The Source for Youth Ministry
Jonathan's Resource Ezine

Weekly Resources, Ideas and Articles from The Source for Youth Ministry
Tuesday, September 21, 2004

In This Issue

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Something You Can Use: Hurricane Discussion Starter?by Danette & Jonathan

As members of the Gross family huddled amid mattresses in a narrow hallway, Hurricane Charley ripped their home from around them. The family listened and prayed as Charley screamed around the house like a buzz- saw unleashed, chewing up the pool cage, lanai (veranda or open-sided living room), and carport, then shearing off steel-bolted porch pillars, walls, and most of the roof, opening the interior to torrential rains.

After the storm screamed north, Ralph Gross and his daughter Sarah had emerged to survey the wreckage when four neighbors walked up. "See?" one neighbor spat, knowing the Grosses were Christians. "This is the God you have, who would allow this kind of pain and destruction."

Sarah, 15, looked the man in the eye and said: "No, you've missed it: This is the God who delivered you."

*WORLD Magazine, Aug. 28, 2004, "More Like a Bombing than a Hurricane," by Lynn Vincent. (entire article)

  • Why are people sometimes quick to blame God when disaster strikes?
  • Are they right?
  • Why do you think Sarah saw the situation differently than her neighbor?
  • Is she right, or did Sarah miss something?
  • How does God provide comfort during suffering?
  • Does anyone know what the Bible says about suffering?
  • Read the following passage:
      2 Cor. 1:3-7 (NIV)
         Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, [4] who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. [5] For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. [6] If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. [7] And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.
  • What word did you hear over and over again in these verses?
  • Share a time when something really bad happened and you were comforted by someone.
  • What was it that gave you comfort or hope in the situation?
Suffering is unavoidable. Loss occurs. Loved ones will die. Friends will move away. The question is: How do we cope during these tough times? Where is the hope in times of suffering?

Paul wrote the above verses to a group of people who chose to follow Jesus, and because of their commitment to Him, they were facing hard times. During these hard times, Paul encourages them with three promises of hope in times of suffering.

1. Triumph through endurance:
Paul tells us in verse 6 that one of the end results of suffering is endurance. Just like an athlete works out and lifts weights, suffering works out our spiritual muscles producing endurance. Then we are stronger as we approach future difficulties. We aren't just supposed to accept suffering, we are supposed to triumph over it.

2. Comfort that we WILL be able to cope, because we're not alone:
The Bible scholar Barkley says, "But we are not left to face this trial and to provide this endurance alone. There comes to us the comfort of God. Between verses 3 and 7 the noun comfort or the verb to comfort occurs no fewer than nine times. Comfort in the New Testament always means far more than soothing sympathy. Always it is true to its root meaning, for its root is the Latin fortis and fortis means brave. Christian comfort is the comfort which brings courage and enables a man to cope with all that life can do to him. Paul was quite sure that God never sends a man a vision without the power to work it out and never sends him a task without the strength to do it."

3. Power to comfort others:
As we receive comfort from God and others, we can then pass that comfort to others.



Small Group Opener: This and That

Here's a quick opener/activity sent in by Ethan Rogers that you can use in a small group setting. You don't want to announce this as a game- it's not. It's just a fun way of getting to know each other a little better.

Get into a circle and select someone to begin, then move clockwise around the circle. The first person says two similar items like pizza and ice cream (both foods). Then the second person has to say the thing they like better out of the two ... in 3 seconds or less. If they make the time limit they get to say two things to the next person. But if they do not make it, the next person says two items, and so on ...


This Week: YS Anaheim, Krispy Kreme's and Jonathan's new book

This Thursday is the first day of the Youth Specialties National Youth Workers Convention in Anaheim California. This event is in three cities across the U.S. again this fall, and THE SOURCE will be at all three conventions.

Some things you'll want to know about THE SOURCE at the conventions this year:
  • Jonathan will be teaching his "Reaching Out to Unchurched Teenagers" seminar (CLICK HERE) at all three conventions. His Anaheim seminar will be this Sunday afternoon from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m.

  • In Addition, we at THE SOURCE will have our booth at all three conventions ... and THIS WEEK we'll be giving away Krispy Kremes, Mrs. Fields Cookies, Red Vines and all kinds of other goodies at the booth. Make sure you stop by if you're attending.

  • Jonathan's new book, "Do They Run When They See You Coming? Reaching Out to Unchurched Teenagers" published by YS will also be highlighted at THE SOURCE's booth at this convention. Pre-purchase for this book will start soon. Anyone who pre-purchases this book will receive the new "Out of the Box Outreach CD" for free. CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT WHAT PEOPLE ARE ALREADY SAYING ABOUT THIS BOOK OR TO BE NOTIFIED WHEN IT IS AVALIABLE. The book hit's the shelves on December 3rd.

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