Introduction:
The phrase “But God” shows up a lot in scripture.  Why? The word “but” means “used to introduce something contrasting with what has already been mentioned.”
In this series, we will dive into all the “BIG BUTS” in the Bible….

Ice Breaker Questions:
-What are some of your biggest life-changing moments?  Good/bad
-How did you respond to those moments?  What would you change?
-What are some life-changing moments you are looking forward to?
Genesis 45:4-11 (ESV)
4 So Joseph said to his brothers, “Come near to me, please.” And they came near. And he said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. 5 And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. 6 For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are yet five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. 7 And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. 8 So it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt. 9 Hurry and go up to my father and say to him, ‘Thus says your son Joseph, God has made me lord of all Egypt. Come down to me; do not tarry. 10 You shall dwell in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near me, you and your children and your children’s children, and your flocks, your herds, and all that you have. 11 There I will provide for you, for there are yet five years of famine to come, so that you and your household, and all that you have, do not come to poverty.’
Explanation:
-So Joseph was betrayed by his family, sold into slavery, accused and sent to prison, and forgotten about his friends.  He went through years of holding onto a dream even though the circumstances seemed to get worst and worst.  This all started with a dream God gave him that one day his family would bow to him.  Here we see the near completion of his dream, however Joseph wanted to make it clear that God sent him there and not his brothers.
-This might be difficult to understand but there are things that God puts you through OR allows you to go through in order to work in you and through you.  Joseph understood that God was behind it all even when it seemed to be “bad.”
Discussion Questions:
1. There are sometimes God uses the “bad things” that happen to us to reveal himself or to change us.  Do you personally struggle with that concept?  Why do you think it is necessary to go through the “bad” times?
2. Where should our mind be when we go through bad things knowing that God can work it out?  Where should our minds not go and what makes it hard to not think in that way?
3. Sometimes the bad things that happen to us are a result of our bad choice/decisions.  We confuse the fact that sometimes we are punished more BY our sins, than FOR our sins.  How do you think a loving God views those types of situations when bad things are happening because of bad decisions?  How has religion messed with our image of God?  How does that affect future decisions?
4. How do you think Joseph got this revelation (“So it was not you who sent me here, but God.”)?  Have you ever thanked God for some of the bad things you’ve gone through?  If not, why?  
5. Share a story about something bad that you are now going to walk away thankful about.