Month: August 2019



09.01.2019 | “Practice Makes Permanent | Communion”

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Breaking Ground

Growing up, did your family or friends have any traditions? What did these commemorate?


The Dig

Communion, as a remembrance of the Jewish Passover meal, is a celebration and reminder that (a) we have a purpose; (b) we have some growing to do, and (c) we are free.

Read Mark 5:1-13.

How was this man “enslaved”?

What do you think his life was like?

In what ways can you relate to him?

Read Mark 5:14-20.

How does he experience freedom and mission?

Why do you think Jesus doesn’t let the man follow him?

What do you think this story says about our “wounds” and past brokenness and our mission?


Getting Out of the Hole

This week, what would it mean to embrace your freedom, live out your mission, and be willing to grow? Be as specific as possible.



08.25.2019 | “Practice Makes Permanent  | Baptism”

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Breaking Ground

Do you remember your high school or college graduation? What do you remember about it?

Why are rituals important?


The Dig

In the book of Acts, baptism is intrinsically linked with the mission of God. As the church expands, God’s Spirit precedes his followers into new areas of ministry, and in each new place people respond to God’s invitation by being baptized.

Do you believe that in your world—your “Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and whole Earth”—God is already present and active?

(Because He is.)

In regards to inviting people to pursue faith at E3, do you behave like this is true?

If not, why not?

What would it look like if you started to act like this was true?

By the way, responding to God’s presence does not always mean being rude, or overtly bold or loud. It’s really about inviting people (which can be risky in and of itself) in a way that is appropriate to the context you are in.

Read 1 Corinthians 2:1-4. In this passage, an early church leader named Paul describes the way that he has “invited” the people at Corinth into a life with Jesus. (Again, God’s “power”, particularly in the letter to the church at Corinth, is not necessarily demonstrated by fantastic and amazing things: for Paul, “God’s power” in Corinth is as much about different kinds of people loving and accepting each other.)

How would you describe his approach? Is it helpful to you?

What might this look like in your context?


Getting Out of the Hole

E3’s mission is to help people become disciples (“fully-devoted followers”) of Jesus.

Consider your own journey with God – have conversations with people you trust and respect to figure out what steps and practices you could start making part of your life.

Pray about what next step you may need to take.

Message Slides 08.18.2019


12 WORDS | Self-Centeredness | Pastor Mike Overstreet | 08.18.19
Final week of the Element3 Church series “12 Words”

Message recordings available at:


The Exodus Story:

  1. God liberates Israel.
  2. Israel is freed by passing through the waters of the Red Sea.
  3. Moses goes up on a mountain & comes down to teach God’s Law to Israel.
  4. Israel fails testing in the wilderness & wanders for 40 years.


Jesus’ New Exodus Ministry:

  1. Passes through the waters of baptism.
  2. Goes into the wilderness for 40 days where he is tested & he overcomes his testing.
  3. Begins proclaiming the Kingdom of God, calling people, & healing them.
  4. Goes up on a mountain to teach.



Matthew 5:3-12 (NIV)

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.




Matthew 5:13 (NIV)

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.



Salt in the Ancient World

  • Only real preservative for food that would rot.
  • Only common source of flavoring for the average person.
  • Used in small doses as a fertilizer. 



Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV)

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.



Light in the Ancient World

  • Took time & intentionality.
  • Needed for warmth. 
  • Source of security & safety.
  • Pointed the way home in the wilderness. 



“Religion must remain an outlet for people who say to themselves, ‘I am not the kind of person I want to be.’ It must never sink into an assemblage of the self-satisfied.” – Frank Herbert



Unpacking the Box of Self-Centeredness to Become a Messenger

  1. First, you must hear & accept the Beatitudes. No matter who you are, what you’ve done, God loves you & calls you blessed
  2. We must believe that we can be salt & light. We are all called to flavor & light up our world. 
  3. We must seek to give away our blessing as a blessing to others
    1. Through our stories, lives, & invitations.
    2. Through our time & talents.
    3. Through our treasures & resources. 



08.18.2019 | “12 WORDS | Wk 12: Self-Centeredness”

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Breaking Ground

Share a story about a time when you got to share big news with someone. What was it? How did they respond? 


The Dig

What first comes to your mind when you think about being a “messenger” in the spiritual context? Do you have positive or negative thoughts when you hear it? 

Next, read Matthew 5:13-16.

What stands out to you when you hear these two metaphors? 

Central to the metaphor is that neither the salt, nor the light, tries to be what they are – they just simply are salt & light

How does this impact how you understand sharing your faith with other people? Does that fit how you’ve seen spirituality & faith shared in the past? 

Next, take time to talk through each of the metaphors. 

Start with salt. This was an important commodity in the ancient world, especially when it came to preserving foods & adding flavor to meals.

How does this impact how you understand Jesus using this metaphor for us? 

What do you think this says about how we are supposed to live in the world? 

Next, think back to the sermon and the various ways that light was understood differently in the ancient world:

  • No electricity, so it took work to get fire/light.
  • Crucial for warmth.
  • Sign of safety & security.
  • Was used to point people home.

Which of these do you connect to the most? How do they inform what Jesus is telling his disciples to be & do in this teaching? 

What does Jesus see as the outcome when we fail to do these things well? How does self-centeredness play into what he is saying?

Finally, close by talking about the idea that we are blessed to be a blessing

What blessing in your life (your story, your time, your talents, your treasures) do you struggle with letting go of or giving away for God’s Kingdom? Why do you struggle with this?

What might it look like to try & be more generous in this area of your life? 

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 think about how you can give back. Look into volunteering & service at Element3 Church & reach out to a ministry leader. Just commit to trying out in that area for 1 month & see what happens! 

Additional Resources*

The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard

A Light to the Nations: The Missional Church & the Biblical Story by Michael Goheen

Breathing Under Water by Richard Rohr

Coming Up This Week:* 

Sunday, August 25: Join us for our new series Practice Makes Permanent, where we will be looking at baptism, communion, & child-dedications as key practices of the church!

* Please see for details.



08.11.2019 | “12 WORDS | Wk 11: Separation”

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Breaking Ground

What is your favorite thing to do when you are alone? Why?

The Dig

Before you begin, take time to talk about your history with prayer. What is it? What were you taught about it? How do you practice it today (if you do)?

How would you define the purpose of prayer? 

Next, read Luke 11:1-5.

First, notice that prayer is something that we must be taught how to do. 

Do you often think of prayer as something that you need someone to teach you how to do? 

Next – take time to unpack each part of the Lord’s Prayer. In particular, notice that Jesus tells his disciples to reflect daily on:

  • God as our Father
  • God as Holy
  • God’s Kingdom being built in our world
  • God’s generous gift of everything in our life
  • Forgiveness
  • Trust in the midst of suffering

Which of these stands out to you the most? 

Do your prayers incorporate deep reflections on each of these things? 

Which of these do you think you might need to add to your daily reflections/prayers? Why? 

Next – a central part of this prayer is making us more aware of the competing Kingdoms in our lives that aren’t God’s Kingdom – so we can seek to take part in God’s Kingdom more deeply. 

What sorts of other Kingdoms fight for our loyalties (for example: our work, American Dream, shame, etc.)? 

What do you feel often pulls you away from focusing on & following God in your daily life? How does prayer help us deal with that in our lives?

Finally, take time reflecting on the idea that prayer is meant to change us by bringing us into contact with God in the present moment

How does this impact your understanding of prayer? What might this look like in practice? 

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 practice centering prayer for 5 to 10 minutes every morning this week.

Follow these steps: 

Step 1: Get quiet and breathe.

Step 2: Identify a single word you tie to God’s presence or your awareness of Him (ex: peace, 

Step 3: Sit, breathe, & follow your breath. On the exhale, say the word and then follow your breath again. Try to listen and rest in God’s Presence

Step 4: Each time your mind wanders – return to your and your word. Acknowledge the thought without judgment, and let it go – breathing it out with your next breath. Return to focusing on God’s presence. 

Journal about how this prayer practice makes you feel this week. Share your experience with your group next week.

Additional Resources*

Spiritual Disciplines Handbook by Adele Calhoun

The Naked Now by Richard Rohr

New Seeds of Contemplation by Thomas Merton

Coming Up This Week:* 

Sunday, August 18: Join us for the next week of our series 12 Words as we explore the essentials of faith & spirituality. We will be discussing Self-centeredness & Messenger.

* Please see for details.



08.04.2019 | “12 WORDS | Wk 10: Ignorance”

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Breaking Ground

What is the most recent new thing you learned (fact, skill, practice, etc.)?


The Dig

Read 1 Corinthians 11:27-29.  

In this part of the letter to the Church in Corinth, Paul is challenging the church to change their practice of taking part in communion. Namely, for personal & cultural reasons, they have been excluding certain people (the poor, lower status, etc.) from taking part in the sacrament – one that is meant to remind us of our unity in Christ.

In verse 29, Paul instructs those taking part in communion to examine themselves & discern the body before taking part – or else they bring judgment on themselves

What is the connection between participating in Christ’s sacrifice & discerning the health of our relational world? 

Key to the text is the implication that those who are hurting others are ignorant to what they are doing or not discerning when it comes to their own actions – they are failing to see how they impact other people in their community. 

What role does ignorance, or a lack of discernment, play in relational hurt? 

Can you think of a time when ignorance (of yourself or someone else) led you to inflict hurt on someone in your life? What happened? What made you respond the way you did?

Paul instructs the church to heal these issues by seeking discernment & self-examination

What role does self-examination & becoming more self-aware play in spirituality?

How do they make us healthier people relationally?

How would being more self-aware, or discerning, have changed the way you responded to the previous story you shared? 

Close by thinking through some practices of self-examination. If anyone in the group has routines or habits that they use to self-reflect, ask them to share their process. Also, ask them to share how these practices have helped them grow in any specific areas.

Close by thinking through & discussing about the practice of daily self-examination proposed in this week’s sermon. As a reminder: take 5-10 minutes at the end of each day, go through this process:

  1. Get into a quiet space & breathe.
  2. Consciously acknowledge God’s presence – both now & throughout your day (He is here & He was there).
  3. Review the day looking for gratitudes (at least 3).
  4. Review the day for moments of high emotion (particularly frustration/anger), stress, fear, or crisis.
  5. Reflect on those situations – what was going on in your head in those moments? What story about those situations did you turn to? 
  6. Choose one of those moments & pray over it – for healing, forgiving, & letting it go.
  7. End by looking forward to tomorrow – release the situation & ask God to help you do better next time.


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 reflect on self-examination. 

Reflect on this – in each moment, we experience:

Stimulus → INTERNAL STORY → Response

Understanding that internal story (usually from our past) is crucial for growing in our ability to be self-aware, present in a moment, & discerning of our actions. 

Journal this week about times when you feel like you react without thinking. What was the stimulus? What was your response? What story might be playing out in that gap?

Share this process with your group members this week.


Additional Resources*

The Naked Now by Richard Rohr

New Seeds of Contemplation by Thomas Merton

Present over Perfect by Shauna Niequist


Coming Up This Week:* 

Sunday, August 11: Join us for the next week of our series 12 Words as we explore the essentials of faith & spirituality. We will be discussing Separation & Prayer.

* Please see for details.