Messy People - Women's Bible Study Leader Guide: Life Lessons from Imperfect Biblical Heroes

Messy People - Women's Bible Study Leader Guide: Life Lessons from Imperfect Biblical Heroes

by Jennifer Cowart

Paperback

$14.99
View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Tuesday, November 19

Overview

Every life gets messy at times. Sometimes these messes are literal, like a house that would be easier to condemn than to clean. But sometimes they are intangible messes such as illness, conflict, depression, abuse, bankruptcy, divorce, and job loss. And these messes can be painful, hurting our hearts and our homes. But as we see in the Bible, God loves to use messy people!

In this six-week study, we will dig into the lives of biblical heroes who were messy people just like us but who were used by God in powerful ways. Together we will examine the stories of five wonderful but messy people and one messy parable character: Rahab, the Prodigal Son, Josiah, Mary, David, and Daniel. From their stories, we will learn how God can use broken people, restore damaged hearts and relationships, give us power to handle our critics, and help us deal with the hard moments of life. Along the way we’ll discover that we don’t have to just endure messy lives but can actually learn to thrive with God’s guidance and help. In the hands of God, our messes can become His masterpieces!

The Leader Guide, to be used along with the study's workbook and DVD, contains six session plan outlines, complete with discussion points and questions, activities, prayers, and more—plus leader helps for facilitating a group.

Other components for the Bible study, available separately, include a Participant Workbook, and DVD with six 10-15 minute sessions.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781501863141
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Publication date: 09/04/2018
Series: Messy People Series
Pages: 64
Sales rank: 657,417
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 1.25(h) x 9.00(d)

About the Author

Jennifer Cowart is the executive pastor at Harvest Church, a United Methodist congregation in Warner Robins, Georgia, that she and her husband, Jim, began in 2001. Today Harvest serves about 2,500 people in seven worship services weekly. With degrees in Christian education, counseling, and business, she oversees a wide variety of ministries and enjoys doing life and ministry with others. As a gifted Bible teacher and speaker, Jen brings biblical truth to life through humor, authenticity, and everyday application. She is the author of the Bible study Messy People: Life Lessons from Imperfect Biblical Heroes. In addition, she and her husband, Jim, have co-written several small group studies including Hand Me Downs and Living the Five. They are the proud parents of two children.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

Week 1

Rahab

Changing Your Messy Story Joshua 2; 6

Leader Prep

Bible Story and Theme Overview

This week we explored the story of Rahab and the spies who needed her help. Rahab was a prostitute whom God used in a big way to change the course of Hebrew history. She was not Hebrew, but because of her faith in God, God rescued her — along with all of her family — and brought her into the family of God.

Main Point

The God of the universe chooses to use people with damaged reputations, broken hearts, and sinful pasts — and that is good news for us! He knows us, redeems us, and longs to bring us into His family, just as He did for Rahab.

Key Scriptures

Then Joshua secretly sent out two spies from the Israelite camp at Acacia Grove. He instructed them, " Scout out the land on the other side of the Jordan River, especially around Jericho." So the two men set out and came to the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed there that night.

(Joshua 2:1)

2 But someone told the king of Jericho, "Some Israelites have come here tonight to spy out the land." 3 So the king of Jericho sent orders to Rahab: "Bring out the men who have come into your house, for they have come here to spy out the whole land."

4 Rahab had hidden the two men, but she replied, "Yes, the men were here earlier, but I didn't know where they were from. 5 They left the town at dusk, as the gates were about to close. I don't know where they went. If you hurry, you can probably catch up with them." 6 (Actually, she had taken them up to the roof and hidden them beneath bundles of flax she had laid out.) ...

8 Before the spies went to sleep that night, Rahab went up on the roof to talk with them. "I know the Lord has given you this land," she told them. " We are all afraid of you. Everyone in the land is living in terror. For we have heard how the Lord made a dry path for you through the Red Sea when you left Egypt. ... For the LORD your God is the supreme God of the heavens above and the earth below."

(Joshua 2:2-11)

What You Will Need

Messy People DVD and a DVD player

• markerboard or chart paper and markers

• stick-on name tags and markers (optional)

• iPod, smartphone, or tablet and portable speaker (optional)

Session Outline

Welcome and Opening Prayer (5–10 minutes, depending on session length)

To create a warm, welcoming environment as the women are gathering before the session begins, consider lighting one or more candles, providing coffee or other refreshments, and/or playing worship music. (Bring an iPod, smartphone, or tablet and a portable speaker if desired.) Be sure to provide name tags if the women do not know one another or you have new participants in your group. Then, when you are ready to begin, pray the following prayer or offer your own:

Dear God, thank You for using messy people like us to accomplish Your work in this world. Help us to trust You with the kind of faith that Rahab had. May we experience Your presence with us as we study Your Word and share together. Amen.

Icebreaker (5 minutes)

Invite the women to share short, "popcorn" responses to the following question:

• What is your favorite fairytale princess? Why her?

Video (15 minutes)

Play the Week 1 video segment on the DVD. Invite participants to complete the Video Viewer Guide for Week 1 in the participant workbook as they watch (pages 36-37).

Group Discussion (25–40 minutes, depending on session length)

Note: More material is provided than you will have time to include. Before the session, select what you want to cover, putting a check mark beside it in your book. Page references are provided for questions related to questions or activities in the participant workbook. For these questions, invite participants to share the answers they wrote in their books.

Video Discussion Questions

• What was messy about Rahab's story? How did she change her story?

• Of the four simple, but not necessarily easy, steps that can help us move from mess to masterpiece, which resonates most with you right now, and why? (1. Recognize our need for God; 2. Resolve to lead a life that is centered in Christ; 3. Request help from godly people; 4. Remember Who holds your future.)

• How do you (or someone you love) need Jesus' help now to move from mess to best?

Participant Workbook Discussion Questions

1. No matter how messy your life has been, no matter what you've done or how your story has unfolded so far — God loves you, and you are chosen. Rahab's story is a great example of how God chooses to love and use messy people. (Day 1)

• When have you felt chosen in life? How did it make you feel? (page 12)

• What can we learn from Rahab's example about how God chooses and uses messy people?

• In what ways, if any, does her story resonate with any experiences in your own life?

2. God chose to use Rahab in a very difficult situation; she was an unlikely accomplice to God's plan. This pagan woman, a prostituteliving in a Canaanite town, recognizes and has faith in the God of Israel. She believes in a God she does not personally know but respects because of His amazing miracles. She even goes so far as to declare "the LORD your God is the supreme God of the heavens above and the earth below" (Joshua 2:11). (Day 1)

• Read Ephesians 1:4 and John 15:16. What do these Scriptures teach you about God's view of you? (page 14)

• Read 1 Samuel 16:7. What does this verse tell us about how God sees us? (page 15)

• What does it mean for your life to know that God chooses you? (page 15)

3. The truth is that messy people come in all shapes and sizes. Our churches are full of them, because when we get right down to it, messy people are simply people with sin in their lives. (Day 2)

• Read Romans 3:23. Who are the messy people who sin? (page 18)

• Read Ephesians 2:10. According to this verse, why does God make us new creations in Jesus? (page 18)

• Do you have a dramatic testimony of coming to know Jesus, or did you grow up in the church? How have you seen God use all kinds of testimonies to draw people close to Him?

4. When presented with the opportunity to help God's people, Rahab is quick to respond in spite of her fears. In fact, she says her people are not only afraid but are living in terror. When you have the opportunity to serve God, there will be times when it is simple and sweet; but at other times, it will be terrifying. It will be messy, scary, and uncertain. That is when the opportunity for faith comes, and that is when heroines emerge. (Day 2)

• When God taps you on the heart, how quickly do you tend to respond? (page 20)

• When you consider how God might want to use you, what obstacles do you feel are holding you back? (page 20)

• How do you feel when you think of God using Rahab the prostitute? How do you feel when you think of God using you? (pages 20–21)

5. If I had been a resident of Jericho, would I have associated with Rahab? Would I have asked her about her life? Would we have been friends? Maybe, but probably not. Surely we would have hung out with different crowds. I mean, she would have been a messy person, right? But here's the problem. I'm messy too. I am just a different kind of messy. (Day 3)

• Read Mark 12:31. What did Jesus command us to do? Why do you think there is no greater commandment? (page 23)

• Have you ever had a time when you wanted someone to really see you — to notice the pain you're in and offer to intervene? If so, briefly describe that time. (page 23)

• What kinds of messy people make you uncomfortable? How do you respond to them? (page 23)

6. Jesus knows you. He knows your name — and what you weigh, no matter what your driver's license says! He knows about the dust bunnies under the stove and the bills you owe. And He cares. Jesus looks at you fresh each day and whispers, "I see you." (Day 3)

• As you consider that Jesus truly sees you and all that you are dealing with today, how does that make you feel? (page 25)

• Who has taken the time to really see you? (page 25)

• What can you do to see the unseen people around you every day? What are some small things you could do to acknowledge or communicate to them that you see them?

7. Being able to move forward in faith involves acknowledging our sin, repenting, and living in a way that honors God. (Day 4)

• Read 1 John 1:8. What does this in-your-face verse say we're doing if we claim to be without sin? (page 29)

• How does sin keep us from spiritual growth?

• Do you find it easy or difficult to acknowledge your sin to God? Why do you think that is?

8. At the end of Joshua 6, Rahab and her entire household are rescued. Because of her bold faithfulness, she and her family are redeemed. God has seen her faith, chosen her, used her, and redeemed her. Now her story is changed forever. She overcomes the sins of her past and is used in new and powerful ways. (Day 4)

• Read 2 Corinthians 5:17. What does this verse tell us about what God can do with a messy past?

• How might God be wanting to change your story the way He changed Rahab's? (page 30)

• Who in your life may need your help to change their story? (page 30)

9. When Rahab first encounters the Israelite spies, she expresses faith in the power of their God. But when she moves into action for their God, He becomes her God. We don't know the details of what happens after Rahab is rescued in Jericho, but we do know that she becomes part of the Hebrew community. She marries and raises a family. She is changed. (Day 5)

• What did you learn about Rahab's family tree? See Matthew 1:56.

• Why is it significant that Rahab is included in the lineage of Jesus? What does that tell us about how God uses messy people?

• How does anyone caught in a difficult life situation move from messy to masterpiece?

10. Hebrews 11 is known as the Hall of Faith chapter. In this passage the writer lists some of the very greatest heroes of Scripture — all who had messy lives. And mentioned by name in this prestigious company is our heroine, Rahab! (Day 5)

• According to Hebrews 11:31, what saved Rahab? (page 34)

• Read James 2:25. How was Rahab viewed after she helped the spies? (page 34)

• Review the heroes of Hebrews 11 and some of the excuses they could have hidden behind. How does knowing the messiness of these heroes encourage you to trust God with your own messiness?

11. Think about all of your study and reflection this week.

• What thoughts or discoveries are sticking with you from this week's study?


Deeper Conversation (15 minutes)

Divide into smaller groups of two or three for deeper conversation. (Encourage the women to break into different groups each week.) Before the session, write on a markerboard or chart paper the question or questions you want the groups to discuss:

• What labels have you been given in life, and how have they affected you? (page 13)

• Have you ever felt disqualified from being used by God? (page 13) How has God used you anyway?

Give a two-minute warning before time is up so that the groups may wrap up their discussion.

Closing Prayer (5–10 minutes, depending on session length)

Close the session by taking personal prayer requests from group members and leading the group in prayer. As you progress to later weeks in the study, you might encourage members to participate in the Closing Prayer by praying out loud for one another and the requests given.

CHAPTER 2

The Prodigal Son

Restoring Messy Relationships Luke 15:11-32

Leader Prep

Bible Storyand Theme Overview

Through our study this week we have taken a look at the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15 and considered five key steps in restoring messy relationships: coming to our senses, taking responsibility, running to reconcile, allowing for mistakes, and seeking peace. This parable shows us how to choose love, mercy, and peace in our messy relationships over bitterness, anger, and resentment.

Main Point

Rather than run away and rebel like the prodigal son or be judgmental and cold like the older brother, we can be the ones who run to restore what was broken. And as we do, it will bring a smile to God's face!

Key Scriptures

11 "A man had two sons. The younger son told his father, 'I want my share of your estate now before you die.' So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons.

13 "A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living. 14 About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve. 15 He persuaded a local farmer to hire him, and the man sent him into his fields to feed the pigs. 16 The young man became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything.

17 "When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, 'At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! 18 I will go home to my father and say, "Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant."'

20 '"So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. 21 His son said to him, 'Father, Ihave sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.'

22 "But his father said to the servants, 'Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. 23 And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast,for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.' So the party began.

25 "Meanwhile, the older son was in the fields working. When he returned home, he heard music and dancing in the house, 26 and he asked one of the servants what was going on. 27 'Your brother is back,' he was told, 'and your father has killed the fattened calf. We are celebrating because of his safe return.'

28 "The older brother was angry and wouldn't go in. His father came out and begged him, 29 but he replied, 'All these years I've slaved for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. And in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends. 30 Yet when this son of yours comes back after squandering your money on prostitutes, you celebrate by killing the fattened calf!'

31 "His father said to him, 'Look, dear son, you have always stayed by me, and everything I have is yours. 32 We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!'"

(Luke 15:11-32)

What You Will Need

Messy People DVD and a DVD player

• markerboard or chart paper and markers

• stick-on name tags and markers (optional)

• iPod, smartphone, or tablet and portable speaker (optional)

Session Outline

Welcome and Opening Prayer (5–10 minutes, depending on session length)

To create a warm, welcoming environment as the women are gathering before the session begins, consider lighting one or more candles, providing coffee or other refreshments, and/or playing worship music. (Bring an iPod, smartphone, or tablet and a portable speaker if desired.) Be sure to provide name tags if the women do not know one another or you have new participants in your group. Then, when you are ready to begin, pray the following prayer or offer your own:

Dear God, thank You for loving us with a love that covers a multitude of sins. It is difficult for us to love when we've been hurt, but You continue to show us how. Give us insight and wisdom as we study Your Word and learn to love deeply as You love us. Amen.

(Continues…)


Excerpted from "Messy People Leader Guide"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Abingdon Press.
Excerpted by permission of Abingdon Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

About the Author,
Introduction,
Basic Leader Helps,
Introductory Session,
Week 1: Rahab: Changing Your Messy Story (Joshua 2; 6),
Week 2: The Prodigal Son: Restoring Messy Relationships (Luke 15:11-32),
Week 3: Josiah: Breaking Messy Family Cycles (2 Kings 22–23; 2 Chronicles 34–35),
Week 4: Mary: Surviving Life's Messy Plot Twists (Luke 1:26-38),
Week 5: David: Overcoming the Mess of Criticism (1 Samuel 16–18; 2 Samuel 12; 15),
Week 6: Daniel: Thriving in Messy Circumstances (Daniel 1–3),
Video Viewer Guide: Answers,

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews