Month: November 2018

11.25.2018

GOING DEEPER

11.25.2018 | “How to be Human | Wk 12 | From Freedom To Mission”

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Breaking Ground

“Evangelism” can be a loaded word in our North American context, but at its heart it simply means proclaiming the good news about Jesus. It’s an announcement that something awesome and incredible has happened—and is still happening—in, through, and for both human beings and the world that we live in.

What comes to mind when you think of the word, “evangelism”? Is it street preaching? People holding up signs at a traffic light? Is there something else?

Share any images or stories you may have of evangelism, or of times when people have “invited” you to follow God.

 

The Dig

When Jesus presents his own version of the Ten Instructions, he prefaces it by reminding the people who were listening (both followers and people who were simply curious) that they were “salt” of and for the earth, and “light” of and for the world.

How “bright” is your life? How well do you do being salt (“bringing out the God-flavors of the world”)?

What challenges do you face when thinking about telling people the good news about Jesus? What holds you back?

There is an amazing story in Mark’s Gospel of how we can more simply think about evangelism. Read Mark 5:1-20.

Without getting into the details of all the ways Jesus interacts with unclean spirits, focus on verses 18-20.

While the man wants to get in the boat to come with Jesus, Jesus denies his request and instead sends him on a mission (without very little training or preparation).

How would you summarize Jesus’ instructions in your own words?

Based on your life, how would you answer those two questions? (“What has Jesus done for you?” and “How has God shown you mercy?”)

How does this story change the concept of evangelism for you?

 

Getting Out of the Hole

God does not free us for privilege, or so that we can sit and rest. He saves us in order to proclaim and further His Kingdom on this earth, and it pretty much starts with where you live and work and shop.

Who is Jesus sending you to? Get specific: write down the names of a few people who need some “Good News” in their life. You may want to spend some time praying for this list of people, asking God to reveal to you, “What would be ‘Good News’ to each of them?”

Practice awareness this week: With this list of people, are there any ways in which telling your story might bring good news into their life?

11.18.2018

GOING DEEPER

11.18.2018 | “How to be Human | Wk 11 | Slaves”

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Breaking Ground

We’ve been talking about the Ten Commandments for, well, ten weeks now. A key part of this series has been the idea that, before God’s people receive the Ten Instructions/Guidelines, he sets them free from slavery.

Whether or not you’ve been a part of this series from the beginning, do you consider yourself free, or still trapped in Egypt?

 

The Dig

Read Exodus 16:1-3.

YHWH (God) has just miraculously set his people free from slavery in Egypt, and yet their reaction is to ask to go back.

In what ways can you identify with the Israelites?

Is there any area in your life that you logically know isn’t good for you, but you still feel pulled back to?

The Israelites “misremember” their time in Egypt (v3). If (when) you feel that pull, what are some of the lies or “mis-rememberings” that you tell yourself?

Read Exodus 16:4-8.

How does God respond to their complaint?

God’s response is distinctive: bread that they will gather each day (as opposed to a month’s supply, etc.).

What strikes you about this response?

Where does faith come into play?

Read Romans 8:1-3.

How has God set us free?

According to Romans 8:4, how are we to respond?

Where does faith come into play with living in freedom vs remaining in slavery?

Why does it so difficult for us to live in this freedom?

 

Getting Out of the Hole

Sometimes living into our identify as fully free people is difficult, and takes time. This week try to be aware of outside forces that control your behavior, dictate your identity, and determine your destiny. If you can name something that has that power over you, try talking to your growth group or a close friend about it. Remember that God has already set you free – we have to respond to His radical love for us.

11.11.2018

GOING DEEPER

11.11.2018 | “How to be Human | Wk 10 | Do Not Covet”

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Breaking Ground

To covet something is to want what someone else has. The classic image is that of a young child crying because they don’t have the toy that their sibling or friend has. Yet, children do not have the monopoly on desiring what someone else has.

What triggers coveting in you? What areas or items make you want what your friends have? Cars? Homes? Jobs?

 

The Dig

Read Mark 6:7-11.

What would the disciples have to do—how would they have to live—in order to do the work Jesus had called them to?

How does this passage intersect (or contradict) our lives today?

What does this passage have to say about trust?

There’s a difference between growth and coveting, and it can mostly be described in terms of how focused we are on outcomes as opposed to process. In other words, we can dream and work to make our lives better, to grow, but if we get too focused and preoccupied with the results we want, our healthy work can morph into coveting (and thus driving us towards unhealthy, “less-than-fully-human” behaviors).

Have you seen this in your life? How and where?

Read James 4:13-15.

Is there any area of your life in which you need to surrender your trust to God, and say, “If the Lord wills…”

What would it mean to take a step of trust in this area?

 

Getting Out of the Hole

This week, notice the subtle effect of desire, of wanting more. When you sense the desire for more welling up inside you, are you able to surrender the outcome to God, while still staying committed to the process?

Wherever you struggle with this, name it as an issue of trust, and turn your attention to God, and remind yourself that He is enough, and wants to overflow in your life.

Embrace the abundance, and surrender the anxiety.

11.04.2018

GOING DEEPER

11.04.2018 | “How to be Human | Wk 9 | Do Not Lie”

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Breaking Ground

What is your favorite work of fiction (movie, book, story)? Why?

 

The Dig

The theme of truth is a crucial topic in both the Old & New Testament. Ultimately, “truth” is something that is seen as belonging to God. Thus, seeking truth & seeking God’s will overlap. However, the Bible is also challenges our individual ability to fully know, understand, & live in “truth” on our own.

Read Isaiah 6:9-10. God challenges Israel to realize that their overreliance on their own perspective/perception (over even His own) has left them in a place where they are failing to honor God’s will without even realizing it.

Share about a time when you thought you had the absolutely right understanding of an issue, situation, or relationship; only to find out later that you were wrong. What led you to feel so certain? What changed your mind or helped you to a new understanding?

Do you feel that you have a strong ability to “see things as they really are” & look past your own immediate reactions or biases?

In general, what tends to impact your ability (or inability) to hear truth from a person with a different perspective? (Example: pride, hurt, emotions, past situations, etc.)

Read John 8:31-32 & 1 Corinthians 13:4-6. In the New Testament, Jesus & several authors tie our ability to know “truth”, live within it, & to “see things as they really are” to our ability to truly love others, to live as a witness to God, & to receive freedom/healing.

What role does “living in truth” (or “seeing things as they really are”) play in our ability to love others well?

What role does it play in our ability to be a witness of God to others?

What role does it play in our ability to be healed from our past or present hurts?

 

Getting Out of the Hole

This week, take time to reflect on where you need to listen to someone who you know is trustworthy, even if it’s hard. Take time to ask them for their perspective & advice concerning something you are struggling with. Reflect on how God might be speaking to you through what they say.