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January 16, 2022 | Doug Sauder
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This past weekend, we transitioned into the second part of our study through the Gospel of Mark. After spending the last few months exploring who Jesus is, this second act of Mark focuses on how Jesus changes everything. Kicking off part two, Pastor Doug Sauder shared from Mark 9:1–29.
Are you struggling with doubt? Looking for hope in difficult places? In this message, we discovered how we can faithfully walk through seasons of doubt and experience the hope only Jesus can provide in both the highs and lows of life.
In this week’s group study, Pastor Reuben Ramsaran invites us into a deeper conversation about Mark 9:1–29 and how we can navigate both the mountaintop moments and the valley seasons of faith!
If you missed the message or want a refresher, click here to watch it in its entirety.
Below, you’ll find some key questions to reflect on and consider in your group, with your family, or in your circle of friends, some action points for the week, and a look ahead.
Memory Verse of the Week: Mark 9:22b–24 (NIV)
“’But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.’ ‘If you can?’ said Jesus. ‘Everything is possible for one who believes.’ Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, ‘I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!’”
Icebreaker: What’s the greatest thing you’ve ever gotten to be part of?
Key Takeaway: Jesus is with us in through the highest highs and the lowest lows!
Getting the Conversation Going: In today’s passage, we literally see what both the mountaintop moments and valley seasons of our faith and life look like, the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. Both of these played out in Mark 9. First, the mountaintop. Don’t you love the mountain? Jesus leads Peter, James, and John away to a mountaintop for six days. While they’re there, Jesus is transfigured in front of them . . . dazzling clothes, clouds roll in, God speaks affirmation over Jesus, they even get to see Elijah and Moses! They had the most epic and literal mountaintop moment with Jesus. What an amazing moment this must have been for these disciples to get to witness and experience.
Have you ever had a mountaintop moment? A moment with Jesus where you saw His glory in a powerful way, where He used you for something awesome? Maybe it’s your salvation, redemption in a broken relationship, a healing, a moment with your kids, spouse, or friends where Jesus showed up in a special way, or maybe a moment where Jesus used you to bring someone to faith!
Discussion Question 1: What are some mountaintop moments for you?
Share and discuss what made these moments so special.
Discussion Question 2: Why are these spiritual high seasons/moments so important? What do we gain from them? How do they help us?
Faith in the Valley: Later in this chapter as the disciples and Jesus came down the mountain, we see the opposite of a mountaintop moment. We see a dad whose young son has been oppressed by a demon since infancy. We see him pleading with the disciples to cast out the demon, and they can’t. The problem catches Jesus because it had escalated into an argument.
So, the dad explains to Jesus the grave circumstances and says, “If you can do anything, take pity on us and help us,” to which Jesus replies, “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Now, before we get to the father’s response, we need to understand this man has seen his son suffer for years and has tried everything and come up empty. He says, fighting through tears, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Wow, such a gripping response and overall interaction taking place here.
Truthfully, there’s such humility in this man’s response. He has faith in Jesus. He’s likely heard of the great miracles, feedings, healings, resurrections, and the casting out of demons in others. He had to believe Jesus was his best chance. He puts his trust in Jesus, but humbly admits his faith is not as strong as it should be. And could you blame him? This oppression has consumed his life and destroyed whatever grand hopes and dreams he had for his boy.
We can all sympathize with this man whose belief wavered in the face of seemingly hopeless circumstances. And when we experience moments like this—and we will—we shouldn’t condemn ourselves or be filled with guilt at how terrible a Christian we are. No! We must do like this man did and humbly ask the giver of everything good and perfect to give us faith in greater measure! We can say to our Savior, “Jesus, I believe, but help me overcome the areas of unbelief!“
He can make miracles out of our mustard seeds. He can take our little faith, and our areas of unbelief, and bring healing, rescue, and help as He nurtures, develops, and grows our faith.
Now in your conversation, we encourage you to talk about what it looks like to faithfully walk through seasons of doubt. Be open and honest. Are there any areas where you’re still struggling with doubt? Has your doubt turned to fear, anxiety, or depression? Share where you’re at and then pray for one another!
Discussion Question 3: What does it look like to believe but still walk through doubt? How have you found hope, strength, and renewed faith in these seasons?
Discussion Question 4: How can you help others walk through doubt and still remain faithful?
This Week: We all have areas where we don’t have as much faith as we should. This week, spend time praying the words of this father to your heavenly Father.Pray It Out: Share prayer requests in your group. Write down the requests of your group members, spend time praying over these requests, and keep praying individually over them throughout the week.
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We’re so excited to worship with you this weekend as Pastor Duane Roberts shares from Mark 9:30–50 where we’ll see Jesus redefine what greatness is.
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Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.