This Means War — Week 7

/This Means War — Week 7
This Means War — Week 72018-06-19T14:44:22+00:00

Gather

Gather/Get Together

Review

Review Your Time Since You Were Last Together

Open

Open God’s Word

Understand

Understand & Apply One Thing

Pray

Pray For Each Other

THIS MEANS WAR SERIES OVERVIEW

Week Seven Group Guide

Throughout human history, there have been wars. Lasting days, months, even decades. But inside each of us a far more personal battle is raging. It’s one we’ll be fighting for the rest of our lives. And its impact will be eternal. This Means War is a multi-part series that will expose you to the real rules of engagement. And will equip you to fight and win the battle for your soul.

GROUP DISCUSSION GUIDE OVERVIEW

One of the challenges of living in a broken world is that it will fall apart on us at some point. On a global scale, we mourn when terrorists attack or when the stock market plummets, and on a personal scale, we are saddened when a loved one dies or when a spouse walks away from a marriage. As much as we would like to think that we have it all together, we all face times when our worlds fall apart. The good news is that God has given us a model in Jeremiah to help us understand how to cope and rebuild.

Consider the world Jeremiah lived in:

  • He lived during the economic collapse of his nation.
  • His land was terrorized by a ruthless enemy.
  • His people became slaves to another country.
  • He witnessed horrific inhumanities and suffering.
  • His people were out of work and starving.

You could say that Jeremiah’s world was in pieces. Jeremiah’s frustrations resulted in the Book of Lamentations as he brought his complaints directly to God.  Let’s learn how we can rebuild our lives by studying Jeremiah’s cries to God.

Open your group with a prayer. This is only a guide – select the points you want to discuss.

Leader Notes

• In retrospect, what is the most ridiculous complaint you have made to God?
• The primary goal of this lesson is to learn how to turn to God with the mounting problems and pressures in our lives by studying how Jeremiah did so.
• The personal goal for this week is to get alone with God and enact a change in your life. God is in control, but he needs you to be a participant! Change is possible with Christ by your side!
PRAY for insight as you begin to prepare for leading your group. Ask for God’s wisdom, that the Holy Spirit will be the teacher and that you will be God’s instrument to lead the group to greater understanding and a willingness to commit to becoming more like God. Prayer should be your primary source of personal preparation for leading your group.

PLAN where you want to take your group in the next 60-90 days. Is your group strong in some areas and weak in others? How can you challenge the members to live more balanced Christian lives? Consider God’s five purposes for the church: Fellowship, Discipleship, Ministry, Mission and Worship, and make a plan to encourage your group members to growth and commitment in their weak areas.

PONDER YOUR PROGRESS after each session and at the end of a series. Reflect on what went well and what didn’t. Re-evaluation is key to your growth as a leader. Consider whether your plan is being effective in moving the group to greater understanding and commitment. How are you doing with leading the discussion: is it stimulating, challenging, and meaningful? Are you able to keep the group on track? Do you need to make some changes?

• This Sermon Discussion Guide is only a tool to aid you in meeting the needs of your group. For most groups there are too many questions to answer in one session together. After considering the needs of your group you may choose one of the following options:
• One section of questions;
• One or two questions from each section

• Feel free to adapt the format to meet the needs of your group. If your group is mature and wants to dig deeper, add Scripture and ask suitable questions. Remember that this is only a guide.

• The questions relating to the five purposes are helpful to develop balance and spiritual maturity in our lives. You can bring your group to an awareness of their needs in these areas by using these questions as a regular part of each discussion.

• Personal application is key to everyone’s growth and should be included in every discussion. When asked how he or she intends to apply a certain principle a group member may say, “I need to spend more time in the Bible and in prayer.” It is important for you to help group members make applications that are more specific and commit to a specific plan of action by asking, for example, “How are you going to begin?” An example is to get up 30 minutes earlier each morning, spending 15 minutes reading the Bible and 10 minutes in prayer. Encourage each group member to be accountable to the group for personal progress at the next meeting.

• As the leader your goal is to help bring the group into a stimulating discussion that helps the members recognize their need for personal life change. Ultimately you want them to be willing to commit to change with accountability to the group. Accountability helps us to persevere in our commitments and achieve the blessings of success.

According to Lamentation 3:1-10, Jeremiah suffered through the exile of his nation; what are some of the terms he uses to describe his experience?
• Jeremiah tells God exactly how he feels, trusting that God can handle it; why do you think it is important for believers to be authentic with regard to their frustration with God?

In Lamentation 3:17-18, Jeremiah says that his peace and prosperity have been stripped away; what does he say has happened to all that he had hoped for from the Lord?
• Why do you think it is important for believers to talk out their frustrations with God? What is the impact on our emotional health when we keep it all inside?

Our spirit is depressed when we constantly think of our pain; when does our hope return according to Lamentation 3:19-26?
• Why do you think it is important to “focus on what’s left, not what’s lost”?
• What are some of the benefits of remembering God’s unfailing love and mercy?

Lamentation 3:31-33 says that God’s love for us is sure and strong; what does the passage say about sorrow, grief and pain?
• What are some practical, spiritual ways to cope with pain?
• If we can only think one thought at a time, what happens to our feelings of discouragement or depression when we adopt gratitude as our attitude?

Worship – We magnify and exalt God when we remember his wonderful works in creation, redemption, and eternal life. How can we better see and acknowledge God in the midst of our marriages, ministries, and other life situations – even when our world seems to be falling apart? Share some of your thoughts with the group.

According to Lamentation 3:28-29, what should we do when life seems heavy and hard to take?
• How can we wait for God?
• What are some practical ways to eliminate distractions and focus our attention on him?

Matthew 6:6 says to go into a quiet, secluded place and pray; what are some practical advantages of making this a regular part of our spiritual lives?
• As our focus begins to shift from ourselves to God, we begin to sense his grace; what might be the impact on our sense that our world is falling apart?

Even though it’s difficult at times, we’re called to wait upon God; according to Lamentation 3:25-26, what is the Lord’s response to those who wait in patience for him?
• The Lord’s timing is never early and it’s never late; why do you think it’s important for believers to have experience with God and to learn from the experience of others who know God?
• We’re tempted to rely on ourselves to get us through life and acknowledge our need of God only in times of crisis. Why might it be better to be early adopters of the attitude, “The key to crisis control is Christ-control”?

What is the purpose of self-evaluation, according to Lamentation 3:40?
• What are some examples of things that might be a barrier to honest self-evaluation? How does turning to the Lord change our picture of ourselves?
• A key to being faithful is facing the facts without being discouraged. What are some ways that people can remain hopeful when they walk through challenging times?

Discipleship – One of the keys to peace is accepting what cannot be changed, trusting that God will be faithful to keep his promises. He is asking us to get alone with him, be quiet, and wait in patience to hear from him. Consider doing an honest self-evaluation to work through the process of being faithful; facing the facts without being discouraged. Spend a few moments thinking about some specific action steps you can take in the coming week to begin to walk through the spiritual and relational self-inventory process in your life. Share a few of your insights with your group.

In Lamentation 3:53-57, what did the God tell Jeremiah to do when he was in the dark hole he couldn’t get out of?
• What are some of the emotions that people may experience when their world is falling apart?
• What are some ways one might ask God for help with fear?

What does God deliver David from in Psalm 34:4?
• If truth, love, and faith are the antidotes to fear, how can someone use these to replace fear?

What does Jeremiah ask God for in Lamentation 5:21?
• What restorations have you seen in the lives of believers?
• What role does God expect us to play in the restoration of our lives?

Worship –There are three powerful antidotes to fear: Truth, love, and faith. The truth will set you free. Perfect love casts out all fear. Faith doesn’t remove the feeling of fear, but it does give you the strength to move ahead in spite of your fears. Think about a time when your world was falling apart and write down a few of the ways that you now see that God was using these three antidotes in your life. Share one with the group. Spend a few moments in prayer as a group thanking Jesus for the work he has done with restoration, reconditioning, and recovery in our lives.

Take a moment to review any assignments/challenges made during the personal application and commitment section of your previous meeting.  Seeing God at work in the lives of those who commit to Him is essential for growth.

PERSONAL APPLICATION AND COMMITMENT:

As you have reflected upon your life and the world you live in, you know clearly now that you are not alone! It is time to hand the challenges, pains, hurts, stresses, and pressures in your life over to God and allow him to do the work he is ready to do. This week, choose to take the following three actions to start walking the lighted path God has made for you!

1. Pray this prayer: Dear God, I need your strength in my life. Thank you for bringing me here. This week, I want to begin taking these steps. Help me to slow down and take the time to focus on you. I want to make that a priority this week. Help me to start building around your truth, your love, and your faith, so I can be released from the fears and worries that I struggle with. I believe you can and want to help me make it through the tough times I’m experiencing. Help me to focus on what is left, not what is lost. Most of all, Jesus Christ, help me to remember that you are in control, you love me, and you are all I need. In the name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

2. Change one thing: Take some time to do an inventory of your life. Do you live your life the way God wants you to? With this in mind, make a list of the things you should keep doing, the things you should stop doing, and the things you need to do differently. Apply one of those changes to your life this week and see what God does with your efforts!

3. Get alone with God: Each day this week, dedicate ten minutes to pray and be silent. Enter the silence and be receptive to God. Let him know that you are eager, ready, willing, and teachable. Be aware of how God moves you during this time.

God is prepared to work a miracle in your life when you are ready to turn your life over to him. Stop resisting and let God help! Do not fear for God is all you need and you can depend on him!

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This Is A Custom Widget

This Sliding Bar can be switched on or off in theme options, and can take any widget you throw at it or even fill it with your custom HTML Code. Its perfect for grabbing the attention of your viewers. Choose between 1, 2, 3 or 4 columns, set the background color, widget divider color, activate transparency, a top border or fully disable it on desktop and mobile.

This Is A Custom Widget

This Sliding Bar can be switched on or off in theme options, and can take any widget you throw at it or even fill it with your custom HTML Code. Its perfect for grabbing the attention of your viewers. Choose between 1, 2, 3 or 4 columns, set the background color, widget divider color, activate transparency, a top border or fully disable it on desktop and mobile.

This Is A Custom Widget

This Sliding Bar can be switched on or off in theme options, and can take any widget you throw at it or even fill it with your custom HTML Code. Its perfect for grabbing the attention of your viewers. Choose between 1, 2, 3 or 4 columns, set the background color, widget divider color, activate transparency, a top border or fully disable it on desktop and mobile.