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Lesson: Partnering with God

Icebreaker

What was the best “God deal” you have had in a while?

Prayer

Father, You are Jehovah Jireh. Thank You for Your provision.

Key Scripture

Deuteronomy 8:18 (NASB, emphasis added): “But you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.”

The Big Idea

How many of us would like to see more income every month? Everybody, right? Money is so important to how we live and what we experience. Jesus knew this and spoke more about money than any other topic.

God’s people throughout history have been blessed. For example, the Jews make up only .002 percent of the world’s population, but they make up 20 percent of the billionaires! God taught them provision in a barren desert after centuries of slavery. If He could convince a people in such dire circumstances that He would provide for them, what is your excuse? Let’s look at two biblical principles of money that give us the power to make wealth.

Discussion

The Jews throughout history have been an important part of the financial sector. Why do you think that is? Share with the group.

The first law is the law of source, which is God’s part of the bargain. God owns it all, and He is the source–not your employer, the government, or any person or entity. God rained down manna on His people when they needed provision. No one else can do that. As 1 Chronicles 29:11–12 (NLT) says, “Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O Lord… . Power and might are in your hand, and at your discretion people are made great and given strength.”

Discussion

When did you come to the realization that God owns it all? Share with the group.

God will provide for all your needs. He will give you sufficiency and meet your needs. “And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19 NLT).

Discussion

Have you ever had to counsel someone who was struggling financially? Were they able to heed godly counsel to improve their situation? Share with the group.

The second law is the law of covenant, which is our part. We must commit to doing things God’s way. Genesis 28:20–22 (NLT) says, “Then Jacob made this vow: If God will take care of me … I will present to God a tenth of everything he gives me.”

You have to decide if you are going to handle money the world’s way or God’s way. If you are going to do it God’s way, you have to make some important decisions. Step number one? Become a tither. If you believe it all belongs to God and He only wants 10 percent, why would you withhold that from Him? On the TV program Shark Tank, the investors refuse funding by saying, “For that reason, I am out.” Don’t have God opt out of your blessing program. Tithe!

Discussion

Has God increased your wealth since you started to tithe? Share with the group.

Application

God owns it all, and if you want Him in your financial life, commit to handling money His way.

Action Point

Turn your finances over to God this week. Commit to doing it His way. Remember, slaves in a desert became 20 percent of today’s billionaires.

For You, the Leader

  1. Instruct group members to do the following:
    • Pray for and touch base with another member before next week.
    • Invite someone to the group next week and/or to attend a church service with you.
    • Encourage someone this week.
  2. Remind the group about outreach. Find out which outreach will be taking place in the zip code closest to your group and participate. One of the greatest joys of life in Christ is serving others!
  3. What is the next step for each member of your group? Whether it is water baptism, Cultivate, or A-Team/B-Group leadership, encourage them in it. Also, encourage all members to read their Bible and pray daily.
  4. Close in prayer, asking for any specific prayer requests.
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Lesson: Reset Your Marriage

Icebreaker

Who was president when you got married?

Prayer

Thank You, Lord, that Your mercies are new every morning.

Key Scripture

Exodus 34:6–7 ESV: “The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, ‘The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in covenant love [hesed] and faithfulness, keeping covenant love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.’”

The Big Idea

God wants us to have a fresh start, a reset, in our marriage. Marriage is based on “steadfast love” or “covenant love” (hesed in the original language). A marriage covenant has two distinct parts: the legal contract of the marriage agreement and the loving connection that involves mercy, loyalty, and faithfulness. You need the legal contract side of covenant so that sentimentality and feelings do not rule the relationship, and you need the loving connection side so that your marriage does not feel like a debt or an obligation. Let’s look at this element of steadfast love, or hesed, as it relates to our spouse. Remember that marriage should mirror the love and faithfulness of the Lord.

Discussion

Many people do not value the legal contract of marriage and instead opt to live together in open sin. Why do you think that happens?

When we mirror God’s faithfulness, we respond to our spouse in love and forgiveness. Hesed in marriage declares the following:

Merciful—“I will show you compassion when you are at your lowest point.” Gracious—“I will be generous and give to you whatever you need, even if you don’t deserve it.”

Discussion

Who shows the most mercy in your marriage: you or your spouse? Share with the group.

Slow to anger—“I will have infinite patience with you, giving you time for God to change you.” Steadfast love—”I will be devoted to you for the rest of our lives, regardless of what we go through.” Faithfulness—“I will be loyal to you and never bring my affection to an outsider.”

Discussion

Are you easy to approach to receive the loyal affection of your spouse? Share with the group.

Forgive and forget all the retained memories that you hold on to in your mind: the words spoken, the disappointments, the times your spouse was not there for you, the times they failed you spiritually, financially, or even morally.

Discussion

Why should a disappointed spouse put steadfast love, or hesed, above their own personal feelings? Share with the group.

Application

Everyone fails in marriage. We are frail and human, but through Christ we can forgive and show steadfast love, preserving our marriage covenant. You can have a reset with your spouse only if you have a reset with Lord. Anything is possible with the Lord.

Action Point

Let mercy be your default response this week. Let your judge and jury take the week off. Be slow to anger, and value loyalty as your highest goal.

For You, the Leader

  1. Instruct group members to do the following:
    • Pray for and touch base with another member before next week.
    • Invite someone to the group next week and/or to attend a church service with you.
    • Encourage someone this week.
  2. Remind the group:

Bethany Men’s night- Feb. 18 @ 5 PM at our South Campus.

Ladie’s Talk- Wednesday 6:30 pm South campus

Lesson: Building Your Marriage With Words

Icebreaker

What is the most uplifting thing your spouse has ever told you? (For singles, a parent, coach, or sibling)

Prayer

Lord, teach us to build up others with our words.

Key Scripture

Proverbs 18:20–22 (NLT): “Wise words satisfy like a good meal; the right words bring satisfaction. The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences. The man who finds a wife finds a treasure, and he receives favor from the Lord.”

The Big Idea

Your marriage will never rise above the level of your mouth. God’s words are so powerful that He creates galaxies when He speaks. Created in His image, we too have tremendous spiritual authority and must consider the the power of our words. They can be very creative, or they can be very destructive.

In the passage from Proverbs, God describes the fruit of our lips as being productive and satisfying. Then the goodness of marriage is discussed. This is not a coincidence. Our words have a powerful effect on our marriages.

Matthew 12:35–37 (NLT) says, “A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak. The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you.”

Discussion

We will be judged for every idle word we speak. Do you feel confident that you are growing in control of your tongue, or do you lack control of your words? Share with the group.

Words are like seeds.

You will reap what you sow. In fact, you will reap more than what you sow. A farmer throws out a few seeds but brings in bushels of harvest. That can be a little scary, because if you sow poisonous words, you will reap a poisonous harvest.

There may be a delay between sowing and reaping, but the harvest is inevitable. Harsh words do not disappear but tend to linger. We must repent of them and put them under the blood of Jesus.

Discussion

Are your words mostly edifying, or have you developed the bad habit of sowing bad seeds? What are you trying to build with your spouse? Share with the group.

The desert of love—NO COMMUNICATION

Communication is the oxygen of marriage. Are you and your spouse suffocating? A man may feel that he is naturally quiet natured, but that is not an excuse not to have conversation with his wife. Sometimes men are selfish or lazy and do not want to put out the effort to engage in meaningful conversation. On the other hand, women can clam up because of abuse or neglect. They may begin filling their communication needs by seeking the companionship of others. Sometimes women simply give up.

Let’s look at how we can start communicating better in marriage. First, look into your spouse’s eyes when he or she speaks. This will help you focus and not tune out your spouse. Next, open your ears and listen. Finally, open your mouth and speak. If you think you have nothing to say, begin by encouraging your partner.

Discussion

How would you rate the communication level in your marriage? If asked, how would your spouse answer the same question? Do you think your spouse is satisfied, or does it feel like a desert to him or her? Share with the group.

The thornbush of love—BAD COMMUNICATION

Now let’s look at the fruits of bad communication. We must avoid sarcasm, which uses irony to mock or convey contempt. Also, never demean your spouse, causing him or her to lose dignity and respect. These are love-busters that make huge withdrawals from your spouse’s love bank. It is better to live in a garden of love where you praise your spouse.

Application

Make a commitment today to improve the positivity of your words. Eliminate critical and harsh words. Don’t create a desert in your marriage because you refuse to have meaningful conversations.

Action Point

Repent of harsh words. Begin to praise your spouse. Your partner will become powerful and beautiful.

For You, the Leader

Encourage members of the group to register and attend the XO marriage conference on February 8–9.

B-Group Resources

B-Group Handbook

Lessons

B-Group Information

If your B-Group information changes at any point during a semester, please update us.

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“Thank God for men and women being joined together in marriage!”
—-Jonathan Stockstill “Looking for Love, Like 1-2-3”