ISAIAH: EXPERIENCING GOD IN REAL WAYS 1. LEADER PREPARATION

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1 ISAIAH: EXPERIENCING GOD IN REAL WAYS Week 1: Ready to Go (Isaiah s Call) This includes: 1. Leader Preparation 2. Lesson Guide 1. LEADER PREPARATION LESSON OVERVIEW We can all probably relate to Isaiah a little bit. While we likely haven t experienced God s presence quite like the prophet did, Isaiah s response to God s call could have come from any of us. We re aware of God s call on our lives, yet we make excuses for being unwilling to serve or go. Some of these excuses may appear legitimate. But God has a way of knocking down our excuses and empowering us to carry out his mission. Your students can learn from Isaiah, and his example in this lesson provides them with encouragement to realize they don t have to be perfect to be used by God. LESSON OBJECTIVES 1. WHAT: God calls us to be on mission with him, and God equips and prepares us for this task. 2. WHY: Teenagers don t have to be perfect to be used by God; what matters is their availability and willingness to obey. 3. HOW: Students will be challenged to figure out how and where God is calling them to serve, lead, or go. PRIMARY SCRIPTURE Isaiah 6:1-8 SECONDARY SCRIPTURE Jeremiah 1:4-9 TEACHING PREP The short overview below is designed to help you prepare for your lesson. While you may not want to convey this information word-for-word with your teenagers, you ll definitely want to refer to it as you lead. Read Isaiah 6; the lesson will focus on verses 1-8.

2 As you read this chapter, you discover that Isaiah had a pretty bold message. God wanted him to call the people of Israel out for their pride, immorality, idol-worship, and a host of other things. Isaiah s availability and willingness to do what God called him to do was birthed out of the incredible encounter he had with God. God s holiness, majesty, and grace to an undeserving sinner helped motivate Isaiah to go out and follow God s plan. The message God called Isaiah to proclaim wasn t a pretty one, and God even told him up front that people weren t going to respond in the way he might hope. Isaiah didn t back down, though; he went out and proclaimed God s tough message. While most of us haven t had the kind of vivid experience with God that Isaiah had, we have experienced the same measure of grace, if we re followers of Christ. We re all undeserving sinners, we re all imperfect, and we all have a long list of reasons why God shouldn t use us. Yet God has redeemed us through grace and commissioned us, just like Isaiah, to go out and proclaim a message to a lost and dying world. We ll never muster enough strength to do this on our own. We must be humbled and moved by God s holiness and grace and realize God gives us everything we need to complete the task. THE BEFORE & AFTER [optional] Text Message Questions We ve provided a couple of different text message questions to send out to your students prior to your meeting. Feel free to use one or both of the questions below. As with the rest of the curriculum, edit these questions to fit the needs of your ministry. Do you ever feel unworthy to do what God has called you to do? God wants to use you. Find out more at small group tonight. If God came looking for someone to undertake a bold task, would you respond? Come to small group tonight to talk about it. Parent We ve provided you with an below that you can send to your parents following the lesson. Our hope is to encourage parents to continue the conversation at home. Feel free to edit and customize the to fit your ministry needs.

3 Dear parents, Our small groups have launched a new series of lessons based on the book of Isaiah. In our first lesson we looked at God s call on Isaiah s life and Isaiah s willingness to obey. Too often we get hung up on all the reasons we aren t worthy to do what God calls us to do. This lesson helped students discover that God desires to use us despite our imperfections. God has redeemed us through his grace and has given us everything we need to complete the task set before us. We challenged our students to seek out how they can get on board with what God has called them to do. This week, you can help your teenager continue to think in this direction by asking these questions: In general, what motivates you to obey? Does our family focus more on our shortcomings and imperfections or on God s grace? How can we as a family be more in tune to what God is calling us to do? How can we do a better job encouraging one another to passionately pursue God s calling on our lives? Thanks for your prayers for our small groups and your prayers that each student would be prompted to carry out God s calling on their lives.

4 ISAIAH: EXPERIENCING GOD IN REAL WAYS Week 1: Ready to Go (Isaiah s Call) 2. LEsson guide GETTING THINGS STARTED [optional] Bring or borrow two pairs of shoes for this week s lesson: a pair of new running shoes and a pair of broken-in shoes. Welcome your students and invite them into your meeting area. Open in prayer, and then lead this activity: Show the shoes to your students, and then Which shoes would you rather have, the new ones or the used ones and why? What if I said that you had to run 7 miles in whichever pair you chose? Is one pair better than the other, for that purpose? SAY SOMETHING LIKE: We often assume that when something is perfect and new, it always represents the best option for a particular purpose. But that is not the case when it comes to running shoes. Setting out on a long run with a brand-new pair of shoes will cause you a lot of discomfort! Runners know that shoes must be broken in before they are put to the test. Running shoes don t have to be perfect to be useful. In today s lesson, we re going to see this same principle applied to our lives: We don t have to be perfect to be used by God. If you came up with an opening activity, movie clip, or game that worked well with your group, and you d like to share it with other youth workers, please us at TEACHING GUIDE The goal of the Teaching Points is to help students capture the essence of each lesson with more discussion and less lecture-style teaching. The main points we have chosen are (1) God can use us despite our imperfections, (2) God s grace and mercy draw us toward obedience, and (3) God calls us to respond. Remember: All throughout these lessons, it s up to you to choose (1) how many questions you use, and (2) the wording of the main points keep ours, or change the wording to make it clearer for your audience.

5 Read Isaiah 6:1-8 together as a group. Consider dividing verses among your students so everyone has a chance to read. SAY SOMETHING LIKE: This is the first of four lessons that we are going to study and look at God s power at work in and through Isaiah. In this lesson, we ll be looking at God s call for Isaiah to be his messenger. Let s spend a few minutes discovering what we can learn about being ready to respond when God calls us. 1. God can use us despite our imperfections How would you feel or react if you experienced the same kind of vision Isaiah saw at the beginning of this passage? In verse 5, Isaiah recognizes his imperfection because of seeing God s perfection. What situations cause you to recognize your imperfection and need for God s grace and forgiveness? Why do some Christians believe they aren t good enough or qualified enough to do anything meaningful or significant for God? If this is something you ve struggled with, why have you believed this? Can you think of times in Scripture when God used people in mighty ways despite their sin, imperfections, and past mistakes? If so, share some examples. [NOTE: Moses killed a man yet led the Israelites out of captivity in Egypt; David committed adultery with Bathsheba and arranged for her husband to be killed, yet he was called a man after God s own heart; Paul persecuted Christians, yet God used him to spread the message of Jesus.] Will God still use us to do meaningful, impacting things if we haven t sought forgiveness for past sins and mistakes? Why or why not? SAY SOMETHING LIKE: When Isaiah interacted with God, he was immediately aware of his imperfections and sinfulness. Recognizing our sin is important for us to fully appreciate God s grace. We do need to seek God s forgiveness, or else our sins will draw us away from a God-centered life. However, once we ve received God s forgiveness, we can t let our mistakes and imperfections hinder us from responding to God and allowing God to use us to do meaningful, significant things. God s grace gives us the strength to respond, serve, go, or proclaim his message boldly.

6 2. God s grace and mercy draw us toward obedience Does obeying God ever feel like following a chore list? Why or why not? How can God s grace toward us prompt and motivate us to being available and responding to God s call to serve, go, or proclaim his message? How and why does the gift of forgiveness motivate Isaiah in this passage? How does God s use of imperfect people bring him glory? SAY SOMETHING LIKE: God demonstrated incredible grace toward Isaiah and assured him that he was forgiven and fit for use. We can find strength to obey God through the grace and forgiveness we have received. God deserves all the honor and praise and credit when imperfect people are used for incredible purposes, because these things would not and could not happen without God s involvement. 3. God calls us to respond What are some consequences of not making ourselves available to be used by God? What might we miss, and how might our attitude affect our relationship with God? Why can we be confident as we seek to carry out whatever God calls us to do? What are some specific ways God might call you to be a messenger to your friends, your school, or your generation? SAY SOMETHING LIKE: When I read verse 8, it almost feels like a little kid saying, Ooh, pick me! Pick me! Isaiah displays enthusiasm and eagerness in his response. God didn t have to force or prod him into action; Isaiah willingly made himself available. Isaiah was given a pretty tough task. Later in the chapter, God tells Isaiah to declare that Israel will face consequences because of disobedience and a hardened attitude toward God but that a remnant would remain. Isaiah willingly responded and obeyed and became God s messenger to his nation.

7 ADDITIONAL DISCUSSION Ask students to form groups of two or three for these questions. Read Jeremiah 1:4-9. What is your response to Jeremiah s main excuse for not wanting to obey God? Can you relate? Why or why not? Why is it sometimes hard to remember that God is always with us? What are some situations when people might say your impact for God will be limited because of your age, even though you know differently? What s the right way to respond to someone who says you re too young to accomplish meaningful things for God? Bring students back together, and have them share answers to the previous questions, as time permits. APPLICATION What are some specific ways you can remind yourself to passionately pursue God s calling on your life whether it s a very specific calling for you or a very broad calling that applies to all followers of Christ? What are some practical ways you can remind yourself each day that God will walk with you through whatever you re called to do? Is there anything in your life you ve been sensing God wanting you to do, but you haven t responded because you feel unworthy? If so, can the verses from today s lesson encourage you? How can we pray for you? SUMMARY End your lesson here. Provide your teenagers with a quick summary or take-home challenge based on (1) the content of this lesson, (2) the dialogue that took place during the lesson, (3) your understanding of the issues and struggles your teenagers are facing, and (4) the big picture of your youth ministry and what your leadership team wants accomplished with the teaching and discussion time.

8 FOR KEEPS [MEMORY VERSE] Encourage and/or challenge your teenagers to memorize the verse below. Then I heard the Lord asking, Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us? I said, Here I am. Send me (Isaiah 6:8).

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