WARM UP:What were you told to do when dealing with stress when you were growing up: Forget about it? Pray about it? Sleep on it?
As the old saying goes, “All of God’s children have trouble some time.” No matter how old we get, it never really lessens our need for someone who is both a counselor and a comforter. Friends and family may help but you can’t always go running to them but you can always go running to God. For this, God sent us the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God with us in the midst of our troubles. He is the counselor who speaks wisdom and insight into our lives when we need to make right decisions. He is the source of our peace when life is anything but peaceful.
Bible Study Section: Psalm 23
1. What is the relationship of a shepherd to his sheep? What does the shepherd provide for his sheep?
2. How does a shepherd guide his sheep down the paths of righteousness? How does God guide us?
3. What possible situations might make a sheep doubt the care of his shepherd? What about us? What possible situations might make us question God’s care or concern for us? How does this relate to John 14:25-26?
4. A rod and a staff seem to be a strange source of comfort unless you were a sheep. In the hands of a shepherd, what is the purpose of a rod and a staff?
5. Has God ever rescued or protected you with his rod and staff?Have you ever been “nudged” along by God when you were wandering off the path? How so?
6. What connections do you see between John 14:16 and Psalm 23:4?
7. What is the most meaningful part of the psalm to you right now? Why that?
From the Message: Gen. 16:1-13
· Sunday morning Pastor Steve said, “We need a Comforter because in this world we are going to have trouble (John 16:33).”What forms do these troubles usually take? What trouble are you wrestling with right now?
· What part had she played in the conflict? What was Hagar’s solution to her trouble? Why doesn’t running from your troubles usually help?
· Pastor Steve said, “Your circumstance will define you or refine you. How so? What are some of the things people run to when they are in trouble or under stress?
· This morning Pastor Steve asked, “If God saw Hagar in the midst of her troubles, don’t you think He sees you in the midst of yours?”Have you ever felt like God didn’t see you? Have you ever felt like God didn’t care?
· Read John 16:33. Jesus promised that we would have trouble in this world but he didn’t want our troubles to overwhelm us. How can you have peace in the midst of trouble?
· What struck you the most from this morning’s message? Why that?
· What challenged you the most? What changes do you plan on making as a result?
Reflection and Prayer: Sermon Highlights to Think On:
YOU ARE NOT ALONE. John 14:16 (NIV)
YOU ARE LOVED AND ACCEPTED.John 14:6–7 (NIV)
HE WILL GIVE YOU WISDOM AND INSIGHT.John 14:25-26 (NIV)
HE WILL GIVE YOU TRUE PEACE… John 14:27
YOU CAN RUN TO HIM WHEN YOU NEED TO: The Lord is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes. He is close to those who trust in him. Nahum 1:7 (NLT)