At The Movies: Instant Family
We are created on purpose and for a purpose: to make a difference. This week, through Instant Family, we explore how God works when He prompts us to step outside of our comfort zone and take a massive leap of faith. As followers of Christ, we must remember that we’re called to make a difference, to an others-centered, sacrificial, counter-cultural, life-valuing, courageous way of loving others, just like God has loved us.
Something To Talk About:
We all have that thing, that cause, that group where we want to get involved. Often fear, anxiety, and uncertainty make us feel we aren’t special enough to make a difference. How do we move forward without a big moment or sign?
- You’ll be prompted by the Spirit: As a follower of Christ, you’ll feel the nudge of the Spirit, just as the apostle Paul did when he was very happy and content doing ministry where he was until God stirred him that it was time to move on. After what we as Christians might call, being prompted by the Spirit, the couple in this story, Pete and Ellie decided to do something about their burden. So they went to an adoption fair where they met a very rebellious teenager, a girl named Lizzie. And even though Lizzie came with way more complications than they expected, they couldn’t get Lizzie out of their minds. In the same way, you may be prompted by His Spirit.
- You will take a step of faith: Every Christian will have those “moments” in life that require a leap of faith. You can prepare all you want, work hard, and try to figure it all out. You can stress and worry, but no matter what you do you’re never really ready. Such is the case with a test of faith. Whatever that might mean: leading in ministry, giving financially, being a friend, fostering, or even adopting a child. You’re never really ready, and that’s just fine. Stepping out can be filled with that unsettling combination of feeling as prepared as possible and totally not being ready. God didn’t ask me to get ready to go; He just asked me to go. You can get ready on the way.
- You’ll face certain setbacks: You’ll face setbacks. In fact, you’ll see this again and again in scripture. Nehemiah, for example, attempts to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, and immediately he faces opposition. Joseph as a child has a vision to do great things but he’s sold into slavery, he’s falsely accused and he’s wrongly imprisoned. Then we have Paul, in Acts chapter 20 who said, “And now being compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem” (Acts 20:22) Now notice, he doesn’t know the details. Scripture says “I’m going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there.” Now watch for the setbacks. Here’s what Paul says, “I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me.”(Acts 20:23) Setbacks are certain and are what’s going to happen to all of us. Just like Paul.
- You’ll experience small glimmers of hope: Our God is the great encourager. He takes the weak and makes them strong. He takes the broken and heals them with His love. And He takes the doubting and fills them with powerful encouragement from on high. There is nothing like an encouraging word from the Father when we’re feeling low and discouraged. Sometimes life can be daunting, and fortunately, God knows just what to say when we need to hear it most. God gives us those small glimmers of hope because honestly, we need them. God wants to do more through you. God wants to use you to impact the lives of others.
- You’ll experience even more setbacks: Really…more setbacks?“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” Our problems and setbacks don’t determine the shape and direction of our lives. What problems and setbacks do, however, is reveal character. They show us how we respond to fear, disappointments, and failure. So don’t be discouraged when troubles come your way, instead hang on to your faith, God’s word, and ask yourself, “what can I learn from this?” Trust that the God who created you and in whom you place your faith and trust will carry you through your setback or trial.
- You’ll love selflessly, do whatever you believe is right and trust God with the results: God is calling you to make a difference. As followers of Christ, we believe that caring for widows and orphans is part of our highest calling in honoring God and loving people. In fact, I’m convinced that some of you may be considering a radical, selfless act of love to do something like fostering a child. Certainly, it is not for everyone. Fostering is just one of many of the ways that we can express the love of Christ. Not only to the children but also to their biological families.
- What moment or scene made you laugh the most? Did any of the scenes make you cry?
- Which of the kids did you relate to the most? Which of the adults?
- What does the word “family” mean to you? How did your family of origin affect your life? Are you like or unlike your parents?
- In what ways did this story give you hope?
- What was your reaction to how the extended family reacted to their adoption news? How would you respond if your sibling or best friend said they were going to foster?
- What is a time in your life that you took a leap of faith after being nudged by the Holy Spirit?
- Is there a time in your journey to make a difference that you have experienced resistance and setbacks? What are some past or current situations you have been in where you learned to do what is right and trust God with the results?
- Which points from the sermon connected with you the most? Why?
- How was your perspective challenged? How did that impact you?
- What’s the easiest part of the message for you to apply to your life? What’s the hardest? Why?
- How would next week look different for you if you took action steps to apply what you heard?
Take one thing home with you:
Jesus taught us a whole bunch of things, one being that one person can make an immeasurable difference. His life on earth is the greatest example of that truth we will ever know. So many people want to do great things but they let the little opportunities to do so pass by. Making a difference in the lives of others can be a daily thing. It’s sacrificially touching one person’s life with some random act of kindness. It may be the giving of moral support or taking time to pray for someone or the giving of resources or time. It may be making an even greater sacrifice you feel prompted to make by fostering a child. It will begin when you just follow the prompting and take the step of faith to obey God.