Date: January 28, 2024
The Point: Faith acknowledges the authority of Jesus.
Get Into the Study
Use the following information to introduce Question #1.
On October 4th, 2023, an alert blared out from every phone and mobile device, lasting for approximately one minute. “The test occurred simultaneously in every time zone coast to coast.” The accompanying message read, “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.” The UK had previously tested its emergency communication systems in April 2023, while Russia tested its systems on the same day as America.
The audio tones used for the alert were “the same combination of tones familiar to Americans since 1963, when President John F. Kennedy established the original Emergency Broadcast System.” In the weeks before the alert, social media influencers warned followers in difficult circumstances, like domestic abuse victims who may keep hidden “safety phones,” to keep those devices turned off so that the existence and locations of any additional phones would not be inadvertently revealed.
Some TikTok users and social media personalities questioned the reasoning and timing for the alert, but according to CBS News, “since 2015, FEMA has been required under federal law to test [warning systems] at least once every three years.” Eric Trainor, a University of Delaware researcher, explains that exposure to emergency alert tests may equip citizens to be more engaged and act quickly in case of real emergencies.
Say: The emergency alert in October was specifically designed to reach the largest swath of Americans, and to simultaneously get the attention of as many people as possible.
Proceed with asking Question #1.
Information for this post was gleaned from:
Get Into the Study [Option from Advanced bible Study Teacher Guide, p. 48]
To support the optional idea, find suitable images here: Unusual traffic signs.
Study the Bible
Share the following information as you discuss Question #2.
When most people hear the term “psychedelics,” the tripped-out haze of the 1960’s and images of Woodstock may come to mind. But clinical researchers are finding possible therapeutic uses for psychedelics. For patients suffering from traumatic brain injuries, and for veterans suffering from PTSD, depression, or addiction, certain psychedelic medicines may offer genuine relief.
For former combat veterans, these measures could in fact be life-saving, as “an estimated 17-24 veterans commit suicide” daily. Just before Christmas, President Biden signed into law an updated National Defense measure that includes provisions for $10 million in grants for research on “psychedelic treatments for active-duty service members with traumatic brain injuries, PTSD, and other ailments.”
Stanford researchers completed a study that showed promising results, with just a single session of psychedelic therapy. “One month after the treatment, veterans saw an 88% decrease in PTSD symptoms, an 87% decrease in depression, and an 81% drop in anxiety.” Improvements in cognitive abilities like “concentration, information processing, memory, and impulsivity control” give hope that these therapies could help with “other forms of cognitive decline, such as Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.”
Psychedelics, used in concert with talk therapy, have become more readily accepted and widespread in the mental health community. And according to Politico, psychedelics as the “cure for America’s mental health crisis” is “the cause uniting Republicans, Democrats, and Biden health officials.”
Say: I don’t mention this story to endorse the use of psychedelic drugs, but to give an example of how a culture apart of Jesus Christ tries to fix problems.
Information for this post was gleaned from:
Jessica Connell wrote these Leader Extras. Jess is a homeschooling mom of 9 who has served around the world in ministry with her husband. She loves hiking, exploring, and being active in her local church in North Texas.
Study the Bible [Option from the Daily Discipleship Leader Guide]
After reading Luke 7:6-8, and as a part of your discussion of how faith recognizes the authority of Jesus, play this video and invite the group to focus on the lyrics as the song plays.
This activity gives the group an opportunity to use the lyrics of this song as a prompt to discuss the connection between authentic faith and recognizing the authority of Jesus.
- What do you typically do when you approach a yield sign while driving?
- When has your disregard for some form of authority turned out to be a mistake?
- Who was the best boss / manager / supervisor you ever had and what did you particularly like about him or her?
- When have you been happy for someone else to be in charge?
- How do you typically respond to people in authority?
- What authority figure always gets your attention?
- When has a desperate situation forced you to seek help?
- What are some things humans point to, as proof of our merit or value?
- Why do some people think that their good deeds and love for others is enough to be right before God?
- Where does our culture encourage us to turn when things get desperate?
- Why is the willingness to yield a necessary component of authentic faith?
- How might our recognition of Jesus’ authority change the way we view ourselves?
- How do you demonstrate submission to God’s authority in your life?
- What are some things that can keep us from yielding to Jesus’s authority?
- What gives you confidence in Jesus’s authority?
- How might a greater understanding of Jesus’s authority impact your prayer life?
- What might be signs of a heart yielded to Jesus?
- How would you describe a person you know that expresses great faith?
- What are some ways we can express faith in Jesus?
- What can we learn from the centurion’s example about faith in Jesus?
- What made the centurion’s faith “great”?
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:
This article complements the study. Share this link with your group members.
Mature Living – The Path That is Higher
Click here for a 20-minute podcast for both the group member and the leader.