CHAPTER 30 | Paul Arrives in Rome

THE STORY PAGES 450-452 // ACTS 28:11-31

Opening Prayer

Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to guide your time together.


Review Group Member Commitments (explain any as needed):

  1. We do our part to create a safe environment.
  2. We listen to each other.
  3. We commit to share our lives with one another.
  4. We direct each other to God for the solutions to our problems.
  5. We resolve conflict.


Review from Last Week

    • Were you able to tell last week’s story to someone this past week?
    • How did God use last week’s story in your life?


Hook into God’s Word

Have you ever been falsely accused of something? What was it? How did things turn out?


Context of the Story

Paul’s missionary journeys ended after he was imprisoned for sharing the Gospel after his third missions trip. As a Roman citizen, Paul chose to appeal his imprisonment to Caesar in Rome. It was a risk, but also an opportunity to share the Good News with the emperor of the known world. It was not an easy trip to Rome. Paul was miraculously saved from a shipwreck and a poisonous snake bite. Finally he arrived at his destination. He stayed under house arrest until Caesar was available to hear Paul’s case.


Tell the Story

Have the storyteller/reader say, “Here is the story from God’s Word,” before telling the story to the group.


Rebuild the Story

  1. What do you think it would have been like to have the Apostle Paul visit your church?
  2. Why do you think Paul began his ministry in Rome by calling together all the local Jewish leaders?
  3. How do you think Paul might have felt when “Some were convinced by what [Paul] said, but others would not believe” (verse 24).  
  4. What can we learn about God’s plan from the final two verses of this passage?
  5. Did you see anything new in this story?


Application Questions*:

  1. What is your typical response to major life challenges? 
  2. How does Paul’s story challenge you to respond when circumstances in your life seem to be out of control?

Closing

    • Choose a storyteller/reader for next week: Revelation 21:1-14; pp. 467-468.
    • Share prayer requests and pray for each other.


*feel free pick and choose or to add your own questions - more questions can be found in the back of The Story book

CHAPTER 29 | Paul's Bold Proclamation

THE STORY PAGES 415-416 // ACTS 18:1-11

Opening Prayer

Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to guide your time together.


Review Group Member Commitments (explain any as needed):

  1. We do our part to create a safe environment.
  2. We listen to each other.
  3. We commit to share our lives with one another.
  4. We direct each other to God for the solutions to our problems.
  5. We resolve conflict.


Review from Last Week

    • Were you able to tell last week’s story to someone this past week?
    • How did God use last week’s story in your life?


Hook into God’s Word

What has been your experiencing telling others about Jesus? Positive responses? Negative? Do you find it difficult? Why or why not?


Context of the Story

The unlikely apostle, Paul (once called Saul), became one of the most prominent missionaries of the early church. He traveled around the Mediterranean Sea three times sharing the Good News about Jesus. On his second mission trip, he spent a significant amount of time in the Roman city of Corinth.


Tell the Story

Have the storyteller/reader say, “Here is the story from God’s Word,” before telling the story to the group.


Rebuild the Story

  1. Besides obeying God’s call, what was the importance of Paul being a missionary to the Gentile world?
  2. Why do you think Paul started his missionary activity at the Jewish synagogue?
  3. What do you think Paul felt like when his missionary ministry had mixed results?
  4. What does this story reveal to us about God’s plan of salvation?
  5. Did you see anything new in this story?


Application Questions*:

  1. Does what God spoke to Paul in his vision encourage you to share your faith?
  2. Do you have any people in your life who have a general belief in God, but no faith in Jesus for salvation?


Closing

    • Choose a storyteller/reader for next week: Acts 28:11-31; pp. 450-452.
    • Share prayer requests and pray for each other.


*feel free pick and choose or to add your own questions - more questions can be found in the back of The Story book

CHAPTER 28 | Sauls Conversion

THE STORY PAGES 399-400 // Acts 9:1-19

Opening Prayer

Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to guide your time together.


Review Group Member Commitments (explain any as needed):

  1. We do our part to create a safe environment.
  2. We listen to each other.
  3. We commit to share our lives with one another.
  4. We direct each other to God for the solutions to our problems.
  5. We resolve conflict.


Review from Last Week

    • Were you able to tell last week’s story to someone this past week?
    • How did God use last week’s story in your life?


Hook into God’s Word

What was your attitude regarding Jesus and the Church before you started following Jesus yourself? Was your attitude toward Jesus different than toward the Church? Why or why not?


Context of the Story

Jesus’ disciples, filled with the Holy Spirit, were a whole lot braver than the men who ran away from Jesus in the garden before his death. They boldly shared the Good News about Jesus and many put their faith in Him. But not everyone had a positive response. One Jewish religious leader made it his mission to put an end to this group of Jesus’ disciples.


Tell the Story

Have the storyteller/reader say, “Here is the story from God’s Word,” before telling the story to the group.


Rebuild the Story

  1. What is the significance of Saul meeting Jesus on the road to Damascus? To Saul? To the Church?
  2. Why do you think Paul was blinded after meeting Jesus?
  3. How would you have responded if you were Ananias?
  4. What does this story reveal to us about God?
  5. Did you seen anything new in this story? Do you have any questions?


Application Questions*:

  1. Who in your life seems so anti-Jesus that it is hard to believe they will ever become a Christian?
  2. Is there anything preventing you from sharing your faith with people you know who don’t know God?


Closing

    • Choose a storyteller/reader for next week: Acts 18:1-11; pp. 415-416.
    • Share prayer requests and pray for each other.

CHAPTER 26 | Jesus Dies

THE STORY PAGES 379-380 // MAtthew 27:46-54

Opening Prayer

Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to guide your time together.


Review Group Member Commitments (explain any as needed):

    1. We do our part to create a safe environment.
    2. We listen to each other.
    3. We commit to share our lives with one another.
    4. We direct each other to God for the solutions to our problems.
    5. We resolve conflict.


Review from Last Week

    • Were you able to tell last week’s story to someone this past week?
    • How did God use last week’s story in your life?


Hook into God’s Word

Do you have a favorite Lent/Easter tradition? What is it? Why is it your favorite?


Context of the Story 

Even though Jesus knew part of his purpose of coming was to die, it was still agonizingly difficult. Even though Jesus’ disciples had been warned by Jesus that he would die, they still ran away in fear when a group came to arrest Jesus. God’s great story seemed to have encountered a terrible interruption. But the story was not over.


Tell the Story

Have the storyteller/reader say, “Here is the story from God’s Word,” before telling the story to the group.


Rebuild the Story

  1. What is the significance of darkness covering the earth at 3pm?
  2. What did Jesus mean by saying that God had forsaken him? What did “It is finished” mean?
  3. What is the significance of the curtain of the temple being torn open?
  4. What does this story reveal to us about God?
  5. How do you think you would have responded to seeing Jesus on a cross if you were there?


Application Questions*:

  1. Why did Jesus have to die?
  2. Read 2 Corinthians 4:7-12. What role does Jesus’ death play in the daily life of a Christian?
  3. The next time you take part in communion, take some time to consider the things we’ve talked about.


Closing

    • Choose a storyteller/reader for next week: Break for Easter.
    • Share prayer requests and pray for each other.



*feel free pick and choose or to add your own questions - more questions can be found in the back of The Story book


CHAPTER 25 | who will follow jesus?

THE STORY PAGES 361-362 // MARK 10:13-31

Opening Prayer

Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to guide your time together.


Review Group Member Commitments (explain any as needed):

    1. We do our part to create a safe environment.
    2. We listen to each other.
    3. We commit to share our lives with one another.
    4. We direct each other to God for the solutions to our problems.
    5. We resolve conflict.


Review from Last Week

    • Were you able to tell last week’s story to someone this past week?
    • How did God use last week’s story in your life?


Hook into God’s Word

Was there a time in your life that you really understood who Jesus was? What led up to that moment?


Context of the Story 

Jesus ministered to all sorts of people. He met and ministered to healthy and sick, rich and poor, young and old. People from all different backgrounds wanted to be with him and they felt safe to ask him anything.


Tell the Story

Have the storyteller/reader say, “Here is the story from God’s Word,” before telling the story to the group.


Rebuild the Story

  1. Why do you think the disciples rebuked parents bringing their kids to be blessed by Jesus?
  2. What do you think it means that “anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it”?
  3. What does these stories reveal to us about God?
  4. Did you see anything new in these stories?
  5. In your own words why is it hard to enter the Kingdom of God?


Application Questions*:

  1. What have you had to leave in order to follow Jesus? Is there anything that’s been hard to leave?
  2. How might you receive the Kingdom of God like a child?


Closing

    • Choose a storyteller/reader for next week: Matthew 27:46-54; pp. 379-380
    • Share prayer requests and pray for each other.



*feel free pick and choose or to add your own questions - more questions can be found in the back of The Story book



CHAPTER 24 | JESUS heals the demon possessed man

THE STORY PAGES 343-344 // Mark 5:1-20

Opening Prayer

Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to guide your time together.


Review Group Member Commitments (explain any as needed):

    1. We do our part to create a safe environment.
    2. We listen to each other.
    3. We commit to share our lives with one another.
    4. We direct each other to God for the solutions to our problems.
    5. We resolve conflict.


Review from Last Week

    • Were you able to tell last week’s story to someone this past week?
    • How did God use last week’s story in your life?


Hook into God’s Word

Have you ever encountered spiritual darkness? What was it like? What happened? What did it teach you?


Context of the Story 

Jesus was not only a powerful teacher. He also displayed God’s power in action, doing numerous miracles. The stories in the Gospels point out to us that Jesus is truly the Son of God, the Savior of the world. In the story we will hear today we see that Jesus is more powerful than even demons.


Tell the Story

Have the storyteller/reader say, “Here is the story from God’s Word,” before telling the story to the group.


Rebuild the Story

  1. What do you think it might have been like to be one of Jesus’ first disciples?
  2. What would your response have been to meeting a demon-possessed man?
  3. Do you find it interesting that the demons declared publicly who Jesus was?
  4. What does this story reveal to us about the heart of Jesus? What does it reveal about God’s plan?
  5. Did you see anything new in this story?
  6. Do you have any questions about anything in this story?


Application Questions*:

  1. Are you ever afraid of the evil powers in our world? How does this story speak into those fears?
  2. What should our response be to evil and demonic power if we encounter it?


Closing

    • Choose a storyteller/reader for next week: Mark 10:13-31; pp. 361-362
    • Share prayer requests and pray for each other.



*feel free pick and choose or to add your own questions - more questions can be found in the back of The Story book



CHAPTER 23 | Jesus calls his first Disciples

THE STORY PAGES 324-325 // John 1:35-51

Opening Prayer

Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to guide your time together.


Review Group Member Commitments (explain any as needed):

    1. We do our part to create a safe environment.
    2. We listen to each other.
    3. We commit to share our lives with one another.
    4. We direct each other to God for the solutions to our problems.
    5. We resolve conflict.


Review from Last Week

    • Were you able to tell last week’s story to someone this past week?
    • How did God use last week’s story in your life?


Hook into God’s Word

Have you ever been a part of an extremely close group of people? What brought you together? Are you still in contact?


Context of the Story 

It’s hard to imagine what it would have been like to raise the Son of God. Eventually the boy Jesus became a man. He connected with his cousin, John the Baptist who baptized him. Jesus’ baptism set him apart for God’s work. But God’s work involved a community. Jesus began recruiting a group of men to be his disciples.


Tell the Story

Have the storyteller/reader say, “Here is the story from God’s Word,” before telling the story to the group.


Rebuild the Story

  1. Do you think the disciples Jesus chose might have had any fears about following Jesus? What might have excited them about Jesus choosing them?
  2. What can we learn about Jesus choosing the people his did to come follow him?
  3. Why do you think Jesus assembled a team of people? Could he have accomplished God’s will by himself?
  4. Does any part of this story remind you of when Jesus called you to follow him?
  5. Do you have any questions about anything in this story?


Application Questions*:

  1. What makes being in community with others difficult? Why is it necessary?
  2. Is there someone you are intentionally helping follow Jesus?


Closing

    • Choose a storyteller/reader for next week: Mark 5:1-20; pp. 343-344
    • Share prayer requests and pray for each other.



*feel free pick and choose or to add your own questions - more questions can be found in the back of The Story book


CHAPTER 22 | Son of god

THE STORY PAGES 315-316 // Luke 2:41-52

Opening Prayer

Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to guide your time together.


Review Group Member Commitments (explain any as needed):

    1. We do our part to create a safe environment.
    2. We listen to each other.
    3. We commit to share our lives with one another.
    4. We direct each other to God for the solutions to our problems.
    5. We resolve conflict.


Review from Last Week

    • Were you able to tell last week’s story to someone this past week?
    • How did God use last week’s story in your life?


Hook into God’s Word

Has following Jesus ever caused tension in your family? What happened?


Context of the Story 

The time between the Old and New testaments is often called the 400 years of silence. During that time God sent no prophets to Israel. During that time the Greek empire brought a global language and the Roman empire connected their empire through road systems. Israel was under the rule of both of these empires which followed the Babylonian and Person empires. But God was not inactive during this time of “silence.” God finally spoke again to a priest named Zechariah and said that he would have a son in his old age: a final prophet (John the Baptist). And then he spoke to a relative of Zechariah, Mary. Mary would become the mother of God’s son. What was God up to?


Tell the Story

Have the storyteller/reader say, “Here is the story from God’s Word,” before telling the story to the group.


Rebuild the Story

  1. How would you feel if you lost someone you were supposed to be watching?
  2. What is the significance of Jesus being in the temple?
  3. Can you imagine what it would have been like for a 12-year-old to amaze scholars because of his wisdom?
  4. What does this story reveal to us about God?
  5. Did you see anything new in this story?
  6. Do you have any questions about anything in this story?


Application Questions*:

  1. What are some things you have seen God do that you have treasured up in your heart?


Closing

    • Choose a storyteller/reader for next week: John 1:35-51; pp. 324-325
    • Share prayer requests and pray for each other.


*feel free pick and choose or to add your own questions - more questions can be found in the back of The Story book


CHAPTER 21 | NEhemiah faces opposition

THE STORY PAGES 298-299 // Nehemiah 6:1-16

Opening Prayer

Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to guide your time together.


Review Group Member Commitments (explain any as needed):

    1. We do our part to create a safe environment.
    2. We listen to each other.
    3. We commit to share our lives with one another.
    4. We direct each other to God for the solutions to our problems.
    5. We resolve conflict.


Review from Last Week

    • Were you able to tell last week’s story to someone this past week?
    • How did God use last week’s story in your life?


Hook into God’s Word

Have you ever faced opposition when you were trying to do something you believed God wanted you to do?


Context of the Story 

God’s temple was rebuilt and more exiles were allowed to return to the land of Judah. Nehemiah was part of a group that began rebuilding Jerusalem’s walls. Although he had the permission of the king, other local leaders greatly opposed the rebuilding program.


Tell the Story

Have the storyteller/reader say, “Here is the story from God’s Word,” before telling the story to the group.


Rebuild the Story

  1. How would you have responded to the threats of Nehemiah’s enemies?
  2. Isn’t it interesting that the same people who were trying to intimidate Nehemiah by using fear tactics ended up being afraid after the work was completed? What do you think causes people who don’t follow God to be afraid of him?
  3. What does this story reveal to us about people?
  4. Did you see anything new in this story?
  5. Do you have any questions about anything in this story?


Application Questions*:

  1. Has fear ever crippled you and stopped you from doing what God wants you to do?
  2. How can you have courage to keep following God even when you face opposition?


Closing

    • Choose a storyteller/reader for next week: Luke 2:41-52; pp. 315-316
    • Share prayer requests and pray for each other.





*feel free pick and choose or to add your own questions - more questions can be found in the back of The Story book


CHAPTER 20 | Celebrate annihilation day

THE STORY PAGES 288-289 // esther 9:20-28

Opening Prayer

Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to guide your time together.


Review Group Member Commitments (explain any as needed):

    1. We do our part to create a safe environment.
    2. We listen to each other.
    3. We commit to share our lives with one another.
    4. We direct each other to God for the solutions to our problems.
    5. We resolve conflict.


Review from Last Week

    • Were you able to tell last week’s story to someone this past week?
    • How did God use last week’s story in your life?


Hook into God’s Word

Share about a time when God’s timing and your timing were very different. Was God’s time later than you thought it would be or earlier? What did you learn through that experience?


Context of the Story 

Part of Israel’s fall was the destruction of Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem. But God’s time of punishment was nearing the end. In God’s typical miraculous fashion, he put it on the hearts of the kings who had defeated Judah to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem with their own money and supplies. All Israel had to do was the actual work of rebuilding. But things stalled and people began focusing more on their own interests than the rebuilding of God’s temple. It is in this setting that God sent yet another prophet.


Tell the Story

Have the storyteller/reader say, “Here is the story from God’s Word,” before telling the story to the group.


Rebuild the Story

  1. Why do you think God chose not to bless the individual Israelites until they finished rebuilding His temple?
  2. Do you think the Israelites had considered their hardships to be a result of God’s temple lying in ruins?
  3. How encouraging do you think it was to hear the follow-up message from God that he was with them?
  4. What does this story reveal to us about people?
  5. Did you see anything new in this story?
  6. Do you have any questions about anything in this story?


Application Questions*:

  1. What causes you to be more preoccupied with our own interests instead of God’s?
  2. Do you ever forget that God is with you? What are some things that can help you remember?


Closing

    • Choose a storyteller/reader for next week: Esther 9:20-28; pp. 288-289
    • Share prayer requests and pray for each other.


*feel free pick and choose or to add your own questions - more questions can be found in the back of The Story book


CHAPTER 19 | God prompts temple rebuilding

THE STORY PAGES 266-267 // Haggai 1

Opening Prayer

Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to guide your time together.


Review Group Member Commitments (explain any as needed):

    1. We do our part to create a safe environment.
    2. We listen to each other.
    3. We commit to share our lives with one another.
    4. We direct each other to God for the solutions to our problems.
    5. We resolve conflict.


Review from Last Week

    • Were you able to tell last week’s story to someone this past week?
    • How did God use last week’s story in your life?


Hook into God’s Word

Share about a time when God’s timing and your timing were very different. Was God’s time later than you thought it would be or earlier? What did you learn through that experience?


Context of the Story 

Part of Israel’s fall was the destruction of Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem. But God’s time of punishment was nearing the end. In God’s typical miraculous fashion, he put it on the hearts of the kings who had defeated Judah to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem with their own money and supplies. All Israel had to do was the actual work of rebuilding. But things stalled and people began focusing more on their own interests than the rebuilding of God’s temple. It is in this setting that God sent yet another prophet.


Tell the Story

Have the storyteller/reader say, “Here is the story from God’s Word,” before telling the story to the group.


Rebuild the Story

  1. Why do you think God chose not to bless the individual Israelites until they finished rebuilding His temple?
  2. Do you think the Israelites had considered their hardships to be a result of God’s temple lying in ruins?
  3. How encouraging do you think it was to hear the follow-up message from God that he was with them?
  4. What does this story reveal to us about people?
  5. Did you see anything new in this story?
  6. Do you have any questions about anything in this story?


Application Questions*:

  1. What causes you to be more preoccupied with our own interests instead of God’s?
  2. Do you ever forget that God is with you? What are some things that can help you remember?


Closing

    • Choose a storyteller/reader for next week: Esther 9:20-28; pp. 288-289
    • Share prayer requests and pray for each other.


*feel free pick and choose or to add your own questions - more questions can be found in the back of The Story book


CHAPTER 18 | The Fiery Furnace

THE STORY PAGES 254-256 // Daniel 3

Opening Prayer

Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to guide your time together.


Review Group Member Commitments (explain any as needed):

    1. We do our part to create a safe environment.
    2. We listen to each other.
    3. We commit to share our lives with one another.
    4. We direct each other to God for the solutions to our problems.
    5. We resolve conflict.


Review from Last Week

    • Were you able to tell last week’s story to someone this past week?
    • How did God use last week’s story in your life?


Hook into God’s Word

All sorts of voices in our culture cry out, inviting us to compromise our faith. What are some of those messages we hear?


Context of the Story 

God’s plan for the nation of Israel was always that they would be a light for the other nations. Israel did their own thing and didn’t give much thought to showing God to other nations. The kingdom of Judah being taken captive by Babylonia might have been seen by some to be a sign that Israel’s God was weak or not real. But God used this occasion to reveal himself to Babylon, the superpower of that time.


Tell the Story

Have the storyteller/reader say, “Here is the story from God’s Word,” before telling the story to the group.


Rebuild the Story

  1. What do you think it would have been like to be in Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego’s sandals?
  2. Do you think they could have bowed down if in their hearts they still worshipped God?
  3. Who do you think the fourth person in the furnace was? What is the significance of this?
  4. What does this story reveal to us about people?
  5. Did you see anything new in this story?
  6. Do you have any questions about anything in this story?


Application Questions*:

  1. In what ways are you being called to stand up for what you believe rather than bow to society’s demands?
  2. Does the fact that God is with you give you courage? What are some practical ways you can remember he is with you even in the “fire”?


Closing

    • Choose a storyteller/reader for next week: Haggai 1; pp. 266-267
    • Share prayer requests and pray for each other.


*feel free pick and choose or to add your own questions - more questions can be found in the back of The Story book


CHAPTER 17 | Judah FALLS

THE STORY PAGES 242-243 // 2 KINGS 25:4-12, 21b

Opening Prayer

Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to guide your time together.


Review Group Member Commitments (explain any as needed):

    1. We do our part to create a safe environment.
    2. We listen to each other.
    3. We commit to share our lives with one another.
    4. We direct each other to God for the solutions to our problems.
    5. We resolve conflict.


Review from Last Week

    • Were you able to tell last week’s story to someone this past week?
    • How did God use last week’s story in your life?


Hook into God’s Word

Name a movie you saw or a book you read in which you neared the end and things seemed to be concluding all wrong. How did things actually turn out?


Context of the Story 

The line “another one bites the dust” seems appropriate here. Instead of learning from their sister kingdom, Israel, the Kingdom of Judah continued in their own ways of rejecting God. Because of God’s love for King David, the Babylonian victory over Judah was not quite as complete as the Assyrian victory over Israel. Even so, all hope seemed lost.


Tell the Story

Have the storyteller/reader say, “Here is the story from God’s Word,” before telling the story to the group.


Rebuild the Story

  1. Why do you think the Bible records this story? Does it seem like an end or a new beginning?
  2. Can you imagine what it would have been like to have your children murdered be the last thing you see like King Zedekiah?
  3. What does this story reveal to us about people?
  4. Did you see anything new in this story?
  5. Do you have any questions about anything in this story?


Application Questions*:

  1. Have you ever experienced God’s discipline in a way that made you wonder if he could ever work in your life again?
  2. Does it ever feel like Christians are losing ground in our society? Why do you think that is? Is it all the work of Satan? Is it God’s discipline? Could it be both?


Closing

    • Choose a storyteller/reader for next week: Daniel 3; pp. 254-256
    • Share prayer requests and pray for each other.


*feel free pick and choose or to add your own questions - more questions can be found in the back of The Story book


CHAPTER 16 | Isreal Falls

THE STORY PAGES 219-220 // 2 KINGS 17:1-14, 18

Opening Prayer

Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to guide your time together.


Review Group Member Commitments (explain any as needed):

    1. We do our part to create a safe environment.
    2. We listen to each other.
    3. We commit to share our lives with one another.
    4. We direct each other to God for the solutions to our problems.
    5. We resolve conflict.


Review from Last Week

    • Were you able to tell last week’s story to someone this past week?
    • How did God use last week’s story in your life?


Hook into God’s Word

Share about a time you watched a sporting event that looked like it was over, but a team that seemed defeated made an amazing comeback.


Context of the Story 

God had warned the Kingdom of Israel that if they did not follow him, they would lose everything. They didn’t listen to his warning. They clung to all of God’s promises, but didn’t keep their part of the deal. Finally, God allowed their enemies to conquer them completely.


Tell the Story

Have the storyteller/reader say, “Here is the story from God’s Word,” before telling the story to the group.


Rebuild the Story

  1. Recall all the events that led up to this point as a group. Have each person share something from the past chapters that led to this point. What do you think God felt at this point in The Story?
  2. Would you call God patient with Israel? Why or why not? 
  3. What does this story reveal to us about people?
  4. Did you see anything new in this story?
  5. Do you have any questions about anything in this story?
  6. If you were living in the kingdom of Judah, how do you think you would respond to Israel’s fall?


Application Questions*:

  1. Do you see yourself in any of the descriptions of Israel in verses 7-14?
  2. What are ways that we do things “against the Lord [our] God” today?


Closing

    • Choose a storyteller/reader for next week: 2 Kings 25:4-12, 21b; pp. 242-243
    • Share prayer requests and pray for each other.




*feel free pick and choose or to add your own questions - more questions can be found in the back of The Story book


CHAPTER 15 | Elisha

THE STORY PAGES 211-212 // 2 Kings 6:8-23

Opening Prayer

Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to guide your time together.


Review Group Member Commitments (explain any as needed):

    1. We do our part to create a safe environment.
    2. We listen to each other.
    3. We commit to share our lives with one another.
    4. We direct each other to God for the solutions to our problems.
    5. We resolve conflict.

Hook into God’s Word

Share about a time you saw a sign, followed what it said, and were glad you did. Or, tell about a time you missed or ignored a posted sign and suffered for it.


Context of the Story 

God had created a nation from the small, fairly insignificant family of Abraham. But instead of gratefully following God’s instructions, they chose their own way time and time again. It finally led to great division. In fact, the only nation God had ever established was punished for disobeying God. God chose to divide the nation in two. Two different kings ruled the divided kingdom of Israel and Judah. Sometimes the kings were good. Sometimes bad. But God consistently sent prophets to each of the divided kingdoms to call them back to him.


Tell the Story

Have the storyteller/reader say, “Here is the story from God’s Word,” before telling the story to the group.


Rebuild the Story

  1. What do you think it felt like following God and being hunted for it?
  2. What does this story reveal to us about God? 
  3. What do you think it was like for Elisha to see God’s army around him?
  4. How do you think the servant felt when he saw Aram’s army surrounding them? What about when he saw God’s army?
  5. Can you imagine what it might have been like to be in the army of Aram after they were captured?
  6. Do you have any questions about anything in this story?


Application Questions*:

  1. Have you ever faced a situation in which you felt outnumbered? What does it mean to you that “Those who are with guys are more than those who are with them”?
  2. What might help you be better at observing what God is doing in difficult circumstances?


Closing

    • Choose a storyteller/reader for next week: 2 Kings 17:1-14, 18; pp. 219-220
    • Share prayer requests and pray for each other.



*feel free pick and choose or to add your own questions - more questions can be found in the back of The Story book


CHAPTER 10 | SAUL IS chosen as king

THE STORY PAGE 138 // 1 samuel 10:17-26

Opening Prayer

Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to guide your time together.


Review Group Member Commitments (explain any as needed):

    1. We do our part to create a safe environment.
    2. We listen to each other.
    3. We commit to share our lives with one another.
    4. We direct each other to God for the solutions to our problems.
    5. We resolve conflict.


Review from Last Week

    • Were you able to tell last week’s story to someone this past week?
    • How did God use last week’s story in your life?


Hook into God’s Word

Describe yourself as a middle-schooler. What were you into? What styles of clothes did you wear? What music did you like? And who/what were the big influences in your life?


Context of the Story 

At this point in the story Israel formally acknowledged that they would prefer a human leader to God. They wanted their own king. They wanted to be like the other nations around them. Even after God warned them of what a king would inflict upon them, they still chose to have their own king. They rejected God. And he let them have their way.


Tell the Story

Have the storyteller/reader say, “Here is the story from God’s Word,” before telling the story to the group.


Rebuild the Story

  1. Why do you think God let Israel have a king even when he knew it wouldn’t be good for them in the long run?
  2. Do you see any similarities between Saul’s being called by God and others we have read about in The Story (chapters 1-9) who God used?
  3. What did you find interesting in this story?
  4. Do you have any questions about anything in this story?


Application Questions*:

  1. Can you think of a modern day equivalent of Israel’s asking for a king? 
  2. Do we put our trust in political leaders a little too often?
  3. Can we be more enamored with dynamic leaders than God himself? How so?


Closing

    • Choose a storyteller/reader for next week: 1 Samuel 24:1-22; pp. 153-154.
    • Share prayer requests and pray for each other.


*feel free pick and choose or to add your own questions 

- more questions can be found in the back of The Story book


CHAPTER 9 | RUTH

THE STORY PAGES 121-123 // Ruth 1:1-22

Opening Prayer

Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to guide your time together.


Review Group Member Commitments (explain any as needed):

    1. We do our part to create a safe environment.
    2. We listen to each other.
    3. We commit to share our lives with one another.
    4. We direct each other to God for the solutions to our problems.
    5. We resolve conflict.


Review from Last Week

    • Were you able to tell last week’s story to someone this past week?
    • How did God use last week’s story in your life?


Hook into God’s Word

Have you ever had the experience of being a foreigner? What was it like?


Context of the Story 

God had promised Abraham that he (and his descendants) would be a blessing to all people. Specifically, God had promised to bless those who bless Abraham and his descendants. Today we read a story that occurs during the time of Israel’s judges which expresses God’s kindness toward anyone who blesses God’s people.


Tell the Story

Have the storyteller/reader say, “Here is the story from God’s Word,” before telling the story to the group.


Rebuild the Story

  1. Why do you think God told the Israelites not to marry foreign people?
  2. What are some of the unexpected things that occur in this story?
  3. Did you find anything impresses you about the people in this story?
  4. Do you have any questions about anything in this story?


Application Questions*:

  1. Have you ever doubted God’s ability to use someone because of their background?
  2. What are some things about you and your background that might make you an unexpected follower of Jesus?


Closing

    • Choose a storyteller/reader for next week: 1 Samuel 10:17-26; pp. 138.
    • Share prayer requests and pray for each other.



*feel free pick and choose or to add your own questions 

- more questions can be found in the back of The Story book


CHAPTER 8 | DEBORAH

THE STORY PAGES 105-107 // Judges 4:1-24

Opening Prayer

Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to guide your time together.


Review Group Member Commitments (explain any as needed):

    1. We do our part to create a safe environment.
    2. We listen to each other.
    3. We commit to share our lives with one another.
    4. We direct each other to God for the solutions to our problems.
    5. We resolve conflict.


Review from Last Week

    • Were you able to tell last week’s story to someone this past week?
    • How did God use last week’s story in your life?


Hook into God’s Word

What is something that you do today that you swore you would never do earlier in your life?


Context of the Story 

The book of Judges begins where the book of Joshua leaves off: the death of Joshua. The Israelites had followed Joshua who had replaced Moses and led the Israelites into the promised land. Israel had been given their inheritance: the promised land. God was their king, but they tended to buck his leadership. The story of Judges can be summed up in a phrase: “Everyone did what was right in their own eyes.” A pattern emerges in the book of judges: the people of Israel do what they think is right (which is often the opposite of what God has told them to do), then God judges them by allowing their enemies to take them over and rule them, then God raises up a judge to help them break out of their enemies’ grip. Over and over again this is the case.


Tell the Story

Have the storyteller/reader say, “Here is the story from God’s Word,” before telling the story to the group.


Rebuild the Story

  1. What is the significance of God using women to defeat Israel’s enemy in this story?
  2. What do we learn about God’s involvement in human affairs through this story?
  3. Did you find anything interesting about this story?
  4. Do you have any questions about anything in this story?


Application Questions*:

  1. What do you think makes us go backward in our faith?
  2. How have you experienced God’s faithfulness in seasons when you’re growing in your faith? How about times when you seem to be going backwards in your faith?


Closing

    • Choose a storyteller/reader for next week: Ruth 1:1-22; pp. 121-123.
    • Share prayer requests and pray for each other.




*feel free pick and choose or to add your own questions - more questions can be found in the back of The Story book



CHAPTER 7 | JOSHUA DEFEATS FIVE AMORITE KINGS

THE STORY PAGES 96-97 // JOSHUA 10:1-15

Opening Prayer

Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to guide your time together.


Review Group Member Commitments (explain any as needed):

  1. We do our part to create a safe environment.
  2. We listen to each other.
  3. We commit to share our lives with one another.
  4. We direct each other to God for the solutions to our problems.
  5. We resolve conflict.

Review from Last Week

Were you able to tell last week’s story to someone this past week?

How did God use last week’s story in your life?


Hook into God’s Word

Can you think of a time in your life when you were faced with an overwhelming challenge that you needed to confront? What was it and how did you respond?


Context of the Story

Finally, the nation of Israel had entered the land God had promised to their ancestor Abraham! God clearly had given them the land, but they had to fight for it. Some battles were won and others were lost depending upon their obedience to God and the way they trusted Him for the victory.


Tell the Story

Have the storyteller/reader say, “Here is the story from God’s Word,” before telling the story to the group.


Rebuild the Story

  1. What do the string of amazing battle victories the Israelites experienced as they entered the Promised Land reveal about who is really in charge of history?
  2. Why did God order the Israelites to go to war against others? How was this war justified? (See Gen. 15:12-16)
  3. Did you find anything interesting about this story?
  4. Do you have any questions about anything in this story?

Application Questions*:

  1. Have you ever faced something that just seemed impossible from your "lower story" perspective? What happened? Has that experience changed how you face similar challenges today?
  2. What challenge in your life have you put on the back burner, but you know it is time to face it and deal with it? How can your group members pray for you, cheer you on, and keep you accountable?

Closing

Choose a storyteller/reader for next week: Judges 4:1-24; The Story pages 105-107

Share prayer requests and pray for each other.


*feel free pick and choose or to add your own questions - 

more questions can be found in the back of The Story book

CHAPTER 6 | Moses Strikes The rock

The story pages 78-79 // Numbers 20:1-13

Opening Prayer

Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to guide your time together.


Review Group Member Commitments (explain any as needed):

  1. We do our part to create a safe environment.
  2. We listen to each other.
  3. We commit to share our lives with one another.
  4. We direct each other to God for the solutions to our problems.
  5. We resolve conflict.

Review from Last Week

Were you able to tell last week’s story to someone this past week?

How did God use last week’s story in your life?


Hook into God’s Word

Share about a time when you got lost on a drive or hike. Where did things go wrong and how did you finally find your way home?


Context of the Story

Finally things start moving. Instead of waiting a lifetime for the son of the promise (like Abraham and Sarah had to), God blesses Jacob (Israel) with twelve sons. But they didn’t get along any better than Jacob and Esau did. Instead of one of them running away (like their dad), they decide to sell their annoying brother, Joseph, into slavery.


Tell the Story

Have the storyteller/reader say, “Here is the story from God’s Word,” before telling the story to the group.


Rebuild the Story

  1. Why do you think Moses struck the rock at Meribah instead of obeying what God had asked him to do? Why was this so serious?
  2. Did you find anything interesting about this story?
  3. Do you have any questions about anything in this story?
  4. What were the “lower story” circumstances? What was the “upper story” perspective?

Application Questions*:

  1. What type of person/circumstance tries your patience? How do you think God wants you to grow in that area?
  2. Has God ever asked you to do something that didn’t make sense to you? Did you do it? Is he asking you to do something now in the current season you’re in?

Closing

Choose a storyteller/reader for next week: Joshua 10:1-15; The Story pages 96-97.

Share prayer requests and pray for each other.


*feel free pick and choose or to add your own questions - 

more questions can be found in the back of The Story book

CHAPTER 5 | The Tabernacle

THE STORY PAGES 68-69, 70 // exodus 33:7-11; 34:10; 40:34-38

Opening Prayer

Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to guide your time together.


Review Group Member Commitments (explain any as needed):

  1. We do our part to create a safe environment.
  2. We listen to each other.
  3. We commit to share our lives with one another.
  4. We direct each other to God for the solutions to our problems.
  5. We resolve conflict.

Review from Last Week

Were you able to tell last week’s story to someone this past week?

How did God use last week’s story in your life?


Hook into God’s Word

When you were a child, how did you picture or imagine God? How has this changed through the years?


Context of the Story

God miraculously delivered the Israelites out of slavery, out of Egypt, and out of Pharaoh’s grip. The fledgling nation of Israel, led by Moses, spent their first days of freedom in the wilderness being taught and tested by God. God gave their new nation laws that reflected his character and a covenant that reflected his heart. God lived in the camp of the Israelites. His residence was called the tabernacle.


Tell the Story

Have the storyteller/reader say, “Here is the story from God’s Word,” before telling the story to the group.


Rebuild the Story

  1. Why does God living among the people in the tabernacle reveal to us about God?
  2. Why do you think there needed to be some distance between God and the people?
  3. Did you see anything new in this story?
  4. Do you have any questions about anything in this story?
  5. What do you think it would have been like to visibly see God presence in cloud and fire?

Application Questions*:

  1. How does God communicate with you? Are there any similarities between Moses’ relationship with God and your relationship with God? Any differences?
  2. What is the your greatest challenge(s) to following God? In what areas would you like to follow God more?

Closing

Choose a storyteller/reader for next week: Numbers 20:1-13; The Story pages 78-79

Share prayer requests and pray for each other.


*feel free pick and choose or to add your own questions - 

more questions can be found in the back of The Story book

CHAPTER 4 | Moses Saved

THE STORY PAGES 45-46 // Exodus 3:1-15

Opening Prayer

Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to guide your time together.


Review Group Member Commitments (explain any as needed):

  1. We do our part to create a safe environment.
  2. We listen to each other.
  3. We commit to share our lives with one another.
  4. We direct each other to God for the solutions to our problems.
  5. We resolve conflict.

Review from Last Week

Were you able to tell last week’s story to someone this past week?

How did God use last week’s story in your life?


Hook into God’s Word

Who is someone you know who has overcome obstacles and accomplished surprising things? What about that person encourages you?


Context of the Story

Some time after Joseph died a new Egyptian ruler came to power who knew nothing of Joseph and felt threatened by the Israelites. His solution to a growing Israelite population was the murder of all Israelite male babies. His solution to the Israelite threat was to make the Israelites slaves. What would God do? It was time to make it clear to the Egyptians that God alone was God. It was time to free the Israelite slaves and bring them back to the land God has promised to their forefather Abraham.


Tell the Story

Have the storyteller/reader say, “Here is the story from God’s Word,” before telling the story to the group.


Rebuild the Story

  1. Looking specifically any verses 7-10, What did God see, hear, and feel? What did God say he would do? What did God call Moses to do?
  2. What does this story reveal to us about people?
  3. Did you see anything new in this story?
  4. Do you have any questions about anything in this story?
  5. When God gave Moses the “upper story” perspective on the Israelite captivity how did Moses respond?

Application Questions*:

  1. Has God ever asked to you to something you did not feel qualified to do? What was it? What did you do?
  2. Do you ever find that your “lower story” perspective on circumstances makes it hard to believe God’s “upper story”?

Closing

  • Choose a storyteller/reader for next week: Exodus 33:7-11; 34:10; 40:34-38; The Story pages 67, 68, 70.
  • Share prayer requests and pray for each other.


*feel free pick and choose or to add your own questions - 

more questions can be found in the back of The Story book

Chapter 3 | JOseph Forgives

THE STORY PAGES 41-42 // Genesis 50:15-21

Opening Prayer

Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to guide your time together.


Review Group Member Commitments (explain any as needed):

  1. We do our part to create a safe environment.
  2. We listen to each other.
  3. We commit to share our lives with one another.
  4. We direct each other to God for the solutions to our problems.
  5. We resolve conflict.

Review from Last Week

Were you able to tell last week’s story to someone this past week?

How did God use last week’s story in your life?


Hook into God’s Word

If you have brothers or sisters, share about the general temperament among your siblings while growing up in your home.


Context of the Story

Finally things started moving. Instead of waiting a lifetime for the son of the promise (like Abraham and Sarah had to), God blessed Jacob (Israel) with twelve sons. But they didn’t get along any better than Jacob and Esau did. Instead of one of them running away (like their dad), they decided to sell their annoying brother, Joseph, into slavery.


Tell the Story

Have the storyteller/reader say, “Here is the story from God’s Word,” before telling the story to the group.


Rebuild the Story

  1. What does Joseph’s statement to his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good,” tell you about God?
  2. What does this story reveal to us about people?
  3. Did you see anything new in this story?
  4. Do you have any questions about anything in this story?
  5. How did Joseph’s understanding of what God was doing to save Israel in the Upper Story help him deal with what his brothers did in the Lower Story?

Application Questions*:

  1. How does Joseph’s attitude toward his brothers challenge you in some of your own difficult relationships?
  2. Joseph could have retaliated and gotten revenge on his brothers for all the wrong they had done to him. Instead, he provided for them and extended forgiveness. What makes it hard to forgive people who have intentionally wronged us? What can we do to forgive, even when it is difficult?

Closing

Choose a storyteller/reader for next week: Exodus 3:1-15; The Story pages 45-46.

Share prayer requests and pray for each other.


*feel free pick and choose or to add your own questions - 

more questions can be found in the back of The Story book

Chapter 2 | Jacob & Esau

THE STORY PAGES 22-24 // Genesis 32:3-30

Hook into God’s Word

Tell about a time God did something in your life (or the life of someone close to you) that was totally unexpected and surprising.


Context of the Story

Jacob and Esau were the twin grandsons of Abraham. In Chapter 1 of The Story, God made humans in his image, but they sinned against God and brought all sorts of evil into the world. Sin tainted everything, but God made significant promises to Adam and Eve, Noah, and then Abraham. God chose Jacob to start his new nation, Israel, but his feuding with Esau seemed to stand in the way of accomplishing God’s purposes.


Tell the Story

Have the storyteller/reader say, “Here is the story from God’s Word,” before telling the story to the group.


Rebuild the Story

  1. Because Jacob had shrewdly acquired Esau’s birthright and stolen their father’s blessing, Jacob feared his brother’s revenge. How did Jacob prepare for his meeting with Esau?
  2. What attitude did Jacob have when he wrestled with the “man” who Jacob eventually realized was actually God?
  3. What does this story reveal to us about God?
  4. Did you see anything new in this story?
  5. Do you have any questions about anything in this story?


Application Questions*:

Is there anything that you are wrestling God about? What does your wrestling look like?

Does God’s grace toward Jacob remind you of anything in your own life? Who can you extend grace to this week?


Closing

Choose a storyteller/reader for next week: ________________

Share prayer requests and pray for each other.


*feel free pick and choose or to add your own questions - 

more questions can be found in the back of The Story book