Small Group November 4th
Ice Breaker: How would you define a hero? Do you know any heroes? Why are they a hero to you?
1. What do you NEED to be saved according to Romans 10:9?
2. Which one of Jesus’ disciples is known as a doubter? Why?
3. What was Thomas’ response when faced with the Truth? (John 20:28)
4. How does the Apostle Paul suggest we approach God’s word with our questions and doubts in 2 Timothy 2:15-16?
5. Why did Jonah not want to preach to the Ninevites?
6. Why did God want Jonah to preach to the Ninevites?
7. God IS LOVE. And He’s also JUSTICE. Discuss.
8. We can approach the Bible as truth-seekers or self-seekers. What’s the difference?
Read this story as a group to refresh your memories:
In his classic book, THE BODY, Charles Colson tells the true story of Father Maximilian Kolbe, a Polish monk who was imprisoned in Auschwitz by the Nazi’s in WWII. Father Kolbe was subjected to years of tortuous manual labor yet he was a constant source of Godly love and encouragement to his fellow prisoners. One July night a couple years after his imprisonment, the camp air was suddenly filled with the baying of dogs, the curses of soldiers, and the roar of motorcycles. A man had escaped from Barracks 14 — Father Kolbe’s barracks.
The next morning there was a peculiar tension as the ranks of phantom-thin prisoners lined up for morning roll call in the central square. You see, the escapee had not been caught and the rule in Auschwitz was that if a prisoner escaped and was not re-captured, ten prisoners from his barracks would be executed…... All prisoners in the camp, except for those in Barracks 14, were dismissed. They were ordered to wait, standing at attention as the summer sun beat down upon them. Some fainted and were dragged away. Some swayed in place but held on only to be beaten by the butts of the SS officers’ guns. Father Kolbe, by some miracle stayed on his feet, his posture as straight as his resolve. He and his fellow inmates were forced to stand without rest or food all day. By evening roll call the commandant was ready to levy sentence. He screamed,
The prisoner has not been found. Ten of you will die for him in the starvation bunker. The next time this happens 20 will die.”
This was a horrible way to die! The gallows-even the gas chambers-were better than this slow agonizing death. After a day or two in this bunker the condemned didn’t even look like human beings. Their appearance and behavior even scared the guards. The heat and absence of food and water caused their throats to turn to paper, their brains to turn to fire, their intestines to dry up and shrivel like desiccated worms. The commandant walked along the rows of prisoners demanding each man to open his mouth so he could see his teeth….choosing victims like horses. Soon there were ten men.
The last man, a Polish farmer named Franciszek Gajowniczek—couldn't help a cry of anguish, “My poor wife! My poor children! What will they do?” Suddenly there was a commotion in the ranks. A prisoner had broken out of line, calling for the commandant. It was unheard of to leave the ranks, let alone address a Nazi officer. To do so was cause for execution on the spot so the commandant grabbed his revolver and, pointing at the prisoner, yelled, “What does this Polish pig want of me?” The prisoners looked and gasped. It was their beloved Father Kolbe, the priest who shared his last crust of bread, who comforted the dying, who heard their confessions and nourished their souls. The frail priest spoke softly, even calmly, to the Nazi butcher. “I would like to take the place of one of the men you condemned.” “Why?” snapped the commandant. Kolbe calmly replied, “I am an old man sir, and good for nothing. My life will serve no purpose.” The commandant asked, “In whose place do you want to die?” “I want to die for that one,” Kolbe responded, pointing to the weeping prisoner who had bemoaned the fate of his wife and children. The commandant agreed and as Kolbe passed this other prisoner, the man’s face was an expression so astonished that it had not yet become gratitude. But Kolbe wasn’t looking for gratitude. If he was to lay down his life for another, the fulfillment had to be in the act of obeying God’s command. The joy must be found in submitting his small will to the will of God.
As the hours and days passed, the camp became aware of something extraordinary happening in the death cell. Past prisoners of this starvation bunker had spent their dying days howling, attacking one another, clawing the walls in a frenzy of despair. But now, those outside heard the faint sounds of singing coming from the bunker. For….this time the prisoners had a shepherd to gently lead them through the shadows of the valley of death, pointing them to the Great Shepherd. And perhaps for this reason, Father Kolbe was the last to die.
And what of Franciszek Gajowniczek? He died three years ago in Poland—53 years after Kolbe had saved him.
But he was never to forget the ragged monk. After his release from Auschwitz, Gajowniczek spent the next five decades paying homage to Father Kolbe.
A few years ago, the 94-year-old Pole visited St. Maximilian Kolbe Catholic Church of Houston. His translator on that trip, Chaplain Thaddeus Horbowy, said: "He told me that as long as he… has breath in his lungs, he would consider it his duty to tell people about the heroic act of love by Maximilian Kolbe."
9. What does this story say about why bad things happen to good people?
10. What does Pastor Mike mean when he says “When God asks you to take a step of obedience, He isn’t doing it to take something FROM you; he has something FOR you.”
11. Did God have something FOR Maximillian Kolbe? Discuss.