Seeking God Together 2021
Who doesn’t like the idea of a fresh start at one time or another. The slate wiped clean. The chance to cleanse past mistakes, to right old wrongs, to move forward in life by hitting the reset button on our lives.
Something To Talk About:
When you have been overwhelmed by bad news, hard times, and discouragement, sometimes the best thing you can do is to hit “reset”. Here are three things to consider as you hit the spiritual reset button:
- Choose something to give up for the sake of intense spiritual activity: Have you ever asked God if there is anything in your life that gets in the way of you really enjoying Him and living an abundant life. Why not ask God now if there is anything that you could give up for a season or forever to help you grow into who you are in Christ, experience all you have been given, and develop your relationship with God. Don’t do it out of striving and straining but do it so you can focus on just enjoying Him and in turn enjoying life. This is about believing in who you are in Christ and focusing on going to war with any actions or mindsets you have that are contrary. Fasting is a very important part of having a healthy relationship with God. It helps put our spiritual and physical life in perspective. God gives us specific ways to worship and honor Him in the Bible and He instructs us to fast in many scriptures. Joel: 2:12 says, “That is why the Lord says, “Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning.” We believe fasting opens our hearts and minds to receive what God is saying and perceive what God is doing in our lives and the lives of our church.
- Turn your ordinary prayer into extraordinary prayer: “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth.” (James 5:17 ESV) God loves to use ordinary people to do extraordinary things. You might be tempted to make excuses for the extraordinary events in the Bible, but James points out that Elijah was a common man just like us with the same limitations. No matter what weakness you think you have, our Almighty God wants to bring heaven down to earth to reveal His incredible power and glory through your faithful, fervent prayers. When you look in the mirror you might see an average person, but with God, you’re a powerful warrior with the extraordinary power of prayer at your disposal. Your prayers hold the same kind of power as Elijah’s requests to stop the rain. God can use ordinary people with expectant prayers to move mountains and do extraordinary things.
- Focus on God’s Word: In our world, today is full of books, podcasts, and blogs sharing about life hacks that let us in on a secret shortcut or trick that will increase our productivity or efficiency. Our culture has become accustomed to the instantaneous. We have become accustomed to quick results with little effort. Unfortunately, this way of thinking can seep into the way we read the Bible too. A.W. Tozer said, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” That means we should do everything we can to be grounded in God’s Word. We must remember that the Bible is God’s divine revelation to His creation. It is how He speaks to us. It is how He teaches us about who He is. If our goal is to have a real, personal connection with God, then it is only by immersing ourselves in His very words that we will grow in our understanding of who He is. The Bible is not something we can just scroll through and double-tap our favorite parts. It’s something we must read, study, meditate on, and then let transform our lives. Jesus knew the Scripture so well that He could employ it to resist the temptation the devil was throwing at Him. He trusted in God and stood on the authority of His Word. We must do the same.
- Do you believe that is it important for every believer to practice the spiritual discipline of fasting? Why or why not?
- Share about a time you fasted and prayed. What did God reveal to you during that time? What might you do differently when you fast again?
- What are some of the key things this sermon has taught you about prayer?
- The prayer of the righteous is powerfully effective, we should be motivated to pray. Agree or disagree and why?
- What are some of the things that keep you from praying–guilt, boredom, distraction, doubt, etc.? Share of a time where you prayed for something big and God answered in a big way.
- If God were to answer all of our prayers from just last week, how would our lives and the lives of those around us look different? Would it make any difference?
- What steps can we take to become people who are marked by big, bold, and faith-filled prayers?
- How well do you believe you have been oriented to the Bible? What can you do to fill in the gaps?
- Do you believe the Bible, as God’s inspired Word, can be trusted fully to teach us the truth and shape our lives?
- How much time each week do you spend reading your Bible? How much time do you think you should spend?
- Pray and ask God to give you the discipline to spend time in His word every day.
- How did this message challenge, change, or affirm your thinking?
- What will you do? How will you or your group put into practice what you’ve learned today?
Take one thing home with you:
Matthew 6:16-18 says, “And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get. But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.” Fasting is a secret declaration to yourself and your heavenly Father that you want more of what He has to give you.
There’s something powerful that takes place when we willingly surrender satisfaction in the world to make space for more of God. Whether you’re fasting food, entertainment, relationships, or anything else to make space for more of God, the intention of God for fasting is to realign your life to position you to consistently receive all He has for you. It’s His intention to transform the pangs of separation from whatever you’re fasting into deep prayers for more of Him. May you be honest with yourself and be filled with the desire to fast from that which stands in the way of you fully living the abundant life.