Joseph’s Unexpected Christmas

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Scripture Passage: Matthew 1:18-25

An Unexpected Detour (v. 18-19)

Life has a way of catching us off guard. In fact, we can know now that our life will not go exactly how we plan for it to. In our passage from today, Joseph didn’t plan for his wife to get pregnant before their marriage. God interrupted Joseph’s plans for a greater purpose…

An Unexpected Dream (v. 20-23)

God is not far off and removed from us. He did not set creation in motion and then check out. Rather, we see throughout scripture how God continually pursues an intimate relationship with people. God spoke to Joseph through a dream to explain His plan for his life.

An Unexpected Decision (v. 24-25)

We all have to come to a place where we put our trust in God’s control of our life and plans. When we learn to trust and obey God’s leading, we can begin to live the life of true fulfilment that God desires for us. Joseph chose to have faith in God’s plan and abandon his own because he trusted God.

 

Discussion:

  • Share a time when you faced a detour and your plans didn’t go how you had expected.
  • Describe the biggest step of faith you have taken to trust God with an area of your life.
  • How has your life changed in that area?

What Rahab Knew

Scripture Passage: Hebrews 11:31 and Joshua 2:1,8-13

Rahab’s life reminds us about the importance of the object of our faith. It’s not about our faith as much as it is about who our faith is in.

1. Rahab knew what God had already done.
When you go through challenging times, look back at all the other times you’ve seen God answer prayer. The Canaanites were very aware of the works of God through His people. They were living examples of God’s power.

One helpful way to remember all that God has done is to keep a list of how God has worked in the past. Hold on to the memories of the “only God” moments. There are always times in our lives when everything seems to turn upside down. When that happens, we need to look back at the times God proved Himself faithful.

2. Rahab knew what she could not do.
In verse 9, Rahab revealed that her people were living in fear. She recognized how hopeless she was apart from God. She not only had faith to see life with Him, but faith to see life without Him.

There’s actually a tremendous amount of freedom at the heart of realizing that you can’t pull off what you need. When we rest in God’s power, we realize He is able to do tremendous things we could never do on our own.

3. Rahab knew God was working.
God didn’t just demonstrate His power in the distant past. His Providential hand was at work in the midst of this ordeal and Rahab recognized this. Of all the homes along the wall in Jericho, the spies knocked on her door. It was no accident that God placed them at her doorstep. She knew it was God who had sent someone to her.

Every one of us who know Christ can point back to times where God was working — drawing us in. God’s unseen hand is always working.

Discussion Questions:

• What helps strengthen your faith? What has hurt your faith in the past?

• What if “God doesn’t come through the way you wanted?” Does that mean we shouldn’t put our faith in Him?

• Would you say your life reflects a strong faith in God? What has helped that or what do you believe is hurting that? Is your life a living example of God’s power?

Moses | Enduring Faith

HebrewsScripture Passage: Hebrews 11:23-29

God teaches us through the life of Moses that our faith can endure as we wait on Him.

  1. Enduring Faith Avoids Shortcuts. Moses was not perfect but he trusted God and followed God’s plan for his life. Moses chose to wait on God instead of attempting to solve his own problems.

• Ask God to show you where you are taking short cuts  instead of trusting and waiting on God.

  1. Enduring Faith Accepts Opposition. Moses expected opposition and decided in advance that he would trust God in times of opposition.

• How do you view opposition? Do you see opposition as an opportunity to trust God or does opposition pull you away from God? Ask God to help you trust Him and His promises during times of opposition.

  1. Enduring Faith Anticipates the Reward. Moses looked to God’s promises and God’s vision so that he walked by faith and not by sight.

• Ask God to help you fix your eyes on Jesus and His eternal rewards as you wait on Him.

Abraham | Lessons About Faith

Scripture Passage: Hebrews 11:8-10

God taught Abraham three important lessons about faith. These are lessons we should embrace as well.

1. Faith is founded in facts. | Abraham teaches us that the object of our faith is important. He had faith in God and in His capacity to fulfill His promises.

What promise of God is meaningful to you today?

2. Faith is revealed by response. | God’s command to Abraham was intentionally open-ended. God does not have to give us all the facts for us to trust Him. He calls us to obey inspIte of the circumstances. Many live restless lives because they don’t act on what God has told them.

What keeps you from responding to God’s promises by faith?

3. Faith is strengthened by vision. | Abraham went out, anticipating what was to come — where God would lead him. Abraham teaches us that faith is an opportunity to experience the extraordinary.

What do your responses to God’s promises tell a watching world about your faith in God?

Enoch | A Legacy of Faith

Scripture Passage: Hebrews 11:5-6

The Law of Legacy: What I do today that will influence the beliefs and actions of future generations, for good or evil.

We all leave a legacy. The question is what things will you do now to pass a Godly legacy onto the next generation.

Three Principles of Legacy

1. My legacy and my view of God are deeply connected.
My realization that I’ll leave a legacy should cause me to look closely at my belief system.

2. My walk with God is my greatest legacy.
Everyday life is when your walk with God is modeled for others.

3. My legacy will outlive me.
We are the product of the legacy of others, and we have the power to bless our children and future generations with the grace of God through the power of our blessings.

Discussion Questions

• What heritage have you received? Are there some aspects of it that you would like to set aside and replace? (The grace of God gives you the freedom to do that!)

• What heritage are you leaving? How are your faith and values shaping the heritage you are passing along? Every household is stating something about God

Walking With God

Noah is one of the best known biblical characters. His life teaches us how faith in God should lead to walking with God. Faith defined is believing that God will do what He says He will do. Noah’s example illustrates what faith looks like.

1. Noah’s faith led to righteousness.
2. Noah’s faith led to obedience.
3. Noah’s faith led him to worship.

Ultimately faith and obedience leads us to worship God, because He has shown himself as faithful to us.

Discuss the following questions around your table today.

• What does it mean to walk with God?
• Do you believe that God will do what he says he is going to do? Why or why not?
• What does obedience look like for you in your life?
• How has God grown your faith over the last year?

A Worthy Prayer

As Kingsland celebrated 40 years of ministry this weekend, Pastor Ryan led us to consider a worthy prayer for a loving church. Philippi was an upper middle-class community with an international flair, much like our own community. Paul’s prayer for the church at Philippi serves as a wonderful pattern of prayer for our own church.

1. A Prayer for Gratitude Despite the Circumstances | Philippians 1:3-8

Paul thanked God for the Philippian church’s participation in the gospel from the first day to the present. He expressed gratitude for all that God had done to guide the church through good times and bad. In the same way, God has faithfully guided Kingsland through good and tough seasons through the years.

• Take a moment to thank God for His faithfulness.

2. A Prayer for Protection from Compromise | Philippians 1:9-10

Paul believed the danger of compromise far outweighed the danger of physical threats to the church at Philippi. He prayed, therefore, that they would be filled with love and maintain a spirit of discernment lest they stray from the truth.

• Take a moment to ask God to give you a wise and discerning spirit and the courage to stand strong for the truth of the gospel.

3. A Prayer for a Legacy of Fruitfulness | Philippians 1:11

Paul prayed that the Philippian church would yield fruit — both in regard to personal spiritual growth and winning the lost to faith in Christ.

Kingsland is committed to a grand vision of reaching 10,000 homes in our community and beyond because we believe that homes saturated with the gospel can transform an entire generation.

• Take a moment to pray that many more would come to faith in Christ in the coming years as Kingsland continues to love our community and the nations.

As we celebrate Kingsland’s rich past, determine to embrace the future and the role that God would have you to play in living a life of gratitude, standing firm in the truth of the gospel, and contributing to a legacy of fruitfulness.

Faith vs Religion

Scripture Passage: Hebrews 11:4 | By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was approved as a righteous man, because God approved his gifts, and even though he is dead, he still speaks through his faith.

Everyone has faith but how we approach God demonstrates if we are placing our faith in religion or placing our faith in Jesus. There are significant contrasts in placing our faith in God and placing our faith in religion.

1.​ Our awareness of the problem.
Abel knew that he was in desperate need for God’s forgiveness and grace. He also knew that he could not earn God’s forgiveness through religious efforts. However, Cain didn’t recognize his desperate need for God’s forgiveness and put his faith in his own efforts.

2.​ Our perception of people.
Cain compared himself with his brother in hopes of gaining God’s approval. Abel acknowledged that he could not measure up to God’s standards and relied on God’s grace to forgive him and make him acceptable to God.

3.​ Our method of payment.
We either attempt to pay for our sins by religious efforts or rest in God’s forgiveness through the sacrifice of Jesus.

Prayer and discussion points.

1.​ Ask God to show you how you are trying to gain his forgiveness and acceptance by your own efforts.

2. ​Ask God to help you accept that you are forgiven and acceptable because of the sacrifice of Jesus.

3.​ Thank God for His great love and sacrifice for your freedom!

How Do You Please God?

Hebrews

Hebrews 11:1-7

In the book of Hebrews chapter 11 we find what is often referred to as the Hall of Faith.  There are many structures across the world that honor the legacy of men and women in sports, music and the like, and those physical locations give honor to many incredibly gifted people but today’s message was focused on an even more important group, those who have placed their faith and trust in Jesus Christ.  Faith is an action, faith is a certainty, it is a reality, it is the conviction of our hope, it is believing who God really is.  How do you please God? FAITH, It takes faith to please God.  Rooted in our God is the faith we need to trust Him.  Yes, that is right, if you lack faith, ask Him and hH will provide.  Have you placed your faith in Him and see nothing happening?  Fear not, He sees and hears your faith in Him.  Your faith is pleasing to Him and He is working out His will for your life.

With faith comes a reward!  Wow, how can you receive a reward if not for a rewarder?  The rewarder offers us an incredible reward, HIM.  Isn’t that so encouraging, our reward is God and a relationship with His son Jesus Christ.  As believers we must not shrink back in fear, no we run to God, the author and finisher of our faith.

Key to Growth: Devotion

Acts 2:41-42

Today Pastor Ryan preached on the growth of a believer. Growth always comes through devotion, and devotion always comes with love. Through falling more in love with God, our level of devotion increases, because we desire to follow Him. Today there were three ingredients to living a devoted life.

Devotion to authentic community.

  • Through coming together and having the bond of Jesus Christ, we are able to grow closer to one another.
  • We also are able to hold each other accountable.

Devotion to biblical clarity.

  • We grow when we are focused on the Word of God.
  • God reveals Himself to us through the Bible.

Devotion to persistent prayer.

  • This is a life style of desperate calling on God.
  • Inviting God in to the prayer conversation, rather than just requests.
  • Seeking His face as much as His hand.
  • Making every meeting a prayer meeting.

Through these ingredients we are able to have spiritual growth.

Questions:

  • What does the word devotion mean to you?
  • How do you walk in devotion in your everyday life?
  • What does it mean to be authentic in community?
  • What does it mean in prayer to seek God’s face rather than His hands?