Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A SEASON OF CHANGE: When Your Life Takes a Sudden Turn

Following is the small group curriculum I compiled for this week. The way we handle the trials of life really matters. It is the difference between victory and defeat. Again, it really comes back to our need to view and approach things with a Kingdom of God perspective.
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The Big Idea:
God didn’t promise us a happy-go-lucky life filled with certainty. Change happens and sometimes it comes at us when we least expect it or want it. So what are you going to do about it? How we respond to change and the trials of life matters greatly.

Summary:
Life is never a guarantee. We can’t manage it, control it, or bank on it. Yes, life has joy, but life can also come at us fast with unexplainable and unfair hardships. Take for instance the thousands of people who lost nearly everything, including their homes, in the recent California fires. Was this part of their plans or did their lives experience a sudden turn? Be assured that God isn’t in a hurry. God isn’t surprised by the sudden turns of life. He knows about every page in the book of your life. And we are never victims. God has a plan. He dwells in eternity, but he has a perfect sense of timing. However, we sometimes get so stuck in the moment that we can’t see eternity, even when eternity is yelling at us. We must have a Kingdom perspective that will allow us to see the big picture and the forest through the trees. Yes, God’s plans for us can take sudden and unexpected turns. Sometimes it even feels like God is interrupting our lives and disrupting our sense of stability. Or, is he knocking us out of our ruts? Sudden changes are an opportunity for growth and ultimately for God to be glorified. So, don’t run, hide, whine, or get angry and bitter when life takes that sudden turn. Rather, look at the unexpected turns of life as opportunities for us to trust God and face life head-on. This is our chance to win the battle by persevering, maturing, and allowing God’s plan to be completed.

Discussion Questions: (read the scripture & discuss)

Romans 8:28 Does this mean that everything that happens to us will be good? Do you have some examples in your life that didn’t initially look like God was involved, but turned out good and for the glory of God?

Philippians 4:10-13 Was Paul only content and able to praise God when things were going great? Why can Paul so confidently state that he can handle all situations? What are we doing to ensure that our response to adversity will be like Paul’s?

James 1:2-8 Do you experience joy in the midst of trials and sudden changes? Present examples of trials in your life that have been used to mature you.

Taking Action: Spend some time this week writing down trials from your past that God has used to mature and perfect you. Are there any trials or sudden changes in your life right now? Based on this study, how should you respond?

3 comments:

Louie Mercer, Frank Mercer and Mike Ellis: The Church for Men Dudes said...

This morning I am thinking to myself....What in the heck am I going to discuss with my men's group tonite? Bam! God works thru you and blog. Thanks! Great stuff.
Keep up the great work!

Louie Mercer, Frank Mercer and Mike Ellis: The Church for Men Dudes said...

This study was absolutely perfect last nite for the men in my Thursday group. You are doing a great job with this resource.

Ellis

Eric Jones said...

Mike,
Thank you for the kind comments and the encouragement. I appreciate the passion and entrepreneurship of you guys at Church for Men. Keep up the fight and the crucial work of disciplining men.