Interactions: Significance - Understanding God's Purpose For Your Life (Interactions Small Group Series)
Be set free to pursue God's purpose for your life.God wants to set you free. No more bondage. No more fear. No more living as a slave to sin. Sound like a dream? God is in the business of making...
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Be set free to pursue God's purpose for your life.God wants to set you free. No more bondage. No more fear. No more living as a slave to sin. Sound like a dream? God is in the business of making these kinds of dreams a reality. He is committed to giving you a life of incredible significance, and he has already done all that is necessary to break the chains that keep you from it.In Significance, you will discover a strategy for becoming all God wants you to be. God has a plan for you to walk in tremendous purpose, and he has provided the power needed to put this plan into action. But first, the chains that hold you back must be destroyed. This series of studies maps out God's road to freedom and significance. Every journey begins with one step. Are you ready to take it?Interactions--a powerful and challenging tool for building deep relationships between you and your group members, and you and God. Interactions is far more than another group Bible study. It's a cutting-edge series desig
SignificanceCopyright 1997 by Willow Creek AssociationPreviously published as FreedomRequests for information should be addressed to:Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530ISBN-10: 0-310-26603-3ISBN-13: 0-310-26603-7All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible: New InternationalVersion. NIV. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission ofZondervan. All rights reserved.All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, ortransmitted in any form or by any means-electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or anyother-except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without the prior permission of the publisher.Interior design by Rick Devon and Michelle EspinozaPrinted in the United States of America05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 /?DCI/ 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1SESSION 1SIGNIFICANCEGOD''S PASSIONATE LOVETHE BIG PICTUREI received a phone call late one night from a man who askedme to meet him at a local restaurant. As I drove over, I knewsomething was very wrong. When I sat down with him, hebegan to tell me of his plans to leave his wife and children fora woman he claimed to have fallen in love with. I spent thenext two hours pleading with him not to abandon his wifeand children. I tried every approach in the book. I talked to himabout how this decision would impact his kids'' birthdays,graduations, Christmas mornings, and all the other special daysin the years to come. I tried to help him focus on the devastationthis would bring to the heart of his wife. I talked aboutpractical things such as child support and alimony.I even feebly attempted to inform him about what God''s Wordsays about matters like these. I wasn''t overly optimistic thatapproach would have any impact on him, however. You see,this was a man who had gone to church for most of his life.He had heard a thousand sermons. He knew his Bible versesfrontward and backward. But he had insulated himself fromthe transforming work of the Holy Spirit. I left that late nightmeeting discouraged, not very hopeful this man would changehis mind.A short time later the man requested another meeting. I fearedthe worst, but when he walked through the door, he actuallylooked different. He announced that he was reconsidering hisrelationship with the other woman. He wanted to do the rightthing, to go God''s way. I asked him what had changed his mind.He said, "This is going to sound a little corny. After we met lasttime, I got in my car and turned on my radio. I heard a chorusof voices singing, ''Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, thatsaved a wretch like me.'' I had heard that song a thousandtimes, but for the first time, I felt God''s amazing grace deep inmy heart."He explained how he identified himself as the "wretch" in thesong. He said, "Here I was shattering my wife''s heart, breakingmy family apart, defying God''s Word, and shunning thecounsel of my pastor and other close Christian friends. For thefirst time, my heart was gripped by the fact that even thoughI am a wretch, God still loves me." At that decisive moment,this man committed to do whatever he could to rebuild hismarriage. Thankfully, he had a godly wife who forgave himand their story has a happy ending.What was the source of this powerful transformation? A deepunderstanding of the reality of God''s passionate love.I have a theory. I believe people who live the abundant Christianlife, who live on a deeper spiritual plane, who are radicallydevoted to Christ, who are strong during times of crisis, whohave a vibrant faith, who dare to live out on a limb, all haveone thing in common: At some point in their lives, they havefelt God''s love firsthand. And the touch of His loving hand haschanged them permanently.A W I D E A N G L E V I E W1. Tell about a time you experienced God''s love in a deepand personal way.A B I B L I C A L P O R T R A I T2. After reading these passages, finish this statement:When God thinks about me, He feels
Bill Hybels is the founding and senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois, one of the largest and most influential churches in North America, and the chairman of the board for Willow Creek Association. He convened The Global Leadership Summit in 1995, following a God-given prompting to help raise and develop the spiritual gift of leadership for the local church.
Both visionary and passionate about seeing every local church reach its full God-given potential, he speaks around the world on strategic issues related to leadership, evangelism, and church growth. An exceptional communicator, he is a best-selling author of more than 20 books on personal evangelism, marriage and especially on the subject of Christian leadership, including Just Walk Across the Room, Courageous Leadership and the newly released, The Power of a Whisper: Hearing God and Having the Guts to Respond.
Bill received a bachelor's degree in Biblical Studies and an honorary Doctorate of Divinity from Trinity College in Deerfield, IL. He and his wife, Lynne, have two adult children and one grandson.
Kevin G. Harney is the Teaching Pastor and Evangelism Champion at Faith Church in Dyer, Indiana and Central Wesleyan Church in Holland, MI. He is also on the Teaching Team of the campus ministry at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan. He is author of Leadership from the Inside Out: Examining the Inner Life of a Healthy Church Leader; Seismic Shifts, the little changes that make a BIG difference in your life; John: An Intimate Look at the Saviour; Ephesians: Bringing Heaven to Earth, and co-author of the Willow Creek Interactions series, the Willow Creek New Community series, the Old Testament Challenge series, and Finding a Church You Can Love and Loving the Church You've Found.
- Introduction: Understanding God's
- Purpose For Your Life...9
- Session 1
- God's Passionate Love...11
- Session 2
- God's Presence...19
- Session 3
- God's Power...27
- Session 4
- God's Plan...35
- Session 5
- God's Purpose...45
- Session 6
- God's Promises...53
- Leader's Notes...59
SESSION 1 SIGNIFICANCE GOD'S PASSIONATE LOVE THE BIG PICTURE I received a phone call late one night from a man who asked me to meet him at a local restaurant. As I drove over, I knew something was very wrong. When I sat down with him, he began to tell me of his plans to leave his wife and children for a woman he claimed to have fallen in love with. I spent the next two hours pleading with him not to abandon his wife and children. I tried every approach in the book. I talked to him about how this decision would impact his kids' birthdays, graduations, Christmas mornings, and all the other special days in the years to come. I tried to help him focus on the devastation this would bring to the heart of his wife. I talked about practical things such as child support and alimony. I even feebly attempted to inform him about what God's Word says about matters like these. I wasn't overly optimistic that approach would have any impact on him, however. You see, this was a man who had gone to church for most of his life. He had heard a thousand sermons. He knew his Bible verses frontward and backward. But he had insulated himself from the transforming work of the Holy Spirit. I left that late night meeting discouraged, not very hopeful this man would change his mind. A short time later the man requested another meeting. I feared the worst, but when he walked through the door, he actually looked different. He announced that he was reconsidering his relationship with the other woman. He wanted to do the right thing, to go God's way. I asked him what had changed his mind. He said, 'This is going to sound a little corny. After we met last time, I got in my car and turned on my radio. I heard a chorus of voices singing, 'Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.' I had heard that song a thousand times, but for the first time, I felt God's amazing grace deep in my heart.' He explained how he identified himself as the 'wretch' in the song. He said, 'Here I was shattering my wife's heart, breaking my family apart, defying God's Word, and shunning the counsel of my pastor and other close Christian friends. For the first time, my heart was gripped by the fact that even though I am a wretch, God still loves me.' At that decisive moment, this man committed to do whatever he could to rebuild his marriage. Thankfully, he had a godly wife who forgave him and their story has a happy ending. What was the source of this powerful transformation? A deep understanding of the reality of God's passionate love. I have a theory. I believe people who live the abundant Christian life, who live on a deeper spiritual plane, who are radically devoted to Christ, who are strong during times of crisis, who have a vibrant faith, who dare to live out on a limb, all have one thing in common: At some point in their lives, they have felt God's love firsthand. And the touch of His loving hand has changed them permanently. A W I D E A N G L E V I E W 1. Tell about a time you experienced God's love in a deep and personal way. A B I B L I C A L P O R T R A I T 2. After reading these passages, finish this statement: When God thinks about me, He feels . . . 3. What does it mean to be 'rooted and established in love' in one of these areas: * Knowing God's love for you * Expressing your love to God * Living out God's love in your relationships S H A R P E N I N G T H E F O C U S Read Snapshot 'God Says He Loves You!' GOD SAYS HE LOVES YOU! You can know God loves you because He has said it! Isaiah 43:4 says, 'You are precious and honored in my sight and . . . I love you.' God has used many images in the Bible to communicate the depth of His love. He says: * I love you more than a hen loves her chicks (Matt. 23:37). * I love you more than a good shepherd loves his sheep (John 10:11--14). * I love you more than the most compassionate father loves his child (Ps. 103:13). * I love you more than a nursing mother loves her baby (Isa. 49:15). 4. Each of the images in this snapshot communicate different dynamics of the nature of God's love for you. What do you learn about God's love from each of the following images: * A hen * A good shepherd * A compassionate father * A nursing mother 5. God could have just said, 'I love you!' Instead, He used many different illustrations to drive the point home. Why did God use such creativity in expressing His love for you? Read Snapshot 'God Has Proved His Love for You' 6. Describe the kind of love it would take for you to give your life for another person. How would you feel if you offered an incredible act of sacrfice for someone and they still questioned your love? 7. How can you express your thankfulness for how God has proved His love for you? GOD HAS PROVED HIS LOVE FOR YOU Gary Gilmore shot a motel clerk in Provo, Utah. He was arrested, convicted, and sentenced to be shot before a firing squad. When this news became public, the country went into an uproar over the issue of capital punishment. There was a great outpouring of concern about whether or not Gary Gilmore should be executed. The Supreme Court was petitioned to stay his execution, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a class action suit, and religious groups held all-night prayer vigils.Yet out of the millions of people in the United States, to my knowledge not one person ever offered to take his place. Nobody said, 'Let me take the bullets.' There is some truth to the statements 'Talk is cheap' and 'Actions speak louder than words!' Real love begs for expression. There is no more dramatic way of proving your love for someone than to give your life for them. And that is exactly what Jesus did. He gave His life for us, proving the love of God once and for all. 'For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life' (John 3:16). Read Snapshot 'God Continues to Show His Love' 8. How is God's ongoing provision a constant reminder of His love? What are some of the ways God provides for the needs of His children? GOD CONTINUES TO SHOW HIS LOVE If God gave the most precious possession He had to express His great love for you, do you think He will be stingy with His other provisions? Will He withhold the resources you need to live? Will He deprive you of emotional support? Will He keep you from sensing you are a member of His family? Does God get some kind of twisted pleasure in holding His love and provision just out of reach like a carrot on a stick? Of course not!