Small Group Questions

Decade of impact: The Life God Blesses  

Introduction:

Many people begin life well. They start off great.  But they end poorly because they don’t know how to plan ahead.  The Bible says it’s wise to plan ahead.  I know this is a stretch to get you to think about ten years from now, much less a year or even a month.  But the fact is the Bible says it’s smart, it’s wise to set goals and to plan ahead.  

Something To Talk About:

In the next ten years, you will encounter things that will detour you if you don’t know that they’re coming and you don’t know how to avoid them or solve them. The following three are examples: 

  1. I must dismiss the voices of doubt, in favor of the voice of God: There are plenty of voices of doubt that will try to dissuade you, detour you, cause you to fall off the road into the ditch.  Listen to the voice of God, not the voices of doubt. The antidote to the voices of doubt is to instead listen to the voice of God. Look at Noah. Would you be willing to endure the voices of doubt decade after decade, to go year after year with no encouragement from anybody?  That’s the kind of person Noah was.  He listened to the voice of God not the voices of doubt. The Bible tells us that Noah listened to God. And what did he hear? He heard God’s warning that the world was going to be destroyed. He believed what he had not yet seen. That’s what faith is — being certain of something we don’t see. Noah didn’t turn away from the vision God had given him. Instead, he built the ark. God is going to give you a goal for your life, and some people may think it’s pretty crazy. But you have to stay focused on what you know God has said through His Word, the Bible. Then, you have to go build your ark.
  2. I must do what God asked of me: Have you ever felt that God was asking you to do something and you really didn’t like what He was saying? Noah didn’t just hear the Word of God; he heeded the Word of God. What if God asked you to build a battleship?  He’s not going to, but let’s say He did.  You’d probably have some questions. How and why would be the principal ones. But Noah did not argue.  He did not complain about his assignment.  He just goes, whatever you say, Lord.  I’m going to do it exactly like I’m to do it.  Noah’s faith is incredible because the request is incredible.  It’s unbelievable.  It’s ridiculously out of human imagination.  Yet the Bible says this in Genesis 6:22: “So Noah did everything exactly as God had commanded him.”  This verse is actually quoted twice. What does that have to do with your life?  In the next ten years, God blesses people who do what he says even when it doesn’t make sense.  God blesses people who obey him when it doesn’t make human sense.  God blesses me when I do what he tells me to do when I follow his instructions even when I don’t understand it. Even if all of culture is going the opposite way,  I’m going to do what you tell me to do in Your Word.  I’m going to follow you. Faith is obeying when I don’t understand it.   
  3. I must never lay down the dream God has given me:  I must refuse to give up on the dream God gives me.  You just keep on going, whether you feel like it or not.  You don’t give up in the middle.  You’ve got to sustain it.  It is in the middle of your life that determines the end, whether you end successfully or not. Everything takes longer than we think.  So if you’re going to be different ten years from now, you better start on it now. You’ve got to start on it now before you get to the end of the decade.  Everything takes longer than we think. I’m sure Noah got discouraged, was tempted to give up.  I’m sure he faced loneliness.  I’m sure he faced fatigue going after his dream.  You will face loneliness and you will face fatigue going after the dream God gives you.  Count on it. The reason Noah kept on going was faith in God.  Hebrews 11:7, “ It was by faith that Noah built a large boat to save his family from the flood. He obeyed God, who warned him about things that had never happened before. By his faith, Noah condemned the rest of the world, and he received the righteousness that comes by faith.”  For forty-two thousand and one days Noah had only one goal: fulfill my destiny, do what God made me to do.  I’m sure many days, like Noah’s building the ark, he’s thinking this is not the life I signed up for.  Little did he know he was going to save the world.  I bet many days he didn’t feel like working and he’d come home at night tired and Mrs. Noah would say, how was work, honey?  Same place, same thing.  But he never gave up. You may feel like giving up. You say this life is tough.  Galatians 6:9 says this: “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up”  The most difficult part of that verse is the “at just the right time” part.  At the right time, we will reach our goal, we will fulfill our destiny, we will accomplish our dream.  At the right time. 

Discussion Questions: 

  1. Why is it important for everyone to have goals? 
  2. How are your spiritual goals different than your life goals? 
  3. Faith is about a relationship with God built on trust. In other words, faith is about having enough confidence to believe and act on that belief, despite the doubts you may experience. Do you find this view of faith more helpful and encouraging? Share your thoughts.
  4. How would it change things if you saw your doubts as opportunities to grow deeper in your relationship with Christ, and not a reason for alarm?
  5. On what basis did Noah hear and understand God’s warnings according to Hebrews 11:7?
  6. How can we prepare to confront our own doubts and those who doubt us, which we will certainly encounter as we try to stay committed to following our dreams?
  7. Who does God want you to become? How does doing what God asks us to do lead us to become the person God wants us to be?  
  8. What’s one area of your life where you know where God is leading you? What’s one area of your life where you wish you knew what God wanted you to do? In your decisions, are you more focused on choosing the right do, or becoming the right who?
  9. What motivates people to argue or bargain with God regarding His plans for their dreams? How do Genesis 6:22 and Genesis 7:5 describe the way Noah followed God’s commands?
  10. Why are false starts or wrong turns early in life not relevant to how you fulfill your God-given destiny and end your life?
  11. What contemporary situation might be similar to Noah’s refusal to give up on God’s direction?
  12. What did we learn about God – His character, His desires from the message?
  13. What’s the next step God wants you to take? When will you take it? Who will hold you to it? Write down your next step to becoming the person God wants you to be. Put it somewhere you look every day.  

Take one thing home with you:

The writer of Hebrews defines faith as “the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.” Noah had such faith as illustrated by the fact that, after being warned by God that a great flood would be coming, he made practical preparations for something he had “not yet seen.”  

Noah obeyed God not only because he knew God in a personal way, but also because his faith was acting on His word no matter how foolish it may have seemed to the world around him.