Small Group Guide:
Open with prayer.
Go around and give everyone a chance to share about how the past week has been. What’s one highlight? What’s one lowlight?
If your small group has talked about it before, feel free to use this time to hold people accountable to what they’ve asked to be held accountable for previously, and go through the “missional” part of this discussion guide.
Found on stitched pillows and graduation cards galore, Jeremiah 29:11 is undoubtedly one of the most quoted verses in the entire Bible. However, it is rarely fully understood by those who read it, even among Christians. Today, to better understand it, we are looking at the greater context of Jeremiah 29:11, and taking a look at how the entire passage affects our lives.
- Recognize that context is important
(Jer. 29:1-3, Heb. 4:12, 2 Tim. 3:16-17)
- Take God’s Word seriously
(Jer. 29:15-19, James 1:22)
- Don’t take vengeance into your own hands
(Jer. 29:20-23, Rom. 12:19)
Realizing this, in the midst of the exile:
- Don’t let fear paralyze you
(Jer. 29:4-6, Phil. 4:6-7, Luke 21:1-38, Matt. 24:1-14)
- Pray for and be a blessing to your community
(Jer. 29:7, James 1:27, 1 John 3:17-19, Gal. 6:9-10, Matt. 25:34-46)
- Live by God’s word
(Jer. 29:8-9, 1 John 4:1, Matt. 4:4, 7:24-26, Ps 119:105)
- Cling onto God’s promises
(Jer. 29:10-14, Rom. 8:28, Phi. 1:6, Rom. 3:23, 2 Pet. 3:9)
- Have you ever heard this passage of Scripture or topic taught on before? What stood out to you?
- Where have you seen Jeremiah 29:11 quoted before?
- Before this message, did you have any idea what the context of Jeremiah 29:11 was? What did you know about this verse before hearing this message?
- How did looking at this passage within the greater context of Scripture help your understanding of this part of God’s Word?
- What are some practical ways you can keep God’s Word in context, in order to understand it more fully?
- Read James 1:22. When you read God’s Word, how well do you apply it to your life? How can you better apply God’s Word to your life?
- It’s sometimes easy to become paralyzed by fear because of all the evil that is happening in this world. Read Jeremiah 29:4-6. God is sure to remind the Israelites that in spite of the situation they find themselves in, they will be in Babylon for a while, and they are to move on with their lives to build houses, plant gardens, get married, have kids, and have their kids get married and have kids. How would remembering that change the way you live your life?
- Keeping in mind your answers from question #7, would remembering what God said to the Israelites in Jeremiah chapter 29 cause you to be more steady and less anxious? How so?
- Sometimes Christians can pigeon hole themselves and their faith, and fall into the temptation that they are to be recluse from our society, and not do anything to help our communities. However, in Jeremiah 29:7, God is very clear that the Israelites are to seek the welfare of the cities that they find themselves in Babylon. How can you apply that same principle to your own life and community? How can you better seek the welfare of your community? Spend some time in prayer and ask God how you can accomplish this.
- Read Jeremiah 29:8-9. There were many false prophets that gave false timelines to the Israelites as to how long they would be in Babylon. God urges them not to be deceived by these false prophets. We are also urged by God’s Word (check out 1 John 4:1) to test every spirit, to see if it is from God. The best way to do this is to see if it lines up with God’s Word. God is perfect, and will not contradict Himself. How well do you check things by God’s Word, and how can you do that better in your life?
- In Jeremiah 29:10-14 God gives His promise to Israel. Throughout Scripture, He also gives promises to us as believers. Take some time and jot down some of your favorite promises that God gives us in His Word. How can you keep these promises in front of you in your everyday life?
- What is your biggest take away about how this passage affects your life? What do you need to work on? Who can you share this with and ask you to keep you accountable to accomplishing this?
Pray for each other in your small group to be faithful take the step(s) that you shared above. Pray for each other and the interactions that they have with those who don’t know Jesus. Pray that God would soften the people’s hearts to what He has for them. Pray that God would give everyone opportunities to share the Gospel.
Share spiritual/missional conversations you’ve had where you live, work, and play:
Who did you have a conversation with that took a spiritual/missional turn this week?
What questions did you ask to discover where God is at work in their life, even if they are not aware?
How were you able to share your story of life change or how you have experienced Jesus?
How can you be intentional this week with people where you live, work, and play to have spiritual/missional conversations if the opportunity arises?
Who in your life do you think could be discipleable or open to spiritual/missional conversations?
Discuss the next step for your small group. When will we gather again and what purpose will it fulfill?