Week of 3/12/2017

Life With

Session 1 - You Have One Job

INTRODUCTION

Jesus often challenged His listeners with the question: “What do you want? This seems like it should be an easy question to answer, but Jesus often used it to get His listener to reflect on their life, their motivations or their desires. It’s a great question for self-reflection, and very difficult to answer concisely.

Over these next several weeks, our discussion will help us try to answer this question for ourselves, and hopefully help us to see how life with God is better than we could imagine.

Get Started

Ask everyone to share the name of his or her favorite vacation spots.

Ask some group members to answer this question:

  • How do you pack for a vacation? Don’t give any more details; just ask them to give you a brief description of how they get ready to go out of town.
  • Does everyone do things the same way, or in the same order?
  • Would your answers change if they knew they were flying to their destination instead of driving? Would they do things differently if they were just going for a quick weekend trip?

Understanding everyone has their own approach to vacation packing – maybe you start three weeks in advance, or just a few hours before. Maybe you carefully plan each outfit or just throw a bunch of random clothes in a suitcase. Maybe you make a list of all the items you think you will need and shop for days for the perfect travel-sized shampoo bottles, or maybe you just hope the hotel supplies what you need… the point is that no single method is perfect for everyone, or for every vacation!!

The same is true in our approach to life – sometimes we seek God, ask for His help, His direction and sometimes we just forge ahead and avoid any talk of God. Sometimes we come to God, only because of what He might be able to do for us, and then we put Him out of our minds again after that particular crisis or problem has passed. Sometimes we simply try to conform to the habits or patterns of other church people, because it looks like they have it all together, or because it is a suggested that we should live out our faith according to a certain method. Sometimes, we alternate between all of these approaches. And sometimes, we actually enjoy life WITH GOD.

Dig Deeper

If we really want to know what will satisfy us, what will answer our question, “What do I really want?” then maybe we should start my asking, “What does God want for me?”

Read the following scriptures:

Genesis 31:3: - “Then the Lord said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your father and grandfather and to your relatives there, and I will be with you.”

Deuteronomy 31:6 - “So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”

Joshua 1:9 - “Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Matthew 28:20 - “Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

John 14:2-3 - "There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am."

Revelation 21:3 - Then I heard a loud voice from the throne: Look! God’s dwelling is with humanity, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God.

  • From Genesis to Revelation – what is the recurring promise and desire of God?
  • Going back through each verse, when and where does God fulfill this promise to be with us?

Despite these promises we all have times when we are uncertain of God’s presence in our lives.

  • What do you do to cope with these feelings?

David had to cope with feelings of abandonment, of betrayal, of fear, of uncertainty – in Psalm 63 he is in a real desert, suffering from real thirst and frustration –

Read Psalms 63:1-8 - God, You are my God; I eagerly seek You. I thirst for You; my body faints for You in a land that is dry, desolate, and without water. 2 So I gaze on You in the sanctuary to see Your strength and Your glory. 3 My lips will glorify You because Your faithful love is better than life. 4 So I will praise You as long as I live; at Your name, I will lift up my hands. 5 You satisfy me as with rich food; my mouth will praise You with joyful lips. 6 When I think of You as I lie on my bed, I meditate on You during the night watches 7 because You are my helper; I will rejoice in the shadow of Your wings. 8 I follow close to You; Your right hand holds on to me.

  • What did David do?

David’s circumstances did not change immediately but his outlook did! His approach to this problem was to not lament about his circumstances, but to instead remember what he knew was true about God – remember his time spent in the sanctuary, beholding God’s strength and glory. He chose to rejoice.

In her book, Unashamed, Christine Caine put it this way: “Learn to believe the truth of God’s Word over the facts of your circumstances.”

David did not know when or where he might get out of the desert, or if he would ever return to his home, but he still chose to trust God. Trust grows over time. It grows as we abide in Jesus.

Read John 15:5 - “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.”

  • What does it mean to remain, or abide in Jesus?
  • Why should we strive to do this?

In our quest to enjoy life WITH God, we may not all have the same journey, or the same approach- like packing for a vacation; we may all have different ideas or ways to remain in Jesus. Ultimately our destination is the same, WITH God to produce MUCH fruit now, and to be WITH God forever. This is what God wants for you.

Prayer

Dear God, help each of us this week to become even more aware of your presence in our daily lives, not just when we need something, but in every moment, help us to know what it means to abide in you.