Community Group Week of April 10, 2016

 

Announcements :

  • Men’s Ministry ---  We will continue our study in the book of Romans.  Each week is a stand alone topic, so please jump in!
  • On Sunday, April 17th we’re going to be having our Family Dedication Celebration, if you are a parent of a preschooler and are interested make sure to stop by the Kids Ministry Guest Services desk for more information.
  • Check out the Service Projects Tab for more opportunities

Sermon Title:

Against All Odds, Part 2: Discouragement

Main Text: Nehemiah 4:6-14

TOPICS ( Not to be read or e-mailed to your group.. this is for the leader's review and recollection )

  • There were many points of opposition that Nehemiah and those building the walls faced. And they all collided at once. They were being physically threatened. They were starting to question themselves. Their enemies were just waiting for them to give up. And then it happened. Probably the most painful opposition yet…

  • Their friends said, “give up.”

  • This can really take all motivation out of someone. We expect to have moments of doubt, insecurity and weariness. We know things are going to get difficult. We can even be ready for enemies to try to stop us. But when a friend tells us to give up, that can be the final straw. But it’s something we have to be ready for.

  • Nehemiah handled this expertly. And his strategy is not what most would do in this situation.

  • Most life coaches and most motivational speakers would say things like, “remember your goal.” Put a picture up of your destination. Visualize the finish line. Savor what it will be like to conquer this. Think of the glory of victory and all the spoils that come with it.

  • Some would say dig in and find the determination inside. Which is the same as saying, remember who you are. Remember the stuff you’re made of.

  • But the problem is that this works sometimes. But sometimes this is not enough. What if the opposition is worse than the potential goal. What if the current pain is far worse than any victory. That leaves us to decide for ourselves, “do I want it bad enough?”

  • But that’s not what Nehemiah does. He says “remember the Lord!” Fix your eyes on him.

  • This is profoundly more effective. Focusing on the goal or on ourselves, keeps us self-centered and self-absorbed. It doesn’t matter what we want. Progress is based on the Lord. Focusing on the Lord takes us outside of ourselves.

  • So what about the Lord do we remember?

    • Remember His calling. Seasons of discouragement are great moments to refine a sense of “calling.” It makes me ask: is this something I just wanted to do, and I’m just telling myself it is from God? Because if He called me to do it, quitting is not an option.

    • Remember His promises. He has promised that He will never leave us. He has promised that He works all things together for good.

    • Remember His suffering. He suffered profoundly for us, out of His love for us. He gave all for us. We gladly give our all back to Him.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS...

  • HIGH/LOW: What was the high point of your week and the low point?

  • ICEBREAKER:  What is your favorite comfort food?

  • READ: Nehemiah 4:6-14

  • What types of things discourage people?

  • What does discouragement do to someone?

  • When was a time discouragement affected you?

  • What was Nehemiah’s strategy for facing discouragement?

  • How is Nehemiah’s strategy for facing discouragement different from what a typical life-coach or motivational speaker might say?

  • Why is “remembering the Lord” profoundly effective in combating discouragement?

  • What has God called you to do? On what basis do you know it is from the Lord?

  • How can discouragement be a refining moment for testing God’s calling?

  • What of His promises do you need to hear to encourage you to move forward in this season?

  • How does your Lord’s suffering encourage you in this season?

  • We talked about remembering the Lord in three ways: His calling, His promises, and His suffering. Which of those do you find the most impacting? Why?

  • If you are honest with yourself, what are ways remembering the Lord will be important for you in this season?

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