I Can Only Imagine
weekend in review
I Can Only Imagine, is not only the title of the movie we’re examining this weekend, but also of one of the best-selling Christian songs of all time. The film is based on the real-life story of Bart Millard, the man who wrote this award-winning song. Suffering a painful childhood that included abuse by his father, Bart built walls around his heart. He couldn’t see hope. Observing the Millard family’s story of pain, redemption, and forgiveness, we see that God can bring the best out of the worst. He is a redeemer. He can redeem your situation, your pain, and make something beautiful out of it.
Begin with some conversation, checking in on how people are doing. You can talk about whatever you’d like, but here are potential questions to get the conversation going.
Share a current favorite worship song. Why does it resonate with you right now?
Select 5-6 questions from the list below to guide your discussion time:
Read Proverbs 3:5-6. Sometimes what looks like a closed door in our lives turns out to be God’s gift to us, directing us to the way he wants us to go. Share a time that a closed door led to an eventual blessing.
When “bad” things happen in your life, how do you respond? In anger, or in faith that God will work good from it, or in some other way?
Read Ezekiel 35:26. Jesus gave his life on the cross so that we could be redeemed and be given a new spirit, a new heart. Bart returned home to find his abusive dad had changed. Have you personally experienced that type of life transformation or seen it happen in someone you know?
Read Luke 6:37. Sometimes we want people to sympathize with us in our hurts. The truth is, sympathy can provide temporary relief, but nothing short of forgiveness can procure lasting release. Why do you think people are content to entertain self-pity and resentment when the release of forgiveness is available?
Bart marveled, “I watched my dad transform from a monster into the man I wanted to become.” Who you have given up on? It’s never too late.
What actions or reactions in your life might indicate that you haven’t fully forgiven past hurts, even if you know in your head what you need to do?
Gene challenged us, saying, “You have to release what others have done to you, so that you can receive what God will do in you.” Is there a hurt you need to let go of? Here are a few steps you can try at home this week:
1. Invite God to work with you on this. If you struggle with forgiveness, it helps to start by recalling the hurtful behaviors you have been forgiven for and thanking him for the kindness and grace he has offered you.
2. As you pray for God to help you release hurts that have a hold on you, lean into a new self-image of being a forgiver, of being “over it,” free and moving forward with God.
If you find yourself in a situation like Bart did and need further support; or you need to overcome a habit, hang-up or hurt, consider looking into our Care and Recovery groups.
Take some time this week to pray for people you have written off, those you’ve decided would never accept an invitation to church. Consider inviting them to join you At The Movies.
WRAP UP & PRAYER
Share prayer requests and spend time praying for each other.
Pray that God would use you and your invitation to come to church, so that he can touch a life, touch another heart of stone and give someone a new heart of flesh through the amazing grace of Jesus. As a group, give each other support with this.