• Matt Beaney

#CHOOSE LIFE PT. 1 - CHOOSE CLARITY OR TRUST? (21/11/22)

Updated: Nov 21

This week’s devotionals are based upon Sunday’s message from Simon Guillbaud. Simon Guillebaud MBE is GLO’s International Director. He had a very clear call to Burundi in 1999, when it was regarded as the most dangerous country on earth. He set up GLO with the vision to transform Burundi and beyond through holistic mission, working with gifted local leaders of integrity. For the full message please go to:

https://www.communitychurchputney.com/teaching

For more on Simon and to find out about His blog, podcast and teaching, please go to:

https://www.simonguillebaud.com/inspired-podcast/



‘This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.’ (Deuteronomy 30:19-20)

Summary: To serve God, we must take steps of faith without complete clarity on all the steps that will follow in the future.


God was calling the people to live by faith. They have just come out of 40 years of wandering in the desert due to unbelief. God reminded them of their previous unfaithful attitude at the beginning of this book:

‘But you were unwilling to go up; you rebelled against the command of the Lord your God. You grumbled in your tents and said, ‘The Lord hates us; so he brought us out of Egypt to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us.’’ (Deuteronomy 1:26-27)

God had promised to give them the land of Canaan. He had shown His power and love by bringing them out of Egypt, but they refused to believe and obey. In response, God had caused them to wander in the desert for 40 years because of unbelief. Now, He’s calling them again to listen to Him and walk by faith.


Will we choose clarity or trust? Many have a faith but don’t live by faith. We too often want clarity; we want to control things. We want all the steps upfront before we’ll take the first one. We must all stop insisting on being in control and embrace faith.


Consider a lake. This lake is opaque and you cannot see below the surface. You know that you have to jump in but you can’t see if there are rocks or wild and scary creatures under the surface. If we want clarity we will never jump. If we will trust, we will take that first leap regardless.


RESPONSE

God gives us big promises as He did to Israel regarding the Promised Land: He promises, for example, that this gospel will go to the ends of the earth before the end comes (Matthew 24:14). He promises to build His church and that the gates of hell will not prevail (Matthew 16:18). He promises that we have gifts to use to build the church… (1 Corinthians 12:27).

Most of the time, we have God’s promise and only enough information to take the first step toward it. We must prayerfully take that first step - that leap- and trust God to show us the next.


What next step of faith do you need to take in serving Jesus? Will we choose clarity or trust?


CHOOSE LIFE VLOG

You might like to watch one of Simon’s Vlogs.

https://www.greatlakesoutreach.org/people/simon-guillebaud/choose-life/


 

COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY

1. Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.

 

2. Icebreaker

What has God been speaking to you about from His word recently? How would you like prayer?

 

3. Recap of Sunday's message - please share in your group


CHOOSE LIFE

This week’s study is based on Sunday’s message from Simon Guillbaud.


Simon based his message on 30:11-20.

‘This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.’ (Deuteronomy 30:19-20)

God was calling the people to live by faith. They have just come out of 40-years of wandering in the desert due to unbelief. God reminded them of there previous unfaithful attitude at the beginning of this book:

‘But you were unwilling to go up; you rebelled against the command of the Lord your God. You grumbled in your tents and said, ‘The Lord hates us; so he brought us out of Egypt to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us.’’ (Deuteronomy 1:26-27)

God had promised to give them the land of Canaan. He had shown His power and love by bringing them out of Egypt, but they refused to believe and obey. In response, God had caused them to wander in the desert for 40 years because of unbelief. Now, He’s calling them again to listen to Him and walk by faith. This account is reminding us that God doesn’t want us wandering in circles. He wants to lead us into greater fruitfulness.


In his message on Sunday, Simon gave us six challenges to consider:


1. ARE WE GOING TO CHOOSE CLARITY OR TRUST

To ‘choose life’ requires that we choose trust over clarity. Many have a faith but don’t live by faith. We too often want clarity. We want to control things. We want God to show us all the steps before we’ll take the first. God wants us to take that first step.


2. DISOBEDIENCE OR OBEDIENCE?

Only Joshua and Caleb entered The Promised Land. Only they were willing to obey God. Are you and I willing to offer our lives entirely to Him?


3. CYNICISM OR ACTION

To choose life is to reject cynicism and take godly action. It’s easy to become cynical and back out of living actively for God. Have we allowed cynicism to rob us of joy and action? The antidote to cynicism is to take good action rather than wait for our feelings to change.


4. FAITH OR FEAR?

We have had a huge dose of fear during Covid. The church is often crippled by fear.

In our finances, particularly during our gift days at the moment, are will giving in fear or faith? Choosing life if to choose to do things by faith.


5. URGENCY OR APATHY?

In a war-torn and poor nation like Burundi, it’s easier to see and be provoked by great needs. In London, are we aware of the ‘falling bombs of unbelief, cynicism, materialism, fear…’? These should provoke up to urgent prayer and action.


6. GRATITUDE OR MOANING

To choose life is to choose thankfulness over grumbling. It’s easy to become critical and entitled. Simon encourage us to do what we are taught in Romans 12:1-3 and count our blessings.


7. RULES OR RELATIONSHIPS?

God always wanted a relationship with us. To ‘choose life’ is to seek a relationship with God and seek to avoid empty legalism and formality. Choosing life is, at its core, having a relationship with God.


8. DEATH OR LIFE?

Will we choose life? Will we choose to remember the gospel and share the gospel? Will we allow Jesus’ blood-scared hands to cause our hands to be active in compassion?


DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

i. Did you feel that God spoke to you from any particular aspect of Sunday's message?

ii. Of these 8 challenges, which do you feel that you need to take action on and why?


SIV - Let's keep praying and planning for how we can invite people to our carol service on 11th December (4 pm).

SIV - Do you have any encouraging stories of sharing your faith with your friends?

SIV - How do you plan to 'serve, invest and invite' into your friendships?

SIV - Let's pray for the Spirit to lead us in reaching our community.





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