Week #1

 

"Why Are We Afraid”?

 

 

  1. Often we fear different things during different seasons of our lives.  Remember back when you were a child.  What were you most fearful of?  When you were a young adult? In your 50s? When you or your spouse retired?

  • What causes your heartbeat to race, your palms to sweat? What makes you afraid now?

  1. Are fear and happiness able to coexist?

 

Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24 Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”

26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

27 The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!” (Matthew 8:23-27)

 

  1. When Matthew wrote his gospel, he referred to this storm as a seismos –“a trembling eruption of sea and sky”. The word is only used two other times. Once at Jesus’ death (Matthew 27:50-52) and again at his resurrection (Matthew 28:1-2). What is the significance of using the same word at all three instances?  What do we learn about God in each story?

  2. The storm story reminds us that disciples of Jesus can expect rough seas and dangerous winds. Christ-followers contract malaria, bury children, battle addiction, are victims of Covid-19 and can be victims of violence, and as a result are called to face their fears.
    1. Why is life filled with trouble for Christians?

    2. What makes pain and anguish different for Christians?

  3. Write a brief sentence about how each of these verses have been true (or not true) in your own experience.

    1. Joshua 1:9 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

    2. Isaiah 43:1-3 “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. 2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.
      When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.3 For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;

    3. Psalm 121 “I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? 2 My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. 3 He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber; 4 indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. 5 The Lord watches over you— the Lord is your shade at your right hand; 6 the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. 7 The Lord will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; 8 the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.”

    4. Matthew 9:2  “Take courage, son; your sins are forgiven”.

    5. Luke 12:32 “Do not fear, little flock for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”

    6. Luke 8:50 “Don’t be afraid.  Just believe, and your daughter will be well”.

    7. Matthew 24:6 “You will hear of ward and rumors of wars but see to it that you are not alarmed”.

  4. When in your experience, has courage overcome fear to accomplish something good?

  5. Describe a time when your life was in chaos, but you could clearly see that Jesus was unstirred by the storm.

  6. Have you ever felt that Jesus was sleeping through the storms in your life?  How did you respond – in anger, in frustration, in hurt or with understanding?

  7. Does it bring you comfort to know that this reaction is intentional on his part, not accidental or ignorant?  If not, how does it make you feel?

  8. Describe a time in your life when Jesus spoke the storm in your life and the winds calmed and the waves stilled.  How did this encounter with fear increase your awe of God?

 

 

Over the course of the next week, remind yourself of God’s track record in your life – when he has calmed the storms in your life. When you find yourself struggling against fear, pull this list out and remind yourself that God is capable.