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INTERACTING WITH THE SERMON
SYNOPSIS OF THE SERMON
In this weeks sermon Pastor Rich deals with the issue of how we view Gods will. We often view His will for our lives as railroad tracks that we can’t get off of or else we are doomed. There is a perfect will for our lives and we must discover it down to the last detail. But Rich points out that God’s will for us has more to do with our sanctification than anything else. God cares more about how we do things instead of what we are doing. God supplies us with the tools and with the model of Jesus and we create together with Him. Rich also offered practical ways to find God’s will: Trusting in His leadership that He has shown throughout history, seeking wisdom and being open to counsel from those who are more mature, being obedient to God in the present and being open to prophetic words that underline that which God has already begun to say.
In 5 minutes or less, briefly give a synopsis of this week’s sermon. What insight, principle, or observation from this weekend’s message did you find to be most helpful, eye-opening, or troubling? Explain.
GETTING THE CONVERSATION STARTED
These questions can be used as ice-breakers in the beginning OR interwoven between the questions below to draw the group into the discussion.
•Think about this past week and share one thing that brought you joy and one thing that was challenging…
•Share about a time when someone had a prophetic word for you but it turned out to be a false word. Share about a time when you received an accurate prophetic word.
•Think of times in your life when you knew you were following the will of God. What was that like? What made you sure? Share briefly…
Study Summary: When we are approaching the issue of God’s will it is crucial that we understand that His ultimate will is our sanctification; our becoming more like Jesus. In this study we take a look at Psalm 139 and we see that we serve a God who is all-knowing, all-present and all-creating. We see that David desires to position himself so that God can search him and lead him on whatever path God chooses.
1 You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. 2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. 3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. 4 Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. 5 You hem me in behind and before and you lay your hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. 7 Where can I go you’re your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? 8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, 10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. 11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light will become night around me,” 12 even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. 13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, 16 your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. 17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! 18 Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand – when I awake, I am still with you. 19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked! Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty! 20 They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name. 21 Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord, and abhor those who are in rebellion against you? 22 I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies. 23 Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
•(V. 1-6) We serve a God who is near to us, who is active and who is searching our hearts. What does this conjure up when you think about it? What does it mean to have God search us? How have you seen that in your own life?
•(V. 3) What is significant about God being “already familiar with all of our ways” before we even approach Him? How does this change the way that you approach God about your weaknesses or your strengths?
•Read vv. 5 &6. We are limited in our knowledge and understanding of the future. Thinking about God’s will for your life, what kind of reaction do you have to these verses? Knowing that God has hemmed us in “behind and before” does that bring you comfort or discomfort? Do you find that you struggle with giving God control or is that easier for you? Explain.
•In verses 7-12 David is emphasizing God’s omnipresence; the all-present God that does not view anything about us as unreachable. Think about some of the patterns of behavior and thought that you have in your life. Are there things in your life that you feel you want God to change but never will? Do you ever feel that these things disqualify you from God using you?
•Read v. 12 again. What truths stand out to you about Gods power to redeem? Why do we often struggle with thinking that there are things beyond God’s reach, whether consciously or subconsciously? Please explain. Have there ever been times when God has redeemed something you thought would never be redeemed?
•(V. 19-22) This is not an easy scripture by any means. What kind of insight does this give us into the sort of attack that David was under as a great leader of God’s people? Try and put yourself in his shoes. What kind of anxiety would that cause you?
•The more we step out into the kingdom of God the larger the target is on our back. The enemy will attack us were we are most vulnerable. In this passage we see how much David desires to have the same thoughts as the Lord. How important is this in our daily lives, to be like minded with God? Thinking back to Rich’s sermon, who holds the responsibility for protecting us from the enemy? For leading us in times of trouble?
•(V. 23-24) After describing the many attributes of God’s character, David asks God to search him test him and lead him. As we discern Gods will for our lives how might the questions that David is asking in these two versus relate to our own lives? What does it look like for God to search us? How do we benefit from God testing us? How have you seen God reveal things that were unknown to you in the past?
Below you’ll see some options for ministry time with your group. We always encourage you to reserve time in your group to pray for one another and wait on the Holy Spirit.
•Consider how the weekend’s message and the study have impacted the way you view God’s will for your life. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal what he has already been doing in your life and ask him to highlight those things.
•Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal an area of life that God wishes to redeem. Ask the Holy Spirit to shed light on an area that seems dark. Leader: Be sensitive to this and ensure that the members of your group feel safe and comfortable opening up. This may mean praying with individuals one on one.
•Challenge yourself to pray the prayer of Psalm 139: 24-25 this upcoming week.