Title: One Great Purpose
The Point: We were created to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
Get Into the Study
Use the following discussion as an alternate introduction to this session.
To begin this session, spend some time sharing about your hobbies and things all of you do to relax and enjoy time off from work.
One of the things people enjoy doing in south Louisiana is boating – some parts of the swamp require a boat to get to and from houses. In the past week some people from south Louisiana have become known as the “Cajun Navy.” These are men and women who have taken their boats into flooded areas to rescue people and pets from the rising waters.
For most people boats are used for recreation but suddenly there came a way to find a great purpose through a hobby. In this week’s lesson we will be looking at the purpose God has for our lives.
Spend some time connecting the dots of a hobby moving from recreational to purposeful such as boating for fun becoming boating to save lives.
—Dr. Beth Masters works with college students at Mississippi College where she is the Director of Christian Life and Ministries. She has a PhD in Christian Education from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Beth loves young adults, baking, and coffee.
Visser, Steve. “Louisiana Flooding: ‘Cajun Navy’ Answers Call for Volunteers.” Accessed August 22, 2016, http://www.cnn.com/2016/08/16/us/louisiana-flooding/
Consider using the following story as a “food for thought” illustration to wrap up your discussion on this session.
There’s something about knowing we’ve been created by a loving Father that changes us. This Olympic season, we were able to watch what may have been the very beginning of that transformation for Olympic champion and 23-time Olympic gold medal swimmer Michael Phelps.
By now, you’ve probably heard the story of Phelps getting his second DUI in ten years. It happened during his first retirement from swimming after the 2012 Olympics. Bored of retirement and trying to fill the void, he’d taken to drinking excessively. On his way home from a casino one night, Phelps was pulled over and charged. This event had such a negative effect on his life that he was contemplating suicide, assuming the world would be better without the messes he made.
Thankfully, Phelps went to rehab, instead.
During this time, he was given The Purpose Driven Life by longtime friend (and former Baltimore Raven star) Ray Lewis. While Phelps hasn’t made any specific comments about his spiritual beliefs, he told ESPN that the book “turned me into believing there is a power greater than myself and there is a purpose for me on this planet.” In addition, other members of the treatment center began referring to him as “Preacher Mike,” since he took to reading passages from Rick Warren’s book out loud to others.
While it’s easy to be wary of celebrities claiming to have found God after a long history of destructive behavior, there was a marked difference in the way Phelps behaved at this year’s Olympics. He seemed to feel the victories more deeply. In truth, he looked like a man who’d been given back his life. After his last swim, he told reporters he’d just gotten off the phone with Ray Lewis, and that he was excited for his life after swimming. He smiled as he explained to the reporter that there’s so much more to life.
That’s the power of God.
- Who do you know right now who needs to know that they are a child of God?
- What kind of steps can you take to encourage that person?
- How does knowing we were created with a purpose color your own life?
- How can you share that?
— Ashley Emmert wrote this Leader Extra. She is a freelance writer and editor who lives in the suburbs of Chicago with her sweet Southern husband and their small scrappy dogs. Find her at ashleygraceemmert.com or on Twitter @ashgemmert.
- Since the tragedy of 9/11/2001, 15 years ago, many Americans began to reflect on their purpose in life and rearrange priorities, spending more time with loved ones, changing jobs, and so forth. What events in your life have caused you to question or affirm your purpose in life? Explain.
- What makes you feel most fulfilled?
- How might people from various cultures, backgrounds, and religions answer the question, “What is the meaning of life?”
- What are some things that people believe give purpose to life?
- How does knowing their purpose help empower people?
- Looking back on your life, have you found more purpose for living from your tasks (your life work, volunteer work, etc.) or your relationships?
- What is it about relationships—with others and more importantly with God—that gives us a sense of purpose?
- Where have you found a sense of belonging that gave you a sense of purpose?
- Why is belonging important in making us feel we have purpose?
- What does God’s presence mean to you when you pass through trials?
- Who are some examples of godly people in Scripture who were not prosperous in a material sense but who prospered greatly in a spiritual sense?
- How has God used specific trials in your life to teach you more about Himself?
- Why do so many waste their time trying to earn God’s unconditional love?
- Why is it comforting to know that God’s attributes don’t change/aren’t dependent on our circumstances?
- What are some ways we can glorify God in our everyday lives?
- How does living our lives to reflect God’s glory lay the groundwork for sharing the gospel with friends and family?
Share the following with your group members as either a devotional before the group study or as a follow-up devotional: