•Share a fear scenario, created in your head that has never happened.
•In the message this week, was there anything that particularly caught your attention, challenged or confused you?
•Neal VanDeventer shared his fear with the church on Sunday. Have your fears ever been so clear to you?
-What’s the value in clearly defining your fears?
-Could you share your fears with the group like he did?
•Read James 1:27. Of all the things James could have used to define ‘pure and faultless religion,’ why did he choose caring for widows and orphans? Why not something else?
-How would taking care of the ‘least and the lowest,’ the ‘poorest of the poor’ keep your heart from becoming “polluted or stained by the world?”
-What do you think the Holy Spirit is prompting you to do?
-What specific help can we as a group give you in moving forward?
Take a moment and put yourself in their shoes
As a man…
You have some basic farming skills but can barely feed your own family, let alone have anything to sell. There aren’t any jobs available, especially because you didn’t finish the fifth grade. You are stressed all the time and cannot sleep at night. You begin drinking cheap moonshine just to quiet the voice in your head that calls you are a worthless failure. But quickly you become so addicted that you wake up thirsty and for alcohol. Sometimes you hit your wife and children out of suppressed frustration and miss placed anger. You’re mad at your parents, God, and yourself. You hate your life and all you want is another drink to numb everything.
As a woman…
You worked hard to support your family but could never make ends meet. Your marriage deteriorated, and now your husband is constantly drunk. You need to make money, and supposedly, brewing moonshine is easy and lucrative; it would only take a few months to save up enough to start a reputable business. Years later, your home is a brewing den, full of customers day and night. Your children work for you instead of going to school. You live in constant fear of your husband, belligerent customers, and the police. You want out but don’t know how to leave. Can God be good when life seems this hopeless?
As a child…
You loved school. You were a good student, making the teachers proud. Then you had to drop out to help your mom brew. She promised it would only be for a semester. Now, years later, your home is full of drunk people who treat you like garbage. You and your siblings are always hungry. Sometimes you steal moonshine just to help you fall asleep when the hunger is unbearable. Mom and dad are always fighting, and you have bruises to show how strong dad is when he’s drunk. You don’t dream about returning to school anymore. You just wish you could stop being hungry, sick, and in pain.
8 First, help me never to tell a lie.
Second, give me neither poverty nor riches!
Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. 9 For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?”
And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name. Proverbs 30:8-9 NLT