The Point: Serving God requires intentionality.
Get Into the Study
Use this story to introduce the Live It Out Section.
LeBron James recently announced his move to sign a four-year, $154 million deal with the Los Angeles Lakers. Such a contract isn’t offered without planning and intentionality. The Lakers have a plan for James. Goals, time commitments, appointments with players and coaches are all likely part of the strategy for accomplishing the work laid out before him.
While a $154 million contract may sound like a larger task, or at least higher paying task, than we have in front of us, the importance of doing God’s work and following His plan has an eternal significance far greater than any sports contract. We can join God in His plan with intentionality: set goals; set a time; set an appointment.
Study the Bible
Use this story to introduce Question 1.
The 2018 Special Olympics USA Games took place in Seattle the first week of July. With 4,000 competitors from all 50 states, the games were a once in a lifetime opportunity for many of the athletes. Although the actual competition may have only lasted a matter of minutes or hours for many athletes, the participants didn’t take the games lightly. They approached the week with intentionality, preparation, and planning.
Ask Question 1: When have you enjoyed a once in a lifetime opportunity?
In this session, we will see that Nehemiah was given a one-time opportunity with King Artaxerxes, and we will learn how Nehemiah approached this opportunity with prayer and planning.
Nikki Wilbanks has a background in commercial real estate appraisal and investment, but is thrilled to be a stay-at-home mom, writer, and Bible study teacher, currently. She is a graduate of Pepperdine University, where she studied literature. She lives with her husband and two children in Murfreesboro, TN.
Study the Bible (Option)
As you study Nehemiah 2:1-5a, show this scene from the movie Apollo 13 where the engineers had to come up with a different plan after a malfunction on the ship made it impossible to achieve the first mission.
- Can you share a time when your life took an unexpected turn and you were forced to come up with a different plan?
- How important was your determination in achieving this new plan?
Read the following quote from the flight director of the Apollo 13 Mission: “It isn’t equipment that wins the battles; it is the quality and the determination of the people fighting for a cause in which they believe.” (Gene Kranz, Failure Is Not an Option: Mission Control from Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond [New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000]) (This optional activity is from the Senior Adult Leader Guide, p. 113).
- Who among your family and friends is great at planning?
- How would you rate your ability to make effective plans?
- How would you go about asking a big favor of a boss or other influential person?
- How can we recognize spiritual opportunities that come our way?
- What did Nehemiah have to overcome to give the king an honest answer?
- How can we become better at noticing where God is at work?
- How can Nehemiah’s example of planning help us approach our own God-given tasks?
- How would you describe Nehemiah’s actions in these verses?
- When have you recognized God’s hand in something you’ve been a part of?
- When have you seen evidence of God using average people to carry out His plans?
- Where has God called us to work and minister as a group?
- What do these verses teach us about God’s plan?
Send the following link to your group members as either a teaser before the group meets or as a follow-up thought:
Here’s a brief video giving you an overview of this session: Nehemiah, Session 2.
This article complements the study. Share this link with your group members.
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