Today is Wednesday, March 7th, 2018.  It is almost Spring! Our creative God blessed us with seasons to mark time and growth here in Maryland.  Imagine never seeing a Spring, Summer, or Fall before. Perhaps one lives somewhere where there is endless winter.  Or perhaps you have a small child who has never experienced these seasons yet. How do you explain them? What words do you have to explain something so unknown yet so amazing?  Our passage today conveys a similar idea. We know what some parts of our faith journey look like because we are living them. They are part of our experience. But there is much that we don’t know.  Yet we have a sovereign God who knows the beauty He is unfolding, and He is calling us to trust Him with our today and our tomorrows. - Kim

(Take time to write down responses to these questions or discuss in your group)
_ Take a moment to reflect on a time you anticipated an extensive trip or a grand gathering or a favorite holiday.  Describe to your group the feelings associated with waiting for the event. How did your feelings change as you got closer to the event?  Did you fully know what to expect even if you planned carefully?
_ How is the Lord currently impacting someone you are walking with?  What are you eagerly anticipating to happen in the future as you encounter the Lord together?

Help us trust.  Help our unbelief.  Help us really “KNOW that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” vs 28.  Help these not just be words, but help us see the good and the beautiful currently in and around us, and eagerly anticipate the better that awaits.  Help us imagine it, Lord! Help your kingdom purpose soak so deeply into each of us, Lord, that we want to share winsomely your great promises with all we encounter.

DISCOVER  [Romans 8:18-30]
+ WHAT is this passage saying and what do we learn?
(Use these questions below each portion of text to clarify the main point)

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

_ In vs. 18 what is Paul (and many believers) experiencing in the present time? What does he anticipate in the future?
_ What is creation waiting with eager longing for?  Vs 19
_ What does creation hope to obtain? Vs 21
_ What metaphor does Paul use to explain this time of growth in a believer? Vs 22  Why is this significant?
_ Verse 23 tells of a deposit we currently have as believers and two specific promises for which we are waiting to see the complete fulfillment.  What are these three things?

24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.


26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

_ Define hope used in the context of verse 24.  What synonyms might you use if you were the translator?
_ How are we to hope for what we do not see...patiently?
_ What gift did Jesus give us while we wait? Vs 26

28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

_ What two key promises do we see in vs 29?
_ Notice the strong verbs in a chronological progression in verse 30.  What does each one mean to you in your spiritual journey with Jesus?

+ 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 are being invited to re-imagine and trust that the Holy Spirit is interceding for you according to the will of God?  If so, where and what is your next step this week?
_ Are there any areas Jesus is inviting you to patiently wait and trust  in His promises? If so, what area?
_ Is there a place in your life that you are lacking kingdom vision?  Where in the Scriptures is God calling you to go to learn more about Him?

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