· Hope comes from unlikely places, where you least expect it.
· God surprises us often in unusual ways.
· Nazareth was as unlikely as Limon, CO – Not a place you expect God to be doing something big.
· When we need hope we often jump into problem solving mode. We create a plan. The reality is hope comes in the unlikely place of surrender
· Mary and her song speak to this.
· Read this story Luke 1:39-56 and discuss what happened and what Mary’s response was.
· Luke 22:42 Jesus was also given a path. He knew it was a path of suffering and He asked that it be taken away and yet the most important thing was that God’s will be done.
· He surrendered willing to the will of God as Mary did.
· Jesus has gone down the narrow road, the path of God’s will, before us.
· Mary said God has done great things for her.
· How do you relate to Mary or Jesus in these verses?
· What great things has God done for you in your life?
· Is your first response to be afraid of God’s message and plan for your life? Why?
· When have you asked the question of How something He has said about you could be true?
The beginning of God’s blessing and call on Mary’s life was the end of life as she expected it to be and it brings both great joy and great sorrow. Her response was, “may it be as you have said”. She had to have a habit of saying yes to God’s will in her life.
· How would that make a difference?
· Mary glorifies the Lord in her acceptance of His will for her. How does that encourage or challenge you in your walk with the Lord?
· Where have you accepted His will for your life and found peace and hope?
· Where do you struggle to accept His path?
Phil challenged us to pursue authentic humility. That is where we get unstuck and experience hope and joy and peace.
· How did Phil describe authentic humility? What are some conflicting ways that we define humility?
· Why is it so hard to be authentically humble?
· How will you know when you are authentically humble?
Tim Keller says that we have an illusion that we are competent to run our own life and the result is spiritual pride. This is actually a trap when we attempt to find self-worth apart from God. No matter what we use to define us it will be small and unsatisfying because only following God’s heart for us will result in hope, satisfaction, peace.
Humility is not about never thinking about yourself, it is thinking of yourself less, finding the freedom of self-forgetfulness.
That happens when you shift from caring about the opinions of others to only caring about the opinion of God as the apostle Paul talked about. Paul said he didn’t even care about his own opinion.
· Is God the supporting actor in your life story or is the main character?
· Is your life more about you or Him?
Tim Keller says the gospel of Jesus Christ is the only place you get a verdict on your life before performance.
· What does that mean to you?
· How does it impact you that Jesus has already gone down the road of following God’s will ahead of you?
· How can you practice saying yes and inviting His will into your life on a regular basis?
· Where do you need to let go of your own or others opinions?
· Where do you need to embrace His opinion of you?