Month: October 2017



12 WORDS | 10.29.2017 | “Examine”

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Breaking Ground

When you were young, was there anything that you looked forward to being able to do when you “grew up”? What did it mean to be “grown up”?

What does it mean to you now? How has it changed? What would you tell your younger self?


The Dig

Read Matthew 26:41b (the last half of the verse).

What does this mean to you?

Though many Bibles don’t show this in the translation, the Greek word for “spirit” is the same word that is used to describe God’s Holy Spirit (“pneuma”). In other words, this verse could be read as:

“The (Holy) Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

How does this change the meaning for you?

What does it mean to you that God’s Holy Spirit is “willing” to help us in our weakness?

What are some ways—tangible and practical activities—that we could possibly “help the Spirit to help us”?

What are some areas in your life that you weak?

What do you think God might want to do in this area of your life? What would it mean to have a “rich and abundant life” in this specific area?


Getting Out of the Hole

Using a copy of the self-examination questions from Sunday, begin a daily (and moment-to-moment) practice “minding the gap” between stimulus and response.

Each evening, “reset your RAM” by reviewing your day with the provided questions.

Life hack: Our brains tend to respond to simple systems of reward. On a piece of paper, just make a mark for each day you are able to do an Examen. See how many consecutive days you can string together. Cultivate a habit.



12 WORDS | 10.22.2017 | “Reconciliation”

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Breaking Ground

How would you evaluate or judge a “successful” church? What tells you, “Hey this is a good church; they’re doing something right.’?”


The Dig

Did you act on last week’s message? Did you reach out to anyone to ask for or to give forgiveness?

If so, how did it go? What was it like?

If you didn’t, was there a particular reason that you hesitated?

In his first letter to the church at Corinth, Paul pushes hard on the community to realign there relationships in a more Jesus-like way. The community was torn with divisions—socioeconomic, spiritual, and relational—and over and over again Paul admonishes and pushes on them to make things right. One of the most powerful statements he makes is in chapter 6.

Read 6:1-8

How does Paul’s statement in verse 7 strike you?

What does it say about Paul’s attitude towards forgiveness, being wronged, and relationships?

How might this situation apply to your life? Is there a situation where you are waiting to “be right”?

What is a possible different attitude that you could take? What might that look like?

*NOTE: There are situations in life where there we are legitimately and decisively wronged by another person or persons. If and when we are harmed by others, the point is not to pretend it did not happen. Rather, the point is to have appropriate boundaries, and be willing to move on in your own life, and at the same time seeking Jesus’ posture of self/ego surrender.


Getting Out of the Hole

Continue to monitor your relationships, seeking forgiveness when you need it, and offering it when someone else does.

Where it’s difficult, pray for (a) the person you need to forgive, and also (b) for your own willingness to do it when the time is right.



12 WORDS | 10.15.2017 | “Forgiveness”

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Breaking Ground

Do you—or someone you’ve known—hold grudges? Is there a time in your life that you’ve encountered someone (if not you) that has held on to a long-time hurt?

How did you see that play out in their life? How did it get resolved?


The Dig

A word about context: whenever you are studying the Bible, you can learn an awful lot simply by looking at the immediate context of a scripture. For instance, take a look at Matthew 18:1.

Who is Jesus’ audience here? Who is he teaching?

The gospels tend to draw a distinction between “disciples” (Jesus’ followers and learners) and “the crowds” (people who gather to listen but aren’t always committed to him and his teaching, as in 19:1).

With that in mind, it means the context of Matthew 18:21-35 (actually, all of Matthew 18) is Jesus speaking to his disciples or, to put it another way, the church.

Why do you think this matters? Why do you think Jesus makes such a big deal about forgiveness within the church as opposed to teaching it to the crowds?

Do you have a more difficult time forgiving people within the church, as opposed to people who may not be Christ followers?

If so, why do you think that is?

Read Matthew 6:9:15 (by the way, based on the context here—based on Matthew 5:1, Jesus is again teaching his disciples, but it also says the crowds were there and could hear him as well. Matthew 7:28 says that “they were amazed at his teaching.”)

How does verse 14 affect your understanding of seeking and extending forgiveness to others?

Why do you think that Jesus draws such a strong connection between forgiveness from God and us forgiving other people?


Getting Out of the Hole

Read Ephesians 4:32. In light of this challenge from Paul, begin to think about and write down the names of people whom you may have hurt.

As names come up, also consider how you might be reconciled with them. What would it take for you to reach out and “clean your side of the street”?



12 WORDS | 10.08.2017 | “Dependence” + Guides

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Breaking Ground

Has there ever been a time in your life when you really wanted to learn a new skill or activity, and you had to engage a teacher?

What was the skill, and how did you learn?

What made the teacher particularly good (or bad)?


The Dig

Read John 15:1-2, and 15:16

What do you think it means to be “be fruitful” in our lives. (Hint: you can look at Galatians 5:22-23; that’s a good list of spiritual fruit.)

What kind of “fruit” do you think Jesus would specifically like to see in your life?

How do you think this fruit comes about?

How would you complete this statement: “Spiritually, I would like to learn to….”

Do you have a “guide” or navigator now for your spiritual journey?

If not, why not? If you do, why did you seek them out?

How did your relationship with them develop?

What are some specific activities that they have helped you develop that have helped your spiritual journey?

Is there any other part of your life in which you’d say you need a mentor or guide?

What would it mean to ask for help?


Getting Out of the Hole

Continue to pray the prayers from week 3 (Trust) and this week, and carefully think through what it means to release your “crutches” (“character defects”).

Consider finding a “guide” for your spiritual journey, or for some specific aspect of it (parenting, relationships, gift/skill development, etc.).

Identify a potential navigator/guide and reach out to them. Ask them to coffee and explore getting help in your journey.



12 WORDS | 10.01.2017 | “Release”

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Breaking Ground

Have you ever had to recover from an injury? What was it like? If you had to go through physical therapy, were you ever tempted to give up? What made you push through?


The Dig


Read Matthew 18:8-9

What point is Jesus trying to make here? How would you paraphrase it, or put it in your own words?

In light of this scripture, why is sin—our brokenness or crutches—such a serious issue in our lives?

What do you think your sin is costing you?

What might moving past this look like, even if you’re blind and lame?

Read Lamentations 3:21-22

In light of “naming, telling, and releasing” our junk, what is your reaction to this scripture?

How easy or difficult is it for you to feel this mercy every day? What are some practical ways that you can experience “new mercies”?

Read Psalms 103:8-12

Spend some time reflecting and sharing moments when you’ve been aware of God “removing” your sin. As Paul says in Romans 12, in light of this great mercy, how can you respond to God right now?

In what ways can you be grateful to God for his mercy and love?

Getting Out of the Hole

Getting Out of the Hole

If you haven’t yet done the self-assessment from week 4, take some time to download the PDF from and complete the reflection questions.

As you become aware of your “crutches” and the stuff in your house, consider its impact on your life. How have they kept you weak, as opposed to experiencing the healing that God has for you?

Name them. Share them. Release them.

Or at least pray for willingness.