Friday, September 05, 2008

Courage to take the land

This week's small group curriculum is part 1 of a 7 week series titled "re: the art of starting over". Be ready to be both challenged and encouraged.

Big Idea:
God has called us to courageously impact our community for His kingdom. In order to accomplish this we must not live in the past, but accept the present and prepare for the future.

Summary:
The Jewish nation was dramatically led by God out of Egyptian captivity to the edge of the Promised Land; however, in spite of the overwhelming evidence of God’s faithfulness and power, they failed to take their land. What prevented them from entering the place which God had prepared for them, and what prevents us from accomplishing the plans, purpose, and promises God has for our lives? The first mistake we must avoid is idolizing the past. When we are facing an uncertain tomorrow, the enemy has a way of distorting our perspective which forces our focus onto the past instead of on moving forward. We cannot let the successes or the failures of our past define our present or our future. The second mistake we must avoid is compromising the present. Compromise typically comes in the form of disobedience. Disobedience disqualified the Israelites from God’s plan for their lives, and disobedience can also disqualify us while leading to spiritual stagnation. The third mistake we must avoid is discounting the future. Even though Israel saw the possibilities of the future, they just didn’t believe that the benefits outweighed the risks. Because of fear, they started surviving rather than thriving. They thought to themselves, “This is as good as it gets, lets just settle right here.”

Thankfully, God is a God of second chances and like the Israelites, God has again called us to be courageous and take the land. Without courage, we will never risk the walk of faith and possess the promises of God. Without courage, the Gospel lies inactive in our hearts and our community remains unaffected by our lives. This is not a call to the weak, the reluctant or the passive. This is a charge for the brave. It is a call to those filled with faith and courage. No matter our past, we can now resume and take the land because “the Lord our God is with us wherever we go.”

Discussion Questions: (read the scriptures & discuss)

Isaiah 43:16-19 and Philippians 3:12-14
Discuss how our past failures, wounds, or even successes can keep us from God’s promises and plans for our lives. How did Paul handle his past failures and even his past accomplishments? Why must we move on from the past?

Hebrews 3:7-19
What is the correlation between faith, disobedience, and not entering into God’s promises? How have you experienced this correlation in your own life? How does this compromise God’s plans for our lives?

Joshua 1:1-9
Why can we confidently chase after God and His plans for our lives (v.9)? Share the victories you have experienced as you have placed your faith in Christ and stepped into the future with courage.

Taking Action: Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal specific things from your past and any present areas of disobedience that are keeping you from His promises. Surrender these things to the Lord, repent, and resume your God-given mission – take the land.

Ministry Time

Printer friendly copies of curriculum: full version or text only.

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