T-Life Guide
Ghosts of Christmas Past | Week 1: Moving Past Offenses | December 03 - 09
Main Point: We experience God's freedom in our lives as we rise above offenses lots of small ones and occasional big ones with true forgiveness.
Challenge Question: Take notice this week, how easily do you get offended when people treat you the wrong way? Is there anyone you haven't truly forgiven for a past hurt, betrayal or sin against you?
Key Verse: Matthew 6:14-15
Scripture References: Proverbs 19:11 Ephesians 4:2 Colossians 3:13 Matthew 18:21-22 Matthew 6:14-15 Isaiah 43:25
From Last Week ...
Last week we were challenged to take steps of faith towards living a lifestyle of thanksgiving in both the good and bad situations of life. Share any experiences this past week where you had the opportunity to put this into practice.
With Christmas rapidly approaching, many of us feel the tensions in our lives increasing, as if a spotlight now shines on the already stressful parts of our lives. This week, we are looking at the ways in which other people have offended us continues to impact our ability to live how God has called us as His followers. Through our lack of forgiveness in both small and large offenses, we can be enslaved to those actions. By rising above the offense through forgiveness, just as Christ has done for us, we find the freedom to live for God.
Discussion Questions
  1. Share some general emotions you may be experiencing during this holiday season? Is the "spotlight" shining brighter on a current stressor in your own life?
  2. Compare and contrast small offenses to large offenses. In your own life, which seem to have a greater impact on your attitude and responses to others?
  3. Open a Bible and read from Matthew 18:21-22. As you finish, share the standard that Jesus sets concerning forgiveness. How does this standard compare to your own experiences?
  4. Andy shared on Sunday, "True forgiveness, real forgiveness, freeing forgiveness is like a lot of other transforming work God wants to do in us ... its a process. It doesnt come without us being willing to go to God and have our hearts changed ... " How has this reality played out in your own life?
  5. Is there anyone you havent truly forgiven for a past hurt, betrayal, or sin against you? If so, how is that impacting your life? What are some potential steps you believe you can take towards resolution in this area?
Next Step Challenge
The Christmas season creates plenty of opportunity to become aware of our own key relationships and how they are either thriving or barely surviving according to offenses and/or a lack of forgiveness. Commit this Christmas season to be a season of reconciliation. Rise above your past hurts and forgive others as you have been forgiven in Christ. Just as God sent His Son to reconcile people back to Himself, commit to making this a time of new birth for some hurt or dying relationships in your own life.
Memory Verse
For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. -Matthew 6:14-15
For a full recap of Sunday's sermon with media, visit the Ghosts of Christmas Past - Moving Past Offenses page.
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