Airplane Mode (Part 3) "You are now free to move about the kingdom"

 

#1 Watch or Listen To "Airplane Mode: Turbulence"

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?

 

#2 Instruction Manual

On Sunday, Zane gave an example of him and his dad building a shed.  Share a time you tried to build/make/create without an instructional manual and things did not turn out well.  What kept you from asking for help? 

In what aspects of your life do you need to ask Jesus for help instead of doing it on your own? 

 

#3 Giving

Read 2 Corinthians 9:6-11. 

Are you a cheerful giver? Or do you find yourself reluctant to be generous?  

Do you struggle with needing to see the immediate impact of your gift? If so, how do we become cheerful givers who don't need to see the impact? 

 

#4 Praying

Throughout the Airplane Mode sermon series, we've been reminded that God knows who we are and He knows all of our desires. Take a few minutes to spread out and find some semi-quiet space. Individually go to God in silent prayer.  If your meeting area does not allow for this, pray silently in place for a few minutes. 

 

#5 Fasting 

Read Isaiah 58:4- 9 (Stop at "Here am I"). 

We fast to hunger for what God hungers for us.

Have you ever found yourself to be fasting for the wrong reasons?   How do we make God the center of our focus as we fast and avoid fasting for the sake of fasting? 

In your life, what chains of injustice need to be loosened; what cords of the yoke need to be untied? In other words, what aspects in your life do you need a fast from in order to be set free from?

Discuss how small group members can be supportive towards others fasting.  

 

#6  Disciples of Discipline

At the end of the sermon, we were challenged as a small group to develop one of the three practices; giving, fasting or praying.  Choose one discipline and discuss how you will help each other develop this over the week.  

Airplane Mode (Part 2) Turbulence

 

#1 Watch or Listen To "Airplane Mode: Turbulence"

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?

 

#2 Worry Defined

Consider the following quotes. Do any of them ring true? 

“Worry divides the mind.” 
― Max Lucado,

“If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it's not fixable, then there is no help in worrying. There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.” 
― Dalai Lama XIV

“Worry is itself an illness, since worry is an accusation against Divine Wisdom, a criticism of Divine Mercy.” 
― Said Nursî

“Worrying is carrying tomorrow's load with today's strength- carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn't empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.” 
― Corrie ten Boom

 

#3 Cast Your Worries

Read Pslam 55:22-23 and 1 Peter 5:6-7

God has asked us to cast our worries unto Him. So let's do just that. Take some index cards or small pieces of paper and each write down a few worries you carry with you.

Share your worries and then pray for one another. Pray God will take each worry from you as He's promised. 

 

#4 Air Control

Watch the video about worry here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grTuXo1hqN4

Share a few times in your life when you put trust in other things besides God and when they failed, you began to worry and/or be afraid.

Share a few times when you put your full trust in God and found God had delivered exactly what you needed at the time.

Any control freaks out there? What areas in your life have you not fully given over to God? (examples: finances, job, marriage) 

Come up with practical ways to let go of your need of control and fully trust in God.  As a group, form a game plan to help one another in times of worry.

 

#5 Finding Peace

Read the following: John 14:27; Colossians 3:15; 2 Thessalonians 3:16

God promises us peace and encouragement.  As you go through this week, pause and take note of the peaceful moments God places in your life.  Share these with your group members as they occur. Take pictures or write down these moments to reflect on the next time worry tries to take over.  

 

Airplane Mode (Part 1) Reality Check

#1 Watch or Listen To "Airplane Mode: Reality Check"

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?

 

#2 Airplane Mode

Share a time when life was busy and you knowingly put Jesus on hold.

How did you feel during this time?  How did you bring your focus back to God and His will?

Read Luke 15:11-32.  Share a time you felt a welcome like this upon returning home to God.

 

#3 Watch This

Watch this video by Buzzfeed that quantifies our time on Earth in jellybeans.  

https://youtu.be/BOksW_NabEk 

How do you spend your time? What portion of your time after sleeping, eating and bathroom breaks do you spend with God? 

How does this reality make you think differently about how you will spend your "extra" hours this week? 

 

#4 Let's Practice 

Jesus used The Lord's Prayer to teach his disciples (and us) how to pray. Many of us still feel uncomfortable when praying aloud.  As a group, personalize this prayer as Mitch did.  Divvy it up and use it as a guide to say a group prayer.  Encourage one another if uncomfortable when doing so out loud. 

 

#5 Landing Gear

After sharing the ways and times we have put our relationship with God on airplane mode, make a plan for how you will actively seek him. 

Because Jesus (Part 4): Empathy

#1 Watch or Listen To "Because Jesus: Empathy"

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?

 

#2 Get Me?

Have you ever felt misunderstood or unknown? Think of a time when someone thought they understood you but didn't. Share with the group. How does that make you feel?

Similarly, have you ever received advice from someone who had NO IDEA what you were going through? A Work advice, parenting advice, weight loss advice, money advice, etc...

  • How does that kind of advice differ from the advice you get from people who've experienced what you're experiencing?
  • How do you feel when you're going through something difficult and someone with similar experience reaches out to you?

 

#3 Him, Too

The reading before the sermon this week came from Matthew 4 and Luke 4, both accounts of the temptation of Christ. Read one of them again with your small group (either Matt 4:1-11 OR Luke 4: 1-13).

Why do you think we started THIS sermon with THESE verses? Is this a story about empathy?

How does it make you feel to know Jesus was hungry when he fasted?

Consider other emotions/longings/desires/disappointments/etc. Jesus must have felt while he was alive on earth. Make a list.

Read Hebrews 2:18: "Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted."

Why do you think Jesus being tempted helps him help us?

Have you ever connected with someone who struggles with a temptation like the one with which you most often struggle? How does it feel to talk (and listen) to someone like that? Share.

 

#4 Human Much?

It's important for us to realize, to fully and totally understand, that Jesus was a human--like us.

Consider these thoughts from blogger Chris Greer:

If God, like dads in monkey suits and Santa costumes, was just pretending to be human, then he only pretended to experience what we do. It means he pretended to be a baby. He pretended to be helpless. He pretended to grow. He pretended to endure adolescence. He pretended to be tempted. He pretended to feel sorrow, anger and amazement, and he pretended to need food, water and rest.

So what? Why does all this pretending or not pretending matter?

It matters because of this: the crux of Christian belief is that Jesus showed us what human life in perfect relationship with our Creator can be like.

Jesus, as a human, lived the perfect life we couldn’t, died the death we deserve, and was raised by God to new human life, and in doing so, showed the same is possible for us.

So, if he didn’t actually experience a human relationship with God, real human death, and a real bodily resurrection, then how can we ever believe we will experience it? If he hasn’t done it, then there’s no proof we can. If Jesus’ life was an act, then his promise is only a theory.

What do you think?

  • Is it hard to imagine Jesus as a human?
  • Have you been guilty of picturing Jesus as just pretending to be a human?
  • Does it matter?

 

#5 WATCH THIS

Watch Brenee Brown's TED talk on Empathy (as told via an adorable cartoon): https://search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?p=brenee+brown+empathy&ei=UTF-8&hspart=mozilla&hsimp=yhs-001

What is empathy, according to Brown?

Did/does Jesus show empathy to humans?

How does empathy extended in our direction make us feel?

 

#6 So What?

How does this divine empathy affect us, practically speaking?

How will you act differently because you know Jesus understands you?

  • How will you pray?
  • How will you react when you're tempted?
  • How will you react when you sin?
  • How does Jesus' human experience affect the way we grieve?
  • The way we handle pain?
  • The way we relate to difficult people?
  • The way we wait?
  • The way we handle disappointment?

What can Jesus offer you, do for you, feel with you because he was human?

 

 

Because Jesus (Part 3): Forgiveness

#1 Watch or Listen To "Because Jesus: Forgiveness"

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?

 

#2 Can I Get A Witness?

Do you remember the day you were baptized? Tell the story...

If you're willing, tell your group your testimony in a nutshell--What did God forgive you of? What are you free from now?

 

#3 Not guilty

In Christ we're forgiven. What does that mean to you? What does it change?

  • How does knowing God is a forgiving God shape the way you understand and relate to Him?

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by guilt? Do you feel forgiven? Why or why not? If not, what do you think the problem is?

Read Hebrews 10:1-22.

The Hebrew writer says, "let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water."

Why do Christians--the people who're supposed to live guilt-free--still sometimes struggle with guilt?

  • Should we?
  • How, practically, can we feel less guilty?

 

#4 Confessional

Confession is hard but essential in helping us access forgiveness and eliminate guilt.

John writes: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." (I John 1:9)

Tonight, pass around index cards and encourage group members to write down their confession. Those who would like to share are encouraged to do that. After sharing, break up and allow each member to pray for a moment alone, confessing and seeking God's always-available forgiveness.

 

#5 Considering...

Take a look at the following quotes and choose one to discuss. Ask yourselves,

  • Is it true? Have you personally experienced the truth in this quote (or personally experienced something that causes you to question it)?
  • How does it make you feel?
  • Where does your brain wander when you meditate on those words?
  • What questions do you have when you read it?

"It is impossible for a man to be freed from the habit of sin before he hates it, just as it is impossible to receive forgiveness before confessing his trespasses..."  –Ignatius

"We have a strange illusion that mere time cancels sin. But mere time does nothing either to the fact or to the guilt of a sin." --CS Lewis

"Sin is not to be ignored, nor minimised. It is the most patent fact in life, the darkest experience in the history of the race. It is the root of all the world's tragedies. It is that which makes "conscience a thousand swords," "the torture of an inward hell," "the worm that doth begnaw the soul."" --James M. Campbell

 

#6 Amazing Grace

Interested in a short-ish documentary on the song Amazing Grace? This is a 15 minute history of how and why the song got written (http://yhoo.it/1D0XOcu).

 

Because Jesus (Part 2): Access

#1 Watch or Listen To "Because Jesus: Access"

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?

 

#2 RUN

On Sunday we said,

"You don’t connect with God because you’re good. You connect with God because He’s good."

AND

"Sin shouldn’t cause you to run from God. Sin should cause you to run to God."

  • What do we need to believe about God's identity and personality in order to embrace this idea?
  • Is this your gut feeling--to run to God when you sin? Why do you think that is?

Tell about a time when you either ran away from God when you sinned OR a time when you ran to Him. What was the result of your choice?

Have you ever felt like you needed to get all cleaned up before you approached God? What's so bad about that way of thinking? What does it lead to?

 

#3 Disqualified

On Sunday we said sin doesn't disqualify you from access to God, but rather qualifies you for salvation.

What does disqualify us from access to God?

Considering the story of Simon and the sinful woman, we said PRIDE disqualifies us from receiving God's grace.

Have you ever acted like Simon does in this story? Share.

Have you ever let pride stand between you and God? Share.

Is there any type of person you feel like shouldn't have access to God? Look deep down in your heart for an answer.

  • Take a moment and let group members pray silently asking for God to remove pride from their hearts.

 

#4 Access Granted

Justin ended Sunday's sermon with this question: What are you going to do with the access Jesus died to give you?

Have you been thinking about it? What's your answer?

Offer one way you're going to be a better steward of the access you have to God.

 

#5 All Access

Read Ephesians 2:17-22.

He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

Through Christ we're brought near to God.

  • What does that mean to you?
  • Why is it so good?

Is it ever hard for you to imagine the Spirit of God living inside you? Why or why not?

 

#6 Something Beautiful

WATCH THIS video (http://yhoo.it/1FMisR3) about what God wants to do with the world's cast off, broken people.

  • Have you ever seen God take a broken life and make it new? Share.

 

#7 Insider Changing

Inevitably (and hopefully) we Christians begin to look more and more like Christ as we mature in faith. That means we often exhibit fewer outer signs of sinfulness. Which is great. But can make outsiders seeking God in our midst uncomfortable.

What can we do as "church people" to help seeking sinners feel welcome among us? Think practically. What can we say or do differently as individuals and as a collective body?

Because Jesus (Part 1): Hope

#1 Watch or Listen To "Because Jesus: Hope"

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

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?

 

#2 Defining Terms

On Sunday we defined hope as "confidence that what will be is better than what has been."

Is hope come easy or hard for you? Why?

Share a time when hope saw you through something you don't know how you've have survived otherwise.

 

#3 Unaffected

Read Romans 4:16-25

Paul tells us here that "Abraham in hope believed." What does this passage reveal about Abraham's faith?

  • Did it make sense for Abraham to believe he'd have a child at such an old age?
  • Did Abraham ignore the reality of his age or the barren-ness of Sarah's womb?

Is it sometimes hard for you to "in hope believe"?

  • Does your present reality sometimes make hope seem silly?
  • Should we allow our present reality to affect our hope? Why or why not?

 

#4 No Hope

Where are you feeling hopeless right now? Do you ever feel like things aren't ever going to get better?

  • Note to leaders: Don't immediately respond with advice if someone shares a place they're feeling hopeless. Acknowledge their feelings and pray. Consider coming back around another day to discuss ways of lifting their spirits.

Pray for hope for the hopeless. Even if none of your group members feel this way, many do. Be sure to appeal to God on their behalf.

 

#5 False Hope?

Watch this commercial for a children's hospital: https://vimeo.com/123776959

How do you feel after watching it?

  • Do you have questions about hope after watching it? What is hope, according to this?
  • Does anything about it strike you as hollow or untrue?

What is hope to those who don't follow Jesus?

  • Does their version of hope help?

 

#6 In Tents

Read 2 Corinthians 4:8-18; 5:1-4

According to Paul, why do the people of God "not lose heart"?

What does it mean that "life is at work in us"?

Practically speaking, how can we keep our hope in front of us at all times? Brainstorm some ways to see the unseen intentionally every day.

5 Things I'm Afraid Of As We Leave Australia

#1 Watch or Listen To "5 Things I'm Afraid Of As We Leave Australia" by Jason Whaley

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?

 

#2 Me, Too

Jason gave us five things he's afraid of. Which one most resonated with you? Explain why.

 

#3 Picture It

Imagine you're a missionary in another country. What would that look like? What would it involve? What habits or behaviors would have to adopt? How would your daily life be different?

If Round Rock, TX is a mission field (with 85% of people here not going to church anywhere on any given Sunday), how might you apply the principles of oversea mission work to your life right now, right here?

As Round Rock missionaries, what habits and behaviors do you need to adopt?

 

#4 No Fear

Read the following Psalms:

  • Psalm 3:1-6
  • Psalm 23:1-5
  • Psalm 27:1-5

What do we, as God's children have to be afraid of?

Is it easy to always have courage? Why is fear so easy to embrace?

What are you afraid of? Like, really afraid of? If you feel like fear is shackling you, share it with the group and pray together for freedom.

 

#5 Enough

On Sunday Jason talked about our desire for "enough" and the potential distractions and difficulties of having more than "enough."

How should we/do you go about deciding what "enough" looks like?

 

Descending to Greatness (Part 4): But How?

#1 Watch or Listen To "Descending To Greatness (Part 4): But How?"

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?

 

#2 Work The List

On Sunday we got super practical with a list of "things to do if you want to get humble." In case you missed one in your rush to write them down, here's the complete list. As a group, work your way through these suggestions answering the following questions about each one:

  1. Why is this practice so important/how is it tied to humility?
  2. When have I done this (or NOT done this) in the past? What was the effect?

Be sure to commit as a group to practice these behaviors and hold one another accountable. You might want to pray the list, asking God to help you do these things and be shaped by them.

  1. Devote time to worship.
  2. Praise Someone.
  3. Write a Thank You Note.
  4. Apologize.
  5. Use What You Have For Someone Else.
  6. Pay attention to someone else's life.
  7. Collaborate.
  8. Obey God.
  9. Ask for help.
  10. Recognize an essential contribution.
  11. Go last.
  12. Do something you probably won't do well.

 

#3 Made Small

As devoting time to worship is a primary way to develop humility, consider worshipping as a group. Here are a few songs to sing, passages to read, and prayers to pray:

Songs:

Scripture:

  • Psalm 104: 1-5, 19-33
  • John 1:1-18
  • Psalm 19:1-14

Prayers:

  • Go around the group and have every person fill in the blank "God you are so ______"
  • Pray Psalm 23 together, addressing God directly. "Lord, You are my shepherd. I lack nothing..."

 

 

Descending to Greatness, part 3: Less Is More

#1 Watch or Listen To "Descending To Greatness (Part 3): Less Is More"

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?

 

#2 Just Can’t Wait To Be Great

Is it wrong to seek greatness? 

Consider Romans 2:7--"To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life."

  • What are some unhealthy ways of seeking “glory, honor and immortality”?
  • How does God suggest we seek “glory, honor and immortality”?

Proverbs 22:4 reads, “Humility is the fear of the Lord; its wages are riches and honor and life.”

  • Have you seen or experienced this to be true? 
  • Is it ever not true?

In I Peter 5:6 we read that if we’ll be humble God will lift us up “in due time.” Do you feel like you’re waiting for God to lift you up? Tell your group about it.

  • How’s it going? Is waiting easy or hard? 
  • What can you do while you’re waiting to make the time pass more bearably?

 

#3 Least Of All

Read Luke 9:46-48.

What does Jesus mean by this statement: “It is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest”?

How do we try to be the least? Offer some practical examples. What does it look like at work? At home? As a parent? As a neighbor?

Is it selfish to try to be the least with hopes of being greatest?

 

#4 Capital G

Describe someone you think is “Great” (capital G). You might make a list together as a group. What makes that person/those people great?

 

#5 Hearing Voices

Consider the following thoughts on greatness from culture:

  • This Nike commercial: http://yhoo.it/1Em0AvD
  • This Playstation commercial: http://yhoo.it/1BFYK7R
  • These words from Will Smith (with video of Michael Jordan playing basketball): http://yhoo.it/1AFat2N
  • While we won’t include any lyrics, it’s worth noting that several popular rap songs titled “Greatness” are about personal talent, wealth, status, sex and ambition.

What is greatness according to these voices? What’s good and what’s bogus?

You might also consider the following quotes. Do any of them ring true?

  • “Doing what needs to be done may not make you happy, but it will make you great.” -George Bernard Shaw
  • “Your greatness is revealed not by the lights that shine upon you, but by the light that shines within you.” -Ray Davis
  • “Our Christian destiny is, in fact, a great one: but we cannot achieve greatness unless we lose all interest in being great. For our own idea of greatness is illusory, and if we pay too much attention to it we will be lured out of the peace and stability of the being God gave us, and seek to live in a myth we have created for ourselves. And when we are truly ourselves we lose most of the futile self-consciousness that keeps us constantly comparing ourselves with others in order to see how big we are.” -Thomas Merton 

Descending To Greatness (Part 2): What's At Stake

#1 Watch or Listen To "Descending To Greatness (Part 2): What's At Stake"

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?

 

#2 Unequals

In the sermon, Justin said, "God only offers one kind of relationship... one marked by unequal partnership."

Think about your relationships with people. Do you have any unequal partnerships in which you're the weaker partner?

  • What's hard about those relationships? What's good about them?
  • How do you feel about yourself when you're forced to work with someone who clearly brings more to the table?
  • Do you seek out these kinds of relationships or avoid them?

Now think about your relationship with God.

  • Do you feel uncomfortable working as the weaker partner?
  • Do you ever try to compensate for your weakness with work, good deeds, etc?
  • Do you struggle to depend on God completely? If so, why do you think that is? How can we overcome it?

How, practically speaking, can we embrace our smallness in relation to God (instead of kicking against it)?

 

#3 Stories

Share a story about a time you had a hard time admitting you were wrong OR a time when you refused to ask for help. Funny stories AND serious stories encouraged.

After you've shared, consider the outcomes of your stories. What happens when we're too proud to admit fault or ask for help? Good things or bad things?

 

#4 Crazy Proud

Read Daniel 4:28-37

Summarize the story in your own words.

  • Why is Nebuchadnezzar punished?
  • What is his punishment, exactly?
  • What advice does he offer to the proud?

How does this story affect you? What can you do to make sure it doesn't happen to you?

 

#5 Perspective

Consider this quote from G. K. Chesterton:

What does Chesterton mean? Is he right?

How does humility inform our perspective?

 

#6 Memory Work

Have each group member write the following verse on an index card. Group leaders be sure to bring cards and maybe some colorful markers. Have each group member commit to memorize the verse this week. Every one who comes to small group next week with James 4:10 in his or her heart gets a prize. Group leaders, you'll have to provide that, too. A Reese's miniature is plenty. :)

"Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up." -James 4:10

Descending To Greatness (Part 1): Seeing Clearly

#1 Watch or Listen To "Descending To Greatness (Part 1): Seeing Clearly"

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?

 

#2 Defining Terms

On Sunday we said humility is 1. More important than you realize (and) 2. Not what you think it is.

So, 1. Why is humility so important? (and) 2. What is it?

  • As you define it together, don't simply recall the definition we received in the sermon. Offer your own words and examples. What does humility look like? How does it act? What does it say?
  • Does the fact that Jesus was humble complicate (or clarify) your understanding of humility? What does it mean that Jesus was humble?

Let's look closely for a second at the definition from the sermon:

"Humility is seeing yourself clearly as you stand under God and alongside others."

  • Practically speaking, how do we place ourselves "under God"? What habits and practices remind us of and reinforce our position in regard to God?
  • Practically speaking, how do we place ourselves "alongside others." What habits and practices remind us of and reinforce our position in regard to other people?

Confucius is supposed to have said, "Humility is the solid foundation of all virtues."

  • Is that true? Why or why not?
  • Can a proud person be virtuous? (full of grace, loving, courageous, faith-full, etc.)

 

#3 Team Player

In a recent interview, (Super Bowl-winning coach) Tony Dungy proposed that humility is the single most important characteristic of a leader. Referring to a coach he admires Dungy said, "He wanted the team to do as well as it could do." Dungy said the win for the team always mattered more than personal glory.

Look again at Romans 12: 3-5, one of our texts from Sunday. Read it together.

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.

  • How are humility and team work related?
  • What happens when one person on a team isn't humble?
  • Why do you think humility is so powerful in terms of belonging? If humility enables belonging and cooperation, what does pride result in?

Think of a time when your pride stood in the way of you connecting to a group of people. Share.

 

#4 Get Some Perspective

WATCH THIS video from Carl Sagan on the universe and humility (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8GA2w-qrcg).

How do you feel after watching it?

Sagan said, "We have not been given the lead in the cosmic drama."

  • Is he right?
  • If so, who is the lead?
  • Why is it so important to understand our size and place?

 

#5 Diagnosis

Consider the following "fruits of pride." Read them out loud and evaluate your heart to determine whether or not you need a humility check. After considering the list, share any fruits that hit home. Pray for growing humility.

 

1. I tend to be self sufficient in the way I live my life. I tend to think I have enough strength, ability

and wisdom to live and manage my life.

2. My practice of the spiritual disciplines in inconsistent and superficial.

3. I don’t like to ask others for help.

4. I am overly self-conscious. I tend to replay in my mind how I did, what I said, how I am

coming across to others, etc. I am very concerned about what people think of me.

5. I often feel insecure. I don't want to try new things or step out into uncomfortable situations

because I'm afraid I'll fail or look foolish. I am easily embarrassed.

6. I am performance oriented. I feel that I have greater worth if I do well.

7. I am self-critical. I tend to be a perfectionist. I can't stand for little things to be wrong because

they reflect poorly on me.

8. I desire to receive credit and recognition for what I do. I want people to be impressed with me. I like to make my accomplishments known.

9. I find myself hiding the truth about myself, especially about sins, weaknesses, etc. I don't want people

to know who I really am.

10. I am selfishly ambitious. I really want to get ahead. I like having a position or title.

11. I far prefer leading to following.

12. I am overly competitive. I always want to win or come out on top and it bothers me when I

don't.

13. I like to be the center of attention and will say or do things to draw attention to myself.

14. I like to talk, especially about myself or persons or things I am involved with. I want people to

know what I am doing or thinking. I would rather speak than listen.

15. I am self-serving. When asked to do something, I find myself asking, "What's in it for me, or

how will doing this help me, or will I be inconvenienced?"

16. I am not very excited about seeing or making others successful. I tend to feel envious, jealous

or critical towards those who are doing well or being honored.

17. I feel generally special or superior because of what I have or do. For example:

  • my house
  • my neighborhood
  • my physical giftings
  • my spiritual giftings
  • my intellect or education
  • being “spiritual”
  • my position or job
  • my car
  • my salary
  • my looks

18. I think highly of myself. In relation to others I typically see myself as more mature and more

gifted. In most situations, I have more to offer than others even though I may not say so. I don’t

consider myself average or ordinary.

19. I tend to give myself credit for who I am and what I accomplish. I only occasionally think

about or recognize that all that I am or have comes from God.

20. I feel deserving. I think I deserve what I have. In fact, I think I ought to have more

considering how well I have lived or in light of all I have done.

21. I often feel ungrateful. I tend to grumble about what I have or my lot in life.

22. I am pretty insensitive to others. I feel that some people just aren't worth caring about. I have

a hard time showing compassion.

23. I have a know-it-all attitude. I am impressed by my own knowledge. I feel like there isn't

much I can learn from other people, especially those less mature than me.

24. I don’t honestly listen when someone else is speaking because I am usually planning what I am going to say next.

25. I like to reveal my own mind. I have an answer for practically every situation. I feel compelled to balance everyone else out.

26. I interrupt people regularly. I don’t let people finish what they are saying.

27. I feel compelled to stop people when they start to share something with me I already know.

28. I find it hard to admit it when I don’t know something. When someone asks me something I

don't know, I will make up an answer rather than admit I don't know.

29. I listen to teaching with other people in mind. I constantly think of those folks who need to

hear the teaching and wish they were here.

30. I'm not very open to input. I don’t pursue correction for my life. I tend to be unteachable and

slow to repent when corrected. I don't really see correction as a positive thing. I am offended

when people probe the motivations of my heart or seek to adjust me.

31. I have a hard time admitting that I am wrong. I find myself covering up or excusing my

defects. It is hard for me to confess my wrongs to others or to ask for forgiveness.

32. When corrected, I become contentious and argumentative.

Wave Rider (guest speaker: Zane Witcher)

*This week's guide will be short due to a limited preview of our guest speaker's lesson. You're encouraged to include your own questions, readings, etc. to bolster the discussion.

 

#1 Watch or Listen To "Wave Rider"

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?

 

#2 What Are You Afraid of?

Let's start today by sharing our least reasonable fears. Read the list of common fears below one at a time and have group members raise their hands if they're afraid of that thing or circumstance.

  • The dark
  • Spiders
  • Heights
  • Clowns
  • Open spaces
  • Crowds
  • Dogs
  • Public Speaking
  • Balloons

 

#3 Unpack the Panic

In the story from the life of Jesus we discussed on Sunday, Jesus sleeps during a wild storm. While the disciples panic, Jesus doesn't even seem phased. Why is that?

  • How is Jesus different from the disciples in that moment?
  • What are the disciples of afraid of? What isn't Jesus afraid of?

Do you have moments in your life when you panic? Share an example of a situation that might induce a freak out. Brainstorm together situations that cause panic for the average person.

Then, think through those fears/anxieties and identify the bottom-line reason we react like we tend to do in these situations. Does it make sense to react in those ways given your place as a child of God?

Why or why not?

 

#4 So. Many. Stories.

As a group, make a list of stories in the Bible where one of God's people acts in courage despite the terrifying circumstances. You might choose to split the group up into small teams of two or three and make it a contest (with a candy bar prize).

What does the sheer volume of stories like this teach us about fear's place in the God-follower's life?

 

#5 Magic.

Tonight, be sure to pray with your group, asking God to release you from fear and anxiety. 18% of the U.S. population suffers from a professionally diagnosed anxiety disorder. It's highly likely someone in your group suffers in this way. If so, make your group a safe place to talk. Remind members that anxiety disorders aren't simply a lack of faith. Rather, they often stem from brain chemistry and traumatic life events. Still, people who face anxiety disorders are helped by a robust and reliant trust in God.

If you have a member suffering with anxiety disorder, gather round, place your hands on them, and pray for their health and peace.

If you don't, just pray for your group--that fear and anxiety wouldn't overwhelm you and that you'd fully trust your powerful God.

In This Together, Part 4: When Grace Gets Married

#1 Watch or Listen To "When Grace Gets Married"

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?

 

#2 So. Much. Grace.

During the sermon we considered an "economy of scarcity" contrasted with an "economy of abundance."

  • What does a person with an economy of scarcity believe about how the world works? How do they live life?
  • How does a person with an economy of abundance believe and live differently?

Have you ever let an economy of scarcity boss you around? Why is it so hard to believe there's enough? Do you ever feel like maybe there isn't enough? Share.

How does an economy of abundance change the way you interact in marriage? If there's always enough (forgiveness, interest, kindness...), how will you treat your spouse differently?

 

#3 Repaid

As we read on Sunday, we're called by God to "repay evil with blessing."

How do we do that? Have you ever done something evil to your spouse and been repaid with blessing? Share.

Consider the following scenarios. What would it look like to repay evil with blessing in each one?

  • Your spouse says something hurtful about your physical appearance.
  • Your spouse mistreats your parents.
  • Your spouse eats the last slice of cake without even asking if you wanted it.
  • Your spouse is late for dinner and doesn't call to let you know.
  • Your spouse lies to you about work. You find out from a third party that he or she is probably going to get fired.
  • Your spouse has an affair.
  • Your spouse spends half your retirement on a boat without telling you.

 

#4 Confidence

Read Hebrews 4:15-16

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

What do we find when we approach the throne of God? What does God offer in our time of need?

With what posture should we approach the throne?

  • What reason do we have to be confident?

If we're called to be like God (and we are), how should we treat our spouse when he or she comes seeking grace? Can your spouse approach you in a time of need with confidence that he or she will find grace and mercy?

 

#5 Share.

One of the best things you could do this week would be to spend some time sharing. Just share a time when you received or offered grace in a relationship.

  • How did it make you feel?
  • How did it affect the relationship?
  • Would you do it again?

 

#6 Pray.

Grace isn't easy to offer. Let's pray this week that we'd be willing channels of God's grace.

You might decide to pray The Lord's Prayer together. Before you do, think about the words you'll say, particularly these:

"Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us."

How often do you forgive your spouse of the sins they sin against you? Do you want God to forgive you the way you forgive others?

  • Before you pray, you might want to give couples a minute to extend forgiveness to one another.

In This Together, part 3: It's Not Just About You

#1 Watch or Listen To "It's Not Just About You"

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?

 

#2 They're Watching...

Share a specific time you noticed something about your parents' relationship--good or not-so-good.

If you're married with kids, share a time you noticed that your kids were watching how you and your spouse interact with one another--good and/or not-so-good. 

  • How did/does knowing this make you feel? 
  • What's good about the way kids are shaped by their parents' marriage? 
  • How might those of us who are married be more intentional about leaning into this reality for our children's good? 

 

#3 'Til Kids Do Us Part

Justin mentioned that parents often elevate the importance of their devotion to their kids above the importance of their devotion to their spouse. 

  • Have you found this to be an easy mistake to make? 
  • If so, why do you think that's the case? 
  • If a couple did this (devoted themselves to their children, but not to one another) year after year, what are a few consequences they might experience? 
    • What are a few consequences their children might experience? 

For those who are married, what can you do to guard against this tendency? If you're already doing something, share that with the group.

 

#4 Q&A

If your group has singles and married couples, you might consider taking some time this week or next to allow the singles an "ask us anything" time with those who are married. Get vulnerable and share some wisdom. 

  • You might also consider doing the same thing with younger couples asking questions to an older couple in the group. 

 

#5 Second Chance

If you didn't meet last week and missed this video, consider watching it together this week.  (http://vimeo.com/youandmeforever/httpvimeocom3marriages). 


 

In This Together (Part 2): We Work

#1 Watch or Listen To "We Work"

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?

 

#2 You Have To See This

This week we're encouraging every small group to watch this video together (http://vimeo.com/youandmeforever/httpvimeocom3marriages). 

 

 

Watch and then answer these questions:

  • How did this video make you feel?
  • Have you ever known a couple like this (if conversation will come more naturally, exclude present company)? Share.
  • Is this idea of marriage as a partnership in living out the mission of Christ something you've thought about before or is it new information? Did you begin your marriage (if you're married) with this in mind?
  • What questions do you have about what it would look like to put this into practice?

Now consider the video and sermon in tandem. Is this principle true? Are we bound to one another in service to God?

  • If you think so, provide an example either from your own marriage or one you've witnessed.

Is marriage primarily for our benefit? Or for God's glory? Explain your answer.

 

#3 Plans

This week, have married small group members go home and discuss how to put this into practice in their relationship. Answer the question "What is our life together about?" alongside the questions "What do we want our life together to be about?" Make goals.

Next week, have each couple share one step they're making toward a more God-serving posture in their marriage.

For those who aren't married (and want to be one day), answer the following question and bring your response next week:

  • How does the goal of an actively God-serving marriage affect who and how I date?

Singles who intend to stay single get a free homework pass. :)

 

 

In This Together (Part 1): 1>2

#1 Watch or Listen To "1>2"

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?

 

#2 Eye Witness

Share a time you’ve seen a couple act as “one flesh”--a connected, interdependent, collaborative unit, rather than two people with their own competing agendas.  [Leaders, you may want to choose one ahead of time and plan to go first to give the folks in your group a minute to think.]

 

#3 From ME to WE

As a spouse, what’s one area in which you struggle with a ME mentality? (If you’re single, answer this question through the lens of a close friendship.)
    -What’s one thing you can do develop a more collaborative approach in that area? 

 

#4 Say It Like You Mean It

Schedule a time this week when you’ll take a moment to tell your spouse (or a friend, if you’re single), “We’re in this together.” 
    -Make it small or grand, simple or flashy. 

 

#5 Invite God

Take a few minutes to stand in a circle and pray for one another’s marriages. Thank God for what’s good in each marriage and ask Him to help with what’s difficult. These prayers can be customized according to specific requests from each couple, but they don’t have to be. 

If you have single people in your group, and they plan to get married, pray for their future marriage. If they don’t plan to get married, pray for God to use their singleness in powerful ways for his glory. 

The Secret To Depending On God

#1 Watch or Listen To "The Secret To Depending On God."

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?

 

#2 The Secret's Out

What does it mean for a person to be "dependent"? What about "independent"? Which one are Christians supposed to be?

Is being dependent active or passive? Explain.

On Sunday we said the secret to depending on God is twofold:

1. Talk to Him.

2. Walk with Him.

  • Why is prayer so important as we try to depend on God?
  • What does prayer "accomplish"?
  • What happens when we walk in the ways God's commanded? What happens when we don't?

Read I Peter 3:12...

"For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

  • According to this passage, how do prayer and walking with God relate to one another?
  • If you have one and not the other, what will be the outcome?

 

#3 Cross Already

Often, when people talk about depending on God they mean passively waiting for God to act.

Read Exodus 14:13-16. What does God to say to the waiting Israelites?

Have you ever been guilty of using "waiting on God" as an excuse not to do the work God's already laid out for you to do? Share.

 

#4 Make A Dependency Plan

Do you need to depend on God for something right now?

Make a list of personal requests, ways you need God to show up and work in your life or in the life of our church. Then, do two things:

1. Let's pray. Ask God to do the things only He can do. Pray for each request.

2. As you consider what it is you want God to do, determine what it is God's expecting you to do. Pick one way you'll be more faithful in walking with God and ask your small group to hold you accountable.

 

#5 Dependable

It's been said, "The more we depend on God, the more dependable we find Him to be."

  • What does that mean exactly?
  • Have you found it to be true?

 

#6 For Encouragement

Check out the group Quiet Storm and their rendition of the song "I Can Depend On God"

 

We Are Because I Am (Part 2): There's No 'They' In Team

#1 Watch or Listen to "We Are Because I Am (Part 2): There's No 'They' In Team"

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?

 

#2 Here For You

Consider the following quote alongside Jesus' words in Mark 2:16-17.

"We somehow think that the church is here for us, we forget that we are the church and we are here for the world." -Erwin McManus

When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Do you ever feel like the church exists for you? Does it? (This is a real question. Be willing to consider multiple layers of truth.)

How do your expectations of "the church" shape the way you interact within it/participate in it? You might make a list of your expectations and then consider how those expectations might be sabotaging your "church experience."

On Sunday Justin said sometimes we can mistakenly feel as though “the church” exists entirely apart from us.

Have you ever found yourself thinking that way? Have you ever stood on the outside critiquing the church instead of pitching in to make a difference?  Share.

  • Why is it so easy to do that?
  • What might help us and/or others have a more collaborative attitude?

 

#3 What Do You Want?

Fill in the blank in the following sentence as many times as you can:

I want to be a part of a church that ____________________________.

Now brainstorm a list of things you can do to BE that church.

 

#4 Look Out

Read Philippians 2:3-4

"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others."

How do we do this in church? What does it look like to "value others above yourselves" or "not look to your own interests"?

 

 

We Are Because I Am (Part 1): Where We're Headed

#1 Watch or Listen to "We Are Because I Am" (Part 1): Where We're Headed

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?

 

#2 What It Takes To Build A Wall

In this week's message, we read about how the formerly-exiled Jews rebuilt the rundown and languishing city of Jerusalem. Under Nehemiah’s leadership, the people finally came together and completed Jerusalem’s wall in an impressive 52 days (Nehemiah 6:15).

What does it take to do that kind of work in a group? What attitudes, behaviors, virtues, postures etc. would they have needed?

What kind of person collaborates and partners well?

  • Make a list of characteristics.
  • Do you struggle with any of the attitudes/postures on the list? Discuss how to grow in your ability to partner. 

Take a look at our church. Where do you see good work happening as a result of collaboration and connection?

 

#3 Built Up

Read Ephesians 4:7-16

Why did God give His people different gifts and roles? What's His plan?

How will we attain to the "whole measure of the fullness of Christ?"

 

#4 Looking Back

Go around the circle and encourage each member to share one good, powerful, transformative or faith-deepening moment they experienced in the context of this church in 2014.

  • If you're struggling you might fill in the blank: This year at Round Rock I saw God in _________.

 

#5 Not It

On Sunday Justin said sometimes we can mistakenly feel as though “the church” exists entirely apart from us.

Have you ever found yourself thinking that way? Have you ever stood on the outside critiquing the church instead of pitching in to make a difference?  Share.

  • Why is it so easy to do that?
  • What might help us and/or others have a more collaborative attitude?

As you discuss the importance of "being the church," resolve as a small group to live out our mission as a church in two specific ways in 2015. Make plans.