Focus 3 (of 4) -Adulthood is Forbearance

Focus 3|Adulthood is Forbearance

Adulthood is proof that God wants to do life with you, not for you, at you, or despite you.
Consider this ice breaker question to get started.
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See what this Spotlight—and series—is focused on.
Tap on the words "Focus 3" in the image below to read this Spotlight's summary.
Let’s talk about trusts.
Listen to this audio clip when you’re ready to begin today’s Spotlight.
(And welcome, by the way! It’s great that you’re here!)
Get thinking about the Lord’s work.
Here’s an encouragement you’ll hear more than once in this Spotlight:

Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

1 Corinthians 15:58

It’s a very nice idea, but it comes with a question of its own: What is “the work of the Lord”? What is it that you’re invited to give yourselves fully to—and how do you recognize it when you see it?

Split up into two teams to play a game about this.

Use the video below to start thinking about the scope of “the work of the Lord.” (Hint: It’s probably wider than you’re thinking…)

Follow these steps to get going…

  1. Divide your group into two halves—into two teams.
  2. One half will be called “Team One.” The other will be “Team Two.”
  3. “Team One” will do the words on the left side of the video below. “Team Two” will do the right.
  4. The goal of the game is to come up with as many examples as possible of your team’s words.

(If you’re doing the Spotlight alone, that’s fine. For now, do the “left” side only.)
Wait, don’t share your answers with the other team!

Once you’re done, keep track of your answers but don’t share them—yet. (Don’t worry, you’ll revisit this activity later on in this Spotlight with a chance to share and reflect then.)
Welcome Perspective
God treats you like adults, making you both able and responsible.
Join Jesus in praying in God’s will.
Every human being has a will. It’s literally part of how God made you; part of what it means to be is that you also will.

The different wills of different beings are bound to interact. God wants this. He wants every being to interact with him (which is part of why he calls himself the I AM.) His very significant role in the workings of all that is makes it so that every being will interact with him.

Read this moment from the night before Jesus was crucified. (Note: When God became human in Jesus, even he had to interact with himself.)

They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.”

Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

Mark 14:32–36

Meditate on the phrase “Your will be done.”
The same Jesus who prayed, “Not what I will, but what you will,” taught his disciples to pray in God’s will when he taught what is now called the Lord’s Prayer.

“This, then, is how you should pray:

“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’”

Mark 6:9–13

Click the audio player below to start the track as you read through the text for the side titled, “Your Will Be Done.”

Share your thoughts on the questions below with your group as you consider the side labeled “This Is My Will.”

  1. What privilege can you find in God’s sharing his will with people?
  2. How can people abuse the will he shares with them? 
  3. How is Jesus the perfect recipient of God’s will?
Worship Perspective
In grace, God does not impose his goodwill on you but invites you into it.
Start recognizing God everywhere.
God’s great kindness in adulthood/vocation is that he intersects his will with yours. It’s amazing—but only when you recognize it.

Since God’s will came first and founded the universe, it has a precedence (a word that means “comes before” to your will.) What’s incredible is that God has given your will a place that really matters—his will can even be blocked by yours. God created a will-to-will system that only works in love and grace.

Read through this passage as it’s reflected on in Proverbs:

If you reason with an arrogant cynic, you’ll get slapped in the face;
confront bad behavior and get a kick in the shins.
So don’t waste your time on a scoffer;
all you’ll get for your pains is abuse.

But if you correct those who care about life,
that’s different—they’ll love you for it!
Save your breath for the wise—they’ll be wiser for it;
tell good people what you know—they’ll profit from it.

Skilled living gets its start in the Fear-of-God,
insight into life from knowing a Holy God.
It’s through me, Lady Wisdom, that your life deepens,
and the years of your life ripen.
Live wisely and wisdom will permeate your life;
mock life and life will mock you.

Proverbs 9:7–12 (The Message)
Listen to a story about God’s will and softball.
Here’s a reflection on how God’s will and human lives intersect. Listen to it and discuss using the questions below.

  • God’s will is doing more than any person can recognize in any given moment. Is there an example of his will in action in the room you’re currently occupying that you’ve never directly acknowledged before? 
  • Put it into your own words: Where does the will of God intersect with a random kid playing a random sport at a random summer camp?
  • Adulthood is about coming into ability and responsibility—it’s about God sharing agency and power with people according to their vocations. With this in mind, can you name some ways that a person can overplay the “will of God” idea in their daily lives? 
    • (If you’re having trouble with that question, start here: what are some ways that phrases like “let go and let God” or “it must be God’s will” can be dangerous?)
Enumerate God’s wills as they happen.
Let’s get into the minutia of this idea that God’s will is happening more often than we acknowledge. Can you find God’s will happening in these images?

As a group, point out as many ways as you can that something God wills is happening in each of these pictures within one minute.

Learn Perspective
Acknowledging your constant interaction with God’s will is the beginning of wisdom.
Revisit the “work of the Lord” game.
Do the activity again—this time, switching teams/sides.

  1. “Team One” will now do the words on the right side of the video. “Team Two” will do the left.
  2. Again, aim to come up with as many examples as possible of your team’s words.
  3. Following the exercise, discuss the questions posted below the video player.

(If you’re doing the Spotlight alone, that’s fine. For now, do the “right” side only.)
  1. What can you do on a daily basis to recognize the way God is working better? 
  2. What can you do to point out the way God’s will is being done for others? 
  3. How can your approach to nonprofit activity be better informed by the will of God? 
Feel free to submit a prayer request by filling out the below form.
(If you choose to make your request public, you'll see it display in the Current at the end of the Spotlight along with anyone else who did the same.)

Prayer Requests

Pray through your requests—together—as a group.
After submitting your requests in the above form, take some time to share with your group whatever requests the group might have for this week.

Serve Perspective
You are the source and the answer for the prayer, “Not my will but yours.”
Pray through Psalm 25 using this video.
At the end of the day, this is about trust. God entrusts you with a place and power in the universe, but that will only work when you trust his plan for and approach to it.

Psalm 25 is a prayer that asks for God’s guidance in this trust. In it, you’ll pray that the leap of faith that is trusting God will be met with success because God’s will is good.

Sing along with (or listen to) this song to close out this Spotlight.
Feel free to sing along or simply listen. Do what makes you comfortable—but do whatever helps you focus on the song's meaning best.
Farewell Perspective
God loves the children, but he entrusts adults with his good, precious will.
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