Week of 4/02/2017

Life With - Session 4

Getting Started

Understanding As we move into a deeper understanding of how to love life WITH God, we discover that there are certain rhythms or disciplines that can help keep us connected with God.

Last week we discussed prayer, and the importance of having times of intentional prayer WITH God. This week we will look at another equally important aspect of connecting with God – taking a Sabbath rest each week. Again the goal is for all of us to begin to see how life WITH God is better than we imagine!

Ask 3 group members, to do a little acting.

Have one of them pretend to be the mutual friend and to introduce the other 2 to each other. Then have the newly introduced friends spend a few minutes “getting to know” each other as the rest of the group observes.

Ask the group

  • What types of questions did the actors ask of each other?
  • Were these the typical questions you ask when you first meet someone?
  • How would the introduction change if the mutual friend was a long-time, good friend to both of the new acquaintances?

Most introductions include information in 3 areas of a person’s life: associations, activities and accomplishments.

Two of these three are focused what a person does or has done; they are “doing” questions. We ask these questions to try to find some commonality with others; to see if what they do intersects with our life activities and if we can build a little bit of a relationship on that. But, introductions quickly become more meaningful if the mutual friend is excited for his or her friends to meet; if they have heard stories about each other beforehand. This conversation can quickly reveal more of each one’s character traits, their likes & dislikes and their personality. The focus moves away from the superficial “doing” questions to more “being” questions.

Ask

  • In your relationship with God, what do you tend to focus on more?
  • What types of things do you converse with Him about? What do you think He desires in your relationship with Him?

Encourage your group members to look up these passages in their Bible – we will reference them throughout the rest of the discussion.)

Read

Exodus 20:8-10a, 11b: - Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy: 9 You are to labor six days and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. …Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and declared it holy.

Exodus 31: 13-17, 13 - “Tell the Israelites: You must observe My Sabbaths, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, so that you will know that I am Yahweh who sets you apart. 14 Observe the Sabbath, for it is holy to you. Whoever profanes it must be put to death. If anyone does work on it, that person must be cut of from his people. 15 Work may be done for six days, but on the seventh day there must be a Sabbath of complete rest, dedicated to the LORD. Anyone who does work on the Sabbath day must be put to death. 16 The Israelites must observe the Sabbath, celebrating it throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant. 17 It is a sign forever between Me and the Israelites, for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, but on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.”

  • From these verses, why did God command that the Israelites to observe the Sabbath day? • God, who created us and knows us better than we know ourselves, knew that we need REST! So His 4th commandment was that we rest.
  • How do you observe God’s command to rest? What were the consequences to those who chose to work on the Sabbath and disobey God’s command?

The Israelites were learning how to become an independent nation after 400 years of slavery in Egypt. In becoming autonomous after so many generations of being subjected to foreign rulers, God had to teach the Israelites how to use their freedom, wisely, and in a way that honored Him. So, although the punishment for disobeying this law seems severe, it also showed them (and us) how seriously we are to view this command to rest! • Ask: Who is the Sabbath for?

Read Exodus 20:11 and 31:16

  • According to these passages, how were the Israelites supposed to view the Sabbath?

While the resting part of this commandment will certainly benefit us physically, it is clear that the Sabbath is for the Lord. God wanted us to view it as a holy celebration, dedicated to Him

  • So what does or what can you and your family do to make the Sabbath a holy celebration?
  • If you are not able to rest on Sunday, is there another day each week that you can set aside to rest & celebrate God?
  • Are there any changes that you need to make in your life to set aside one day a week?
  • If your life is too busy or complicated to set aside a whole day, are you willing to ask your group to pray for you – that God would reveal what changes need to be made to create this important time and space in your schedule?
  • Looking back over these verses, what are some of the benefits to keeping the Sabbath?

The Lord Himself was refreshed on the Sabbath day. He set the example for resting and received the benefit of refreshment.

  • What refreshes or revives you?

In Exodus 31:13, God says that observing the Sabbath helps the Israelites to KNOW that He is Yahweh, the One who sets them apart. Perhaps the most important aspect of dedicating a day to the Lord is simply spending time with Him, to focus on being instead of doing, and to remember His promises to us.

  • Have you tried to observe the Sabbath? What tends to interfere with your Sabbath?
  • How has this discussion challenged them? What are some specific changes they might desire to make to honor the Sabbath?

Pray

Dear God, we know the Sabbath is important, yet we confess that we let our busyness, our activities and our doings get in the way of just being with You. Show each of us this week how we can find or create more time to rest, revive and remember. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.