BY: Nathanael Ballew
DATE: Sunday 3 December 2023
‘BIBLE PASSAGES: Read online
Mathew – Chapter 25, verses 1-13
Have you ever been on a rollercoaster? Near the beginning there’s often a steep, slow climb to the top of a hill. As you travel up, expectation grows! And then, as you reach the top, the fun begins as momentum carries you down the hill at speed!
Waiting can sometimes feel like that – like a long, action-less climb before the excitement of what lies ahead. Or, if you like, it’s like get dressed for a party when the party is still hours away. How do we wait well, in preparation for what’s ahead, without getting too discouraged in the wait?
If we want to appreciate Advent fully we need to re-learn how to wait, to rediscover the art of savouring the future, of staying in the present and of finding meaning in the act of waiting. (Paula Gooder)
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BIBLE STUDY QUESTIONS
Each week there are TWO different sets of questions for you to use, whether you are exploring the Bible within your Life Group, in other group settings, or simply using them on your own.
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 in your group):
1 | Was there anything that particularly helped you during the talk?
2 | Was there anything that you didn’t necessarily agree with, or found difficult to understand in the talk?
3 | As a result of the talk, what:
a. Changes do you want to see?
b. Truths do you need to remember?
c. Actions do you need to take?
B | QUESTIONS TO EXPLORE
These are questions that are based on the talk and the surrounding themes:
Read: Mathew – Chapter 25, verses 1-13.
1 | When you have been waiting for something for a long time, what’s your response to the thought that the wait might finally be over?
2 | Read Luke 1:5-25. Zechariah had been waiting so long, both personally and in his role as a priest. Do you find it easier to be cynical if you have been waiting a long time?
3 | Read Luke 1:39-45. How do you think Mary felt during this time of waiting, and what can we learn from the mutual joy they shared?
4 | On Sunday, Nathanael compared Mary’s response to that of Zechariah. What did you make of the differences?
5 | Nathanael quoted from Stephen Colbert, ‘Cynicism masquerades as wisdom, but it is the farthest thing from it. Because cynics don’t learn anything. Because cynicism is a self-imposed blindness, a rejection of the world because we are afraid it will hurt us or disappoint us.’ How might this apply to faith in Jesus?
6 | Lamentations 3:25-26 says, “The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.” What might it mean to ‘wait quietly’ in this way?
7 | How can we help each other to overcome cynicism in our lives and faith?
8 | Take some time to pray, that God would help you overcome unhealthy cynicism in your life.
As you explore these questions pray for one another to deepen and develop your relationship with Jesus.
BIBLE STUDY RESOURCES
The Meaning is in the Waiting by Paula Gooder
Waiting is the primary lesson of Advent, says Paula Gooder. In the company of the biblical characters with whom the candles on the Advent wreath are traditionally associated, she helps us to discover very different kinds of waiting: * Abraham and Sarah–who waited a lifetime for the fulfillment of God’s promises.* The Hebrew prophets–who waited for God’s intervention, both longed for and feared.* John the Baptist–whose ministry marked the end of one era and anticipated the new.* Mary–whose life was shaped by waiting and by events beyond her control. The Meaning Is in the Waiting is arranged for daily reading in the hectic run-up to Christmas. This thoughtful book will enable you to grow more fully into a way of being that is expectant rather than urgent, more focused on God’s presence right now than on some imagined future. You will venture on this journey in companionship with the God who waits with us.