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2 July 2015 Created in humility and love by: Small Group Curriculum Team Prayer Ministry (Devotional Prayers)

3 TABLE OF CONTENTS Introduction 1 Host Tips 3 Session One 5 Developing A Generous And Grateful Heart Session Two 15 Financial Peace Principles Session Three 25 Learning To Be Content With A Little Or A Lot Session Four 33 Learning To Trust God Session Five 41 The Principle Of First Appendix 57 Appendix A 59 Practical Ways You Can Build God s Kingdom Appendix B 61 Making a Family Commitment Appendix C 63 List of Ministries The Blessed Life Brochure Session Six 49 The Principles Of Multiplication

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5 INTRODUCTION The Blessed Life Overview: Do you struggle with your finances? Are you having trouble with overspending or managing your money? Do you wish you had more to give to others? In this 6-week series called The Blessed Life, we will uncover God's financial principles that have the power to turn our financial stresses into a life filled with His blessings in all areas of life. THE ULTIMATE GOAL OF THIS COURSE That in studying the word of God, you will become more like JESUS! SERIES SCRIPTURE Remember this a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. For God loves a person who gives cheerfully. And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. 2 Corinthians 9:6-8 (NLT)

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7 HOST TIPS TIPS TO A SUCCESSFUL GROUP 1. Make new people feel welcomed. Take time to introduce new people. 2. Turn off or silence cell phones. As a courtesy to those who are sharing in your group, please try to stay off your phones unless for emergencies. 3. Make group a priority. Communicate in advance when you will be unable to attend by calling and/or texting your host. 4. Starting and finishing on time. Doing this will show your small group you value their time. 5. Break out into smaller and/or same-gender groups. This can increase more transparent conversations and provide more time for each person to join the conversation. 6. Confidentiality is important. If possible, what is said in small group, stays in small group. Share nothing, to nobody, never outside of the group. 7. No guilt No shame. This series is not meant to guilt or shame anyone into doing anything. 8. Avoid talking or teaching too much. Small groups are designed for everyone to share and grow together. 9. Plan something fun. Try to plan something fun with all your group members, such as a day at the beach, movie night, etc. 3

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9 SESSION ONE Developing A Generous And Grateful Heart

10 Start With An ICEBREAKER QUESTION (5 mins) IF THIS IS A NEW GROUP OR THERE ARE NEW PEOPLE, PLEASE TAKE A MOMENT TO INTRODUCE YOURSELVES. To start off your small group, briefly share your response to the following question: What is ONE thing that makes you feel blessed? (Examples: Being encouraged, receiving a gift, spending time with friends, etc.) Please Read WHAT TO EXPECT (2 mins) Let s get a big picture of what we ll be learning today In this series, The Blessed Life, we will be learning how to have a blessed life with Christ. This may seem really broad to some of us, but know that God desires for us to have a life filled with His blessings in all areas of our lives. In Session ONE, we will be focusing on how a life of blessings first begins with our hearts and intentions behind what it means to be blessed by God. At this time, please prepare for the DVD teaching of this small group session. Take out a pen or pencil to write down notes on the next page. Press PLAY on your DVD. 6

11 VIDEO NOTES HOW TO FIND REST WHEN I M STRESSED If there is among you a poor man of your brethren, within any of the gates in your land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart nor shut your hand from your poor brother, but you shall open your hand wide to him and willingly lend him sufficient for his need, whatever he needs. Deuteronomy 15: Deal with a Heart. Beware lest there be a wicked thought in your heart, saying, The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand, and your eye be evil against your poor brother and you give him nothing, and he cry out to the Lord against you, and it become sin among you. Deuteronomy 15:9 2. Deal with a Heart. You shall surely give to him, and your heart should not be grieved when you give to him, because for this thing the Lord your God will bless you in all your works and in all to which you put your hand. Deuteronomy 15:10 3. Develop a Heart. you shall supply him liberally from your flock, from your threshing floor, and from your winepress. From what the Lord has blessed you with, you shall give to him. Deuteronomy 15:14 Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise. But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. Luke 6: Develop a Heart. (15 mins) You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God redeemed you; therefore, I command you this thing today. Deuteronomy 15:15 Answers: 1) Selfish, 2) Grieving, 3) Generous, 4) Grateful 7

12 DISCUSSION QUESTIONS (20 mins) At this time, if your group desires, please break into smaller groups of 2-4 for the discussion question section. If you are leading the discussion time for your group, don t feel like you have to answer every question. Have a great discussion! In the video message, we learned four practical action steps to take in developing a heart that God desires for us. Read these steps below: 1. Deal with a Selfish Heart (Deut. 15:9) 2. Deal with a Grieving Heart (Deut. 15:10) 3. Develop a Generous Heart (Deut. 15:14) 4. Develop a Grateful Heart (Deut. 15:15) Circle the ONE step above that is most difficult when developing your heart to be like God s. Share with your group why you chose that step. In our busy lives, it is easy to miss the blessings from God and take time to be grateful. However, God calls us to develop a grateful heart and to remember what He s done. Take some time to write down up to 8 things you are grateful to God for below. Share with your group THREE of your responses. In this series, The Blessed Life, we will be focusing on three important areas of spiritual growth. Please read them below: 1. GOD - Learning more about God and developing a deeper relationship with Him. 2. MONEY - Learning God s ways on managing our finances. 3. HAPPINESS - Learning how to live a life of joy and happiness with God at the center. Circle the OPTION(S) above that you are looking forward to the MOST in this series. Share with your group why. 8

13 WHAT WILL YOU DO? (10 mins) God desires a blessed life for each of us. Because it s all about the heart, remember that God is searching for those who are generous and grateful to bless and use as His vessels! In order to gain all the principles and steps in this series, it s REALLY helpful that we commit to a few things in the next 6 weeks. Please read them below: SERVICES: Attend ALL 6 Sunday services of The Blessed Life. SMALL GROUPS: Attend ALL 6 Small Group sessions of The Blessed Life. SELF-FEEDING: Commit to reading ALL 4 Devotionals for the next 6 weeks of The Blessed Life. Of the three commitments above, check the ONE or ONES you will commit to during the 6 weeks of this series. Share with your group your commitments so that you can hold each other accountable throughout the series. CLOSE IN PRAYER (3 mins) Take a few minutes to close your time together with prayer and to pray for each other s prayer requests. Below is a sample prayer to read if you choose to. You can also choose to write down each other s prayer requests to remember throughout the week. Sample Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for this series, The Blessed Life. You are so good to us and You re patient as we slowly develop the heart You desire for us. Lead us to deal with selfishness and grieving when it comes to developing a grateful and generous heart. We need Your intervention on this journey and are humbled by all Your love and grace. May You be praised in our lives. We love You. In Jesus Name. Amen. Group Prayer Requests: Name Request 9

14 DURING THE WEEK Find Time To READ GOD S WORD The Power of Feeding on God s Word Daily Jesus answered, It is written: Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. Matthew 4:4 (NIV) As we read God s word, we begin to see how God responds to things. Doing daily devotions re-patterns the way we think and transforms the spirit of the mind. Then, when we face similar situations as Jesus did, we begin to respond in the same way. Doing devotions is an excellent way to record, process, and share what God is speaking to you. It s also a useful tool to use at a later time to reflect on and review some of the gems that you have received. Without writing these down, you may forget God s promises and some very important life lessons! While doing devotions is a very personal time with the Lord, you may want to share some of your daily devotions with your family, friends, co-workers, or small group. Through discussion, you may be able to look deeper into what God is speaking to you, gain new insights, and even encourage others.

15 Sample Devotion SCRIPTURE Remember this a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. For God loves a person who gives cheerfully. And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. 2 Corinthians 9:6-8 (NLT) OBSERVATION This scripture teaches me that God loves when I am generous. In fact, I think when I am generous, I am actually being more like God. But I have to remember that when I give, God is more concerned about my heart than the amount or frequency of my generosity. He will continue to provide for me and so I should cheerfully give to those He says to bless. APPLICATION I can apply this scripture to my life by being more generous. I am going to reassess my finances and my tithe to God. I think I will pray and ask God how I can better manage the money He s blessed me with. PRAYER God, thank you for Your word. Thank you for the love You have for me that You would guide me in this life through Your written word. I pray that I have a heart to be obedient to Your call. It s not always easy for me to be generous because I m human and want a lot of things. Please continue to teach me Your ways, God. I know I want Your presence in the way I make and spend money. I love You and praise You. In Jesus Name. Amen.

16 DAILY DEVOTIONS: DAY 1 S C R I P T U R E Read These Scriptures: Matthew 6:1-15 Scripture Focus: pray to your Father, who is unseen O B S E R V A T I O N During the next 6 weeks, you will be praying to God about your role in The Blessed Life. Remember that as we give to God s work, we do not always see the results immediately. That s part of what makes this investment so great. One day, in heaven, we ll have the opportunity to fully see how the money we gave to God s work truly was the greatest financial investment of our lives. A P P L I C A T I O N P R A Y E R God, thank you for loving Your children. Thank you for Your word in Matthew 6:1-15. Thank you for teaching us how to pray. Help us to not seek fame or attention when we pray, but to humble ourselves before You in secret. Help us to not seek rewards from others, but from You God and only You. We love You and praise You. In Jesus Name. Amen. DAILY DEVOTIONS: DAY 2 S C R I P T U R E Read These Scriptures: 2 Chronicles 7 Scripture Focus: If My people pray, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn away from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven O B S E R V A T I O N God is pleading with you to spend quality time with Him through prayer and by reading His word. First, He wants you to get rid of anything that prevents you from hearing His voice and receiving His blessings. A P P L I C A T I O N P R A Y E R Lord, thank you for loving us and calling us Your people. Give us a heart to know the power of prayer, that we will allow You to lead us in praying for our nation, home, church, and especially for each other. Lord, we pray that our prayers will touch Your heart and You will heal our land. In Jesus Name. Amen. 12

17 DAILY DEVOTIONS: DAY 3 S C R I P T U R E Read These Scriptures: John 20 Scripture Focus: blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed. O B S E R V A T I O N You believe in Jesus Christ without seeing Him. Faith in the unseen is a central part of our relationship with Jesus. God promises that those who believe in Him and have not seen Him will be blessed. A P P L I C A T I O N P R A Y E R Father God, thank you for Your word. Thank you that Your word speaks to us and ministers to our hearts. Thank you that Your scripture in John 20 reveals to us that we do not have to see to believe in You. Increase our faith to walk in faith without seeing, so that we may receive the great blessings that You have for us. In Jesus Name. Amen. DAILY DEVOTIONS: DAY 4 S C R I P T U R E Read These Scriptures: Acts 20 Scripture Focus: In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, It is more blessed to give than to receive. O B S E R V A T I O N Many people are afraid of giving freely and generously, unless there is something to gain in return. However, giving without expecting a return makes us more like God, who gives generously to all and received from no one. A P P L I C A T I O N P R A Y E R Heavenly Father, I thank you for Your Son, Jesus. Help us, as brothers and sisters, to show the love of Christ, leading as an example to those who are hurting, broken, and lost. Give us the grace to bless others as You bless us. Let our generosity be nothing of self, but all about Christ. In Jesus Name. Amen. 13

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