Unafraid By Adam Hamilton

Participant Guide - PART 1

Unafraid by Adam Hamilton
Session 1: Understanding and Countering Fear

April 15, 2020

  • Opening Activity
    • Discussion:
      • Noting that fear can have physical manifestations that we can feel when we are aware, where do you hold your fear?
    • Opening Prayer
    • Video Study & Discussion
    • What are the fears expressed by the three people in the beginning of the video? How have these fears been a part of your own life?
    • How does the faith of the people interviewed help them confront fear?
    • Why does Dr. Zald say that fear “clearly is a gift”?
    • What are some of the ways that Dr. Zald suggests for treating anxiety and worry?
  • Book & Bible Study
    • The Biological Response to Fear
    • The Role of Fear in Our Lives
      • What are the aspects of contemporary life that make people fearful?
      • In Chapter 2, Hamilton says that fear may play a role in keeping us safe. Talk about a time when fear kept you safe.
      • Hamilton also identifies false fear and unhealthy worry as things that can keep us from living well. When have you experienced your fear as something that
      • kept you from living well?
      • In talking about the promise of this book in Chapter 1, Hamilton expresses confidence that we can learn to address our fears, control them, and learn from them. What tools do you already have that help you deal with your fear? What are your hopes for this study?
    • Numbers 13:32-33
      • What were the fears that kept the people from entering the Promised Land?
      • Why do you think the people listened to the ten pessimistic spies rather than to the two spies who assured them that God was with them?
      • Hamilton says, a little later in Chapter 3, that our visions of a Promised Land, or of a future we would like to see, can be clouded by our assumptions about the risks and dangers involved so that we can become paralyzed by the obstacles.  When have you seen a group become paralyzed risks and dangers? When have you been paralyzed by risks and dangers?
      • Visualize the situation of the Israelites as they sat one mile from the Promised Land.  What hopes and dreams had the Israelites had for the land? What would their lives be like as nomadic people living in the wilderness?
      • In light of the COVID-19 global pandemic and anything related to it, what would it mean to “stare down the giants” of our fears in this situation?  What would our lives be like if we do not stare them down?
    • FEAR Acronym as a Tool for Confronting Fear
      • F-Face Your Fears, E-Examine You Assumptions in Light of the Facts, A-Attack Your Anxieties with Action, R- Release Your Cares to God
      • What about these four steps seems unclear to you right now? What more do you want to know?
      • Which of these steps feels most difficult to you right now?
  • Final Discussion
    • Philippians 4:5b-7
    • What are you afraid of right now?
    • What actions might you take to overcome your fears?
  • Closing Activity—Isaiah 41:10 & Praying the Scriptures
  • Prayer Requests & Closing Prayer

Participant Guide - PART 2

Unafraid by Adam Hamilton

Session 2: Crime, Race, Terrorism, and Politics

April 22, 2020

  • Opening Activity
    • Discussion:
      • How did fear lead Henny Penny and her friends to a bad end?
      • Why did they not see the real danger that threatened them?
    • Opening Prayer
    • Video Study & Discussion
    • What role did gaining knowledge play for Ginger in overcoming misunderstandings about followers of Islam?
    • What is xenophobia, and how does Bishop Willimon see it affecting our national life?
    • How is the act of welcoming the other a witness to what Christ has done for us?
  • Book & Bible Study
    • Facts Over Fear
    • What Makes Us Fearful in the News
      • Do you feel more anxious or less anxious after reading the news in these headlines? Why?
      • Why do you go to the news sources you use? Do you find Dr. Goldstein’s observation (about people seeking sources that increase their anxiety) to be true for you?
      • Adam Hamilton recommends looking at a variety of news sources to help understand how others are thinking.  When you intentionally see out information and viewpoints from sources you are likely to mistrust, how do you think this would alter your experience of others?
    • Jeremiah 22:3—Test Case
      • What does doing “what is just and right” look like in this situation?
      • What fears might you have to overcome in yourself or others as you welcome this refuge family?
      • How might you meet God in the process?
      • Why does God call us to have courageous compassion?
    • Test Out Thoughts About Crime
      • Do you feel that crime is increasing, decreasing, or remaining about the same in our community? What helps you form your impressions about the level of crime?
      • What do the statistics reveal about the actual levels of crime?
      • What surprises you about the statistics?
      • Would knowing the actual crime statistics have affected your beliefs about crime?
    • A Hospitable Spectrum
      • Name some of Jesus’ closest disciples. What do we know about their backgrounds? How do you imagine they got along in the group of disciples? What tensions might they have had?
      • How accurate do you think Hamilton’s observation is that most Americans don’t identify with the extremes?  
      • Why does he say that worry, fear, and anxiety are more prevalent as we move toward the extremes? Do you agree?
  • Final Discussion
    • Romans 12:18-21
    • What does this passage tell us about living with people with whom we disagree?
    • If we took this passage seriously, what would change about our approach to those who may have different political beliefs?
  • Closing Activity—Lectio Divina: Isaiah 41:8-10
  • Prayer Requests & Closing Prayer

For next week, read Part 3 (chapters 9-12).

Crime Statistics:

2018 Murder and Nonnegligent Manslaughter: 16,241

2018 Strong-arm robberies in the United States: 108,541

2018 Deaths by Gun Violence: 14, 789

2018 Injuries by Gun Violence: 28,233

2018 Mass Shootings: 337

85 Violent Extremist Terrorist Attacks in the USA since 9/11

  • Right wing extremist groups were responsible for 62 of these (73%)
  • Radical Islamist groups were responsible for 23 (27%)

Between 9/11 through 2016—there have been 94 deaths in the US related to Islamic Terror (49 of those occurred during the 2016 Pulse Nightclub shooting in June 2016)

Participant Guide - PART 3

Unafraid by Adam Hamilton

Session 3: Failure, Disappointing Others, Insignificance, and Loneliness

April 29, 2020

  • Opening Activity
    • Discussion:
      • Did anyone look at a different news source this week?  In what ways did it change your understanding of an event or person in the news? Is this something you’ll continue doing?
    • Opening Prayer
    • Video Study & Discussion
    • What did Carlos, Ginger, and Marie learn by facing their fears of failure?
    • How did Christian Cid describe codependency? Why is it unhealthy?
    • How does our faith help us address our sense of meaning?
  • Book & Bible Study
    • Reflection on Failure and Risk
      • What were the consequences of your failure? Were they as extreme as you anticipated they would be?
      • How did you grow from the experience? What did you learn about your own capacity to handle failure?
      • What keeps us from taking the risks we need to take in order to find courage and confidence?
      • Based on your experience, how accurate are the “Dealing with the Fear of Failure” principles (listed at bottom of sheet)?  Would you add anything else to this list?
    • Matthew 7: 12 & James 1:19b
      • Where in our nation or community do we see persons living out the ethic expressed in these verses?
      • In what situations is it most difficult to live this out?
      • Where do you see Jesus and other biblical characters exhibiting this behavior?
    • Grace—Genesis 1:27-31; Psalm 23; Luke 23:39-43; Ephesians 2:4-9
      • What does this passage tell us about the nature of God’s grace?
      • Paul Tillich’s Sermon, “You are Accepted”
        • What is most hopeful about Tillich’s words?
        • How does God’s acceptance of us through grace free us from the fear of disappointing others?
        • What practices help you remember God’s acceptance of you?
    • The Impact of Loneliness
      • How is human connection under stress in contemporary America?
      • Where do you see loneliness in your community? In your life?
      • With which of the three types of attachment do you most closely identify?
  • Closing Activity—Learning to Reengage Strategies 
  • Prayer Requests & Closing Prayer—Psalm 139: 5, 7-10

For next week, read Part 4 (chapters 13-16).

Additional Notes:

Dealing with the Fear of Failure:

  1. Most things are never as hard as you fear they will be.
  2. Successful people are willing to do the things that unsuccessful people are unwilling to do.
  3. More often than not, choosing the harder, riskier, inconvenient path is the right choice.

Daring Greatly Quote:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”—Theodore Roosevelt, 1910

Participant Guide - PART 4

Session 4: Apocalypse, Change, Missing Out, and Finances

May 6, 2020

  • Opening Activity
    • Discussion:
      • How would you describe the world you grew up in to someone who was twenty years old? What things would they not have known about? What important buildings are no longer standing or repurposed? What influential people have died before they were born? How much change has taken place since the years you grew up?
    • Opening Prayer
    • Video Study & Discussion
    • How does our relationship with technology affect our thinking about the future?
    • Why did Jerre Stead feel that communication was critical in helping his workers face uncertainty?
    • Why does Jerre Stead feel that “facts are our friends”? How do facts influence our actions?
  • Book & Bible Study
    • Fascination with the End of the World
      • How do you feel when you see depictions of your fears about the future coming to reality?
      • Is there something useful about facing those fears through popular culture?
      • Read Revelation 21:1-4.  What are the elements of the biblical vision of the new heaven and the new earth?
      • How might this vision of God’s future change the stories we tell about the present?
      • In this section, Hamilton notes two negative responses we might make to the problems of the day: (1) not caring about the problems because God will eventually bring about a new heaven and a new earth, and (2) being paralyzed by the problems because we forget that God will ultimately prevail:
        • Which of these errors do you feel is more prominent among Christians?
        • To which of these responses are you more prone?
        • If we took God’s promise of ultimate restoration seriously, how would it affect our behavior in the present?
    • John 5:2-9
      • What were some of the reasons given for this man’s illness?
      • What others might you imagine?
      • Why might Jesus have asked him, “Do you want to get well?”
      • How did Jesus address this man’s condition?
      • If Jesus were talking to you about getting beyond a fear that is distressing you, what do you think he would say to you?
      • How does faith give us the capacity to change?
    • Putting Social Media in Proper Perspective
      • Why does Hamilton feel that social media is an “anxiety-producing machine”?
      • Sharing Activity followed with these questions:
        • What, in anything, did you learn from this exercise about the “anxiety-producing machine”?
        • What do you think makes a “good” post, and what does not? Why?
        • What new perspectives on social media, if any, did you gain from the exercise?
    • Consider Financial Principles
      • Which principle are you already practicing? Which one do you need to work on?
  • Prayer Requests & Closing Prayer—1 Thessalonians 5:16

For next week, read Part 5 (chapters 17-20).

Additional Notes:

5 Basic Financial Principles

  1. Develop and use a budget.
  2. Avoid debt, using it only for your house, car, and education if you must.
  3. Live at least two steps below your means.
  4. Set a goal of giving away 10% or more of your income.
  5. Save at least 10% of your income for your future.

Participant Guide - PART 5

Unafraid by Adam Hamilton

Session 5: Aging, Illness, Dying, and Fear of the Lord

May 13, 2020

  • Opening Activity—Mindfulness Exercise
    • Opening Prayer
    • Video Study & Discussion
    • How has Ginger faced the challenges of her multiple sclerosis? What role has her faith played?
    • How did the group members’ experience with people facing death affect their own experience with fears of death?
    • What steps did LaVon Hamilton take to determine that the problem she was dealing with was anxiety?
    • How did LaVon’s faith that her life was in the hands of her Savior help her overcome anxiety?
  • Book & Bible Study
    • Siddhartha and Angst
      • Recall one of the first occasions when you were confronted with the realities that Siddhartha discovered about life and death:
        • What was the occasion (such as death of a pet or grandparent, a parent’s injury or illness)? How did it affect you?
        • Who helped you deal with what you were feeling?
    • Luke 2:25-38—Consider Simeon and Anna
      • What does the Bible tell us about whom they were?
      • What role do they play in the story of Jesus?
      • How were they using their time in their old age?
      • How are they models for thinking about God’s intentions for us in old age?
    • Pharmaceutical Advertisement—Lipitor 2010 Commercial, Trulicity 2017 Commercial 
      • What fears do these ads play on? What positive effects might they have?
      • What promises are made about the impact of the drug on our lives?
      • What potential side effects are mentioned?
      • What visuals accompany the words of the ad?
      • Brainstorm your own advertisement. Imagine you are a group of marketers who have been asked to come up with an ad for prayer as a response to the problem of worry about illness:
        • What promises does God make about prayer?
        • What visuals will accompany your ad? 
        • What side effects are possible?
    • Examine God’s Purposes:
      • When have you seen good emerge from events that were destructive?
      • What comfort have you found in trusting that God works for good even in terrible situations?
      • How does this trust reflect awe and reverence for God?
  • Closing Activity—What will you take away from this study?
  • Prayer Requests & Closing Prayer

Going on now through May 27
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Book Summary:

Learn how to face and overcome the fears we feel about loneliness, illness, financial insecurity, disappointing others, failure, insignificance, and aging

You’d be hard-pressed to overstate the extent to which fear, anxiety, and worry permeate our lives today. Fear wreaks havoc on our relationships and communities. It leads us into making bad decisions. It holds us back from the very pursuits that promise fulfillment and joy.

Unafraid is Hamilton’s insightful and impassioned response. Drawing on recent research, inspiring real-life examples, and fresh biblical insight, Hamilton uses  a mixture of facts and faith to help readers understand and counter fears related to such outsize perils as death and illness, as well as the everyday anxieties all of us encounter. He invites us to: 

Face our fears with a bias of hope
Examine our fears in light of the facts 
Attack our anxieties with action 
Release our cares to God

For anyone struggling with fear or wondering how families and communities can thrive in troubled times, Unafraid offers an informed and inspiring message full of practical solutions.

Contact Rev. Katie Newsome with any questions.