SMALL GROUP MATERIAL
FOCUS – 4 Gifts to Enhance my Spiritual Life
KEY SCRIPTURE: Matthew 6:6-16; James 4:8
GROUP DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
- What stuck out to you tonight in the devotional message?
- Have you ever heard about fasting before?
- How would you define fasting?
(A: Here’s a definition: Fasting is a willing act of abstaining from something, like food, for a certain amount of time and replace that need for time with God.
- Is dieting the same thing as fasting?
- Have you fasted before? If so, what was it for and what was it like?
- If you were to choose something to fast from (something that is important to you, or a perceived need), what would you fast from? How long do you think you could fast for?
- How do you think your life would be impacted by fasting? What do you think it would do for your Spiritual life with Jesus?
OUTWARD PRAYER – Prayer for others
WHAT’S THE POINT?
I will have a greater focus on Jesus, when I replace my perceived need (like food or my phone) with my need for God.
Matthew 6:16-18 – There’s a few ideas you could focus on in this Scripture. One, is that Jesus says, “when you fast,” not “if you fast.” It is interesting that fasting is just assumed. Another is the privacy of fasting, that it is not for show. The other is the reward. When we fast, not to be seen by others, but only towards God, in order to connect with Him better, he rewards us with His presence. It also uncovers our worldly attachment to things.
James 4:8 – When we step towards God (in an act like fasting or prayer or scripture reading or sabbathing) he communicates more clearly to us.
Here are a few ideas for grabbing the attention of youth and pointing them towards the topic:
- Share some of these stats about average tech use for teenagers per day:
30 min talking on cell phone
49 min listening to or watching media on their cell phone
1.5 hours text messaging
9 hours of media use (TV, computer, cell phone, etc.)
Then talk about how phones, or screens have become a perceived need in our lives. Encourage students to think about what would life like look if they purposely chose to put down their phone for a week to connect with God
- Share a story of when you broke something or lost something that you thought you needed, but found a rewarding side effect of not having it
- Use this video from skit guys (a little long, but could be cut short):
Title: The Skinny on Fasting URL: https://youtu.be/IVawgv8gA3o
WHY DO I CARE?
- I can become too dependant on things around me in this world and lose focus on Jesus
- I could experience a more significant depth in the presence of God in my life
- Generally, fasting is one of the least talked about spiritual practices in the church that I could be missing out on
WHAT DO I DO?
- Ask Jesus what he might want me to fast from and for how long (ie. food for a day, or my phone for a week, or social media for a month)
- When my hunger for that thing I’m fasting from comes about, take some time connecting with God