Skeptics Welcome (part 3): Hold the Magic

TO START

If God came down today and told you that one story in the Bible wasn’t actually true (honestly He couldn’t believe you’d ever actually bought it), which story would it be? Which is the “craziest” story in the Bible?

 

TO DISCUSS

In the sermon Sunday Justin mentioned that some of us have a very sensitive “magic meter”--meaning, some of us are quickly skeptical of things that don’t align with the rules of the natural world or our own personal experience.

  • Outside of the Bible, have you ever been in a situation when your magic meter went off, when a circumstance or conversation or TV show or entertainer or friend’s story lost you because it was too “magical”? Share with the group.
  • If you don’t have a particularly sensitive magic meter, why do you think that is? Is it ever a problem to be so open?

Have you ever personally been derailed (or tripped up) in your pursuit of Christ by the weirder, more miraculous/supernatural parts of the Bible? Share a Bible story or detail that got to you. Why was that so hard to believe?

As humans, we often feel like if we can’t explain it, it doesn’t exist. Does that make sense? Why or why not?

  • Make a list of things you personally can’t explain the inner workings of (but enjoy using or relying upon). Examples: wifi, gravity, Diet Coke

We said in the lesson, there is no Christianity without the supernatural. There is no God without the metaphysical. Is that true? Can’t we just take some Jesus and not the weird stuff? If not, why not?

What would it look like to live your life in a way that presumed (even required) the existence of the supernatural? How would you act differently than someone who didn’t believe in the supernatural?

How does it make you feel to know SO much is going on in realms outside our ability to perceive? Why do you think science might be more attractive than religious faith?

 

TO READ

Read Col. 2:8-15

“See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ. For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority. In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.

When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you[d] alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”

  • What did Jesus triumph over on the cross? Is the cross a “magical” or “enchanted” or “supernatural” event? Is it possible to embrace the cross without embracing the supernatural?
  • What might “the elemental spiritual forces of this world” be? “Human tradition”? “Deceptive philosophy”?
  • Is Christ head over the natural world according to this passage? What does that mean, practically and specifically?

 

TO PRAY

So often we’re tempted to embrace the world as culture tells us it exists: reality is what we can see with our eyes. Tonight, with your group, commit to embracing a world bigger than the one we can see by praying 2 Corinthians 4:18. Just say these words together:

God, our Father, fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

You might decide to repeat them until you’ve got them memorized or have everyone write them on an index card. Encourage the group to pray this prayer every day this week.