Yesterday we kicked-off a brand new series called “Hold Fast,” taking a look at the life of Jonah. May God empower us to live by faith instead of fear, as we hold fast to Christ!
If you haven’t had a chance to catch the online worship experience this week, you can do so here.
Psalm 46 is a short but powerful example of faith in the midst of difficulty.
Read Psalm 46:1-3
These verses describe catastrophic change. Make a list of the most unsettling changes in your life right now. Now, list the three truths about God the Psalmist declares in verse 1. Beside each item on your list, jot down a one-sentence prayer, claiming either the refuge, strength, or help of God in light of your reality.
Read Psalm 46:4-9
Verse four is interesting because no such river exists in Jerusalem, the “city of God.” A river was an enormous, life-sustaining asset to a city in biblical times, but there were only small streams in Jerusalem. By describing a river that brings joy to the city of Jerusalem, the Psalmist is looking forward. Read Revelations 22:1. What do you think the river symbolizes?
If you enjoy visual or artistic worship, draw a river at the bottom of your paper or journal. Along the river, write phrases from Psalm 46 that capture the life-giving nature of God. For instance, you could write “God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved” (verse 5) or “the God of Jacob is our fortress.” Write as many phrases as you like, and get as creative with the visual as you desire; no grades will be given!
Read Psalm 46:10-11
How could you set aside time this week to “be still and know that He is God”? If you are a planner, budget some time for stillness and spiritual reflection in your schedule this week.
In closing, the Psalmist affirms three realities: that God will be exalted on earth, that He is always with us, and that God is our fortress. Write each of these truths in your journal or on a sheet of paper. Around each of those truths, make an old-school spider web — draw branches coming off each truth and jot down implications of those truths.
Grace Communities: Sermon Discussion Questions
- On a scale of 1-10, how familiar are you with the book of Jonah? (1=I’ve never heard of it; 10=I could teach a course on it)
- Have you ever tried to run from God’s will for your life? Would anyone like to share about a season when you ran from God?
- Pastor Mike defines faith as a series of choices we make that expresses our trust in God. Think about the choices you’ve been making lately with your time, money, and affections. Do they reveal trust in God, or trust in something else?
- Because God is a good Father, we can trust that when He brings storms into our lives, His ultimate purpose is pure and loving. How have you seen glimmers of God’s love in past or current storms?
How do you hope to grow or change through this sermon series? What was your biggest takeaway from the opening scene of Jonah’s story?
GraceStudents 5th/6th Grade
Word of the Week—Transcendent
Last week we learned that God is “immanent,” or close to us. “Transcendent” is a word that describes another side of God’s character. It means “supreme” and “other-worldly.” So get this, God is both “within our world” (immanent) and “outside our world” (transcendent.)
That means He’s personal and close (immanent), but also mighty and Ruler of everything (transcendent.) Ready for a game? Read each of the verses below and decide whether they describe the immanence or transcendence of God.
- “The Lord has set his throne in heaven. And his kingdom rules over everything.” (Psalm 103:19)
- “God even knows how many hairs are on your head. So don’t be afraid. You are worth much more to Him than many birds.” (Matthew 10:30-31)
- “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.” (Psalm 34:18)
- “Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways. And my thoughts are higher than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:9)
- “You are the Lord Most High over all the earth. You are supreme over all gods.” (Psalm 97:9)
- “God is not far from any of us…for we are His children.” (Acts 17:27-28)
Here is an answer key, if you’re curious to check your answers:
Verses about God’s Transcendence: 1, 4, 5
Verses about God’s Immanence: 2, 3, 6
GraceStudents (7-12 Grades)
If you haven’t done so already, be sure to download the zoom app on your device so you can tune in to our live GraceStudents service every Sunday night! For more information and links, head to the calendar.
Also, get devotionals for students here.