AM Session – “God > Discontentment”
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?
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?
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”
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?
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 . . .
• What does your friend despise the most?
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.
[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?
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.
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.