EQUIPPING TIME   9:00
FELLOWSHIP CONNECTION   9:30
WORSHIP SERVICE 10:00

GET ACQUAINTED:  What is the best party you’ve ever attended?

SCRIPTURE: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures.  He leads me beside still waters.  He restores my soulHe leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.   Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies.”  (Psalm 23:1-5 a, emphasis added)

GET IT: The idea of “comfort” implies at least two parties: one who gives the comfort (God) and one who receives it (us).

OBSERVATION:  God is planning a banquet for all who believe in Jesus as their Savior and Lord.  He is the host; you are the guest of honor.  His preparations are being made right in front of your enemies on the battleground of this earth.  Your enemies are the world, Satan, and the old nature.  God is calling you to fellowship/community with Him and wants to bless you to show the world how good He is.  The menu for the banquet is all God’s promises in the Bible.  Take a look at the Word/Bible and find something to feast on today.  Let God lift the burdens you have today as you come to His table.

Open your gathering with prayer.  This is only a guide.  Feel free to select the points you want to discuss and adapt them to your needs.

  1. “In this world, you will have tribulation and trials and stress and frustration, but take heart … because I have overcome the world.”  (John 16:33 b) [AMP] God loves the people of the world but hates the world’s value system, which is anti-God and materialistic.  How does this truth that God overcame the world, give us the strength to deal with the trials, tribulations, distress, and frustrations of life?
  1. Focusing on your God-given gifts, have any of them created a burden because it has become an idol?  What have you done to overcome your error?
  1. “Be sober-minded; be watchful.  Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8 ) Satan, a powerful enemy, uses clever tricks and tactics to attack God’s children.  Using deception, distraction, and discouragement, Satan manipulates our insecurities and plays to our fears.  How can we find strength and protection in God’s word to recognize Satan’s tricks and protect ourselves from this powerful enemy? 
  1. “… but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.” (Romans 7:23 ).  List some of the ways a person can be their own biggest enemy.  Knowing these, why does the devil need to do very little to distance us from God?  Where else do people put their trust other than in God?  When hearts stray away from God and His ways, how does God call us back to Himself?
  1. “He has lured you out of distress into a broad place where there was no cramping, and what was set on your table was full of fatness.”  (Job 36:18 ) [ESV]  “God is gently calling you from the jaws of distress to an open place of freedom where he has set your table full of the best food.”  [NCV] The table (banquet) symbolizes fellowship/community with God and His approval.  In this life where our well-being is constantly threatened with adversaries in the land where we live and work, why does the table (banquet) offer hope?  Against the backdrop of the wicked, how do God’s fellowship and acceptance give us peace and encouragement?

Digging Deeper (optional questions)

  1. Consider a time in your life when you felt others held you in contempt or worked against you.  How does knowing God was planning your victory banquet before this battle even started give you encouragement to continue in a harsh world?
  1. Sometimes God uses our struggles to draw our attention to Him.  How can knowing some of the 5,500 promises in the Bible help you understand the ways of God and His workings in your life?  Take a few minutes and find one or two of these promises, such as “I will never leave you or forsake you.”  This week, use at least one promise to direct your priorities, values, and commitments.

Prayer:

God, thank You for calling me to Your table of blessings.  In spite of the fact that I don’t feel worthy, Jesus made the way for me to be at the table with You.  Forgive me for not feasting daily on Your word.  Help me discover a new promise from you every day.  Let me set my heart on what You have for me instead of the lies of the enemy and remember that You will complete the work You began in my heart and life.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!