Small Group Questions

Turning Setbacks Into Comebacks: What do you do when setback has you filled with fear? 

Introduction:

Have you ever watched a football game when the underdog came back to win in the final seconds? We all love a good comeback story, especially when it results in an unexpected victory. In this week’s message, we look at four truths about setbacks and how every challenge is a setup for a great comeback. You’ll learn the common fears associated with setbacks, including inadequacy, disapproval, disappointment, and loss of control. Find out how to replace fear with faith by surrendering to God and basing your hope on the promises of God.

Something To Talk About:

  1. Surrender my life completely to God every day: The Bible says in 1 John 4:18, “Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.” If we want to learn to live in God’s love without fear we have to surrender our heart to God every day. Your ultimate victory over fear depends on your walk with the Lord. Day by day, seek to develop intimacy with God through prayer and reading the Bible. Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you and empower you for the day’s tasks and challenges. God will help you drive fear from your life as you draw near to Him. When you wake up each morning, say, “God, before I even start this day, I surrender my emotions to you. I want you to be Lord of my feelings. I want you to control my mind and my emotions. I surrender my heart to you. I want you to fill me with your love.” Try it this week, and then watch how God fulfills His promise as He fills you with His love
  2. Stop listening to the voices of fear around you: There are times in our life when fear will arise. But the word of God does more than just tell us that we shouldn’t be afraid. If offers us a bountiful treasure of assurances from our loving Heavenly Father, such as: “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10). God is watching over you, so don’t listen to your fears. Listening to those voices around you is a choice. Trust God, and resist giving in to your fears. Scripture tells us that no matter what happens to us, God is working for our good—if we love Him and follow him (Romans 8:28). That means we can stop listening to our fears because there is no difficulty, dilemma, defeat, or disaster in the life of a believer that God can’t ultimately get some good out of. Fear reveals a lack of trust in God.  Work to replace your fears with trust. And when fear rises in your life, don’t give in to it, but continually trust God.  
  3. Fill my mind with music that praises God:  Music and love go together because music comes from the heart. It’s not something you do just intellectually. It’s something that comes out of your soul, your emotions. There are many love songs in the world but more songs have been written about Jesus Christ than any other topic in the world? Christianity is a singing faith. Why? Because it’s not about religion. It’s about a love relationship—a relationship with God, who loves you so much that He sent His Son to die for you and who wants you to love Him back. Psalm 147:7 says, “Sing out your thanks to the LORD; sing praises to our God with a harp.” (TLB). Nothing will make you more aware of God’s love and presence in your life than singing and praise. Even if that means making a joyful noise. You don’t have to hit the right note. Worship is simply expressing your love to God. That means you can worship while driving to work. Or mowing the lawn. You can express your love to God anywhere and everywhere.  
  4. Base my hope on the promises of God: Trusting in God is our ultimate remedy for fear. Yet, that sometimes seems easier said than done. In fact, the more consumed with fear we become, the more distant God seems to be. That’s why, when anxiety grips your heart, you should make a concerted effort to stand on the promises of the Bible from God to you personally. The writer of the book of Hebrews concluded that faith is the substance of our hope. He said, “Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.” (Hebrews 11:1)  Hope comes from believing the promises of God. “But now Jesus, our High Priest, has been given a ministry that is far superior to the old priesthood, for he is the one who mediates for us a far better covenant with God, based on better promises.”(Hebrews 8:6). Those better promises inspire hope and faith that will sustain us through times of fear.

Discussion Questions:

  1. There are no comebacks without setbacks. Every setback is a setup or a comeback. Agree or disagree and why? 
  2. What fears have you identified in your life?
  3. Why do you think you trust God in some areas and not in others? When have you seen God come through when you thought He wouldn’t?
  4. In the Christmas story, Mary, Joseph, the shepherds and Zechariah all had angels appear to them and tell them, “Do not be afraid.” Why is it so important for Christ-followers to hear God speaking “Do not be afraid” into their lives? 
  5. What do you think God thinks about when God thinks about you? What people and events have influenced your perceptions about what God thinks about you?
  6. What songs are you most likely to be caught singing in your private day-to-day activities? Singing is a relational thing for God. What is the difference between singing for your own pleasure, or any audience other than God, and singing for God?
  7. What practices guide a Christian into a posture of surrender? How can surrendering daily help determine if you are following “God’s will” or your own will?
  8. Reflect on your daily routine, from the moment you wake up in the morning to the moment you fall asleep. Where are you building in times of surrender to God? 
  9. We can trust God, no matter how impossible the situation, because God always keeps His promises. Agree or disagree and why? 
  10. To understand the promise of Jesus, we must understand the purpose of Jesus. He said that he came to seek and save those who are separated from God by guilt, shame, and sin. Jesus didn’t come for perfect people. He came for those who need Him. If you completely accepted God’s promises, how would that change the way you look at fear?   
  11. What fears do you need God’s love to cast out?
  12. What are your expectations for this week as a result of Sunday’s message?

Take one thing home with you:

The first person to know with certainty that the Messiah was at hand was Mary. Gabriel appeared to her and said, “… The Lord is with you!  Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High…”  (Luke 1:28-32).  After receiving this troubling message, here is her response, verse 38,  “…“I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.”

Mary’s lesson to us for today is to choose obedience when confronted with confusion, worry or fear, not doubt.  Mary faced the crossroad where doubt and faith meet. Gabriel’s visit to Mary was unexpected and terrifying. But despite her fear and confusion, Mary didn’t run from the situation. Her faith was obviously deep enough for her to offer herself as a willing servant. The true test of our faith and trust comes in our obedience to God. I wonder what would happen if, like Mary, we willingly offered ourselves, despite our fears, to God’s purpose and plan for our lives.