Month: June 2017

2017-06-25

GOING DEEPER

UNDER THE SUN | 06.25.2017 | “Don’t Look Back”

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Breaking Ground

Looking back on your life, what was your favorite season? Was it high school? College? Some other time?

What made it so great? What else was going on in the world during that time? What songs or movies do you remember?

 

The Dig

Read Ecclesiastes 7:10

Why do you think we have a tendency and/or desire to think about “the good old days”?

Why do you think The Teacher (the author of Ecclesiastes) cautions against this?

Read Exodus 16:3

Why were the people asking to go back to Egypt?

What was Egypt like for the Israelite community? (If you don’t know the story, take a quick read through Exodus chapters 1 and 5).

What (or when) is your “Egypt”?

Is there anything about your Egypt that you MIGHT you be mis-remembering? If so, what?

In what ways could you make HERE and NOW better than Egypt?

Read Isaiah 48:6-7

Where in your life are you experiencing God’s newness/freshness? Where is it difficult for you to experience this?

One of the Greek words for time is “kainos”. The word is used often in the New Testament to indicate something that is unprecedented, fresh, and/or never seen before. It is contrasted with the Greek “neos” which indicates chronological, objective time.

How well are you experiencing kainos in your life right now? What’s new and fresh in your world?

“Kainos” can happen ANYWHERE in your world, at any moment. What can YOU do to bring something new, unprecedented and fresh to your world?

 

Getting Out of the Hole

This week, seek to live a “kainos” life: bring something new, fresh, and unprecedented to your world. Make it gospel-shaped (loving God with all your heart/soul/mind/strength and loving others as yourself).

2017-06-18

GOING DEEPER

UNDER THE SUN | 06.18.2017 | “The Valley of the Shadow”

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Breaking Ground

What are you most afraid of?

 

The Dig

Read Ecclesiastes 7:1-2 and 9:1-2

How do you react to these verses? What do they stir up in you?

Read John 12:24-26

How are Jesus’ words here connected with the words and thoughts in Ecclesiastes 7 and 9?

What is Jesus referring to when he talks about the “kernel of wheat”?

Read 1 Peter 2:21 and 1 Peter 4:1

How do these two verses affect your understanding of John 12:24-26? What do they say about suffering and the cross?

If the cross is not just a one-time theological event but also our example, what impact does that have on John 12:24-26? In other words, what “kernels of wheat” might you be holding onto that you might need to let fall to the ground?

What could God do with those kernels if you were to release them?

Read Psalm 90:12

How good are you at “numbering your days”? How awake and present are you to the gift of NOW?

How could you get better at embracing life now?

What would a “heart of wisdom” look like for you?

 

Getting Out of the Hole

This week, continue to become aware of when you are losing sight of the gift of the present moment. Learn to accept life as a gift of God’s grace by saying “Thank you” for the little things.

2017-06-11

GOING DEEPER

UNDER THE SUN | 06.11.2017

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Breaking Ground

Have you ever seen the movie Greed? or The Wolf of Wall Street? or The Big Lebowski? What is your favorite scenes or most impactful takeaways from them?

(If you haven’t seen them, maybe schedule a watching party… or maybe not.)

 

The Dig

Read Ecclesiastes 4:5-6

How would you summarize and/or restate the three postures towards life described here in your own words?
– folded hands
– two hands with toil
– one hand with tranquility

Is there anywhere in your life where your hands are folded?

How did they get that way? Is there anything that happened that has caused you to sit down and fold your hands?

Is there anywhere in your life where your hands are clenched into fists?

What is behind that? Where did it come from?

What’s the difference between a PROCESS orientation and a RESULTS orientation?

Which side do you gravitate to?

Again, what is the thing inside your fists? Can you name it?

What would happen if you unclenched your fist? Would it disappear?

What would it mean to trust God with the thing that’s in your hand?

Read 1 John 3:1-2 and 1 John 4:9.

What is your reaction to these verses?

Who loved who first?

What impact can God’s radical love have on a “clenched-fist” approach to life?

 

Getting Out of the Hole

What would it look like to un-clench your fists and to take an “open-handed” approach to life?

Pray for the courage to trust, and seek ways to live open-handedly this week.

2017-06-04

GOING DEEPER

UNDER THE SUN | 06.04.2017

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Breaking Ground

From last week’s message: “vapor” is practically anything that we experience “under the sun”. Our jobs, our dreams, our relationships, our plans, our created experiences. The Teacher in Ecclesiastes declares EVERYTHING that we experience in this world as “vapor”.

What kind of “vapor” tends to distract you?

 

The Dig

Read Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

What strikes you about this passage? Does it seem positive or negative?

Read Ecclesiastes 3:9-11

What does it mean that God has placed “eternity in the human heart”?

How can we experience this “eternity”? Have you ever experienced it?

How do you navigate the tension in this verse? How do you navigate the “eternity” available to us all with the the idea that we cannot fathom or understand what God is doing in totality? To put it another way, how do you respond when you ask “Why?” and the answer is either not understandable? (Or not present at all?)

According to the deep wisdom of the Bible and of faith, while we are not required to be “grateful” for suffering in our life, we ARE invited (and able) to be grateful in the MIDST of suffering and sadness.

Have you been able to do this in your life? If so, how?

Read John 14:27

How would you describe “Jesus’ peace”? What do you think it’s like?

Have you ever experienced it? How were you able to access it?

 

Getting Out of the Hole

Remember to “Stop, Look, and Go”.

Stop: Slow down and quiet down during your day; eliminate distractions for a brief time so you can see what God is doing.

Look: Where in your life is God moving? In what ways is God GIVING to you, right now? Can you say, “Thank You” to God right now?

Go: What is the “Next Right Thing” to do. What opportunities—to serve and be helpful—is life giving you right now?