why give thanks?

NOTE: Following is a copy of the discussion guide that will be used in MoSt Church’s LIFE groups tomorrow (Sun., Nov. 20). This guide will enable your follow-up of the sermon that I’ll preach, God willing, that morning on reasons for our gratitude to God. You’ll find these LIFE group discussion guides categorized each week here on my site under the category title LIFE group guides.

Aim

To explore why we’re to grow in gratitude toward God.

Word

• We always give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you. (Colossians 1:3 CEB)

• We’re praying … so that you can live lives that are worthy of the Lord and pleasing to him in every way: by producing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God; by being strengthened through his glorious might so that you endure everything and have patience; and by giving thanks with joy to the Father. He made it so you could take part in the inheritance, in light granted to God’s holy people. He rescued us from the control of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son he loves. (Colossians 1:10-13 CEB)

• Be rooted and built up in him, be established in faith, and overflow with thanksgiving just as you were taught. (Colossians 2:7 CEB)

• The peace of Christ must control your hearts—a peace into which you were called in one body. And be thankful people. The word of Christ must live in you richly. Teach and warn each other with all wisdom by singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing to God with gratitude in your hearts. Whatever you do, whether in speech or action, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus and give thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:15-17 CEB)

Keep on praying and guard your prayers with thanksgiving. (Colossians 4:2 CEB)

Open

Icebreaker questions are meant to get us all talking. Choose one of the following to discuss as a group.

1. What food would you be most thankful for if it appeared on your Thanksgiving table?

2. Complete this sentence: “Right now in my life, I’m particularly thankful for ________.”

Dig

These questions are intended to help us grapple with Scriptures related to the morning’sermon.

1. What effect do you suppose Paul was looking for when he told people he steadily prayed for them? (1:3)

2. What three things must be in our life if we’re living a life pleasing to God? (1:10-13)

3. How would a Christian think/speak/act if they “overflowed” (2:7) with thankfulness?

4. How is ungrateful singing symptomatic of a deeper problem? (3:15-17)

5. What does it mean to “guard” one’s prayers “with thanksgiving?” (4:2)

6. Working only from the preceding texts, why should a Christian grow in gratitude?

Reflect

These questions facilitate our sharing what we sense God’s Spirit is doing with us through his word.

1. Complete this line: “When I recall Jesus being thankful, I remember when he _____.”

2. What are some of the greatest enemies of thankfulness people commonly face?

3. When you experience a season of deep gratitude, how do your ways change?

4. Some Christians naturally sing when they’re thankful. What is your “go to” response?

5. A long-time Christian says their heart is cold with unthankfulness. What do you say?

6. How, or with what specifically in mind, can we pray for you in terms of thankfulness?

you have seen what the Lord has accomplished

Look at how we honor those who have practiced endurance. You have heard of the endurance of Job. And you have seen what the Lord has accomplished, for the Lord is full of compassion and mercy. (James 5:11 CEB)

Question. How many centuries separate Job’s experiences and James’ audience?

Answer. Quite a few.

And yet, James says his audience has “seen what the Lord has accomplished” in Job’s life.

Yes, from James’ perspective, their “hearing of” Job, that is their hearing the testimony of ancient Scripture, is the same as “seeing” something today in terms of God’s purpose. We can see what God is like today by hearing what God did way back when. The past informs the present, indeed, it is the present, for all practical purposes.

Does that sound like a stretch? It shouldn’t. It’s the same lesson we teach our children in song today.

“Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. The Bible tells me so.”

The Bible may be a very old book, but it’s as fresh to us as if the ink was yet to dry. How is that? Because God has not changed. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. And the race of enduring faith we’re running today? We don’t run alone, but rather, run in the midst of an audience of a great cloud of witnesses who train us and cheer us on.

Note how we pay tribute to practitioners of endurance. You’ve heard of Job’s endurance and you’ve seen God’s purpose in it all. And what were you to learn from it all? That the Lord is full of compassion and mercy. (James 5:11 DSV)

Eternal Father, how refreshing it is to see things from your perspective, standing in, and above, time! You bring the saints from the past to live with me and you call me to finish well in the future with you. This is your doing and it is good for my heart to hear and to see. Through Christ Jesus I thank you for giving me a glimpse beyond the constraints of time. Amen.

this went thru my mind

 

American history: Our “Founding Fathers”–Christians or What? by Roger E. Olson

Church: * The Day the Church Begins to Die by Joe McKeever * Attractional vs. Missional: A Presentation by Alan Hirsch, Part 1 by Jay Guin

Church dropouts: Five Myths about Young Adult Church Dropouts by The Barna Group is required reading.

God: “God Will Not Give You More Than You Can Handle” by Michael Kelley

Megachurches: The Megachurch Bubble (Part 1) by Skye Jethani

Privacy & security: * Facebook Privacy: Site Confirms It Tracks You After You Leave * Facebook Privacy Settings You Need to Check Now by Kim Komando; * Opt-out of Online Tracking by Kim Komando * SelectOut does what it says and nothing could be easier or quicker.

Reading: John Wesley on Reading

Sharing faith: How I Would Explain What It Means to Be a Christian (in 2 minutes or less) by Bill Mounce