Thursday, April 2, 2020

Connect Groups – Study 07 – Beyond a story I

Text: Genesis 7.1-7

Icebreaker: What do you think about the story of Noah’s ark? What do you think about a cell with 11 topics?

There is one certainty that we all have at the moment – we are living in unprecedented times! Things are different and nobody knows exactly what to do during this crisis. No one knows either, exactly how long this time will last. If someone told us 6 months ago that this is how the world would be now, we wouldn’t have believed it.
Today we will look at a story that happened long ago but that changed the world. In the middle of the crisis, Noah and his family were stuck in the ark for a long time and I am sure that we will learn from them how to cope with the lockdown, the crises we face, and how to have faith in God in the midst of it all. By the end of this time, I hope that you may even be glad of the people that you are sharing the ark (your house) with this time of the flood (lockdown):

1) Don’t miss the boat.
We have one life and it is very short, but eternity isn’t! Remember that Jesus is inviting everyone to get in the boat with Him and that it is the best choice that we can ever make.
When we face death and this international crisis, we need to remember that Jesus offers us a life beyond this life! Don’t miss the boat.

2) Remember that you are not alone in the boat.
This is a very important principle that many people ignore. In your job, family, church or community you are in the same boat as everyone else. My question is, what are we doing to make this time better for everyone? What are you doing to make your boat (house) a better a place to live? In this crisis remember that you will only win when other people win as well!

3) Plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark.
I know that we were all caught by surprise by this coronavirus situation, but we can learn a lesson from our experience and start to be different from now.
You can decide that after this pandemic (and even in the middle of it) that you will start to plan ahead, to think about the future and especially to think about your future in eternity. Make a decision today that your life will be different, that you will start to discern, plan and execute what God has for you, and that you will not only react to circumstances – but act in and through them. To be ready for this, take the opportunity to be with God more during this time.

4) Stay fit. When you’re 600 years old, someone may ask you to do something really big.
The Bible says that we are a temple of the Holy Spirit - (1 Cor 6.19). I am not here to preach a magazine image of beauty to anyone, or an unhealthy diet, but we have one life and one body, and the message we are called to share can only be delivered for as long as the body is able to do so. So, let’s keep that in mind! Enjoy your time of exercise every day (especially in such times as these), and do not create a health problem by having unhealthy eating habits during this time. Take care of the body that God gave you, it is the only one that you have.

5) Don’t listen to criticism from people that are not with you; just get on with the job that needs to be done. 
We can and should listen to the constructive criticism that comes from people who are with us, or that are in a position of authority over us. But don’t base your life in, or try to react at any cost to, the criticism that comes from people who are not a good example, or who are not in a position of authority over you! You don’t need to be who others say you are, but who God says you are! This is the best for your life. Another important aspect during this time is to try not to be too occupied with social media! Not all the information there is helpful, truthful or worth spending your time on!

6) Build your future on solid ground.
Are you building your house (future) on the rock or on the sand? In Noah’s time many people were prospering and building their lives thinking that that was it; thinking that they were amazingly good, and nothing would or could go wrong. But they were wrong, and they even lost their lives because of that.
And what about us? Are we listening to the Lord and doing what He says, or building a nice life and not paying attention when He asks us to move to a boat? 
During this time many people are being faced with their decisions and lifestyles and they are realising that they were building their lives on the sand. Coronavirus came and is blowing away the sandcastle. However, there is still time for us to build our houses on the solid ground, on the rock, and be ready for whatever tomorrow brings.
Start today – Jesus wants to help you with this process because he cares about your life. 

CONCLUSION:  Through this first session, and through these 6 things we can learn from Noah and from his time of facing a world crisis!  Through his story, we are being challenged to reflect on our decisions and lifestyle choices!
Take the time to think about how you want your life to be from now on. What life do you want to build with God? How would you like society to be when this has passed, and what can you do to spread the good news to help this become a reality?

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Connect Group 22 – Be careful with what is inside!

Text: James 3.10-12.   Icebreaker: “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of” (Matthew 12.34). What do you think about this phrase? ...