Small Group Tools
Contemporary Comments 2018
Texts: John 14:9; Zephaniah 3:17; John 1:1-3; Romans 8:38, 39; Psalm 91:15, 16; Revelation 14:6, 7; Ephesians 1:4, 5
Hours before the Gwilliam family planned to leave the Hawaiian island of Kauai last week, floodwaters stranded them. Two feet of rain in 24 hours washed out a bridge, cutting the San Diego family’s vacation rental off from safety. “We tried not to let the kids see, but I was terrified,” said mom Erin Gwilliam. A nearby resident and Good Samaritan helped the family escape. Their knight in a shining wetsuit? Surfing legend Laird Hamilton.
The surfer coordinated rescues after severe rain struck, causing mudslides and power outages on the island of Kauai. Hamilton conducted more than 75 rescues in floodwaters near his Kauai home, but he’s not asking for credit. “If you have compassion, this is what you do,” Hamilton said. "These are opportunities to make a difference, when it really counts." Hamilton’s boat launch is on the high side of the flood plain, which enabled him to conduct the rescues beginning at 4:00 am each day. “I was able to help some people off their roofs and get them what they need.”
Hamilton rescued 15 girls from a sleepover camp at the home of fellow surfer Leila Hurst, and lent his boat launch to the National Guard, who used it for their own rescue operations. The rescues weren’t limited to humans: Hamilton and his friends also rescued approximately 80 bison they found in the flood plain. “We were just going around in boats, tying them and towing them, trying to get them back into pasture,” Hamilton said. “In Hawaii we have a word called ‘ohana.’ It means family. Family and friends banding together. It’s a pretty wonderful thing. This would have been much worse had we not all banded together here. That’s ohana.”1
When it comes to our salvation in the end times, it’s necessary to be a part of God’s family. According to our lesson this week, during the end times especially the whole world will need a Savior. Fortunately, we have a God who loves us, and preserves us through troubling times. This week we’ll explore the love of the Father, the love of the Son, and the love of the Holy Spirit for us.
In the first angel’s message of Revelation 14 we find the term “everlasting gospel.” The word gospel simply means “good news.” The best news of all is that God loves us and wants to rescue us from this messed up planet and deliver us to our eternal home in heaven. This is the message that’s to go to the entire world: the rescue operation is underway! Unfortunately, most of the world has no idea that this is our final warning—that things will not continue as they are indefinitely. The end times are simply that: our final days. We have salvation when we truly become ohana, adopted into God’s family.
~ For Reflection
Connecting: Have each person take a piece of paper from a bowl. On the paper, list a life focus on which people place value: job, education, money, family, faith, character, etc. Ask each person to share what life looks like when the focus on the paper is first in their lives. Emphasize how it affects time, relationships, money, passion, etc.
Sharing: “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13). Why is it important to have confidence in salvation?
1. When we are confident in what Jesus did, we have ongoing peace in our lives.
2. When we are confident in Jesus, we are not easily pulled into the trap of legalism.
3. When we are confident in Jesus, we live lives of joy, which attracts others to Jesus.
4. When we are confident in Jesus, we spend time seeking a closer relationship with God.
5. When we are confident in Jesus, we are not afraid of the end times.
Applying: Take a video survey in a public place, asking people what they know about the end times from the Bible. Edit the video and ask the group to take turns being filmed while sharing encouraging scripture to counteract the fears that were shared. Post the complete video on your church’s webpage.
Valuing: Are you confident in your personal salvation in Jesus? Why or why not? Reflect quietly on this for a few minutes.