Welcome to week six of our summer sermon series on James called Faith that Works. This week our conversation looks at four truths to aid us as we plan for our future.
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.
Share part of your story
What are some of your favorite July 4th traditions? What are you or have you done this year?
During this series on James, where has God been working in your heart and faith—and how can we pray for you in this?
Taking next steps toward Christ together.
Read together James 4:13-17. Have someone summarize what James is instructing his church to do in this passage.
My Plans Are Unpredictable
What kinds of plans were the members of James’s church making?
The believers in James’s day made all kinds of plans for their future. Our culture is also very plan-focused, often with an aversion to unknowns in our future. What are some of the usual things we tend to plan? What are some plans you currently have in mind for your future?
James confronts them for making plans without acknowledging God. What does James say about tomorrow?
We may not know what tomorrow will bring, but God does. What are some ways we can practice trusting God with our tomorrows?
When there is a big difference between how we thought it was going to go and how it actually went, our reaction is a big part of trusting God. How have you experienced someone reacting poorly to a change in expectations? What should be a godly response?
My Plans Are Unsatisfying
What word picture does James use in James 4:14 to talk about our lives?
Consider the video Pastor Bob King showed of ocean waves crashing into rocks and splashing mist into the air. What kinds situations or things do you think people chase after that are momentary and often feel unfulfilling? Where have you experienced obtaining a goal/dream and it being unfulfilling?
Often our planning for the future with hopes and dreams turns into an idol in our life. We even revolve our life around those plans. What are some ways you help yourself remember that Jesus is the one who brings purpose and meaning to your life? How has Jesus brought purpose and meaning to your life?
My Plans are Second
James doesn’t teach his church that making plans is a bad thing. How does he instruct them to make plans?
“Lord” can be interpreted as “boss.” How can it make a difference to consider God our “boss” and know we are working for him?
When we allow Jesus to be boss, it means that we are no longer our own boss and we are choosing to trust him with our lives. What does it look like when people make God the boss of their life? Who are some people you know that God seems to be the boss of their life? How have they impacted your life?
My Plans Should Bring Good
We don’t always know how God uses our inconveniences but we know that he does good in and through them in our lives. When our plans get sidetracked, it is easy for our heart and faith to sidetrack as well. What are some ways people tend to respond to interrupted plans? Do you feel like people see interruptions as an opportunity for God to work in and through them? Why or why not?
Think of a few times that you had a detour in life but are now able to see the good that has resulted in and through you because of that experience. Share one situation with the group.
This week we discussed four truths about how our plans are uncertain, unsatisfying, should come second to God’s plans and are meant for good. Which of these truths did you connect with most deeply? What is one practical habit you can begin in your life to implement choosing God as the boss of your life and plans?
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.
Consider the plans you make together as a group. How can this message and discussion inform the ways you serve outside the group or make plans that will impact the group as a whole? Could this be a good time to invite someone new to your group who needs what your group has to offer?
Download a printable PDF here.