Reflection Guide: A People of Gratitude

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KEY POINTS FROM SERMON:

  • By God’s grace, we hope to be a people of Gratitude in a culture of complaint.
  • Israel’s complaining in the wilderness (Exodus 15-17) shows how we as human beings struggle to trust God in difficult circumstances. We are prone towards grumbling and complaining.
  • Complaining is an attitude of grumbling that has given into hopelessness. We grow cynical towards God’s goodness and ability to meet our needs. Complaining doesn’t change our situation nor does it heal our hearts. Complaint keeps us stuck and multiplies our misery. Have you noticed that? The more people complain the more miserable they become. All complaints are ultimately our pointing the cynical finger at God blaming him for our discontentment and misfortune. At the heart of complaining is a belief that God is the one blamed for all the problems in the world rather than the one to be thanked for all its goodness.
  • How do we grow into a people of Gratitude when it seems so easy is to be a people of complaint? To grow into a people of Gratitude we must walk the path of lament and thanksgiving. Lament means taking our pains and needs to God trusting his goodness and power to act on our behalf. Thanksgiving is stopping to give God praise for His love for us in Jesus and the many good gifts he has given us. Both the practices of lament and thanksgiving are enabled by our increasing trust in the Gospel.
  • “To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything He has given us - and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him. Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference.” - Thomas Merton

Here is a link to this weeks sermon if you missed it - LINK

SCRIPTURE TO MEDITATE ON THIS WEEK:
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his faithful love endures forever. - Psalm 107:1 (CSB)

MC/DNA DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. What are the areas of life you tend to complain about (especially in the last few weeks)? How might these complaints reveal your own frustrations or fears about God?
  2. If we want to grow in Gratitude to God we must learn the prayer language of Lament and Thanksgiving (praise). Why is it important that we embrace both of these?
  3. What are some of the struggles or difficulties you are facing right now? Rather than complaining about them, what might it look like for you to bring them to God in prayer? This might be something that your group needs to pray together or something individually that you need to spend time lamenting to God in private.
  4. Read Ephesians 1. What spiritual blessings do we have in Christ? Stop to give God praise. and thanks together. What everyday gifts has God given you? Stop to give God praise.
  5. How can you help one another continue to turn away from complaining and cultivate Gratitude to God?

Practice - Cultivate gratitude this week by journaling about one thing you are thankful for each day.