Happy New Year!
This week we get to worship in our homes. We’ve prepared a series of videos and discussion questions that we hope will be a blessing to everyone. Let’s begin this new year fully aware that God is with us and at work in our lives.
After you’ve had a chance to watch and discuss, we’d love to hear from you on Facebook. Tell us – What was the thing you absolutely needed to hear today? Thanks, and enjoy!
Special thanks to Ivy B Photography for the assistance with shooting these videos. And to those featured – Thank you for your courage and trust.
Allen & Angelina: A Grace Story
1. Allen and Angelina believe God was preparing them for this adoption long before they knew it, including Allen’s recent faith commitment and Angelina’s childhood experience with sponsoring a child. Have you ever seen God’s grace unfold over time in your life or someone close to you? Ever seen his handiwork in hindsight when you couldn’t see it in the moment?
2. Angelina says, “I felt God pull me. We have to do this, and we have to do this now.” When you hear God prompt or call you, how do you hope to respond? Is the idea of God prompting you exciting, frightening, or both?
3. In the match phase of their adoption, Allen and Angelina felt vulnerable and open to judgment, but they knew God was on their side. How does knowing that God graciously loves and accepts us help when facing criticism or conflict?
4. Nothing matters more than your view of God. Allen describes rejecting the view of God as angry and vengeful and says, “That is what has softened my heart and shaped me into the person I am today.” What would you say to someone who thinks of God as angry and vengeful?
5. The video begins with John 1:14. In what ways does Jesus – the one full of grace and truth – reveal the grace of God to us?
Miranda: A Family Story
1. Miranda mentions an atmosphere of welcoming kindness and fellowship. But she also mentions a couple people by name who sought out her friendship. What role do you think friendship plays in someone finding a church home?
2. She describes church as “My family away from my family; my home away from home…” Has that been the case for you? What would you say to someone who thinks of church as just a place you go for an hour on Sunday?
3. She also says, “Church is a place where you can go and bring your life along with you.” Why do so many feel like they have to wear a mask or be less than fully honest at church? How do we remove that fear and encourage transparency?
4. The video begins with Acts 2:42-44, the first description of the early church. What do you notice, and what do you hope we copy from them?
Beau: An Others Story
1. The letter begins, “Dear Very Nice Red-Headed Man.” She did not know Beau’s name, or the church’s name. In fact, she mailed the letter more than once to track him down. What kind of impact was made by this small act of kindness?
2. The letter also reads, “I’m better today because of what you did. You gave me hope. I know that God will not leave me… Thank you for being a willing vessel.” How can we be people who hang onto hope and give hope to others?
3. Beau says, “The little things that we do really do matter; they really add up.” What are a few little things you are doing/can do? We often think we need to do something heroic to really serve God. How do we get around that way of thinking?
Matt: A Transformation Story
1. The video begins with 2 Corinthians 5:17. What begins the second we are united to Christ?
2. Matt says, “When you take that leap of faith, God reveals himself in amazing ways.” What is our part of the process? Why is it essential?
3. Matt also says, “God was revealing himself so much that I was in a pickle.” What does he mean by that? Why might we prefer for God to not reveal himself?
4. Transformation is a process, not an easy, one-time change. What helps you remember that God is still with you? When busyness or something else slows our progress, how do we practice faithfulness and openness to God?
Whether alone or watching with a group, please take a moment to pray over these folks who’ve blessed us with their stories. Pray that God continues to reveal himself to them and to all of us. Consider what you most needed to hear today and thank God for that word. Ask for the strength to put into action what you’ve learned or been reminded of.
Thanks for worshipping with us. We’ll see you back at LSUS on Sunday, Jan 8, 2017, 10 a.m. We can hardly wait!