God can give us what we need to face any challenge that comes our way. This Sunday, we explore how the early Christians living in Thessalonica held on to their faith in the face of persecution and how we can too! We’ll learn to see our current and future challenges as part of a larger battle that Jesus has already won and how to find endurance with our spiritual brothers and sisters.
Group Discussion Guide
“Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD.” Psalm 27:14
Future events, unknown or otherwise, can present a unique set of challenges. Some of the most anxious times in many people’s lives concern the future, prompting questions such as: “What is going to happen?”, “Where will I be?”, “How will I handle what I go through?”, etc. These questions are all valid to have, but one of the main questions we need to ask is, “How does Jesus call us to live through challenges?”.
This week we are talking about challenges: to expect them, accept them, and live well through them. We should take comfort in knowing that Jesus knows what we are going through, having gone through many of life’s hard moments, as well. As Christians, our main goal when looking towards the future and its difficulties should be to observe the life of Jesus and do our best to model our lives after it. When you look at Jesus’ life, it was not hindered by challenges; the life of Jesus was a constant pursuit of faithfulness in the way he spoke, thought, and interacted with others.
This leads us to our big idea:
Big Idea for this week
We can hold onto our faith no matter how difficult life gets.
- What is it about suspenseful movies or books that make you, or others you know, anxious?
- When you think about the future, what makes you anxious about it? What makes you excited?
- Do you react positively or negatively to difficulties in your life? Why?
Go around your group and read each of the following verses. Don’t comment specifically after each one, but rather use the questions below to guide your responses as you consider all the verses:
- 2 John 1:5-6
- Romans 12:9-12
- Is it easier to love others through challenging or peaceful times? Why do you believe that is?
- Looking back at the past few years, how would you honestly describe your response to the hardships you and others faced?
- How well did you embody love to everyone, as defined in the verses we just read, during that time? Why?
- If you knew what you know today, how would that change how you handled the past few years?
- Will it change how you encounter future hardships?
- 1 Peter 4:7-13
- What does it mean to “show deep love” to others? Do you do this?
- Share a time that someone showed you deep love. What impression did that make on you?
Based on the verses we just read, there are a few things that we can do in response. Take a moment to discuss these application questions as a group:
- · What gifts has God given you that you can use to serve one another? What are some ways you can use those gifts to show God’s grace to someone this week
- Thessalonians 2:8 says, “The man of lawlessness will be revealed, but the Lord Jesus will slay him with the breath of his mouth and destroy him by the splendor of his coming.” How does knowing Jesus will always win against evil change how we should live?
- What struggles do you have right now that can be redefined if seen as part of a battle that Jesus has already won?
The days of the last times will present unique challenges to believers and unbelievers alike. How we live during those times will be an example of our faith. As we go through this week, let’s begin to invest even more in the relationships around us and prepare ourselves to face challenges in the future with endurance because of Jesus.
- Ask for prayer requests and conclude your time with prayer.
Daily Bible Reading
Use the S.O.A.K. method to reflect on the verses below.
Scripture: Read the verses several times out loud.
Observation: As you read the scripture, what do you observe?
Application: What is God wanting you to believe, do or feel based on what you have read?
Kneel: This is a chance to pray about what you have read and learned.
- Day 1: Lamentations 3:22-24
- Day 2: Psalms 32:11
- Day 3: Hebrews 12:1-2
- Day 4: 2 Thessalonians 3:13
- Day 5: Psalms 86:11
- Day 6: Romans 2:7