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Youth Lesson Recaps

Youth Lesson Recaps

Follow-up with your Teens from Wednesday Night's Lesson at Home

At Bethel, we are committed to help parents fulfill their role in being their teenagers' primarily spiritual discipler by encouraging and equipping them. One way we want to do that is letting parents know what we are teaching and practical ways to continue the conversation at home. Our hope is that this "recap" from Wednesday Night is helpful for parents to engage their teenagers in meaningful and purposeful ways to follow Jesus. Make sometime throughout your week to recap with your teens.

Wednesday, December 8, 2021: James 5:13-20 | The Prayer of Faith

Prayer is one of those topics when brought up in Christian circles can automatically trigger guilt. Sometimes it is a proper guilt because Christians can be truly and sinfully neglecting talking with God. Other times it is unnecessary guilt because, in some sense, Christians can always grow in prayer. In those cases, followers of Jesus need not be burdened down under a weight of never reaching the “pinnacle” of their prayer lives, but let God stir afresh in their hearts to commune with Him. Wherever you are in your prayer life, let James excite you to boldly pray in faith to God.

In our lesson time, we summarized James’s teaching on prayer like this: [1] Prayer is for every season (v 13), [2] Prayer should be both personal and with other Christians, especially apart of a church (vv 14, 16), and [3] Prayer helps us fight against sin (vv 25, 19-20). Read James 5:13-20 together and answer the following questions.

  1. What “seasons” does James mention we should pray during? What “season” are you in and how does James tell you to pray?
  2. Do you think verse 15 is a guaranteed promised that God will always answer in the way we ask Him (in particularly in healing)? See 2 Corinthians 12:8-9 if you need some direction.
  3. What are some blessings of solo prayer time? What are some blessings of praying with other Christians (especially in the same church)?
  4. How can you grow in your prayer life praying on your own? How can you grow in your prayer life praying with other Christians?
  5. What would be some reasons to confess your sin to another believer? Is there a sin you need to confess to God and to another Christian?
  6. Why do you think James brings up Elijah in verses 17-18?
  7. James mentions the possibility of people among them wandering, “from the truth.” What would it look like to bring him back (See Galatians 6:1)? What is a motivation to do this? Is there someone in your life who claims to be a Christian but has wandered away from the truth? Begin praying for that person and look for an opportunity to bring him back.

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Wednesday, December 1, 2021: James 5:1-12 | The Lord's Coming

Whenever God reveals something about the future, it is always to affect the way we respond in the present. Sometimes, it is to warn those who are living in opposition to God in order that they may turn to Him instead of face judgement. Other times, it is to give hope to those who are following God so that they would remain “steadfast” as they suffer, allowing God to develop patience in them. A lot of times, these two purposes are mixed together to both warn and give hope. Read James 5:1-12 together and answer the following questions.

  1. What terms do you see James use to indicate that he is referring to something in the future?
  2. In light of what is to come, what warnings do you see in this passage?
  3. In light of what is to come, what messages of hope do you see in this passage?
  4. Discuss anything else that stands out to you in this passage.
  5. How does James call his readers to respond?
  6. How does the fact that the Lord will come again affect you? Does it cause you to fear? Does it cause you to hope? What do you think is behind that response?
  7. How does the Gospel affect what you treasure and/or how you patiently endure suffering?

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Wednesday, November 17, 2021: James 4:13-17 | Boasting About Tomorrow

This passage comes to bear on teenagers in a unique way. Teenagers are approaching important crossroads in their lives when they, as well as society, ask them about their future plans. This brings many important theological issues to the surface - such as decerning the will of God and factoring one’s desires into making decisions. But let us not forget this simple yet profound admonishing from James when discussion plans. James doesn’t criticize the making and carrying out of plans. Rather, he corrects the proud attitude that acts like we are guaranteed tomorrow and ignoring God’s sovereign hand over our lives.

Coach your teenager in applying what James is talking about in their lives. [Also, don’t shy away from leading the discussion by sharing how this comes to bear on your life as well.] Read James 4:13-17 and discuss the following questions.

  1. James uses the mist as an illustration. What is it illustrating? Are there other reminders we see every day to illustrate the same thing?
  2. What is the difference between statement in verse 15 and verse 13? What are some things we can practically do to live and speak like verse 15 rather than verse 13?
  3. What plans in your life do you need to consider God in? Tell that to someone else asking them to pray for you about those plans.
  4. How does the Gospel affect the way you view your short life?
  5. Pray together. In your own words, tell God what this passage says about your life and ask God to help you plan with Him and eternity in mind.

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Wednesday, November 10, 2021: James 4:1-12 | Source of Fights

The Bible is so realistic! This is haunting, humbling, and eventually liberating (if we let God’s Word and the Spirit of God have their way in us). It is haunting because it shows a bleak picture of our hearts without Jesus. It is humbling because, on our own, there is nothing we can do about it. We are utterly dependent on someone outside of ourselves to rescue us. And it is liberating because if we are willing to come to God admitting these realities, we will find His grace.

In this week’s passage, James addresses the issue of fighting (especially in the context of church life and with other believers). He helpfully identifies the source of fights (our evil passions, vv 1-3), diagnosis the problem (friendship with the world, vv 4-5), gives a cure for the problem (God’s grace on the humble, vv 6-10), and gives a final warning (remember who the true judge is, vv 11-12). Read James 4:1-12 together and discuss the following questions.

  1. As is characteristic of James, he uses very graphic ways to communicate his message. Identify some of them together. What effect do these ways of talking about fighting and our sinful hearts have on you – what truths do they communicate?
  2. What has God shown you about your heart after reading James 4:1-12?
  3. How can you humble yourself before God?
  4. How can God’s grace enable you to submit to God and resist the Devil?
  5. Spend some time in prayer talking to God about these matters.

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Wednesday, November 3, 2021: James 3:13-18 | Wisdom from Above

This week, James takes us back to the familiar theme of wisdom. In chapter 1, we saw our need for wisdom, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” (1:5). Now James gives us a way to distinguish between God’s wisdom (wisdom from above) and worldly wisdom. This is so important because we will live our lives according to some type of wisdom. Let James’ descriptions of these different and competing wisdoms be a diagnostic of what wisdom you are living by. And by God’s grace, let us lean on the wisdom that He promises to give if we would humble ourselves and ask Him for it.

  1. Read through James 3:13-18. List the evidences, characteristics, and results of each wisdom.
  2. Spend some time honestly and humbly evaluating your lives together. What evidences do you see in your life of either wisdom? What characteristics? What results? Keep in mind, no one but Jesus has a perfect track record. So, we all can grow. This would be wise of you to admit (cf James 3:13)!
  3. Read Philippians 2:1-10. What connections can you find in this passage to James 3:13-18? How does one’s relationship with Jesus enable him/her to have the attitude of Christ described in Philippians 2?
  4. Pray together, thanking God for Jesus; thanking God for the forgiveness He has provided in His life, death, and resurrection. Ask God for wisdom – for the ability to detect worldly wisdom in your life and to produce fruit in your life based on wisdom from above.

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Wednesday, October 13, 2021: James 3:1-12 | Taming the Tongue

As we move through the letter of James, we will cycle back around to themes that are familiar to us but just with a different emphasis. This week’s passage (James 3:1-12) we revisit the theme of our speech (1:19, 26). We can sum it up in 3 major points: (1) There is a warning to teachers and aspiring teachers in the church, verse 1; (2) Even though the tongue is small, it can have a big impact [the negative impact is emphasized in this passage], verses 2-8; and (3) our words come from inside of us, verses 9-12. Spend some time together as a family by reading, discussing, and praying through this portion of Scripture.

  1. Read through James 3:1-12. What is James’s diagnosis of our tongues? What does this say about us as people?
  2. Some sins of the tongue are mentioned in this passage. What are they? What other sinful speech could we add to this list? How do you think social media could be misused to sin with our words?
  3. What is a Christian’s only hope to tame the tongue if it is in fact true that, “…no human being can tame the tongue”? (v. 8; for a hint see Luke 18:27)
  4. Allow God to search your heart. What does your speech tell you about your heart? Do you need a new heart altogether – trusting in the person and work of Jesus to make you a new creation? Is there a sin you need to confess? Do you need to rely on God to grow in maturity in controlling your tongue and using it for him and impacting others for His glory? Spend some time in prayer responding to God humbly and dependently.

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Wednesday, October 6, 2021: James 2:14-26 | Faith Without Works is Dead

This week’s passage is the underlying theme of the entire book of James. Genuine faith in Jesus Christ is evidenced by the way someone lives – whether it is how someone handles trials (1:2), how someone faces temptation (1:12-15), how someone responds to the Word of God (1:22), or how someone treats others (2:1). Review the lesson by reading the passage and work through the following questions.

  1. What theological tensions or questions arise in your mind after reading a passage like this?
  2. Knowing that God cannot lie or make a mistake help you think about apparent contradictions? What is the difference between contradicting claims and complementary claims?
  3. What evidence do you see that James is describing 2 different kinds of faiths? Compare them with each other.
  4. Discuss the following quote: “Faith alone saves, but faith that saves is never alone but is accompanied by living deeds.” – perhaps first articulated this way by John Calvin
  5. Honestly, which faith that James describes resembles your faith? How should you now respond? Examples: Thank God for genuine faith and keep trusting Him to produce more fruit of righteousness in your life. Ask God for His help to start to live out your faith.

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Wednesday, September 29, 2021: Philippians 3:7-14 (Fields of Faith @ West Central High School)

Bethel Bible Youth joined many other students from the area to gather in our common faith and purpose at West Central High School for the annual Fields of Faith rally (put on by Fellowship of Christian Athletes). The speaker, Ryan McCarty, challenged us from Philippians 3:7-14. The big idea was that Christians are not to settle with just good intentions; rather, they are to be intentional about their relationship with Jesus. Some follow-up questions you can discuss as a family are...

  • What stood out to you from the Fields of Faith event?
  • What is the difference between having good intentions and being intentional?
  • What would it look like for you to be intentional about your relationship with Jesus? This involves throwing off what is slowing you down (Hebrews 12:1) and looking and running toward Jesus (Hebrews 12:2, Philippians 2:14). Be specific for how this applies to your life.
  • Pray and ask God for wisdom and strength to strain forward to what lies ahead in your Christian walk (see Philippians. 3:13-14).

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Wednesday, September 22, 2021: James 2:1-13

As James continues to tackle the question, "what does living faith look like?" he addresses the sin of partiality - that is, treating someone better based on man-made distinctions with the hopes of getting a favorable outcome for oneself.

Read James 2:1-13 and discuss...

  • Based on the example that James gives (2:2-4), how would you define partiality?
  • What are some other ways we could sin in showing partiality in our context today?
  • In verse 8, what does James say the "royal law is?" How does that relate to showing pariality?
  • What does it make you think or feel when you read verses 10-11? How does the Gospel of Jesus relieve the tension that our lawbreaking deserves?

Application...

  • Is there a sin you need to repent of (turn from)? Have you been showing partiality to only people who can benefit you? Have you been neglecting people who can't return the favor? Confess it to God. You may need to ask others you have hurt for forgiveness. Ask God to help you for help to turn from self-love and self-service to loving others as God in Christ has loved you.
  • Who is an "outcast" you can show love? Is there someone who we can show love to as a family? How can you/we practically do this?

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