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 5
TITLE: Picking Yourself Up
BY: Judy Moore
DATE: 11 July 2021
BIBLE PASSAGE: Nehemiah (Chapter 9, verses 1-3)
We all get things wrong, and sometimes it gets ugly. When we do so, how do we pick ourselves up and resolve to move forwards and take hold of what is ahead?
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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).
A. DISCUSSION STARTERS
These are simple questions to provoke discussion together out of the talk (ideal if you are watching our Sunday Service online with others):
- What particularly struck you, or connected with you in Judy’s talk?
- Was there anything that you didn’t quite understand, or you’re not sure if you agree with in Judy’s talk?
- If there was one particular thing that you wanted to do or change, as a result of the talk, what would it be?
b. QUESTIONS TO EXPLORE
These are questions that are based on the talk and the surrounding themes:
- How good are you at coping with failure?
- Read Nehemiah 9:1-3. What do you notice about their attitude to their sins and failure? How important do you think it is to confess to, and with, other people?
- Why do you think we find it so difficult to admit that we have got things wrong to each other, and to God?
- Notice in verse 3 that they confessed after reading the scriptures. Why do you think this could be? In what way should reading the scriptures naturally lead to a humility in us?
- Nehemiah 9:6-37 records the longest prayer in the Bible! Notice how each verse begins in v6-15. What different aspects of God’s character and actions do they reveal? How might this naturally lead to the confession we read in v16 onwards? What about in our lives – how does a healthy, biblical view of God change the way we see ourselves, and our actions?
- As Christians, how might our prayers be similar to this one in Nehemiah 9, and how should they be different? What difference does Jesus make to this kind of prayer? And, as we head forwards as a church, how does a healthy approach to confession help us as we take hold of the future?
- Take some time to pray, asking that God would give you a right view of yourself, and him. Pray through some of the characteristics of God in Nehemiah 9:6-15, and ask him for forgiveness, and thank him for the freedom and grace in Jesus.
C. GOING DEEPER
These are questions to help you go a little deeper, by exploring the wider biblical context.
- We all fail at times. How good are you at dealing with failure? Why do you think that is?
- Read Nehemiah 9:1-3. This section of Nehemiah links back to chapter 8:9 – God’s people have been convicted of their sin as they read the scriptures. What is the relationship between reading the bible and becoming aware of our sin and failure? (You may want to take a look at some other examples of how God speaks in the scriptures to reveal our need of forgiveness – 2 Chronicles 34:18-21; Psalm 119:1-8; 2 Timothy 3:14-17.)
- Notice in verse 3 that their awareness of sin naturally leads to ‘confession’ and ‘worship’. Why do you think this is? How does the bible show us the freedom that is to be found in confessing our sin? (See for example, Proverbs 28:13; 1 John 1:8-10; James 5:16)
- Take a look at the provocative quote below from Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in which he describes the importance of confessing to each other, as well as to God. What do you make of it?
- Nehemiah 9:6-37 is the longest written prayer in the bible. Notice how each verse begins in v6-15. And then, notice the shift from v16-31. Write down, perhaps in two columns, everything that is recorded about God’s character and activity, and everything that is written about their own actions. Compare the two – what do you notice?
- In Nehemiah 9:32-27, after having confessed, they finally begin ‘asking’ God for something. What specifically do they ask for in v32? Take a look at Exodus 3:7-10 – another time when God also saw their suffering and acted. In what ways is Jesus the ultimate answer to any prayer that says ‘Don’t you see what I am going through?’
- Read Hebrews 13:10-21. How is the prayer of a Christian different to the prayer in Nehemiah 9:6-37? What difference does the death and resurrection of Jesus make to our prayers?
- Take some time to pray, asking that God would give you a right view of yourself and him. Pray through some of the characteristics of God in Nehemiah 9:6-15, and ask him for forgiveness, and thank him for the freedom and grace in Jesus.
QUOTE: “Why is it that it is often easier for us to confess our sins to God than to a brother? God is holy and sinless, He is a just judge of evil and the enemy of all disobedience. But a brother is sinful as we are. He knows from his own experience the dark night of secret sin. Why should we not find it easier to go to a brother than to the holy God? But if we do, we must ask ourselves whether we have not often been deceiving ourselves with our confession of sin to God, whether we have not rather been confessing our sins to ourselves and also granting ourselves absolution…Who can give us the certainty that, in the confession and the forgiveness of our sins, we are not dealing with ourselves but with the living God? God gives us this certainty through our brother. Our brother breaks the circle of self-deception. A man who confesses his sins in the presence of a brother knows that he is no longer alone with himself; he experiences the presence of God in the reality of the other person.” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)
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