Small Group Tools
Contemporary Comments 2018
Texts: Isaiah 13:6, 9; Matthew 24:30, 31; Daniel 2:34, 35; 2 Timothy 4:6-8; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10
As we begin moving into the peak times of the vacation season, more and more articles, blogs, and videos tell us how to make our trip more bearable—especially for those with children.1 Even though families can be on the way to a much sought-after destination, getting there can take the focus away from the goal.
Advice given to travelers, (parents in particular), specifies that along the way, there needs to be activities that interest and refresh. We can probably all agree that advice such as don’t over pack and accept that things will go wrong,2 are true for any person on a journey. More travel wisdom says to research and plan, and to recognize what is important.3
Are these bits of advice also appropriate for the person journeying through life awaiting Jesus’ return? Stepping out on a sandy beach, feeling the breeze in one’s face, smelling the salt air, hearing the screech of the gulls and the lapping of the waves make the journey worth it, but how do we keep that focus in mind during the trek to reach the destination?
In our Sabbath School lesson this quarter, we’ve studied preparation for the end of time. During this study, we’ve examined the beginning of the controversy, prophecies about the end of time, and events at the end. Throughout the lessons we have been continually reminded about the focus: a loving God and Creator who wishes to spend eternity with us.
This week, at the culmination of this study, we see the importance of looking forward to the return of Jesus and not being sidetracked by other philosophies or fears. Just as good travel advice reminds us to plan ahead and stay focused, the same is true as we journey toward end time. On a trip, there is generally a destination in mind before beginning. Are we sure of our final destination? Fear can set in when we look at events or at the philosophies proposed by others rather than keeping our focus on God who planned for us before the world began.
As we wait for that event, it’s important to remember that while it’s a culmination, it’s also a beginning. Stepping out onto the beach is not the end of the journey, but rather the beginning of an experience. End time means a beginning to those looking forward to spending eternity with Jesus.
~ For Reflection
Connecting: As group members enter, ask them to write one word on a notecard that describes a feeling they have while waiting for Jesus to return. Place the cards in a basket and read them together.
Sharing: Read Isaiah 13:6, 9. How does the person waiting eagerly for Jesus’ return relate to these verses?
1. The person should be very fearful that he or she might be destroyed.
2. The person should do as much good as possible to avoid this time.
3. The person should try to find ways to appease the Lord’s anger.
4. The person should look forward with hope because sin will be destroyed.
5. The person should learn how to replant the desolate earth.
Applying: Plan a special event to share how wonderful it is to look forward to Jesus’ return. If families will attend, children could play charades, acting out what they think it will be like. Use the hymnal or choose songs familiar to your congregation that indicate Jesus is coming soon. This could be a time for your group to invite friends outside the church to join you.
Valuing: Copy the words of Psalm 143:8 on a 3x5 notecard. Use this verse as a part of your daily devotion throughout the week. Pray that God will lead you as you look forward to Jesus’ return.