God’s Plans Are Meant for Good

GATHER

Group Study

PREPARE!

Before you show up to your gathering, check in with yourself.

  1. THE TITLE OF TODAY IS: ________________________________________________________

Title your day as if it were a chapter title in the book of your life. Be creative and not hasty. Think about the entire day or week you’ve had, not just the past hour.

  1. YOUR MOOD:
  2. ENERGY LEVEL: Give a number from 1 to 10, from “Blah” to “Let’s Do This!”
  3. I AM THANKFUL FOR:
  4. MY HEART FEELS HEAVY BECAUSE:

MY ONE-WORD PRAYER FOR TODAY: _________________________  Write out one word or sentence that could encapsulate a lot of what you are hoping to hear or discover today with God’s help.

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life. ~ Mary Oliver

GATHERING TRANSITION TIME (10 minutes)

RELEVANT`VERSES: JEREMIAH 29:11-14 ROMANS 8:28-29

WHO ARE YOU & WHY ARE YOU HERE?

Take 3 minutes to fill in the following questions.

Name: ______________________________

  1. Where did you grow up?
  2. What is your go-to karaoke song?
  3. What is your favorite room in your home?
  4. What is the most impactful book you’ve read lately?

Using only three words, answer this:

Why are you here today?

_______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________

Go around the room taking turns introducing yourself and sharing your 3 words to the group before you begin the teaching video.

SESSION 1 VIDEO (17 minutes)
Let’s watch the video for this session and feel free to take notes below.

NOTES:

God can and will be found when you search for Him with all your heart.

Everything God does is meant for good

God defines good differently than we define good.

God’s good plans are not exempt from trial.

Rather than saving you from trials, God wants to transform you through them.

Your past will either be Satan’s weapon against you or God’s most powerful tool.

WHAT’S GOD SAYING? (3 Minutes)

Take a minute on your own to look over your notes and write down what stands out, resonates, or challenges you most. Then have one or two people briefly share.

To walk out of His will is to walk into nowhere. ~ C. S. Lewis

THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK

(5 Minutes)

Pick one person to read aloud to the group before you begin group discussion.

UNDERSTANDING ROMANS

When the Apostle Paul wrote the letter to the church in Rome, trust in Jesus was sweeping across the Roman Empire, but with that trust came heavy oppression (and at times even death). So, it would have been pretty surprising for Paul to write that God is working out all things for the good. What good could possibly come out of these awful circumstances??

Paul is encouraging those trusting in Jesus to have a different perspective and approach to life, no matter how difficult life can be. This is why in the next verse, Paul tells us what he means by “good”: “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters” (Romans 8:29). God’s good plan for us is to form us more into the likeness of Jesus. The “good” God has for you is to transform you into the image of His Son so that you can partner with Him in the restoration of all things. His plans for our lives are so much bigger and better than ours.

In our GROUP DISCUSSION, we are going to explore four approaches to trusting God’s good plan

GROUP DISCUSSION (30-40 Minutes) Leader, read each numbered prompt out loud and ask the corresponding discussion question.

1 WE KNOW GOD WORKS

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. — Romans 8:28-29

How is Paul’s definition of “good” in Romans 8:29 (to be conformed to the image of his Son) different than the cultural definition of good?

2 ALL THINGS FOR GOOD

God can use “all things” to further His good plans. He can use “all things” to conform us more into the image of His Son so we can partner with Him in the restoration of all things. God’s plans for our lives are so much bigger and better than ours.

As you consider God using “all things” in your life for good, which part of your life comes to mind?

What part of your life might God be wanting to use for good?

3 TO BE CONFORMED

Spiritual formation is the process by which Christ is formed in us. It’s not solely about gathering information although information is part of the necessary fertilizer that allows spiritual formation to take root. Spiritual formation is also not defined by what we do or don’t do. Rather, it depends upon what Christ is doing in us. To be conformed to the image of Christ, we must discover truth and be willing to submit our plans to God’s plans. The appropriate response is not gripping harder and trying to control areas of our lives, it’s opening up our hands in submission.

How might Jesus be inviting you to open your hands and submit control of an area of your life to Him?

How specifically might Jesus be inviting you to open your hands and submit control to Him?

4 TO THE IMAGE OF HIS SON

God can use all things “to conform us to the image of His Son.” He can use our talents, our roles, our relationships, and even our trials for His glory and our good. God doesn’t remove us from trials, He transforms us through them. “All things” can be meant for good.

How might God be wanting to use the very things you’re going through to conform you more into the likeness of Jesus?

What could be your next best step? And how can we help?

RECEIVE BLESSING

(5 Minutes)

Leader, have everyone sit with hands open, palms up. Read the following blessing over your group before closing in prayer.

CLOSING PRAYER (5 Minutes)

Encourage the group to engage the personal study material throughout the week before your next gathering. Pray in whichever way best suits your group, and use this space to keep track of prayer requests and praises. Dismiss!

Excerpted with permission from Meant for Good Study Guide: The Adventure of Trusting God and His Plans for You by Megan Fate Marshman, copyright Megan Fate Marshman.

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Your Turn

We’d love to hear your thoughts on Meant for Good in the comments!

 

 

 

 

Megan Fate Marshman

Megan Fate Marshman loves God and His church. She is a teaching pastor at Willow Creek Community Church, speaks to audiences internationally, leads the women’s ministry at Arbor Road Church, and serves as director of women’s ministries at Hume Lake Christian Camps. Megan delights in sharing Jesus at churches, conferences, universities, and around dinner tables. She currently lives in southern California with her husband and two boys.

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