Arrows (Week 6) - Manager

SERIES BIG IDEA:

Raising children with eternity in mind brings clarity as to how we live toward the target.

TEACHING BIG IDEA:

We steward the next generation so they can fulfill the purpose for which God created them.

TEACHING SUMMARY:

This teaching starts with the foundational understanding that God owns everything and we are His stewards. Children belong to God and are best seen as gifts from God for us to steward. Our purpose as stewards of our children is so they can fulfill the purpose for which God created them. The way we steward our children involves at least four ways: we discern the path on which they are to go; we understand their uniqueness; we identify their strengths; and we call out of them what God sees in them.

TALK IT OVER (Discuss One or More):

What …  roles of your life / things that you own / relationships that you have … do you struggle with to release control of to God? What about releasing control of people to God that you are upset with?

What is your dream for the children who are in your life? How are your dreams consistent or inconsistent with God’s plans and path for them? What are ways you can release your dreams in order to embrace God’s dreams?

How do you compare the children in your life with children in other families? What are the challenges of understanding the uniqueness of children when their uniqueness directly challenges your own comfort?

When children seem to consistently fail, how can you identify the strengths of your children?

When you struggle with your own calling, how can you call out of children what God sees in them? What can you learn about this struggle after reading 2 Chronicles 1:7-12?

After reading the teaching big idea (see above) what are your thoughts regarding the purpose for which God created your children? What about your thoughts regarding the purpose for which God created you?

Other Scriptures to Read:

Matthew 25:29

Deuteronomy 4:9-10

Deuteronomy 6:5-9

Matthew 19:13-15

Arrows (Week 5) - Relentless

SERIES BIG IDEA:

Raising children with eternity in mind brings clarity as to how we live toward the target.

TEACHING BIG IDEA:

Building a legacy takes resolute faith and relentless hard work.

TEACHING SUMMARY:

This teaching focuses on the truth that it takes both committed faith and hard work to create a lasting legacy. Parents must join with Jesus in building a godly home or else they labor in vain. Marriage, communication, discipline, and modeling true faith are relentless hard work. Resolute faith comes from learning to trust God during our trials. We have all been given a heritage and we will all leave behind a legacy. It is never too late to change the legacy we will leave behind.

TALK IT OVER (Discuss One or More):

How would you describe the spiritual heritage that you were given by the adults who raised you? Who was the most influential person in forming your beliefs about God as you grew up? Why were they so impactful?

Read Deuteronomy 6:1-3. What do you hope the children under your influence will understand about what it means to ‘Fear the LORD’?

Read Deuteronomy 6:6-9. What might the children in your home point to as evidence of your faith? How have you been intentional about connecting symbols of God’s faithfulness in and around your house?

Respond to the statement: A faith that can’t be tested can’t be trusted.

Why might a parent be reluctant to share with a child his or her own story of struggle to trust during trials? How have you been encouraged by another’s account of God’s faithfulness?

Read James 2:18. How would you describe the tension in faith and works? Why is it important that children see both?

Other Scriptures to Read:

James 1:2-4

Romans 12:11

2 Thessalonians 3:13

Acts 3:19

Arrows (Week 4) - Watchmen

SERIES BIG IDEA:

Raising children with eternity in mind brings clarity as to how we live toward the target.

TEACHING BIG IDEA:

We are watchmen who resist the opposition by taking a stand.

TEACHING SUMMARY:

This teaching challenges all of us to understand that there are opponents who desire to keep us from raising children to know Jesus, trust Jesus, and follow Jesus. Raising godly children requires us to be watchmen who will stand with God to resist dangerous enemies. To have success in the battle we stand in God’s grace by faith, in prayer, against temptation, and with Jesus.  On our own we can’t -- but Jesus can, so we should join Jesus in this fight.

TALK IT OVER (Discuss One or More):

Read 1 Peter 5:8. What are ways that our enemy, the devil, tries to devour us in our homes?

How have sexual challenges for our children increased over the past 20 years? How can you protect your home from Internet pornography? From gluttony? From greed? From pride?

What does it mean to stand in God’s grace? How can prayer help? How can we join God in protecting our homes? Based on Ephesians 6:10-18 how can we make a stand for God and against our enemies?

Satan knows how to attack us as adults. How can our own struggles with sin influence our children? How can we resist Satan and take a stand against temptation? How can this impact our children?

How and when will we have victory over our spiritual enemies? How can being in community with others help? What is the place of reading, studying, and memorizing God’s word?

How can we trust God, relax in His peace, and still stand as watchmen for our children?

Other Scriptures to Read:

James 4:7

1 Corinthians 16:13

Joshua 1:9

Matthew 26:41

Arrows (Week 3) - Let Them Go

Series big Idea:

Raising children with eternity in mind brings clarity as to how we live toward the target.

Teaching BIG IDEA:

We train children to release them, then trust Jesus to oversee them.

TEACHING SUMMARY:

This teaching addresses how we raise children to be released into the world. Releasing children requires parents to have balance between protection and preparation as well as between restrictions and freedom. Parents should unconditionally love their children; establish boundaries; provide children the liberty to choose and fail; and lead and challenge their children. Training a child requires that parents release their children to God for His purpose and then trust God to oversee them.

Talk it over (DISCUSS ONE OR MORE):

Read Proverbs 22:6. How do you train up a child in the way they should go? What does it mean that children will not depart from the training even when they are old?

Respond to Kevin Leman’s quote: “An unhappy child is a healthy child.”

What behaviors in our children could challenge our unconditional love? What behaviors in us challenge our perception of God’s unconditional love toward us?

What type of boundaries did you have growing up? What boundaries do you need to establish for your children? How can those boundaries communicate your love for them?

How can allowing children to fail be good for them?

How do you communicate your expectations to your children? What are ways that you can challenge and lead children? How does Colossians 3:23 challenge parents in how we lead children?

Other Scriptures to Read:

Deuteronomy 11:19

Ephesians 5:31

Proverbs 29:15 & 17 / Proverbs 13:24

Arrows (Week 2) - Find the Cadance

TEACHING SUMMARY:

This teaching addresses the rhythms in our lives. God desires that we find a rhythm that gives us rest and peace. To achieve this we must seek first God’s priority in our relationships. When Jesus is our priority all our relationships will find their place. By having Jesus as our priority we will be intentional with our spouse, our children, and our family and friends. Having this rhythm and discipline, we will say “yes” to the main thing and say “no” to the many things.

Series big Idea:

Raising children with eternity in mind brings clarity as to how we live toward the target.

Teaching BIG IDEA:

Living in the rhythm that God intends for us is a discipline that leads to the rest God wants for us.

Talk it over (DISCUSS ONE OR MORE):

What are current rhythms that are in your life? Identify healthy and unhealthy rhythms.

As your reread Psalm 127, what additional insights come to you? What does it mean to you that God “grants sleep to those he loves”?

What are creative ways you can establish a regular date with your spouse? What are creative ways you can establish consistent time with your children?

What are ways you can model to your children and to others how to follow Jesus?

If Jesus comes first -- then your spouse, then your children, then others -- what are areas in your life that don’t reflect the priority and rhythm that God desires? How can you fix it?

What are things in my life that I need to say “no” to? What are things in my life that I need to say “yes” to?

Other Scriptures to Read:

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Mark 6:31

Luke 10:38-42

Arrows (Week 1) - Targets

TEACHING SUMMARY:

This teaching challenged us to raise children first and foremost as an expression of how we follow Jesus and become like Jesus. Children are a blessing and heritage from God leading us to bring them up in such a way that they are released from us to be used mightily by God, just like an arrow is released from the bow and goes toward the bullseye.  To aim for God’s bullseye with our children, we realize that our children are made in God’s image, that they are blessings (not burdens), and that they are diverse. The bullseye is that we aim to raise our children to follow Jesus.

Series big Idea:

Raising children with eternity in mind brings clarity as to how we live toward the target.

Teaching BULLSEYE:

We aim to raise our children to know Jesus, trust in Him, and follow Him.

Talk it over (DISCUSS ONE OR MORE):

What does our culture value as 'bulleyes' for parents to aim at? How do we define a 'successful' parent? What are specific challenges you have had in raising children?

How are our children made in the image of God? Why does it matter?

Brainstorm practical ways to flip the idea of children as 'burdens' into 'blessings’.

What are our responsibilities toward children who are not our own? How have you seen "It's never too late to influence the children around you" played out?

How can you lead your children/grandchildren to trust Jesus? How can I embrace following Jesus as my own bullseye in life?

How can you apply Matthew 6:33-34 in how you raise children?

Other Scriptures to Read:

Proverbs 22:6

Deuteronomy 6:6-7

 

Withdraw

TEACHING SUMMARY:

This teaching revealed some reasons people avoid community. The irony is we need biblical community for our faith – and lives – to thrive. But in order to thrive, we must understand what it means to belong together.

Teaching Big Idea:

To thrive in my faith, I must belong in a Jesus-centered community.

Talk it over (discuss one or more!):

What are other ways to define community? The teaching defined community as when at least two people regularly gather to love Jesus, become like Jesus, or share Jesus

What are reasons people (you?) use to NOT be a part of a Jesus-centered community?

What are reasons for you to be part of a Jesus-centered community?

Explain how important the truth found in Matthew 18:20 is for Jesus-centered communities.

What are ways 2 people can love Jesus OR become like Jesus OR share Jesus? What about 6 people? 20 people? 200 people?

Other Scriptures To Read:

Romans 12:3-5

Acts 2:46-47

 

Life Hacks - Pride and Prejudice -Week 5

Series Big Idea:  Following Jesus by obeying his teachings makes me better at life.

 

Teaching Big Idea:  I overcome my pride and prejudices by taking my place to serve.

 

Begin in prayer: Begin in praise and prayer for humility.

 

Talk It Over:  

Ice Breaker:  What are some of the places and ways in which you see pride?  

 

Questions:  What is pride? 

 

PRIDE TEST: 

  • How much do I dislike it when other people snub me, or refuse to take any 

notice of me, or show off?

  • The more irritated I get, the more pride I have.

 

How did you do?  Did the “test” make you uncomfortable?

 

To fear the LORD is to hate evil;  I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.

Proverbs 8:13

 

Is it easier to see it in yourself or others?

 

What is prejudice?

 

Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly.   Leviticus 19:15

 

How does humility work against pride and prejudice?  How does serving?

 

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.   John 3:16-17

 

Challenge:  Discuss how you can flip pride and prejudice to serving.  Who will you serve?

 

Conclude in Prayer:  Pray to see clearly how to flip pride to serving.

LIFE HACKS - CONFESSION AND ACCOUNTABILITY - WK4

Series Big Idea:  Following Jesus by obeying His teachings makes me better at life.

 

Teaching Big Idea: Tell God and be forgiven.  Tell a friend and be healed.

 

Begin in prayer:  Thank God for His faithfulness to forgive us and ask Him for courage to be honest with Him and with others.

 

Talk It Over:  

Ice Breaker:  Kids are creative at hiding their errors.  Share a childhood fault hiding story.

 

Scripture: When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the Lord God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the Lord God among the trees. 

Genesis 3:8 (NLT)

 

Questions:

Do you agree or disagree that secrets change us?  Why?

How does hiding affect our relationship with God and others?  

Do you find it easier to fess up to God or to ‘man’? 

What makes it difficult for us to admit our guilt?

 

Scripture:  Admit your faults to one another and pray for each other so that you may be healed. James 5:16 (LB)

 

Questions:

Basic accountability, we ask each other:  What is God telling you and what are you doing about it?

Take a moment and pray for the person to your right: Please Lord, give ______________ a trustworthy friend to share his/her faults with. 

Have you ever had an opportunity to pray right away with someone when they confessed a fault to you?  If yes, what happened?

 

Challenge:  

Commit to putting basic accountability into practice this week.  Who will you connect with? When? How?

 

Conclude in Prayer:  

Thank God for your time together asking Him to help you admit your faults quickly to Him and to one another…and courage to pray right away.

LIFE HACKS - SABBATH AND REST - WK3

Series Big Idea:  Following Jesus by obeying His teachings makes me better at life. 

 

Teaching Big Idea: 

 I’m at my best when I weekly unplug to enjoy God and rest.

 

Begin in prayer:  Invite God to bring clarity and purpose to your understanding of ‘rest’.  

 

Talk It Over:  

Ice Breaker:  What are some ways that people might realize they are ‘too busy’?  How would you want your loved ones to express their concern that you are ‘too busy’?

 

Scripture:   27 Then he said to them, The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath” Mark 2:27-28 (NIV)

 

Questions:

If the Sabbath was made for man, did it exist before man was created?  

How do you rest from your usual labor? 

 

Comment on the statement:  The Sabbath is not a command to endure, it’s a blessing to enjoy.  

 

Scripture:

28 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.  Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV) 

 

Questions:

What might keep someone from putting these words into practice?

How could Jesus’ words be used to support the idea that ‘rules don’t bring rest’?

Describe a time when Jesus helped you learn to trust Him for the rest you needed.

 

Challenge:

Jesus promises gentle, humble instruction when we come to Him with the things which weigh us down.  Commit to ask Him to teach you what He would like you to know about your greatest burden.

 

Conclude in Prayer:  

Thank God for His provision of Sabbath and ask Him to help you truly rest in Jesus.

LIFE HACKS - FLIP IT, WORRY INTO WORSHIP - WK2

Series Big Idea:  Following Jesus by obeying His teachings makes me better at life. 

 

Teaching Big Idea: Flip your worry into worship. Flip “what if” into “what is”.

 

Begin in prayer:  

Commit this time to God inviting Him to help you see His truth about worry and trust.

Talk It Over:  

Ice Breaker:  

Share a favorite Lifehack; a gadget, an app, an outlook…something that makes life easier.

 

Scripture: 

Don’t fret or worry, instead of worrying, pray.  Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ diplaces worry at the center of your life. Philippians 4:6-7 (MSG)

 

Questions:

How does what we worry about reveal what we value?

Why voice prayers to God if He already knows everything?

When is it most difficult to put concerns into words of prayer?

Describe a time when you saw worry ‘flipped’ into prayer.   

 

Scripture:

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33 (NIV)

 

Worry: to distract or divide

 

Questions:

What are some ways that we might get distracted or divided from seeking first God’s kingdom and righteousness?

 

Respond to the statement:  What you worry about the most reveals where you trust God the least.

 

 

Challenge: 

Write “My Worry List” at the top of a blank page.  List your concerns one after another.  Replace the word ‘Worry’ with ‘Prayer’. Commit a specific time of day during the month of July when you will talk with God from your list .

 

Conclude in Prayer: 

Thank God for His protection and provisions. Ask Him to help you seek His interests first this week. 

LIFE HACKS - FLIP IT, WORRY INTO WORSHIP - WEEK 1

Flip Worry Into Worship

 

Series Big Idea:  Following Jesus by obeying His teachings makes me better at life. 

 

Teaching Big Idea: Flip your worry into worship. Flip “what if” into “what is”.

 

Begin in prayer:  Ask God to teach you how to trust him to win the war against worry.

 

Talk It Over:  

Ice Breaker:  Finish the sentence:  Life would be so much better if___________________.   How would this change your daily life?

 

Scripture: 

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10 (NIV)

 

Questions:

In this passage, ‘the thief’ that Jesus is speaking of is the enemy of our souls.  

What are some obvious ways that the thief steals, kills, and destroys life to the full?   What are some more subtle ways?

How have you seen Jesus bring ‘life to the full’ even when circumstances didn’t change?   

 

Scripture:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6 (NIV)

Questions:

How can you tell when you are anxious about something?   Is prayer your usual first response?

Why does thanking God in prayer matter?

Brainstorm practical ways to flip worry into worship.

 

Respond to the statement:  Fear is faith.    Do you agree or disagree?  Why?

 

Challenge: 

Commit to memorizing Philippians 4:6  

Name a time when you will put it into practice this week.     

 

Conclude in Prayer:  

Using single words or short sentences, express to God what you are thankful for.  Ask Him to make your faith in Him greater than your fear.

WHAT IF THE CHURCH - BLESS - WEEK 5 - STORY

Begin with prayer:  Ask God to prepare you to share your Jesus story with others.

Icebreaker:  Name the best question you have ever been asked.  How and why did you answer it…if you did?

Scripture:

2 I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you: I will make your name great, and you will be blessed…3 and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.  Genesis 12:2-3 (NIV)

Observation:

In these verses God made an amazing promise to Abraham.  If you could ask Abraham one question, what would it be?  If you could tell him one thing, what would you say?

Name some simple questions that can invite another person to share their story with you.

Respond to the statement:  Once you know people’s story, it gives you context to understand them.  Why is this important?

Scripture: 

And to provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.  They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.  Isaiah 61:3 (NIV)

Observation:

Have you ever seen God give someone “beauty for ashes” or trade “a spirit of despair for a garment of praise”?  How does knowing that God can do these things influence your life?

Why is it important to include the wins and the wounds when we tell others about our story with Jesus?

Scripture:

But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.  Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.  

1 Peter 3:15 (NIV)

 

Challenge:  People are not projects—What are some practical ways we can insure that we don’t lose sight of why we BLESS others?  Which of these ideas would you be most likely to put into practice?

End with prayer:  Ask God to give you gentleness and respect as you share your Jesus story with others.

What If The Church - BLESS - Week 4 - SERVE

Series Big Idea:  God has blessed me so I can bless people where I live, work, and play.

 

Teaching Big Idea:  In order to BLESS, I will serve others more by thinking of myself less.

 

Begin in Prayer:  Ask God for wisdom to know how to think more like Jesus.

 

Talk it over:

Ice Breaker:  What are some popular phrases in American culture that communicate a self-focused attitude? 

 

Scripture:  

3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.  Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4not looking to your own interests, but each of you to the interests of the others. 5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:  

Philippians 2:3-5 (NIV)

 

Questions:

Who are the ‘others’ where you live, work, and play?

What might it look like to serve them “out of selfish ambition”?  

Come up with some practical ways people could check their motives for serving.

 

Scripture:

6Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used to his own advantage; 7rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  Philippians 2:6-7 (NIV)

 

Questions:

What are some temptations that might come with having a title?

Make a case for the following:  A title is an opportunity to serve.  Support your position with examples.

 

How do you feel when you hear the word, “sacrifice”?    What words come to mind?

 

Challenge:  Look for opportunities to practice:  sacrifice isn’t a loss, it’s an investment.  Commit to acting on what you find.

 

Conclude in Prayer: Seek God’s help to serve others more and think of yourself  less in the coming week.  

What If The Church- Week 3 - EAT!

Series Big Idea:  God has blessed me so I can bless people where I live, work, and play.

 

Teaching Big Idea:  Eating and drinking with others is a powerful expression of welcome and acceptance.

 

Begin in prayer:  Begin in prayer for each other.

 

Talk It Over:  

Ice Breaker:  What are your favorite places to eat? Favorite foods?  When did you last eat with someone outside your family?

 

Scripture:

 “I will bless you…and you will be a blessing…and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Genesis 12:2-3

 

 Questions:  

  • Have you experienced the blessing of being invited to eat with others?
  • What have you seen among people who don’t know each other well eating together?

 

Statement:  Sharing a meal is an act of grace:

 

Questions:

  • Why is sharing a meal an act of grace? 
  • How could you share a meal this week?
  • Who would you share it with?

 

Challenge:

Start personally and start in your home. I dare you. I dare you in the name of Jesus Christ. … Begin by opening your home for community … You don’t need a big program. … All you have to do is open your home and begin.

--Francis Schaeffer

 

Questions:

  • Could you open your home?
  • What is your next step?

 

Conclude in Prayer:  Pray for courage to share a meal this week.

What If The Church - Week 2 - Listen

Series Big Idea:  God has blessed me so I can bless people where I live, work, and play.

 

Teaching Big Idea:  Listening communicates love and acceptance .

 

Begin in prayer:  Thankfulness.  The people in your group.  The people where you live, work, and play.

 

Talk It Over:  

Ice Breaker:  Why is it easier to listen to some people than others? 

Is it hardest to listen to others where we live, work, or play?  Why?

 

Scripture:

 40 Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him.  When he came near, Jesus asked him, 41”What do you want me to do for you?” “Lord, I want to see,” he replied.  Luke 18:40-41 (NIV)

 

 Questions:  

  • Do you think Jesus knew what the man wanted Him to do even before being asked?
  • Why do you think that Jesus posed the question to the blind man?

 

Respond to the following:  “Being listened to is so close to being loved that most people cannot tell the difference.”--David Oxberg 

 

Scripture:

18“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor”.  20Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down.  The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him.  Luke 4:18-20 (NIV)

 

Questions:

  • What, if anything, would you have wanted to ask Jesus after hearing His words that day?  
  • How might knowing what Jesus came to do influence the way we talk with Him about those where we live, work, and play?

 

Conclude in Prayer:

Take time to pray for God’s help this week to listen first and talk less.

What If The Church - Week 1

Series Big Idea:  God has blessed me so I can bless people where I live, work and play.

 

Teaching Big Idea:  Being a blessing begins with a prayer to join in the work God’s already doing.

 

Begin in prayer:  Thankfulness.  The people in your group.  The people where you live work and play.

 

Talk It Over:  

Ice Breaker:  What are some blessings you enjoy living in your country?  Your city?  Your neighborhood?

How can you see yourself becoming a blessing where you live? Work?  Play?

 

Scripture:

 7As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give. Matthew 10:7–8 (NIV)

 

Statement:  The kingdom of heaven is Jesus’ vision of our world at peace under God’s authority, protection and provision.  

 

 Questions:  

  •  Can you see yourself “healing”, “raising the dead”, “driving out demons”?
  •  How might this apply if literal?  How might this look if metaphorical?
  •  Could you see yourself being generous with your time and money to help others who need help?  What if they need you to walk with them in desperate illness?
  •  What if they need you be strength for them as they lay in deep depression?
  •  What if they are outcasts in our society?
  •  What does it look like to “give” out of freedom?

 

Scripture:

1After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. 2He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his field. 

Luke 10:1-2 (NIV)

Questions:

  • What, if anything, keeps you from seeing yourself as one of the sent workers?  
  • What difference does it make to know that God is already working in those He calls you to?

 

Conclude in Prayer:

Take time to pray that the Lord would show you the plentiful field where you live, work, and play.

Express Yourself (Week 3)

Series big Idea:

Regardless of what happens to me, I will be thankful for all Jesus has done for me.

Teaching Big Idea:

My gratitude is expressed through giving and always doing my best.

 

BEGIN IN PRAYER: Begin with thankfulness.

Talk it over:

ICE BREAKER      Where have you seen giving and excellence expressed in the past few weeks?

In what environment are you at your best?

SCRIPTURE:

 

1And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. 2In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. 3For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, 4they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people.2 Corinthians 8:1-4 (NIV)

1.     How is generosity difficult when you don’t have enough?

2.     How are joy and extreme poverty possible at the same time?

Scripture:

 

9For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. 2 Corinthians 8:9 (NIV)

1.     How was Jesus rich?

2.     How did he become poor?

3.     What richness did he make available to you?

 

CONCLUDE:   How will you live from Gratitude this week?  Pray in thankfulness.

God Who Loves (Week3): Patiently Pursues

 

SERIES BIG IDEA:

God who loves invites me to rely on His love by accepting His love.

TEACHING BIG IDEA:

God who loves patiently pursues me to forgive me and to be in relationship with me.
BEGIN IN PRAYER: Consider asking God for wisdom to understand His patient pursuing love.

TALK IT OVER:

ICE BREAKER: Talk about a time when you were pleasantly surprised by a greeting; hearing your name called out unexpectedly or receiving a thoughtful message. How did it feel to be the object of another’s kind intention?

1. How familiar were you with the parable of the “Prodigal Son” prior to the message? What new insights, if any, did you gain from this teaching on the parable?
2. Would you say you identify more with the younger son or the older son? Why?

SCRIPTURE:

“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving t 

God Who Loves (Week 2): Creates

Series Big Idea

God who loves invites me to rely on His love by accepting His love.

Teaching Big Idea

God who loves created me on purpose with purpose.

BEGIN IN PRAYER

Consider praying for wisdom to understand God’s purpose in creating man in His image.

TALK IT OVER

Did you notice that you were accepting God’s love for you this week?  If yes, when were you aware of it?

What sort of messages might someone who has experienced rejection be tempted to believe about themselves?  Why do you think it is so easy to believe these messages?

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27 (NIV)

  1. Why do you think it matters that we understand God created us in His image?
  2. Do you think most people see who they are as more important that what they do?
  3. How would you explain to someone, “who comes before do” because we are created in the image of God?

Jesus replied: “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.” Matthew 22:37-38 (NIV)

  1. Do you find it challenging to believe that God wants your love?  If yes, what makes it difficult?
  2. How do you feel when you hear the statement:  God doesn’t love me because He created me, God created me because He loves me?
  3. What is one thing you can do this week to respond to God’s love for you?

And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22:39 (NIV)

  1. As a group, determine who your ‘neighbors’ are.
  2. Why do you think it can be so easy to lose focus on loving your neighbor?   What difference would it make to recall that others bear God’s image too?
  3. Name some practical ways you can love your neighbors this week.  How can this group support you?

CONCLUDE

Pray that this week God would help you to see that you were created by Him to be loved and to love.