The Point: Jesus is the way to the Father; therefore, we can live in peace.
- Get Into the Study
- Live It Out
- Additional Questions
- Member Extra
- Tips for Leading Bible Study Groups
Get Into the Study
Use the following information to introduce Question #1.
Begin by sharing these statistics:
The American Psychological Association recently released the results of its Stress in America survey. Among their findings, they reported that the top sources of significant stress were:
Money – 67%
Work – 65%
Family responsibilities – 54%
Personal health concerns – 51%
Health problems affecting their family – 50%
Economy – 50%
The survey also revealed that the average reported stress levels in the US have increased slightly over the past two years. And 24% of adults in the US report that they experience extreme stress.
Say: It can be challenging for people to ever feel at peace with this level of stress in their lives.
Then direct attention to Question #1, PSG, p. 45, (“When have you felt most at peace?”). Call for volunteers to share responses.
Information for this post was gleaned from here:
Live It Out
Use the following activity to wrap up this session.
Horatio Spafford (1828-1888) was a wealthy Chicago lawyer with a thriving legal practice, a beautiful home, a wife, four daughters and a son. He was also a devout Christian and faithful student of the Scriptures.
At the very height of his financial and professional success, Horatio and his wife Anna suffered the tragic loss of their young son. Shortly thereafter on October 8, 1871, the Great Chicago Fire destroyed almost every real estate investment that Spafford had.
In 1873, Spafford scheduled a boat trip to Europe in order to give his wife and daughters a much needed vacation and time to recover from the tragedy.. Spafford sent his wife and daughters ahead of him while he remained in Chicago to take care of some unexpected last minute business. Several days later he received notice that his family’s ship had encountered a collision. All four of his daughters drowned; only his wife had survived.1 He heard about the accident and he received a telegram from his wife: ‘Saved. Alone,'” he noted.1
With a heavy heart, Spafford boarded a boat that would take him to his grieving Anna in England. It was on this trip that he penned those now famous words, When sorrow like sea billows roll; it is well, it is well with my soul.
Of the song, one pastor wrote:
“And you can hear the point ‘where sorrows like sea billows roll whatever my lot you have taught me to say it is well, it is well with my soul.'”
“So the question is how could it be well? He knew Christ loved him. He saw it in the cross. And when he gets to the end, he has Christ coming back with a great triumph not to judge him but to save him and to raise his daughters from the dead so ‘it is well with my soul.’ No song quite gets it in terms of its cadence, its tune and especially its words. It doesn’t get any better than sorrowful yet always rejoicing through ‘it is well, it is well’ with my soul.”2
In advance, copy and print the lyrics to “It Is Well.” (Find them here.) Have someone read the lyrics aloud or distribute them to your group members. Allow time for them to read them. Afterwards, discuss the following questions:
- Why is the story that birthed the song meaningful?
- How do both the songwriter and his lyrics drive home the reality that peace is possible for the Christian?
- This story proves that things we worry about could actually happen. What must Christians do to cultivate peace that will respond as Horatio Spafford did?
- Personal reflection: Do you truly believe in the wake of a tragedy of this magnitude, all could be well with your soul?
Emily Jennings wrote this Leader Extra. Emily is wife to Brian and Mommy to her three sweet boys. She loves serving at FBC, Woodstock, Georgia, where her husband is Middle School Pastor. Find her on Twitter: @emilyejennings.
- What trouble did you get into as a kid?
- How would you make the world more peaceful?
- What would life be like if we were exempt from trouble?
- What ideas or images come to mind when you hear the word “peace”?
- When have you recently felt at peace?
- Where do you go when you need to feel at peace?
- How difficult is it to obey Jesus’ command to believe in Him?
- What prevents you from trusting Jesus?
- What makes it hard to trust God?
- When did you last call upon God to help you through a difficult time?
- What are some common factors that cause our hearts to be troubled?
- When have you recently wished for peace?
- What do you look forward to in eternity with God?
- How does Jesus’ promise that He will come back give you comfort?
- What happens when we die? What’s next?
- What would you tell others about how to get to heaven?
- What emotions do you experience when you read these verses?
- What are the specific promises Jesus made in these verses?
- How does Jesus’ claim as the way, the truth, and the life help us today?
- What makes the exclusivity of the Gospel so hard for people to accept?
- Do all roads lead to heaven?
- What are the implications of Jesus’ claims in these verses for today’s culture?
- What are the implications of Jesus’ claims for our everyday lives?
- How do these verses inspire you to hope?
- How do these verses produce peace?
Share the following with your group members as either a devotional before the group study or as a follow-up devotional: