The Opportunity of the Storm

Scripture Passage: Matthew 14:22-33

Retell the story or act out the story with different family members taking a role, i.e. Peter, Disciples, Jesus, someone responsible for sound effects

• What was the problem that the disciples had?

• Where was Jesus when they had the problem?

• What did Jesus do?

• What did Peter do?

• What happened when Peter took his eyes off Jesus?

• Why did he take his eyes off Jesus?

• What did Jesus do?

• What did the disciples realize when Jesus brought Peter into the boat?

Practical Application

• When have you been afraid?

• What or who helped you not be afraid?

• What can we learn from “storms?”

• What can we learn about God in “storms?”

A Current Event

• Talk about our present storm (COVID-19)

• What do we know about it?

• How does it make you feel?

• What can we do?

• From our Bible story and past experiences, how can we apply what we have learned to our present challenge?

• Where is Jesus in our present circumstances?

The Dangers of a Hurried Life

Unhurried Life

Scripture Passage: Matthew 11:28-30

Dallas Willard – “Hurry is the greatest enemy of spiritual life in our day.”

We live in a time where being busy is viewed as a good thing. The sermon today focused on three reasons that living a hurried life is dangerous.

1. Hurry Redirects Our Worship

Jesus invites us in Matthew 11:28 to “come to me”. Jesus invites all who are wearied and burdened to come to Him for rest. That implies that we need to step out of being wearied and burdened. Whatever takes up our time is what we worship. While working hard is a good thing, it can replace Jesus if we aren’t careful.

2. Hurry Reinforces our Worry

When we live in a state of continual hurry, we may be trying to feel needed. We may be trying to feel good enough. Living in a hurried state may reveal that we don’t trust God to take care of us and we need to work harder to take care of ourselves.

3. Hurry Results in Wreckage

Jesus calls us to love God and others. Love can’t be done in a hurry. Love takes time. Alan Fadlings states, “For many of us the great danger is not that we will renounce our faith. It is that we will become so distracted and rushed and preoccupied that we settle for a mediocre version of our life.”  God promises us a life of abundance if we will rest in Him.

Discussion Questions:

  • Evaluate your schedule. Is there room for God to move in your life and space for you to hear his voice?
  • Is your life too hurried? What can you cut to make room to rest?

Blessed Are the Pure In Heart

Scripture Passage: Matthew 5:8

The message of Jesus in the Beatitudes is that we should yield to God’s agenda. There is incredible power and influence when we live according to the teachings of Jesus in the Beatitudes. In Matthew 5:8, Jesus said that the pure in heart will see God. Every believer can be truly happy by making three essential choices called for in this passage.

1. I Must Choose Devotion Over Division



Purity is not about sinlessness, although it will certainly lead us to sin less. Purity is not about checking off a list of things we should not do. The word “purity” means clean, innocent, or unstained. The point of purity is total and undivided devotion.

Is there anything in your life that you have allowed to keep you from undivided devotion to God? What steps can you take to move toward greater devotion to God?

2. I Must Choose Motivation Over Obligation

The word “heart” in the passage refers to the center of our spiritual life. The heart is the seat of thoughts, passions, desires, affections, and purposes. It is easy for us to hide an impure or divided heart. Jesus once referred to the Pharisees as whitewashed tombs — beautiful on the outside but filled with death on the inside (Matthew 23:27-28).

In what ways have you tried to white wash the exterior of your life? What steps can you take to give God access to every part of your heart?

3. I Must Choose Focusing on God Over Focusing on Me

The pure in heart will see God. To “see” means to perceive or know. To see God means that when our hearts are devoted to Him we begin to live in His presence. We are able to see God more and more clearly with our spiritual eyes. We know Him more and enjoy fellowship with Him.


What steps can you take to focus more on God, to keep your eyes fixed on Him? How will seeing God more clearly help you in your daily walk?

The Peacemakers

Scripture Passage: Matthew 5:9

What does it mean to be peacemaker? Think back for a moment to the Christmas story. What did the angles proclaim in Luke 2:14?

Peace in the biblical sense is harmony that brings “warring parties” together to enjoy the full benefits of one another.

How hard is it to be peacemaker? Why?

Look up a couple of these verses on peace and ask what is God telling us?
• 2 Timothy 2:22
• 1 Peter 3:11
• 1 Corinthians 7:15b
• Romans 12:18
• Hebrews 12:14
• James 3:18.

Read together Ephesians 2:14-21 to learn 3 markers of a peacemaker:

1. Peacemakers move toward the conflict, not away. What did Jesus do in verse 17?

2. Peacemakers identify and remove barriers. Discuss what Jesus did in verse 14.

3. Peacemakers recognize that real peace is not of this world. What do verse 16 and 18 reveal about real peace?

Practical Application:

• Mom & Dad – How can you be a peacemaker in your marriage/home?

• Kids – Think about your last fight with your friend or brother/sister. What could you have done differently?

• Pray to have peace with God and to be a peacemaker.

Forgiveness

Scripture Passage: Matthew 5:7 and 18: 21-35

Forgiveness isn’t a suggestion God gives us. It’s an obligation for believers. So how do we forgive and why?

In the Parable of the Unfaithful Servant, we see forgiveness practiced. The servant that owed much was forgiven but then didn’t forgive someone else of a much smaller debt. How do we practice extraordinary forgiveness?

1. My Opportunity to Receive Mercy | The man forgiven of the immense debt is an example of the sin debt we can’t possibly pay on our own. God forgives us when there is no way for us to pay.

2. My Opportunity to Offer Mercy | If we don’t forgive others much smaller debts, our salvation isn’t at risk, but we are putting ourselves in a prison of bitterness and pain.

God tells us to forgive others, but how do we do it?

Identify | We must identify in what way we perceive we were wronged and what we feel we are owed. Write it down and be honest with yourself.

Love | We must look past the fault and see the other person’s need. We are undeserving of God’s forgiveness, but He sees our need and loves us anyway.

Surrender | We must release the debt we deserve.

Forgive | Forgiveness is passing along the owed payment to God.

There are no shortcuts to quality. Forgiveness is hard work, but God asks it of us and He will give us the strength to succeed.

Discussion Questions: 

• How have you been wronged and whom do you need to forgive? What steps can you take today? 

• Who has forgiven you when you didn’t deserve it? 

• How can you seek to forgive someone that hasn’t asked for forgiveness? 

• Discuss times you may have unintentionally hurt someone. Have you asked for forgiveness? 

Happiness is Humble

Scripture Passage: Matthew 5:5

Many people associate happiness and success with strength, confidence, self-assurance, survival of the fittest, conquest, and power. In contrast, happiness and success, as defined by Christ, is found in humility.

One writer precisely described humility as “… an internal characteristic is a disposition of heart, which through the keen perception of its own misery and the abounding mercy of God, has become so pliant, gentle, mild, flexible, and tractable, that no trace of its original ruggedness, of its wild and untamed nature even remains.”

When Jesus said, “blessed are the humble” He was referencing Psalm 37:11, explaining the practicality in the pursuit for humility. There are at least four key components to it:

1. Trust the Lord. God knows what He is doing. If something is outside our grasp, we shouldn’t allow ourselves to sin just to try to get hold of it. And if something is slipping away, we shouldn’t sin to hold on.

2. Take Delight in the Lord. This requires us to shift our focus away from the good things God created for us to enjoy but which were never designed to bring true fulfillment and shift it towards God. He is the only source of true fulfillment.

3. Commit Your Ways to the Lord. The essence of humility means to “trust God to set the path and determine the destination.” It is submitting your dreams and desire to God and trusting Him to direct your life in the best possible direction.

4. Rest in the Lord. Stop striving, stop thinking that you can do it on your own. Do what you can, with what you have, where you are, then sit back and let God be God.

Discussion

• How do you feel when things are getting out of your control? Do you really trust the Lord?

• Are you willing to shift your focus to God? What are some ways that you can delight in the Lord?

• Do you dare to submit your dreams and desires to Him?

• How does your soul respond to “rest”? Are you resting in Him?

Happiness is Sorrowful

Scripture Passage: Matthew 5:1-4

Grief is a surprising path God can create to happiness. There are times when God invites us to grieve; we can experience the power of mourning by recognizing the implications of grief found in Matthew 5:4.

1. Grief is a choice. | We often try to avoid grief, but grief is God’s tool for getting us through transitions in life. Grief takes time and we don’t get over grief, we get through grief. Grief is a season, not a day.

2. Grief is the path to comfort. | If we want comfort, we must mourn. If we don’t learn to grieve, we’ll end up managing the pain in unhealthy ways.

3. Grief is designed for community. | We are to carry one another’s burdens. Throughout the Bible are examples of people grieving in community. And not only do people grieve with us, God grieves with us.

Discuss:

• In what ways have you been comforted in community during a time of mourning?

• What are some ways that you can see mourning leads to happiness?

• What is a loss you haven’t grieved over?

• How can you have the courage to lament over that loss this week?

Happiness

Scripture Passage: Matthew 5:1-5

You will be happy when you realize the two secrets of happiness.

1. Happiness is a by-product of surrender.  

People pursue happiness through acquisitions, enlightenment, and acceptance. Instead, happiness comes from giving up that individual pursuit and depending on God.

2. Happiness is a by-product of holiness.  

Holiness means to be set apart. You are supposed to be different. There are two critical steps we must take in response to this invitation to happiness through holiness.

A. Embrace the call to holy living. Stop buying the enemy’s lies about the glory, excitement or relief of ignoring God’s law and set your mind on the good things of God.

B. Understand your standing in Jesus. Until you realize you are spiritually bankrupt, you will not be happy. But when you realize you are, you have access to the Kingdom.

Stop chasing happiness. Pursue brokenness. Pursue Jesus.

Discussion Questions 

• What are you pursuing to make you happy? 

• Why is it hard to pursue brokenness?  

• What can you do today to pursue Jesus instead of happiness?

Study the Bible

The Bible is the story of God’s kingdom unfolding in our midst. It is the treasure map to finding where God is and what he is up to. If you seek Him, He promises you will find Him. And when you find Him, joy will overwhelm you.

Discuss: “What is the Bible?”

• Look at the table of contents of your Bible: How many books are in the Bible?
• How many are in the Old Testament? New Testament?
• What is the difference?

Old Testament

• The Old Testament is summarized in one word, Israel.

4 basic sections of the Old Testament

• Torah: Genesis – Deuteronomy
• History: Joshua – Esther
• Writings: Job – Song of Songs
• Prophets: Major (Isaiah – Daniel) and Minor (Hosea – Malachi)

New Testament

• The New Testament is summarized in one word, Jesus.

4 basic sections of the New Testament

• Gospels: Matthew – John
• History: Acts
• Letters: Paul (Roman – Philemon) and GHeneral
• Revelation

Why study the Bible?

• To know God’s voice. Read John 10:27 and Hebrews 1:1-2. What do these verses teach us?

• To know God’s will. Read James 2:19 and 1:22-26. What do these verses teach us about knowing God’s will?

• To know God’s blessing. Read Psalm 1:1-3. What are some of the benefits (blessings)?

Check out the Kingsland App for some tools to help you get started.

Discuss with one another your favorite Bible stories: tell them in your own words, what you like about them, what they tell you about God, and what they say about you.

Aaron’s Blessing

Scripture Passage: Numbers 6: 24-26

Aaron’s blessing in Numbers 6 shows us how we can experience God’s blessing in 2020. This blessing was said at the end of every tabernacle service to send the people out into the world and into their families with a new beginning. As we are “sent out” into a new year, this blessing connects us to God and helps us to bless others as well.

1. We receive blessing through God delighting in us.
God made you and decided, from the beginning, that it was good. He wants to have a relationship with you that is intimate and genuine.

2. We receive blessing through God’s provision.
God not only delights in and wants the best for you, but He is committed with all of His power to achieving what’s best for you. He is willing to the pay the price, even if that’s the death of His own Son, to bring about what is best for you.

3. We receive blessing through the family.
When we enter into relationship with God, He makes us part of His family. Maintaining that relationship with the Father is the most important way to receive the blessing of His family.

Families are so important whether they be your physical or spiritual family, which is why Kingsland is passionate about the family. We received His blessing, now we can be a blessing within our families, within our communities, and to those who may not know God.

Discussion:

• Where do you feel like you struggle when it comes to receiving God’s blessing and becoming a blessing to others?

• Are you prepared to GO where God leads you, out of your comfort zone, to share the love of God to others?

• Are you prepared to GATHER in biblical community on a consistent basis – and to commit to others at Kingsland as you invest your life in theirs?

• Are you prepared to BLESS those in your household – to be committed to being a physical representative of the blessing of God to your own family?

• Are you prepared to REST in Jesus – to invest time every day to a personal relationship with the God who loves you?