Welcome to the Ada Bible Church Sermon Discussion Guide. This weekend, Student Ministries Pastor Aaron Buer tells a pivotal story from the Book of Joshua and the history of the Israelites. This story will ignite a discussion about what it means to follow God, trust in his provision, prepare for the future and the power of remembering the moments God has helped us in our own stories.
Building healthy and life-giving relationships.
What has been new or challenging in your life since last time the group met? Spend 20–30 minutes checking in with each other.
Prayer is a key component of caring for each other. Take some time to go around your group identifying prayer requests and spend a few moments praying for each other’s needs.
Share part of your story.
What’s the biggest or the most difficult life transition you’ve had to make?
Taking next steps toward Christ together.
Look back at Joshua 3–4. Have someone retell the story found in this passage. Identify the key characters, the setting and the circumstances facing Joshua and the Israelites.
Joshua and the Israelites are about to witness a forty-year promise finally fulfilled. They have wandered the desert longing for the moment when they can finally enter the land God had given to them. What important events have they witnessed God do over the past 40 years?
Have someone read Joshua 3:14–17. Put yourselves in the Israelites’ sandals. What do you think the Israelites were feeling and experiencing as a four-decade promise is about to become a reality?
We all experience pivotal transitions in life that affect who we become. In this story, the Israelites knew where to go because God told them to follow the Ark. However, God may not always provide a physical “ark” to follow. Describe a time when you were confused or unsure of where to go or how God might be leading.
Discuss this statement…When God is leading and we are following, it is impossible to go the wrong way. Do you agree or disagree? Tell why.
Most likely you are in a season of transition, just left one or are about to go into one. God deeply desires to resolve any confusion and clearly mark out his path for us. As a group, identify the specific ways that the Row, Circle and Chair can aid you to hear God clearly and follow him obediently.
Have someone read Joshua 3:2–4 aloud. What is the officers’ command? Why is this necessary?
An important part of following God is respecting his holiness. God gave specific instructions to the Israelites and he expected them to obey (Joshua 3:4). This story highlights a key component of following God—respect. However, we love to push his boundaries. Spend some time identifying specific consequences you have witnessed when people you know have chosen to disobey and live outside of God’s expectations. When do you tend to push God’s boundaries?
To respect God’s authority in our lives is to choose to place our lives under his authority. When navigating change and transition, we need to seriously consider God’s holiness and our response to it. Our response should be obedience. Transitions are critical opportunities to show God we trust and respect him. Are you in a transition? What would it look like to speak and act with obedience in the midst of this transition?
Joshua tells the people to get spiritually ready for what God is about to do (Joshua 3:5). We understand what it means to prepare for significant events in life. However, we can often overlook our need to spiritually prepare ourselves for whatever God might want to do next. What does it practically mean to be spiritually ready? When have you felt you were spiritually prepared to handle a transition in life? When did you feel unprepared?
Preparation is not glamorous but it is good and necessary. The Israelites circled the desert for 40 years wondering when God would allow them to enter the Promised Land. Yet, God was using the desert to teach them his character, how to trust and to learn his ways. Are you in a season of preparation? What questions and emotions are surfacing within you this season? What next step are you hoping God will finally make clear?
Have someone read Joshua 4.1–3 & 19–22 aloud. Joshua reinforces that the stones were to be a conversation starter. What types of conversations do you think Joshua hoped the stones would create?
We celebrate birthdays and anniversaries to remember important people. We take photos and purchase souvenirs to remember vacations and important experiences. We do this because the human heart is prone to forget. Why do you think we can have the tendency to forget how God has moved in our lives?
What are some practical ways that you can lay down stones of remembrance to mark God’s movement in your life? What markers do you have in your home that remind you of God’s goodness and provision?
INVEST IN OTHERS
Valuing people outside the group and outside the faith.
Discuss how you and your group can better engage the people in your life outside your small group.
Last week you were asked as a group to identify people in your workplace, social network or neighborhood in need of encouragement. Take some time to share the ways you delivered encouragement over the past week. How was your encouragement received? Did you find this to be life-giving or rather difficult?
Who are the people in your neighborhood or workplace who need what you have? Is there a person, couple or family that you could invite into your small group or attend church with you? As a group, pray for an opportunity to extend an invitation.
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