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What on Earth Am I Here For?
HOST TIP: If your group is unable to work through the entire curriculum, we have recommended one question or activity with an asterisk (*) in each section of the study.
If you want to know why you were placed on this planet, you must begin with God. You were born by his purpose and for his purpose. Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life (page 17)
Connect 15 Minutes
1. If your group is new or you have any new members, take a few minutes to introduce yourselves. Briefly share how you came to be a part of this small group. *2. What is one thing you hope God will do in your life as a result of this study?
Grow 35-40 Minutes
Memory Verse For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10 (NIV)
Watch the video lesson now and follow along in your outline.
I. The Consequences of Not Knowing Your Purpose
1. Without knowing your purpose, life will seem ____________________.
5 The sun still rises and it still goes down ... 6 the wind blows ... round and round and back again.7 Every river flows into the sea ... [then] the water returns to where the rivers began, and starts all over again. 8 Everything leads to weariness ... (Ecclesiastes 1:5-8 TEV)
2. Without knowing your purpose, life will seem ___________________.
8 No matter how much we see, we're never satisfied; no matter how much we hear, we are not content. 9a History merely repeats itself. Nothing is truly new ... (Ecclesiastes 1:8b-9a LB)
3. Without knowing your purpose, life will seem ___________________.
You can't straighten out what is crooked; you can't count things that aren't there. (Ecclesiastes 1:15 TEV) II. The Benefits of Knowing Your Purpose
12 I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ Jesus saved me for and wants me to be. 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven. (Philippians 3:12b-14 NLT)
1. Knowing the purpose of your life will give your life _______________.
... I am focusing all my energies on this one thing ... (Philippians 3:13 NLT)
2. Knowing the purpose of your life will ___________________________ your life.
... forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. (Philippians 3:13 NLT)
3. Knowing the purpose of your life will increase your _______________ in life.
I strain to reach the end of the race ... (Philippians 3:14 NLT)
"For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord. "They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." (Jeremiah 29:11 LB)
4. Knowing the purpose of your life will prepare you for ____________.
... receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven. (Philippians 3:14 NLT)
He has also set eternity in the hearts of men ... (Ecclesiastes 3:11b NIV)
*1. Read this week's memory verse again: For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10). What does this verse tell you about God's purpose for your life? Do you believe it's true? If so, how should it affect the way you live?
2. Ecclesiastes 1 points out three consequences of not knowing your purpose:
Life will seem tiresome
Life will seem unfulfilling
Life will seem uncontrollable
With which of these three do you most identify? Why?
3. The Apostle Paul had a clear understanding of God's purpose for his life. Even though Paul was also a tentmaker, he was able to say, "I am focusing all my energies on this one thing." If you could discover God's purpose for your life, how would it help to focus or simplify your life?
4. Ecclesiastes 3:11 says God "has set eternity in the hearts of men." What do you think that verse means? What are some practical ways we can live life here on earth in preparation for life in eternity?
HOST TIP: Depending on the size of your group, time availability, or stage of maturity, additional questions are provided at the end of this session for your group to study. You may want to use these questions as suggested homework each week or turn there right now for extended discussion.
Serve 15 Minutes
The purpose driven life cannot be lived alone. There is no such thing as a lone ranger Christian. This section of the curriculum is designed to help you live out your faith by serving your group and church.
*1. Open to the Group Guidelines and Agreement in the Small Group Resources section of this study guide, page 64. Take a few minutes to review these guidelines together. They will help everyone know what to expect and how to contribute to a meaningful small group time.
2. A central component of this study is the daily reading of The Purpose Driven Life. Turn to the Daily Reading Plan on page 76, and decide as a group the date you will start reading Day 1 of the book. Then take a moment to pair up with someone in your group to be your reading partner. A little encouragement and friendly accountability can help you stay on your reading schedule. We recommend that men partner with men and women with women. Check in with each other throughout the week or at your group meetings to share what you are learning, and to encourage each other in your progress through the book.
Share 10 Minutes
*1. God uses other people in specific ways in each of our lives. In whose life does God want to use you? Now is a great time to consider whom you might invite to your next meeting. Turn to the Circles of Life diagram on page 66 of this study guide. Take a moment and ask God to bring to your mind the names of people for each category in the diagram.
2. Commit to your small group that you will invite at least one person from your Circles of Life diagram to your next group meeting. Prepare for growth! Surveys have found that at least half of those invited to a small group accept the invitation.
Worship 20 Minutes
HOST TIP: To maximize prayer time and allow greater opportunity for personal sharing, break into subgroups of three or four people. This is especially important if your group has more than eight members.
1. Record your group's prayer requests on the Small Group Prayer and Praise Report on page 67 of your study guide. Keeping track of group prayer requests and answers to prayer would be a great job for someone in your group. Any volunteers?
*2. Pray for each other's prayer requests. Remember to pray for the people you want to invite to your next group meeting. If you have never prayed out loud in a group, you might simply pray a single sentence prayer, like, "Thank you, God, for creating me for a purpose." That's all you need to say. It doesn't have to be anything fancy or theologically profound, but your prayer will be meaningful to you and to the rest of your group.
Before You Leave
1. Turn to the Small Group Calendar in the Small Group Resources section of your study guide, page 69. Healthy groups share responsibilities and group ownership. Fill out the calendar together, at least for next week, noting where you will meet each week, who will facilitate your meeting, and who will provide a meal or snack. Note special events, socials, or days off as well. Your group host will be very appreciative and everyone will have a lot more fun together. This would be a great role for someone to coordinate for the group.
2. Also, start collecting basic contact information like phone numbers and e-mail addresses. The Group Roster on the inside front cover of your study guide is a good place to keep this information. Pass the study guides in a circle to ensure everyone gets the information firsthand.
This week we looked at the lives of two prominent people: King Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived; and the Apostle Paul, who wrote much of the New Testament. Solomon learned firsthand that all we experience in life is meaningless when we live without an eternal perspective. On the other hand, Paul was clearly focused on eternity from the moment of his calling. Let's consider some of the final words of these two great men of the Bible.
1. Read Ecclesiastes 9:1-6 and 12:13-14. What conclusion did Solomon reach at the end of his life?
2. Read 2 Timothy 4:1-5. What does Paul tell us about the lessons he learned in life?
*3. According to 2 Timothy 4:6-8, what was Paul's conclusion about his life as he looked back at his past and then forward to his future?
4. What do you learn from Solomon and Paul that could help you in your life?
Preparation for Next Time
*1. In order to get the most from this study, we strongly recommend that you follow the Daily Reading Plan on page 76 and read a chapter a day from The Purpose Driven Life (Days 1-7). You may want to write your responses, reflections, or requests to God in a journal.
2. Be sure to call one of the friends you prayed for in the group this week and invite him or her to join your small group. Offer to pick him or her up and be sure to get each person a study guide before the meeting.
3. Work on this week's memory verse and be prepared to share it with someone at the next meeting. The memory verses are also included on page 75 in the Small Group Resources section. A simple way to memorize Scripture is to handwrite the verse five to eight times on a piece of paper. Memorizing Scripture will help build your faith and grow your confidence in God.
Excerpted from The Purpose Driven Life DVD Study Guide by Rick Warren Copyright © 2005 by Purpose Driven Ministries. Excerpted by permission.
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