Month: August 2017

2017-08-27

GOING DEEPER

12 WORDS | 08.24.2017 | “Powerless”

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Breaking Ground

What are some characteristics that are necessary to succeed in our modern world?

What are some possible “downsides” to these characteristics? Have you ever experienced any of them?

 

The Dig

Read Romans 7:15-20

Have you ever experienced activities or habits that match up with this statement? What are the things that you do that don’t WANT to do, but can’t seem to stop doing?

Have you ever tried to make a significant life change?

What made it difficult to change?

Read John 10:10

What does “abundant” or “full” life mean to you?

Do you desire that life?

On Sunday, Pastor Eric described a few “diagnostic tools” to identify possible issues of power and control (experiencing irritation and blaming; uncontrollable fear, anger and shame; feelings of isolation, loneliness and broken relationships; geographical cures; obsessions with controlling people and situations; and a pre-occupation with self-image).

Did any of those areas speak to you? If so, which ones, and how do they play out in your life?

What would happen if you kept on repeating these toxic behaviors?

What do you think it means to be “powerless”?

What would it mean to be powerless over areas like your family? Your job or career? Your grades? Your relationships?

What would it mean to surrender? Are you ready?

 

Getting Out of the Hole

First, you might want to consider sharing your journey with a Growth Group leader or a trusted friend.

Next, if you think you are ready to surrender and admit your powerlessness, a simple but effective start is to simply put your surrender in writing. If you don’t currently have a journal, you might want to get one (a simply spiral notebook will do), and begin by writing down the following:

“I, ____________________________, admit that I am powerless and that my life has become unmanageable.”

It is also helpful to write down some more specific ways and areas of your life in which you are powerless, such as:

– the behavior of your family or children
– the behavior or your supervisor or boss
– your friends or significant other
– the political climate in the country

Other areas may come to mind; respond and write them down as that happens.

Try to spend some time each day to remind yourself that (a) you are not in control and (b) that’s okay. From here, the journey to “abundant and full” life is just beginning.

2017-08-20

GOING DEEPER

08.20.2017 | Vision Sunday 2017

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Breaking Ground

A “hinge moment” is a moment where things change, a time when things pivot and head off in a new direction. Instead of our lives drifting along, gradually and gently changing directions, things sometimes change drastically in the course of a minute or two. A notice at your job; a conversation in a relationship; a passage in a book or movie where all of a sudden “life makes sense.”

Have you ever experienced a “hinge moment”? What was it and how did it affect your life?

 

The Dig

FROM SUNDAY: A vision is …
– picture of E3 in the future
– hopes and dreams
– “Where do we want to go?”
– not tied to the details

Read Acts 2:42-46

Based on what you know about the community in Acts, what stands out to you about this passage?

Why do you think this is a great VISION for the church?

E3’s vision statement reads like this: E3 will be an irresistible community of radically transformed disciples, dwelling in the place were deep faith, authentic community and emerging culture meet.

Two key components of the vision that you can control are “deep faith” and “authentic community.”

How would you define these in your own words? How do you experience them in your life?

Do you struggle with either of them? What is the barrier?

Read Romans 12:1-8

Looking at this passage in reverse, how do we all contribute towards the vision of E3? (vv6-8)

Why is this critical?

What role does humility play in the body? (vv3-5)

In regards to community and spiritual gifts, why is humility important?

What are the results of faith and life in community? (vv1-2)

How does this passage describe transformation and discipleship?

 

Getting Out of the Hole

“E3 will be an irresistible community of radically transformed disciples, dwelling in the place were deep faith, authentic community and emerging culture meet.”

Pray and ask God how you can tangibly and actively participate in working towards the vision of E3.

2017-08-13

GOING DEEPER

ENCOUNTER | 08.13.2017 | “The Movie”

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Breaking Ground

If you’re comfortable, how would you summarize the story of God in 2-3 sentences?

Do you think that your particular summary affects your every day life in a practical way? Why of why not?

If it does affect your life, what are some of the ways?

 

The Dig

Read Luke 10:25-37

What are some specific ways that the Samaritan cared for the beaten man? (vv 33-35)

How could this story translate into our modern context?

Who would be the church workers?

For the person Jesus is talking to (“an expert in the law”), a Samaritan would have been just the worst person imaginable. They were despised because of their ethnicity, and their faith. Jesus is using a Samaritan to demonstrate the radical love of God.

Who would the modern day Samaritan be?

Who are the people in our lives and culture that would be considered most hated, or the most outside and different from us?

What (or WHO) is Jesus calling us to here?

How do you respond to that call?

Jesus uses the same word (“agapao”) to describe our love for God as he does to describe the Samaritan’s love for the injured man. Furthermore, it is the same word that the New Testament uses to describe GOD’s love for us.

How does that impact your understanding of how we are to love outsiders and those different from us?

What does it take to love others WITH THE SAME LOVE THAT (a) WE LOVE GOD and (b) GOD LOVES US.

 

Getting Out of the Hole

Reconsider who your “neighbor” is, according to Luke 10:25-37?

Consider if there is anyone in your life (church, work, or otherwise) that you may need to reconcile with. Make a phone call, send a message, and make an effort to hear someone’s story.

Examine your world for places and people where your ability to love has fallen short. Ask and receive His forgiveness.

Pray and ask God for the strength and courage to grow your capacity to love the outsider and those who are different from you.

2017-08-06

GOING DEEPER

ENCOUNTER | 08.06.2017 | “Our Response”

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Breaking Ground

One of the first paradoxes of history is the Paradox of Theseus:
What are three “realities” you are faced with that frustrate, anger, or sadden you?

How did these become your reality?

How could you change this from “What is.” To “What if?”

What would need to happen?

If this is a source of frustration, anger, or sadness what is holding you back from making changing it into a something that brings energy, joy, and happiness?

 

The Dig

Read Exodus 4:1-13

What is Moses’ fear?

In bringing the change you want to see, what is your biggest fear?

How does God reassure Moses?

What are some ways God could reassure you?

What are the three miraculous signs God offered for Moses to use?

What miraculous signs has God given you?

Why is Moses still afraid?

Read 2 Timothy 1:7

According to 2 Timothy 1:7, what has God given you?

If God has given you power, love, and self-discipline, then where does fear and timidity come from?

Which gift do you want?

 

Getting Out of the Hole

You are saved by grace, but you are saved for a purpose. The same spirit that raised Jesus from the dead lives in you and has empowered you with love and self-discipline. The Gospel is in you, share it.

2017-07-30

GOING DEEPER

ENCOUNTER | 07.23.2017 | “The God of the Paradox”

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Breaking Ground

One of the first paradoxes of history is the Paradox of Theseus:

In ancient Greece, there was a legendary king named Theseus who supposedly founded the city of Athens. Since he fought many naval battles, the people of Athens dedicated a memorial in his honor by preserving his ship in the port. This “ship of Theseus” stayed there for hundreds of years. As time went on, some of the wooden planks of Theseus’ ship started rotting away. To keep the ship nice and complete, the rotting planks were replaced with new planks made of the same material. Here is the key question: If you replace one of the planks, is it still the same ship of Theseus? This question about a mythical ship is the poster child for one of the most interesting problems in all of philosophy, namely the problem of identity. What is a physical object? How do things stay the same even after they change? At what point does an object become different? When we talk about a certain object and say that “it changed,” what exactly is “it”?

What happens if you change two of the ship’s planks? Would that make it somehow less of the original ship than after one plank is changed? What if the ship consists of a hundred planks and forty-nine of the planks are changed? How about fifty-one changed planks? What about changing ninety-nine of the hundred planks? Is the single plank at the bottom of the ship enough to maintain the original lofty status of the ship? And what if all of the planks are changed? If the change is gradual, does the ship still maintain its status as the ship of Theseus? How gradual must the change be? (from www.utne.com)

 

The Dig

Read Exodus 3:13-15

God’s nature contains a few paradoxes:
– eternal power AND intimacy
– eternal strength AND relational vulnerability
– universal, creative power AND a specific identity

In your life, do you tend to focus more on God’s eternal nature and His power, or His intimacy?

How would it impact your life if you started focusing on aspects of God that you tend to neglect?

Read John 14:16-17, John 15:4, Colossians 1:19 and Colossians 2:9-10.

All of these verse point to one explosive reality: God is present, not only NEAR us, but actually IN us. In a way WE are the “burning bush.” God shines in us and through us!

However, it is our tendency to shy away, and to hide.

Have you ever been ashamed to bring your brokenness to God?

Why do you think we have that tendency?

What do these verses—and the paradoxical nature of God—tell us about God’s presence, holiness and our brokenness?

(Hint: read Romans 8:31-39)

What is your response to this reality?

 

Getting Out of the Hole

From Sunday’s Message:
“Surrender your poverty and acknowledge your nothingness to the LORD. Whether you understand it or not, God loves you, is present in you, lives in you, dwells in you, calls you, saves you and offers an understanding and compassion which are like nothing you have ever found in a book or in a sermon.” (Thomas Merton)

Have you surrendered yourself to God and acknowledged the reality of God’s full presence in your life?

What would it look like to do that this week?