Welcome to the second week of our summer series The Generosity of God. In this series, we look at four of the ways God is generous. This weekend, Senior Pastor Jeff Manion shows us how God is generous by providing a land rich in material resources for the Israelites. In this discussion, we will see how leaving the desert raises interesting questions about remembering God.
Building healthy and life-giving relationships.
What has been new or challenging in your life since last time the group met? Spend 20–30 minutes checking in with each other.
A significant aspect of healthy small group care is encouragement. Take a few moments and pray for one another by name. Thank God for putting your group together and the story he is writing with each gathering and interaction.
Share part of your story.
What is your most treasured possession? Briefly share the story behind it.
Taking next steps toward Christ together.
Look back at Deuteronomy 8:1-20. Have someone read through these verses. Identify the main characters, the setting, the circumstances, and the numerous gifts God is about to give the Israelites.
The Israelites are upgrading from the scarce desert to the Promised Land filled with material abundance (Deuteronomy 8:7-9a). Yet, they face a profound danger. There is something about material abundance that can lead to forgetting God. How does that happen? In contrast, what are some ways that our affluence could help us remember the generosity of the giver?
What are some disciplines found in Scripture that, if practiced daily, could prevent us from forgetting God?
The Current of Pride.
Pastor Manion highlighted how the gravitational pull of the heart is to declare “I earned this” or “I did this” rather than “God did this.” Discuss with your group the danger and potential outcomes of this type of attitude.
Have someone read 1 Timothy 6:18. Identify the specific behaviors Paul indicates will purge our lives of arrogance.
Pastor Manion encouraged us to paddle against the current by finding a regular outlet for servanthood that is inconvenient and uncomfortable. How does serving and giving combat arrogance? What would be something inconvenient or uncomfortable for you?
Sacrificially giving our time, resources and finances for the benefit of others invites us to reconsider that life is not all about me. Discuss this statement. Serving, when performed with the right attitude, cultivates humility, faith, and generosity. How was serving modeled in your family growing up? In what ways has this affected you?
For some of us, it is time to paddle against the current. Discuss the specific steps you will take to be more generous with your time and resources moving forward. What are some hurdles that prevent you from carving out time to serve?
Have someone read 1 Timothy 6:17. A significant challenge we face in our culture is falling deeply in love with God rather than our possessions. What possessions do you tend to depend on for happiness, purpose or identity?
Pastor Manion reminded us that our hope is not in what I buy—but who bought me. Discuss how it is possible to enjoy our homes, careers, clothing, smart phones and vacations without putting our hope in them.
Give each person in your group an opportunity to finish this sentence, “I am thankful to God for…”
Take a brief moment and allow each person the opportunity to define what it means to be a cheerful giver. Have someone read 2 Corinthians 8:9–15. What insights do we gain about cheerful giving from this passage? How does cheerful giving protect us from forgetting God?
When we learn to give generously and cheerfully, we reflect the heart of our Creator. Would you describe God as a cheerful giver? Tell how.
Cheerful giving is intentional, sacrificial and meets someone else’s need. It is never about whether someone deserves it. Would you say that you get to give, give out of obligation or not at all? What specific steps can you take this week to take your next step in becoming a cheerful giver?
INVEST IN OTHERS
Valuing people outside the group and outside the faith.
Discuss how you and your group can better engage the people in your life outside your small group.
Our work, neighborhood and hobbies are God-given gifts with the potential to build bridges toward others exploring the faith. What are some potential ways you can leverage your work, neighborhood and hobbies to build a bridge and share Christ with a co-worker, neighbor or fellow hobbyist?
God deeply desires that we will grow skillful in serving others with our time and sharing our resources with those in need. Identify a person or family whom you can serve or share your resources with this week. Be ready to report how it went to your group next week.
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