Series Introduction

Some stories remind us that no matter how tough life gets, how big the giants are, how impossible our circumstances appear, God has the power to intervene and write a better story for our future.

  • What is one of your favorite stories about your best friend from childhood?


Sermon Introduction

We’ve all had days where we feel no one hears us or that it will never get better.

Days where we wonder, “Didn’t God hear my cry? Why didn’t I get the answer I wanted?”

Maybe today you feel frustrated, depressed or anxious. Maybe you are worried about a family member or have doubts that God is real. Maybe it seems like this season you are in will never end. We could all use a better story when things go wrong. Jesus knows that, and He’s ready to help write a better story whenever we are willing to give Him the pen to write the script.

  • Where in your life do you feel like you need a better story


Understanding

Have a volunteer read John 2:1-11.

Turning water into wine is Jesus’ first miracle. It wasn’t a big showstopper like some of his later miracles where the lame started walking or people came back from the dead. Today it might not seem like running out wine was a big deal, but in Jewish culture to run out on day one of a weeklong wedding celebration would have brought huge shame on the family. 

  • What can we learn about Jesus’ involvement in our life from this miracle?

It’s easy to think that our problems are too small and we don’t need to bother Jesus with this. We take the big things to him or wait until we are knee deep in our mess before we cry out for help.

We can go to God with all of our needs.  Mary models this for us when she goes to Jesus and says “they have no more wine.” Often, we like to tell God exactly how we think He should solve the problem, but Mary doesn’t do this, she just states the need and puts in in His hands. She trusts Jesus and relies on His wisdom for how to respond.

  • What in your life do you struggle to trust God with?

Have a volunteer read Philippians 4:6.

Have you ever shared your needs with God and then proceeded to do what you thought was best? Did you forget to wait and listen? In periods of waiting, we often doubt that God hears us and decide to charge forward.

If you want to see God show up in your life, you need to do what He asks. It sounds straightforward, but the struggle is real if we are honest. We live in an instant gratification culture. We can order from our favorite restaurant and have food delivered to our house in under an hour. Want a movie? Order it online. We don’t even have to go to the doctor; we can visit the tele-doc. Waiting is not part of our culture.

When we read John 2, it seems like Mary asked and received immediate results, but the truth is, she had been waiting for 30 years.

  • What is something significant that you wanted for a long time and finally got? How did being forced to wait impact the way you viewed that thing once you finally got it?

Have a volunteer read Luke 1:26-38.

Mary’s been waiting for 30 years for Jesus to show His miraculous power. For 30 years she has remembered what the angel told her, the appearance of the shepherds and the wise men. There were most likely moments of wondering when this was going to come to be.

There are times when we get an immediate answer to our prayers.  It seems like friends or family have their needs met, but we are still waiting for God to show up. Jealousy starts brewing in our hearts, and we begin to feel like God has forgotten us. Don’t lose faith. Go to Jesus and do whatever he tells you to do.

Waiting on God takes faith. It requires trusting that He sees the big picture and that He has a plan for our life.

  • What keeps you from waiting on God? 

Gene shared his “weird God story” of how Philippians 4:4 was his dad’s favorite verse and that three times on significant days in the year following his dad’s death—his dad’s birthday, his parents’ wedding anniversary, and his mom’s birthday—that treasured Scripture appeared in their devotional. God knew exactly what they needed, bringing his family great comfort. God knows just what we need and often finds little ways of reminding us.

Remembering the times God met us in the past encourages us to keep believing during the times of waiting. Sharing stories of God’s faithfulness inspires us to have faith that if God meets others, He will show up for us in our times of need.

Last week many of your shared your stories in your small group.

  • Share with the group a time in your life that God showed up for you. 

Close your time together by praying in groups of 2 to 3. Pray for a need or situation you mentioned tonight and ask God to show up.  Ask for wisdom and discernment and strength to wait on the Lord. Pray for courage to do what He tells you to do.


Application

Writing down stories when God answers our prayers helps us to remember. They can be powerful reminders when we are struggling.

Consider keeping a journal and writing down those “weird God stories” and moments little and big when God showed up for you in your time of need. We can quickly forget all that He has done for us, and when we have a written journal, we can look back on it when we desperately need to remember that Jesus loves us.

The book of John records the ministry of Jesus and accounts of how He showed up for people, how He revealed his power to the disciples and his followers.

Also consider taking up Gene’s challenge and reading a chapter of John each day.