we spent less time figuring out who our students should be friends with and more time figuring out how to influence the friends they’ve already chosen? What if you were able to not only help your teen choose friends, but to directly influence the life choices those friends make?
More and more studies say you can.
A study published in the archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine suggests that teens with friends who have strict parents are less likely to binge drink and make other poor life choices (http://fowler.ucsd.edu/parental_influence_on_substance_use.pdf ).
Think about that. The students in this study were most influenced by their friends’ parents, not just their friends. In fact, you probably don’t need a lot of research to know this. Have you ever heard someone say, “She is like a second mother to me”? Probably so. Many of us grew up with at least one set of friend’s parents who influenced us. Part of maturing is beginning to listen to multiple voices, multiple adult influences. As parents we have an incredible opportunity to speak into our own children’s lives by using our influence to guide their friends.
When it comes to friends, influence > judgment. Having influence on your child’s friends doesn’t mean you have to be the “cool one”. It doesn’t mean you have to host or allow parties, throw caution to the wind, and be their best buddy. It also doesn’t mean you have to legally adopt them or have them over every night of the week. Having influence can be as simple as taking one step toward including a friend in your normal family plans.
Invite them in. Invite your teen’s friends to spend time at your house. You don’t have to do anything special or make a five star dinner. For a lot of students, the concept of a normal (even boring) family dinner is almost unimaginable. Simply being in a home with someone other than their own parents can offer students a different perspective on things like marriage, work, family, and decision-making. So don’t feel the need to put on a show or have the most fun house on the block. Just allow someone else to be a part of your family once in a while. You may have more impact than you think.
Everyone wants their teen to be an accepting and friendly person. And one of the best ways to teach that skill is to model it. Think about the friends your teen already spends time around. How intentional are you about investing time in those people? Are you using your influence to help that person in any way?
This week, try investing time in one of your teen’s closest friends.
Invite them to come hang out for dinner or be part of a family outing. While you’re together, ask questions about their family and their interests. It’s not a time to give advice—just get to know them and show you care. In doing so, you may be taking the first step toward more influence in the life of your own student.
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Each week we will post one or more blogs related to our ministries for High School youth and families. Check back often and leave a comment!