When we connect with God through worship and prayer it brings us endurance and a hope for the future.
Isaiah 6:1-5, NRSV
“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lofty; and the hem of his robe filled the temple. Seraphs were in
attendance above him; each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, and with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. And
one called to another and said:
‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory.’
The pivots on the thresholds shook at the voices of those who called, and the house filled with smoke. And I said: ‘Woe is me! I am lost, for I am
a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!’
Luke 24:28–35, NRSV
As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. But they urged him strongly, saying, ‘Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.’ So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?’ That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying, ‘The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!’ Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.
Romans 5:1–6, CEB
Therefore, since we have been made righteous through his faithfulness, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have access by faith into this grace in which we stand through him, and we boast in the hope of God’s glory. But not only that! We even take pride in our problems, because we know that trouble produces endurance, endurance produces character, and character produces hope. This hope doesn’t put us to shame, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. While we were still weak, at the right moment, Christ died for ungodly people.
Activity: Looking Forward
Explain to the students that they will be doing lightning rounds of “looking forward to….” You’ll go around to each student and without hesitating they must complete that statement. If they pause at all, then they are out. Go in a circle or a certain order so they know they are next. They must go fast; no stalling and they should be true statements for them. Give them a few examples and then play a few rounds.
Looking forward to…
- summer so I can swim
- school starting
- having a million dollars
- falling in love
- eating pizza for dinner
Point of the Activity
Each of us are looking forward to something. Many of those things we know will eventually come, and some are far-fetched, but either way, they create in us a longing and hope for something more. (Give a reminder of the definition of hope that was used in the message: hope is that feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.)
- Out of all the Superhero characters out there, which would you wish or hope to be, and why?
- What parts of worship brings you hope? (music, prayer, small group, community, etc.)
- What was a time, like was mentioned in the message, that you had little to no hope for a good outcome?
- Is there a specific time in your life that certain struggles you faced brought endurance and built character?
- Who are the people that you lean on the most when you need to feel more hope in your life?
- Romans 5:2 it says, “We have access by faith into this grace in which we stand through him, and we boast in the hope of God’s glory.” What do you think this means? What does it look like in our lives to “boast in the hope of God’s glory?”
- In the Road to Emmaus story, it says that the men’s eyes were opened when they saw Jesus break the bread and share a meal with them. In what ways can we help one another to open our eyes to hope and joy, especially when we are in darkness and despair?
Lectio Divina on Romans 5:1–6
(This challenge can be used during small group time as leader reads scripture aloud, or can also be done individually at home at a later time during the week.)
Lectio Divina is an ancient way of engaging in worship by reading the Bible, reflecting, and praying. The words lectio divina are Latin for “divine reading.” It can be a great way to learn something new from Scripture as we open our hearts and minds to hear from God.
- Start by silently praying, “God, open my heart and mind to what you would like me to hear from you today.”
- Find the passage Romans 5:1-6 in your Bible and read it out loud. Make sure to read slowly and carefully. Underline or write down what words or phrases are speaking to you. (If in small group, ask all students to do this individually.)
- Read the passage out loud a second time. This time, write down the answer to this question: “What does my underlined word or phrase mean to me?”
- Read the passage a third time. Now write down the answer to this question: “How is God inviting me to respond to this passage?”
- Read the passage a fourth and final time. Silently reflect on the words for a few minutes before ending your time in prayer with God.
Leaders, is there a certain story in your own life where you felt defeated, that you would consider your biggest “Good Friday moment?” Being honest and authentic with your students about what hope looks like in your own life would be meaningful for your students. Be sure not over-share, and to use proper discretion as to how a student’s ears would hear. Always lean on the side of generalizing if you’re worried how a student would respond.
Source used in the message today: “It’s Friday, but Sunday’s Coming.” by S. M. Lockridge.