Bottom Line

Choose joy now.


A mob quickly formed against Paul and Silas, and the city officials ordered them stripped and beaten with wooden rods. They were severely beaten, and then they were thrown into prison. The jailer was ordered to make sure they didn’t escape. So the jailer put them into the inner dungeon and clamped their feet in the stocks.

Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening.

—Acts 16:22–25 (NLT)

Goal of Small Group

To help students understand that while they can’t control the future, they can control how they choose to respond to stress today!

Think about This

As your students share their stress about the future, look for opportunities to help. You don’t need to fix every situation, but helping them with something practical might take a lot of their stress away!

Discussion Questions

  • What are some things that lead you to worry about the future?

  • How does worrying about the future negatively affect your life?

  • Paul and Silas had no idea what was going to happen as they sat in prison. What’s one area where you’re stressed because you don’t know what’s going to happen next?

  • What are some of your options when you face stress?

  • Even if you’re not sure what you think about God, how can it be helpful to pray when you’re stressed?

  • You don’t have control over the future, but you do have control over your response. What’s one response you can choose when you start to stress about the future?

Try This

Text your students twice this week at random times:

“Stressed out? Who are three people with whom you can share what you’re going through right now? (Gal 6:2).”

“Stressed out? Go for a run, take a walk outside, or relax on the couch for a few minutes and talk to God (1Pe 5:7).”