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Sunday, July 17th — Laurie Short — Finding Faith in the Dark
Life just doesn’t seem fair at times. Why does it feel like God isn’t answering your prayers? Why are you going through the struggles you have? Why does it look like others have a better situation than you? Is God really with you? These questions can create a haunting darkness in your life, making you feel alone and faithless. How can you find faith in the dark?
Work through the following questions on your own, and get together with your running partner, Life Group or friends and family around the dinner table to talk through what you’re learning!
- Read John 21:15-22. Now read v. 18 again. Have you ever felt that God allowed you to be led where you didn’t want to go? Why do you believe He did that? How did this experience help you mature in your faith?
- Read John 21:15-17. Do you remember a time when God called you to act, even when you were suffering? How did you respond? What does it mean to “feed my sheep” when you feel that your faith is being tested, even questioned?
- Read John 21:20-21. Describe a time when you responded to God like Peter when he asked, “What about him?” How does comparing yourself to others affect our faith?
- Think about Facebook or other forms of social media. Have you ever looked at images or video clips and imagined in your head what a perfect story this person is living? Should you compare your life with what others present on social media? Is that reality? From what Laurie shared in the message, how can you avoid doing this?
- Read John21:22. What do the words “Follow me!” imply? How can knowing that God walks with you through suffering and difficult times change your perspective?
John 21:15-22 — When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”
Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”) When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?”
Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.”
BIBLE APP by YOU VERSION
If you’ve yet to do so, we encourage you to download the Bible App by YouVersion on your smart phone. Create a free YouVersion account. Tap Plans > Discover > Search: Outreach New Testament > Start Plan. Then you can read along each day with us!
READ, STUDY & MEDITATE FURTHER THIS WEEK BY READING MORE OF THE STORY OF PETER AND JESUS IN JOHN 13:36-38, 18:1-27, 20:1-10, 21:1-14.
SPIRITUAL GROWTH PATH
Did you know you can now track your progress working through the outcomes we include in Next Steps right on Gateway’s website?! Go to Spiritual Growth Path and create an account. You’ll get access to Spiritual Fitness Checks and training with the spiritual outcomes.
Spiritual Outcomes – Trust God & Stay Connected to God’s Spirit
Abraham was called a friend of God, not because he believed God exists, but because he entrusted his life to God. Humanity looks to many things other than God for security, purpose, and well-being, effectively making these things their god.
Learn more about trusting God by working through the Trust God outcome. — Go to gatewaychurch.com/spiritual_outcomes/trust-god/
We can see in Scripture that the authentic follower of Christ discovers the grace of living by the unlimited strength of God’s presence and guidance rather than living by their own very limited strength and perspective of their flesh.
Learn more about staying connected to God by working through the Stay Connected to God’s Spirit outcome. — Go to gatewaychurch.com/spiritual_outcomes/stay-connected-to-gods-spirit/