Month: September 2017

2017-09-24

GOING DEEPER

12 WORDS | 09.24.2017 | “Confession”

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Breaking Ground

When you think about “confession”, what comes to mind?

Have you ever confessed to something?

Did you feel better afterwards?

 

The Dig

 

What keeps you from telling someone about your brokenness? What does it cost you to keep it to yourself?

Read Luke 15:11- 31

What brought the son to a point of confession?

Why does it usually take pain and heartache to get someone to a place of repentance?

How did the Father respond to the son’s confession?

What does this illustrate about the purpose of repentance and confession?

Do you connect with this story personally? What resonates with you?

Read James 5:16

What instruction does James give?

What is the result of confession?

Why do you think confession builds community?

Read 1 John 1:8–10

Do you feel society thinks about the nature of sin, repentance, and confession?

What does this scripture say about someone who claims they have nothing to confess?

What are the dangers of claiming one has no sin?

Getting Out of the Hole

Read Galatians 6:1–2

A community of grace, is a community that recognizes there is a standard, but gently helps someone toward realizing that standard. How can our church better be a community of grace?

Finally, is there something you need to unburden yourself with? This week, considering taking the step of grabbing some time with a trusted friend, counselor or pastor and naming the things inside you that you’d like to be released from.
Reach out to them and grab some time.

2017-09-17

GOING DEEPER

12 WORDS | 09.17.2017 | “Self-Honesty”

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Breaking Ground

Have you ever held a garage sale? Was it fun?

Do you shop at garage sales? (Or, did you when you were younger?) If so, what’s the best garage sale “find” you or someone you know ever picked up?
 

The Dig

 

Read Luke 18:9-14

In Jesus’ context, the Pharisees were super serious about pursuing holiness, both for themselves and for the rest of the Jewish people. Since keeping God’s commandments was the way that people “showed gratitude” for God’s goodness, they were very thorough in helping to make “The Law” (God’s “Instruction”, or Commandments) as practical as possible for the every day person (compared to the priests and the scribes of the Temple, they were actually quite popular in Jesus’ context).

By contrast, the tax collectors in Jesus’ time were really no more popular than they are nowadays. In addition, the taxes they collected were for Rome, who was currently occupying Palestine. So the tax collectors were in essence working FOR the pagan overlords AND simultaneously lining their pockets a little.

So what’s the distinguishing factor between the two men in this story?

What does it mean to “humble yourself”?

What’s the difference between humility and shame?

What are some tangible ways in which we can be honest with ourselves about our “junk”, yet keep from spinning into shame and self-condemnation?

Which is more of a challenge for you: self-righteousness or shame?

What helps you in these challenges? How do you overcome self-righteousness and/or shame?

Based on what you know about Paul and his past (if you need a refresher, read Acts 7:54-8:3 and 9:1-2) what is your reaction to Paul’s writing in Romans 8:38-39 and 1 Timothy 1:12-16?

How can you experience and live out your “belovedness”?

Getting Out of the Hole

Download the “Self-Honesty Assessment” from MYE3 and set aside some time this week (or whenever you can) and do the work of identifying your junk.

2017-09-10

GOING DEEPER

12 WORDS | 09.17.2017 | “Trust”

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Breaking Ground

Can you remember a time when you did something new and challenging?

What made it scary or challenging? Were you apprehensive about trying it?

What made you think that you could do it?

How did you feel after you did it?

 

The Dig

 

In your own words, describe the difference between “belief” and “trust” to you.

Read Mark 14:22-33

What do you think Peter BELIEVED about Jesus?

What do you think Jesus BELIEVED about Peter?

What does this story tell us about belief and trust?

Trust helps us “rightly relate” to God by keeping us reliant on God’s will and guidance.

Are there any areas of your life in which you struggle to trust God (even if you BELIEVE in Him)?

What are they?

Some of the ways to “renew our mind” and help us to practice trust are:
– admit our need
– open ourselves up to the possibility that trust can be learned
– learn prayer
– read Scripture
– watch and learn from others who are on the same journey
– engage a “guide” who is further down the journey than we are, and learn from them
– step off the ledge and start practicing

Which of these ways can you practice this week?

Make a commitment to take one of these action steps this week; find someone to help you be accountable to the commitment.

Getting Out of the Hole

This is the prayer that Eric shared with us on Sunday:

Father, I offer myself to you today, to build with and do with as you see fit.

Relieve me from the bondage of self, so that I can better serve you and serve others.

Take away my difficulties, that victory over them would bear witness to Your love, Your power, and Your way of life.

May I do your will always.

If you are ready to trust God with your life, you are invited to pray these words, preferably with a trusted friend or with your Growth Group.

2017-09-03

GOING DEEPER

12 WORDS | 09.03.2017 | “Hope”

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Breaking Ground

How would you define “hope”? Is hope an important quality to have? Why or why not?

 

The Dig

Read Romans 8:24-25

What is this passage saying about hope?

Read Romans 7:15-20 (the passage from last week).

Now read through 7:25.

Paul uses the phrase “sinful nature” (or “flesh,” as it is sometimes translated) in verses 18 and verses 25. The Greek word used here describes our “false self”, the part of ourselves that is self-obsessed and oriented towards power and control. It’s the part of us that is reluctant to admit our powerlessness. It’s not necessarily “evil”, but it is definitely resistant to letting God take control.

Paul seems to indicate that this tension between our false self/sinful nature and the presence of God’s Spirit is an ongoing battle for him.

Are you surprised that Paul—a church leader—seems to indicate that this is an ongoing struggle for him?

How does this play out in your life?

How do you reorient yourself towards God? How often do you have to do this reorientation?

According to the first part of verse 25, who does the rescuing here?

What role do we play in this?

What do these verses and the idea of “hope” have to do with the “abundant life” that Jesus is offering us in John 10:10?

 

Getting Out of the Hole

A couple of options:

1. Try the “30 Day Experiment” that Eric described on Sunday: If you are a skeptic or are just unsure/unclear about who God is and where you may be at in your faith journey, then for 30 days pray a simple prayer that asks, “God, will you meet me right where I’m at today?”

Observe and reflect on the results.

2. Watch for areas of your life and/or situations that crop up where you are tempted to take back power from God. Remember: you don’t need to beat yourself up. Faith is often a journey of learning more about God and COMING TO BELIEF. When you become aware that you are taking back power, remind yourself that you are powerless to control your life.