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Connect to God

Week 1

Topic:

Is there more to life than this? 

Before Class:

Study these teaching points covered in the video.

Worldly things don’t satisfy 

When we wonder if there isn’t more to life than what we’re experiencing day to day, we’re recognizing expectations that aren’t met. Something is missing that can’t be found in following a set of rules or performing certain actions, or even professing certain beliefs. We know from experience that the happiness that comes from acquiring possessions, achieving accomplishments, or accumulating wealth is fleeting and does not address our deepest needs. Contemplate and discuss for a few minutes what makes you truly happy. Your conclusions are most likely intangible things like relationships and nature – things created by God for you.  

 

Fulfilling God’s purpose brings satisfaction  

Revelation 4:11 tells us God created all things by his will, and Paul expands on this truth in Ephesians 2:10 when he says, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Before he created anything, before time existed, God planned and designed you as a unique person with a unique combination of gifts, abilities, and strengths. He also planned and designed work that only you can do to further his kingdom. Your peculiarities, proclivities, and bent are intentionally suited to accomplish God’s plan. When we are in the center of God’s will, doing what he’s created us to do, we have inexplicable joy, regardless of our current circumstances, and a peace that “transcends all understanding.” (Philippians 4:7)  

 

What does it look like to live out your purpose? It looks like an unshakeable confidence in our value and purpose. It looks like peace through the ups and downs of life and the assurance of eternal life. Finally, it looks like no longer searching for the next thing to satisfy but continuing to seek the truth of Christ for the remainder of our lives.  

 

While he promises us a full or abundant life in John 10:10, Jesus does not say we will have an easy life. In fact, he clearly acknowledges that: “In this world you will have trouble”, but follows up with the promise, “But take heart! I have overcome the world.” He did not take on flesh and die for us to give us a trouble-free life, but rather to make us like himself – overcomers. “Everyone born of God overcomes the world. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” (I John 5:4-5) 

 

God’s purpose is specific to you  

Why was I born? What is the point of my life? What is my purpose? We tend to ask these questions when we are working or serving in a role that is not aligned with how God has made us. We often serve out of obligation or guilt, but those reasons cannot overcome a bad fit. When your career uses the abilities and gifts God’s given you, your workplace becomes your mission field, and your peace and joy are lights in the darkness. When you are intentional about knowing how you’re made, and where and how you serve, you receive immense satisfaction and are effective in your ministry.  

 

So, how exactly do we place ourselves in the center of God’s will? How do we know how we’re made, and what we’re suited for? Paul tells us, “We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith;  if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.” Romans 12:4-8  

 

Knowing how we fit into the body of Christ brings freedom. “Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed.” I Corinthians 12:1 The freedom to say no to areas that don’t align with your gifts and abilities. The freedom to grow and start new ministries. When you are doing what God created you to do, you are energized and effective.  

 

Mount Pisgah recommends the PLACE assessment (mountpisgah.org/place) to explore your personality type and spiritual gifts, gain insight into your abilities, find your area of passion, and see how your life experiences have shaped you into Kingdom service. Five assessments in this tool provide a complete personal profile to guide you in becoming the hands and feet of Christ in your church, in your community, and in the world.

Take the PLACE Assessment or review results from your most recent assessment and prepare to answer questions about the assessment. (Page 2 in booklet) 

In class:

Ice Breaker and Introductions:

This is the first week of class, and your mission is to help everyone feel comfortable, get to know them, and help them get to know each other. Begin with each class member provide a brief introduction of themselves (if they have not already) and tell the class what they hope to get out of the Connect to God Course.  

 

Use an ice breaker to help foster relationships and community in the class. Some suggestions include: two truths and a lie (Have everyone come up with two things about themselves that are true and one that is false but believable. Participants then try to identify the lie), marooned (ask each participant, "What are five things that you would take with you if you were marooned on an island?"), magic wand (if you had a magic wand, what would you choose to change?), or where in the world (ask participants where they are from, where they've been, where they'd like to travel someday).  

Introduce the content and video for this class (in your own words): 

Human experience confirms that no amount of material, intellectual, or professional success can satisfy our longing for purpose and acceptance. For thousands of years philosophers have debated the meaning of life without reaching a consensus. What is the meaning of life? Life has meaning when we are fulfilling God’s purpose.  

Play the teaching video:

Discussion questions (page 3 and 4 in booklet): 

  1. Ecclesiastes 3:11 says, “He has set eternity in the human heart.” We are eternal creatures, made for eternity. How does this explain man’s continual quest for purpose and meaning?  

  2. Jesus says, “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. . . I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.”  Sometimes circumstances in our lives cause us to doubt we’re experiencing a “full life.” What did Jesus mean?  

  3. Share a time when you were employed or volunteered in a role that was a terrible fit with your abilities and talents. What did you learn about yourself through that experience?

Tough questions prep:   

What about suffering? How do we reconcile that with the abundant life Jesus offers?  

The abundant life Jesus promises is also a life that abounds with suffering. In John 10:11, Jesus says that he lays down his life for the sheep. He gives life by giving up his life. He reminded his disciples constantly that their way would be his way: the way of the cross.

Paul further explains the idea of abundant life in Christ in II Corinthians 1:5, “For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.”

Play the Tom Brady 60 Minutes video (Discuss if time remains):

Closing: 

You – your personality, abilities, talents, strengths – were designed by God to fulfill his purposes. This is why following our own agenda, regardless of how successful we are, cannot bring fulfillment. Discovering how you’re made and seeking opportunities that align with your unique set of gifts, passions, and abilities are the keys to living a peace-filled life of purpose.

Mount
pisgah
   Church

678.336.3000

info@mountpisgah.org

2850 Old Alabama Rd

Johns Creek, GA 30022

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