September 20 - Luke 1:1-4

Kick-Off

Luke 1:1-4


By the end of WHIRLWIND, we want students to know… What it means to be a part of your Breakout Group and what to expect this year at Whirlwind.

By the end of WHIRLWIND, we want students to be able to… Commit to be in community with each other.

 

Breakout Groups:

This group is yours to plan and prepare.

How do you want to spend this time with your group?  Getting to know each other?  Catching up?  Casting a vision?  Sharing goals and expectations?

How do you want to start this year with these students?

Ask your fellow leaders for ideas or check the resources section of this handbook (page 54).

 

Close your Breakout Group

 

September 27 - Luke 1:5-2:20

Two Birthdays

Luke 1:5-2:20


By the end of WHIRLWIND, we want students to know… that God became physically present on earth in the birth of Jesus.

By the end of WHIRLWIND, we want students to be able to… be aware of God’s presence in their lives.

 

Breakout Groups:

Spend time in Scripture.

What was your favorite birthday memory of all time?

Read Luke 1:5-25 and Luke 1:26-38

Compare the angel’s visits to Zechariah and Mary.  How were they similar?  How were they different?

Similarities: It was the same angel, same greeting of “Do not be afraid”, both babies were named by God in advance, both births would be impossible given their parents, both Zechariah and Mary respond with questions.

Differences: Zechariah had prayed for this, Zechariah is made mute, Mary is not yet married, Mary accepts it, Zechariah is the dad and Mary is the mom, Zechariah is a public figure and Mary is unknown.


For Guy Breakout Groups: How would you feel if you were in Zechariah’s position?  How would you feel is you were in Joseph’s position?

For Girl Breakout Groups: How would you feel if you were in Mary’s position?

Read Luke 1:57-66 and Luke 2:1-20

Compare the birth of John the Baptist and Jesus.  How were they similar?  How were they different?

Similarities: Parents were present, everybody seemed to survive labor, parents were happy.

Differences: John was born in his home, Jesus in a stranger’s stable, John was surrounded by family and neighbors, Jesus was surrounded by strangers.

Look again at verses 29-35 in chapter 1 and verses 10-11 in chapter 2.

Who is Jesus?  What words does the angel use to describe him to Mary and the shepherds?

Which of these words do you understand?  Which are confusing?

Jesus is the physical embodiment of God on earth.  This year, we are going to take a close look at Jesus and how people physically interacted with him in their daily lives.

What do you think it would be like to interact with God in this way?

While today, Jesus does not walk on this earth or interact with people like he does in Luke’s gospel, that doesn’t mean that God isn’t present.

What do you think it means that God is present?

Have you ever felt like God was present in your life?  What did it feel like?

What does is it like when you feel that God isn’t present?

Is God ever “not present”?

If not, why do we sometimes feel like He isn’t?

What can we do to better sense that God is near and present?

Based on what’s been talked about in Breakout Groups, in what way do you need to be challenged this week?

Close your Breakout Group

 

October 4 - Luke 2:41-52

Middle School Jesus

Luke 2:41-52

By the end of WHIRLWIND, we want students to know… that adolescence is part of God’s design.

By the end of WHIRLWIND, we want students to be able to… rely on God and others to navigate adolescence.

Breakout Groups:

Spend time in Scripture.

If you could have been around to watch Jesus grow up, what’s one thing you would liked to have seen?

Read Luke 2:41-45.

Have you ever been separated from your parents like this… either you got lost or they left you?  What did it feel like for you?

How did your parents react?

What do you think Jesus’ parents were thinking or feeling at this time?

Read Luke 2:46-52.

Where was Jesus when his parents found him?  What was he doing?

What did the people in the temple courts think of Jesus?

What was Jesus’ parents reaction when they found him?

Jesus replies, “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”  And what’s his parents’ reaction to this?

How does this compare to conversations/arguments between you and your parents?

Think back… what are some things you are now allowed to do that you were not a few years ago?  Why do you think you were not allowed to do those things then?

What are some things you wish you could do now but aren’t yet allowed?

Why do you think you’re not yet permitted to do those things?  [Think beyond “my parents are just mean”.]

Read verse 52 again.  This one verse says a lot.  It implies that Jesus was not born with the complete knowledge of the universe.  As a baby, he needed to learn to walk and talk.  As a student, he needed to learn to read and write.

Why do you think it’s significant that Jesus needed to learn and grow up?  Why didn’t he just show up on earth as a grown man and start preaching and healing people?

Think back again… What new things have you learned since becoming a middle schooler?  [6th graders may need to think back further.]  What new skills do you have?  What new wisdom have you gained?  How has your knowledge of God deepened?

What is the hardest part of being in Middle School for you?

How does it make you feel that Jesus went through some similar experiences?

Who in your life can you rely on to get through the difficult parts of Middle School?

Based on what’s been talked about in Breakout Groups, in what way do you need to be challenged this week?

 

Close your Breakout Group

 

October 11 - Luke 4:1-13

Shh!  Testing in Progress

Luke 4:1-13

By the end of WHIRLWIND, we want students to know… Jesus used God’s Word to resist temptation.

By the end of WHIRLWIND, we want students to be able to… memorize Scripture that can later be used to resist temptation.

Breakout Groups:

Spend time in Scripture.

IDEA: Lectio Divina through Art… Provide your students with blank paper, crayons and/or colored pencils.  Have volunteers read through the passage 3 times.  The first time, have students just listen.  During the second and thirds times, allow students to draw whatever images come to them as the passage is read.  Allow students time to share their art.

Read Luke 4:1-4.

Who leads Jesus into the desert?  Who tempts Jesus in the desert?

What was Jesus’ physical state of being at the end of his time in the wilderness?

What were you typically like when you’re hungry?  How do you treat those around you?

What is the first way in which Jesus is tested?

If you could transform rocks into something you could eat, what would you turn them into?

How does Jesus resist this temptation?

Jesus’ response comes from Deuteronomy 8:3.  Read the whole verse.

Fill-in-the-Blank… “My life would be perfect if I just had _________________.”

God used hunger to teach Israel to trust and rely on God.  What do you think it would be like to “hunger for God”?

On a scale of 1-6, how “hungry” are you for God?

What gets in the way?

Read Luke 4:5-8.

What is the second way in which Jesus is tested?

Suppose you were led to a high place and shown what you desired most.  What would you see?

What would you do to get this?  How far would you go?  How far have you gone?

How easy would it be to turn your back on God for this?  In what ways have you already put this before God in your life?

How does Jesus respond to this second temptation?’

How do you need to shuffle your priorities so God comes first?  Are you willing to make Him a priority in your life?  Why or why not?

Read Luke 4:9-13.

What is the third way Jesus is tested?

In what ways do you think you might test God?

God, if you really love me, you will ___________________________

God, if you really care for me, you will ________________________

If there were some sort of written test that told us how much God loved us and how much we loved God, who would score higher?  Why?

Why should we not put God to the test?

Why might we be tempted to?

Why do you think the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to be tested?

Look back at the three times Jesus is tested.  How does he respond each time?

How can knowing God’s Word help you when you are tempted?

Based on what’s been talked about in Breakout Groups, in what way do you need to be challenged this week?

Close your Breakout Group

 

October 18 - Luke 5:1-11:27-32

Follow the Leader

Luke 5:1-11, 27-32

 

By the end of WHIRLWIND, we want students to know… that following Jesus requires sacrifice.

By the end of WHIRLWIND, we want students to be able to… reflect on whether or not they are actively following Jesus


Breakout Groups:

Spend time in Scripture.

What from the message tonight stood out to you?  Why?

Read Luke 5:1-11.

Take a moment to imagine you are Peter (or Petrina for the ladies).

Reread verse 5.  How are you feeling and why?

Reread verses 1-3.  What does this scene look like?  What does it sound like?  Smell like?

Peter had met Jesus before (Luke 4:38-39) when Jesus healed his mother-in-law.  If you were Peter, what would you be thinking in Jesus hopped in your boat?  Would you do what he asked?  Why?

What does it feel like to sit in the boat as Jesus teaches the crowd?

How does Peter respond when Jesus asks him to let down his nets?

How does Peter respond when they catch so many fish that the boat begins to sink?  Why do you think Peter responds this way?

What does Jesus tell him?

What do you think it means to “fish for people”?

What did Peter and the others do once they pulled their boats on shore?

 If you were Peter, would you be willing to leave everything and follow Jesus?

Imagine you’re in the crowd.  You’ve heard Jesus teach, you’ve watched this miraculous catch of fish, and you’ve seen these fishermen leave everything to follow Jesus.  What are you thinking?  What are you feeling?

Have you ever been in a position like the crowd before?  Have you seen others around you make huge, life-changing commitments to God, but you feel like you’re standing back and watching?

Who do you feel more like?  Peter or the crowd?

If you’re Peter, what have you left behind so you could follow Jesus?

If you’re in the crowd, what keeps you from following Jesus?

Read Luke 5:27-32.

What do you know about tax collectors from this time?  [Leader Note: You may need to fill in some gaps.]

If you were a tax collector, what would your life be like?

What kind of relationships would you have?  (Take a look at who’s on your banquet guest list in verse 29.)

How would you feel about yourself?

Describe in GREAT detail Jesus’ initial interaction with Levi.  If all Jesus said was, “Follow me”, why did Levi get up, leave everything, and follow Jesus?

Why do you think it was important to mention that both Levi and Peter “left everything” to follow Jesus?

Why is it important to be willing to “leave everything” to follow Jesus?

In what way do people or things hold you back from following Jesus?

What things hold you back from fully following Jesus?

What would your life look like if you left them behind?

Based on what’s been talked about in Breakout Groups, in what way do you need to be challenged this week?

 

Close your Breakout Group

 

 

October 25 - Luke 6:27-36

Slapped

Luke 6:27-36

 

By the end of WHIRLWIND, we want students to know… that Jesus teaches a radically non-violent approach to life’s challenges.

By the end of WHIRLWIND, we want students to be able to… respond to difficult situations in the radical manner that Jesus teaches.

 


Breakout Groups:

Spend time in Scripture.

Are there people you would consider “enemies”?  Are there people who don’t like you?  Are there people who say nasty things about you to your face or behind your back?  Are there people who treat you poorly?

Read Luke 6:27-28.

What are some of the ways Jesus says you should respond to these people?

Read Luke 6:27-36.

On a scale of 1-4, how hard is it to live how Jesus is telling you to live in these verses?

What’s the hardest part for you?

What makes it so hard?

Look back at verses 27-28.  Are the people that you’ve said nasty things about to their face or behind their back?  Are there people you’ve treated poorly?

Have any of them responded like Jesus says to in this passage?

Look at verses 32-36.  Who are the people that are easy to love and “do good to”?

Why does Jesus say we need to do more than that?

Reread verses 27-36.  Assuming that you aren’t already, what would your life look like if you lived this passage out?

This way of life is hard!  Why do you think this is the way Jesus wants us to live?

Look again at what Jesus teaches.  How have you seen this lived out in our world today?

What was the result?

What would the opposite of what Jesus teaches look like?  How have you seen this lived out in our world?

What was the result?

Why is what Jesus teaches here so different from how the world works?

Read Romans 12:2.

How does this verse apply to what we’ve read in Luke’s Gospel?

How should we live our lives?  According to the world or according to Jesus?

Look back at Luke 6:27-36.  What’s one thing you can do this week to live closer to what Jesus is saying here?

Based on what’s been talked about in Breakout Groups, in what way do you need to be challenged this week?

 

Close your Breakout Group

 

November 1 - Storyteller Night

Storyteller Night

Healthy Friendships

By the end of WHIRLWIND, we want students to know… the value of friendships that strengthen their faith.

By the end of WHIRLWIND, we want students to be able to… Discern how their friends are affecting their relationship with God, positively or negatively.


Breakout Groups

Follow up on the stories that were shared tonight.

 

Option #1

Storyteller Night Continued…

This time, the students are the storytellers!

Use these prompts to encourage students to share stories within their group regarding wise choices.  In my experience, it’s usually a good idea to give them some time to think about the story.  Maybe you want to write out or display all the prompts, ask students to pick one and give them a few minutes to think of the story related to it.  Then you can either have a few students share or (if there’s time) have them all share.

If you have a large group, divide your group into pairs and have them tell each other their stories.  Challenge them in their listening too.  Have whoever is listening to the story think of one follow-up question to ask when the storyteller is done.

This may not go as smoothly as you like.  We’re teaching them to be storytellers, so be patient.

Story prompts:

  • Tell a story about a fight you had with a friend.  How did it end?
  • Tell a story about something fun you did with a friend.
  • Tell a story about something embarrassing you did with a friend.
  • Tell a story about a time when a friend helped you out of a difficult situation.
  • What fictional character would you like to have as a friend?  What would you do together?
  • Make up your own!


Option #2

Proverbs Study

Read through the Proverbs below and explore what they say about friendship.

Proverbs 12:26.

  • What does this proverbs say about friends?
  • How have you seen it in your own friendships?
  • In what ways are your friends influencing you positively or negatively?
  • Do you want to be influenced in this way?

 

Proverbs 17:10

  • How difficult is it to forgive people when they hurt us?  How difficult is it when that person us a friend?
  • According to this verse, what could happen when we forgive our friends?  What happens when we don’t forgive our friends?
  • Is there anyone in your life you need to forgive right now?  Is there anyone you need to ask forgiveness from?

 

Proverbs 27:17

  • People would sharpen their iron knives by scraping it against another piece of iron until the dull piece was sharp.  Who are the people who make you better?
  • How have they sharpened your faith?

 

Proverbs 17:17

  • What does it mean by “born for a time of adversity”?
  • How have your friends helped you through difficult times?  How have you helped them when they were struggling?
  • Of these proverbs, which is the most helpful to you right now?  Why?

Option #3

Choose Your Own Adventure!

In other words, write your own curriculum.  Is there something else you want to go over with your group?

 

Close your Breakout Group

 

 

November 15 - Luke 8:1-15

Dirty Disciples

Luke 8:1-15


By the end of WHIRLWIND, we want students to know… that how they live their lives impacts how they will receive God’s Word.

By the end of WHIRLWIND, we want students to be able to… reflect on which soil-type they are and what they would need to do to be more like good soil.

Breakout Groups:

Spend time in Scripture.

 


POTENTIAL ACTIVITY: Rework this parable into a more contemporary illustration.

 

What was the last movie that you saw that made you think differently?

 

Read Luke 8:1-15.

 

Imagine yourself as one of the disciples or someone in the crowd.  Describe what this scene might look like.

 

Why do you think Jesus teaches by telling a story instead of just telling the crowd what they should do or how they should live?


Think back to the books, movies, or TV shows that have had an impact on your life.  What did they teach you?

 
What positive messages have you gotten from books, movies, or TV?


What negative messages have you gotten?


What is Jesus’ story about?


In Jesus’ story, what does the seed represent?  What are the four kinds of soil?


What happens to the seed that falls along the path?  What does Jesus say this represents?


What would this look like to hear God’s Word, but have it taken away?


What kind of life would this person be living?


What happens to the seed that falls on rock?  What does this represent?


What do you think Jesus means when he says “receive the word with joy”?  Why does joy not last?


What do you think it means for your spiritual life to have “roots”?


Have you ever felt really close to God only to have that feeling fade away quickly?  What happened?


What would you need to do to hold onto that closeness with God?


What happens to the seed that falls among thorns?  What does Jesus say the thorns represent? What do the thorns do?

 
What are some “thorns” than might keep people from God?


What are some “thorns” that threaten your relationship with God?  How can you “weed whack” those thorns?


What happens to the seed that falls on good soil?  How does Jesus describe those who are the good soil?  (verse 15)


What do you think this kind of person looks like?


What do you think it means to “retain” the Word of God?  How can you do this?


Think about your life now.  What kind of soil do you think you are now?


If you are not in good soil, what can you do to move from where you are into good soil?


If you are in good soil, what can you do to stay there or to make sure you’re not among the rocks?


Based on what’s been talked about in Breakout Groups, in what way do you need to be challenged this week?

Close your Breakout Group

 

Close your Breakout Group

 

November 22 - Luke 8:26-39

Trapped

Luke 8:26-39

By the end of WHIRLWIND, we want students to know… that Jesus has the authority and power to free us from what holds us back.


By the end of WHIRLWIND, we want students to be able to… break out of harmful patterns and seek God’s freedom.

Breakout Groups:


Spend time in Scripture.

 
Read Luke 8:26-39.


Who does Jesus meet when he steps off the boat?


How does Scripture describe this man?


Close your eyes and try to imagine this scene.  Reread Luke 8:26-29.


What do you think this man looks like?  How does he act?  How does he respond to Jesus?

 
Imagine you live in this town.  What would your life be like?  What words would you use to describe how it feels to live near this man?


Describe the interaction between Jesus and the demon-possessed man.  What happens?  How does it end for the demon?

 
Reread verses 34-39.  What happens next?


The end of verse 35 says the people “were afraid.”  Look at the verse.  What were they afraid of?

 
Why do you think they were afraid?


How do the townspeople respond to Jesus?  Why do they respond this way?

 
These people were used to living near a demon-possessed man “for a long time.”  They would chain him up and place guards around him.  But Jesus shows up, conquers evil and saves this man’s life.  Why are these people seemingly more afraid now then when they had a demon for a neighbor?


In what ways does fear keep people from drawing close to Jesus?


In what ways does change keep people from drawing close to Jesus? 


Essentially this man is trapped.  In what ways do people today get trapped and separated from God?  How can Jesus free these people?

 
Are there times when you feel trapped and disconnected from God and others around you?  How can you be freed?


Think about this man who was possessed?  What was his life like before he met Jesus?  How is his life going to be different?  (Challenge students to think beyond “before he was possessed… now he’s not.”)

 
What does this man want to do now that he’s free?

 
How does Jesus respond?


Why do you think Jesus responds this way?

 
What impact do you think this man telling his story will have on his town?


Is there something Jesus has done for you that needs to be told to others?

 
Based on what’s been talked about in Breakout Groups, in what way do you need to be challenged this week?

 

Close your Breakout Group

December 6 - Storyteller Night

Storyteller Night

Others First


By the end of WHIRLWIND, we want students to know… that becoming a follower of Jesus means to commit to living selflessly instead of selfishly.

By the end of WHIRLWIND, we want students to be able to… explore what steps they might take to put others before themselves.


Breakout Groups

Follow up on the stories that were shared tonight.

  


Option #1

Storyteller Night Continued…

This time, the students are the storytellers!

Use these prompts to encourage students to share stories within their group regarding wise choices.  In my experience, it’s usually a good idea to give them some time to think about the story.  Maybe you want to write out or display all the prompts, ask students to pick one and give them a few minutes to think of the story related to it.  Then you can either have a few students share or (if there’s time) have them all share.

If you have a large group, divide your group into pairs and have them tell each other their stories.  Challenge them in their listening too.  Have whoever is listening to the story think of one follow-up question to ask when the storyteller is done.

This may not go as smoothly as you like.  We’re trying to teach them to be storytellers, so be patient.

Story prompts:

  • Tell a story about a time when a friends or family member served you..
  • Tell a story about when you served a friend or family member..
  • Tell a story about a time when you served a complete stranger.
  • Tell a story about an act of justice you engaged in.  How did it feel?

 

Option #2

Philippians 2:3-8

Read Philippians 2:3-4.

What does Paul mean when he says you should consider others better than yourself?

What do you think he means by “selfish ambition” and “vain conceit”?

What does verse 4 say about your purpose in life?

According to these verses, what part of your life can be reserved for just you?

With the previous thought in mind, why is total selflessness so important when it comes to knowing God?

Based on verse 4, do you think that selfishness is ultimately a reflection of your view of yourself?  Explain.

Read Philippians 2:5-7.

What does Paul mean when he says that Jesus “did not consider equality with God something to be grasped”?

Based on this passage, do you think Jesus was born with the heart of a servant or do you think He developed it?

Why is the fact that Jesus “made Himself nothing” so amazing?

Would you consider yourself an extremely selfish person, a somewhat selfish person, or a selfless person?  Explain.

Is your attitude toward serving others the same as Christ’s attitude?

Read Philippians 2:8.

How do you think Paul would define humility?

What is the significance of Jesus “being found in appearance as a man”?

What was the process of humility that Christ went through?

Think of someone in your life whom you know you need to put before yourself.  If you were to commit right now to serving that person, what changes would you need to make?

What would you be willing to give up to serve that person?

 
Option #3

Choose Your Own Adventure!

In other words, write your own curriculum.  Is there something else you want to go over with your group?

 

Close your Breakout Group

 

 

December 20 - Luke 9:18-20

Who Do You Say I Am? (Prayer Stations)

Luke 9:18-20

By the end of WHIRLWIND, we want students to know… different parts of Jesus’ character and how they fit together to make a more complete picture of who he is.


By the end of WHIRLWIND, we want students to be able to… articulate what they understand about who Jesus is and what that means for their lives.

Prayer Stations:


Station #1 – Tender, Understanding Jesus

Students will read and reflect on the passage of the woman caught in adultery.  Students will first imagine themselves as the crowd.  They’ll think back at the people they feel have wronged them this week and pick up a stone for each person.  They’ll be asked to forgive each person and as they do so, put that stone back.
Students will then move to reflect on the woman in the passage.  Using a piece of chalk, they will be asked to write or draw a picture representing their mistake that keeps them from connecting with Jesus on a larger stone.  They’ll be asked to pray a prayer of forgiveness (in their own words or using one provided) and then wash the stone off.

Station #2 – Wild, Rebellious Prophet Jesus

Students will reflect on the passage of Jesus overthrowing the table in the temple.  On a table, there will be several picture frames, each with an image or word of a form of injustice in our world.  Students will choose the injustices that stand out to them most and pray for each injustice, asking God what their response should be.  After they’ve prayed for an injustice, they’ll turn over the frame that represents it.

Station #3 – Great Moral Teacher Jesus

On a wall will be written quotes from the Sermon on the Mount, as well as quotes from other teachers and leaders (like Benjamin Franklin, MLK Jr., Ghandi, Augustine.)  Under each quote will be a jar.  Students will put a blue marble in the jars of quotes they think come from Jesus.  Students will also each be given three red marbles.  They will put these marbles in the jars for the teachings that most impact their life.

Station #4 – Contemplative Jesus

Students will be encouraged to remove their shoes and step through to a quiet space.  The quiet space will be mostly dark, with just a few lit candles.  Students will be asked to find a pew to sit in by themselves and spend some time in quiet before God.  Students will be provided with directions for some contemplative prayers (Jesus Prayer, Centering Prayer), or they can pray on their own.

Station #5 – Who do you say I am?

Students will read Luke’s account of Peter declaring Jesus as Messiah.  A cross marked out in tape will be on the window of the courtyard.  Students will take a post-it notes and be guided to ask themselves the questions Jesus asks his disciples.  “Who does the world say I am?”  Students will reflect on what people around them think about Jesus.  “Who do you say I am?”  Students will complete the sentence “Jesus, to me, you are….” on the post-it note and place it in the cross on the window.

Breakout Questions
What did you think about the stations?  How does it compare to what we usually do on a Friday night?

Which stations did you go through tonight?

Station 1 represented the tender, understanding Jesus.  What did you think of this station?

How did it make you feel?

What do you think Jesus thinks about you?  Are you comforted by this or concerned?

How does this image of Jesus compare to the other images?

Station 2 represented the wild, rebellious prophet Jesus.  Can you see Jesus as a wild rebel?

What were some of the images on the table that stood out to you?  How do you think Jesus feels about these injustices?

How did this station make you feel?

Share this quote from Gary A. Haugen, “Over time I have come to see questions about suffering in the world not so much as questions about God’s character but as questions about the obedience and faith of God’s people.”  

What do you think that quote means?

What does this station make you want to do?

Station 3 represented the great moral teacher Jesus.  Which quotes did you think were from Jesus?

Do you think Jesus’ teachings still matter today?  Which of his teachings do you think are most relevant?

Station 4 represented the contemplative Jesus.  How much time in a given day do you have for quiet and solitude?  How much in a week?

Why do you think Jesus spent so much time alone in prayer?

What keeps you from finding time to be alone and quiet?

As you look back at these images of Jesus, which ones are you naturally drawn to?  Which ones make you uncomfortable?

Read Luke 9:18-20.

What are some of the different things people today say about Jesus?

How has your impression of Jesus changed as you’ve gotten older?

How has your relationship to him changed?

If you’re comfortable sharing, what did you write on your paper at the last station?

 

Close your Breakout Group

January 17 - Luke 10:25-37

The Samaritan

Luke 10:25-37


By the end of WHIRLWIND, we want students to know… following Jesus means to love God and love others.

By the end of WHIRLWIND, we want students to be able to… discern ways they can love and care for their “neighbors”/


Breakout Groups:

Spend time in Scripture.

Generally speaking, what kinds of people do you have a hard time caring for?  (Bullies, Siblings, Steelers Fans)

Why is it hard?

Read Luke 10:25-37.

An expert in the law is someone who knew all the ins and outs of God’s laws in the Old Testament, kind of like a religious lawyer.  But instead of helping people, they would use their knowledge and influence to keep themselves in power.

What is the expert’s purpose for asking Jesus his questions?

Jesus answers the first question by turning it back on the expert.  How does the expert answer his own question?

These two responses come from the Old Testament of our Bible.

  • Love the Lord your God… Deuteronomy 6:5
  • Love your neighbor… Leviticus 19:18

Is the man right?

What is the man’s follow-up question?

What other reasons might he have for his question?

When you ask “who is my neighbor?” and “who should I love?”, you are also asking “who isn’t my neighbor?” and “who don’t I have to care for?”

Jesus responds with a story.  Who has heard this story before?

We’re going to retell/update this story, but first we need to better understand the characters and setting before we recast them.

  • Samaritans: A group of people who broke off from the Jewish people.  They are disliked and looked down on by the Jewish people.
  • Priest/Levite: Religious leaders and holy people.
  • Road to Jerusalem and Jericho: A very dangerous road with robbers… not a good idea to travel alone on.
  • Denarii: Currency, about a day’s wage.

How could we update this story?

At the end of his story, what question does Jesus ask the expert?

What is the answer?  How does the expert respond?

Why would this be hard for him to admit?

What do you think Jesus’ is trying to say?

Think of someone that is difficult for you to care about.  What is one thing you can do for them next time you see them?

What is Jesus’ final challenge?

How can we live this out next week?

 

Close your Breakout Group

 

 

January 31 - Luke 10:38-42

The Greater of Two Goods

Luke 10:38-42

By the end of WHIRLWIND, we want students to know… The difference between doing things for God and spending time with Him.

By the end of WHIRLWIND, we want students to be able to… Prioritize spending some time with Gods this week.

 

Breakout Groups:

Spend time in Scripture.

Jesus and his disciples are invited to the home of Mary and Martha.  What is Martha focused on during Jesus’ visit?

What might be involved in the “preparations” that had to be made?

What has Mary doing?

What does it seem like is happening when it says Mary was “sitting at the Lord’s feet”?

The phrase has less to do with her position and more to do with her intention.  In those times, to sit at someone’s feet was to be their student. To sit as the feet of a rabbi or teacher, was what you did if you wanted to be a rabbi or teacher.

What does it seem like Mary was setting out to do?

How does Martha feel about Mary’s actions?  What does she do about it?

How does Jesus respond?

As you read or hear his words, what tone of voice do you imagine him using?

Whose side does Jesus take?

What does he say about Mary’s choice?

Martha was busy doing things for Jesus.  What are some things we can do today for Jesus?

Mary was choosing to spend time with Jesus, learning from him.  What would this look like for us today?

Why might that be seen as “better” that just doing things for Jesus?

Is it wrong for us to do things for Jesus?

What could you do this week to serve Jesus?

What could you do to spend time with him?

 

Close your Breakout Group

 

February 14 - Luke 11:1-14

Dear God…

Luke 11:1-4

By the end of WHIRLWIND, we want students to know… what prayer is and how it can be a part of their daily life.


By the end of WHIRLWIND, we want students to be able to… spend some time praying and talking with God on their own.

Breakout Groups:

Spend time in Scripture.

When was the last time you prayed?  How did you pray?  What was it like?  How did it feel?

How often do you pray?

Do you ever feel guilty for not praying more?  Do you think God wants you to feel guilty?

Why do you think God wants you to pray?

Read Luke 11:1-4.

Why do you think the disciples wanted to be taught how to pray?

How does Jesus starts his prayer?

When you pray, how do you address God?  (God, Lord, Father…)

What might the way you address God in prayer reveal about your relationship with Him?

Choose one of the names for god that your students suggested and begin to rewrite the prayer for your group.

What does “hallowed be your name” mean?

What’s another way to say that that means the same?  Add this to your prayer.

Why do you think Jesus includes this in his prayer?

Do you think God needs us to say words like this to boost his confidence or is there another reason?  What could that be?

What do you think it means to say “your kingdom come”?

Think about the world today.  What would it look like for God’s kingdom to come?

For what reasons might someone be uncomfortable praying this?  How comfortable would you be praying for this?

What else could verse 3 mean besides food?  How else could you say this?  Add this to your prayer.


What are some things people pray for that wouldn’t fall under the category of “daily bread”?

How has God provided for you?


In what ways do you still need God to provide?


Read verse 4.  Do you believe God forgives you for your mistakes?  How often do you ask for forgiveness?  Explain your answer.

Do you think you could do something that God couldn’t forgive?

How easy is it to forgive others?  How easy is it to forgive yourself?

Why is forgiveness important?

In what ways does God lead people out of temptation?

Have you ever felt God protecting you from making a bad choice?

How would you rewrite verse 4?

As you look over how Jesus taught his disciples to pray, what parts of his prayer do you usually pray?

What parts do you need to pray more?

Based on what’s been shared, how do you need to be challenged to live next week?

Close your Breakout Group

February 21 - Storyteller Night

Storyteller Night

Spiritual Disciplines

By the end of WHIRLWIND, we want students to know… what practices and disciplines other people do to connect with God.


By the end of WHIRLWIND, we want students to be able to… incorporate some of those practices into their own prayer life.

 


Breakout Groups

Follow up on the stories that were shared tonight.

Ask:

  • What did you think about what was shared?
  • What stood out to you the most?  What do you think you’re going to remember most?
  • What follow-up questions would you like to ask anyone who shared tonight?
  • How do you think what was shared might influence you in how you live your life?

 


Option #1

Storyteller Night Continued…

This time, the students are the storytellers!

Use these prompts to encourage students to share stories within their group regarding prayer.  In my experience, it’s usually a good idea to give them some time to think about the story.  Maybe you want to write out or display all the prompts, ask students to pick one and give them a few minutes to think of the story related to it.  Then you can either have a few students share or (if there’s time) have them all share.

If you have a large group, divide your group into pairs and have them tell each other their stories.  Challenge them in their listening too.  Have whoever is listening to the story think of one follow-up question to ask when the storyteller is done.

This may not go as smoothly as you like.  We’re trying to teach them to be storytellers, so be patient.

Story prompts:

  • Tell a story about how the best conversation you ever had with someone.
  • Tell about what you sometimes do to connect with God.
  • Tell a story about the time when you felt closest to God.
  • Tell a story about the time when you felt furthest from God.
  • Make up a story about an imaginary conversation you had with anyone of your choosing (living or dead.)


Option #2

Spiritual Disciplines Bible Study

Read Psalm 46:10

Why does the psalmist (author) write “be still” as a command or necessary action?

Why do you think he means when he says, “Be still?”

Why do you think stillness and knowing God are connected so strongly?

Mentally go through your day.  Make a list of all the noise in a typical day, from people talking to music and TV.  Not counting the time when you sleep, how much of your day is quiet?

Would you say that your heart, mind, and soul are distracted and cluttered?  Why or why not?  What distracts or clutters?

What would you have to change in your life to develop a heart, mind, and soul that are more still?

Read Mark 1:35-37.

What do you think was Jesus’ reason for getting up so early to spend time with His Father?

What was his purpose for leaving the house?

What time have you spent alone with God?  What was it like?

How was it different from Jesus’ time alone with God?

What keeps you from spending time alone with God?

Do you struggle with being distracted when you try to spend time alone with God?  What distracts you?

Do you have a consistent time and place where you try to connect with God?

Based on what’s been shared, how do you need to be challenged to live next week?

 


Option #3

Choose Your Own Adventure!  

In other words, write your own curriculum.  Is there something else you want to go over with your group?

 

Close your Breakout Group

 

 

 

February 28 - Luke 11:5-13

Are You There God?

Luke 11:5-13

 

By the end of WHIRLWIND, we want students to know… that a consistent prayer life requires perseverance.

By the end of WHIRLWIND, we want students to be able to… take steps toward a more consistent prayer life.

 

Breakout Groups:

Spend time in Scripture.

Is there anything from the message tonight that really stood out to you?  Is there anything that confused you?

What is the hardest thing about praying for you?

What word or phrase would you use to describe your current prayer life?

What keeps you from praying regularly?

If God had a physical body and was a person you could see and talk to, how would you approach Him?  Like a friend, like a parent, like a acquaintance, like a stranger, like the President or royalty, or I’d avoid Him.

Read Luke 11:5-13.

In the context of prayer, does any of this passage make sense to you?  At first glance, what do you think Jesus might be trying to say?

Reread Luke 11:5-8.

If you were in the position of the man in the house, how would you respond to your neighbor’s request?

What do you think this has to do with prayer?

What do you think Jesus mean by “shameless audacity”?

Reread Luke 11:9-13.

What do you think Jesus is saying in verses 9 and 10?

What do you think God wants you to ask for?

What does a person who is seeking God look like?  How do they act?

Do you think this passage implies that God will give you anything you ask for?

Looking at verses 11-13, if I were to ask you how well your parents did at meeting your needs, what would you say?

In what ways do your parents care for you and provide for you?

According to Jesus in verse 13, how does this relate to God?

What do you think Jesus is trying to teach his disciples about God and prayer in these verses?

What word or phrase would you use to describe what you hoped for your prayer life?

If the end goal is to have a consistent prayer life, what first step do you need to take toward that?  (Ideas: Pray one sentence before you go to bed.  Read a Psalm 4 days a week.  Get a Journal.)

We’ve been talking about prayer for almost a month now.  What’s the one thing about prayer that you wished we talked about?

Based on what’s been shared, how do you need to be challenged to live next week?

 

Close your Breakout Group

 

 

March 6 - Luke 15:1-32

The Lost Son

Luke 15:1-32

 

 

By the end of WHIRLWIND, we want students to know… that no matter how far they wander away from Him, God is always there waiting for them.

By the end of WHIRLWIND, we want students to be able to… be like the Father to someone in their lives.


Breakout Groups:

Spend time in Scripture.

Think back to this week.  For what moments are you least grateful for?

Which of those moments were caused by another person?  How did you respond?

What would it mean to forgive this person?

Did you forgive them?  If not, are you willing to?

Read Luke 15:1-19.

What do you think life was like for the Father and Older Son once the Younger Son had taken off?

The actions of the younger son are an extreme example of pushing God away.  What are some of the less-extreme ways we might push God out of our lives?

Are you hungry?  Imagine that I could get you anything you wanted to eat right now, what would you want?  Spend a moment thinking about that meal and what is might look like, smell like, and taste like.  Now whatever you are feeling for that meal right now, imagine feeling the same way for a plate of pig slop.

The Younger Son was almost willing to settle for the pig slop than what his father had to offer.  What are some things we might settle for instead of what God offers?

How hard is it for you to admit your mistakes and seek forgiveness from someone?  What makes it so hard?

Do you feel that it is easier or harder to seek God’s forgiveness than forgiveness from someone else?  Why?

What are some ways you might push God away with your attitudes or actions?

In a given week, how often do you push God away with your attitudes or actions?  How often do you seek God’s forgiveness

Read Luke 15:20-24.

Why do you think it is significant for the Father to welcome his son home before his son had a chance to apologize and plead his case?

How realistic is the father’s reaction to his younger son’s return?

If you don’t think this is very realistic today, what would be a more realistic response from the Father?

Do you ever compare God to your Dad?  What impact might this have on your relationship with God?

How realistic do you think God’s love is?

If you were the Younger Son, how would you respond to the party the Father is throwing?

Read Luke 15:25-32.

How would you describe the Older Son’s attitude to his brother’s return?

Why do you think the Older Son responded the way he did to the news of his brother’s return?

If you were the Older Son, how would you have responded?

How does the Father respond to his older son’s refusal to enter the party?

Do you think the Father cares more for the younger son or older son or do you think he cares for

them equally?

Do you think either of the sons think their father has a favorite son?  If so, why might they think this?

If you were the Older Son, how would you respond to what the Father says in verses 31-32?

Have you ever shared the attitude of the Older Son?  What happened?

Think about the attitudes and actions of the Father, the Younger Son, and the Older Son.  Which one are you more like right now?  Why did you pick that one?

Ideally, we want to be more like the Father in this story.  Is that easy or hard to do?  Explain your answer.

What’s one thing you can do this week to be more like the Father to the people in your life?

Based on what’s been shared, how do you need to be challenged to live next week?

 

Close your Breakout Group

 

 

 

March 13 - Luke 22:7-32

COMM[UNION]

Luke 22:7-32

By the end of WHIRLWIND, we want students to know… that despite knowing what was about to happen, Jesus willingly gave himself over to be crucified.


By the end of WHIRLWIND, we want students to be able to… receive communion assured of their relationship with Jesus.

Breakout Groups:

Spend time in Scripture.

Have you ever taken communion/the Eucharist?  What do you think it means?

Read Luke 22:7-34.

How would you describe the mood around the table?

What do you think the disciples are thinking?

If you were sitting at that table, how would you be feeling?

What clues in this passage might lead you to believe that Jesus understood what was going to happen to him?

Does Jesus seem to be prepared to fight or resist what’s coming?  Why do you think this is?

What do you think the disciples were thinking when Jesus talked about being betrayed?

What do you think Judas the betrayer might be thinking?

What do the disciples argue about in verse 24?

Does this seem at all strange to you?  Why or why not?

How does Jesus respond to their argument in verses 25-30?  What kind of attitude is Jesus encouraging his followers to have?

What does Jesus say to Simon Peter in verses 31-32?

What do you think Jesus means when he says “when you have turned back”?

If you were Peter, how would you feel about this?

How does Peter respond?

In your relationship with Jesus, how confident are you that you could make the same claim as Peter?  Explain your answer.

If you were Peter, how would you respond to Jesus’ claim that you would deny Jesus three times?

What are some ways people might deny Jesus today through words, actions, or in-actions?  Think about some of the ways you may have denied Jesus recently?

What do you think it means that even though Jesus knows Peter will reject him, Jesus prays for Peter and his faith?

Despite his disciples fighting over who was greater while he prepares for his execution, one of his disciples plans to betray him and turn him over to be killed, and his closest disciple’s inevitable rejection of him, Jesus still willingly and lovingly prepares to be killed as a sacrifice for their sin.  What does this tell you about Jesus?

How does this make you feel?

How does this impact how you are living your day to day life?

Based on what’s been shared, how do you need to be challenged to live next week?

Close your Breakout Group

March 20 - Storyteller Night

Storyteller Night

Authentic Faith


By the end of WHIRLWIND, we want students to know… the stories and testimonies of their leaders.

By the end of WHIRLWIND, we want students to be able to… reflect on their own story.

 

Breakout Groups:

For this Storyteller, we want to focus on the our own faith stories and testimonies.  Why are we following Jesus?  What does that mean and look like for us?

2-3 Leaders (Adult and Student) should be prepared to share and talk about their testimony.  Resources on how to do this will be made available.

 

 

April 17 - Luke 22:47-23:25

DISORDER in the COURT

Luke 22:47-Luke 23:25

By the end of WHIRLWIND, we want students to know… to what lengths the leaders went to to have Jesus condemned.


By the end of WHIRLWIND, we want students to be able to… place themselves in the story and empathize with what Jesus experiences.

Breakout Groups:

Spend time in Scripture.

Read Luke 22:47-53

Why do you think they waited til it was dark to arrest Jesus?

Read Luke 22:54-62

What do you think Peter was thinking as he followed?

For what reasons would Peter have for denying he knows Jesus?

Do you remember what Jesus said to Peter as the Passover meal?  Do you think Peter remembers?

If you were Peter and you just disowned Jesus three times and realized it, how would you respond?

This passage makes no mention of the other disciples.  What do you think they were doing at the time?

If you were a follower of Jesus, where would you be?  What would you be doing?

Read Luke 22:63-71

Think back to earlier this year when we talked about Jesus calming the storm and driving out demons and flipping over tables.  Now read verses 63-64.  How does this make you feel?

What does this tell you about Jesus?

In verses 66-71, what do the council of elders accuse Jesus of?  How does he respond?

Read Luke 23:1-7

After the council, where is Jesus sent?

What is Pilate’s initial reaction to the accusations against Jesus?  (verse 4)

Where does Pilate send Jesus?

Read Luke 23:8-25

Why do you think Herod was “greatly pleased” to see Jesus?  What was he hoping for?

How did Jesus defend himself before Herod?

What happens in verse 11?  When you read this, what comes to your mind?

Verse 15 says that Herod found no basis for the charges against Jesus, but they still ridicule and mock him.  How are you feeling about what is happening to Jesus?

How many times does Pilate try to release Jesus?

Who does the crowd try to get Pilate to release instead of Jesus?  What is his crime?  How does it compare to Jesus?

Think for a minute.  Why is Jesus more dangerous to the religious leaders than Barabbas?

What is Jesus’ fate at the end of this passage?

Throughout this entire ordeal, what does the Bible tell us about the way Jesus responds to all this?

How do you think the average person might respond to everything Jesus went through in this passage?

Why do you think Jesus willingly went along with this?  How does it make you feel?

Think back to what Jesus said during the last supper with his disciples.  Why did Jesus endure all this?

Based on what’s been shared, how do you need to be challenged to live next week?

 

Close your Breakout Group

 

 

April 24 - Luke 23:26-49

CROSSROAD

Luke 23:26-49

By the end of WHIRLWIND, we want students to know… that Jesus’ death on the cross was God’s ultimate act to bring us close to him.


By the end of WHIRLWIND, we want students to be able to… reflect on whether they are moving towards Christ of away from him.

Breakout Groups:

Spend time in Scripture.

What did you do on Good Friday?  Did you go to a church service?  What was it like?

Read Luke 23:26-43

What are some of the different thoughts Simon from Cyrene could be thinking as they forced him to carry Jesus’ cross?

Imagine it was you coming in and being forced to do this.  How would you respond?

Reread verse 34.  Who is Jesus talking about?  What does this tell you about Jesus?

If you were innocent and condemned to be executed, what would your last words be about those who were killing you?

How do the rulers in verse 35 respond to Jesus?  What do they tell him to do?

How do the soldiers in verse 36 respond to Jesus?  What do they tell him to do?

How does the first criminal respond to Jesus?

Does anything bother you about this?  Why do you think the first criminal takes the time to insult Jesus before he dies?

What does the criminal tell Jesus to do?

Given what we’ve discovered about Jesus this year and that he is the Son of God, could Jesus have saved himself?  Why didn’t he?

What stands out to you in the way the other criminal responds to the first criminal’s insults?  Why does this stand out to you?

What does he say to Jesus in verse 42?  Does he, the criminal who believes Jesus is who he says he is, ask Jesus to save him?

How does Jesus answer him in verse 43?

If you were this second criminal about to die alongside Jesus, how would you feel about what is said to you?

Read Luke 23:44-49.

Why do you think it went dark from noon to 3?  If you were present for this, what would be going through your head?

What is the reaction of the centurion who watched?

In what way, if any, do you think this moment changed the centurion’s life?

If you had no relationship or connection with Jesus or God, how would your life be different after witnessing this?

Does this passage matter to the world?  Explain your answer.

Does this passage matter to you?  Explain your answer.

Does the way you live your life reflect this?

Based on what’s been shared, how do you need to be challenged to live next week?

 

Close your Breakout Group

 

 

May 8 - Luke 24:1-35

Joy Comes in the Morning

Luke 24:1-35

By the end of WHIRLWIND, we want students to know…  that after 3 days, Jesus was resurrected and appeared to his followers.


By the end of WHIRLWIND, we want students to be able to… talk about how the resurrection applies to their lives.

Breakout Groups:

Spend time in Scripture.

Read Luke 24:1-12.

Jesus has been dead for three days.  What do you think the mood is among his followers?

If you were with them, how would you be feeling?

What do the men at the tomb remind the women of in verse 7?

Do you think the women believed Jesus when he told them?  If so, why do you think they came to the tomb?

The disciples heard Jesus say the same thing as the women (verse 7).  Why do you think they doubt the women when they come back?

If you were with the disciples when they heard the news from the women, would you have believed them?

The last thing Peter did before Jesus died was to deny knowing him three times.  What do you think Peter might be thinking as he runs to the tomb?

If you were Peter, how would you feel looking at the empty tomb and the strips of linen on the ground?

Read Luke 24:13-35.

What do you imagine the 2 followers of Jesus were talking about on the way to Emmaus?

Who do they encounter?  What do you think it means when it says “they were kept from recognizing him”?

How do these 2 describe Jesus… to Jesus?

Do you think these 2 believed the testimony of the women?  Can you find anything in the passage to back up your thoughts?

Look at verse 25-27.  How does Jesus respond to the account of these 2 followers?

Despite being called foolish and slow, why do you think they strongly urge Jesus to stay with them?

What happens that causes the 2 to finally see that it’s Jesus?  Why do you think this moment was so significant?

What was their reaction to finally realizing it was Jesus who had been with them?

What do they do?  What other news do they hear from the disciples?

What would you imagine is the mood among the followers of Jesus at the end of the passage?

What impact do you think Jesus’ resurrection had on the lives of his followers?

Do you think his resurrection should have an impact on your life?  Why or why not?

How could this event impact you today?

Based on what’s been shared, how do you need to be challenged to live next week?

 

Close your Breakout Group