Month: December 2018

12.23.2018

GOING DEEPER

12.23.2018 | “When God Said Yes | Wk 4 | Yes To Peace”

Join the community and go deeper with this Bible study.

Breaking Ground

Is there a place or activity that helps you feel most calm/at ease? Why does it do so?

 

The Dig

How do you define the word “peace”? What key characteristics must be in place for “peace” to exist from your perspective?

Read Isaiah 2:1-5. These verses describe God’s ultimate vision for our redeemed world. The return of peace to the world through God’s Kingdom. In this case, it describes how the tools that God gave humanity to work, grow, & prosper have been turned into tools of destruction. However, God’s peace will return them to their intended purpose. It will make things right.

What imagery from these verses strikes you the most?

What role does transformation & change play in God’s vision for peace in these verses?

Theologian Richard Rohr points to this verse when he talks about growing beyond our defense mechanisms & healing from past hurts. We take what has created pain in our lives, face it honestly, acknowledge how it still impact us, & then to heal from it in a way that makes them into tools of healing & growth again.

Have you ever taken a past experience that caused a lot of hurt/pain & used it (or what you learned from it) later to help yourself or someone else heal? What did it look like?

Where in your life do you still have “weapons of war” spiritually or emotionally (anger, resentment, hurt, etc.)? What defense mechanisms do you still struggle with the most?

What would it mean for you to turn those experiences or defense mechanisms into areas of growth? How can you start going about healing from them?

 

Getting Out of the Hole

Take time this week to meditate on where you are currently struggling to find peace. Write down three small steps you can take to reconciling that area of your life (reaching out to someone, forgiving someone, letting go of something). Try to take one of those steps before the new year.

12.16.2018

GOING DEEPER

12.16.2018 | “When God Said Yes | Wk 3 | Yes To Joy”

Join the community and go deeper with this Bible study.

Breaking Ground

Have you ever known anyone in your life that was perpetually, inexplicably, joyful?

How did it affect you?

Were you ever able to observe the source of their joy? Put another way, was there anything about the way they lived their life that seemed to make joy more possible?

 

The Dig

A very important passage of scripture can be found in Paul’s letter to the church at Galatia. In chapter 5, verses 16-25, he talks about what our lives should look like if we are following—and living our lives according to—the Spirit of God. Paul also contrasts this life with a life lived according to our false self, “selfish desires”, “flesh” or “sinful nature” (depending on your particular translation of the Bible).

By the way, most interpreters would point out something very distinctive about the fruit of the Spirit. That is, when Paul references the phrase in Galatians 5:22, the word “fruit” is in the singular: that is, there is ONE FRUIT. However, Paul then proceeds to list multiple expressions of that fruit.

What this means is that the list of the fruit of the Spirit we see in Galatians 5:22-25 are really inseparable: basically you can’t say, “Hey I’m doing okay love, peace, and patience, and I know I stink at joy, but it’s okay because I have these others.”

As spiritual people, we are told here that a life of faith with God should result in all of the fruit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (and then don’t forget humility in v25).

Why do you think joy is a fruit of the Spirit?

Do you think God is joyful?

How do you think you can live this verse out (meaning, how does one actually live by the Spirit of God)?

What activities can you do to cultivate the fruit of the Spirit, and, in particular, joy?

 

Getting Out of the Hole

Believe it or not, joy can be learned and cultivated, mostly through the discipline and practice of celebration.

While the holidays can be a challenging, even cynical, time, they can also be an occasion of deep celebration.

This week, stretch yourself in the area of joy by finding something to celebrate, and then celebrate it: sing some songs, wear that ugly Christmas sweater. Laugh. Rejoice with others.

 

Next Week

“When God Said Yes to Peace” (regular, morning gatherings).

Christmas Eve Gatherings: When God Said Yes to Us
Sunday, December 23 at 5PM
Monday, December 24 at 3 and 5PM
Childcare for 4 and under.

12.09.2018

GOING DEEPER

12.09.2018 | “When God Said Yes | Wk 2 | Yes To Love”

Join the community and go deeper with this Bible study.

Breaking Ground

What is your favorite part about the Christmas season other than gifts? Why?

 

The Dig

Read Matthew 5:38-42. Now read this quote by Martin Luther King Jr.: “Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”

Have you ever witnessed a situation (or been a part of a situation) when a person responded to hate with more hate in return? How did it impact the situation & both people involved?

What about the opposite (i.e., someone choosing to love in response instead)? How did that impact the situation & people involved?

Jesus & MLK both believed that evil & hate win their greatest victories when people choose to oppose evil & hate with the actions, tools, & tactics OF evil & hate. Basically, that evil & hate succeed when we choose to fight them by becoming like them.

With that in mind, how should we oppose hate, injustice, & brokenness in the world from Jesus’ perspective (think of the Cross as our example)?

What role does non-retaliation & “turning the other cheek” play in this process?

End by reading Matthew 5:43-48. Jesus’ concludes his teaching on non-retaliation & opposing hate by teaching on “Loving Our Enemies.”

Who are the people you find it hardest to avoid retaliation against & extend love to? Why?

Reflect about what it would look like for you to choose to respond differently & break/change the cycle. How would it impact you (emotionally, spiritually, mentally)? How might it help improve the world around you?

 

Getting Out of the Hole

Commit to being part of the solution, not part of the problem. Take time this week to reflect on where you rely on resentment or retaliation in dealing with a conflict or negative situation. Pray about how changing your response to it could improve the situation & help you heal. If you are able, take one step towards reconciling that situation during the week & share about how it went next week with your group.

12.02.2018

GOING DEEPER

12.02.2018 | “When God Said Yes | Wk 1 | Yes To Hope”

Join the community and go deeper with this Bible study.

Breaking Ground

Do you recall a Christmas when you got an amazing gift? What was it? Why did you want it so badly? How did you react?

 

The Dig

How would you define the word—or concept—of “hope”?

As best as you can tell, what would the markers, or characteristics, of a person who has hope?

Would you say that you are generally a hopeful person? Why or why not?

Should our faith give us hope? Why or why not?

Has there ever been a time when you have experienced a level of hopefulness that exceeded your normal, or “human” capacity? What were the circumstances?

Share some different, practical ways that you maintain hope in your life.

Read Hebrews 11 out loud as a group (you can take turns if you’d like).

When you’re done, re-read verse 1: What’s the relationship between “hope” and “faith”?

How does the stories of faith described in Hebrews 11 impact your level of hopefulness?

 

Getting Out of the Hole

Cultivate and “practice” saying yes to hope this week by telling stories and celebrating hope, while turning away from the overwhelming concerns of the world.