Frustration and Disappointment Leaders Guide

 

Special Considerations for the Frustration and False Gods Episodes

  1. These episodes focus on the realities that Christians experience as a result of living in a fallen world.  Depending on the faith tradition that one was formed by, this may be a new emphasis for some.  The reality of the fallen world means that the world is not as God intended—it is marked by evil and suffering—and Christians experience suffering and evil in this life—their faith does not give them immunity.  At the same time, God is at work in our lives through the Gospel, and that gives us great hope.  Theologians call this the “already/not yet” tension of the Christian life, and this tension is a normal aspect of Christian experience.  Often when Christians experience this tension, they think something is wrong with their faith, but that is not the case.
  2. The conversations in these episodes are also designed to help us understand our tendency to turn to idols to satisfy our desires.  This deeper conception of our sinfulness may make some folks uneasy—if there is someone in the group (or you) who can give an example from your own life to help others understand, that can help free them to be honest with their own struggles.  Use the quotes to help the group reflect on these issues.
  3. These episodes may surface deep questions about situations in their life that group members are currently struggling to trust God with.  As the group leader, you don’t need to have all of the answers for them.  In such situations, the loving presence of the group, expressed through prayer and practical help, is perhaps the best way for the group to minister to them.

 

Join the Conversation

Record thoughts and questions here that come up as you watch the episode.  Explore them later with the group.

 

 

 

Listen to God’s Word: Genesis 3:16-19, Romans 8:18-25

 

Discuss the Episode

  1. Romans 8:18-25 describes our experience in this life as one of suffering and glory, affliction and hope, often side-by-side. Dan explained that we live outside of Eden, and will always feel the tension between the goodness of God and the challenges of a fallen world. Where do you feel this tension in your own life? How does God show his goodness in these frustrations?
  2. The drive for personal fulfillment often infects the Christian message, creating unrealistic expectations of the Christian life. Have you or do you know someone who has struggled with his or her faith because of unrealistic expectations? Where did those expectations come from?
  3. Dan said that we are often uncomfortable with the idea of a wild, mysterious God whom we cannot understand or control. Tremper said we like to use the Bible as an instruction book for controlling God and our lives. How do these perspectives compare to your own understanding of God and of the Bible?
  4. Dan defines the word “awe” as something that you so admire that you wish to be like. What are you in awe of?

 

Reflect on What Others Have to Say

Underline and mark ideas you would like to discuss.

Life is difficult. This is the great truth, one of the greatest truths—it is a great truth because once we see this truth, we transcend it.  Once we truly know that life is difficult--once we truly understand and accept it--then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.
Scott Peck, The Road Less Travelled

…the sufferings and the glory [of God’s children] belong together indissolubly.  They did in the experience of Christ; they do in the experience of his people also.  It is only after we ‘have suffered a little while’ that we will enter God’s ‘eternal glory in Christ’, to which he has called us.  So the sufferings and the glory are married; they cannot be divorced.  They are welded; they cannot be broken apart.
John Stott, Romans: God’s Good News for the World

We all tend to operate out of a faulty assumption that looks something like this: “If only I could control my world, life would be manageable and have meaning and purpose.”  Related to that assumption is an equally faulty one: “I ought to be able to control my world.”  Before you dismiss that last statement too readily, think about your life.  How much energy do you spend trying to manage your family life, your job, your life at church, your relationships?
Dan Allender and Tremper Longman III, Breaking the Idols of Your Heart


 
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