Date: January 1, 2023
Session Title: Courage in Place of Fear
The Point: Courageously follow Jesus, even in fearful circumstances.
Get Into the Study
Use this story after discussing question one.
According to FIFA President Gianni Infantino, before the World Cup 2022 even began, it was “expected to pull in 5 billion viewers…. Very few events can even come close in terms of viewership, attendance and pricing.” The stadium in Qatar holds 60,000 fans, and worldwide viewing has been higher than ever before, as billions across the world have been glued to their televisions, watching the best teams in the world battle it out for the World Cup trophy. Imagine the pressure and fear the players must feel each time they step out onto the field, representing their countries in front of the world. How thankful they must feel to be part of a team with which they can shoulder that pressure, instead of bearing it on their individual shoulders!
This world can feel like one big, overwhelming, fearful game at times. These days, each decision we make can feel weightier than the last, and it can be tempting to fall into fear, feeling like we must shoulder our burdens alone. But let us continue to remember the good news—we are never alone in this world! Christ is always with us! Truly, our burdens are light because we have Christ on our side—with us, in us, through us—in each moment of the day. May we focus our eyes on Jesus as we step forward in courage each day.
What area of your life is causing you to be fearful right now? How can you invite Christ into that area this season?
Get Into the Study [Option from the Adult Leader Guide, p. 57]
In advance, play a video showing some risky activities others do for fun. Then ask Question #1.
Study the Bible
Use this story after reading Matthew 14:27-30.
According to a recent article in Forbes on the psychology of courage, one of the top seven traits of a courageous leader is someone with a clear purpose. Kyle Hermans, Founder and CEO of Be Courageous, a global consulting firm, writes, “a person who has strong clarity on their ‘why,’ and who intentionally aligns their actions with their calling, has a higher likelihood of overcoming fear and achieving courageous goals.”
As believers, this should encourage us greatly! We have the clearest “why” possible! Our “why” is to share the love of Christ with others and to glorify God forever. Our “why” is the Great Commission. In a world full of people who feel lost, the Christian life gives us courage and clarity. However God is asking you to live out your Christian life, let us never forget why we are doing it. As Peter got out of the boat in courage, may you walk towards Jesus courageously in this season—remembering your purpose and walking with faith.
Is there an area of your life where you need to remember the “why” right now? Take some time to prayerfully reflect on this year and ask God to help you refocus your mind and heart in courage.
Study the Bible [Option from Senior Adult Leader Guide]
In that moment when Peter was sinking, he recognized that he needed Jesus come to his aid. Read the words to “Precious Lord, Take My Hand.”
After reading these lyrics, encourage group members to consider:
- The power of a hand in a frightening situation.
- The grace of Jesus to reach out His hand immediately when we’ve faltered in our faith and we cry out for help.
- What is the most daunting New Year’s resolution you’ve ever made?
- What was the biggest physical risk you have ever taken?
- What’s a legitimately fearsome activity that people still sometimes choose to do?
- What truths about God can give us the courage to follow Him into fearful circumstances?
- When has fear kept you from doing something that needed to be done?
- When has focusing on Jesus given you the courage to act?
- What practices have helped you keep your eyes on Jesus?
- What are some “winds” and “waves” that can take our eyes off Jesus today?
- Can you think of a trial you’ve gone through, or seen, that produced a sense of awe and worship of the Lord when it was over?
- Where do you currently have an opportunity to choose courage over fear?
- Why is worship the natural response to God’s power and presence?
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:
Stepping into 2023 with Courage
This article complements the study. Share this link with your group members.
- HomeLife – Family Overboard!
Click here for a 20-minute podcast for both the group member and the leader:
Podcast (adultsleadertraining): Play in new window | Download
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Yes! I listened to your podcast. This is my first step every time I teach my Sunday School class because it gives a really great overview of the lesson and many interesting points to use in the class as well as suggestions for discussion. Keep on doing this! It is a valuable tool for teachers.
Lynn Pryor says
Thank you for your kind and encouraging words!
I always listen to the podcast before I teach each lesson. Thank you for the input and overview of the lesson. I take notes as you speak; the podcast helps me to get ready to teach each lesson. I write questions and thoughts as you and your guests discuss the lesson.
Holly R BLACK says
Glad you had the podcast–even between Christmas and New Years!
Lee Smith says
Hi Lynn I listen to these in prep for the lesson. Keep up the good work.
Yes, these podcast are useful always give new insight to the passage. Please continue them.
Cecilia Smith says
Yes, I have listened to the Podcast. I try to listen every week. It is very helpful to me with some of the things you add to the lesson. Thank you for all you do.
Cecilia Smith says
Yes, I have listened to the podcast. I try to listen each episode. They are very helpful to me as I prepare for the lesson. You bring out things I can add to my lesson. Thank you for all you do.
Yes. I did listen to your podcast and made note of some of your comments, as usual. Thank you for taking time during your holidays to help me plan and prepare to lead the Bible study time.
Carolyn Strickland says
I just wanted to say that I really appreciate these podcast. Just the week before Christmas I had an encounter at my home where I felt threatened and was in fear. I am a widow and I live alone but I have people that live on my property and some of those were being very unruly. I confronted the people but was in fear. I felt like Peter sinking in the waves. However a couple of days after that I was able to witness to one of those people. I saw him come to tears over my concern for his spiritual being. God is good and is always ready to rescue us . I did have to ask him to forgive me for failing in the first place. Also I am so thankful for second chances. Third fourth and fifth. Ha ha I know you understand.
Lynn Pryor says
Thank you for this testimony, Carolyn!
Frankie Abrams says
Your podcast is a part of my study plan each week, and your comments are very helpful. Thank you for sharing your insights in this format, along with printed materials.
Jim West says
Lynn, I’ve taught on this passage many times as a lay pastor, youth pastor and SS teacher. However, this time as I studied the scripture the Lord gave me a different take on Peter’s response. I’ve always looked at it as Peter wanting proof that it was Jesus, and if so, prove it by letting me walk on water. Instead, I see it as Peter realizing it was Jesus (his sheep know his voice) and him wanting to be with Jesus. Peter (in the KJV) simply said “if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water”, not if it be thou let me walk on water. Rather than just jumping in and swimming to Jesus, Peter instead imitated Jesus and tried to walk on the water. Might we all try, as Peter did, to imitate Jesus…regardless of the consequences.