Episode 5: How To Not Be Stranded By Life's Greatest Fears
Discussion following the sermon from 7/31/22
"Then the Lord told him, 'I have certainly seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their cries of distress because of their harsh slave drivers. Yes, I am aware of their suffering...Now go, for I am sending you to Pharaoh. You must lead my people Israel out of Egypt.'" Exodus 3:7, 10 (NLT)
In this week’s sermon, Pastor Beau explains how God has the answer to the fears that paralyze us. The Bible says a great deal about fear, but this message focuses solely on Moses and the fear he had about his mission to free God’s people from Egyptian bondage. God’s response to Moses’ fears gives great insight into how we too can overcome our fears.
God's Response To My Greatest Fears
1. THE FEAR OF INADEQUACY.
"But Moses protested to God, 'Who am I to appear before Pharaoh? Who am I to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?'" Exodus 3:11
God's Response: "God answered, 'I will be with you. And this is your sign that I am the one who has sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God at this very mountain.'" Exodus 3:12
Discussion: Why does knowing that God is with me relieve my fears of inadequacy?
2. THE FEAR OF EMBARRASSMENT.
"Moses protested, 'If I go to the people of Israel and tell them, 'The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,' they will ask me, 'What is his name?' Then what should I tell them?"
God's Response: "God replied to Moses, 'I AM WHO I AM. Say this to the people of Israel: I AM has sent me to you.'" Exodus 3:14
Discussion: Is my concern about the opinions of others helpful to me in fulfilling God’s purpose?
3. THE FEAR OF REJECTION.
"Moses protested again, 'What if they won't believe me or listen to me? What if they say, 'The Lord never appeared to you'?'" Exodus 4:1
God's Response: "Then the Lord asked him, 'What is that in your hand?' 'A shepherd's staff,' Moses replied. 'Throw it down on the ground,' the Lord told him. So Moses threw down the staff, and it turned into a snake!" Exodus 4:2-4
Discussion: How does the work of the Holy Spirit encourage us when we are rejected by others?
4. THE FEAR OF FAILURE.
"But Moses pleaded with the Lord, 'O Lord, I'm not very good with words. I never have been, and I'm not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.'" Exodus 4:10
God's Response: "Then the Lord asked Moses, 'Who makes a person's mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak...Is it not I, the Lord? Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what you say.'" Exodus 4:11-12
Discussion: Who determines whether I succeed or fail? Can I fail if I am obeying God?
5. THE FEAR OF COMMITMENT.
"But Moses again pleaded, 'Lord, please! Send anyone else.'" Exodus 4:13
God's Response: "Then the Lord became angry with Moses..." Exodus 4:14
Discussion: Why does my success require that I be committed to God's plan?
"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline." 2 Timothy 1:7
Have the group discuss their personal fears and how faith has helped them overcome their fear. Close by taking prayer requests and praying for one another.
Episode 4: How To Deal With My Doubts
Discussion following the sermon from 7/24/22
"We are often troubled, but not crushed; sometimes in doubt, but never in despair; there are many enemies, but we are never without a friend, and though we badly hurt at times, we are not destroyed." 2 Corinthians 4:8-9
Doubt is a natural part of the human thinking process. Our doubts may be brought on by both real or imagined circumstances, but either way they can significantly influence our choices and attitudes. Doubt can cripple, or when correctly identified and dealt with, it can be overcome. Faith overpowers doubt, and God’s Word shows us how trusting in God’s goodness allows us to overcome our negative thoughts.
Three Things That Cause Us To Doubt God:
"They boast against the very heavens, and their words strut throughout the earth. And so the people are dismayed and confused, drinking in all their words. 'What does God know?' they ask. 'Does the Most High even know what's happening?'" Psalm 73:9-11
"Their taunts break my bones. They scoff, 'Where is this God of yours?'" Psalm 42:10
Discussion: Why are we so apt to listen to the scoffer rather than what God says about us?
"Cling to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked." 1 Timothy 1:19
Discussion: Why does Paul warn Timothy about not listening to his conscience?
"But as for me, I almost lost my footing. My feet were slipping, and I was almost gone. For I envied the proud when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness." Psalm 73:2-3
"Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, 'Teacher, don't you care that we're going to drown?'" Mark 4:38
Discussion: Should your thinking be determined by circumstances or by what you know is true?
How To Deal With My Doubts:
1. ADMIT MY DOUBTS.
"John the Baptist, who was in prison, heard about all the things the Messiah was doing. So he sent his disciples to ask Jesus, 'Are you the Messiah we've been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?'" Matthew 11:2-3
"One of the twelve disciples, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), was not with the others when Jesus came. They told him, 'We have seen the Lord!' But he replied, 'I won't believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.'" John 20:24-25
Discussion: If God understood John’s and Thomas’ doubts, won’t He be sensitive to our doubts?
2. DOUBT MY DOUBTS.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding." Proverbs 3:5
Discussion: Why can’t we depend on our own understanding?
3. BEGIN WITH THE FAITH I HAVE.
“The father instantly cried out, 'I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!'" Mark 9:24
Discussion: Why is it beneficial for us to just begin by believing Jesus loves us?
"I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it would move. Nothing would be impossible." Matthew 17:20
Discussion: Have the group talk about how our salvation and glorious future is not dependent on the strength of our faith, but on the power and goodness of God. All we need to do is trust Jesus.
Take prayer requests and close in prayer.
Episode 3: How To Grow From Grief
Discussion following the sermon from 7/17/22
"When Jesus saw her weeping and saw the other people wailing with her, a deep anger welled up within him, and he was deeply troubled. “Where have you put him?” he asked them. They told him, “Lord, come and see.” Then Jesus wept. The people who were standing nearby said, “See how much he loved him!” John 11:33-36
Jesus cares about me and He is sensitive to my grief. When I feel sad or broken I can be sure that God not only knows what I am experiencing, but that my relationship with him affords me comfort. This sermon reveals the Lord’s plan for healing from grief.
What I Must Know About My Grief:
1. GRIEF IS HEALTHY.
"Then Jesus wept." John 11:35
Discussion: How does having the perspective that grief is healthy help me cope with my grief?
2. GOD GRIEVES WITH ME.
"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted." Psalm 34:18
Discussion: Does knowing God grieves with me give me peace in my pain?
3. GRIEF IS HEALED IN THE COMMUNITY.
"Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep." Romans 12:15
Discussion: Why does the Bible tell us to share our grief?
4. GRIEF TAKES TIME.
"For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven…A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance." Ecclesiastes 3:1,4
Discussion: How does time help to heal one’s grief?
What I Must Do With My Grief:
1. LIST THE LOSSES I'VE NEVER GRIEVED.
"God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted." Matthew 5:4
Discussion: What happens when one experiences a loss but does not take time to grieve?
2. HAVE THE COURAGE TO LAMENT.
Lament: a passionate expression of grief to God; an act of worship that can include complaining to God.
Psalm 3-7,9,10,12-14,17,22,25-28,31,35,36,38,39,41-44,51-61,64, 70,71,74,77,79,80,82,83,85,86,88,90, 94,102,109,137,139-143,145
Discussion: Why is it healing to express our hurts and sadness to God?
3. ASK GOD TO HEAL MY BROKEN HEART.
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me…He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted…” Isaiah 61:1b
Discussion: What hurt or pain do you need to ask God to heal today?
Episode 2: How To Handle Loneliness
Discussion following the sermon from 7/10/22
"Timothy, please come as soon as you can. Demas has deserted me because he loves the things of this life and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus has gone to Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Bring Mark with you when you come, for he will be helpful to me in my ministry. I sent Tychicus to Ephesus. When you come, be sure to bring the coat I left with Carpus at Troas. Also bring my books, and especially my papers. Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm, but the Lord will judge him for what he has done. Be careful of him, for he fought against everything we said. The first time I was brought before the judge, no one came with me. Everyone abandoned me. May it not be counted against them. But the Lord stood with me and gave me strength so that I might preach the Good News in its entirety for all the Gentiles to hear. And he rescued me from certain death. Yes, and the Lord will deliver me from every evil attack and will bring me safely into his heavenly Kingdom. All glory to God forever and ever! Amen."
2 Timothy 4:9-18
In today’s Scripture Paul is writing to Timothy from prison in Rome. Paul knows that his time on this earth is nearly at an end. It is not his emanate death that is weighing on him, but that he had been abandoned by many of his friends (2 Tim. 1:15, 4:16) He is lonely and feels alone, but even so he knows that he can depend on the Lord’s deliverance.
Four Common Causes Of Loneliness:
Have the group talk about these four causes for loneliness and ask if there is anyone who might share a personal stories of how these common life experiences made them feel lonely.
Ways To Cope With Loneliness:
1. UTILIZE MY TIME.
"Bring Mark with you when you come, for he will be helpful to me in my ministry…When you come, be sure to bring the coat I left with Carpus at Troas. Also bring my books, and especially my papers." 2 Timothy 4:11-13
Discussion: A great way to cope with loneliness is to find renewed purpose. Discuss how utilizing our time and energy helps us cope when we feel alone.
2. MINIMIZE MY HURT
"Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm, but the Lord will judge him for what he has done…The first time I was brought before the judge, no one came with me. Everyone abandoned me. May it not be counted against them." 2 Timothy 4:14-16
Discussion: Hurt feelings will often make us want to separate ourselves from others. Talk about how letting go of our hurt frees us to seek positive and supportive relationships.
3. RECOGNIZE GOD'S PRESENCE
"But the Lord stood with me and gave me strength…" 2 Timothy 4:17a
Discussion: There are times in each of our lives when only God knows the depth of our loneliness. Have the group share how knowing God is there is a comfort when we feel alone.
4. EMPHASIZE OTHER'S NEEDS
"…so that I might preach the Good News in its entirety for all the Gentiles to hear." 2 Timothy 4:17b
Discussion: Talk about how focusing on the needs of others is an effective way for us to cope with our personal loneliness.
Close by taking prayer request and praying for one another.
Episode 1: How To Be Set Free From Despair
Discussion following the sermon from 7/3/22
"Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." 1 Peter 5:7
1. I.D. MY ANXIETY
"Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts." Psalm 139:23
Discussion: Discuss the things that make you the most anxious. What gives you the most worry in your life?
2. FOCUS ON MY FATHER
"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?" Matthew 6:25-26
Pause and listen to some worship music or spend time in prayer.
3. TAKE THE TRADE
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30
Discussion: God has provided a lighter burden for us. Will you lay your heavy burden down? Make the exchange with the Lord.
4. CELEBRATE TOMORROW'S VICTORY
"I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord." Psalm 27:13-14
Take time right now to thank God for the promise of victory.