Connect Group Guide

                             Be The Church Week 1

                           2 Corinthians 1:1-11


Important Announcements!

Mark your calendar for October 16th! This is the day we will be having our Fall Festival. Connect Groups have a huge part to play in this. More details coming soon.

Talk with your group some more about doing a Missional Community Project!

If you need a list of ideas, contact Blake Hardiman or Ethan Floyd.


Theme:  vs 1-11 Trials and Suffering

Major Points:

What does God (through Paul) Show us in this passage?

1.. In the midst of our trials and suffering, Praise God! (Vs 3-7)

Praising God might be the last thing that comes to your mind when you are going through trials and suffering. However one of the greatest things we can learn from Paul is to get our eyes off of ourselves and get them on God!

This is exactly what Paul is doing here. He has learned to praise God in the storm, and he does it in three different ways.

A.. He praises God for who He is!

He reminds himself of the truth about God’s promises.

Paul calls on the different names of God!


“Father of the Lord Jesus Christ” - emphasis on the humanity of Christ

“Father of Compassion” - He Empathizes with us

“God of all comfort” - Any comfort we experience is from God.

The names of God are important for us to know! Because in the midst of the storms of life, God is our only stable foundation… so we better know who He is.

Paul focussed on the “God of comfort”. His point is this.

The same God that comforted Joseph when His brothers sold him into slavery and he found himself in jail for a crime he didn't commit… will comfort us.

The same God that comforted Daniel in the Lion’s Den will be present with us.

The same God that comforted Christ on the cross will comfort us in our darkest trials and deepest troubles.

Paul knows this… and for that reason… He can raise God for who He is!

B..  Also, He praises God for His Comfort!

 Listen to this quote from Commentator David Garland:


“For us, the word “comfort” may connote emotional relief and a sense of well-being, physical ease, satisfaction, and freedom from pain and anxiety. Many in our culture worship at the cult of comfort in a self-centered search for ease, but it lasts for only a moment and never fully satisfies… The comfort that Paul has in mind here has nothing to do with a sleepy feeling of contentment. It is not some tranquilizing dose of grace that only dulls pains but a stiffening agent that fortifies one in heart, mind, and soul.Comfort relates to encouragement, help, exhortation. God’s comfort strengthens weak knees and sustains sagging spirits so that one faces the troubles of life with unbending resolve and unending assurance.” We know God’s promises best when we are in the direst need of them, when we are, as Paul says, “harassed at every turn” with “conflicts on the outside, fears within” (7:5). We learn in such circumstances that God’s comfort is sufficient to overcome the slings and arrows that cut us to the quick and the sorrows that break hearts. The same power that raised Christ from the dead is available to comfort us. Christians also learn that, unlike other false gods who are quite unconcerned about human anguish, our God cares for us.”

In every loss, pain, sorrow, disappointment, we have a God that will be present

with us to comfort us, strengthen us, bless us, help us, and heal us.

      No matter what we face… God is enough! 

      God’s Comfort is truly sufficient for us in all of our troubles! 

      And it’s bc of this… that Paul Praises God for His Comfort! 

C.. Finally, He praises God for His Purpose! Vs 4-7

Paul Praises God for using his affliction to bring salvation, growth, and encouragement to the Corinthians. Paul says two powerful statements!

1.. Because of Christ's affliction… we are comforted! (With salvation)

2.. Because of Paul’s affliction… the Gospel comes to Corinth! (Salvation, Church planted, growth…)

We may not always be able to see God’s purpose in our suffering… but He has a purpose in it.

  • it may be to grow you.  (To make us more like Christ; James 1, 1 Peter 1)
  • It may be to reach others. (So others can see Christ in us - The stoning of Stephen)
  • It may be both!

But without a doubt, God is sovereign over our suffering and He has a purpose for it. 

How are you responding to trials in your life?

Are you running to God or away from Him?

Are you praising Him or cursing Him?

How we respond to the trials and suffering in our life reveals a lot about our faith.

Dane Ortlund says it this way.

“It is difficult to know the true spiritual state of those who have only known the

mountaintop but never the valley, only ease but never pain. But there is strange

encouragement in the distressing afflictions of the Christian experience. This is

safe ground. For this is the path Christ walked, and in finding ourselves on that

path we know we are not fair-weather disciples.

What does your response in the trial reveal about your faith?

Fair weather? Or True Disciple? 


How has God deepened your faith through present or past trials?

From your own experience, what does it look like to run to God during trials?

2.. In the Midst of our trials and suffering, Rely on God! (Vs 8-11)

Here we see that it’s not true that “God will never give you more than you can handle”. He may not give your more than He can handle.

We’re not sure exactly what affliction Paul is referring to here but whatever it was we know that it was bad! Paul says I thought we were going to die! Paul basically says it was so bad that I wanted to die! 

Pauls said, “this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God”.

God used this situation to bring Paul to the end of himself! A Place of complete dependence! 

I Love the way Tony Evans says it!

“One of the important truths of Scripture that we need to understand…. is that

God must remove our attitude of self-sufficiency…. When we encounter a

seemingly hopeless situation, it opens our eyes to the reality that we cannot

depend on and deliver ourselves…. We must allow personal brokenness that

strips us of our self-sufficiency to move us to a deeper level of trust in and

dependency on our all-sufficient God.“

Has it ever crossed your mindthat God may be using that difficult

situation to draw you to himself?

Has it ever crossed your mind that… that difficult situation you are in right


that’s beyond your ability to endure…. Is really God bringing you to the end of


so that He can do a great work in your life? And through your life?


Consider the cross of Christ… 

When it seemed like God was most out of control… He was accomplishing His

greatest work.

Paul had this truth figured out… & he wanted the Corinthians & us to


That Our greatest hardships often lead to our greatest ministry.


Many times… it’s our greatest pain that often becomes our

greatest service to others.


Bc It equips us and enables us to sympathize and minister to those suffering in

a similar way.

Maybe for you…it’s been a difficult child… Or some kind of Abuse…  

 If you’ve walked thru that… it gives you a great deal of ability to sympathize

and minister to those that are dealing with that kind of trauma.

Maybe you’ve been thru Cancer… 

people that have gone thru cancer know the vocabulary of cancer… They know

the trials that you face…. And they are sympathetic.

If you’ve been thru the pain of Infertility… 

You’re able to weep with those who weep. And walk beside people in that

situation differently.

 If you’ve lost a child… 

then you are particularly sympathetic when you hear of similar stories…

If you’ve been in ministry and you’ve encountered opposition… 

Then you want to hug a pastor when you see one.

We could go on and on….But The point is this…

God comforts us not to make us comfortable but to make us comforters.


And When we rely on Him… 

When we allow our trials and suffering to push us closer to Him….

He uses our trials to grow us…  & to encourage & comfort others!             

Thru our testimony


I Love how Paul David Tripp explains this

“The hard moments are not just for your growth in grace, but for your call to be

a tool of that same grace in the life of another sufferer. In difficulty, God is

softening your heart and sharpening your edges so that you may be ready to

make the comfort of the invisible Father visible in the life of the weary pilgrim

he has placed in your pathway. God intends for you to give away the comfort

you’ve been given. The grace that has given you hope is meant to spill over

into hope for the person next to you. What a plan!”


Can you think of a moment in your life where God has brought you to the same place He Brough Paul… to the end of himself?

How have you seen God use your trials to comfort others?

3.. In the Midst of our suffering and trouble, God has promised Deliverance! (Vs9-11)

Vs 10 “He has delivered us!”  “And he will deliver us again.”

Because of that promise… Paul says we set our hope in Him! Our great God of deliverance!

So many people are going through many different situations!


Some of us are in Struggling Marriages

Some of us have Straying Children

Some of us have Spouses who aren’t saved

Some of us are in difficult family situations

Some of us have sickness/cancer

Some of us are experiencing grief and loss

Some of us struggle with depression and anxiety

Some of us are struggling with addiction

Some of us are struggling with sin in our life

Every situation may look different… no matter what the situation is, we have the same God! A God who can deliver us from sin and death and a God who can flip any situation on its head. Trust Him, Turn to Him, and Don’t walk through it alone! 

Pray for God to intervene and trust His hand through all of it that He knows what’s best! 


Spend some time praying to together as a family for God to deliver you and others out of some of these difficult situations!