Hope, Study Guide

Hold On To Hope

Newbreak’s Sermon Study Guide is an in-house resource that serves sermon-based Life Groups and/or individuals who want to reflect further on how the message contributes to their spiritual formation. In this week’s study, we introduce the importance of mental health and talk about how biblical hope anchors us through all our struggles.

Icebreakers for Life Groups

  • Did you know that May is “Mental Health Awareness Month”? Why do you think we have a month dedicated to this topic?
  • What are some ordinary things that you do to calm you? For example, taking walks in nature, listening to some Norah Jones, or even driving through a Starbucks! That seems to make everything better!

Point 1 – Place my complete confidence in the only One who has overcome.

Read Peter 1:3

How can I grow and overflow in hope?

According to 1 Peter 1:3, Jesus is our “living hope.” He is uniquely called this because of the way in which he overcame death–the very epitome of hopelessness. This is why we just celebrated Easter as the holiest day in the Christian calendar. Jesus’ resurrection changes the trajectory of every one of our stories and is the basis for each of us to have hope. Biblical hope is about looking forward to what God will do by looking backward at what he has done. In essence, our hope is as alive as the resurrected Jesus himself! He is living–so is our hope. And he will never die again (see Romans 6:9). And so hope has a way of putting sunshine on our outlook (even in trying times). Hope is the quiet, sometimes incessant call to dream for a better future.

That’s why hope is the first thing the Enemy attempts to steal. Because hope is stronger than fear and so if the enemy could do anything, he wants to contain–and even squelch–your hope. In recent years many people have come to see how our hope can be attacked via mental health issues–which are far broader than clinical depression. The truth is, if we were all honest, we all could use some divine help with our mental health, whether it be with regards to our anxiety, depression, or anything in the realm of our mind.

It’s important to note that God cares about our minds just as much as our souls. That’s why Jesus reminds us of what the Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4–6) says in Matthew 22:37–38: 37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. In fact, there is a strong connection between our soul and our mind–they are interconnected. (Fun fact: the English word “psychology” comes from the Greek word for “soul,” psychē).

Questions for Group Discussion or Personal Reflection

  • How does Jesus being our “living hope” influence the way you view hope? What unique angle on hope do we have as Christians, as opposed to people from other worldviews?
  • What do you think Jesus meant when he affirmed we are to love God with all of our “mind”? What do you think he saw as the distinction between the soul and the mind?
  • What areas of mental health do you struggle with? How do you hear God speaking to you with words of hope in this study? (We recognize this is a vulnerable question. If you prefer to not answer that’s okay!)

Point 2 – Allow hope to anchor me when everything around me feels chaotic.

Read Hebrews 6:19; 10:23

How can I grow and overflow in hope?

Think about what an anchor does for a ship... It holds a ship in place. It is trustworthy, strong, and keeps you secure. And once it is set, it is hard to pull it free! Just like a ship looks to the anchor for its security, our hope is secured in Him. God’s love and faithfulness to us are secure, trustworthy, and unchanging.

God-given hope cannot be found within ourselves or in anyone around us. It’s not found in financial security that can change more quickly than we would like to admit (Proverbs 23:5). Our secure hope is placed in the One who has all the power, resources, and desire to help us stay intact and resolute through every moment.

We can learn to rely on Him more and more in any situation. We often learn how much we actually trust God when storms hit. It’s in moments of doubt, fear, and loneliness that we are able to evaluate how much we really do place our hope in Him. As we see God remain faithful to His promises, our hope becomes greater. Thankfully, God is a wonderful teacher, who deeply cares for us and proves in every circumstance that He is trustworthy.

Here are some additional observations regarding being anchored in Him:

  • Being anchored doesn’t mean you won’t face storms–it assumes you will!
  • Being anchored doesn’t mean you won’t get wet–but it does mean you won’t drown!
  • Being anchored gives you “staying power” instead of being “blown and tossed by the wind” (Ephesians 4:14).

Questions for Group Discussion or Personal Reflection

  • When have you experienced Jesus “anchor” you in life? What was it like?
  • When reflecting on your life as a Christian, can you say that you have learned more and more that you can rely on Him? Do you have any examples of God showing you that He is a trustworthy anchor for your life? What are they?
  • Is there a passage of Scripture that you read when you need to be reminded of His faithfulness during the storms of life? What about that particular passage brings you hope?

Final Challenge Questions

  • How are you going to think or live differently in light of what you have read, heard, and discussed this week?
  • How does this week’s message shape or nurture your relationship with God?
  • BONUS: For those of you with kids or around kids: What is one truth from this message that you can share with your kids in a way that they would relate to or understand?

About Our Current Series

More times than not, church culture gets a bad reputation when it comes to the subject of mental health. Too many people have gotten churchy responses, like “just pray more,” when they express the different ways they are struggling or coping with the struggles they have encountered through their life. In honor of Mental Health Awareness month, we are diving into this subject and how our faith can partner with other tools to help us all have better coping skills and work on our mental health while working on our spiritual health - because both are a life-long journey!

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