Month: June 2019

06.30.2019

GOING DEEPER

06.30.2019 | “12 WORDS | Wk 5: Secrecy”

Join the community and go deeper with this Bible study.

Breaking Ground

What’s a funny, but embarrassing, story that you can share about yourself? Think about a time when you did something that made you look silly in hindsight.

 

The Dig

Read 1 John 1:5-10.

In these verses, John gives the church he is writing to a teaching on the importance of community, confession, & growth.

First, notice the strong language between light & darkness.

What is the connection between secrecy & darkness? What comes to mind when you think of the connection between these two words?

On the other hand, John relies on the connection between God & light to discuss dealing with brokenness in our lives.
What is the connection between light & confession?

John lays out three essential components in verse 7 when it comes to letting God heal our brokenness through confession: light, fellowship, & Christ’s sacrifice (grace).

First, discuss the role of light. Often – we, as the Church, talk about Jesus as being “the Light” without thinking about what that really implies. In biblical times, light was crucial & rare – there was no electricity, so night meant real darkness & light was a sign of safety, hope, & finding one’s way home.

How does that understanding of light change the way you think about Jesus in terms of dealing with brokenness in our lives? How does it change the metaphor of “walking in the light” when it comes to our walk with God?

Next, think about the role of fellowship. John does not see this as optional – he claims that we cannot deal with our brokenness without fellowship & community. John also doesn’t see confession as a punishment, which we often seem to do in our culture. It is rather simply a spiritual tool necessary for the purpose of spiritual growth.

Why do we often treat confession as a punishment & think of it as being so hard to do? What keeps you from telling people about the stuff you are struggling with?

Why do we need confession in fellowship to do the process of growing right?
How does telling someone else the simple truth of your life help you heal, grow past it, & see things more clearly?
Have you ever found healing from telling someone about something that you have previously kept totally secret?

Finally, John closes with grace & the recognition that we all have brokenness in our lives.

What role does grace play in the process of naming our brokenness, facing it, telling it to someone else, & seeking healing?

How does acknowledging that we are all broken help us do confession well? How does it help us respond to people who are seeking to confess brokenness to us?

 

Getting Out of the Hole

This week, take time to pray & meditate on where you are trying to deal with a struggle in your life alone. What are the stories you tell yourself to not ask for help? What keeps you from reaching out? Think about one, small step you could take to involve someone else (i.e., reach out for coffee, write a letter, talk to a pastor, etc.). Remember, you don’t have to do it all at once – but the first step is always the most important!

Each week – continue to share with your group how it is going!

 

Additional Resources*

Reaching Out  by Henri Nouwen

Practice Resurrection by Eugene Peterson

 

Coming Up This Week:* 

Sunday, July 7: Join us for the next week of our series 12 Words as we explore the essentials of faith & spirituality. We will be discussing fear & release.
* Please see mye3.org for details.

06.23.2019

GOING DEEPER

06.23.2019 | “12 WORDS | Wk 4: Denial”

Join the community and go deeper with this Bible study.

Breaking Ground

Share about a time when you thought you were definitely right about something & then found out you were wrong. Try to think of a funny example – don’t be too hard on yourself!

 

The Dig

Read Matthew 7:1-5.

First – take time to reflect – why do you think Jesus takes the act of judgment so seriously? What about judgment gets in the way of someone being a disciple to Jesus?

One of the easiest ways to find out where we are judgmental is to reflect on who or what kind of behavior brings a reaction out of us that is unreasonable for a situation. In other words, look for where you tend to overreact in terms of criticism, frustration, annoyance, or anger.

What sorts of actions, behaviors, or character traits leads you to be judgmental? What about those behaviors frustrate you?
Usually, our frustrations & judgments tend to reflect – to some degree – things that we often don’t like or want to see in ourselves. We project some part of our internal world onto the other person & then react strongly from that place.

Think about that thing that frustrates you. What is going on inside of you to react the way you do? What might it say about your heart?

Next, notice that Jesus does not clarify that he is talking about only judging other people. In some traditions, this is read as Jesus prohibiting the act of judgment altogether. This means that Jesus’ prohibition includes no casting judgment on yourself.

Looking at ourselves with non-judgment is crucial for naming the brokenness in our lives & growing beyond it.

Why does self-judgment get in the way of self-honesty in our lives? How does it blur seeing our brokenness clearly?

For most of us – naming our pain or struggle is not only the first step towards recovery, but the biggest/hardest step too.

Why is it so hard to name the hard things in our life (negative behaviors, brokenness, pain, addictions, etc.)? What stands in the way of naming it honestly?

How does community help you get past that struggle?

If you are willing, take turns practicing self-honesty with your group. Try naming something you are struggling with in your life right now (behavior, emotional response, addiction, etc.) & share honestly about where you are at. (Group Leaders: remind your members not to try & fix the other people’s problems – just listen, say “thank you”, & share your own story in return).

Close by talking about grace – unmerited & undeserved divine favor. How does grace help you with being self-honest? How can recognizing & accepting grace in this current situation help you heal?

 

Getting Out of the Hole

Continue reflecting on what you are working to change & grow in during this season (see: Going Deeper for Control for context). This week, take time to pray & meditate on what story is behind that part of your life. What internal story do you tell when you take part in that behavior or decision?

“Everytime I feel _____ I do ______ because I tell myself it will help me _____.”

Keep it simple, honest, & concise. Reflect on how self-honesty & community can help you change your story about this part of your life.

Each week – continue to share with your group how it is going!

 

Additional Resources*

Sacred Companions: The Gift of Spiritual Friendship & Direction  by David G. Benner

A Hidden Wholeness by Parker J. Palmer

Raggamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning

 

Coming Up This Week:*

Sunday, June 30: Join us for the next week of our series 12 Words as we explore the essentials of faith & spirituality. We will be discussing secrecy & confession.

* Please see mye3.org for details.

06.16.2019

GOING DEEPER

06.16.2019 | “12 WORDS | Wk 3: Doubt”

Join the community and go deeper with this Bible study.

Breaking Ground

Share a story about a time when you had to do something really scary as a kid (ex: jump off the high dive, take a risk, ride your bike, etc). What was the situation? Were you able to do it?

 

The Dig

How would you define doubt? What do you think of when you think of doubt as a concept?

Often, we believe that doubt is something to be denied at all costs. However, many theologians & Christian thinkers would argue that doubt (or healthy questioning) is crucial for making our faith our own. We have to ask the questions, wrestle with what we’ve been taught, & experience doubt sometimes to move beyond believing what we’ve been told into our own, personal relationship & walk with God.

Do you agree with that sentiment? Why or why not?

Has there ever been something that you learned as a kid that you found out wasn’t true later in life? What was it like to find that out & unlearn that thing?

Have you ever experienced a time when doubting led you to deeper trust on the other side spiritually? What happened?

Read Matthew 14:22-33.

Take a moment to unpack the story. First, notice that Peter confused Jesus for a ghost. He can’t comprehend that a real, living person would be able to do this.

How does encountering something totally outside of your worldview & experience lead you to doubt what you think you know?

Second, notice what makes Peter doubt:

  1. Looking down & seeing himself doing what he previously thought was impossible.
  2. Seeing the surrounding storm.

Discuss how you relate to Peter in each case:

  1. Have you ever started doubting yourself, your walk, or God in the middle of doing something because you had never done it before?
  2. Have you ever given up on something because the “storms” of life got too strong or things seemed to chaotic?

Notice, Peter’s doubt is not resolved by him denying it exists, nor does he come to trust Jesus immediately (he messes up plenty more). Rather, he is forced to face them by falling down & growing to trust a little more each time after Jesus picks him back up.

In order to grow, we must be honest about our doubts: denying that we have them doesn’t make them go away, it just prevents us from naming & facing them.

Share about an area of your life that you currently experience doubt (spiritually, emotionally, physically, mentally, etc.). What is leading to doubt there? Where do you feel like Peter?

We also must accept that learning to trust is a process, not a one time event. What might it look like to take on step towards trust in that situation or circumstance?

 

Getting Out of the Hole

Continue reflecting on what you are working to change & grow in during this season (see: Going Deeper for Control for context). This week, write down ONE small action that could help you learn trust a little more in that area. Make it as small as you can – a simple commitment to practice one small change this week.

See how it changes your approach to this circumstance or issue by the end of the week. Continue to share with your group how it is going!

 

Additional Resources*

Paul & the Faithfulness of God by NT Wright

Falling Upward by Richard Rohr

The Message of the Psalms: A Theological Commentary by Walter Brueggemann

Coming Up This Week:*

Sunday, June 16: Join us for the next week of our series 12 Words as we explore the essentials of faith & spirituality. We will be discussing doubt & trust.

* Please see mye3.org for details.

06.09.2019

GOING DEEPER

06.09.2019 | “12 WORDS | Wk 2: Despair”

Join the community and go deeper with this Bible study.

Breaking Ground

Share a story about when you really wanted something & it looked like it wouldn’t happen… then it did. What was the situation? How did that change of fortune feel?

 

The Dig

Psalm 42.

First, ask each member of your group to define despair. What does it mean to despair?

Second, take a moment to reflect on a time when you felt what you would call despair. What happened? Why would you consider it despair?

Consider what came up in your discussion & then re-read the Psalm. How does this Psalm capture the struggle & reality of despair? Did any of the language stick out to you when it came to your own experiences?

Notice – the author struggles mightily with despair in the areas of his life where he feels God is absent. What is the relationship between despair & feeling like God is not in a situation?

Why is it so easy to feel like God isn’t with us in moments of struggle & despair?

Notice in verse 6, the author begins the process of finding hope in their situation by looking backwards upon what God has previously done for them.

What is the relationship between remembering our past relief/victory & finding hope in present ones?

The Psalms that talk about despair capture a common human tendency – believing that our current situation is how our lives will always be. Thus, in many ways, despair is primarily the belief that how things are is how things always will be.

Is there anything in your life that you struggle to see as being changeable? Is it a situation? Relationship? Struggle? Circumstance?

Why do you have trouble imagining that this thing could change? What about it seems like it won’t change?

In light of this conversation – how would you define hope in your life?

In almost every Psalm of despair, the author closes by trusting God, not his own power, with changing or overcoming the situation. The author learns to hope only by looking to a God bigger than themselves.

What role does God play in learning to have hope?

What could it look like to place your hope in God in this area of despair or struggle? How might you take one step towards hope this week?

 

Getting Out of the Hole

Go back to your thoughts from last week (see last week’s Getting Out of the Hole if need be). Reflect on the struggle that you are tackling over the course of this series.

Journal on how you might need to change how you see hope in that situation, pattern, emotional response, relationship, or cycle. Reflect on how you learning to hope in that situation could impact how you approach or move forward with growing or healing in it. Take time to write out some things that would change for the better if you sought out hope in whatever it is.

Continue to share with your growth group how it’s going each week!

 

Additional Resources*

Surprised by Hope by NT Wright

The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

 

Coming Up This Week:*

Sunday, June 16: Join us for the next week of our series 12 Words as we explore the essentials of faith & spirituality. We will be discussing doubt & trust.

* Please see mye3.org for details.

06.02.2019

GOING DEEPER

06.02.2019 | “12 WORDS | Wk 1: Control”

Join the community and go deeper with this Bible study.

Breaking Ground

Share about a time when you thought you were definitely right about something & then found out you were wrong. Try to think of a funny example – don’t be too hard on yourself!

 

The Dig

Romans 7:15-20.

In this verse, Paul talks about the human struggle of control, especially self-control.

Have you ever had something in your life – a character trait, emotional cycle, addiction – that you have struggled to change & just couldn’t?

Why was it so hard to change? What got in the way?

What are some human patterns that you see (in yourself) that people really struggle to break free from?

Read Romans 8:9-11.

Paul’s answer to this cycle – this struggle to change – is to look to the power of God’s Spirit & Jesus Christ.

First, notice that Paul locates the power of change outside of himself.

Why do you think that is important? Why do you think Paul sees this internal transformation of his heart as requiring a power outside of himself to take place?

Is that how you usually think of transformation? Or do you usually think of it as something you make yourself do?

Second, take a moment to think about how control & powerlessness plays in this process of growth.

How does control get in the way of change & growth?

What role does admitting that we are powerless over the brokenness in our life play in the process of spiritual healing?

How about surrender & asking for help?

Finally, think about an area of your life where you are struggling to experience change.

What is it that you are struggling to change? Have you tried to change it already? What did you try to do?

What might powerlessness & surrender look like practically in that situation?

What tangible steps can you take to get help in that area & to turn your will over to God?

 

Getting Out of the Hole

Take time to journal this week about things that you want to change over the next 12 weeks. Try to pick one of those things to work on in this series.

Each week, add to your journal about how each word might play out in that situation or activity. How does it change how you think about your work there? What might it mean for you to change how you engage that growth?

Share with your growth group how it’s going each week!

 

Additional Resources*

Falling Upwards by Richard Rohr

How People Grow by Henry Cloud & John Townsend

Invitation to a Journey by M. Robert Mulholland

 

Coming Up This Week:*

Sunday, June 9: Join us for the next week of our series 12 Words as we explore the essentials of faith & spirituality. We will be discussing despair & hope.
* Please see mye3.org for details.