Post Author: Sarah Auger

Sarah is a member of our leadership team and is responsible for all the Groups (Life Groups and Community Groups) at Riverside.
June 27, 2021
Take Hold | S3: Despite The Odds

Teaching Series Introduction:

We have a once in a generation chance. There is so much pain behind us, and so much possibility ahead. What if this is the moment? What if now is the time to throw off the past, and take hold of a future that really is different. What if now is the time to take hold of life?

TAKE HOLD: Session 3

TITLE: Despite The Odds
BY: Sarah Auger
DATE: 27 June 2021
BIBLE PASSAGE: Nehemiah (Chapter 4, verses 1-6)

Change is never easy! Anything that is worth doing will face opposition, both from outside and from within. How do we keep going despite the odds?

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Study Questions

There are three different sets of questions for you to use, whether you are exploring God’s word within your Life Group, in other group settings, or simply using them on your own. (If the below questions are blank, please know that we will be updating this blog post as soon as possible. We thank you for your patience and understanding).


These are simple questions to provoke discussion together out of the talk (ideal if you are watching our Sunday Service online with others):

  1. What aspects of the talk were particularly helpful or impacting  for you?

  2. Was there anything that Sarah said in the talk that you weren’t sure about, or didn’t understand, or even disagreed with?

  3. From the talk, what one thing are you going to try and put into practice in your life?


These are questions that are based on the talk and the surrounding themes:

  1. Have you ever been involved in a project or activity that became really challenging at a certain stage? At times like that, is your natural tendency to ‘dig deeper’ to try and overcome those difficulties or are you more like to do everything to try and ‘avoid difficulty’?

  2. Cast your eyes through Nehemiah 3. What do you notice about the different types of people who were, and weren’t, involved in the building project? How does this encourage you?

  3. Read Nehemiah 4:1-6. What strikes you about the opposition that Nehemiah faced? What is behind it and how does it manifest itself?

  4. When faced with opposition or even ridicule, it can be natural to doubt the things we are doing and be tempted to give up. What does Nehemiah do in response? (see v4-5, 9, 13-14, 19-23)

  5. As we think about the path ahead for us as a church, what encouragements can we take from this passage?

  6. In Nehemiah 5, there is a reminder that the project risked being disrupted because of the way God’s people behaved towards each other. In a sense, then, the ’threat’ to the project came both from obvious opposition, but also from simply treating each other harshly and without grace. Nehemiah urges them to treat each other with generosity (v9-11) and also lives differently himself  (see. verse 14-19)?   What might this have to say to us today in how we treat each other as we move forwards as a church?

  7. Take some time to pray, that God would give you the right perspective when faced with difficulties. As we step forward in faith as a church, give thanks for the opportunity to ‘rebuild’ and ask God for the strength to keep going even in the middle of it getting hard. Thank God that, because of Jesus, we know that God looks upon his people ‘with favour’ (v19). 


These are questions to help you go a little deeper, by exploring the wider biblical context. 

  1. As a general rule, when you are involved in challenging projects, are you the sort of person who is more likely to be put off completing it because of ‘external’ challenges (eg. opposition, criticism) or because of ‘internal’ challenges (eg. lack of confidence, doubt etc)?

  2. Read through Nehemiah 3. What are the different roles and contributions that everyone plays? What does this show us about unity within God’s people, and the role that everyone has to play?

  3. In light of Nehemiah 3, read 1 Corinthians 12:12-31. How does this encourage us as a church, as we move forwards in the future? What part do you think you might have to play?

  4. According to Nehemiah 2:10, Nehemiah faced opposition because he ‘had come to promote the welfare’ of the people. Nehemiah chapter 4 describes the threats and opposition that they faced. What forms does this opposition take? Read Matthew 5:10-12. How do we react in the face of opposition?

  5. In Nehemiah chapter 5, we discover a problem that God’s people faced. Take a look at Deuteronomy 5:12-15 and 24:10-15 as a background to this chapter. What is going on, and why is it such a problem? 

  6. How does Nehemiah respond to these internal challenges in chapter 5? What principles in Romans 12:14-21 should we bear in mind in how we are called to treat each other?

  7. As we take hold of the future that God has for us, pray that God would give us the ability to push on through difficulties, whilst looking after each other well. Thank God that, because of Jesus, we know that God looks upon his people ‘with favour’ (v19). 


  1. A short simple video summary of the Book of Nehemiah and the wider context (8mins…worth watching!)

  2. A helpful explanation of the “exile”:

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Riverside is a church made up of people from a diversity of backgrounds and experiences all with one thing in common, our discovery of God and his amazing love. 

We are on a journey together to ‘help people get to know Jesus and grow as his followers’. 

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