Introduction

Hey Group Leader,

First things first. Thanks for bringing your group to SITS. I believe God has big things happening behind the scenes in your kids’ lives. We’ve been praying for them and for you. God has been preparing your group for this week, and it will be time well invested together.

The pages you’re holding are created to help guide you as you lead your group through two very intentional, important times you’ll spend together each day. One is your afternoon Encounter time. The other is your evening group time. The purpose of both of these environments is for your group to continue the conversations that are started in the morning and evening sessions.

Each page contains some notes, thoughts, and sample questions or discussion starters for you to use to get things going and steer the conversation in a good direction. A few important things for you to know:

1. You don’t have to use this guide as it is (or at all)! You know your group. Take this thing, adapt it, mold it, or toss it. The most important thing to us is that your time with your group serves your purpose as you serve God’s purpose.

2. This is just a starter guide for you. The idea is that you use this guide to get things rolling, and let your students lead and steer your direction a bit. We’re going to ask some big questions and unpack some important truth this week. They will wonder about things, or push back on things. Go with that! Don’t shut down positive, healthy conversation in order to stick to this guide.

3. The notes for the afternoon Encounter time are meant to help you set the table for your students’ personal devo time. They will prepare them for what they will read and pray through, using their SITS booklet as their guide. It would be a good idea for you to read those devos before your afternoon time together so you know where to point them and how to set them up well.

Thank you for your investment in your students. We believe in you, we’re praying for you, and we are so grateful for your heart for Jesus and for pointing teenagers to Him!

– The SITS Team

Monday

Hey Group Leader,AM Session – “God is BIG”

Session Summary
God is big. Have you ever stopped to ponder what that actually means? Have you ever reflected on what that really looks like? God is BIG. He is infinitely wise. Immeasurably creative. His forgiveness knows no bounds. To God, impossible has no meaning.  So why is it we have such difficulty viewing him as the BIG GOD he clearly is? Why is it that so often our problems seem larger than our creator? The goal of the week is to explore why Jesus is bigger than our fear, doubt, pain, discontentment, and anger. This morning, we start the journey.

Leader Note
In their Encounter devo time today, your students are going to tackle the question, “If God is really that big, does he even notice me?” This is a big question because throughout the rest of the week we’re going to talk about how God is big enough to handle the problems in our lives. We’re going to talk about some very personal things like fear, anger, hurt, and doubt. It’s important to establish the idea early on that God isn’t too big to see, hear, or care for each of us individually. In fact, He has something BIG to say to each student this week.

Ice Breaker Idea – “Two Truths and a Lie” (6-8 minutes)
You probably won’t have time for everyone in your group to do this, so pick 2-3 volunteers.

EXPLAIN: Think of two things about yourself that no one in the group knows. They don’t have to be embarrassing or personal . . . we’re going to share them with the group. They can be just random facts about yourself like, “I owned a poodle when I was a kid.” Or something that happened, like, “When I was seven I was in a car accident where our car flipped over.” Or something simple, but obscure, like, “I get up every morning at 6:15 so I can beat the rest of my family to the shower and get the hot water!”

Now think of a realistic lie about yourself.

Got em’? Two truths and a lie?

We’re now going to go around the circle and share our “three facts about ourselves.” Two of them are real. One is false.

After each person shares all three, we’ll stop and vote (by a raise of hands) on which we think is the lie. The person will then confess the lie and see how many people they stumped. Then on to the next person . . . and so on.

DEBRIEF: We may be able to fool each other because there are things about us not everyone knows. But something really cool about God is that He knows it all. He’s big enough to see everything, yet he knows every tiny detail about our lives.

Personal Devo Setup
SAY SOMETHING LIKE: As part of our Encounter time each day this week we’re going to spend a little bit of time alone with Jesus. In your booklet there are devotions, one for each day. You’ll take a few minutes to read that devo and the Bible verses that go with it, and then pray or just sit and listen for God. I believe God has something really meaningful to say to you this week, so that’s why this is such an important time. I realize that some of you might already spend some time like that with God during your day, but some of you don’t, so let’s talk about what it means to spend quiet time with God.

ASK A FEW: When people talk about quiet times, they are usually referring to two things: prayer and Bible study. Of those two, which seems to be the most important? Why?

ASK A FEW: Do you ever feel like not praying or studying the Bible at all? I mean, have you ever asked yourself, “What’s the point?” Why?

READ: Matthew 6:5-13 (NIV)

ASK SOMEONE: What are some things Jesus tells us NOT to do when we pray?

ASK A FEW: What are some other wrong ways/reasons to pray?

ASK A FEW: Does anything surprise you about the way Jesus tells us TO pray?

ASK A FEW: What are the biggest obstacles keeping you from praying and studying the Bible on a daily basis?

AROUND THE CIRCLE: How would your life be different if you prayed and studied, daily?

SAY SOMETHING LIKE: Jesus spent time in synagogues reading and studying His Father’s Word. He also spent lots and lots of time in prayer with Him. If Jesus needed that, so do we!

You know, the best reason I’d say to pray and study is simple: God wants to hear from us and be heard by us. In short, God – the Creator of the universe – wants to spend time with you! Pretty cool.

[Send students to their quiet time now.]

PM Session – “God > Fear”
Session Summary

Matthew 14:22-33; Matthew 7:9-11 //
In this world there is much to fear… terrorism, violence, illness, loss, death… the list goes on and on. Jesus, however, commands us not to fear. In Matthew 14, as Peter is contemplating stepping out of a boat and onto water, Jesus leads him by saying simply “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Jesus would rather us live by faith.

Be aware: There are many in the room who for the first time are considering who God really is to them, and their biggest fear is being here. Sometimes we forget what it’s like to be on the outside. What will people think of me? In Matthew 7 Jesus references how a good father would never promise bread to his child and exchange it for a rock. Sadly, many churches function this way. People come looking for bread, and they’re hit with rules, regulation, and religion. Jesus told Peter he’d build his church upon a rock, but many have felt like that rock, the church, has crushed them. Jesus is meant for everyone. We want to give bread.

No bait and switch here. No fear here.

Leader Note
This week we’re diving right in. Fear is a very personal thing that weighs heavily on us. Surrendering fear isn’t easy…that’s why Jesus told us not to fear so many times in the gospels. As you get into group time tonight, try to remember that it’s only Monday, It’ll be tempting to make this a really heavy conversation. It’s important to have an honest, open discussion, but try to keep things on the lighter side so that kids aren’t overwhelmed right away. Remember, this guide is just that…a guide. You know your group; do what works for you!

Discussion Questions
ASK A FEW: What was the best part of your day so far?

ASK A FEW: What did you think of the session tonight? Did the speaker say something that really stuck out to you?

ASK A FEW: How do you normally handle fearful situations?

READ: Psalm 27:1-14 (NIV)

ASK A FEW: King David wrote this psalm. How would you describe his attitude or outlook on life after reading it? Why?

ASK A FEW: What were some of the things that David said God would do for him?

ASK A FEW: What was King David’s hope for facing his fears, his enemies, and various dangers?

ASK A FEW: Do you think God will do the same things for you as He did for David in this psalm? Why or why not?

ASK A FEW: How would your life look different if you lived as courageously as King David did?

AROUND THE CIRCLE: Will this psalm change the way you confront your fears, your worries, or your fears in the future? If so, how? If not, why not?

Closing Idea
SAY SOMETHING LIKE: There are lots of things in life that can hurt us, break us, damage us, and even kill us, but that’s always been the case. And in spite of those things, there are people who still manage to live a courageous life.

One of those guys was King David. Across his life, he faced down bears, lions, giants, armies, and even his own mutinous people at times. The guy was like a real-life action figure! When we look back at David, we mostly see “hero,” and there’s a reason for it. He put his trust in God, totally.

In the passage we read, David tells us why he was able to defeat Goliath, take out a bear and a lion with just his hands, defeat army after army that rose against him, and even deal with betrayal in his own household: he put his trust in God.

When you realize that God holds the future, and that He loves you even when things are going wrong or when we make mistakes, it’s very liberating. Then we can have the confidence that David had. He was able to say “bring it on!”

Tuesday

I want to go over a list of things from our everyday lives.

As I say them, just raise your hand for a second if that’s a concern of yours.
(You may want to add or delete from this list, but here’s a start.)

¥ Bad Grades
¥ Accidents
¥ Depression
¥ Breakups
¥ Terrorism
¥ Self-Image
¥ Cancer
¥ Loneliness
¥ Drugs
¥ Violence
¥ Alcohol
¥ Relationship Trouble
¥ Parents
¥ College
¥ Money
¥ Fear
¥ Health
¥ The Future
¥ Divorce
¥ Bully
¥ Sin
¥ Lack of Faith
¥ Reputation
¥ Family

For those of you who raised your hands – for whatever reason – I want you to know that God is in control of all of those things. He’s aware of your struggles, your weaknesses, and your fears. He wants you to trust Him as you navigate all of those things.

I’m going to close us in prayer in a moment, but first let me give you this invitation. If you’re facing some major struggles right now, and need some help, hang around and talk with one of our adult leaders before you leave. You don’t have to live life afraid, and you don’t have to live life alone.

AM Session – “God Is”
Session Summary

Before we deal with our doubts, it might be smart to deal with some evidence of a very active God in our lives. In this session we’ll establish not only evidence of God, but also some evidence of God being involved in lives today.

Leader Note
Today’s topics are possibly the most difficult of the entire week. Remember, every kid in your group is in a different place in terms of their belief in the existence of God. Some might have what they would describe as “rock solid” faith. Some aren’t convinced at all. Some may even be sure there is no God. And you’ll quite possibly have one or more students who say they believe, but if they were honest, they aren’t so sure. This Encounter time focuses on listening for God’s voice. Wade into this cautiously, but confidently. Allow your students to be honest and facilitate truthful, safe conversation as they consider how to listen.

Personal Devo Setup

ASK A FEW: What do you think the voice of God sounds like? How can you tell when He’s speaking to you?

READ: John 10:1-30 (NIV)

ASK SOMEONE: In this passage, Jesus compares His followers to which animal?

ASK A FEW: In verse 5, Jesus says His sheep will run away from a stranger’s voice because they do not recognize it. What do you think He was referring to?

ASK A FEW: Jesus also teaches in this passage that His sheep recognize His voice. Do you think that’s easy or difficult to do?

ASK A FEW: According to verse 28, what does Jesus do for His sheep?

ASK A FEW: What makes it difficult to hear Jesus today?

ASK A FEW: What areas of your life does Jesus seem to be the quietest in, or say the least?

AROUND THE CIRCLE: What do you think you can do to listen to God better?

SAY SOMETHING LIKE: I think we’ve wisely spent our time talking about an incredibly important topic. Christians believe we have a “personal” God, but so many of us treat Him like a mute statue. We boast about having a relationship with Him, but it’s the quietest relationship we have in life. If we’re honest, most of us can’t even remember the last time God spoke to us.

We need to ask Him to speak. If this sounds silly, let me help you make sense of this important step. If you’ve got a boyfriend or girlfriend, don’t you want them to talk to you? Don’t you call them up or swing by their science class to chat with them as much as you can? You tell them over and over again that you love the sound of their voice and that you enjoy talking to them. Why wouldn’t God feel the same way? He wants to know that you want Him to speak to you. He wants to know that you love the sound of His voice. By the way, He’s given His life for you! Why wouldn’t He want to speak with you about the new direction He has planned for you?

[Send students to their quiet time now.]

PM Session – “God > Doubt”
Session Summary

Everyone doubts things about God. The question is not whether or not we at times doubt God, but how will we respond to our doubt. This session encourages those who doubt that they are not alone in waverings on God, but also encourage us to do the hard work of discovering God. Worship is found in the search of God. God is honored when we seek him.

Leader Note
Tonight’s Group Time guide is built off of a song called “Am I Wrong” by Nico & Vinz. It’s catchy and clean and very thought provoking.

The music video can be found on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bg1sT4ILG0w

Icebreaker Idea – “This & That”
The idea here is simply to get students talking to set up better conversation later.

Get into a circle and select someone to begin, then move clockwise around the circle. The first person says two similar items like pizza and ice cream (both foods). The second person has to say the thing they like better out of the two – in 3 seconds or less. If they make the time limit they get to say two things to the next person. But if they don’t make it, the next person says two items, and so on.

Introducing the Video
SAY SOMETHING LIKE: ”Am I Wrong” is a Top 10 hit from Nico and Vinz. Essentially, the song is about the artist asking about the prospects of a relationship, but his questions fit a number of other scenarios in life.

¥ Is he wrong for feeling the way he does?
¥ Is he wrong for thinking outside the box?
¥ Is he wrong just because others may disagree with him?
¥ Is he wrong because it’s a long shot?

As we follow Jesus, we should ask ourselves similar questions so that they can be confident in their convictions.

[Play the video now]

Discussion Questions
SAY SOMETHING LIKE: Life has a way of throwing doubt after doubt at us. Those doubts cloud our judgment and can cause us to question our convictions and beliefs…which is not always a bad thing. When we question our convictions, one of three things happens: we either abandon them, refine them, or bolster them. In the song we just heard, the singer was checking his convictions; was he wrong to think that he had a future with a certain individual. That’s not a small part of life. But the questions he asked himself can be applied to several other areas of life. In the end, as Christians, you and I must follow our convictions, even when others think we are wrong or disagree with us.

ASK A FEW: What was the question the singer kept asking himself over and over again in the song? Is that a good question to ask yourself? Why or why not?

ASK A FEW: Has there ever been a time in life when everyone doubted you or didn’t believe in you or disagreed with you? If so, what happened?

ASK A FEW: Have YOU ever doubted what you believed (about a person or situation)? What happened?

ASK A FEW: What do you usually do when people doubt you or disagree with you?

ASK A FEW: Asking “Am I wrong?” is a brutally honest question. It’s a scary question. But why should we do it from time to time? Can you think of a few examples when asking that question fits into life?

ASK A FEW: How does asking hard questions (like “am I wrong?”) impact what we believe or think? Is it helpful or not?

READ: 1 Corinthians 15:1-20 (NIV)

ASK SOMEONE: If you had to say what Paul’s main point in this passage was, what would you say he was trying to communicate? (Leaders – He was trying to bolster their confidence in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Gospel that he had shared with them.)

ASK A FEW: How important does Paul say that this belief is? How do you know?

ASK A FEW: Based on this passage, does it sound like Paul asked himself some hard questions about what he believes? Why or why not?

ASK A FEW: What are some doubts that some of you are facing right now? It can be in your personal life, the lives of your friends, or even the things you see in the news. What is it?

ASK A FEW: What are some helpful questions you can ask yourselves as you face these doubts and turmoil? (Leaders – Take a moment to list their questions on a dry erase board, or something similar. Then, take the time to talk about what each of those questions can offer them.)

AROUND THE CIRCLE: How do you plan to answer some of the doubts in your life this week? What will you do, immediately, to get the answers you need?
Closing
SAY SOMETHING LIKE: Nico and Vinz kept asking “Am I wrong?” over and over again. It’s a powerful yet humble question to ask. They were asking it as it related to a relationship’s future, but the question works in so many areas of our lives. Asking that kind of question leads to answers and convictions that can shape our lives.

But it takes courage to ask big questions like “Am I wrong?” Asking tough questions isn’t for the faint of heart. If you ask these kinds of questions, you need to be prepared to discover truth. So let me warn you up front: if you ask hard questions, you will come face to face with truth…and oftentimes, that truth makes demands on your life.

For example, if you are in a relationship that is against God’s will, and you ask Him what He thinks, He will tell you. Now, you’re on the hook to obey Him. Let’s look at another example. If you are not living a life of integrity when it comes to school, and you ask God what He thinks about cheating or copying or paying someone to do your homework, He will convict you of your sin. Again, you’re on the hook to follow God in obedience and change your ways.

Let’s look at one more example in life, the biggest, in fact! Let’s say that you doubt God’s existence, or His goodness, or His love, etc. If you contemplate on that doubt, ask seriously hard questions, and explore God’s Word for answers, I assure you He will speak to you and give you the confidence that He does exist, that He does love you, and that He cares for you deeply. And again, that means your life will have to change.

Asking hard questions is a very mature thing to do. Kids don’t ask themselves hard questions; they just selfishly assume things in life. A mark of our growth is that we are willing to be courageous because we’ve asked and answered the hard questions in life.

I want to close us in prayer right now, by asking God to help each of you answer your hard questions. It will mean that you are willing to be honest before Him, and promise to make changes that He requires. But if you’re willing to do that, I believe God is willing to speak with you. After I pray, if you have more questions about asking big questions, grab me or one of our adult leaders so we can talk about it further. This is too important to not do right.

Wednesday

AM Session – “God > Pain”

Session Summary
This session is a setup for this evening. Dealing with pain can stir up feelings of anger. This morning and this evening will feel very connected to each other. Usually, when we go through a painful experience, our desire is to push past it as quickly as possible. The truth is, pain is often all-consuming. So to declare that God is bigger than the thing that rules your thoughts and manipulates your actions, well, that’s a big statement. In this session we’ll discover that God is bigger than our pain because He can use our pain.

Leader Note
This Encounter group session is based off of a video about a girl who has allowed God to use her pain for His good.

You can find the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlQ9GZBtju8

Discussion Starter
SAY SOMETHING LIKE: Lizzie Velasquez was born with an incredibly rare medical condition that keeps her from gaining weight. At birth, she was so tiny that she could fit inside the hand of an adult. Though she has a fully functioning brain, most of her body is a bit disfigured because she cannot put on any weight. (She weighs well under 100 pounds even as an adult.)

Of course, her condition created a harsh reality for her as a child. Lots of kids picked on her and teased her, but it was a bit later in life when she discovered that she had been chosen as the ugliest girl on the Internet. It was a heartbreaking moment for Lizzie, but fortunately for her and the thousands she’s helped since then, she allowed God to make the most of her pain.

Her story is a fascinating one and a challenging one. This small group discussion will help you show your students that God can use their pain if they let Him.

[Play the video now]

SAY SOMETHING LIKE: Lizzie has a really cool story to tell. But it wasn’t always that way. In her short life, she has suffered in ways most of us haven’t. But in spite of her suffering, God has used her in mighty ways. On her personal website, visitors can see that she’s written not one, not two, but three books. She’s traveled the world speaking about the hope that God gives her. And she has finished her college degree with plans to start a family soon. What Lizzie learned was a simple truth, but a hard lesson: pain and suffering need not have the final word in our lives. God can use our pain and suffering to grow us and help others. That’s what she has chosen for her life.

ASK A FEW: Lizzie said that the world considered her ugly. How did Lizzie describe the power of those people’s words and the effect they had on her?

ASK A FEW: How would you have felt if 4 million people thought you were the ugliest person on the planet?

ASK A FEW: In the video, Lizzie said of God, “You made me the girl that I am for a reason.” What do you think that reason was?

ASK A FEW: Can God use people’s pain, struggles, and suffering for His purposes? Why or why not?

READ: James 1:2-4 (ESV)

ASK A FEW: Be honest. Does it sound silly to actually (literally) consider trials, suffering, and pain as something to be joyful over? Why or why not?

ASK A FEW: What does James say that the testing of our faith produces? How do you think that happens?

ASK A FEW: What does James mean by “perfect and complete, lacking in nothing”? Do you know anyone who lives like that?

ASK A FEW: How does it make you feel knowing that God can use your pain and suffering and trials to help you grow or to help others?

Wrap Up
SAY SOMETHING LIKE: Lizzie could have slipped into the pages of history quite anonymously. She could have just been another person with another rare and incurable disease. She could have just been the punching bag of the world. Hardly anybody would blame her if she allowed her life to become that. After all, she has dealt with a trial that’s far tougher than most of us will ever face.

But, she didn’t allow her suffering to get the best of her. She didn’t allow the taunting of others to trap her in a tailspin of doubt and bitterness. Instead, she asked God to help her and He changed her life.

Only God can do that because only God can use the worst of humans to bring about the best in His Kingdom. God has a history of using broken people to do mighty things. For instance, God used an old man named Noah to save humans from the flood. God used a fearful farmer named Gideon to rescue his people from the terror of the Midianites. God used a kid named David to become the greatest king in all of Israel’s history.

But that’s just in the Bible! If we look across the pages of history, we see hundreds, if not thousands, more examples of God using people AND their weaknesses. God used a shoemaker named William Carey to preach the Gospel to thousands upon thousands of people in India. God used a nobody named Hudson Taylor to preach the Gospel to millions in China. God used a blind woman named Fanny J. Crosby who lived 120 years ago to write songs still used in worship today. God has used Nic Vujicic, a man born without arms and legs, to travel the world and talk about the hope and purpose God gives people with struggles.

So, what’s your struggle? What’s your trial? What are you facing right now that you could turn over to God and let Him use in a powerful way?

You don’t have to face that trial alone. God has given His Son Jesus to not only save you but help you. Further, God has given us one another to bear each other’s burdens.

[Send students to their quiet time now.]

PM Session – “God > Anger”
Session Summary

In this message, students will come to understand the difference between righteous anger and sinful anger. Righteous anger is born out of a heart to right wrongs, bring justice, and help the oppressed. Sinful anger is born out of lack of forgiveness, prejudice, and hate. This talk is a continuation of this morning’s talk. We want to help students face their pain and release their anger.

Icebreaker
AROUND THE CIRCLE: What is one item in your house that you should really throw out but probably never will?

Discussion Questions
ASK A FEW: What was the best part of your day so far?

ASK A FEW: What did you think of the session tonight? Did the speaker say something that really stuck out to you?

SAY SOMETHING LIKE: Anger itself is not bad. It’s part of being human—part of the emotional structure God put in us when he made us.

You see, we were all created with the capacity for emotional response. The human body is equipped with an automatic defensive system called “fight or flight.” When that system is turned on, adrenalin is pumped into the bloodstream, blood pressure increases, heartbeat accelerates, eyes dilate for better peripheral vision, hands sweat, the mouth gets dry, and muscles are supplied with a sudden burst of energy. Instantly we’re transformed to an alarm-reaction state. It’s an involuntary response—it’s impossible to ignore…like denying a toothache. The emotion of anger is often part of this response.

So, anger is not the problem…instead it’s our response to angry feelings that gets us into trouble.

[LEADERS: This is a great opportunity for transparency. Share a story here about a time you got angry, and in your anger made the situation worse than when it started.]

ASK A FEW: What is the first thing that comes to mind that makes you the angriest?

READ: Ecclesiastes 7:9; James 1:20; Proverbs 27:8

ASK A FEW: What do these three verses say about our use of (or response to) the emotion of anger? (Leader—answer you’re looking for: Anger is foolish, it doesn’t produce God’s righteousness, and wise people turn away anger.)

ASK A FEW: Do these verses seem to say that anger in and of itself is wrong?

ASK A FEW: Is it better—even if you’re the type of person who likes to get anger off your chest—to “push anger aside” so that you can produce God’s righteousness?

SAY SOMETHING LIKE: You see, when we go around showing no self-control, two things usually happen. One: we tick off everyone around us. Two, we face consequences of our actions.

Many of us have tried to control our lives for a long time now and have failed miserably. God can take “out of control situations” and control them. But on the other hand…

READ: Matthew 21:12-13

ASK A FEW: This passage doesn’t specifically say that Jesus was “angry,” but when you’re turning over tables, it’s pretty clear what your primary emotion is. What about Jesus’ angry actions demonstrate God’s righteousness? (Leader—answer you’re looking for: Because the money changers’/merchants’ actions were making the holy Temple “a den of robbers.”)

ASK A FEW: Does this passage make it easier for Christians to express anger (since Jesus got angry)…or does it make it harder for Christians to express anger?

ASK A FEW: Do you believe that some Christians use this passage to justify angry actions?

AROUND THE CIRCLE: What things can you do this week to make sure that you’re not reacting inappropriately to anger?

Wrap Up
SAY SOMETHING LIKE: We know that anger is a natural emotion. It’s okay to get angry. Jesus got angry. The key is to not let anger control your actions—instead, God should be the one in control of the things you do. Make sure that you go to God in prayer when you feel anger rising inside you. Check with God to make sure your anger is justified…and if so, don’t just “react” off the cuff. Take measured steps to express the fact that you’re angry, but don’t fly off the handle like someone who has no self-control.

If any of you would like to find out how God can help you deal with your anger, please talk to me or one of the other leaders after we’re done tonight.

Thursday

AM Session – “God > Discontentment”
Session Summary

We are a discontent culture. We want more. We want bigger. We often want what we don’t have or what our neighbor has. Ultimately, the root of this line of thinking is found in our own pursuit of happiness. There hasn’t ever been a generation like this group of students. They are committed to make a difference. They don’t want to do things unless it feels like it makes an impact. That’s not a bad thing, but it doesn’t always come from as pure a place as it might sound. Often, we are discontent because we feel we have yet to find happiness. Jesus says, however, that He is enough. Is he?

Discussion Questions
ASK A FEW: Can someone give me a definition of security. (Leaders – After they get their chance, share this dictionary definition with them: freedom from fear and doubt, protection; safeguard.)

ASK A FEW: What are some of the things people put their trust and security in these days?

ASK A FEW: What is the best way to make the following secure:
a. Our health 
b. Our relationships 
c. Our money 
d. Our jobs

ASK A FEW: Do you think that God offers us security? Why or why not?

READ: Psalm 20:1-9 (NIV)

ASK A FEW: What were some of the things David prayed for in this Psalm?

ASK A FEW: If you had to guess, what occasion do you think prompted David to write this Psalm? In other words, what situation would make David pray this to God? (Leaders – After letting them guess, tell them that scholars think this was a prayer for two possible situations: First, that David was praying on behalf of his sons and grandsons who would one day be king. Second, that David was standing with his troops about to go into battle. Perhaps the latter one is the best, because David was a fighting king, with much of his reign being filled with war against his neighbors.)

ASK A FEW: Do you get the impression that David is serious with this prayer request, or just giving lip service to people in real danger? Why?

ASK A FEW: Why would David say that some people put their trust in horses and chariots? (Leaders – This is pretty cool! Back in this day, the chariot was the equivalent of our stealth bomber; it was THE latest technology. They could transport troops and supplies unlike anything else in that era. They allowed swift attacks…and retreats. The wheels were equipped with blades that cut down warriors that were just standing beside the chariot! In short, the chariot was THE weapon of armies back then!)

ASK SOMEONE: What does verse 8 say will happen to those people who put their trust in their military might?

ASK SOMEONE: According to verse 7, where does David place his trust for security?

ASK A FEW: Is trusting God easy or hard for you to do? Why?

AROUND THE CIRCLE: What is one area of your life that you’re holding back from trusting God with?

Transition
SAY SOMETHING LIKE: We started off pretty light, but then got deeper. It’s not always easy trying to determine whether or not we can trust God with our lives. Some of us have been confused by things that have happened in the past. Some of us have been hurt while trying to follow Jesus. Sometimes, our stories don’t end they way we want them to.

But are those reasons good enough for not trusting God? Nope. The bottom line comes down to this: Who can be better trusted to take care of us than God? He made us! He saved us! He knows us better than anyone else does and He knows the future! God alone is to be trusted by us. He loves us so much He gave the life of His Son to save us!

If you want to talk more about trusting God, hang around after we all close in prayer one last time. Just approach one of our adult leaders and ask to speak with them. They’d love nothing more than to help you trust the One who loves them!

[Send students to their quiet time now.]

PM Session – “God > Others’ Discontentment”
Session Summary

Students, you alone aren’t the only person in this world who experiences discontentment; so do your friends. They are worried about making a difference, they want what they don’t have, they have questions about what’s next. You have the answer. How do you help them see that answer? How do you do that not only in a way that is loaded with the truth, but also gives them the desire to lean in? How do you help them see the world differently?

Jesus cares about them, and he wants you to love them through their pain. He want’s you to love them through their questions. He doesn’t need you to point out their faults to them; he needs you to walk with them. Sometimes that requires one-on-one conversations, and sometimes it requires a great place to bring them where they are loved and accepted.

How are YOU going to help others meet God?
How are YOU ALL going to help others meet God?

Leader Note
Carrying on the talk from this morning, we are looking to turn the discussion outward. We often do this on Thursday night. Thursday night is the group time that we try to set up student ministries to have extra time to vision cast and catapult their ministries into the next season.

This CANNOT be a night that is wasted. Don’t allow your group to lazily walk through your time together. Encourage hard discussions. Come up with a plan for the outsiders. Do a gut check on where you are as a group right now. Identify where your ministry needs work. Encourage students to be transparent on where they need to work on their friends’ walks.

This evening could change everything…
Or, you could do nothing with it. Youth pastors, we are teeing you up. Go for it.

Icebreaker – “Know Your Friends”
This discussion starter is based of the old game show “The Newlywed Game.” Pick four pairs of kids to be the contestants up front. (The best mix is 2 guys, 2 girls, making sure that one couple is just friends while the other couple is dating. This way you have four different kinds of friendships represented. If not, do your best with what you have.)

Designate one person from each pair as “A” and the other as “B” then have adult leaders take both “B” students out of the room. While they’re gone, have the adult leaders ask the “B” students the following questions and WRITE DOWN THEIR ANSWERS. (We’ve given you two groups of questions you can use so there are no repeats necessary.)

Bring the “B” students back in, along with their adult leader escort, and put them up front by their matching friend. Now you’re ready to really start.

You’ll “re-ask” the same questions to the “A” students and match up their answers to what their friends (the “B” students) said. This is usually a lot of fun. Just make sure you word the questions correctly when on stage, (i.e. “What did your friend say you would say to the following question?”)

GROUP ONE Questions (for dating couple):
• What will your friend say is their favorite thing to do for fun?
• What will your friend say is the most embarrassing thing that happened to you while you were together?
• Multiple Choice: What will your friend say best describes your relationship?
A. A Well-Oiled Machine
B. A Roller coaster
C. The Weather
D. Dirty Underwear – it’s time for a change!
• Multiple Choice: What is most important to your friend?
A. Talking with each other
B. Doing things together
C. Never arguing

GROUP TWO Questions (just friends):
• What will your friend say is your best “stupid human trick”?
• Where were you when you met your friend?
• How will your friend say they handle conflict? Like a . . .
A. Gangster
B. Politician
C. Comedian
• What does your friend despise the most?
A. Dishonesty
B. Insecurity
C. Gossip

Transition
SAY SOMETHING LIKE: OK, that was a lot of fun, but hopefully what you saw is the importance of friends truly knowing one another. If we don’t take the time to really get to know one another, our relationships never move past superficiality. Plus, if we don’t know our friends, we won’t know the best ways to help them. If our friends really know us and love us, they will make sure they do all they can to help us know Jesus.

Discussion Questions
[Leaders: There are a LOT of questions here. You probably won’t have time for all of them. Pick the ones you like and don’t feel like you have to get through them all!]

AROUND THE CIRCLE: What is the quality you most look for in a friend.

ASK A FEW: What are some benefits of friendship? What are some good reasons that people seek friendship?

READ: Luke 5:17-26 (NIV)

ASK A FEW: How would you describe the paralyzed man’s friends from this story? Why?

ASK A FEW: Why do you think they did what they did? (Leaders – This is key. They knew his need and they loved him. They knew that Jesus would be able to help him. That’s why they did it; they wanted the best for their friend.)

ASK SOMEONE: Look closely, whose faith does Jesus take note of in order to heal the paralyzed man? (Leaders – Jesus actually heals the man based on his friends’ faith!)

ASK A FEW: Do you have friends like this? How do you know?

ASK A FEW: Do you think your friends consider you as good as the paralyzed man’s friends? Why or why not?

ASK A FEW: How important is Jesus within your friendships?

READ: Matthew 28:18-20 (NLT)

ASK A FEW: These words are Jesus’ last tweet so to speak to His disciples, and if you received it today, how would you respond?

ASK A FEW: Do we have to ‘make disciples’ to truly follow Jesus? Why or why not?

AROUND THE CIRCLE: If you really believe in a place called hell and you also believe people who haven’t trusted in Jesus will go there, should we get out of our comfort zones to help them? Why or why not?

ASK A FEW: How can we balance being awkward or even offensive with the urgent nature of sharing the gospel?

AROUND THE CIRCLE: What are some specific ways we can approach our friends and family who don’t know Jesus? (i.e. giving them a Bible, sharing the gospel, inviting them to church, etc.)

ASK A FEW: To what lengths are you willing to go to make sure your friends know Jesus?

ASK A FEW: How does the promise of Jesus’ power and presence in this passage give you confidence to go out and make disciples?

Activity Idea
Pass out 3×5 cards and pencils. Challenge students to think of one or two friends that don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus, and what would they text to them if they wanted to be used by God to be a good witness. Ask them to write down 2-3 ideas, then encourage them to send a message to their friends this week so that they might have an opportunity to share the gospel in some way.

Wrap Up
SAY SOMETHING LIKE: Tonight we had a great conversation exploring what Christlike friendship looks like. Hopefully, you saw a great example of friendship in the story from the Bible. I want to have those kinds of friends around me, and I also want to be that kind of friend to others.

In the Bible, Jesus defines friendship in a blunt and powerful way. In John 15:12-13, He says, “Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”

Jesus says a friend is one who is willing to make a huge sacrifice for us. These friends in our story risked rejection. They risked ridicule. They risked injury. They risked a lot to make sure their friend got a chance to meet Jesus.

How well do you really know your friends? Do they know Jesus? Are they saved? Do you know if they have a relationship with the Lord of all lords? If so, great! If not, what are you gonna do about it?

Before we leave, let’s spend some time in prayer about what we’re gonna do for our friends this week. Let’s just get in groups of 3 or 4 and pray for our friends. (Give them a few minutes to do this.)

If you want/need some help talking to your friends about Jesus, we’re here to help you. Just grab one of us after we close in prayer. We’ll be happy to help you be the best friend you can be.