Special Guest Speaker: Isam Itson brings a powerful message from Philippians chapter 2.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS TO HELP YOU DIG DEEPER:
Starting over is unpredictable. Pastor Isam shared two examples of folks that had to start over: Jesus and Noah. However, in the Bible, we see story after story of people starting over and the same words God spoke to them back then can give us strength today.
Paul, the writer of Romans, grew up a rule follower. He was on track to be one of Israel’s religious leaders when he met Jesus on a dusty road and his whole world changed. He stopped going by Saul and became Paul. He stopped killing Christians and became one of them. Talk about starting over! Everything Paul thought he knew about God changed when he met Jesus. He began to embrace a new perspective and let go of some of the rules that ruled his life. In Romans 12:1-2, Paul urges the church in Rome to let their relationship with Jesus transform their lives as well. READ these verses and discuss how doing what they say would help a person who is ‘starting over’.
As Paul traveled the Mediterranean rim, teaching and preaching, he met a lot of people. Some, like Paul, experienced an immediate change in perspective. Some, like many of us, struggled with the newness of it all. Our old ways of doing things don’t apply anymore. In Christ, we are not who we used to be. And some days, we have to remind ourselves of that fact, just like Paul reminded the church in Ephesus: Read Ephesians 4:23-24 and discuss what we should do when we find ourselves going back to familiar patterns. Our old ways of doing things don’t apply anymore. And as unsettling as that might be, do you think it could actually a good thing?
If anyone knows how it feels to wonder what God is up to, it’s a guy in the Bible named Jeremiah. Jeremiah had a tough job. He was a prophet at a time when God’s people weren’t that interested in what God had to say. Jeremiah was often ignored or ridiculed, and sometimes, imprisoned. Despite all that, Jeremiah kept delivering God’s message to the people no matter how harsh or how little sense it made at the time. READ Jeremiah 29:11 and see how in one of His messages, God reminds His people, and us, that all of the things we face will ultimately work together for our good. How is this verse a good reminder to us when we are unsure of what God is up to?
When life gets hard, it’s easy to look back at the past and think: Man, things were simpler then. This isn’t a new problem. As far back as the late 600s and early 700s B.C., God’s people found themselves looking back when circumstances were tough and longing for days of old. God sees all of time from beginning to end, and He tells us the same thing He told Israel back then: “Forget the former things, do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!” When you find yourself wishing for the way things used to be, how can these verses in Isaiah 43:18-19 help?
Starting over is never easy. But give your concerns to the Lord. He will guide you every step of the way. Let “starting over” be a new start to a good thing.