Month: January 2018



01.28.2018 | “Get Useful 4: Make Your Bias Behave”

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Breaking Ground

1. Did you take the “Project Implicit” test from Harvard? If so, what did you discover? Were you surprised?

2. Do you consider yourself a biased person? Why or why not?


The Dig

Two strong themes emerge in Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus: First, there is the idea that God’s church—as a body AND as individuals—is called to grow to maturity in Christ, marked by compassionate love (see, for instance, 4:11-16).

The second theme is that Christ’s work on the cross brings together people—specifically here the Jews and Gentiles, but also ALL people going forward. (see 2:14-22).

Read 3:14-21

In verse 15, Paul remarks that the whole (or every) family on heaven and earth gets their “name” from God. In this context, this could be the same thing as saying that God is involved and present in “every culture, race, people and ethnic group on Earth.”

How have you seen God present in other cultures and people groups (whether at home or in other countries)?

How has it enlarged your understanding of God?

How do you see God in your own culture?

Read 3:14-21 again, slowly.

Paul also prays here that people in Ephesus would deeply know the love of Christ.

How (as specifically as possible) does the love of Christ help us with unity and overcoming our bias?

Put another way, what are some of the ways that you would describe Christ’s love? HOW did he love people (including YOU)?

How can this impact the way we treat other people who may not look, act, or think like us?

How well do you do with loving people—specifically people who you may be biased against—like Christ loved you?

Read 3:14-21 AGAIN, this time as YOUR prayer. Personalize it; make it yours.

Getting Out of the Hole

Make a concerted effort to have a conversation with someone who you may be biased against. Make efforts to go below the surface to hear their story. Receive, welcome, and love them the way Christ loved you: with acceptance, compassion and without judgment.

Where you may disagree, focus on the common identity you may have, and strive to learn and maintain unity.

Be aware of when you’re allowing your bias or preconceived notions to cloud your thinking.

Be grateful for the rich diversity of the kingdom of God.



01.21.2018 | “Get Useful 3: Make Technology Behave”

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Breaking Ground

How old were you when you got your first “smart phone”? How did your world change when you got one?

What kind of technology (smart phone, Netflix, TV, game consoles, etc.) is the most challenging for you have control over?

How does that play out?


The Dig

1 Chronicles 12 tells the story of when leaders of Israel help David replace Saul as king (after God had rejected Saul). Verse 32 mentions people from a tribe who “understood the times and what Israel should do.”

What are some of the ways in which technology can HELP you—and the church in general—to understand the world around you?

Have you ever seen technology play a positive role in proclaiming God’s good news? How was it used?

On the other hand, Hebrews 12:1-2 tells us to “throw off any extra baggage, get rid of the sin that trips us up, and fix our eyes on Jesus.”

In what ways has technology “tripped you up”? Even more to the point, BESIDES YOUR JOB, how many hours a day do you spend consuming media or interacting with social media and/or technology?

Do you think this has impacted your ability to be “useful” to God, to be a vessel of the Good News (2 Timothy 2:20-21)? If so, how?

What makes navigating things like cell phones, social media, and almost infinite content (through Netflix, Hulu, AmazonPrime, YouTube, Spotify, etc.) so challenging in YOUR life?

What are you willing to do about it?


Getting Out of the Hole

Consider one or more of the following:

– “Kennel” your phone the next time you have a meal with someone.

– Reflect on the access you allow technology to have on your life and ask yourself if it is necessary to give that access away.

– Turn off notifications for Facebook, Twitter, email, etc., and “quarantine” (time-box or schedule) your interactions with those apps.



01.14.2018 | “Get Useful 2: Make Time Behave”

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Breaking Ground

In your opinion, how well do you use your time? How much of your day is structured and “on mission”?


The Dig

In a way, making your time behave involves having clarity and understanding of at least two aspects of your life: your mission (or purpose or “White Hot Why”), and also the techniques and tools for bringing that mission into your daily life.

There are some additional tools at the end of this Going Deeper to help you process these concepts, but here are some questions for discussion and thought.

In Mark 1:35-39, Jesus models how understanding your mission can give you clarity on how to use your time.

What does Jesus say about his mission?

How does clarity about mission help you make time decisions?

Have you ever deeply considered your own mission and/or purpose?

If so, can you succinctly state it?

If not, do you have any guesses as to what your mission or purpose or “why” might be?


Getting Out of the Hole

Start making your time behave by having clarity on your mission in life and then aligning your time and goals with it.

Mission / Purpose / Stand / “Why”

Questions to ask yourself:

Goals (should relate to your mission)
What do I want to do or experience?
What kind of person do I want to be?

Who or what else am I obligated to? (family? work? school?)
How can I impact or affect the relationship this week?

Projects (to accomplish your goals)
How will I know what “done” (or “success”) looks like?
What is the “next physical action” I can take?


Put “Big Rocks” (priorities from above and commitments) in first.
Take time at end of week to review and evaluate (“How did I do this week on this goal or project? Is there any follow up I need to do?) and to plan NEXT week (“What do I want to work on next?”)



01.07.2018 | “Get Useful 1: Make Money Behave”

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Breaking Ground

Did you ever have a pet that wouldn’t behave? What happened?

How well does your money behave?


The Dig

Read Matthew 6:24

Why is there such a deep tension between God and money?

What does our attitude towards money—and how well it behaves for us—tell us about the state of our spiritual life?

What does your money say about your spiritual life?

Read Philippians 2:13-16a

How can these verses be applied to money?

How would you describe the attitude of modern North American culture towards money?

In what ways have you bought into this attitude?

What could you do to set yourself apart? What steps could you take?

In what ways does your money set you apart from the rest of the culture?


Getting Out of the Hole

Take the time to think about how you interact with your money; do you fill up your buckets according to God’s wisdom?

If not, what steps could you take towards this reality?

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