Week of 12/20/15 - It's a Wonderful Life

SESSION OVERVIEW

Life can be diverse. As children we all dreamed of life as an adventure filled with exotic places and experiences. As we grow older our dreams of being an astronaut or a prince’s changes to Doctors or teachers, or more practical occupations. Then life marches on and our plans are changed and our dreams give way to a different reality. One day we wake up and dreams are explained away as immature or impractical. Does that mean our life wasn’t a great adventure? Does that mean we failed? In this session we will discuss that impact we make through relationships is the greatest adventure of all. Helping others and being helped is what makes us human.

KEY PASSAGES

Like 15:1-7

GOAL FOR THIS SESSION:

The goal for this session is to discover that life is about the difference you make where you are. As one preacher put it “to bloom where you are planted”. As we follow God in obedience we discover the full life is better than anything we could have dreamed of and the impact made by us and on us by others is the true meaning of life.

KEY POINTS

1. It’s a Wonderful Life: Keep Trusting!

* Following Jesus often means allowing God to change our plans and trusting God as he fulfills that plan through us.

Matthew 1:23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”
Psalms 139:16-18 You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me! (NLT)

George had some great adventures planed for his life. He was going to leave the one horse town of Bedford Falls and see the world. The problem was that his plans ran right into a harsh reality and he was faced with a choice do do what he wanted or do what needed to be done.

Joseph the step-father of Jesus hit this same harsh reality with the news that his soon to be wife was pregnant with a child that was not his. He was planning to put her away, well with in his rights of the time, then the angel showed up. Joseph had the choice to do what he wanted or to Trust God and be obedient. He choice correctly even though it would continue to be a burden and a life of sacrifice. Joseph was able to do this because he was a Godly man and knew that he could trust God wherever God would lead him.

2. It’s a Wonderful Life: Keep Resisting!

* Only when we resist and continue to follow God’s plan will we discover the blessings God truly has in store for us.

James 4:7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Proverbs 14:12 There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.
Proverbs 19:21Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

Mr. Potter’s plans to close the Building and Loan had been thwarted by George deciding to stay. So Mr. Potter devises another plan to appeal to Georges sense of entitlement. Mr. Potter strokes Georges ego by telling him things he wanted to hear. “You’re the smartest man in town! You deserve this more than anyone!”. Mr. Potter then offered George a huge amount of money to come to work for him. From a prestige and financial view George was crazy to pass up Mr. Potter’s offer. George sees through the hollow offer and exposes Mr. Potter’s true motives and walks away.

Temptation is never obvious but appeals to our perceived momentary needs and egos. Only when we resist and continue to follow God’s plan will we discover the blessing God truly has in store for us.

3. It’s a Wonderful: Keep Believing.

“When I pray, coincidences happen; when I stop praying, the coincidences stop happening.”

* Only after Georges pride had been broken and he turned to God in prayer was he able to discover the true joy of life.

Matthew 7:7-8 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.

Following God’s plan, despite what you may have been told isn’t always easy. The devil wants you to fail and with continue to make lay a mind field of discouragement to get you to turn back. God’s plan also requires faith. If we can accomplish our plan without God’s intervention, that is a good indication that it isn’t God’s plan. God loves us enough to let us get to the point of desperation so that he can show us how faithful he really is. But God never intervenes where he is not asked. Pray

is the most wasted resource we have. Not that we pray to much but, more often than not, we don’t use it enough or at all.

LEADERSHIP 101

There are people in your group who would not agree that life is wonderful right now. Circumstances beyond their control are eating away at their joy. Many feel they are drowning. Some are under extreme stress of the day to day, others are suffering from the drudgery of feeling the lack of contentment and lack of purpose. Today help them to realize that God has not given up and is waiting to take them to the wonderful life they always dreamed of beyond their circumstances.

Session 3: It’s a Wonderful Life

DISCUSSION

Use the questions provided in each session to facilitate your group’s discussion and application of each topic.

GET GOING

* When you were young what did you want to be when you grew up? Why or how did your dream change?

GET DEEP

Read Matthew 1:23

* Mary the mother of Jesus and Joseph had a plan for their lives God obviously change their plans for His. Was was the difficulty that Joseph and Mary faced with God’s new plan?

* Has God ever changed your plans? What difficulties did you face?

Read Psalms 139:16-18

* What truth(s) does this verse give us about our relationship with od and our security to trust in him as he carries out his plan in us?

* Does knowing that God is with us help us to trust God even when his plans seems difficult?

Key Point 1 It’s a Wonderful Life: Keep Trusting!

* Following Jesus often means allowing God to change our plans and trusting God as he fulfills that plan through us.

Read James 4:7

* Temptation always comes wrapped in a a beautiful package? What are some of the ways Satan subtlety wraps temptation to appeal to us? (More money, better for our family, more prestige)

* In the Movie It’s a Wonderful life George was offered a a great finical package from Mr. Potter. To entice George, Mr. Potter tells George that he is the smartest man in town and deserves this more than anyone else in town.

Read Proverbs 14:12

* Have you ever made a bad choice because you thought or some one told you that you deserved something?

* How often do we base our choices on things that will benefit us or our family? Do those benefits it make it the right choice?

Read Proverbs 19:21

* Have you ever passed up an opportunity that everyone else thought was what you needed only to discover that you were right and God had something better for you?

Key Point 2 It’s a Wonderful Life: Keep Resisting!

* Only when we resist and continue to follow God’s plan will we discover the blessings God truly has in store for us.

* Is following God’s plan alone, in your own strength and ability, still following God’s plan?

* Why does God let us fail?

* Does he let us fail or just stay out of the way until he is asked to be part of it?

* Would you agree or disagree that pray is one of the most powerful resources that we have as believers?

* Would you also say that prayer is the most unutilized resource we have as believers?

* How does pride affect our prayer life?

Read Matthew 7:7-8

* What is the truth(s) that this verses offer us to accomplish Go’s plan in our lives?

KEY POINT 3: It’s a Wonderful: Keep Believing.

“When I pray, coincidences happen; when I stop praying, the coincidences stop happening.”

NEXT STEP

Help your Group identify and take their next steps with Jesus. Pray with them and for them. Ask them about their next steps later this week.

* Are you allowing God to change your plans? Perhaps you Next Step is to submit to God all your plans and allow him to give you the plan he has for you life so he can give you a wonderful life.

* Are you looking at options in your life from the perspective of the benefit they will give you and your family like financial or prestige? Your Next Step maybe to ask God to change your perspective from you to His purpose and allow him to guide your choices based on that purpose.

* Do you only pray things are desperate? Your next step is to surrender your pride to God and trust him in everything.

* Are you seeking God and asking Him to guide you and provide you with what you need for Hid purpose? Your next Step maybe to make pray a regular part of your life. Praying is not only for the desperate but a source of strength and supply for your needs 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

PRAY