This Means War — Week 8

/This Means War — Week 8
This Means War — Week 82018-06-19T14:44:22+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 Eight 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

“Why is life so hard? Why do we suffer?” Job 7:1 (CEV)

In the verse above, we hear Job asking the most fundamental question of life. Why is life so hard? Why is everything a battle?

THE CAUSE:  REBELLION AGAINST GOD BROKE EVERYTHING

It started in the Garden of Eden, with Adam and Eve: “Sin came into the world because of what one man did, and with sin came death” (Romans 5:12). Man thumbed his nose at God and it’s been that way ever since. None of us is exempt:  “ALL of us have strayed away like sheep. We have left God’s path to follow our own paths” (Isaiah 53:6); “No one can say, “I am innocent; I have never done anything wrong” (Proverbs 20:9).

There are 3 kinds of rebellion:

  • Sin = missing the mark; falling short, not measuring up. In archery, the term for “missing the mark” is the word “sin.”
  • Transgression = going beyond the set boundary. This is usually a deliberate act.
  • Iniquity = intention to hurt, damage, do evil. Like a personal foul in sports, iniquity is always deliberate.

David admits being guilty of all three in Psalm 32:5: “I acknowledged my sin to you, and did not cover up my iniquity.  I confessed my transgressions and you forgave my guilt.” 

In this lesson, we’ll look the result and the right response to that fundamental question: Why?

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

Leader Notes

• When you were younger, what did you rebel against? Or are rebelling against now? Share briefly with one another.
• Understand that nothing in the world works perfectly because of Adam’s and our rebellion against God.
• Pray that individuals in your group will accept Jesus as their personal savior and follow his lead, being a light in the world.
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.

THE DAMAGE: NOTHING WORKS PERFECTLY

What do Romans 8:20 and 8:22 tell us about creation?
• Looking at the planet and people today, what examples do we have of these verses in action?
• How does understanding sin’s affect on the world and the organisms living on it change your perspective of these events?
Ecclesiastes 8:8a, 2 Corinthians 4:16, and 1 Corinthians 15:22 all speak of our physical beings. What do they say about our bodies?
• Although the Bible indicates that we cannot control the aging of our bodies, we certainly do work at it. How do we try to postpone physical decay?
• The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics indicates that the entire universe tends towards disorder. This is known as entropy and we see it in the disorganization of the world around us. In order for anything organized to exist, energy must be put into it (for example – us, any other form of life, a team, a family, a church). With that in mind, how can we better prioritize our limited energy?
According to Ecclesiastes 1:14-15, what conclusion does Solomon reach regarding human endeavor to capture significance and understanding?
• Most of us struggle with wanting to change our past, control the future, or fix the world. What usually happens when we try to fix our own or others’ problems? How can we better deal with this struggle?

Read Job 6:20. What leads to disappointment?
• It’s human nature to anticipate how happy we’ll be with special occasions or relationships. Yet, we may not actually experience the outcome we expected, and we become disheartened. What should we do to prepare for times of potential disappointment?
• Discuss the importance of being realistic while remaining hopeful.

In Genesis 3:7 and 10, what was the consequence of Adam and Eve’s sin and their first act?
• Discuss the power sin has to destroy a relationship with God and one another.
• What do people use to cover up who they are and avoid exposing their true selves? What’s your fig leaf?

What did Solomon observe about human intimacy and behavior in Ecclesiastes 4:1?
• We’re either with God or at war with him. Why is it so hard for people to treat each other right?
• How does your relationship with God influence the way you treat other people?

What does the Bible say about the stability of the economic world? See Ecclesiastes 2:17-18 and 5:13-14.
• Why do jobs fail to fulfill us?
• How do economies get broken?
• When you faced a financial setback in your life, what promise from God did you cling to? How did it give you hope?
One paraphrase of Job 6:18 says: “I am like a caravan, lost in the desert searching for water.” Look up this verse in the Bible translation you have and someone read it aloud. According to this verse, how does it feel to live apart from God?
• When people live in spiritual darkness, what are some ways they look for fulfillment?
• Discuss the characteristics of a person who thirsts for God.

What one thing do we all have in common? See Isaiah 59:2.
• What are some strategies people turn to when they have missed the mark in an area of their life? Do they work?

Worship(Have group members close their eyes, and if possible, turn out all the lights in the room to allow group members to “experience” the darkened room for a few moments.) Imagine a time when you have been in a dark cave or outside at night with no moon, stars or flashlight. Think about how it feels to be in total darkness.
1. How well can you move around?
2. What emotions do you feel?
3. When you can’t see, what one thing do you long for?

Now, imagine a candle or flashlight that pierces the darkness. (If the room has been darkened, turn on a flashlight.) Now ask these questions: How well can you move around? What do you feel? What are you grateful for?

Read aloud this scripture: “For You will light my lamp; the Lord my God will enlighten my darkness” (Psalm 18:28). Take time to thank God for his light, and for bringing you into his light.

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.

THE SOLUTION -- PERSONAL APPLICATION AND COMMITMENT:

When we consider all these reasons why life is so hard, it’s not a pretty picture. But God has not left us here without hope. He has sent us a Savior, in his Son, Jesus Christ.

Jesus said, “In this world you WILL have trouble. But take heart! I HAVE OVERCOME the world.” John 16:33

Have you accepted this free gift? When we understand God’s plan through a personal relationship with Christ, our perspective changes. It’s as if we’ve been wandering in the dark, and suddenly a guide appeared with a flashlight.

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t be stumbling through the darkness,
because you will have the light that leads to life.”
John 8:12

Agree to do a word study on “light.” Work out among you how you want to accomplish this. For example, you can each agree to look up a certain number of verses using “light” and come prepared to share at your next session. Or you can partner up with another group member and share your findings over coffee during the week. As you explore God’s truth, be encouraged that he has given us his Son as our light. Equipped with it, we can be guides to others still wandering in the dark.

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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.