Before the Session
Facilitator: In advance of the session
- Review today’s scripture text and the session activities to help better facilitate the discussion.
- Have the Bible Background Video ready to view.
- Review and summarize the article on the PEW Report
- And/or have the videos from the Texas flooding ready to show.
- Encourage your group to listen to the Faithelement Podcast ahead of the next session (Share the link via email or social media)
Choose one of the following to introduce the session:
A) Texas Flooding
Say: Heavy rains in the Spring of 2015 brought deadly flooding to parts of Texas. (Show the following 2 clips. The first clip provides an overview of the situation, and the second clip shows a particular rescue of stranded motorists).
After viewing the videos, encourage discussion with questions like these:
- Have any of you ever experienced flooding like this? If so, what was it like?
- It’s easy to feel distant from such events, but these are real people caught in terrible circumstances. What sort of feelings do you think the two stranded motorist had while clinging to the truck?
- How do you think their families felt?
- What thoughts and feelings do you think the rescue workers were having?
B) Pew World Dangers Report (optional activity)
Ask: What do you think the top danger to the world is? (Allow for responses).
Say: Recently, the Pew Research Center conducted a survey where they asked persons from 44 countries which of five dangers they thought were the greatest threat. (Provide some highlights from their findings — the first paragraph of the article offers several worth mentioning).
Provide an overview of the Pew Report on the Greatest Dangers of the World. If possible, show the main graphic from the page on a screen.
Then lead a discussion using questions like these:
- Which of these five dangers (the ones listed in the report) would you choose as the greatest threat. Why?
- What do you think explains why some parts of the world chose different threats as the most dangerous?
- Is is possible for our world to make progress against these threats? Is it likely? Explain your optimism or pessimism.
- Is God still at work in our world to make it a better place? If so, where do we see God at work in these particular issues?
Lead a conversation using questions like these:
- How hopeful or pessimistic do you think the sailors felt as the storm raged around their ship?
- Why do you think God provided aid to them? Does God always provide aid to those in need?
- The passage is full of plural pronouns: we, us, etc. Sailing is a group effort, and the sailors would survive or perish together. The Psalm itself is considered to be a hymn, sung together in a worship service. In the podcast for this session, some wondered if our tendency to think in “individualistic” terms made it hard for us to speak in “we” and “us” perspectives. Do you agree or disagree? What does God hope for us: to deal with tough times as individuals or to provide support as a group… as a community? Explain.
When the group re-gathers, read again Psalm 107:28-31:
28 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he brought them out from their distress;
29 he made the storm be still,
and the waves of the sea were hushed.
30 Then they were glad because they had quiet,
and he brought them to their desired haven.
31 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
for his wonderful works to humankind.
Lead a prayer, giving thanks to God for the times God has brought us through perils in life, and asking God to use us in rescuing others in our community and world.