The Beginning of The End...of The Beginning

#1 Listen to “The Beginning of The End of The Beginning”

Consider this Sunday morning’s lesson. You can listen here: http://bit.ly/1gCDfNL

Or watch here [video will be posted by Monday each week]: www.vimeo.com/rrcoc

What stuck out to you as interesting?

Did you encounter any challenging or re-orienting truth?

How’d it make you feel?

 

#2 Palm Parade

What previous experience do you have with Palm Sunday? Have you ever celebrated it in an interesting or memorable way?

On Sunday we read Matthew’s account of the triumphal entry. Read Luke’s in chapter 19, verses 28-40. You can read John’s in John 12:12-19.

  • What’s interesting to you about this story?
  • What does it teach us about Who Jesus is?

Do you relate more to the Pharisees who’re skeptical of Jesus’ entry or to the crowds who praise Him? Would you have believed He’d raised Lazarus (even if you hadn’t seen it with your own eyes)?

If we were to modernize this story, how might it play out? Suppose Jesus was going to enter Austin in a “triumphant” way, with crowds declaring Him savior and king. What might it look like? What would we yell? What might He ride? Be creative and try to keep the themes of peace and salvation which were so central to His message. 

 

#3 Word Study

Consider the word “Hosanna.” What does it mean?

[In case you forgot: “Save now/God save us.”]

Imagine you’re in the crowd on Palm Sunday yelling “Hosanna,” and imagine Palm Sunday is today. What are you crying out to God to save you from? Personally, collectively, globally, what do we need saving from? List as many things as you can. Be specific. Identify any forces, powers, or darkness that may take us captive.

Play the song "Hosanna" and meditate on the lyrics [You can find it HERE]. As you listen to the words, consider in what ways you need God to save you personally. Consider, too, people close to you who need saving. Pray silently for God to save us now.

At the end of the song, pray together over the list you made. Pray for each individual in the group to be saved. Pray for loved ones. Pray for the world.

 

#4 Lord Jesus

What does the word “Lord” mean?

Read Col. 2:6-15

  • What does it look like to recognize Jesus as Lord of your life?
  • According to this passage, how does making Jesus Lord change your life?

Read Romans 14:8-9

  • How do we “live for the Lord”?
  • How, specifically, are you called to live for the Lord? What does it look like for you to live for the Lord tomorrow?

William Barclay wrote:

It may well be that the world is denied miracle after miracle and triumph after triumph because we will not bring to Christ what we have and what we are. If, just as we are, we would lay ourselves on the altar of service of Jesus Christ, there is no saying what Christ could do with us and through us.

  • Do you have a hard time bringing Christ what you have and what you are (just as you are)? Why do you think that might be? How can we overcome our hangups and challenges?

 

#5 For The Kiddos

If your group includes children, round them up and watch THIS (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O56CiH0dwLw) together. Ask them questions to see what they learned.

  • Why did the people put down their coats and palms for Jesus?
  • What does it mean that Jesus is King?
  • How did Jesus save His people?

Groups without kids are welcome to watch, too. :) 

Follow (With) Me

#1 Listen to “Follow (With) Me."

Consider this Sunday morning’s lesson. You can listen here: http://bit.ly/1gCDfNL

Or watch here [video will be posted by Monday each week]: www.vimeo.com/rrcoc

What stuck out to you as interesting?

Did you encounter any challenging or re-orienting truth?

How’d it make you feel?


#2 Elder Powers

What is the job of an elder exactly? (You might get out a whiteboard or piece of paper and write up a "job description.")

What kind of man makes a good elder? (You might refer to ! Timothy 3.)

Read Hebrews 13:7. Why is an elder's way of life important?

Have you ever known an especially good elder? What made him so good at the job?

*LEADERS: Be sure not to let tonight turn into a discussion of what elders get wrong, ours or elders members have known in the past. That's not how we want groups spending their time. Stay positive!


#3 Honor Your Elders

Read Hebrews 13:17.

What is our role in relationship to our elders? How do we submit, practically speaking? What does that look like?

Tonight we'd love to see you encourage, love, honor, and serve your elders.

You might:

  • Write letters of appreciation. You might use this prompt: Because of your love and hard work ____________. And then tell them what you love about Round Rock or include some great experience you've had while you've been at Round Rock. 
  • Video your small group singing and/or dancing to a song in their honor.
  • Draw honorary portraits of our elders. You can find their pictures on our website (If yours is good enough we may feature it on the Round Rock Facebook page.)
  • Bake cookies together and deliver them. 
  • Write an acrostic poem with the word "elder," "shepherd," or "pastor." Make it good and sappy. :)
  • Write a blessing for our elders. What do you want God to do for, through, and in them?

Be creative. Be genuine. Have fun. 

No matter what you choose, be sure to spend time in prayer on their behalf. Before you pray, brainstorm what you think might be the hardest parts of being an elder (or an elder's wife). Pray for those. 

**If you lead a group and you're also an elder, consider letting someone else lead the group tonight. You could also spend time sharing with your group what it's like being an elder at Round Rock or maybe allow members to ask questions about what it's like to be an elder, how we can best submit to and encourage you, etc. You might ask the group questions about what they want in their elders, how they might be best led.**

BIG Church: Communion

#1 On Communion…

 

This Sunday was Round Rock’s first Big Church. We spent much of our time meditating on and exploring communion.

 

If you were able to attend, what did you learn about communion?

What struck you as interesting or challenging or true?

 

#2 What

What is communion?

What other names do we have for it? What do those names tell us about what happens as we observe it?

Read Luke 22:1-20 and Mark 14:22-25.

  • What do we learn about communion from these passages?

Now read I Corinthians 11:17-34.

  • What were the Christians doing wrong as they participated in communion?
  • What does Paul mean in verse 27 when he says we shouldn’t drink or eat in an “unworthy manner”? Be sure to consider the immediate context as opposed to relying on what we’ve always heard.

 

#3 How

It’s been said that communion is a time when we:

Remember what happened.

Celebrate what’s happening

&

Anticipate what will happen one day.

What does that mean? How do we accomplish it?

How do you stay present in the moment of communion? What do you do to keep your mind from wandering and to make the most of the moment? Share with the group.

How can we emphasize the communal nature of communion within our current communion tradition? Do you have any ideas for making an individual’s communion experience an opportunity for connection with the body?

Should communion be silent? Why or why not? Be sure to make room for complexity.

 

#4 Because Jesus Died and Rose…

When you participate in communion, you might consider the following prompt as you try to focus your thoughts:

Because Jesus died and rose again ________________________.

Go around the room filling in the blank. What in your life right now would be impossible without the cross and empty tomb?

 

#5 MEDITATE

Consider these words about communion:

“Why did Our Blessed Lord use bread and wine as the elements of this Memorial? First of all, because no two substances in nature better symbolize unity than bread and wine. As bread is made from a multiplicity of grains of wheat, and wine is made from a multiplicity of grapes, so the many who believe are one in Christ. Second, no two substances in nature have to suffer more to become what they are than bread and wine. Wheat has to pass through the rigors of winter, be ground beneath the Calvary of a mill, and then subjected to purging fire before it can become bread. Grapes in their turn must be subjected to the Gethsemane of a wine press and have their life crushed from them to become wine. Thus, do they symbolize the Passion and Sufferings of Christ, and the condition of Salvation, for Our Lord said unless we die to ourselves we cannot live in Him. A third reason is that there are no two substances in nature which have more traditionally nourished man than bread and wine. In bringing these elements to the altar, men are equivalently bringing themselves. When bread and wine are taken or consumed, they are changed into man's body and blood. But when He took bread and wine, He changed them into Himself.”
Fulton J. Sheen, Life of Christ

  • What strikes you as interesting or compelling?
  • Anything you’d never thought of before?
  • Does this help you take communion with a better understanding of what's happening? How so? (Or why not?)

Requiem Required (Part 3): Hope Fully.

#1 Listen to “Requiem Required (Part 3): Hope Fully.

 

Consider this Sunday morning’s lesson. You can listen here: http://bit.ly/1gCDfNL

 

Or watch here [video will be posted by Monday each week]: www.vimeo.com/rrcoc

What stuck out to you as interesting?

Did you encounter any challenging or re-orienting truth?

How’d it make you feel?

 

#2 A Different Kind Of Sad

As we discussed on Sunday, the Apostle Paul wrote about not grieving "like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.”

  • What is hope? What’s our hope in Christ?
  • How does hope shape the way we grieve? Why would people with hope grieve differently than people without it?

Paul writes in 2 Cor 4:18, “So we 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.”

  • How do we go about “fixing our eyes” on what is “unseen”? Practically speaking, how do we do this?
  • When we face grief, what does it look like to fix our eyes on the unseen, “not on what is seen”?

 

#3 Previews

Read Revelation 21:1-7, 22-25

  • What will “the new Jerusalem” be like?
  • Which part of the description is most appealing to you? Why?

Read II Corinthians 5:1-10

  • What happens when “our earthly home” (our body) is “destroyed” (dies)?
  • In verse 8 Paul says about himself and his fellow ministers, “We would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.”
    • Do you feel that way? What might be holding us back?

 

#4 Planning Your Funeral

Have you ever been to a "good" funeral? A funeral that actually felt kinda happy? Share with the group. What was it like?

What do you hope your funeral is like? What should/could you do to make sure it turns out that way?

 

#5 Watch THIS

“Evermore” is an excellent description of the way God conquers death. Watch it with your group and discuss.

http://vimeo.com/64460491

  • Was anything surprising or challenging or helpful?
  • What stuck out?
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Requiem Required (Part 2): A Series of Fortunate Events

#1 Listen to “Requiem Required (Part 2): A Series of Fortunate Events

Consider this Sunday morning’s lesson. You can listen here: http://bit.ly/1gCDfNL

Or watch here [video will be posted by Monday each week]: www.vimeo.com/rrcoc

What stuck out to you as interesting?

Did you encounter any challenging or re-orienting truth?

How’d it make you feel?


#2 Big Questions

During this series we’ve tried to address some thorny questions we inevitably ask in response to grief. As a group, discuss answers to all/any of the following: 

  • Where is God in the midst of my suffering? 

    • While discussing this question, read Isaiah 40:1-11, 28-31. What kind of God is your God? List the ways God is described in the text. Do any of these traits help/benefit us in our times of pain and grief?

    • Have you ever felt like God was absent during suffering? Why do you think you felt that way?

    • Have you experienced God’s presence during suffering? Have you seen God comfort someone close to you? What does that look like?


  • How can I help someone who’s grieving?
    • Consider people who’ve comforted you well in the past. What did they do? List small and big things.
    • What have you learned about comforting others from your own grief?
    • What should we NOT do if we want to comfort well?


#3 Comfort In/Dump Out

 Read this article as a group:

“How Not To Say The Wrong Thing”

(http://www.latimes.com/opinion/commentary/la-oe-0407-silk-ring-theory-20130407,0,6378839.story)

Discuss the comfort in, dump out principle.

Does it make sense? Why might it be a good practice to adopt?


#4 Homework

Have each member write down an answer to each of the following questions:

1. Who could I comfort?

2. What can I do?

3. When will I do it?

Pray together over your answers.

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Requiem Required (Part 1): Why We Cry

#1 Listen to “Requiem Required (Part 1): Why We Cry

Consider this Sunday morning’s lesson. You can listen here: http://bit.ly/1gCDfNL

Or watch here [video will be posted by Monday each week]: www.vimeo.com/rrcoc

What stuck out to you as interesting?

Did you encounter any challenging or re-orienting truth?

How’d it make you feel?

 

#2 Good Grief

Ecclesiastes 7:2 says, “It is better to go to a house of mourning/than to go to a house of feasting.”

  • In what ways might grief be (at least potentially) good?
  • Have you ever walked through a period of grief you can look back on and say, “I’m better for having gone through that”? Share with the group.
  • If you haven’t experienced a significant/deep grief in your life, are you afraid of a loved one dying? Do you worry about how you’ll react? Explain.
  • Is there a way to “prepare” for grief? If so, how?

 

#3 A Period of Mourning

Consider the funerary/mourning rituals and practices in the following passages:

  • Genesis 23
  • Genesis 50:1-14
  • Deuteronomy 21:10-13
  • John 11
  • Luke 23:52-56

Why are these acts valuable/important/worth doing?

What do we learn about grief from these passages?

 

#4 Heartbreak

Consider these words from Anne Lamott:

“You will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.”

  • Does this ring true to your experience? Share with the group.
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Make Peace (Part 4): You Don't Owe Me

#1 Listen to “Make Peace: Go Time”

Consider this Sunday morning’s lesson. You can listen here: http://bit.ly/1gCDfNL 

Or watch here [video will be posted by Monday each week]: www.vimeo.com/rrcoc

What stuck out to you as interesting?

Did you encounter any challenging or re-orienting truth?

How’d it make you feel?


#2 Reconsider

This week we talked about forgiveness. What is forgiveness, exactly? Can you give an example?

What does forgiveness have to do with peace-making?

Can you think of any examples in the Bible of one person forgiving another person? What was the effect?

Do you have any experience in your own life with forgiveness as a force for peace? Have you ever forgiven someone (or been forgiven) and seen reconciliation/restoration as a result? Maybe you've witnessed peace-making via forgiveness in the life of someone close to you. Share.

Read Matthew 6:14-15

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Do you find this passage challenging? What does it mean? How does it affect you?


#3 Read Colossians 3:12-14

"Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity."

How do "compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience" inspire forgiveness?

  • Why would a compassionate person forgive?
  • Why would a kind person forgive?
  • Why would a humble person forgive?
  • Why would a gentle person forgive?
  • Why would a patient person forgive?

If it helps, you might ask these questions in light of a particular scenario. Maybe your neighbor ran over your dog. Perhaps your boss lied to you about a promotion. How would the above virtues color your reaction?


#4 Muse...

Consider the following thoughts on forgiveness. Choose a favorite or two and discuss it.

  • Is it true? Why or why not? (Is it always true?)
  • Have you ever experienced the truth of this in your daily life? How?

"In the shadow of my hurt, forgiveness feel like a decision to reward my enemy. But in the shadow of the cross, forgiveness is merely a gift from one undeserving soul to another.”

Andy Stanley

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”

Mahatma Gandhi

"When you forgive, you in no way change the past - but you sure do change the future."

Bernard Meltzer

"There is no love without forgiveness, and there is no forgiveness without love."

Bryant H. McGill

"The practice of forgiveness is our most important contribution to the healing of the world."

Marianne Williamson


#5 Forgiveness Stories

This week, watch one (or more) of the following forgiveness stories with your group. After viewing, answer the question: Why does forgiveness matter?

1. Amish Shooting Victims Forgive Mother of Shooter

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/mother-of-amish-school-shooter-shares-amazing-story-of-forgiveness/

2. The Forgiveness Project

All the videos and stories (testimonies of people who gave and received forgiveness) on this page [http://theforgivenessproject.com/stories/] are great. Great.

You might try these:

Sue Hanisch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zehYXk1OiAk#t=14

Norman Kember: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Vl_U6NYpsI&feature=c4-overview&list=UUR--yRW70pdo6-RIuhDo2HQ

Two mothers affected by the attack on the World Trade Center: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IKVihzDHDGc

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Make Peace (Part 3): Go Time

#1 Listen to “Make Peace: Go Time”

Consider this Sunday morning’s lesson. You can listen here: http://bit.ly/1gCDfNL 

Or watch here [video will be posted by Monday each week]: www.vimeo.com/rrcoc

What stuck out to you as interesting?

Did you encounter any challenging or re-orienting truth?

How’d it make you feel?

 

#2 Gut Reaction

Most people react in one of two (faulty) ways in a moment of conflict:

1. They attack.

2. They escape.

Which one is your tendency? Have you observed any negative consequences to approaching conflict in that way?

 

#3  >

What's the difference between restoration and condemnation?

Have you ever approached a person with whom you have conflict with a posture of condemnation? Have you ever felt condemned in a confrontation? What results from that kind of attitude in conflict?

Why is restoration better?

Do you feel like you've seen a relationship of yours restored as a result of healthy peace-making? What was so effective in healing your bond? Share with the group.

 

#4 Why It Matters

Read Ephesians 4:2-3

How are peace and unity related?

Read Psalm 133 and John 17:20-23.

Why is it important for God's people to make peace in the body?

What are the effects of peace/unity in the body?

 

#5 Gossip

So often the first place we go with conflict isn't to the person involved but rather to other people on the outside.

Why?

How does it make us feel to talk about our conflict with people who aren't directly involved?

Why might it be a bad idea?

Read Proverbs 26:20-21.

What kinds of problems/tensions/evil might arise from gossip?

Does gossip result in restoration or condemnation?

 

#6 Action

On Sunday Justin offered some advice for navigating conflict conversations. He suggested we...

  • Use “I” language, not “you” language
  • Be gentle.
  • Focus.
  • Listen. 
  • Pray together.

Did any of these stick out to you as surprising? Challenging? Is there one you're dying to try? Why?

Have you ever employed any of these tactics in a conflict-laced conversation? How'd it go?

 

#7 Accountability

Some members in your group really need to make peace, but they just can't get up the nerve. Encourage members to pick another group member to talk to about a specific conflict and to help keep them accountable in their efforts at making peace.

This is not necessarily an activity for your meeting time so much as a reminder that the small group exists for the encouragement of every member.

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Make Peace (Part 2): Tree Removal

#1 Listen to “Make Peace: Different Than An Atheist?”

Consider this Sunday morning’s lesson. You can listen here: http://bit.ly/1gCDfNL 

Or watch here [video will be posted by Monday each week]: www.vimeo.com/rrcoc

What stuck out to you as interesting?

Did you encounter any challenging or re-orienting truth?

How’d it make you feel?

 

#2 Ask Yourself...

On Sunday we said, "People who see themselves clearly judge others generously." Is this true? If so, why do you think that is?

Why do we have trouble seeing ourselves clearly? What gets in our way?

What behaviors/practices might we adopt in order to see ourselves more clearly?

When we find ourselves in conflict, it's important to ask two questions:

  1. Where have I fallen short?
  2. How can I help?

Why is it so hard to apologize first? What are we afraid we'll lose if we apologize?

Have you ever decided to apologize knowing the other person probably wouldn't reciprocate? How did that play out? How'd you feel when it was over?

Does asking the question "How can I help?" in the midst of conflict come naturally? Why or why not?

What are the benefits of choosing to help someone with whom we have conflict? How/why does it help to repair relationships? Have you ever decided to help a person with whom you had conflict? How'd it go?

Consider this scenario:

Your neighbor reports you to the home owner's association for letting your grass go while you were on vacation. He also (under the cover of night) puts a sign in your yard that says, "I don't take care of my things" (You know it was him because your across-the-street neighbor saw the whole thing).

  • What's your gut reaction?
  • If you were to use this conflict as an opportunity to glorify God, how might you answer the two questions mentioned above?

 

#3 Read I Samuel 25:2-35

This is the story of David, Nabal and Abigail. Read it aloud and then retell it together as a group to be sure everybody understands what they've read.

According to the text, what kind of man was Nabal? What was his reaction to conflict (the presence of David's men)?

From what you know about him, what kind of man was David? What was his reaction to conflict (Nabal's refusal)?

According to the text, what kind of woman was Abigail? What was her reaction to conflict?

How did Abigail help David make peace?

What can we learn about peace-making from this story?

 

#4 Go First

Consider this letter from Dr. Martin Luther King to Southern blacks on the occasion of bus integration (you may want to make copies for your group members):

doc7.jpg

What is your first reaction upon reading this?

Considering the context of conflict into which Dr. King is speaking, in what ways does this letter answer the question, "How can I help?"

What might have been different if Dr. King had encouraged his followers to stand up for and defend their rights at all costs, in any way necessary? Why is this a better way?

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Make Peace (Part 1): Different Than An Atheist?

#1 Listen to “Make Peace: Different Than An Atheist?”

Consider this Sunday morning’s lesson. You can listen here: http://bit.ly/1gCDfNL 

Or watch here [video will be posted by Monday each week]: www.vimeo.com/rrcoc

What stuck out to you as interesting?

Did you encounter any challenging or re-orienting truth?

How’d it make you feel?

 

#2 Hard Work

Our subtitle for this series is “Getting along when getting along is hard.”

Is getting along hard for you? Or does it come naturally?

Rate how much you need this series on a scale of 1 to 10. Keep it personal or share Olympic-judge-style on a white card, revealing your answers all together.

Much of how we deal with tension or conflict is either learned or inherited. Do you have past experiences or examples/people who’ve shaped the way you get along with others? Why do you think you approach conflict (or potential conflict) the way you do? Share with your group.

 

#3 King Peace

Read Isaiah 9:2-7

How is Jesus described in Isaiah’s prophecy?

Consider the context. What does it mean that Jesus is Prince of Peace?

If Jesus is Prince of Peace, what does that suggest about His kingdom?

Are we as God’s people characterized by peace? What can we do in our own personal lives to usher in (or make way for) Jesus’ kingdom of peace? Be specific, practical, and (remember) personal.

 

#4 Pray for Full Restoration

We ended the sermon this week with these words from 2 Corinthians 13: Strive for full restoration”

Do you have relationships that need full restoration?

Write down one relationship you want to be praying for over the course of this series.

If you’re willing, share it with your group and pray for one another by name.

If you don’t want to share the particulars, have each member write a name on a piece of paper and put it face down on a table. Have group members put their hands on the papers and pray over the relationships represented. Then throw away the papers.

 

#5 Show Me What You Really Think

Ken Sande writes, “Every time you enter a conflict, you will inevitably show what you really think of God.”

If we respond to offense with anger or revenge what does that say about what we really think of God?

Consider someone you know who handles conflict poorly. Don’t name names. What does the way that person acts reveal about their understanding of God?

What about people who handle conflict well? What does their behavior indicate about their understanding of God?

 

#6 Funny

Consider the following cartoon from 1965:

cartoon-New-Yorker-1965-Pentagon-complains-leave-peace-to-experts.jpg
 

While the context for this cartoon is the Vietnam War, it has implications for Christianity.

Have you ever felt like “making peace” was an upper level job? Why or why not?

Why is it important for every person to be accountable for peace-making?

 

#6 Gets Along Well With Others

Share a story from your childhood when you definitely did not get along well with others. Tell a funny one. We like funny. 

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Mission Control

#1 Listen to “Mission Control"

Consider this Sunday morning’s lesson. You can listen here: http://bit.ly/1gCDfNL , or watch here: www.rrcoc.org/missioncontrol [video will be posted by Monday each week].

 What stuck out to you as interesting?

Did you encounter any challenging or re-orienting truth?

How’d it make you feel?

 

#2 Blessed

This Sunday we blessed our babies, committing ourselves to them and standing alongside their parents as they committed themselves to the care of their children.

Why do you think we do this at Round Rock?

What can you do, practically speaking, to be a blessing to Round Rock's babies (and their parents)?

This week, consider blessing the children in your small group. You might put your hands on them and pray or read a blessing like one of these:

“May God make all grace abound to you, (name of child), so that in all things, at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”
2 Corinthians 9:8

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of God, the Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. (Name of child), you are precious and worth more than many sparrows. May you never be afraid. God will always care for you.”
Matthew 10:29-31

“(Name of child), may the Lord keep you from all harm as you trust in Him. May he watch over your life, your coming and your going, both now and forevermore.”
Psalm 121:7-8

 

#3 For Parents (and would-be parents)

On Sunday we said launching our children involves two things:

1. Point her in the right direction.

2. Give him the boost he needs to get there.

Why is direction so important? What is the direction in which you want to point your kids?

Practically speaking, what could you do to remind yourself on a daily basis of your mission for your kids?

What does it look like to give your kids a boost?

Make a list of ways a parent can help his or her child get a jumpstart on a life fully devoted to God. Include big picture stuff and practical, everyday ideas.

Make a list as a group and email it to Jennifer Gerhardt. She'll compile them all and share it here on the small group blog. The small group with the longest list of "boosters" wins a prize (for real).

 

#4 God, the Father

Read the following passages...

I John 3:1
"See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!..."

Deuteronomy 1:30-31
"The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, and in the wilderness. There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.”

I Corinthians 1:3-4
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God."

Anyone who's ever been a parent knows that parenting teaches us a lot about who God is and why he works the way he does.

What have you learned about God from parenting a child?

If your group is mostly comprised of members without children, consider this prompt: What have you learned about God the Father from watching your parents parent? Draw from the good, the bad, and the ugly as you share.

 

#5 Children of God

Read Luke 18:15-17

What can we learn about the kingdom of God from children?

For groups without young children in their midst, brainstorm some ways you might be intentional about upping the quality child-loving time in your life. What can you do to make sure you're spending time around, learning from (and teaching) children?

 

#6 Praying for Our Children

If you have parents in your group, you might discuss the power of praying for our children, whether they're six months or sixty.

How have you seen your prayers as a parent at work in the life of your child?

The following books are potentially helpful guides as we take on the responsibility of interceding for our kids (Not all of these books are fully vetted. But they all look great.):

Praying the Bible for Your Children by David and Heather Knopp
-A compilation of daily prayers for your child or children drawn directly from the text of scripture.

Praying for Boys: Asking God for the Things They Need Most by Brooke McGlothlin

Praying God's Will for My Daughter by Lee Roberts

Praying for Our Adult Sons and Daughters: Placing Them in the Heart of God by John J. Bouche

Prayers for Prodigals: 90 Days of Prayer for Your Child by James Banks

Praying the Scriptures for Your Teenagers: Discover How to Pray God's Purpose for Their Lives by Jodie Berndt

 

#7 For Kicks and Giggles

Here's a picture of Justin when he was a baby:

photo-8.jpg
 

Okay--your turn: we'd love to see your baby picture. Post it to the church Facebook page and/or Instagram with the hashtag: #readyforlaunch

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