This is a short session on faith that we used at a small group recently. It worked very well, so our prayer is that you may be able to use the materials and also see God at work in people's lives. Before starting the session, have someone go into a room (or as a group) to specifically pray for people coming and to ask God to reveal himself to people, that his Holy Spirit would guide and shape everything.
We have put together an Adobe PDF worksheet for this session. There is a front and back to each worksheet, so you'll need to print front and back. Each A4 sheet contains 2 A5 worksheets, so you'll just need to be cut the A4 sheet in half once printed. You'll see what we mean!
We'll come back to the worksheets later in this session.
Journey of Faith
If we're a Christian, we’re all on a journey – of life and of faith in Jesus. If we don't yet believe in God, then maybe God wants to take you on a journey with him - to see if he's real, if he's true and to find out what he's really like, not just what people say or think.
Faith Exercise / Game
Get a volunteer up to the front and then blindfold them in some way. Then move away from them in the room and ask them to walk to your voice. Then move, and get them to come to you again. Then do it again.
Try this exercise again, but put obstacles in the course, unknown to the volunteer - navigate them round the obstacle. Tell them they must do exactly what you say (and make sure you're accurate!)
Ask them and the others which time it was hardest to do this - did it get easier to walk to the voice once they had done it a couple of times? We can build our faith by remembering that God has come through for us many times in the past, and will come through for us again. Even when there are obstacles in the way, God knows how to guide us around them and through them - and by putting our faith in his Word and his voice, we won't go wrong, even when things feel that way.
Faith Movie Clip
From Happy Feet - see movie section.. Clip is Chapter 22, (1.13.28-1.18.16).
This is where Mumbo shows his great determination to 'find the aliens' (humans) and talk to them to enable the humans to understand about taking too much fish away from the penguins, with their great nets. He follows a ship across the ocean. The scene starts with Lovelace saying, "Don't make me come in the water" and ends when Mumbo is picked up on a beach.
If we showed this kind of commitment to Jesus and our faith, we really could change the world.
Have you ever stood by a beach and seen the waves when the tide is coming in? The waves crash onto the beach, then go back. Then another wave comes in, goes a little further forward and then rolls back. And so on..
The journey of faith is one where we're moving forward with God, or expecting to. Yet at times we go forwards, backwards, left, right, up, down. But step by step we move with God, walk with him and know to hear his voice. Every little experience, every triumph we see in our lives, in the Bible and other people's lives - reminds us that God is faithful. Just as the Bible says.
The life of faith is not one when we have faith in ourselves or in anything. The faith is in Jesus. Jesus is the truth, the life, the way, he is faithful. We know that and we believe that. So we put our faith in Jesus and who, what he is.
Sometimes we struggle to hear the voice of God and trust in his promises. All I can say is that where God has spoken, he will do it. We have to make sure we put God first and delight ourselves in him. (Psalm 37.4-5). This is more than grudgingly putting God first. This is a place of passion, of joy and of choosing to delight in God even when things don't feel or look great (see 2 Chronicles 31.20-21). What God will often do is direct by a sense of peace, as well as confirming with his Word (sometimes Bible verses just jump out at you!) and often giving you pictures and speaking to you by his Holy Spirit. Sometimes we have to lay down our will and put his will first. Then God knows we are serious. Other times, God withdraws and tests what's in our hearts (see 2 Chronicles 32.31 - when God left Hezekiah to test everything that was in his heart). Sometimes we have to persist in prayer:
Luke 11.5-13 (see also Mark 11): Then he said to them, "Suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, 'Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.'
"Then the one inside answers, 'Don't bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can't get up and give you anything.' I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man's boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs.
"So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
"Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"
Or maybe you've seen a baby take its first steps? At first the parent stands close to the baby as the baby wobbles their way towards the parent. Then the parent praises the baby. And perhaps moves back a little further away and encourages the toddler to once again walk to them..
This is another picture of the life of faith. When people are a new Christian, they often see amazing answers to prayer. As people grow in the faith, sometimes things take longer or don't go quite as planned. God is still faithful and does exactly what he says. But sometimes we have to persist in prayer, stay trusting in him even through the dark and even silent times. This is God building our faith, testing us, building up our trust in him. If you're in one of these times, believe that God will come through and do what he has said. The times when God seems silent are often the times when God is working on you, and on others. But he is faithful and he will do it.
Do you have any experiences of faith, of God coming through for you, of God healing people, doing what he said he'd do and encouraging each other? If so, tell them to people out loud. These can be personal stories, or stories you've heard first-hand. Encourage everyone in the group to share positive stories of faith to equip each other and lift their hearts and spirits!
If you look at the worksheets you'll see a picture of a beach with footprints. There are a range of different characters on the front. Take a look at them and ask yourself which one of these you are most like at the moment. God wants to find people whose hearts are after his and want to serve him wholeheartedly. Where are you on this faith journey and why are you there? Have you been stuck there for some time? What barriers are there to you growing? Indifference, struggles, fear?
This is a time to knuckle down and think, talk about these things really seriously for the next 3-4 minutes..
Another way that faith is built is by hearing the Word of God. Romans 10.17 says, "faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ." This word comes mainly through the Bible, and through the things that the Holy Spirit says to you and to his church.
Have you ever asked God to really speak to you, or felt down and then read the Bible - sometimes when we read and believe what God says, something amazing happens. We feel better inside, our hearts and minds feel 'built up' and more encouraged. The Bible has an amazing way of doing this because it is the Word of God, that he is breathing into you, to give you life. So one way to build faith and to overcome disappointment is to read the Bible.
Hebrews 11.8-12 says: (also on worksheet)
"By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. By faith Abraham, even though he was past age—and Sarah herself was barren—was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise. And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore."
Questions (also on worksheet)
- What is faith?
- Where are you on your journey?
- What has God been doing in your life recently?
- What are you wanting / expecting God to do in your life this year?
- How can we play our part in this? Pray for each other.
To end the session, or for each other.