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