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Lesson: The Greatest Showman

Icebreaker

Do you remember the first movie you ever saw? What was it, and what did you like about it?

Prayer

Father God, use us as broken vessels.

Key Scripture

Philippians 2:3–4 NLT: “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.”

The Big Idea

The greatest showman, P. T. Barnum, was a world-renowned circus man. He grew up poor, the son of a tailor. He wanted to prove to the world that he had what it takes to be somebody. He constantly tried to overcome his low birth status and sought people’s approval to validate his worth. He craved success so badly that he even committed fraud to obtain a loan to start his first show.

Discussion

Have you ever known people who wore masks in order to portray themselves as something they were not? Share with the group.

Barnum contracted strange acts for a human freak show; however, he took advantage of his performers and only saw them as a means to an end. As he climbed the social ladder, he continued to use the people around him. In the book of Genesis, Jacob masqueraded to get what he wanted. He deceived his father to get the blessing by pretending to be his brother, Esau. He was not concerned with whomever he hurt as long as it benefited him.

Discussion

How did you feel when Barnum shut the door in the the circus actors’ faces, excluding them from his new social circle? Share with the group.

Barnum then went on to disappoint his wife as he got caught up in a scandalous relationship as he traveled the country with singer Jenny Lind. He was desperate to achieve the social status that an opera singer could bring him. The scandal made the papers, his wife left him, and his theater burned to the ground, leaving Barnum with nothing.

Discussion

What life lesson did Barnum learn through brokenness? Have you ever experienced brokenness in your life? What did you learn from it? Share with the group.

Like Jacob, who wrestled with God in his moment of brokenness, Barnum came to his senses and realized what he had done. He apologized to his wife, and they got back together. He restarted his circus in a tent, and the rest is history.

Application

Masquerading as something you are not is not necessary when you recognize who you are in Christ. Barnum, like Jacob, hit rock bottom before he turned his life around. Be yourself, and value others around you. Don’t use people as a means to achieve your personal goals.

Action Point

Take the mask off and live authentically! Consider others as better than yourself. Allow brokenness to build your character and draw you closer to God. Remember Psalm 51:16–17 NLT: “You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one. You do not want a burnt offering. The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.”

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: Bethany Film Fest Lion

Icebreaker

What is your favorite movie?

Prayer

Lord, thank You for searching for and finding us when we were lost.

Key Scripture

Isaiah 57:10 NLT: “You grew weary in your search, but you never gave up. Desire gave you renewed strength, and you did not grow weary.”

The Big Idea

In our movie, “Lion,” little Saroo got lost thousands of miles from his home in India. Helpless, he had to fend for himself for weeks before he finally was adopted by an Australian family. Decades later, he began searching for his hometown on Google Earth for hours every day. Saroo searched and never gave up, eventually finding his hometown.

Jesus told a story about three desperate searches. The first was about a woman who lost a coin and swept the house in order to find it. Then He talked about a shepherd who left the 99 to find the one missing sheep. Finally, He told a story of a son who ran away and was lost to his father.

Ezekiel 34:5 (NLT) says, “So my sheep have been scattered without a shepherd, and they are easy prey for any wild animal.” God is searching for you. Just like in the movie we watched, the God you are desperately searching for is also searching for you!

Discussion

What did you feel in your heart when you saw that small boy stranded and lost on the streets? Do you feel compassion for the Father as so many of His children remain lost to Him? Share with the group.

Like the older Saroo, many in life are searching for the meaning of life. Saroo scoured the Internet for thousands of hours until he found the train station in India where he became lost.

Discussion

What question are you searching for an answer to? Are you struggling in a relationship? Are there questions that your future holds that perplex you? Share with the group.

The adoption of Saroo is very similar to our adoption into God’s family when we were lost and helpless. Thank God that someone had compassion on Saroo and brought him to the authorities for help. The new family demonstrated much kindness to Saroo, raising him in wonderful circumstances that afforded him many privileged opportunities.

Discussion

Who was instrumental in your search in finding your way to God? Share with the group.

What a touching moment when Saroo was finally reunited with his long-lost mother and sister! The three of them embraced after many years apart. In like fashion, there is nothing more fulfilling than helping a lost individual make their way home to the welcoming arms of Father God. Imagine the reunion that awaits us in heaven, especially with individuals that we were uncertain of.

Application

Saroo represents each one of us desperately searching for God and being searched for by our loving heavenly Father. Allow yourself to be helpful to a stray soul. Remember to be grateful.

Action Point

Saroo did not give up his search. Don’t you give up either! Continue to press in for answers to life’s difficulties and struggles. Also remember, there are others like Saroo who need your help in finding their way to the Lord.

Men’s Encounter September 21-22

  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.

Lesson: Guarding your Rhythms

###Icebreaker What is your favorite coffee order?

Prayer

Thank You, Father, for slowing us down so we can enjoy life.

Key Scripture

Ecclesiastes 5:12 NLT: “People who work hard sleep well, whether they eat little or much. But the rich seldom get a good night’s sleep.”

The Big Idea

God could have created the world without seasons, with no order or rhyme or reason. But He didn’t; He created it very ordered. The sun rises each day exactly as He dictates; you can map it out for years down to the second.

If order brings peace, then we too must guard our rhythms in order to live lives of peace. However, many of us try to tackle life without appropriate margin and rhythm, and we get frustrated. Those with little or no sequence to life will struggle to achieve greatness. Show me your rhythms and I will show you your potential.

Being part of this B-Group demonstrates a healthy rhythm in your life. It is important to guard this rhythm and other healthy rhythms you have developed.

Discussion

What in this sermon series has spoken the loudest to you? Share with the group.

Don’t base your rhythms on “better” or “more.” That will frustrate you in the end. Studies show that having an annual income greater than $70,000 doesn’t necessarily bring happiness, but complicates life. Base your life on values and truth. Once you’ve set your rhythms based on these things, you must diligently guard them.

Discussion

What nonnegotiable values do you base your life on? Share with the group.

Guard your rhythms with contentment.

What if we were to get off the ladder of “more” and “better” and get on the ladder of contentment? Though most of us acknowledge the benefit this would bring, it isn’t as easy as we might think. We are constantly bombarded with societal values that speak to wealth and possessions. In our world, the poor envy the rich, and the rich envy the richer. Let’s get off that merry-go-round.

Discussion

What do you consider necessary for contentment in your life?

Guard your rhythms with simplicity.

Jesus modeled this brilliantly. He was the greatest king ever, yet He lived in utter simplicity. However, many of us are living like kings instead of living like the King. What does simplicity look like? Simplicity is: freeing and uncluttered. It is disciplined and healthy. Simplicity is NOT: legalistic or proud. Neither is it a poverty mentality or merely escapism.

Discussion

Modern society does not value simplicity. Do you feel entangled in this world and cluttered with possessions, or have you streamlined your existence? Share with the group.

Application

Make a plan this week to back away from the rat race. Recognize that you are already wealthier than 95 percent of the world’s population. God is what you need; things are what you use. Value simplicity.

Action Point

Practice contentment by divorcing from society’s standards, turning off the ads, and developing counter-habits. Surround yourself with people who “get it.”

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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“In order to prosper, you have to find a rhythm”
—-Joel Stockstill "Healthy Rhythms Part 2"