Month: June 2018

06.24.2018

GOING DEEPER

06.24.2018 | “1 John Week 6 (3.4 – 3.9)”

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Breaking Ground

How much do you know about your family tree? What were your grandparents like? Did you ever know your great-grandparents? What were they like?

How did their lives (personalities, values, etc.) influence you?

 

The Dig

Genesis 1 tells us that human beings were created in God’s image, and part of our job while we are on earth is to learn to reflect that image more effectively as we grow.

Why do you think it’s difficult to “just live out your identity”? What makes this difficult in your life?

Read Romans 12:1-2

According to these verses, how are we transformed?

Why do you think Paul sets it up this way?

What are some ways that you can “renew your mind”? What activity could you embrace or begin this week?

Who could help you stay on track?

What does Paul say the EFFECT of transformation is?

Why do you think this is important? 

 

Getting Out of the Hole

“Remember who you are…”

Cultivate the DNA of God that lives inside you by learning more about who God is and living it out.

06.17.2018

GOING DEEPER

06.17.2018 | “1 John Week 5 (2.28 – 3.3)”

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Breaking Ground

What memories and/or feelings does Father’s Day bring up for you personally?

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 God is often referred to as our FATHER. However, on Mother’s Day earlier this year, Pastor Eric taught about reflecting on the image of God as a MOTHER.

Having heard more about God’s parent relationship with us- as both Father AND Mother, what (if anything) has this done to your understanding of God?
 
How does this PERSONALLY intersect with your life? (i.e., what type of images come into your mind now when you think about God as a parent?)

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

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

 

Getting Out of the Hole

Continue to grow in the ways that you predominantly perceive God as either MALE or FEMALE.

Recognize and celebrate the God who can fully embody the human experience, AND celebrate the beautiful diversity and plurality of the Church.

06.10.2018

GOING DEEPER

06.10.2018 | “1 John Week 4 (2.15 – 27)”

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Breaking Ground

Have you ever traveled to a foreign country?

What were some of the differences that stood out to you? Differences in food, church, the way people behaved, etc.?

 

The Dig

Read John (gospel) 3:16-21

You can see that God/Jesus has a tension with the world: God loves it, but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. Put another way, have you ever heard the phrase, “That’s just how the world works?” That’s probably the most accurate way of understanding the way that John is using “the world” in this passage (as well as the passages in 1 John). God has given us the gift of “culture”—the “world”—whether we are North American, African, European, Asian or Latin American. But all culture is also broken (just like all humans). Our job is to identify the ways in which our culture—the “ways the world works”—might be opposed to the way Jesus works.

How would you describe your culture? (You can define that as “North American,” “The West,” “Southern,” “Middle class,” “college”, or whatever.)

What are some of the ways in which your culture helps you in your effort to follow Jesus? (For example: our religious freedom in the United States makes it pretty easy to find and attend a church.)

What are some of the ways in which our culture makes following Jesus difficult? (Again, for instance, the radically individualistic nature of American culture can actually make it difficult for people to experience the deep relationships with others that Jesus wants for us.)

 

Getting Out of the Hole

This week, pick one thing from the list of things that make it difficult to follow Jesus, and try to (a) bring Christ into that mindset or situation: How can Jesus—through you—make it different?

06.03.2018

GOING DEEPER

06.03.2018 | “1 John Week 3 (2.1 – 2.14)”

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This week will be a bit of a “choose your own adventure,” centered around the key words and concepts of this passage. If you’re doing this with your Growth Group, it will probably be best to choose to focus ONE of the words/concepts, and maybe do the other two in your own morning personal prayer/devotional time.

First read 1 John 2:1-11 together.

“Paraclete/Advocate”

Read John 14:16-17

Why do you think Jesus says, “ANOTHER Companion” (or “Advocate”)?

In this context, it’s helpful to think of the Holy Spirit as doing the same things for US TODAY as Jesus did while he was on the earth with his disciples.

What types of things did Jesus do for his followers while he was alive? Spend some time telling stories of what you know from the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John).

Do you think Jesus wants to do or be the same for us today? Why or why not?

Have you experienced this?

HOW do you think someone can experience more of the “Companion/Advocate” (Holy Spirit) in their life? What practical steps can someone take?

Spend some time sharing wisdom from your group about this, OR read and meditate on John John 20:21-22. Spend some time in personal prayer, asking God to allow you to experience more of His Holy Spirit.

“Loving God, Loving People.”

One of the central elements of Jesus’ teaching (as well as many first century Jewish rabbis’) was the unity between loving God and loving people.

Read John 15:15-12 AND Mark 12:28-31.

Most of us “skew” to one side or the other.

Which side of the continuum is easier for you: Loving God or loving people?

Why do you think people tend to separate these two commandments?

What can you do to bring balance to your life? Ask people in your life who are on the opposite side of the continuum.

Three: “Teleos/Perfect”

What does “perfection” mean to you?

Is there an athlete/artist/actor/etc. who you would consider a COMPLETE example (e.g., Michael Jordan, etc.)?

How do you think they got that way?

Read Colossians 1:28.

Paul states succinctly here that his desire is to present all the people in this church as “complete” versions of Christ.

How do you respond to that?

Paul is alluding to this idea that in the faith there is a shared responsibility for growth and maturity (“perfection”). Part of the responsibility is for church leaders to encourage and teach, but part of the responsibility for that growth rests—just like with athletes and musicians—with us.

How is your PRACTICE of faith? How are you engaging in the PROCESS of completion?

What step forward can you take this week to take more responsibility for your part of the equation?