The edited version in the magazine lacks some of the punch of the original Bible study I wrote, (that happens sometimes as my progressive leanings can, on occasion, be too much for the conservative leaning mag.) but it still gets the point I was trying for across. Feel free (as long as the test edition is up) to compare the two and see what you think! (Interlinc would love to know what you think of the digital delivery -- take a look and respond to them!)
Artist: Phil Stacey
Album: Into the Light
Song: You’re Not Shaken
Writer: Kirk Moore
Ministry: Union Congregational United Church of Christ
Location: Somonauk, Illinois
Trust in God
Students will discuss difficult times in life and they will be encouraged that God will never abandon them
Rock the Boat: Arrange to bring a video camera to youth group. Be sure to have the proper equipment (usually just a connecting cable) to be able to view the short production you create on a larger screen than the camcorder. Gather students into teams (for larger groups) or in one group and describe the events from the Bible study for this lesson. (Mark 4:35-41 – use only Mark 4:35-38 for this video.) Have the students act out a boat trip for the camera. (In a ‘spontaneous melodrama;’ way.) When the storm comes up suddenly, shake the camera to simulate a rocking boat as the students pretend to be jostled around by the waves. (Provide as much direction as you’d like, though a no-rehearsal, no-direction video will likely provide the most laughs when you watch it with the group.) After shooting the video or videos, show them to the group.
Say: The disciples were in the boat and the wind and the waves were thrashing them – yet Jesus was asleep. Sometimes we wonder where God is in the difficult times in our lives. Phil Stacey asks the question, “Why?” in his song, ‘You’re Not Shaken.’
Play You’re Not Shaken from Phil Stacey
During the video, have students fill in the lyrics:
I am _________ in the ________ that is ________
I just wanna ______________
I am _____________in the _____________ of my own ________
All the __________ with no _________
So ________ me __________ I’m __________
Say: The writer wants to know why – and ultimately decides to trust that God has things in hand. But it isn’t easy to just let go and say, “I’ll trust you, God” when we’re in the midst of danger. Just look at how the disciples acted towards Jesus when their boat was sinking.
Have students read the entire passage – Mark 4:35-41.
Say: Some folks would say that God was active in the storm that rocked the disciple’s boat.
Author’s perspective: I do not, now will I ever, blame God for hurricanes and tornadoes and earthquakes and other disasters or tragedies. Any time someone stands up and says that storms appear because God is punishing folks for something or other my response is a succinct: “That kind of thinking is wrong.”
However, nowhere in this week’s reading does it say that God brought on the storm. It does say that Jesus rebuked the wind and told the sea ‘Shhhh! Be still.’
We may think God brought the storm because there are many “God caused” moments in the Bible:
- God caused the great flood. (Genesis 6-9)
- God caused the plagues. (Exodus 7-11)
- God caused the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. (Genesis 18-19)
But our Bible reading this time doesn’t say that God had anything to do with this storm.
Say: What do you think about this idea?
“God is not the one who brings the storm. God is the one that brings us through the storm.”
(Spend time discussing the idea.)
During the discussion, say: “Those words are comforting and hopeful. Though they aren’t an answer to the reason why things happen, and they aren’t words upon which everyone agrees, they are words of comfort and hope.”
Say: When Jesus woke up as the wind and the waves threatened to swamp the boat, his first words were “Shhhh! Be still.” What do you think of the idea that as he said those words, he also directed them at the disciples?
(Discuss the question.)
Wrap-up: Even with all our questions, something is evident. Jesus calmed the storm. He said “Shhhhh! Be still.” Jesus says to us, in the most difficult times, ‘Trust me – we will get through this.’
Closing prayer: God who brings us through the storm, thank you for your love, your compassion and your strength. Help us to trust you as you guide us and stay with us on our faith journey. Amen.