• What stood out to you in the sermon? (Missed it? Try VancouverChurch.org/sermons)

• What was your Christmas present as a kid? Also, describe your favorite gift-giving experience.

• Read Matthew 1:23 & Luke 15:11-32. What is the meaning of the name Immanuel? How are these two passages related? What principles do they share? As you reflect on the sermon, discuss how the younger brother was living LIFE FROM GOD and the older brother was living LIFE FOR GOD.

• When we’re living LIFE FROM GOD we see God as our personal genie, there to grant our wishes; especially if we live a good life and ask properly. This way of relating to God distorts the beautiful truth of James 1:17, “Every good and perfect gift comes from the Father of Heavenly Lights…” Why does God give us good gifts? What is his hope by giving us such good gifts? Discuss both healthy and unhealthy ways of asking God for his good gifts.

• Living LIFE FOR GOD takes the view that God is our mission commander, and we are completely sold out for his mission. To lay our life down for the Lord is absolutely what God wants from us, but he wants something else even more. He wants to be WITH us. Keep in mind, God doesn’t need anything from us. While he made us for very real and significant responsibility, that is a gift to us. He made us not to do things for him, but to do things with him. In your life, describe the difference between doing things FOR God and doing things WITH God.

• To live LIFE WITH GOD, we must learn to love God even more than every good gift. Make a short list of people and things you love. Both significant loves and shallow loves. When do these desires grow stronger than your desire for God himself?

• This Christmas, prepare your heart and mind to treasure God more than all his good gifts. As you each pray, fill in the blank with a few of his good gifts in your life. In other words, complete this prayer: Lord, I love ______________________________ , teach me to love you even more