transformed BY TOUGH TIMES
Take a look at the pact that you can sign with a partner. This will solidify the decision you are making to take this journey together.
To answer the questions in the Book Observations and Highlights sections, the chapter readings in the book are essential. If folks haven’t read the material beforehand, you might consider reading it out loud on the spot during your group time. Most chapters are fairly short and can be read in less than five to ten minutes.
Because there are 24 total sessions, we recommend that you break them up into three 8-session blocks so that there can be breathers in between. The last session, #24, has a graduation ceremony of sorts. It’s called the “Ceremony of the Cross.” If you plan to pick and choose sessions, consider ending with this meaningful capper to the learning experience.
“Story” the Bible Passages. One suggestion that can make a huge impact on a group is to assign a group member each session to look ahead to the next session’s Bible story and prepare to tell the story in their own words. There’s no need to tell the story perfectly, because the group can then follow up with questions that clarify what they heard. Often it is fun to ask, “What did they leave out of the story that we can read in the text?” Or, “What did they add to the story that isn’t necessarily in the text?” The feel of this might be like someone telling about a scene in one of their favorite movies. This simple habit will embed the Bible into the participants like nothing else can and is guaranteed to improve the group’s mastery of the Bible as you go along. Try it!
Experiment. This material is designed for you to adapt to your group. If you want to hit the high points but not wade through the whole 24 sessions, that’s fine. It’s legal to be selective about the material and choose what gets you where you think the group needs to go. Note that for most sessions, there is more content than can realistically be done in a normal hour and a half Bible study. If you want to take it slower and cover almost everything, you’ll need to relax about covering all the questions in one setting. Since there are multiple ice breakers, some groups might choose to use two different ones in dealing with the same material over two weeks. The main thing is that each week people need to boil things down to “One Thing.” And that leads us to #5.
Each session, get it down to “One Thing”. As the study goes from Bible passage reflection to partner-to-partner questions, the goal is for you to listen to God and determine the “one thing” you believe you need to do about what you learned from that study. Each session, take a few minutes to ask how everyone is doing on their “one things.” This is the section that will help you see progress and help you stay focused on truly being transformed by your tough times.
Pray like crazy. So much of what you gain through this study will come through times of personal and group prayer. Listen to God and to each other during these days, and see what happens.
Again, take a look at the free download and see the table of contents with the session topics listed.
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