THE SKY’S THE LIMIT
Sermon’s, like clouds, come in all shapes and sizes. But if you look closely, you’ll see a picture. God’s picture provides an environment of growth and development. For the next few weeks, we’ll discuss the catalysts that God used to grow a big life. In God’s plan for you, “The Sky’s the Limit” in growing spiritually.
You can listen to the sermon by clicking here. Then you can click podcast under Sunday January 18. On the right side of where it says Build People, you can click on either the PDF to see the sermon outline and curriculum guide or you can click on play audio to listen to the sermon.
Life is full of surprises – some good, some not so good. But each unexpected event that comes our way is actually an opportunity for God to build into us a stronger faith. God’s desire is to build a people capable of changing the world. We’ll be discovering in this installment of “The Sky’s the Limit” the role circumstances have in building a people who have great confidence in God and accordingly do great things for God.
These are dynamics God uses to grow us up in faith. Growing faith is the essence of a growing relationship with Christ.
. Our Relationships
. Our Circumstances
. Our Disciplines
. Our Ministries
. Our Learning
1. Give a brief example of an event or set of circumstances that led to feelings of helplessness or being out of control. The event can be positive or negative.
2. As you think back on this incident, what role did God play in your thoughts? Did you pray? Did you pray differently? Were you upset?
3. Would you say this event strengthened or weakened your confidence in God? Why?
4. In the Problem of Pain, C. S. Lewis writes: God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world. In your opinion, why is it so easy to factor God out of our lives when things are good, and so difficult to factor him out when things aren’t? Why does God almost always become part of the conversation when bad things happen?
6. After reading James 1:2-4 How are trials a test and how can we benefit from them?
7. Can you think of ways besides trials that God can grow our faith?
8. Read John 11:1-6. How does it make you feel when you discover that Jesus loved Lazarus but didn’t go to him in his time of need?
9. Is it a challenge to believe that God might use our difficulties to grow our faith?
10. Read John 11:1-15. According to these verses, what is the relationship between Lazarus’ death and the disciple’s faith?
11. Does it seem to you that Jesus is asking too much of Mary and Martha? What difference would it have made had they known what the future held?
12. What did Martha already believe about Jesus? What did Jesus ask her to believe?
What is the difference?
13. Read John 11:38-45. As Jesus prays (verse 41-42), he cites the reason for pausing to pray before performing the miracle. What is that reason?
14. According to verse 45, what was the outcome of this miracle?
15. What is the relationship between the new-found faith of the bystanders and the tragedy that befell Lazarus and his family?
16. Respond to this statement. “When it feels like God is allowing something to happen to us, it is easy to lose faith. But when we accept that he is doing something in us, we are candidates for the grace we need to grow.”
17. If circumstances can grow our faith, what should our response be next time life takes us by surprise?
Often times, what shapes our response to the challenges of life, is the support that we have around us during these experiences. Is there a community? … Are there relationships? … that help us frame these circumstances in a way for us to see that
God is not doing something to us, but is doing something in and through us. With that in mind, commit to praying for the individuals in your group or class who are currently facing faith-stretching trials.
CHANGING YOUR MIND
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of you faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. -James 1:2-4