LEADER’S Community Group STUDY Guide
For the week of May 16, 2021
This guide is designed to give helpful hints in preparing & leading your group in discussion.
VBS Is right around the corner!
STFKids is headed to present-day Israel, where discovery awaits at Destination Dig. Our VBS kids will unearth more than dirt as they dig up exciting evidence proving that biblical events were not just made-up stories. They need your help to get VBS ready! The team desperately needs you to fill their
VBS Amazon Wish List: https://a.co/iaDynsq Please donate TODAY.
PARENT MEETING FOR ALL MIDDLE-HIGH SCHOOL PARENTS
As the school year comes to a close, we are so excited to share with you all of our plans for our students this summer! We would love for you to join us Sunday May 23, at 12:30 in the youth room at our BP campus for a parent meeting. In this meeting you will be able to connect with our new staff members Hannah Durbin and Chris Dotson as well as hear about the exciting summer we have planned. We hope you all can make it, lunch will be provided! We know God is going to do big things this summer in the lives of our students!
STF MISSIONS GO-DAY
On May 22, the STF GO Team is going to love our neighbors in Tampa. We are partnering with Just Initiative at 2 of their locations. At the first location, named “Petra House,” which is a shelter for single moms and children, and the homeless, we will repair work on the home and beautify the grounds with multiple landscaping projects. At their second location called “Project Initiative,” we will help them build a Clothing Closet in a high-needs neighborhood. The Go-Team will also bring the food trailer out to serve the homeless population of the area. Register
Looking back at your notes from this week’s teaching, was there anything you heard for the first time or something that caught your attention, challenged or confused you?
1. When in your life have you felt the most loved?
2. When in your life have you felt closest to God?
1. This week, we were challenged with the thought that we fail to extend God’s love because we are failing to experience God’s love. What spiritual habits help you the most to experience God’s faithfulness and love?
(If someone in the group questions why do they need to love God the real question, “is this person saved” is a legitimate question. Feelings come and go but to know God is to love God. Here are some tangible things that you can do when you don’t “feel” love for God:
Reflect upon your walk thus far
Should Christians feel warm and fuzzy toward God at all times? No. We all have valleys and deserts in our walk and feel all kinds of emotions at various points in our lives—just like we do in other relationships. In rekindling your affection for God, start at the very beginning. Reflect on where and how your walk with Him first began. When were you saved? Why were you saved? What did you feel when you first began to discover who God was? How has Jesus made Himself known to you in your daily life since? What things in life has God brought you through? Consider past victories (1 Samuel 7:12) and those times when you felt a deep desire and longing for God in your life.
Spend some quality time with God. Get to know Him more. To know Him is to love Him. Ask God to increase your desire for Him. Ask Him to fill you with His Spirit and rekindle your appreciation of His character. Continue submitting to the Holy Spirit and confess to God that you cannot overcome these struggles on your own—none of us can. When we ask for His helping hand, He always hears us! Psalm 18:6 says, “In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears.”
During the times when you feel nothing toward God, it helps to read His Word to remember how He feels about you. Dig into Scripture as much as possible while dealing with these feelings of disinterest. God’s Word is truly “a lamp to my feet and a light for my path” (Psalm 119:105). Try reading a psalm a day. The book of Psalms is very encouraging and has many prayers that you might really identify with, given your current situation. It is in the Word that God reveals Himself and His will for you.
Seek Christian counseling
This is especially important if you are angry or upset with God for some reason. It is difficult to feel love for someone while you are angry at him. If there is an anger problem, how long have you felt this way? Can you attribute your feelings to a specific situation? Does anything help relieve your feelings or temporarily change your perception? Biblical counseling can help you work through specific issues. Through the healing process, guided by a pastor or other counselor, you should be able to let go of the anger and hurt, and your perception of God should change for the better.
Find a godly mentor
Surely, there is someone you know who loves the Lord and whose Christian joy is evident. Ask this person to meet with you regularly. Spend time together, study the Bible together, pray together. Ask questions about your mentor’s spiritual walk and how you can love the Lord more. This friend can encourage you on your journey.)
2. Often, when we are in the midst of suffering, we need reminding of who God is to help us get back in the right frame of mind or to encourage us to worship Him. Below are some names of God. Circle which are most meaningful to you right now.
Elohim – strong One, divine (Genesis 1:1)
El Elyon – Most High, the strongest One (Genesis 14:20)
El Roi – the strong One who sees (Genesis 16:13)
El Shaddai – Almighty God (Genesis 17:1)
El Olam – Everlasting God (Isaiah 40:28)
God is eternal, meaning He had no beginning and His existence will never end. He is immortal and infinite (Deuteronomy 33:27; Psalm 90:2; 1 Timothy 1:17). God is immutable, meaning He is unchanging; this in turn means that God is absolutely reliable and trustworthy (Malachi 3:6; Numbers 23:19; Psalm 102:26, 27). God is incomparable; there is no one like Him in works or being. He is unequaled and perfect (2 Samuel 7:22; Psalm 86:8; Isaiah 40:25; Matthew 5:48). God is inscrutable, unfathomable, unsearchable, and past finding out as far as understanding Him completely (Isaiah 40:28; Psalm 145:3; Romans 11:33, 34).
God is just; He is no respecter of persons in the sense of showing favoritism (Deuteronomy 32:4; Psalm 18:30). God is omnipotent; He is all-powerful and can do anything that pleases Him, but His actions will always be in accord with the rest of His character (Revelation 19:6; Jeremiah 32:17, 27). God is omnipresent, meaning He is present everywhere, but this does not mean that God is everything (Psalm 139:7-13; Jeremiah 23:23). God is omniscient, meaning He knows the past, present, and future, including what we are thinking at any given moment. Since He knows everything, His justice will always be administered fairly (Psalm 139:1-5; Proverbs 5:21).
God is one; not only is there no other, but He is alone in being able to meet the deepest needs and longings of our hearts. God alone is worthy of our worship and devotion (Deuteronomy 6:4). God is righteous, meaning that God cannot and will not pass over wrongdoing. It is because of God’s righteousness and justice that, in order for our sins to be forgiven, Jesus had to experience God’s wrath when our sins were placed upon Him (Exodus 9:27; Matthew 27:45-46; Romans 3:21-26).
God is sovereign, meaning He is supreme. All of His creation put together cannot thwart His purposes (Psalm 93:1; 95:3; Jeremiah 23:20). God is spirit, meaning He is invisible (John 1:18; 4:24). God is a Trinity. He is three in one, the same in substance, equal in power and glory. God is truth, He will remain incorruptible and cannot lie (Psalm 117:2; 1 Samuel 15:29).
God is holy, separated from all moral defilement and hostile toward it. God sees all evil and it angers Him. God is referred to as a consuming fire (Isaiah 6:3; Habakkuk 1:13; Exodus 3:2, 4-5; Hebrews 12:29). God is gracious, and His grace includes His goodness, kindness, mercy, and love. If it were not for God’s grace, His holiness would exclude us from His presence. Thankfully, this is not the case, for He desires to know each of us personally (Exodus 34:6; Psalm 31:19; 1 Peter 1:3; John 3:16, 17:3).
Since God is an infinite Being, no human can fully answer this God-sized question, but through God’s Word, we can understand much about who God is and what He is like. May we all wholeheartedly continue to seek after Him (Jeremiah 29:13).)
TAKING IT HOME
1. Jesus went through the whole human experience, from trivial irritations to the worst horrors of life. How could the reminder that God knows and has experienced life’s pain help someone you know face difficulties like rejection, death, illness, financial hardships, etc?
(Answers may vary. It is suffering that wakes us to our true need. C. S. Lewis put it this way: “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world” (The Problem of Pain, HarperCollins, 1996, p. 91). Jesus is a Person. To know Him is to enter into a relationship. The greatest commandment is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength” (Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27). It’s hard to love someone you don’t know. Loving Him starts with surrendering to His plan for your life. That’s what it means to make Him Lord (Matthew 6:33; Romans 10:9–10; Psalm 16:8). The nature of God is so vast and complex that no human being can fully know everything there is to know about Him. But life is about continually seeking Him, learning more about Him, and enjoying His fellowship (Jeremiah 29:13; Philippians 3:8).)
2. When we have experienced God’s love we will share God’s love with others. Is this true about you? Consider what evidence in your life displays the gospel message on a daily basis. How can your group pray for you as a result?