Month: May 2018

05.27.2018

GOING DEEPER

05.27.2018 | “1 John Week 2 (1.5 – 2.2)”

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Breaking Ground

If someone asked your close friends (again: FRIENDS, not enemies), what would they say were your most notorious character flaws?

Would you agree with them?

 

The Dig

In Romans 7, the apostle Paul (an early church leader) makes a brilliant insight into what it means to be human in a most fundamental sense.

Read Romans 7:15-19.

What about this passage resonates with you? What are the things that YOU do “but don’t want to do”?

What conclusion does Paul draw in verse 20?

Do you agree? How would you say this in your own words?

(SIDE NOTE: It’s important to remember here that at the time Paul is writing these words, he’s been following Jesus- and a church LEADER- for decades!)

Read verses 21-25.

According to these verses, what’s the solution for Paul’s (and our) situation, and how does he respond?

Have you ever thought about what it would mean to be rescued from your brokenness?

If not, what would it look like to embrace the forgiveness of Jesus right now?

 

Getting Out of the Hole

Embrace the freedom of forgiveness of God through Jesus, and live in that freedom by daily thanking God for His love and mercy.

 

Bonus Content:

Faith is not ONLY having fellowship with God; God calls us to have fellowship with ONE ANOTHER (which we primarily do here at E3 through Growth Groups).

Want to know if you are in true fellowship with one another as a group? Occasionally ask yourselves these questions:

  • Are there unresolved tensions or conflicts within the group/relationship?
  • Are you spending adequate time together? If not there can never be intimacy.
  • Are we communicating openly and honestly? (The sharing of thoughts, concerns, feelings, plans – even motives- is indispensable to true fellowship.)
  • Do we share the same vision?
  • Are we committed to this relationship? (If the relationship is not a priority, then fellowship will never be a reality!)
  • Are we laying aside our own agendas and looking out for the best interest of others? (Self-centeredness cannot coexist with fellowship)

05.20.2018

GOING DEEPER

05.20.2018 | “1 John Week 1 (1.1 – 1.4)”

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Breaking Ground

Have you ever seen faith communities or churches become divided over something? What was it? How did it play out, and what effect did it have on people?

 

The Dig

Read 1 Peter 2:1-5. In this letter, Peter is making a powerful statement about the role of the church in the world. Specifically, he makes two references to the Old Testament.

When he mentions that God’s people are being built into a spiritual house, what his Jewish readers would think about was first the Temple in Jerusalem, and also the tabernacle from the book of Exodus. Both of these buildings were “dwelling places” of God—the tabernacle was a portable tent, while the Temple was permanent—for the Jewish people.

Read Exodus 19:1-6. This gets at Peter’s other reference. Taken together, Peter is making a compelling statement about God’s people.

First, according to 1 Peter 2:1-5, where does God’s presence now live?

Second, what is the role of God’s people (the church)?

And what do priests do in the Old Testament?

The shortest answer is that priests represent the people to God. They help people experience God’s presence and forgiveness (in the Old Testament, particularly through sacrifices and rituals). Interestingly, they also helped mediate conflicts between people.

If we are a nation of priests to God, what are we meant to do for the world?

How does conflict and division INSIDE the family of God hurt our role in the world?

How can YOU be a part of fixing it?

Either in your group or on your own, read and meditate on Ephesians 2. What does Paul have to say here about Jesus and conflict among the people of God?

 

Getting Out of the Hole

Go out of your way this week to build bridges with someone in your community. Pick one person and find common ground around Christ that you can build unity with.

05.13.2018

GOING DEEPER

05.13.2018 | “Mother’s Day 2018”

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Breaking Ground

What memories and/or feelings to you have in regards to Mother’s Day (whatever stage of life you may be in: parent, sibling, child, etc.)?

Any stories (humorous or otherwise) about this day from your life?

 

The Dig

In the Bible, God as a parent is a significant metaphor, and the image is not limited to only God as a FATHER. The Bible refers to God frequently in terms that typically describe a MOTHER or MOTHERHOOD.

What does this do to your understanding of God?

How does this PERSONALLY intersect with your life? (I.e., what type of images come into your mind when you think about your mother?)

How are these images and words different from any that are associated with your father?

How do those images differ from or enhance your understanding and worship of God?

What do you need from God this week? Nurture? Challenge? Acceptance? Adventure?

* NOTE: Jesus referred to God as “Abba”, which is a term that expresses and intimate and close relationship with a father. Even in that reality, however, Jesus also frequently communicated images and understanding of “His Abba” in ways that were understood by his culture and context as images of MOTHERHOOD.

 

Getting Out of the Hole

Be aware of any ways in which you see typically “feminine” personality traits and/or behaviors as somehow “less than” a divine reflection of God. Ask for forgiveness (from God as well as anyone you might have hurt), and ask God to change your heart.

Recognize and celebrate the God who can fully embody the human experience, AND celebrate the beautiful diversity and plurality of the Church (which is… ahem… the bride of Christ).

05.06.2018

GOING DEEPER

05.06.2018 | “One Mission 5: Celebration Sunday”

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Breaking Ground

When is the last time you really celebrated something? What was the occasion, and how did you mark the event?

What effect does celebration have on the participants? What about anyone who is watching?

 

The Dig

First read Philippians 4:4-9 and 4:10-13.

Using your own words, how would you summarize Paul’s thoughts here?

NOW, read Philippians 1:12-17.

What situation is Paul in, and how does it impact his words in Philippians 4? (Hint: it’s in
verse 17).

How is your willingness to celebrate affected by your circumstances?

How easy is it for you to have Paul’s attitude, in other words, to celebrate regardless?

 

Getting Out of the Hole

God unlocks joy and gratitude as we begin to celebrate not only His gifts, but His presence in and among us.

Start looking for God’s activity in your life and in your community; celebrate it.

Continue the season of One Mission by telling someone what God is doing at E3, and inviting them to be a part of it.