DISCUSSION GUIDE WEEK 6

OPENING QUESTION

Ever had something come out of nowhere...something good? Something like a big bonus or finding something valuable or getting something for nothing. Share about your ‘out of nowhere’ experience.

A Personal Connect

"Many times riding in the car with my dad was quite an adventure. He would always do the things only dads can usually get away with, like ask me if I’d ever tried a “hurtz,” doughnut. When I’d say, “No, I don’t think so.” He’d sharply whack my leg and say, “hurts, don’t it?” Or, there was always the classic, “Did you hear who won the horse race yesterday?” The sure reply was, “No, I don’t think so.” Then he’d whack meagain and say, “Charlie.” One time, my dad tried to torture me, not with a smart punch to the leg, but with a battle of wits. He said, “If you can tell me who the 16th president of the United States was, I’ll give you $100 bucks.” Now, I was only in 1st grade, but I took all of about 2 seconds to say, “Abraham Lincoln.” Later that night, while my dad tried to forget the passing event, I informed my mother who made him square up with me. Only problem was, my dad didn’t have $100. So, he paid me $5/week for twenty weeks, because my mom wanted me (and probably him) to learn to be a person of their word. I tell that story to show how easy it is to throw out $100, $1000, or even $10,000 when it’s not yours. So now, each time it hurts to “give,” at church, I try to remember that if I know it’s not mine, then why am I worried about giving it back to the One who gave it to me? It’s a thought that has helped us in our giving...and not just of our money, but of our whole selves, since all that I am, in addition to what I possess, comes from our Father in Heaven."

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REFLECTION

Most of us have had those ‘out of nowhere’ experiences like we just talked about. How did that make you feel? When you recognize God’s Provision in your life like that how does that change you as a Christ Follower. (I.E. How does that transform your relationship with God.)

STUDY

READ the parable of the “talents.” Matthew 25:14-30.

 

1- What are the three types of “servants,” given in the parable?

2- Who is the provider of everything the servants are responsible for?

3- While this parable is about “money,” it can generally be assumed to apply to any and all things that God provides for life. See James 1:17.

4- Can you, as a group, list at least three ways that understanding that God owns everything and that we are simply “stewards/caretakers,” of what He has provided, change how we view and how we use our gifts and resources in living as part of the Kingdom of God?

Taking Time

This week, take some intentional time (with your spouse, another group member or another Christ follower), to list as many ways as you can think of how God has provided for you. Spend time in prayer together simply THANKING God and PRAISING God for his greatness and provision.

A Personal Connect from Pastor J

"It seems to me that we are often let down. Business’ promise much but under deliver. Products promise to make life better but often just clutter it up. Sometimes our church, our friends and even our families have let us down. Life sometimes seems nothing more than a series of ‘Beautiful Letdowns.’ I just came home from lunch with a friend at a new restaurant in our town. To hear them talk you thought you were about to enter heaven but needless to say ‘they over promised and under delivered.’ Overpriced and undersized. That’s what we both thought. That was just a restaurant experience but life is far bigger than just lunch out. Life’s letdowns hurt more than just being overcharged. For a lot of people ‘letdowns’ result in cynicism, anger and hurt. It’s true in my life and in yours. But the opposite is also true. When something or someone really comes through for you and delivers what they promise, you come back again. A trust is built. A relationship is developed. That is the way it has been in my relationship with God. I have been a Christian for over half of my life now and in the last decade and a half of trying to know and love God more I have seen God prove Himself faithful. I have seen Him deliver time and again on His promises. Sometimes God’s Provision has been nothing short of miraculous but, more often than not, God’s Provision has not come as expected or even desired. It’s often subtle and unassuming-but it is God providing none the less. I think that we often mistake the hand of God for coincidence. Take a moment this week and think about how God has proved faithful and generous in your life. Take the time to thank Him for His continued Provision in your life. By doing so it will make it much easier to understand and live out the next MARK of a follower: Sacrifice."