Beauty from Ashes – Discussion Guide

Getting Started

Main Idea:
You may have scars on your body, mind, and heart from the things you’ve done, and the things done to you. But those scars that mark you no longer define you. Like Lilyanah, God can raise you out of the ashes and change you into a beautiful new creation.

This weekend, we heard Lilyanah’s story of brokenness and healing, of beauty from ashes. Easter is the ultimate example of beauty from ashes. Jesus had victory from defeat, and resurrection from death. Easter proves that the power of God can raise you from the ashes. Just like in Lilyanah’s story, we are all rescued when we trust in Christ. And because of that, we as the Church are the hope of the world.

Discussion Starter:
Lilyanah’s story starts with saying that she couldn’t accept something she didn’t believe in. Yet, she still prayed and even dreamed of Jesus. He was working on her heart before she even knew Him. Can you think of anything Jesus did to work on your heart before you knew Him? What did He reveal to you as you began to turn to Him?

Encounter God

Primary Scriptures: Acts 2:42-47, Isaiah 61:1-3

Discussion Questions:

        1. God isn’t looking for drop-ins to His Kingdom. He’s looking for those who LIVE ALL iN. Easter is proof that Jesus went ALL iN for us. ALL iN isn’t just the theme of the year but God’s will for your life. We see in Acts 2:42, there was a cost for the first disciples to follow Jesus (see Luke 14:26). And just like those disciples, Lilyanah was willing to give up everything to be ALL iN. What has been your cost for going ALL iN? Or, if you haven’t yet, what would your cost be?
        2. Scripture records Mary Magdalene, Matthew, and so many more examples of lives transformed to beauty from ashes. How has God moved in your life to transform you? What sorts of things did you love or enjoy before, that you now regard as ashes? Every person who has been born again has a dramatic shift in the things they once valued (2nd Corinthians 2:16). What has God given you in exchange for those things you now regard as ashes (Philippians 3:8)?
        3. Faith Promise has always been about “being raw and real.” We are real people with real problems. Some of us are just now realizing how REAL it really is. Eternity is on the line. Lilyanah asked herself if God was really listening to her. She wanted Him to help her plant the seed of God’s word in her daughters. Are you planting seeds of God’s word in your family, friends, co-workers? If so, how are you doing that?
        4. We all want a place to call home, a place to belong. The pain Lilyanah went through over and over could have made her walk away from it all. Instead, she walked through it, holding on to Jesus, to come out on the other side stronger—in the way that it mattered. How are you walking through this time of uncertainty? Has this been a time of testing for you? Have you seen somewhere that God’s promise in Romans 8:28 applies? How are you declaring God’s goodness every single day?

    Discovery Bible Method:
    For deeper study, as an alternative to the questions above, read Isaiah 61:1-3 and use the Discovery Bible Method to explore the passage.

    Embrace Others

    Suggestion: Consider breaking the group into twos or threes for this section.

    Life has slowed for some of us, almost to a stop. Others are still in the trenches, working harder than ever as a pandemic swirls around us. Whichever category you fall into, how does your spiritual life look? In this time where it’s hard to embrace others, how are you staying connected to the One to whom we need to be constantly connected (John 15:5)? Are you walking with and serving King Jesus more now than ever? Are you relying on Him more than ever? Are you diving deeper ALL iN to your relationship with Jesus? 

    Engage the World Around Us

    Engaging at Faith Promise: There are quite a few ways to engage online with our church. What are you doing to stay connected to the Church body and others, growing in your faith through this time of social distancing? Who are you inviting to join you online? Being ALL iN in the spiritual family of Faith Promise means growing together instead of going alone.

    Engaging in Community and the World: Your group may be spread out physically, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still try to reach the world around you. Do you have an elderly neighbor who could use someone to take out the trash, help them get groceries, or clean up their yard? Are there small businesses (locally owned) in your area that you can support? Are there any health care workers that you know who could use a show of appreciation?

    Expand God’s Kingdom

    How will you be different after this coronavirus incident? Will everything be back to “business as usual,” or will this be the moment you transform? What if this is the time God is transforming you, beauty from ashes? How could you be different because of this opportunity God has given you? We have a guarantee from God that if we ask Him to change us (to die to self and live for Him), He will answer that prayer (1st John 5:15). There has never been a better time than now to pray for His transforming power (Hebrews 3:13). When we do get back in closer proximity to others, will they see a God-changed life?

    Leader’s Notes

    ALL groups at Faith Promise should follow Jesus Christ and lead others to do the same. Below are the marks of a growing follower and disciple of Jesus.

    – A follower of Jesus desires to encounter God through the deeper study and application of God’s Word.

    – A follower of Jesus embraces people and values relationships on a deeper level so everyone can grow together.

    – A follower of Jesus engages and serves the world around them and in their community, through local partners or God-directed opportunities.

    – A follower of Jesus expands God’s Kingdom through development and multiplication of disciple-makers, possibly to lead more groups at Faith Promise.