WITH – Small Group Guide 2

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WEEK 2 – Living LIFE WITH GOD

All material is based on Skye Jethani’s book: With (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2011)

GOAL: To illustrate what it means to live LIFE WITH GOD. It requires FAITH, HOPE, and most of all LOVE.

EYE-CONTACT TAG

Stand up and gather everyone in a circle. Now, everyone looks at the floor. Tell everyone you will count to three and on three everyone has to look up, into someone’s eyes. If two people look into each other’s eyes, they are out. They leave the circle, and gameplay continues until a winner is left. Play a number of times to get the hang of it.

Series Summary

Last week, we spent time figuring out where we each fit in the 4 incomplete postures of relating to God, in hopes that we might better understand what a relationship WITH God looks like.

Do you remember where you fit in these 4 postures? If anyone was not here, give them a chance to either think about or share where they think they might fall.

QUESTIONS

LIFE WITH GOD is a new way of life. It realizes that control is an illusion. It understands that the other 4 postures seek control or distraction from a lack of control. It surrenders control to God. It is FAITH.

What are some things in your life that you HAVE to have control over? Do you try to gain control over things that you can have some control over? Or things that you can never have control over? Share some things that you try to control.

In what ways have you tried to gain control over that which you cannot control?

Again, feel free to share a personal experience. What in your life have you had to give over to faith?

Faith is trust (for the sake of this discussion). And when we fully trust in God, and in God’s perfect love, perfect love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18). Our faith in God can then cause us to actively seek out God’s will, which involves risking things for God.

Think about your previous week. If you had fully trusted that God was WITH you, what might you have done differently? What “risks” might you have taken? What things might you have let go of?

We are entering discussion about changing our lives to incorporate a LIFE WITH GOD posture. When we live LIFE WITH GOD, we no longer decide things according to the standards of the world, but according to the standards of God. We look to Jesus to live a LIFE WITH GOD, and to live similarly.

What is hope? What do you hope for on a daily basis?

Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

Where do you see people turning for hope? What things does our culture, friends, family turn to for hope? What things do you put your hope in?

If there is time, Read 1 Corinthians 7:17-18; 20-24, 29-31.

Here, the Corinthians were struggling to figure out what kind of life honored God. What made a life meaningful? Should men be circumcised? Should a slave seek a new status? Should I get married? Should I remain single?Paul instructed them to remain. He did not want his children in the faith falling into the deception that their significance was contingent on their circumstances. Paul did not want the Corinthians to place any hope in a worthless status. Paul did not oppose getting married, or encourage slavery. But Paul did not want them to attach hope or self-worth to such changes. Instead, Paul told them to remain wherever they might be WITH GOD. What brings a person value, significance, and hope is not WHAT we do but WITH WHOM we do it.

LIFE WITH GOD is also characterized by HOPE. Hope is the conviction that despite what we may see and experience, everything is not meaningless. HOPE is the opposite of despair. When we see something happen in the world, as Christians, our HOPE in Christ causes us to have faith that God is working things for an ultimate good. There is order amid the chaos; there is a story driving all things to culmination. In the different postures of relation to God, HOPE is placed in different things.

LIFE UNDER GOD places HOPE in obedience in God’s commands. LIFE OVER GOD puts HOPE in employing God’s principles to succeed. LIFE FROM GOD puts HOPE in God’s ability to fulfill our desires. LIFE FOR GOD puts HOPE in achieving great things for God. BUT, LIFE WITH GOD puts HOPE in GOD, and in a relationship with GOD.

FAITH and HOPE are great, but the greatest is LOVE. The LIFE WITH GOD posture begins and ends with LOVE.

Why is LOVE more important that FAITH and HOPE? Which is more evident at your church or in your youth groupWhich is most emphasized? FAITH, HOPE, or LOVE?

1 Corinthians 13:1-3 is the beginning of the LOVE passage. But if we read it carefully, we find that Paul is really going after the 4 false postures of faith.

1 If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels (LIFE FROM GOD), but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge (LIFE OVER GOD), and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains (LIFE UNDER GOD), but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast (LIFE FOR GOD),[a] but do not have love, I gain nothing.

LOVE is the ultimate. LOVE never ends. FAITH will one day be knowledge. HOPE will become unnecessary. But LOVE will always be.

FINISH

Share any closing thoughts you have with the students.

PRAYER CONCERNS

Ask for thoughts and concerns that you can bring to God in prayer.

CLOSING PRAYER

Feel free to pray the prayer below, or have a student pray, or make up something different.

God,

Thank you for being WITH us. Thank you for faith and hope and love. Thank you that we can know you and know your presence through your love for us. Help us to be beacons of that love to all those around us, that they may know you and come to live a life WITH you.

Amen

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Lane is the Pastor of Discipleship at Brentwood United Methodist Church in Brentwood, Tennessee. He’s a graduate of Huntingdon College and Harvard Divinity School and is an elder in the Tennessee Conference of the United Methodist Church. Lane has a passion for making disciples for Jesus and for Auburn football! Follow him on Twitter: @RevLaneDavis.

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