TEXT: RUTH 1-4
This week Chip taught very specifically to single-parent and blended families. He reminded us that while all families have challenges for unity and peace in the family, these two groups have very specialchallenges. He called all of us as a church family to provide to them the kind of support and wisdom that only a church family can.
GROUP CONNECTION TARGET TIME: 5-10 MINUTES
Share about a time when you overcame a significant challenge and it had really positive results. How did that accomplishment make you feel?
STUDY/DISCUSSION TARGET TIME: 45-50 MINUTES
Quickly review the story of Ruth. Discuss the highlights for a couple minutes.
1. Think about Naomi's hardships and difficulties. How does she show wisdom throughout this story?
a. Naomi lived in a time when one's husband (or sons) was the primary indicator of your stability and success. She and her husband left during a famine. While in Moab, her husband died, both of her sons got married and then died. She became a widow, a single parent and then a grieving mother with non-Jewish daughter's-in-law. She returned to Bethlehem without resources or hope.
b. 3 ways that Naomi responded wisely to the tragediesthat had befallen her.
i. She returned to God and his people.
ii. She faced her pain and loss.
iii. She (and Ruth) follow God's word (2:20), not the world (3:10).
2. What was the result of her trust and obedience to God's pathway for redemption?
a. Ruth was married to her kinsman redeemer, and Naomiwas restored her life and her family.
Naomi received a grandchild, and Ruth became a part of the ancestral line of Jesus.
Read Ruth 2:1-11 and discuss the question below
3. Ruth "happened" to find herself in the field owned by Boaz, her kinsmen redeemer. God is sovereign and God is gracious to us. Ruth responded with thankfulness to the kindness she was shown. Share an example of a time when God's sovereignty and grace impacted your life lor a situation you were in) in a profound and unexpected way.
Single parents are a growing percentage of all families. Chip shared seven actions steps for single parents. Whether you are a single parent or not, these are a wise approach to life.
4. Pick one of these seven that your family needs most right now. Share with the group why you picked that one.
• Make your relationship with Christ your #1 priority.
• Get connected with a strong, Godly, same-sex group for supportand accountability.
• Accept "this season" of your life and set realistic expectations.
• Remember, God can "make up" for what you can't give your kids.
• Refuse to become a victim, a martyr, or a super parent.
• Don't compromise your spiritualand moralstandards to "provide a father/mother" for your children.
Chip also shared about how every family relationship is a system. When one relational component changes, there is a domino effect that changes the whole system.
5. Think about your family lor friendships). How has your family lor friendship) system been affected by a change in a relationship? What sort of lasting impact did that have on your system? Did it get resolved?
Read James 1:2-5 and discuss the question below
6. There is a difference between trials and temptation. God does not tempt us to sin IJames 1:13-15), but he does bring us through trials to test and strengthen our faith. Also remember that people's free will leads to choices that negatively affect others. Whatever your trial is right now, how do you see God working as you persevere through it?
Pray as a group for the single parents and blended families around you. Pray for them to trust God and to persevere.
LIVE IT OUT:
Do you know a single parent of blended family that could use your support? What step this week will you take to help them?