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Contemporary Worship Online (7/26)

Contemporary Worship Online (7/26)

Background Notes

Dumb Idea #8: God Brings Good Luck   --- Thrive Group Notes

Message July 26, 2020

 

Remind your group members to bring a Bible with them to your Thrive Group. There is value in opening the Bible together with others...and making use of them as we seek to live lives of following Jesus!

 

Background Notes

Basics: Have you ever thought that following God in life might be a cause of good luck in your life? Even if you’ve never used that exact language -- or even if you’ve never heard anyone use that exact language, isn’t there a sort of deep down  assumption that since you have aligned yourself with the greatest power in the universe – who just happens to be the source of all good, that (at least some of) that good will rub off on you as a reward for your choosing to join his team? In fact doesn’t faithfulness to God come with a kinda quid pro quo – a “you scratch my back – I’ll scratch yours” term of the agreement?

         It all seems pretty cut and dry – and that’s the way it was for a guy whose story Larry Osborne relates in his book, 10 Dumb Things Smart Christian Believe It was a frank and disturbing conversation he had with Tim. Tim was agitated, angry, and combative when he discovered that a relationship with Jesus wasn’t the uncashed winning lottery ticket experience he expected.

         In our sermon we explored the complicated and semantically chaotic concept of luck – a concept of chance events or actions that impact everyone’s lives in both fortunate and devastating ways: the lawless wild west of human existence.

         Our look into what the Bible – and ultimately God himself – reveals about the forces at work in shaping human life and existence are much less formulaic and scientifically ordered than just about any force at work in nature. After all, we are talking about HUMAN behavior and volatility – a topic fraught with inherent instability and unpredictability.

         With the profoundly revealing, and more than a little disconcerting examples of providence, chance, human will, and the all-knowing and all-caring God of the universe all meeting at three seismic junctures in the history of mankind, we have discovered that independently yet interconnectedly, God can put “luck” – if that is how we decide to label it – into play in an infinite display of His power and will.

         From Job we learned that luck can be God allowing controlled destruction at his own discretion

         The account of Ruth reveals God’s meticulous and precise direction of the very smallest of human events to the benefit of humans who have no concept of the magnitude of the drama they are acting out.

         Meanwhile, the apparent total abandonment of a stalwart saint of God surrounded by the “luck” and fortune of his heathen neighbors has shown us

God’s “luck” deferred to the majestic benefit of his “team member” that makes the hoped-for luck we desire when we sign up, look like a penny in a wishing well the size of the Pacific.

         What is luck? What expectations do we inject into the wishes we harbor within our desires for “the luck of God?”

         Use the notes, questions, and thoughts that follow to share experiences and interactions that will challenge yourself and your group members to personalize God’s “luck” in your own lives.

 

 

Thrive Group Conversation

Dumb Idea #8: God Brings Good Luck   --- Thrive Group Notes

Message July 26, 2020

 

There is more material here than you will be able to cover. Read the questions, and consider which you will use. Add a question or topic of your own.

 

  1. Use conversation starter/ice-breakers (10-15 min) to get your group talking. We want to build connections and relationships with each other.

 

  1. Share with your group: “So listen to this: ‘Following God brings good luck.’ You’ve heard that before. Or something like it. What do you think of it? What did you think of it before you heard this week’s message? What sounds good and right when you listen to it?

 

Why do you or did you think that way?

 

  1. Have you ever known someone who turned on God because life didn’t turn out as they had thought it would? Larry Osborne tells the story of Tim who was happy to make Larry aware of how God had bamboozled him:

“’Bleep your bleeping God!’ [Tim] exclaimed. ‘I'm done. Your Jesus hasn't done me a bit of good. I've tried to clean up my act. I even tried your damn tithing thing. It doesn't work. I just lost my job. My wife needs surgery, and now I don't have any insurance. Where's your bleeping God when we need him?’ Then he just stood there—staring me down, arms crossed.

         “At first glance it might appear that Tim's angry outburst was triggered by the series of tough breaks and unfortunate events that had engulfed his life. . . .

         “No, what lit [Tim’s] fuse was a set of unfounded and unrealistic expectations about what it means to follow God and what should happen when we venture to do so. He thought living life God's way would bring him good fortune. He assumed that God would reach down and tip the scales his way, that life would be better and easier than before. When the opposite happened, he felt ripped off. God had promised him one thing and then delivered another.”

 

Have you ever known someone who turned on God because life didn’t turn out as they had thought it would?

If so, what happened?

Is there anything you can learn from observing their experience?

 

  1. Read Psalm 73. Have you ever felt the same kind of confusion that Asaph felt?

If so, what caused it?

Did anything happen to put things into proper perspective?

 

  1. Larry Osborne terms a very dangerous condition “Eddie Haskell Christianity”. Eddie Haskell was a character in the classic 1950’s TV show “Leave it to Beaver.” Eddie is the two-faced, kiss-up best friend of Wally Cleaver. In the presence of Wally’s parents, he was a, solicitous well-mannered young man. When they weren’t around, he was a punk. He was also certain that none of the adults in his life were smart enough to see through his scars.

“Over the years I’ve run across a surprising number of people who look at God a lot like Eddie Haskell looked at Ward and June Cleaver. They think he’s stupid. They wouldn’t use those words and would be aghast if called out on it. But their actions give them away. They carefully observe a few outward religious rituals while living like hell the rest of the time. It’s as if they assume that God can’t see or figure out what they do outside of church.

“Now why would anybody play the religious game in public if they don’t buy it in private?...Today those who play this game do so mostly to cover their spiritual bases…”

Eddie Haskell Christians seem to think that God is stupid or at least can’t see what we do outside of church. Where have you seen examples of this kind of Christianity or empty cultural Christianity?

What has been the impact on those people?

What has been the impact on non-Christians who were wat

 

  1. Here are some passages that suggest following God doesn’t always bring such good luck. Have different Thrive group members read these various passages. As you read and hear these words, what do you observe?
  • Job 1-2 (summarize)
  • Proverbs 11. 8
  • Proverbs 24. 15-16
  • Mark 13. 13.
  • Luke 9. 22-23
  • Ephesians 1. 17-21

 

Speaker: Dave Hill
July 26, 2020

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