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September 8-14, 2013

Weekly Facilitator’s Guide, Week of September 8, 2013

Looking Back on FEAR (of people) – Proverbs 29:25

This week’s sermon was about how an unhealthy fear of others can cause us to be spiritually STALLED by unhealthily focusing on the approval of others rather than resting in the steadfast love of God.  Each of us needs reminding that our thoughts can turn us towards God or towards ourselves, discussion amongst group members will probably be very receptive to the problem presented in the sermon, focus your discussion on helping members identify their idolatry and apply our identity in God to their specific situations.

To get the conversation started, have each person describe themselves using 3 words, the goal here is to describe who we are, not simply what we do.  You will probably need to go first and model this for your group as some people may struggle with it, but it is important to have everyone participate, as we will come back to this at the end of the group meeting time.

Then have someone read Proverbs 29:25 and you state Tom’s main points – Fear of people looks like personal insecurity and insincerity, spiritual compromise and cowardice; positive momentum means identify your idolatry, pursue your identity in Christ.  What insight, principle, or observation from this weekend’s message did you find to be most helpful, eye-opening, or troubling?  Explain.

Tom opened his sermon with this quote: “We are not what we think we are, we are not what others think we are, we are what we think others think we are.”  Do you agree or disagree?  Why?  If it’s true, why is it important to distinguish between the three statements?

Read as a group John 12:42-43, Numbers 13:30-33, and Luke 16:15.  How do these passages relate fear of people and faith in God?  Why is the fear of man such a big stumbling block for a growing faith in God?

Discuss as a group Tom’s quote: “only when you are free from needing the love of people, are you really able to love them.”  How have you seen this true in the life of someone you know?  In your own life?

Tom asked us two questions to think about when it comes to fearing others: Whom do you most long for a smile from?  Who do you fear receiving a frown from?  How do these questions help us become spiritually unstalled?  How would you answer them?

Tom closed the sermon by talking about the cross of Jesus Christ, specifically the abandonment that Jesus suffered there on our behalf, and that God doesn’t ask us to work for His approval – rather He gives it freely because of Jesus.  How does the Gospel of Grace help us become unstuck and overcome our fear of people? 

Wrap up this discussion time by reading together the following verses: John 1:12. 15:15; 1 Cor. 6:19-20; Col. 1:13-14, 2:9-10; Eph. 2:10.  As a group, compile a list of 10 phrases God uses to describe each of us.  Conclude in prayer by asking God to help us see ourselves the way that He sees us, and to value His opinion higher than the opinion of others.  Have a couple of moments of silence for people to pray specifically that God would help them identify who’s opinion in their life they value too much, and to begin to trust God more for our worth and significance. 

Looking Ahead to Anger (James 1:19-21)

To introduce this topic, have someone ready to read James 1:19-21 and ask the following 3 questions…

What does this passage teach us about God? 

What does this passage teach us about ourselves?

How does this verse speak to getting spiritually unstalled?

BULLETIN OUTLINE

S Stalled? Get Moving Again   Proverbs 29:25

Fear (of people) 

9.8.13  Tom Oyler, Lead Pastor

The fear of man is a snare…

          personal insecurity and insincerity.

          spiritual compromise and cowardice.

 …but he who trusts in the Lord will be exalted.

          identify your idolatry

          pursue life in Christ

LOOKING BACK

Stalled? Get Moving Again

Fear (of people) 

Proverbs 29:25

The fear of man is a snare, but he who trusts in the Lord will be exalted.  Proverbs 29:25

How real, how true is the wisdom of the Bible! Just read the verse again. Think about your own life…your family…your friends…your community and culture. Then consider the quality of your relationship with God. How does one affect the other? Please, take time and let this one sink in. Your “life” really does depend upon it.

Thinking It Through

The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.

~William James

Plastic people crack easily.

~Unknown

Left to ourselves we are at the mercy of our passions and fears.

~William Barclay

Knowing who we are in Christ sets us free from the need to impress others. Our desire for approval can only truly be met by receiving God’s acceptance and approval of us.

~Joyce Meyer

Living It Out

1.      In what ways are you stalled by the fear of other people and how can you tell?

2.    What insights have you gained regarding how to begin to “get moving again”?

What next steps will you take?

LOOKING AHEAD

Stalled? Get Moving Again

Anger

James 1:19-21

When God created human beings He chose to make us beautifully complex. This is true not just of our physical bodies but especially of our mental and emotional capacities. We experience a wide array of emotions, some more subtle than others. Anger is one of our most common emotions, and is something that can frequently get us stuck spiritually. Not surprisingly, the Bible has a lot to say about anger. Let’s take a look.

Looking It Up

·         The concept of anger first appears in Scripture in Genesis 4:5-6. What is the context of this reference? What important event in human history occurred in the previous chapter (Genesis 3)?
 
·         There are a number of verses in Proverbs about anger. Read the following verses and make some observations about what you learn: Proverbs 15:18; 30:33; 14:29.
 
·         Interestingly, anger is frequently used in Scripture in relationship to God. Read the following verses and observe what we learn about God’s anger: 1 Kings 11:9-10; Psalm 30:5; Mark 3:4-5.
 
·         Now read James 1:19-21 and answer the following questions:

o   List out each command from these verses.

o   Why should we “be slow to become angry”?

o   What do you think the difference is between “human anger” (or “man’s anger”) and God’s anger?

o   What do you think the connection is between vs.21 and verses 19 and 20?

o   What does it mean to “humbly accept the word planted in you?” (vs. 21)

o   How might this “word planted in you” help with anger?