Three times a month we meet in our small groups to practice the teachings of Jesus together. We believe that with the encouragement and consistency of other believers, and with the help of God's Spirit, we can go after Jesus' teachings and really live them out as His followers. It is a life- long process, and it can not happen without grace, but we believe that God's desire is for each of us to become more like Jesus as we follow Him.
"And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit."
-2 Corinthians 3:18
Ice Breaker Question: What’s your favorite part about being an adult vs. when you were a child? What part about being a child do you miss most?
Intro: We were all once children, completely reliant on those who cared for us. As we grew into adulthood we took on independence and self-reliance. And yet, as followers of Jesus, we are still called into a reliant relationship. Let’s look at a scripture and consider how that should look.
Read: Matthew 18:1-5
Discussion: Jesus says that unless we change and become like Children, we cannot enter into his kingdom.
Q. What characteristics of a child do you think Jesus was calling us to emulate in our relationship with God? Why?
Q. For you personally, what’s the hardest part about being reliant on God like a child?
Q. Jesus says we must “change” - How do we practically change to take on more of a child-like reliance in our relationship with God?
Practice: Consider one area you need to become more reliant on God for this week. Perhaps its in the area of trusting him to provide or it’s in seeking out more time with him. Commit to praying to him daily this week about the change you want to make.
Ice Breaker Question: What’s one thing you’d love to learn to do someday but you know you’ll need an expert to teach you? (I.E. Film making, Build your own home, etc)
Intro: We all have areas where, if we really want to excel, we need to seek the help of an expert. For most of us our story of how we became Christians started with us seeing our need to learn from those who had a relationship with God in order to have one ourselves. However, often times, as we get older spiritually we can fall into the trap of losing the learners heart that we once had and continuing to strive to advance in our apprenticeship to the way of Jesus.
Read: John 5:1-20
Discussion: Jesus does this incredible miracle and then declares that he is only learning from his Father how to do these things and that he doesn’t do anything “by himself”.
Q. From your own reading of the gospels, how would you describe the level of reliance on God the Father that Jesus has?
Q. As one who was empowered fully with the Holy Spirit, and in fact himself God, what kind of perspective must Jesus have had to be so reliant and humble in his learning from God the Father?
Read: John 15:5
Q. What does Jesus mean by “apart from me you can do nothing”? How is he inviting us to be like him in his relationship with God?
Q. What is one area of character, or spiritual discipline, that you want to see growth in for yourself spiritually? How can you rely on Jesus more to gain that character?
Practice: Take time this week in your discipling time or with another brother or sister to share about how your learning to rely on Jesus more in your own spiritual formation. Be sure to ask others the same question as you fellowship!
Ice Breaker Question: Share about a time you went without something you thought you needed only to find that you were able to do without it. (I.E. gone with out your cell phone for a day, etc)
Intro: We all rely on many things in our lives that we never think of going without. Jesus had a practice of going without one essential thing in order to rely more heavily on the Holy Spirit for strength. Let’s take a look at what that was.
Read: Matthew 4:1-11
Discussion: Consider that contrary to our assumptions, Jesus wasn’t in a weakened state after 40 days of fasting. Consider that after 40 days of relying wholly on the Holy Spirit for strength he was at his strongest and ready to take on the greatest temptations of his enemy…
Q. What stands out to you about how Jesus found strength in his fasting from food for 40 days?
Q. Have you ever had a time of fasting where you felt closer to God for it? Share about it.
Q. In the bible, fasting is always a refraining from eating and sometimes even drinking. For us, this is probably a challenging thought. From your knowledge of the scriptures and the practice of Jesus, how does fasting from food help you depend more on God?
Q. What do you think is meant by the quote, “fasting is feasting on the Spirit”?
Q. Why do you think most people who follow Jesus don’t fast?
Practice: Choose a time and day this week when you will choose to fast from food and rely on God. It may be fasting from a meal (like lunch) for a day or you may choose to fast for a 24 hour period. *If you have any health restrictions then perhaps you can refrain from something else other than food that would keep you reliant on, and reminded of, God that day (Perhaps turning your phone off for the day!).
Ice Breaker Question: Whats one thing you find yourself worrying about often?
Intro: We all have areas where we worry - finances, health, family, future, etc. And worry has a profound effect on our wellbeing. Let’s read about what Jesus teaches regarding worry and learning his way of life.
Read: Matthew 6:25-34
Discussion: Jesus says worry doesn’t add a thing to our life!
Q. What is the cost of worry in your life personally?
Q. What is the most challenging thing about Jesus’ teaching on worry for you?
Q. How does he want you to understand God the Father through the lens of trust in this teaching?
Q. What does it practically look like to “not worry about your life”?
Q. If you didn’t worry about that one thing that is of paramount concern for you, how would your life be different?
Practice: The adage “Worry less, pray more” makes the point that when we pray and we talk to God about what we are concerned and worried about something profound happens; We choose to trust him and rely on his provision. For one day starting tomorrow, create a worry list. As things come up for you that you’re worried about, write them down and pray to God about it. You may choose to write things down throughout the day and pray about them all at the end of the day or you may choose to pray about them the moment they come up. At the end of the day though, take 5 minutes before bed to consider what it would be like if you didn’t worry about all the things on your list the following day. Trusting God is a discipline but one that Jesus is convinced we can master.
*Lesson available if you don’t have a benevolent reach out for your small group - Be sure to organize one for next month! :)
Ice Breaker Question: What is your favorite thing to do on the weekend?
Intro: Did you know God invented the weekend? Yep! He created the week to have an end where no work was done and instead we were commanded to stop and enjoy our life in rest and delight and worship. In fact, “Busy” is never a phrase used to describe God or Jesus (Only the devil!). Rest is hard but, if we are going to be like Jesus, we must learn to master it!
Read: Genesis 1:26-2:3
Discussion: God created man to help him with the work of tending to his creation! And yet, he created him on the 6th day so Adams first day on the job on the 7th day was no work at all! It was a day of rest! (Sabbath means “Stop”)
Q. It’s probably safe to say that God didn’t stop creating because he ran out of ideas. So why do you think God chose to have a day where all work stopped?
Q. Of all the things created in the story of Genesis 1 and 2 only the Sabbath day is called holy. Why?
Q. Jesus practiced Sabbath but he didn’t get bogged down with legalism. He took a day to rest, delight God’s creation, and worship God. What would a day like that once a week do for you spiritually?
Q. A Sabbath day is not a “day off” where you do chores and run errands. It’s a day separate from doing any work. Why is the idea of not doing any work for 24 hours In our “achievement” oriented culture, such a challenge?
Q. How does the practice of Sabbath require reliance on God?
Practice: Set aside a day this week where you’ll choose to “stop” all work and do three things instead: 1) Delight in what God has given you (relationships, creation, your home, your interests and hobbies) 2) Rest - Have a good meal and take a nap! 3) Worship - Spend time in prayer, song, reading, or whatever helps you recognize the holiness of God. (Sunday might be a perfect fit since worship is built in!) *If you don’t have a 24 hour spot in your week right now start with a half day, but be intentional!