The Path of Life
Do you know someone who is in need? What could be done to meet that need?
Thank You, Lord, that You put our feet on the path of life.
“You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence” (Acts 2:28 ESV).
“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers… . And they were selling their possessions and belongings and sharing the proceeds with all, as any had need” (Acts 2:42, 45 ESV, emphasis added).
Raising our hand to be saved is not the end of our spiritual journey, but only the beginning. The real joy comes when serving the Lord becomes our lifestyle. Being on the path of life brings enjoyment because we are in love with the things of God.
The things that we love and enjoy we become devoted to. Nobody has to prod us to engage in our favorite activities, because we are fascinated by them. The path of following the Lord can become the joy of our lives because of the level of joy found in His presence.
The only way to change a bad habit is through pain, and the best way to establish a good habit is through reward. In the same way that we exercise physically, we can exercise our spirit man by spending time in God’s Word and presence. As we form good habits on the path of life, part of the reward is the pleasure we experience in the presence of the Lord.
Have you ever felt pleasure while spending time with the Lord? Share with the group.
Bible reading is key to experiencing joy in the presence of God and to hearing specific words from Him. Something will jump off the page and speak volumes to your spirit man.
When did you develop the habit of daily Bible reading? Share the change it made in your life.
Fellowship needs to be a regular part of our calendar. The Bible assumes we will be part of a local church. Many New Testament scriptures emphasize the importance of being in fellowship both in homes and in church.
How do you feel when you get together with other believers? What reward of fellowship have you personally experienced?
We need to pray on track. Because our attention span is so short, it is helpful to have a specific track to pray through. The Lord’s Prayer, for example, takes us through an outline to order our thoughts as we pray.
Important points in prayer are worship: singing psalms, worshiping God in His glory; repentance: examining our hearts and minds and receiving cleansing; infilling: inviting the Holy Spirit to empower us; and petition: asking God to bless and help our families, friends, and leaders.
Are you satisfied with your prayer life? What track do you follow, and how does it help you?
When a believer finds his enjoyment and recreation in the things of God, he is safe on the path of life. Don’t sit on the fence and live a wishy-washy life. Get into God’s presence and train your spirit man to derive pleasure there.
This week, read the Bible with a plan and pray on a specific track as Pastor Larry described. Allow your enjoyment to start in God’s presence and end in fellowship with other believers.
What did you and your family eat for Easter?
Thank You, Father, for bringing people across our paths.
John 4:6–7 NLT: “Jesus, tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well about noontime. Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, ‘Please give me a drink.’”
John 4:28–29 NLT: “The woman left her water jar beside the well and ran back to the village, telling everyone, ‘Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could he possibly be the Messiah?’”
Could it be that you are not as much a people person as you think you are? Have you ever felt like you don’t have a moment’s peace because people constantly interrupt and talk to you? God, however, loves people nonstop. As God’s people, we need to be like Him, aware of those He places in our paths, Don’t cop out on ministry opportunities by saying, “I’m just not a people person,” or “That’s not how I’m wired.” Jesus never used excuses to avoid ministry, and neither should we. Even though He was very tired, He ministered to the Samaritan woman and thus changed her life. In this lesson, let’s look at three ways to accomplish God’s mission of bringing all people into His kingdom.
Do you consider yourself a people person or are you more task oriented? What are the strengths and weaknesses of each position?
Jesus crossed cultural taboos by asking the woman at the well for a drink. He could have gotten His own water, but He wanted to strike up a conversation with her. Although He had grown up in a culture that frowned upon such interactions, He looked beyond the fact that she was a Samaritan. For many of us today, there is a tendency to guard against compassion because we feel we are frequently taken advantage of.
Have you ever struggled to see people with compassion because of the sector of society they come from? What helped you to change your preconceived ideas? Share with the group.
Jesus used a very straightforward approach with the woman. He did not pull any punches, but boldly shared a word of knowledge about her life of sin. She then went and told her entire village to “come see a man.” She was bringing people to the Lord before she herself was converted! Don’t let the devil convince you that you should keep your walk with the Lord to yourself. Share it often and share it boldly.
Has God ever used you to invite others to come to Him? What is your most effective “pickup line” that you use when sharing with others?
We accomplish God’s mission by sharing what the Lord has done in our lives. If we can go on and on about a great restaurant experience, why can’t we go on and on about our church and what Jesus has done for us? Your testimony is the best sermon you will ever preach. Tell others three things: (1) who you were, (2) what God has done for you, and (3) where you are now.
Have you gotten better at sharing your testimony in a timely fashion? What has helped you grow in this area?
Peter needed the assistance of others to bring in the miraculous catch. Similarly, we are not meant to walk this Christian life alone. Don’t isolate yourself from your brothers and sisters in Christ; this is where discouragement happens. Join a team to accomplish the task of bringing in all people to the kingdom.
Sometimes you have to press through and extend yourself to others even when you don’t feel like it. In those times, be compassionate, and share what has happened in your life.
Practice telling your story in a 90-second version, sharing who you were, what God has done for you, and where you are now. Ask someone this week, “Where are you planning on going to church this weekend?” Then invite them to Bethany in the same way you would rave about an exceptional restaurant experience.
If you had to grow only one vegetable and one fruit for the rest of your life, what would they be? (You are not allowed to buy any other fruits or vegetables at the store.)
Thank You, Father, for our lives and the potential You’ve placed in each one of us.
Psalm 33:11 NIV: “ But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.”
Since the fall of Adam and Eve and throughout the Old Testament, God promised a Seed that would bless all nations and defeat the curse of death. That Seed was brought to fruition in Jesus Christ, who died and rose again, bringing redemption to all mankind.
When we understand the power of a seed, it will change our lives. We all have seeds to sow, and we must be strategic about doing that.
To understand the power of a seed in your life, you must first recognize that your seed consists of your words, example, sacrifice, and yourself. The seeds you are sowing may be either good or bad, encouraging or discouraging.
Tell of a time this past week that you used your words to sow a good or encouraging seed.
Second, realize that you must be strategic about planting your seed in good soil. Good seed that isn’t planted in good soil is worthless. Plant your life in good soil–friends, church, job. (Read Galatians 6:8.)
What are some ways we can sow in the Spirit instead of sowing in the flesh? Share a specific time when you did this and reaped a good result.
Third, you must be strategic in stewardship; that is, you must tend the seeds you plant in good soil in order to reap the harvest. Spending time discipling your children and other followers of Christ is an example of how you can be strategic in stewardship. (Read John 14:16–18.)
Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to steward us in our walk with Him. How can we be good stewards in the lives of our family, friends, and coworkers?
Being strategic in sowing your seed (your words, time, etc.) in good soil and tending to those seeds (stewardship) will result in reaping a great harvest!
In our daily lives, we have opportunities to sow seeds of the gospel by praying with people, sharing a scripture, and providing an example of how to respond to a difficult situation. Make a deliberate choice this week to sow these seeds.
In the parable of the sower, Jesus identified the seed as the Word of God (Luke 8:11). Make it a point this week to share an encouraging scripture with your spouse, coworker, or friend.
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