The Beatitudes

Lesson 1

    •    “The Beatitudes is not a spirituality, after all.  It is a geography.  It tells us where to stand.” - Gregory Boyle, Tattoos On the Heart

    •    Matthew 5:1-3.

    •    You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope.  With less of you there is more of God and his rule (Matthew 5:3).

    •    Have you ever thought where you could use more of God?

    •    Has there ever been a time where you felt like you were at the end of your rope?

    •    Do you ever feel God has met you in a tough place?

    •    How have you seen God in moments where you or someone around you has struggled?

    •    Where have you felt or seen God in a huge way?

    •    We are called by God to an incredible journey.  All of our journeys will be a little different but they will all have challenges.  At times we will feel like we are failing or falling short.  Remember you are blessed when you are empty…struggling.  Are there any stories in the Bible that you see characters coming in to or from a place of struggle?

    •    Let’s pray for each other and our struggles today.  Remember that you are blessed.  You are loved.  You are awesome.

Lesson 2

    •    “Are we standing on holy ground…all the time?  Passing burning bushes on the left and the right, and because we’re moving too fast and we’re distracted, we miss them?” - Rob Bell, Breathe

    •    Matthew 5:4.

    •    You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you.  Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you (Matthew 5:4).

    •    This is a little bit heavier to think about.

    •    What are some things most dear to you?

    •    Have you ever lost any of those things?

    •    Gregory Boyle, in his book, Tattoos On the Heart, speaks of the beatitudes in this way…”Scripture scholars contend that the original language of the Beatitudes should not be rendered as “Blessed are the single-hearted” or “Blessed are the peacemakers” or “Blessed are those who struggle for justice.”  Greater precision in translation would say, You’re in the right place if…you are single-hearted or work for peace.””

    •    Read Exodus 3:1-5.

    •    Imagine the tough places in your life where you suffer loss.

    •    Moses was told he was on holy ground.  In the middle of nowhere.  No church.  No camp chapel.  Nowhere.  Holy Ground.

    •    In our toughest times…God is there.  Holy ground.  How can you lean in to God when you hurt from loss?

    •    Have you ever felt the love of God in the hollows of a time of loss?  How have you experienced God in these times?

Lesson 3

    •    Matthew 5:5.

    •    You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are - no more, no less.  That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything can’t be bought.

    •    What are you happiest with in life right now?

    •    What do you find to be the best quality or gift you have?

    •    Partner up, 2 or 3 people together, and compliment each other.

    •    What do you struggle with about yourself or where you are in life?

    •    How can you get past that?  How have you found ways of dealing with that?

 

    Lesson 4.

    •    Matthew 5:6.

    •    You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God.  He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever      eat.

    •    “In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate, where one was reading “Luther’s preface to the Epistle to the Romans.  About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed.” - John Wesley, One of the founders of the United Methodist Church in his early work.

    •    Truly, this moment for John Wesley came at a time of great trial.  He’d had his first major role as a pastor come up as an incredible failure and was in search of his place in the world he lived in.

    •    God can hit us with the full force of the Holy Spirit at any time.  It can be at church.  It can be at home.  It can be in the community, wherever that is for you.  It can be anywhere.  Good times.  Bad times.  Ok times.  You can work up an “appetite for God” in lots of ways.

    •    When have you been hungry for God?

    •    Have you ever been so connected with God you were lost in the moment?  Holy Spirit moment!

    •    When have you been so physically hungry that your next meal was just amazing simply because you were hungry?

    •    What was the meal (or what was an incredible meal you’ve had recently)?

    •    How do/can you seek to experience God in this way?

 

     Lesson 5

    •    Matthew 5:7

    •    “You’re blessed when you care.  At the moment of being “care-full”, you find yourselves cared for.”

    •    What do you care about the most?

    •    Who do you care about the most?

    •    Why?

    •    In your church or spiritual life…what do you care most about (worship, prayer, salvation, connection, etc.)?

    •    Do you struggle with caring for certain things?

    •    When have you felt the most cared for at home?

    •    When have you felt the most cared for by your friends?

    •    When have you felt the most cared for in your faith family (church, youth group, etc.)?

    •    Is there a time you’ve ever felt led to care for someone close to you?

    •    How would you describe being “care-full?”

 

     Lesson 6

    •    Matthew 5:8

    •    You’re blessed when you get your inside world - your mind and heart - put right.  Then you can see God in the outside world.

    •    What is the best part of your heart?

    •    What is the best part of your mind?

    •    What is the best part of the person beside you’s heart/mind?  Yes, I’m asking you to compliment each other.

    •    Do you ever stress out about stuff?

    •    How do you deal with stress?

    •    Do you pray or meditate outside of worship settings?  If so, what does that time look like for you?

    •    What helps you rest, relax, or settle down?

    •    How would you describe your “inside world” being right?

 

      Lesson 7

  • Matthew 5:9
  • You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight.  That’s when you discover who you really are, and you’re place in God’s family.
  • Have you ever been in a fight, spat, argument, or disagreement?
  • How does it make you feel when you disagree with someone?
  • Is that feeling any different when you are closer to the person you are disagreeing with?
  • Have you ever helped stop or break up a disagreement?
  • Have you ever helped two people come to peace with one another?
  • How does it feel to make something better compared to disagreeing or fighting?
  • Have you ever done something for someone when you didn’t have to?
  • What is the coolest thing you think you’ve ever done for someone?
  • What is the most awesome thing someone has done for you?

 

      Lesson 8

  • Matthew 5:10
  • You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.
  • Have you ever felt persecuted for what you believe about God?
  • Have you ever felt persecuted or put down due to anything you believe?
  • Persecution is a hard word to comprehend.  
  • Persecution means hostility and ill-treatment, especially because of race or political or religious beliefs.
  • Let us look at the last verses of the beatitudes:  "Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble."
  • Who likes being wrong?  How does being wrong make you feel?
  • Many of us don’t like being wrong.  It’s natural too.  No need to feel bad about it.
  • So where do we go from here?
  • Take pride in what you know.
  • Be humble in what you don’t know.
  • Know that you don’t know everything but you do know God.
  • God is love.  How does love guide you?
  • Let love guide you in your rights and your wrongs.
  • Let love guide you when you need to take a stand for something or someone.
  • Let love guide you when you need to accept that you don’t have the answer. 
  • This is all pretty heavy stuff so let’s bring it to a lighter note to close.
  • What is your favorite restaurant and why?
  • No one may argue back.  Just listen and enjoy.