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building a community to reach a community

September 29-October 5

Downloadable version

Community Group Facilitator’s Guide

Week of September 29 – October 5

Two brief reminders for you before you begin your group meeting:

1.    People will miss group meetings.  It is a reality all group leaders face, and it is ultimately out of your control.  But what is in your control is whether or not group members feel missed when they are absent.  It’s really important to give people a quick phone call when they don’t show up, letting them know the group missed them, summarize what the conversation at group was about, and that you hope to see them next week.

2.    This week one of the ways we want you and your group to respond to the sermon and group discussion is to use the Life Application notebook (or any journal). The use and practice of journaling will help you and your group members experience the truth of Psalm 119:105 by seeing how God’s Word helps us identify where you are spiritually (a lamp on my feet) and where you want to go (a light on my path).  If someone would like to pick up a Life Application notebook, they are available at the Resource Center.  Over the next 5 weeks we will be giving you different ways to use this notebook or other journal of your choice.

Opening Discussion Questions

1.    Have everyone answer the question, “If you’re going somewhere and you need directions, what do you do?”

a.    “Do you drive around until you find it, use a GPS/smart phone for directions, stop and ask for directions, call a friend, etc.?”

b.    Note: if you just get short responses here, you can ask a related follow-up question.  “Does anybody have a funny story about this?”

Last Week’s Bible Study Discussion

To begin your discussion tonight, look back to the sermon two weeks ago, and review with your group what the Ultimate Journey is and what it is not (cf. Ecclesiastes 1-2 and Philippians 3:4-7).

Though not much time was spent in the sermon on this, the parable of the soils addresses how important motivation is to beginning and sticking with the Ultimate Journey, and it also shows us the obstacles we face for our faith to grow real big and deep.  Based upon the parable of the soils, ask the following questions:

·         How motivated are you to be on the Ultimate Journey? 

·         What are some challenges or obstacles that get you off track in the Ultimate Journey? 

·         What’s one thing you need to do to stay focused on the Ultimate Journey?

This Week’s Bible Study Discussion

In light of Tom’s most recent sermon, the goal of this week’s discussion is for each person to identify where they currently are spiritually, where they need to go, and how the gospel needs to be at the center of this journey.

Begin discussion by having someone read the story of Nicodemus found in John 3:1-16.  Have the group together rebuild the story by asking questions like: “who are the people in the story, what happened first, what happened next, how did it end, was everything resolved in the story? “

1.    “What did Jesus do to help Nicodemus see where he was and where he needed to go in his spiritual life?”

2.    “How does Nicodemus ultimately respond to Jesus (cf. John 7:45-51 and 19:32-42) and what does his response teach us about spiritual growth?”

Reflecting back on the sermon ask, “How does scripture help us see where we are and where we need to go spiritually?”

Review the 5 stages from the sermon outline and ask, “Which stage most accurately describes where you are in your journey and why?”

Wrap-up Questions and Prayer

As a way to respond to this week’s discussion, give all group members about 10 minutes to begin writing several paragraphs about their journey, how it began, where and how they have grown, down times, challenges, frustrations, satisfactions, etc.  They can use their Life Application Notebook or another journal of their choice.

1.    Close out your discussion time with this question, “Why is it crucial for the gospel to be at the center of the Ultimate Journey?”

For prayer time, conclude the group meeting with everyone having and expressing a heartbeat of gratitude.  Just as a GPS is not designed to make you feel guilty about your lack of knowledge or navigation skills, but rather to help you find your way, share with the group one reason why we can be grateful that Christ, through the good news of the gospel revealed in scripture, provides a GPS for us.  

BULLETIN OUTLINE 

The Ultimate Journey: Using A GPS        

9.29.13  Tom Oyler, Lead Pastor

DEAD   

          ____________________, ____________________, ____________________

          Ephesians 2:1-5

BORN AGAIN 

John 3:1-16; 1 Peter 1:3

INFANT  

          ____________________, ____________________, ____________________

          1 Corinthians 3:1; 1 Thessalonians 2:6-8; 1 Peter 2:1-2

 

CHILD  

          ____________________, ____________________, ____________________

          1 Corinthians 13:11; Ephesians 4:14; 1 Thessalonians 2:10-12

 

YOUNG ADULT  

          ____________________, ____________________, ____________________

          Philippians 2:19-22; 2 Thessalonians 2:14; 1 John 2:12-13

 

PARENT  

          __________________, __________________, ____________________, __________________

          Galatians 4:19, 6:1; Colossians 1:28-29; 1 Thessalonians 2:7-20; 2 Timothy 2:2

LOOKING BACK

The Ultimate Journey

Using a GPS

When is the last time you used a GPS? Where were you? Where did you want to go? How was the trip? When you are on a journey, you need directions, starting with where you are and where you want to go. For one who is seeking to live a life that is being changed by Christ and used by Christ, the metaphor of human stages of growth is spot on! Let’s use it!

Thinking It Through

Anyone can count the seeds in an apple. Only God can count the apples is a seed.             

~Unknown

12 month old baby wearing a t-shirt that read: teething is the pits!                

While a good man is always hard to find, he is easy to recognize.

 ~Sydney Harris

Striving for Christ-like character may seem like pursuing a distant goal, but remember, it is better to pursue a deer and lose it than to chase a skunk and catch it.

~ Unknown

Living It Out

2.       Which stage most accurately describes where you are in your journey and why?

3.       Using your Life Application Notebook or another outlet of your choice, write several paragraphs about your journey, how it begun, where and how you have grown, down times, challenges, frustrations, satisfactions, etc.

4.       Why is the gospel at the center of the journey?

LOOKING AHEAD

The Ultimate Journey

Through It All

The Ultimate Journey may have different phases, but one reality runs Through It All. From being “born again” to “finishing well,” if our journey is to be healthy, worthwhile, and fulfilling, grace and faith must run through it all. Some has said, “if it is not of grace, it is not of God.” True? Let’s take a look.

Looking It Up

1.    John 3:16. It is perhaps the most recognized verses in the Bible. And rightfully so. Take a look at it in its context, 3:1-17. What question do you think v.16 is answering in Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus?

2.    A couple of other very important verses are in Ephesians 2:8-9. Write them out below and then compare them and their context with that of John 3:16.

3.    This message of salvation by grace though faith alone in Christ was and is controversial. Jewish believers were attaching keeping of the Law (especially circumcision) to salvation. In Acts 15, the church dealt with the controversy. How did the apostles resolve it? (see Acts 15:6-11, 19)

4.    What role does grace play as our journey continues? (Romans 5:1-5, 8:1-4; 2 Corinthians 8:1-5; Galatians 2:20; Titus 2:11-14)   

5.    How does Paul begin most of his letters to churches and why so? (Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:3; 2 Corinthians 1:2; Galatians 1:3; Ephesians 1:2, etc)