Sermon: Darkest Valleys
Study: Psalm 23 Verse Four
Digital Discussion Guide
Jesus recognizes that the world is a dangerous place in which we need protection. In Matthew 10:16, Jesus says, “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves”. How can we apply this scripture in today's culture?
Look at Ephesians 6:10-17. What is the "sword of the Spirit"? How might it be both a defensive and offensive spiritual weapon?
Pastor Winans gives an example of when God saved him from going down a destructive path in high school. How has God used the rod of discipline or Jesus in your life to either stop you from things you were doing or paths you were on in order to bring you back to the path of life?
Read Hebrews 12:11. Experiencing discipline in our lives, albeit painful, not only produces a harvest of righteousness and peace, but also is evidence of our adoption by our Heavenly Father. Why is discipline so painful? Why is it necessary?
In the teaching, Pastor Winans cautions against believing that Christianity is primarily about learning correct doctrine and principles from the Bible to apply to our lives. Although we as Christians should not neglect these things, our greatest joy of following Jesus is to know him and grow in loving relational connection with him. How can we balance these things so that we experience the greatest joy in our relationship with Him?
Jesus uses his staff to draw us near. His rod and his staff are a comfort to us. Jesus says, “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden” (Matthew 11:28a). He wants his children to come to him. If we desire to be close to our Good Shepherd, Jesus, we need to invest in the relationship and spend time with him: through prayer, solitude and silence, Sabbath rest, spending time with him in and through His Word. Some of us are already experiencing this type of intimacy with Jesus. In that case, how might God be calling you into a deeper relationship? Others may want to start experiencing this type of relationship. If so, what step(s) do you sense the Good Shepherd inviting you to take? How can God help you take these steps?