God On The Move V – Interactive Review
Wifi Connection. Many of us use the internet on a daily basis and we recognize this symbol. It means we are connected. Somewhere in our house or in the coffeehouse, the router is working well, and at full strength. We like being connected, we feel like we are part of something that is bigger than us. When people visit, they ask for the password so that they too can get connected. At the click of the mouse, we can connect to people across the world or get information (be it fact or fake news!). We tend to get frustrated when the internet isn’t working properly or slow or down.
When we live connected to God, we are part of something bigger. We have full strength and the Truth, always available to us. We also have a connection to God that is changing the ways the world could function, and an eternal perspective. This is what it means to live connected to God! We have days when our signal is low, true. But how beautiful it is that we connect to Him and He fills us with His strength.
In Genesis 26, we learned about how Isaac lived in the land connected to God and connected to his neighbour King Abimelek. Take the time to read the story again, pay extra attention to the outcome with King Abimelek.
How did Isaac’s connection to God impact his relationship with his neighbour?
Consider first the ways you are connected to God:
What does it look like for you to be connected to God?
What if lived in “full strength” connection to God?
How would that change the ways others connect to God?
Secondly, consider the ways you live connecting others to God. Who is picking up your signal?
What does your “signal” look like these days?
If you could change something about your “signal”, what would it be?
We recognize this as the “walk” symbol. It helps us know when to cross the street safely. Just like the symbol shows us when to walk, we trust God that He is leading us in our lives. We desire to walk in His best for us which is walking blamelessly and faithfully in Him and with Him.
Read Genesis 12:1-9
What does God tell Abram (later Abraham) to do?
What does Abram do? Where does he go?
What did he do when he got to where he was supposed to be?
We often speak of Abram/Abraham’s story as one where he hears God and he obeys God. He is known as one who lived a life in obedience to God.
What other biblical stories does this remind you of? Any examples of when others didn’t obey?
When we cross the street, we can see the other side. But often in our faith journey with God, we can’t see what is ahead of us. Sometimes it feels as if God is only showing us a little bit at a time, more akin to driving in the fog.
What happens when God is showing you to walk but you can’t see the other side?
How does that challenge your faith?
What are some challenges we face when we choose to live a life walking with God?
What does it look like for you to live a life of obedience to God?
What spiritual practices to do have in your life that lead you to abide in Him and live before Him blamelessly and faithfully?
What does this look like in the church (a group of believers)?
What could be some challenges as we walk together discerning His leading?
What are some ways that God could be inviting us to move together?
Conclude with prayer for each other.
This is the “restart” or “revise” symbol; it is akin to the “refresh” button on the top of our search engines. We click it when we need to “refresh” the page. Sometimes we have these moments in our journey when we need to restart, or refresh; when God is redirecting us to something different.
In the story of Jacob, Genesis 35:1-7, how did God “refresh” or “restart” Jacob?
What did God ask him to do?
How did this moment impact some future decisions he made? How did it change who he was?
How was worship part of that moment?
What other biblical stories reflect this concept of “refresh” or “restart” or when God “re-ignites” a purity of heart in His people?
Take time to read Ezra 10 as a group.
How does the spiritual practice of confession impact one’s moment of “re-start”?
How does it change the hearts of the people?
1 John 1:8-9 writes: “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
God invites us to confession; confession is very much a way of us expressing that we desire to “re-start” or “re-direct” our lives toward His Truth, His Way, and His Life.
Take the time to consider the spiritual practice of confession in your own life. Meditate on these verses:
“Search me, God and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way of everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24)
Conclude with prayer for each other.
This is the “Compass” symbol. We learn that the magnetic attraction is to due North. There are four main directions: North, East, South, West with others between. Let’s consider for a moment this idea that God is our “Due North”; He will lead us according to His good plan. His good plan is for us to be in Him, trusting Him, abiding Him, and moving in Him.
Genesis 12-14 tells us the story of Abram (Abraham), his call, and the ways God leads him to a certain geographical land. In chapter 13, Abram and his nephew Lot choose to go in separate directions. Abram went to a place called Hebron; Lot went to the area near Sodom. In Genesis 15, God makes a covenant with Abram, speaking to him in a vision:
“Do not be afraid, Abram.I am your shield, your very great reward.” (vs. 1)
In chapter 17, God appears again to him:
“I am the God Almighty; walk before me and faithfully and be blameless.
Then I will make my covenant between me and you And will greatly increase your numbers.” (vs. 1-2)
How did these moments of interaction between Abram and God set Abram on “the right course”?
In which ways did Abram pursue a live a life that was faithful and blameless before God?
When does it seem like he is off doing his own thing?
When Abram did falter, how did God give Abram the opportunity to set on the right course again?
What does this say about who God is?
Consider your life as a compass and your heart set on God:
What are some ways that you have followed God’s leading in the past?
What are some spiritual practices that help you position your life compass on God?
What are some challenges?
What ways that you trust Him, abide in Him and move in Him, pursuing a life of Holiness?
How might you be part of others’ life compasses?
Conclude with prayer for each other.
This is the universal sign for “Turn Around”, or a permissible opportunity for a U-turn. Either way, it sign that we are going in the “wrong direction” and we need to turn around either for our safety or for our wellbeing. Often, in our walk with Jesus, there are moments that we need to turn around (repentance or forgiveness); those times when we were walking away from Jesus and choosing not to walk toward Him.
Jacob lived a life of deceit. He tricked his father Isaac into giving him his brother’s blessing (Esau, his brother was older and rightful heir). He bartered with his brother Esau into giving him Esau’s birthright for stew. Needless to say, Esau was furious with Jacob when he found all this out (Gen.27 & 28). Jacob ran away for his safety. But there is a time when Jacob makes amends with his brother Esau (Gen.33); he sought forgiveness.
When Jesus announces the Good News he says: “The time has come, the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news.” (Mark 1:15)
Repentance is the change in the direction of our heart’s desires. Seeking forgiveness from God and from others because of the sins (habits, behaviours, etc that are unholy) is the first step to changing direction. God invites us to a life of confession and repentance; a life that is dedicated to living a holy life for Him and with Him and in the direction that He leads.
Take the time to consider your heart’s direction and your heart’s desires. Sit before God quietly and ask Him to show you if you need to “turn around” or repent of certain choices and behaviours in your life.
In which areas of your life are you pursuing things that are not holy or not of God?
Is there anyone you need to seek forgiveness from? Is there anyone you need to ask for forgiveness?
What is God inviting you to in your next steps? What could be some challenges ahead?
Conclude with prayer for each other.
We’ve seen this symbol when we go to cross the street. It is a universal symbol for pedestrians to “Stop” and not cross the street. It is for your safety, the safety of the drivers in oncoming vehicles, for the overall well-being of everyone at the intersection. In this series of “God on the Move”, God tells people to go and sometimes tells his people to stop in one place for a while. In Genesis 26, God appears to Isaac and tells him about where He wants Isaac. Read Genesis 26.
Discuss the following questions:
What are your initial observations of this text?
What does God say to Isaac? & what is Isaac’s response?
What does Isaac do in the Valley of Gerar?
What do you think is the significance of this text in the greater narrative of Genesis?
While God does tell Isaac to stay in the Valley of Gerar, Isaac still ends up moving around the valley. Why do you think this is?
What other biblical stories does this story remind you of?
God is in our moving and God is in our “stopping”. For Isaac, God invited him to a geographical place in the Valley of Gerar because of the famine in the land. Isaac moved around in the valley and dug wells for water for his family and livestock. For us today, God might be inviting us, not so much to a geographical location, but perhaps a spiritual/emotional/intellectual “stopping” for our safety and for our wellbeing or even the wellbeing of our neighbours. God might be inviting us to dig deep and enjoy a time of rest.
Has you ever experienced a time when God invited you to “stop” and “stay a while”?
What was your response to God when he invited you to “stop”?
In which ways is God inviting you to experience a moment of peace, or to worship Him, or to a time of flourishing in your relationship with Him?
When do you stop to “dig your well” deep in God throughout the week? What does that look like?
How might we be attentive to God inviting us to stop and stay a while throughout the week?
Conclude with prayer for each other. Provided “A Prayer for Rest”.
We know this symbol as the “Speaking Bubble” image. It is common in comics, indicating that a character is speaking to another character. Throughout the entire Bible, God speaks. To many, it is quite audible, physical, and tangible. In this series, we have investigated some moments of when God appears and speaks to Abraham (Gen. 12), Isaac (Gen. 26), and Jacob (Gen. 32). But He doesn’t appear or speak audibly to Joseph the same way. God does give Joseph dreams and the ability to interpret dreams (Gen. 37; 40; 41). God speaks to us today, and to each one of us differently. There are some common ways that God speaks today. We call this “Revelation”, or the ways God reveals Himself to us. These would be: God speaks through His Word, through His Son Jesus Christ, through Nature and Creation, through other believers, through music, through circumstances, through His Spirit, through Prayer. He will never contradict His Word. He reveals His Character and His Characteristics. He wants to speak to us. He wants us to know Him more.
A few questions to consider and to share with each other:
Have you ever experienced God speaking to you? How would you describe that experience?
In what ways, did it affect your decisions?
For some of us, prayer is us talking to God. We don’t take the time to listen to Him. Prayer is communion with God, and our listening skills are essential to our obedience. The question always remains: Are we listening? And further to that: How are we listening?
What are some ways you take the time to listen to God in your daily life?
What is God inviting you to in your listening?
What are some challenges you might have listening to God?
In this moment, be still before Him, take time to meditate on these scriptures and tune your ears to what He wants to say to you today and in the days ahead: Lam. 3:25-26; Psalm 139:17-18; Psalm 119:78)
Conclude with prayer for each other and that we would wait to listen to God first in our lives.
A Prayer for Rest
This world seems to move faster and faster
And I’m trying to keep up.
But God, in the whirlwind,
Instead I get caught up.
Like the unbeatable force it pulls me in
But I know eventually I cannot win.
I must learn to rest in your perfect peace
And though good, let all endeavours cease.
Oh that my feet would mimic your pace.
So your joy would be set on my face.
Help me, Jesus, to slow down when you would.
Help me, Lord, to rest as I should.
Thank you for loving me just as I am.
Thank you that rest is part of your plan.
~ Rachel Wojo