Click below to download the Cornerstone Connections leader’s guide and student lesson. This week’s resources also include two lesson plans and a discussion starter video which offer different ways of looking at the topic. Each lesson plan includes opening activities, scripture passages, discussion questions, and real-life applications.
Royalty in Ruin (Prophets and Kings)
Chapter 49 - Esther, the Hebrew Girl Who Became Queen
Victory over Satan’s power in our world and in our lives is God’s work. But grasping that victory takes courage and faith.
Peer pressure is a real and powerful force, and it affects us all—young and old. Teens can easily become an outsider or victim of bullies when they end up on the wrong side of peer pressure. That is not to say it is okay to give in to peer pressure, but rather to admit that it can be hard and painful to stand up for something unpopular. Adults can even be victims of peer pressure sometimes. A mom or dad might find themselves experiencing feelings of inadequacy or even failure if they are in some way less successful or less financially equipped than their friends.
Esther was in a position of authority and the king and his advisers were her peers. She could have easily blended in, and even joined the fight against the Jewish nation. Who knows if she would have ever been found to be a Jew, considering the fact that she was so loved and respected as queen. But she stood up and risked her own life to save God’s people. We will each also have to stand up against peer pressure in the last days before Jesus returns.
OPENING ACTIVITY: Oreo Illustration
Needed: a package of Oreos
As humans we are all at risk for rejection or discouragement in one way or another. As we live from day-to-day, we can avoid the negative drama of peer pressure by remembering the fact that we are sons and daughters of God. Esther remembered who she was, and made her choice to stand up for her people. Our identity as God’s people should make all the difference in our perspective on life and how we live it. Ultimately, our status as children of our Heavenly Father is what will get us through the last day events when peer pressure will be more fierce than ever before.
BIBLE STUDY GUIDE
Read each Bible passage, then discuss the questions. If you are still worshiping from home, consider discussing one or more of the questions on social media, in a Zoom meeting, or in a group chat with friends.
Out of the World
Read John 15:19 (NIV).
19If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.
Disconnect from the World
Read Romans 12:1-2 (NIV).
1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.
10 My son, if sinful men entice you, do not give in to them.
15 My son, do not go along with them, do not set foot on their paths . . .
Read Matthew 16:26 (NIV).
26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?
The Struggle is Real
Read Ephesians 6:12 (NIV).
12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
People may reject you, but you are God’s chosen child, and He will never leave you. Even if we lose our life on this earth, Jesus paid the price so we can live eternally. Stand up for God’s truth, even in the face of persecution, because we know God has won the victory!
Consider applying what you learned in the following ways:
For a Relational Bible Study (RBS) you’ll want to get into the Scripture passage and encourage the youth to imagine participating in the story while it’s happening. Then you will be able to better apply it to your own situation today.
You will need to ask God for the Holy Spirit to be present as your small group discusses the questions (no more than 3-6 people in a group is recommended). Start with the opening question. It is a personal question and the answer is unique for each individual. There is no right answer and nobody is an expert here, so don’t be surprised when you hear different responses. You are depending on the Holy Spirit to be present and to speak through your group. Say what God prompts you to say, and listen to what others share.
Take turns reading the chapter out loud. Follow that with giving the students some time to individually mark their responses to the questions (a PDF version of the handout is available as a download). This gives each person a starting point for responding when you start to share as a group. Next, begin the discussion by asking the students to share what they marked and why on each question as you work your way through. Feel free to take more time on some questions than others as discussion warrants.
Encourage each person in the group to apply what is discussed to their personal lives and to share with the group what they believe God wants them to do. Then ask them to pray that God will help each of them to follow through in doing so. Remind them to expect that God will show them ways to live out the message of this passage in the coming week, and that they are free to ask others in the group to help hold them accountable.
DOWNLOAD ONE OR ALL THE HANDOUTS PROVIDED HERE, DEPENDING ON WHICH YOU HAVE CHOSEN TO USE AFTER READING THE FOLLOWING LESSON OVERVIEW.
Most people hear the story of Esther in its entirety; not in two parts. Last week we studied the first four chapters of Esther. While these were intriguing, they certainly didn’t tell the whole story. This week we have “The Rest of the Story” with the remaining six chapters, including details at the end that often aren’t covered when telling the story.
When you read the Bible story for yourself, you’re likely to find familiar portions, but also bits and pieces that might surprise you. Covering all these chapters in just one RBS might be too much. Instead, we’ll provide you with several RBSs for these chapters. You can choose one or two of them for your Youth Sabbath School. You could give different studies to different individuals or different small groups. Or you could use some of the extra ones for Sabbath afternoon or an online Bible study during the week.
There are five different chapter worksheets from which you can choose. After going through whichever chapter worksheets you have decided to use in your class, close in the usual way for an RBS with a summary and a real-life application.
Your summary will depend on which chapter worksheet you selected. Come up with your own summary or look toward the end of the study questions for a wrap-up. One consistent theme is the unexpected twists and turns in the story. It’s a roller coaster with tragedy and triumph. Timing often seems critical.
It appears that human action is vital, and then it seems that human action makes no difference whatsoever. Either there is a tremendous amount of “luck,” or the hand of God overrules the evil actions of man. Ironically, the word “God” does not appear anywhere in the book of Esther (it’s one of only two books in the Bible that doesn’t specify “God”), and yet God’s actions can be found throughout the book.
The application for the participants in your Youth Sabbath School class will depend on which chapter(s) you studied in Esther 5-10. Come up with your own (note the questions toward the end of each RBS), or draw from or adapt one of the options below.
Mental Health Series for Teens
By Jonathan Betlinski, Rachel Scribner & Gary Parks
Do you know a teen who is struggling with mental health issues? Do you want to be prepared to minister to the teens in your church? This new series includes booklets on Depression, Anxiety, Suicidal Thoughts, Getting Help, Recovery Tools, Brain Training, and Staying Healthy. Purchase the complete set or individual titles.
Love reading? Use your reading and acting skills to bring joy to children and seniors. Create a funding page, select a few books, and go live on Instagram or Facebook, or broadcast on YouTube.
Cost: Less than $5.00
Express your appreciation and encourage people on the front lines. Use your imagination to create encouraging cards for essential workers.
Cost: Less than $5.00
Help feed the hungry. Give your canned food drive a twist. Build and display structures with the cans to encourage people to give.
Cost: Less than $5.00
Help children transition to a new home with dignity. Purchase and decorate duffle bags for children who are placed into foster care. Place items such as towels and personal hygiene items in the bags.
Cost: $25.00. Partner with a business to defray costs
5. Appreciation Gift Bags for Essential Workers & Teachers / Hero Candy BarsE
Say thanks in a fun way. Make appreciation bags with food or care items for teachers, essential workers, hospital staff, first responders, etc.