Date: June 25, 2023
Mordecai and Esther
The Point: Encourage others to follow God’s leadership—no matter the cost.
Get Into the Study
Use the following as a springboard into Question 1:
On Sunday, June 4, Elina Svitolina defeated Daria Kasatkina in an unexpected Ukrainian victory over Russia in the French Open. Svitolina had made it clear that she would not be shaking hands with any of her Russian or Belarusian opponents out of respect for those defending Ukraine at the risk of their very lives. Following the upset, Svitolina did in fact “acknowledge” her Russian opponent, likely because of some comments made by Kasatkina the previous month.
According to a CNN article, “Kasatkina, Russia’s top-ranked women’s tennis player, expressed her sympathy for Ukrainian players who refuse to shake her hand after matches.” She voiced her understanding as to why this would be the case, saying “the saddest part is the war still going on.” Recognizing the risk involved for the Russian player, Svitolina went on record saying, “She’s really brave person to say it publicly, that not so many players did. She’s a brave one.”
Whether political or professional, the risk is real for making such a public statement of sympathy for the victims of the war. In assuming this risk, Kasatkina’s bravery sent a much stronger message than her words could ever articulate.
Study the Bible
Share the following after discussing Question 4:
In 2004, Richard Gamble was inspired to build a monument to a million answered prayers. According to an article in the Baptist Press, “Gamble’s brainchild is the Eternal Wall of Answered Prayer, an interactive, 160-foot monument of 1 million white bricks built into an infinity loop on a plot of high-profile land in Birmingham, England.”
Gamble is no stranger to answered prayer, as his first experience occurred at the age of nine. He overheard his parents (who still remain non-believers) talking about the possibility of his mother having cancer. The article quoted Gamble as saying, “I didn’t know how to pray, but I put my hands together and said, ‘God will you look after my mum?’ And I just sensed that God was there and it was going to be OK, and it was. And so from that point I always believed, but it was another nine years until someone shared the Gospel with me.“ Gamble went on to say that his mother fully recovered and is still alive and well at age eighty-two.
The goal of the project, according to Gamble, is that “many people will be inspired to pray and inspired to find the God Who answers. I believe the clear vision for this, and you see it in Psalms 145, is to proclaim the deeds of the Lord.” Gamble explained that people in the UK are “shy” and not nearly as quick to share their stories of God’s intervention in their lives as are people in the US. Currently, Gamble has received 36,000 stories from 28 different countries.
Melinda Wallace lives in Shreveport, Louisiana with her husband Stan. They have two grown children,. Her passion is leveraging her love of language to exalt Jesus and invite others to enjoy Him as He is revealed by the Holy Spirit through Scripture.
Play this song about following Jesus regardless of the cost. Invite group members to a time of commitment and then to encourage others to follow Him too. Close in prayer.
- Where have you experienced camaraderie?
- What’s the biggest risk you’ve taken for a good cause?
- What family member outside your immediate family has influenced you most?
- What is a risk you are willing to take?
- What is something risky you are willing to jump into?
- What are you willing to do that others might consider risky?
- What family dynamics can erect roadblocks for mentoring family members?
- What factors of family life (even extended family life) make it possible to deeply impact one another?
- How do younger members of your family see you?
- What are some ways family mentoring might differ from other mentoring relationships?
- What are some ways family members can effectively mentor one another?
- When have you had a “for such a time as this” moment?
- What obstacles get in the way of people doing what is right?
- How have others challenged you to do what is right despite the cost?
- When have you taken a risk to do the right thing?
- When might we be tempted to put pleasing people ahead of pleasing God?
- When has following Jesus you something of value?
- When has God answered your prayers on someone else’s behalf?
- How does fasting sharpen our focus on God and His presence, power, and answers?
- How have the prayers of your mentors encouraged you?
- How would you describe the connection between faith and fasting?
- When have you seen prayer and fasting make a difference in someone’s life?
For Those in Your Group
Send the following link to your group members as either a teaser before the group meets or as a follow-up thought:
Click here for a 20-minute podcast for both the group member and the leader.