Teaching Series Introduction:
We have a once in a generation chance. There is so much pain behind us, and so much possibility ahead. What if this is the moment? What if now is the time to throw off the past, and take hold of a future that really is different. What if now is the time to take hold of life?
TAKE HOLD: Session 2
TITLE: Seize The Moment
BY: Judy Moore
DATE: 20 June 2021
BIBLE PASSAGE: Nehemiah (Chapter 2, verses 1-20)
It’s easy to wish things were different, but what if God has given you an opportunity – in the very moment you find yourself, right now – to be that difference!
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There are three different sets of questions for you to use, whether you are exploring God’s word within your Life Group, or in other group settings, or simply using them on your own.
A. DISCUSSION STARTERS
These are simple questions to provoke discussion together out of the talk (ideal if you are watching our Sunday Service online with others):
- Were there particular things in the talk that really resonated with you?
- What things did Judy say that you didn’t understand, weren’t sure about, or disagreed with?
- Is there anything from the talk that you want to try and put into practice this week?
b. QUESTIONS TO EXPLORE
These are questions that are based on the talk and the surrounding themes:
- How does it make you feel to think that no-one else, in all of history, has the unique opportunities in life that you have?
- There is one sentence at the end of Nehemiah chapter 1 that seems innocuous, but the whole story hinges on: ‘I was cupbearer to the King.’ With that in mind, read Nehemiah 2:1-9. What was possible for Nehemiah, purely because of the unique circumstances that he found himself in?
- It is noticeable that God uses the King – not a God follower – to carry out his plans. In other words, God works through an outsider to carry out his plans for his people. How does this change the way we might see the world we find ourselves in, the role we have to play, and the incredible things that God can do in society beyond us?
- Read Nehemiah 1:4 and 2:4. When you consider the gap in months, it seems that he has been praying for 4 months before doing anything. What importance does prayer play, do you think, in what Nehemiah is achieving? What other active steps does Nehemiah take, both now and beforehand, to make use of the position he finds himself?
- Read Nehemiah 2:10 and 2:19. It is noticeable that some people aren’t happy with what Nehemiah is doing. In the face of varying perspectives how do you avoid getting unduly influenced by strong voices?
- Read v11-20. In Judy’s talk, she mentioned three aspects in the chapter. How do each of them apply to you?:
a. Seek ut (v1-9)
b. Step out (v10-17)
c. Speak out (v17-20)
- Take some time to pray. Ask God for strength the ‘seek out’ the unique opportunities you have. Then, thank God for the unique circumstances you find yourself in that give you the opportunity to ‘step out’ and ‘speak out’ for God. Pray that you would take these opportunities.
C. GOING DEEPER
These are questions to help you go a little deeper, by exploring the wider biblical context.
- Nehemiah was cupbearer to the king (1:11), and uses his position for godly influence. A cupbearer was a highly important role in the ancient world – Nehemiah would have been completely trusted to make sure that everything the King drank was free from poison. What was the relationship between Nehemiah and the King like (see Nehemiah 2:1-6)? What does this show you about the important role of simply being a faithful employee, alongside also using the unique circumstances you find yourself in for God?
- Read Nehemiah 2:1-6. What does this show you about Nehemiah’s priorities in life? It is interesting is that he has a passion for God’s purposes, but is open to being used by God to achieve those purposes – he is the answer to his own prayer! How might this speak into our desire for change in our lives, our church and our city?
- Read Nehemiah 2:6-8. When the king asks Nehemiah what he wants, he has all of the answers already! In other words, he hasn’t just been praying, he’s been planning too. Read John 14:12-13 – what is the relationship between prayer and action? What areas of life might be impacted by this right now (personal life, church life, city life etc)?
- Nehemiah 2:8 is an answer to 1:11 (see also 2:18). Read also Ezra 7:6,9,28. What do you think it meant to have the ‘hand of God’ on him? Read John 10:27-29 and Acts 11:19-21. What might this show us about the ‘hand of God’ today? What might it mean to pray that ‘God’s hand’ would be upon us at Riverside?
- Read Nehemiah 2:11-20. When opposition comes, how do you know when to pay attention to the opposition and when to ignore it? How do you know when it is wise to keep stepping forwards in faith, and when it’s a good idea to stop because you are making an unwise choice? What is important about Nehemiah’s motivations and experiences (v17-18) that could help us to make wise choices in such positions?
- In verse 20, the word for ‘success’ is the same word used in Psalm 1:3 and Joshua 1:8. What do you think that ‘success’ looks like in practice, and how does it differ from ‘worldly’ success?
- Take some time to pray, asking that God would give you the willingness to courageously be the answer to your own prayers, as we seek to fulfil his purposes. Pray that God would help you to take hold of the opportunities you uniquely have to serve his purposes.
FURTHER STUDY RESOURCES
- A short simple video summary of the Book of Nehemiah and the wider context (8mins…worth watching!)
- A helpful explanation of the “exile”:
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