Spiritual Growth Agendas
Taking a step of faith is difficult to do, but Jesus has the greatest track record in the world when it comes to saving people. Jesus will never fail us…ever!
Do the old classic “game” where you have one (light) student fall backward into the arms of several other students. Obviously, this isn’t the time for practical jokes; someone could get seriously hurt by that. Have multiple students take a turn doing it. Also, have at least a couple students do it multiple times to see if their level of trust grows. To help with safety, also put a couple adult leaders in the “catching line.”
That fun little exercise never ceases to provide a good time! I love doing it because it reveals so many different important truths. We’re all at least “a little bit” scared to do it. We all have doubts as to whether or not those behind can – or will – catch us. Those of us doing the catching may have similar doubts. But most importantly, we see that taking that first step of faith is almost always the most difficult. We won’t take that kind of step of faith with just anyone; we need to really trust the person who says they’ve got us. When it comes to taking a step of faith, there’s no one who’s more trustworthy than Jesus.
Divide into Small Groups:
Let’s go ahead and split up into our discussion groups, and then afterward we’ll come back together for a final word.
CLICK HERE for a quick training article on how to maximize your small groups using our small group format—a great resource to equip your small group leaders.
- AROUND THE CIRCLE: As we get started, let’s all take a second to share our names and our thoughts about the exercise we just did.
- ASK A FEW: Who do you think had the more serious doubts/fears/concerns: those doing the falling or those doing the catching? Why?
- ASK A FEW: Has there ever been a time in your life when you trusted someone and they let you down in a bad way?
- ASK A FEW: When it comes to taking a step of faith in the more serious parts of life – relationships, your safety, getting advice, etc. – who is the PERSON (not God) you go to most often? Why?
- ASK A FEW: Do you think it is easy or hard for people to take a step of faith with Jesus? Why?
- ASK A FEW: What do you think holds people back from taking a step of faith with Jesus the most?
Read the following passage:
ASK A FEW: If you were one of the disciples caught up in this stormy situation, how would you REALLY be feeling?
ASK A FEW: When the disciples OF JESUS actually saw Jesus, they thought He was a ghost. Why do you think they thought that?
ASK A FEW: What do you think Peter’s motive was for taking a step of faith and trying to walk on the water? (Leaders – Some may say he was just trying to “show off,” but the better line of reasoning is that Peter just wanted to be with Jesus. If Peter had been trying to show off, he probably would have said, “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to walk on the water.” Instead, he said, “Tell me to come to You on the water.”)
ASK A FEW: What do you think was going through Peter’s mind and heart as he lifted his foot to step out over the side of the boat?
ASK A FEW: What do you think the other disciples were saying to Peter in that same moment?
ASK A FEW: We know that Peter took a step of faith and we read that he also found himself in some serious danger. But according to verse 31, how long did it take Jesus to respond?
ASK A FEW: We know that the disciples worshipped Jesus once they got back in the boat, but how do you think Peter felt about Jesus when they got back in the boat?
ASK A FEW (or AROUND THE CIRCLE if time permits): What step of faith do you need to take with Jesus right now?
ASK A FEW (or AROUND THE CIRCLE if time permits): What is keeping you from taking that step with Jesus?
ASK A FEW (or AROUND THE CIRCLE if time permits): How do you think your life will be different if you DO take that step of faith with Jesus and how do you think your life will be different if you DON’T take that step of faith with Jesus?
Matthew 14:22-33 (NIV)
Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. 25 During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear. 27 But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." 28 "Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water." 29 "Come," he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!" 31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?" 32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God."
In our time together, we did some “crash course” learning about faith steps. When I say “crash course,” that’s really what I mean! Some of us truly thought we might crash taking those steps of faith, earlier. But those sketchy moments provided us with a powerful lesson on trusting Jesus.
What we’ve learned is that Jesus is superbly qualified to be trusted. We took an in-depth look at a story from Jesus’ life in which He rescued Peter when he was falling. And Peter wasn’t just falling a short distance to the ground; he was falling through the waves of a storm at sea! This would have meant certain death for the former professional fisherman.
But Jesus honored that step of faith that Peter took.
You might be thinking, “Yeah, but that’s Peter.” Or “Yeah, Jesus did it one time. So what?”
Well, let me just tell you that lots of people who’ve trusted Jesus with a step of faith have found exactly what Peter discovered: Jesus never fails us. That’s not to say that we won’t face tough times. That’s not to say that everything winds up perfect in the end. It just means what it means: Jesus NEVER fails us!
Just ask Lazarus. He was a friend of Jesus’ who died! Jesus wasn’t happy about it, and because Lazarus had placed his faith in Jesus as the Messiah, Jesus went to Lazarus’ tomb and called him back from the dead. (John 11)
Or you could ask the man with leprosy who took SEVERAL steps of faith hoping that Jesus could and would heal him. Jesus did just that! (Mark 1)
Or you could ask the paralyzed man – and his friends – who took a step of faith that Jesus could make him whole. (Luke 5)
The list goes on and on. In fact, I can’t even tell you how many people have taken a step of faith with Jesus. Across our history, millions and millions have cried out to Jesus in a “step of faith” asking to be forgiven of their sins and put into a relationship with God. Jesus has never failed a single one of those requests. I know, because I’m one of those people!
These stories aren’t just for the people mentioned in the Bible. They are for you and me today, thousands of years later. Jesus desperately wants you to trust Him enough to take a step of faith with Him. You’ll never regret it! In fact, the only regret you WILL have is NOT taking that step of faith with Him.
What step of faith do you need to take? Let’s talk about that together if you need to. Just come grab one of us after we close in prayer. You’ll be glad you did!
Close in Prayer
Written by David R Smith
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