Your Better Half – Part Two

 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. – Matthew 6:33

Have you ever started doing something, and wondered if what you were doing was pointless? I am sure that each of us here has done something pointless—meaning it wasn’t useful and it lacked a purpose. For many of you, it’s checking Instagram 100 times a day and Snapchatting a friend just to keep that streak going.

We all do pointless things … but have you ever felt like life is kind of pointless?

This week we will discuss what our purpose is as Christians, and then ask ourselves “What’s the point of dating?” especially as it relates to our Christian walk.

Discussion Questions

  • In your own words, what’s the point of your life as a Christian?
  • In your own words, how does dating fit into your calling as a Christian?
  • Have you ever experienced a relationship (romantic or otherwise) that seemed pointless or even damaging to your relationship with God? What did you do?
  • Last week we looked at rules for dating, this week make a list of reasons you might consider dating someone.

Your Better Half – Part One

 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. – Matthew 6:33

Have you ever heard the phrase, “You’re my better half”? Or how about the quote from the movie Jerry Maguire, “You complete me”?

Have you ever thought about what those phrases are really saying?

In our new series, we will talk about the most embarrassing subject for teens to talk about: dating.  As awkward as it can be to talk about one’s love life, it important to take a look at dating through the lens of our Christian faith. I mean, if you can’t talk about dating with the people in your small group, where are you going to get your answers? Google? YouTube? Yeah, actually, that’s were a lot of teens find answers. Bu t are they good answers? Not really.

This week we are going to talk about the lie that you are incomplete without someone in your life. Not only is this idea untrue, its a very unhealthy way to view oneself.  We must seek to be complete in Jesus before we bring anybody else into the mix.

Discussion Questions

  1. What rules regarding dating does your family have if any? What is the purpose of these rules?
  2. What sort of dating questions do you think people look up online? Why these questions?
  3. What are some dating opinions or perspectives that you have heard that may be unhealthy? Why?
  4. If you were going to come up with your own dating rules (serious dating rules) what would they be?

How to be a Bad Friend- Part Three

“Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good 1 Corinthians 15:33

Tonight we’re gonna talk about peer pressure, and you might be thinking this is all a bunch of after-school-special rubbish. But it is a really big deal. Most of the time when we find ourselves in a bad situation it’s because of someone else’s influence. Don’t let adults fool you! Peer pressure happens to people of all ages, and it’s been true since the beginning of time!

Peer pressure is biased on two basic building blocks: 1) being made to feel like you are missing out 2) being made to feel like you need to prove yourself.

This is exactly what happened in Genesis 3 when the serpent pressured Eve and Eve pressured Adam to eat the fruit God told them not to eat!

Peer pressure is actually the oldest trick in the book!

Friends can make or break each other, so we need to regularly ask ourselves are we being affected negatively by those around us? Are we being led down a food good path or a poor one?

Discussion Questions

  1. When was a time you got in trouble with your friends?
  2. Why is it so easy to give into peer pressure? What does it feel like to have someone pressure you?
  3. Where would you say your friend group is leading you today?
  4. How would things be different for you if you found approval and inclusion in God’s love rather than giving into peer pressure?

How to be a Bad Friend – Part Two

“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” – Proverbs 17:17

Are you trying to get rid of some friends? This week we will look at how our words impact or relationship. We will especially look at how to be mindful of what we say in person and through social media and texting.

  1. What’s the most hurtful thing a loved one has ever said to you?
  2. How do you see these ways of tearing people down among your own friends and in school? Do not share the names of specific people.
  3. In what ways do we fail to consider whether our words are that are true, helpful, inspiring, necessary, or kind (T.H.I.N.K)?
  4. What is one strategy you can use to be more mindful of the words you speak?

How to be a Bad Friend – Part One

“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” – Proverbs 17:17

Do you have so many friends you can’t keep them all straight? Is keeping up with everyone around you becoming a burden?

Could you use a little less drama from some of your more needy peers? Are there too many dog-filter selfies on you Instagram feed? Well, we have the solution for you … LOSE THEM!

I this series we will look at three key features of successful friendships. This week, we will look at Being Present for our friends. We have got to be present for our friends physically, mentally, and emotionally in order to have Christ-like relationships.

Discussion Questions:

1. When was the first time (that you can remember) that you were betrayed by a friend?

2. How does it feel when someone pushes you to the side in a relationship? What message does it send?

3. What are the different types of ways someone can be absent in a friendship?

4. In what ways are you guilty of not being a committed friend?

5. What specific changes do you need to make toward which friends in order to be “a friend at all times”?

Lenses – Part Four

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. -Isaiah 55:8

Over the last few weeks, we have been exploring how to have a more joy-filled, adventurous, satisfying life. It’s something we all want, but few of us know how to get. And I believe if you will look with me to the life of Jesus, you will see that He is the only one who has the answer. If we will take off the lenses that we have been wearing for a long time we can see the world the way Jesus wants us to.

This week, we are going to look at one more example today from the life of Jesus, and examine one final worldview, or lens, that we have been living, maybe without knowing it.  This week’s lense: “I know what’s best or me.” All people, and teens especially, can relate to wanting freedom.  We want to make our own decisions and not listen to rules or people in authority. We want it our way, and society today tells us this is the right perspective, the right lens. And if we are honest, most of us still live with the same lens as the rest of our “postmodern,” “post-truth” society, whether we realize it or not.

But what God wants us to give us, is this: “doing life God’s way is life to the fullest.”  John 10:10 reminds us that Jesus came so that we “may have life, and have it to the full.”

Discussion Questions

  • Recap: what has this series, Lenses, been about? How does it relate to Isaiah 55:8?
  • From tonight’s lesson, what is the difference between “freedom from” and “freedom for?” Give an example of what “freedom for” would look like in your life.
  • How can you be more love motivated versus obedience motivated?
  • What is one area in your life in which God might be calling you to live a more full life the way Jesus describes it? Maybe it’s an attitude change at home or getting to feel more alive while serving others.

Lenses – Part Three

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. -Isaiah 55:8

We are in our third week of this series we are calling Lenses. Together, we are looking at Jesus’ life to see what type of lens He wore.

If you and I examine our lives, we don’t have to search long before we realize that some things are just leaving us empty. The framework in which we see the world is often foggy and faulty, and we need an alternative. We all want to live our best lives and not live it alone. So today, we are going to be talking about loneliness.

In a room full of people, almost all of us have felt alone. This is such a common emotion to feel, and the technology we use to stay connected actually tends to feed our feeling of loneliness.

Here’s the lie we’ve bought into: Im more connected when Im plugged in.

Loneliness has been a problem forever. But now that the norm for communication has shifted from face-to-face interaction to a broader and seemingly safer platform. We are making connections but not building real relationships. This week, we will look at how Jesus built relationships and learn how to see the world through his eyes.

Discussion Questions

  • How often do you feel lonely? What are the common factors that contribute to your loneliness?
  • Do you feel pressured to constantly “be connected” with your phone? How does that impact your relationships and mental health?
  • What does it look like to be selfish in a relationship especially regarding social media? What does it look like to be selfless in a relationship?
  • What stood out to you about Jesus’ dinner with His disciples?
  • So practically, how can you take up Jesus’ command this week to serve others? What step do you need to take to step out of the “selfie-centered lens” and into the “selflessness lens”?