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This week at Nine35 we talked about…
November 10, 2013
We had the leaders talk about items they use that require electricity to operate, such as a toaster, a hair dryer, a DVD player, and so on. Then we asked the following questions:
- How effective are these items if they aren’t plugged in and receiving electricity? How does the absence of power limit their effectiveness?
- Without electricity, what could each of these items actually be used for? Give me some alternative uses for them.
- How is this illustration similar to our need for a spiritual power source?
Without electricity, these items fail to fulfill their purpose. We might be able to find secondary uses for them, but their intended designs can’t be fulfilled. Similarly, we need to remain connected to a spiritual power source—we need the Holy Spirit empowering us to fulfill our God-given purpose. This lesson unpacks some truths about the Holy Spirit and how the Spirit works in our lives.
Read Acts 1:4-11
Before Jesus ascended into heaven here in Acts 1, he gave his followers some important words of hope and a message about the Holy Spirit. Let’s see how these words still impact us today.
1. The Holy Spirit is God’s promised gift
- Why do we give gifts to other people? What are some of the reasons?
- Why do you think the Spirit is referred to as a gift from God the Father?
- Later in this chapter, we learn that about 120 of Jesus’ followers obeyed his instruction to not leave Jerusalem until they received the gift of the Holy Spirit. Do you think it would have been easy or difficult for them to obey Jesus? Why?
It is an amazing thing when we consider that the Holy Spirit, who is God himself, permanently dwells inside of us. It is wonderful, incredible, mysterious, and sometimes hard to wrap our brains around! But we can be confident that the gift Jesus promised is the gift you currently have inside of you if you are a believer, a follower of Christ. The presence of God’s Spirit in our lives is a powerful reminder of God’s love for us and a reminder of God’s faithfulness in keeping his promises.
2. The Holy Spirit is our power source for sharing our faith
- What are the three biggest obstacles you face in talking about your faith with others?
- How does it feel to read Jesus’ words that the Holy Spirit would be your power source for the knowledge and boldness needed to talk about your faith? How does this speak directly to the obstacles you identified a moment ago?
- In verse 8, Jesus says his disciples would be his witnesses; he doesn’t really seem to leave room for this being an optional activity for Christians. Why is it important for every follower of Christ to share their faith with people?
- What’s the difference between being a witness for Jesus in “Jerusalem”—basically our own community—and being a witness for Jesus in “the ends of the earth”—basically the most distant parts of our world?
Most of you mentioned common, real-life obstacles to sharing your faith, but God has given us the boldness and power we need to overcome these obstacles! If we aren’t developing the habit of sharing our faith with others, we are failing to make use of what God has given us; we aren’t fully connecting with the power source God has provided. We have the power to be bold in how we talk about our faith. We simply have to pray for the Holy Spirit to work in our lives when the opportunities arise.
- How can you take God up on his promise to empower you through the Holy Spirit? How can you see just how much power he as given you?
November 3, 2013
- What are some of the biggest rules for your family? What rules, when you break them, drive your parents crazy?
- What is the number one “little” rule you seem to always be getting in trouble for?
- How do you know when you’ve goofed up and made your parents mad at you?
- What was the hardest punishment you’ve ever received for breaking one of these rules?
It’s no fun to ever get in trouble, even though some of these stories are funny. Getting in trouble is something every one of us can relate to. We’ve all been there, and unfortunately many of us will be there again! But as hard as it is to stomach sometimes, there is a reason for discipline. It has a purpose. And that is what we’re going to talk about in today’s lesson.
Read Hebrews 12:5-11
This is the last of our four-lesson look at the book of Hebrews. This week’s lesson tackles the challenging topic of God’s discipline. Let’s check it out.
1. God’s discipline is motivated by love
- Why do parents discipline their children?
- What is the purpose of your parents’ discipline? What is the goal of it?
- What’s the difference between discipline and punishment?
- Verse 7 speaks to something that we need to acknowledge, but that might be tough depending on our relationships with our parents. If your parents didn’t love you or care for you, would they worry about trying to correct your behavior?
- How is this so similar to how God uses discipline in our lives? If God didn’t discipline us, what would that say about God’s attitude toward us?
Discipline is not fun. That’s an understatement. But it’s an essential nature of God’s character. God disciplines us because he loves us. God disciplines us because he wants us to be like him. God disciplines us because he wants us to live fuller lives, lives that make an impact. We need to always remember that truth.
2. God’s discipline draws us closer to him
- Verses 9 and 10 express a truth that is kind of hard to deal with at times, but when we step back, it becomes easier to grasp. When our parents, a coach, a teacher, or another meaningful authority figure exhibits fair, consistent discipline, how does it affect our respect level for them, knowing that they care for us?
- What do these verses say is the purpose of God’s discipline? Why should this be a goal of ours as well?
- Could we become more like God without discipline? Why or why not?
God’s discipline makes us more like God. The only scenario in which we wouldn’t need to be disciplined is if we never veered from God’s path. Except, we do that, all the time, because of our sin nature. So God must bring us back in line with his plan of who we are and can be. God uses discipline to change us into his image. And, again, it’s done out of love. But it’s also done with an eye toward who we will be in the future.
3. God’s discipline leads to growth and a better future
- Obviously, discipline stinks in the moment. But what does verse 11 say is the future fruit of discipline?
- What does a peaceful harvest of right living mean in this verse?
- How does discipline today lead to peace with God in the future?
It all goes back to God’s love for us. God is active in shaping our lives. God is not some hands-off power who sits in the heavens detached from creation. God longs for us to be who he intended us to be in the first place: faithful, obedient, loving children who live our lives in relationship with him, praising and glorifying his name. Because of our sin, we can’t fully be these things. But God knows that disciplining us today means crafting a future for us that is full of promise and potential.
- Think about times in your life when you sinned and faced consequences. Without saying more than you are comfortable saying, what have you learned from these experiences?
- What is a healthy way of responding to God’s discipline?
- If we are constantly committing the same sins and facing God’s discipline, how can we pray for God’s help in changing our patterns of behavior?
October 27, 2013
We watched the following video: youtube.com/watch?v=dDnrLv6z-mM .
What’s your reaction to this video? Can you possibly imagine how difficult it is for Dick Hoyt, the father, to do what he does for his son, Rick? Do you think Dick Hoyt has ever wanted to quit or give up? What do you think keeps Dick Hoyt going when things get tough?
There are times when any racer gets tired. And there are moments where every racer must reach deep down and draw on some source of strength. For Dick Hoyt, it is the incredible love and commitment he has for his son. We get tired in our spiritual lives as well. And in our struggle to lead the lives God wants us to lead, we need a source for renewing our strength.
Read Hebrews 12:1-3
Let’s spend a few minutes discovering some truths in this passage about renewing our strength.
1. Get rid of burdens to renew your strength
- Imagine racing to the top of a hill or the stairwell of a skyscraper while carrying a huge, heavy backpack. How would this burden hinder you?
- How is the Christian experience similar to a race, as we see described in verse 1? How is it different?
- What are some factors that can wear you out spiritually?
- How is sin similar to the heavy backpack I mentioned a few moments ago? How does sin become a burden in the race toward spiritual maturity?
There are quite a few ways that we can become tired spiritually: when we are constantly standing up for our faith, especially if it means having difficult conversations with others; when we feel left out or ridiculed because we have taken a specific stand for a principle we believe in; when we struggle with our own issues, trying to be the person Christ wants us to be. Sin is an especially heavy burden that makes us weary. That’s why the writer of Hebrews says we must get rid of every weight, every burden that keeps us from fully following God.
2. Turn to Jesus to renew your strength
- When runners run a race, what do they focus on? What is their goal?
- What does it mean to keep our eyes focused on Jesus, as verse 2 says?
- What can distract our attention away from Jesus and cause us to focus on our limitations, our weaknesses, or other things that knock us off course?
- Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection are what we are supposed to focus on, according to the author of Hebrews, in order to make sure we are spiritually strong and focused. How do you think this is helpful in renewing our spiritual strength?What is the alternative? What if we lose focus on Christ as our source of spiritual energy? What must we rely on then?
Like a runner looking at the finish line, we are to put all our focus on Christ. We are to see him and his ways as the object of our lives. When we do this, we keep all the other distractions in our lives that can pull our focus away from God at bay. We truly lock in on the one who is capable of seeing us through our spiritual journeys. But it’s not just some mysterious spiritual trick to stay strong. We can turn to Jesus to renew our strength.
3. Shift your perspective to renew your strength
- As we consider the pressures we face in our lives, especially our spiritual lives, how is Jesus an example to us?
- Verse 3 essentially says that when we think about everything Jesus experienced, it puts our lives into proper perspective. What if Jesus had never been through suffering or temptation? How would it change the way he serves as an example and helps us shift our perspective?
- Knowing that Christ experienced more than any of us will ever go through, how is he the perfect source of strength?
Life is hard. Things get tough. But we have a Savior who went ahead of us and experienced all we might experience and so much more. Jesus’ example of how he walked through the tough times is a perfect example for us. We can look to Christ for strength. More than that, we can look to how he relied on the Father, on Scriptures, and on others for strength and encouragement.
- Think about some times when you have been really tired spiritually, when maybe you wanted to just give up or give in. What was that like?
- How spiritually tired are you today? What factors have contributed to your weariness and fatigue? How can I pray for you?
- What are some ways you can recharge your spiritual batteries? How do you practically build back up your spiritual strength?
- What if you aren’t spiritually tired right now? How can you prepare yourself for those moments, if and when they do come in your life?
October 20, 2013
Many of life’s greatest experiences would be less memorable if we went through them alone: athletic competitions, rock concerts, slumber parties—even the least enjoyable classes at school can become memorable if our friends are sharing the pain with us! Today’s lesson is going to illustrate the importance of other people on our spiritual journeys. Each of us is ultimately responsible for following Christ and growing spiritually, yet the Bible also teaches that we need each other. Let’s take a closer look.
Read Hebrews 10:23-25
Let’s spend a few minutes discovering some important ideas about helping one another grow spiritually and build Jesus-centered lives.
1. Find confidence in God’s faithfulness
Our faith, the life we have in Christ, is built on trust and hope. God will never fail us. God will never back down. God will never walk away. God keeps all of his promises. And God wants us to be people who are dependable and trustworthy and faithful. But it’s not just about being individuals. It’s about your role as a faithful member of your spiritual community.
- In verse 23, the author of Hebrews says God can be trusted—how have you seen God’s faithfulness displayed recently in your life or in another person’s life?
- This passage focuses on the idea that as a community, we’re supposed to be people who hold confidently and resolutely to our faith. How do you see this playing out in your group of friends? How do you see this playing out in the greater body of Christ-followers in your school?
- How can God’s faithfulness inspire the confidence we need to genuinely care for other people, the other followers of Christ that God has brought into our lives?
2. Motivate others toward spiritual growth
- Have you ever seen yourself as a part of your friends’ spiritual growth? Why or why not?
- What kind of influence does verse 24 show you potentially having on others?
- Why would God want us to motivate and encourage other Christ-followers in their faith? Why can’t we just go it alone without other Christians?
- What are the rewards of encouraging others toward spiritual growth—and having others encourage you toward spiritual growth?
There’s a good chance that many of you have not considered that you are actually called to be an influential part of your friends’ spiritual development. But if you think about what we know from Scripture, this really shouldn’t be such a big surprise to us, should it? It’s all about how seriously we take our call to be all we can be as Christ-followers. God doesn’t call the “awesome” Christians to one standard and the “sub-par” Christians to another. God calls all of us to follow him and his ways and to encourage other followers of Christ along the way.
3. Choose to be a person of encouragement and hope
- What role does encouragement play in your life as a friend to others?
- What does verse 25 mean when it speaks to the idea of hope?
- According to this verse, what role does consistent fellowship play in what we’ve been talking about in this lesson?
- What are the positive effects on others—especially those who do not know Christ—who might see you and your friends acting in ways that are positive and uplifting to one another? How is this different than the behavior you see around you every day at school?
Never underestimate the impact you can have on your friends and on others by simply being a bright spot in their lives. Because we are so concerned about what we look like to others, we often don’t take risks. We don’t want to look different. We want to play it cool. We want to seem like we’re totally in control. And going out of our way to build up and encourage others can leave us vulnerable. What if they don’t return our efforts? Or worse, what if they tear us down? If we are confident in our faith and in our faith community of friends, we will take the risk of building others up, of speaking God’s truth and love into their lives.
- Think of a time recently when you had a positive influence on a friend. How did that make you feel? What could this potentially do for your friendship in the long run?
- What kind of friend do you want to be? Describe the influence you would like to have on your friends.
- What changes do you need to make in your life to be the kind of friend and influencer you need to be?
- How could we as a group put the ideas from Colossians 3 into practice in our small group, our youth ministry, and our church?
October 13, 2013
We watched the following YouTube video up to the 2:07 mark: youtube.com/watch?v=irQ-X8KbbwE.
- How accurately did this video represent the kinds of answers you would hear at your school if you asked other teenagers what they thought of the Bible?
- How would you have answered the question if you had been in the crowd the day this video was filmed?
- What is your attitude toward the Bible? How has your perspective on the Bible changed in recent months or over the past couple of years?
This video opens the door to some great conversation, and the question they used is a question you could even ask your friends during an informal conversation. Our attitude toward the Bible shapes how we read it, obey it, and talk about it with other people. This is the first of four lessons looking at the book of Hebrews, which you might not have studied much before. It was written specifically to first-century Jews who had become Christ-followers. But the book remains relevant and practical for us, as we’ll discover in today’s lesson.
Read Hebrews 4:12-13
Let’s jump in and see what we can learn from these verses about the significance of God’s Word.
1. God’s Word can radically transform our lives
- When the writer of Hebrews says in verse 12 that God’s Word is alive and powerful, what does that mean to you?
- If the Bible is alive and powerful, what does that say about its ability to be relevant today?
- Without the Bible, how would you know God and his character—or the power and purpose of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection?
The Bible is not an outdated textbook. It’s not a trite “handbook for life.” It’s not a quick reference guide to hot-button issues. It’s God’s story. It is a sweeping narrative of God’s plan to redeem humanity from sin. It is powerful. It is alive. And it can transform our lives, molding us into the people God desires for us to be.
2. God’s Word speaks to our deepest secrets and fears
- Don’t answer this out loud, but think about your biggest insecurities, your biggest fears, your biggest flaws, your hidden sin. How does it feel to hear a specific Bible verse or passage of Scripture that speaks to one of these issues in your life?
- What is it about God’s Word that penetrates our best defenses, as verse 12 describes?
- Though it’s uncomfortable, why is this a good thing? Why is it awesome that God’s Word is able to blast through our defenses and assault our weaknesses?
Nothing is hidden from God’s Word. Like an ancient sword would cut through anything in its path, God’s Word is capable of piercing our deepest thoughts and emotions. We can’t hide from it. We can’t pretend with God’s Word like we can with other people. But we should actually celebrate this! If we are to be the people God wants us to be, if we are to live powerful lives on mission for God and the kingdom, we can welcome the conviction, correction, and direction God’s Word brings to our lives.
3. God’s Word is the standard for leading a Jesus-centered life
- Why is it such a struggle to maintain pure thoughts and a good heart?
- How do you know what a godly thought, action, or attitude is?
- Sometimes we think it’s enough to simply not act “bad.” But what about our attitudes? If we do the right things but still have a crummy attitude, why would this displease God?
- How can you measure your life against God’s Word if you don’t study and know it? What does this say about the importance of the Bible in our lives?
God’s Word is the standard for measuring our attitudes and our actions. There are plenty of ways we can “act good.” But the Bible speaks to so much more than just acting good. The ways of God are so different than the ways of the world. We can fool ourselves if we try to be “good people” without the right motivation or direction. That can only come from God’s Word.
- What are the biggest obstacles or hurdles you have when it comes to studying the Bible? What are some practical ideas or steps for overcoming these?
- What are some new insights, habits, or attitudes that might help you approach the Bible with a fresh perspective?
- What if we committed to one week of putting our solutions in place? Let’s agree to keep in touch during the week and meet back next week ready to talk about whether or not we were able to push through some of these obstacles.
October 6, 2013
- How long can you stand on just one foot and maintain your balance?
- What if the ground or floor under you began to shift or buckle? If you didn’t have a firm foundation, how long could you stand on one foot without falling?
- When builders construct homes, they pour a foundation before actually building the structure. What would happen if you attempted to build a house without a solid foundation?
A house is only as strong as its foundation. If the foundation is on soft ground, the house will sink and settle over the years, ruining its structural integrity. Foundations are important. And the bigger the building, the bigger the foundation has to be to support the weight of the structure. When it comes to our lives with Christ, our foundation is absolutely essential. The more we mature, the stronger our foundation becomes. What is the foundation of our life with Christ? Let’s dig in to find out!
Read 2 Timothy 3:14-16
Let’s spend a few minutes exploring these verses to see how we can build stronger lives of faith through God’s Word.
1. The Bible is a reliable, dependable foundation for our lives
- What books or sections of the Bible do you enjoy reading most, and why? Where do you find the greatest inspiration and encouragement in the Bible?
- What are some ways you have seen God’s Word prove to be true and reliable?
- How and when did you first learn about the truths of the Bible? Who introduced you to what you could discover in God’s Word?
- What role do the people in your life who believe in and follow God’s Word play in helping you come to believe that it’s true and reliable?
The Bible must become the very core of our relationship with God. This is what the Bible was intended for: to lead us closer to God through our knowledge of God and God’s ways. But we don’t get there overnight. While the Bible is true and valid and inspired by God, our belief in God’s Word as the foundation for our lives is often arrived at through a process of seeking to know God’s Word more, having its truth illuminated by the Holy Spirit, and living out experiences that confirm God’s Word as foundational.
2. Our faith is built through our knowledge of God
- Think about the people you most trust. How did they earn your trust? Did it happen overnight? Explain.
- How have you developed your faith and trust in God? How has God proven to be faithful and trustworthy?
- What are the main ways we get to know God?
- How does reading the Bible help us discover more about God’s faithfulness and trustworthiness?
We can’t follow what we don’t know. The salvation made available through Christ is made known to us through the Bible. The rich life of purpose and faith made available to all who follow Christ is articulated in Scripture. The saving knowledge we have of God comes through the Bible. If we don’t grow in our knowledge of God through God’s Word, we miss out on so much.
3. The Bible provides wisdom for all areas of life
- Which purpose of Scripture in verse 16 do you like best, and why? Which do you like least, and why?
- Have you taken advantage of opportunities to help other people discover the truths of the Bible—in other words, to use God’s Word for the purpose of teaching? Why or why not?
- How does the Bible help us realize what is wrong in our lives? How have you seen this happen in your life?
- How does God’s Word provide a simple “attitude check” for you? How does it keep you on the right path?
- How does God’s Word take us from a childlike faith into a mature faith?
As we think about our lives, there really is no other standard to live by other than God’s Word. It is completely sufficient and capable in leading us in all aspects of our lives. It is the lens through which we view the world and our place in it. If we desire to develop a deep faith, it can’t be done apart from a knowledge and application of the Bible.
- Look back at 2 Timothy 3:16, where Paul listed purposes of Scripture. Which one is the most active in your life right now?
- Which aspect of Scripture is most missing in your life? How can you grow in this area?
- What is the biggest challenge you face when it comes to reading the Bible?
- Why is it hard sometimes to take what you read and apply it to your life? What steps can we all take together
September 29, 2013
- Do you prefer when people treat you rudely or kindly? Why?
- How do people respond to how they are being treated? For instance, if you treat someone with kindness, how do they usually respond? Is the same true for treating someone with hostility?
- Why are we prone to respond this way?
Friendships are at the heart of being a teenager. And with friendships come good and bad times. No matter how good of friends you are with someone, arguments will happen. How we respond to those arguments reveals what’s really in our hearts. If we react with hostility, we almost guarantee we’ll provoke a hostile response in them. Or we can respond with kindness and peacefulness.
Read 2 Timothy 2:22-24
Let’s take a deeper look at Paul’s words to Timothy about what to avoid and what to pursue, especially when it comes to relationships.
1. Pursue peace instead of drama
- Why do the teenage years seem to be filled with so much drama? Do you think life becomes less dramatic as you get older? Why or why not?
- How can pursuing things that stimulate youthful lusts, as verse 22 warns against, create drama in your life?
- Paul’s words to Timothy echo the passage we studied in our first lesson, when he encouraged Timothy to be a person who set a God-honoring example. Why was Paul so concerned about Timothy, a young leader, being a person of love and faith?
- Paul also tells Timothy to pursue peace. Where do you see a lack of peace in your life and relationships? Which relationships are peaceful ones for you?
Paul says that we are to pursue peace. This word pursue is an action verb. It doesn’t mean that we’re supposed to sit back and not participate in the drama. It means we’re supposed to seek out the best in our relationships with our friends and family, and be part of the solution of bringing peace and harmony to them. We are to be people who want love and faith and peace to be a significant part of our lives.
2. Avoid the “small stuff”
- In the context of this letter to Timothy, Paul is probably first talking about disagreements and arguments regarding different teachings about God. How often are you aware of disagreements between people who believe in God? Is it something you encounter? If so, what kinds of things have you heard people disagree on?
- Are there major issues surrounding God and his ways that are worth taking a stand for, even if it results in a disagreement? If so, what would those be?
- If we expand Paul’s definition to include any argument that is minor or doesn’t have any real merit, what is Paul really saying to us?
- Why is it so easy to get wrapped up in an argument?
In God’s kingdom, there is room for a difference of opinion between Christians. Scripture allows for some gray areas. However, Scripture is also black and white about many things. And in these areas, it’s important not to get distracted by arguments. But from a broader perspective, avoiding arguments over life’s “small stuff” is great advice. Many conflicts can be traced back to arguments over issues with ultimately little significance.
3. Imitate God’s kindness and patience
- What are some of the possible results of arguments with or between friends?
- How is kindness, which Paul mentions in verse 24, an argument killer?
- What will kindness ultimately do for your relationships with others?
Kindness is so hard sometimes! Especially when the object of our kindness is not doing anything to earn it. But this truth actually separates a kindness motivated by Christ from the kindness of just being a nice person. The love and kindness of Christ shows itself regardless of whether or not the other person or people deserve it. In fact, in many cases, it is a kindness that is displayed in the face of hostility. If we demonstrate a kindness that is born out of Christ in our lives, we stand a better chance of uplifting peace in our interactions with others.
- What role can you play in resolving conflict, instead of allowing disagreements to continue or grow?
- How can you avoid drama-filled relationships and pursue peace-filled relationships? What situations or groups of people might you choose to avoid if you want to make better choices of friends?
- What are some specific ways you can demonstrate kindness this next week—especially to people who don’t deserve kindness?
September 15, 2013
- How much do your parents know and understand about teenager culture? Use a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 saying, “they’re totally out of touch” and 10 saying, “you’d think they were still teenagers.”
- What’s the most recent example of this “generation gap” that you and your parents have experienced?
- Do you think your parents experienced this same challenge with your grandparents? Why or why not?
The culture gap between teenagers and parents is one of the challenges of growing up. For some families, this gap is wider than others. But no matter how wide, there will always be parts of your culture that parents don’t get, and vice-versa. The age difference makes for a bit of separation, confusion, and humor at times. This lesson will focus on a way you can help bridge the gap with your parents and other adults.
Read 1 Timothy 4:11-16
Let’s spend a few minutes looking at the specific ideas the Apostle Paul shares with his young protégé Timothy in this passage.
1. Don’t listen to the critics
- Without turning this into a complaint session against adults, what are some ways adults might think less of you because of your age?
- How does it feel when someone dismisses or disregards you because you’re a teenager?
- What are some right ways to respond to this kind of treatment? What are some wrong ways?
- Verse 12 would seem to indicate that the Apostle Paul was aware that Timothy, a young Christian leader, had faced obstacles or opposition because of his age. This letter was written nearly 2,000 years ago, so how does it feel to know that the generation gap has been around for a long time?
When people dismiss or disregard you because you’re young, you can respond with a forgiving, merciful attitude, or you can become angry, bitter, and resentful. God wants you to have the right attitude toward anyone who might think less of you because of your age. This may sound easier to say than do, but simply focus on your responsibilities, your personal character, and your relationship with God. Don’t get caught in a firefight with your critics.
2. View your age as an asset, not a liability
- In verse 12, Paul encourages Timothy to be an example to other Christians, and then he identifies a number of ways in verses 12 to 16 to be the right kind of example. Which habit or activity in these verses catches your attention, and why?
- What are some contributions that you as a teenager might make to a church, a ministry, or a community that an adult couldn’t offer?
- Now think about our differences from the other perspective. How can you demonstrate appreciation to adults for what they offer?
- What are some legitimate limitations or liabilities you have as a teenager, and how can you take steps to overcome or minimize these issues?
- How does your daily life set an example for others on how a Christ-follower can live?
You have awesome opportunities to make a big impact for Christ. Your life is full of chances to set an example for others, and as a teenager you contribute a level of energy, optimism, idealism, and enthusiasm that adults don’t always have. God chose you to be born in your immediate social and cultural context. God’s purpose for creating you was primarily to bring him glory, but God also calls you to live as an example to others of what a vibrant, dynamic life in Christ can look like. When you lead a Jesus-centered life, you turn your age from a disadvantage into an advantage.
3. Commit to leading a life of integrity
- In verse 12, Paul tells Timothy to be an example through his purity. Was he talking just about sexual purity, or did he mean something more? Explain.
- Where are teenagers most tempted by things that could be considered “impure”?
- In verse 16, Paul encourages Timothy to remain focused on God’s truth and to live a life filled with integrity. In other words, Timothy’s influence would be expanded if he lived a consistent life. Why is integrity important for a follower of Christ?
- Couldn’t you just wait until you are older to become a person of integrity? Isn’t it OK to wait until you knew this stuff better? Explain.
Paul encourages Timothy to be a person known for his integrity, his consistency in following Christ. Consistency doesn’t mean perfection. We all make mistakes, have areas of weakness, and seek God’s help in overcoming temptation and sin. But if you are setting examples for others in the way you consistently follow Jesus, you will make a powerful statement to other Christians and to our culture.
- Think about the specific areas Paul identified in 1 Timothy 4:12—your speech, your day-to-day life, your love, your faith, and your purity. In which area are you doing best right now? Where are you most struggling, and what steps could you take to grow in this area?
- What steps can help you become a person known for your integrity? What habits would help you become more consistent in how you follow Christ?
- How can you encourage one another to have the right attitude when people think less of you or other teenagers because of your age, without becoming angry or resentful toward adults?
*Simply Youth Ministry LIVE Curriculum