February 18, 2019
(This particular lesson takes place beside/in an indoor pool)
Have participants begin the discussion by floating on a noodle or an inner tube. Participants do not have to be in the water to be a part of this discussion. They can sit on the side of the pool, or they can utilize tables and chairs. Be creative.
Everyone will be in a different place spiritually; therefore, as participants share, encourage them to offer each other mercy and grace; especially during vulnerable moments or times of weakness. Our goal is never to fix anyone, but instead to listen and offer support when needed. Personal discussion, unless otherwise noted, should always remain confidential.
Take Away: The process may initially seem brutal, but if God’s hand is in it, beautiful is the only thing it can become.
Scripture: He was despised and rejected—a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care. Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all. He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth. Unjustly condemned, he was led away. No one cared that he died without descendants, that his life was cut short in midstream. But he was struck down for the rebellion of my people. He had done no wrong and had never deceived anyone: But he was buried like a criminal; he was put in a rich man’s grave (Isaiah 53:3-9 NLT).
Lesson: Take some time to discuss this passage, and ask participants if any verse(s) in particular is/are especially difficult to read. Compile a list of the emotions Jesus may have felt. Example: betrayed, afraid, helpless, defeated, or alone.
*Explain that sometimes we also endure difficult times and may feel similar emotions.
*Jesus was our ultimate sacrifice; therefore, He had to suffer so that we could experience the beautiful gifts of freedom, reconciliation, and salvation.
*It may be easy to focus on the storm Jesus endured, forgetting that God’s hand was very much at work.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16).
And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:4).
*Ask participants to reflect upon a past victory that initially appeared hopeless. If they are comfortable doing so, have them share how God moved mightily in the midst of a brutal situation, ultimately transforming it into a beautiful triumph.
Additional Scripture to Examine: And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).
Application: Read the passage from Luke, chapter 8, verses 22-24: Now it came to pass on a certain day, that he went into a ship with his disciples: and he said unto them, Let us go over unto the other side of the lake. And they launched forth. But as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy. And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm.
*When a storm is raging, all attention is usually shifted onto the storm and survival, but we cannot forget who our Lifeguard is.
*Jesus first rebuked the root (wind/enemy) then contended with the storm (waves).
*Believers have the same authority through Christ to rebuke an attack from the enemy.
*Explain that the Sea of Galilee is not very big. From the shore, you can see the other side (Illustrate this with a picture of the sea). Sometimes when we are in the midst of a storm, we may not realize how close we are to the other side.
*Jesus was on an assignment from God. He was sailing across the sea to deliver a man from many demons.
*The devil usually creates havoc in an attempt to distract us from an assignment from God.
Goal: Consider a current situation that you or someone close to you is experiencing that appears hopeless or chaotic. Take time this week peering at it through a different lens. Sit at the feet of the Father and journal what this different view may look like. Take your focus from the storm, and instead identify and describe God’s hand at work.
Exercise: Have the participants who are in the water create storms. This will be accomplished by performing exercises that involve splashing and/or kicking. Start with burn-outs. Give each person a noodle and instruct them to place it behind their waist. For 15 seconds, have each person kick as hard as they can. Allow them to rest for the following 15 seconds. Repeat this cycle 5 times.
*Next, give each participant a kick board. Have them jump up and down, holding the kick board in front of them. Have them jump for 60 seconds. This is usually much easier to accomplish in the shallow end of the pool.
*Explain that just as the storms we created in the water subsided, the storms we face in life will too. Encourage those who are present to shift their focus, remembering that God is at work. Remind them that whenever a storm is encountered, the other side is usually much closer than we realize.