Today is Friday, December 7th, 2017.  Christmas day is rapidly approaching!  Perhaps you have been singing about Christ’s glorious incarnation as carols resound in the halls of your home.  Next time you sing “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” listen for these words of the chorus: “Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!”  God’s peace, extended to us in the form of His Son, is not only AMAZING but, as we read in the two short Scriptures today, this peace and reconciliation is also something we should extend to others.  - Kim

CONNECT
(Take time to write down responses to these questions or discuss in your group)
_ What does peace look like in your life?  Have you sensed when you have it?  Have you sensed when you don’t?  Can you pinpoint a lack or an abundance of something (or Someone) that might affect your peace?  
_ How do you intentionally extend peace others and point them to the source of ultimate peace

PRAY
Prince of Peace; Thank you for extending ultimate peace, Yourself! You came from heaven to earth to show us the way to be reconciled to the Father and to extend Your peace to others.  Thank you for the Holy Spirit that fills us and allows us the power to choose to extend grace and mercy to others rather than judgment.

DISCOVER  [James 3:17-18 - Matthew 5:9]

+ WHAT is this passage saying and what do we learn?
(Use these questions below each portion of text to clarify the main point)

James 3:17-18

“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” ESV

“ But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.” NIV

Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced. You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor.”  The Message

Matthew 5:9

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”  ESV
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” NIV

“You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.” The Message

_ Which translation resonates the most with you today?  How is reading all three translations helpful as you listen for God’s voice today?
_In vs. 17 list how heaven’s wisdom is described.  How does The Message translate “peaceable” and “peace-loving?” Would you translate it in a similar fashion?
_ How does the word peace relate to God’s work of reconciling us with Himself?
_In vs. 18 how can one reap a harvest of righteousness?  
_ What does “sowing in peace” specifically look as we interact with those around us?
_ What promise does God give those who are peacemakers in vs 9?  What does it mean to you to be called a child of God?  What joys and responsibilities come with such a title?  How does this title give us peace?

+ HOW am I compelled to confess sin and how does the gospel compel me to respond with a simple step of action/obedience?  (Here are some thoughts to discuss in break-outs)
_ Is there an area of your life that you need to be intentional about sowing seeds of peace?  If so, where and what is your next step this week?
_ Are there any areas Jesus is inviting you to rest in His peace?  As you rest in His arms, who in your life might be able to also rest as they observe your example?
_ Is there a place that you are lacking peace?  Is Jesus calling you to bring that to Him, the Prince of Peace?

+ WHO are you walking with to discover or grow in Jesus and what is your next step with them, how can we help?