Leader’s Guide to Growth Group Homework

For the week of May 13, 2018
(This guide is designed to give helpful hints in preparing & leading your group in discussion)

ANNOUNCEMENTS

 END OF QUARTER / FALL QUARTER PLANS:
Remind your group there are two more meetings left to complete the quarter. Begin to talk about plans for your group for the Fall. If you know of potential changes in leadership or hosting for the fall, please begin to process that with your group.

LEADERS NOTES

⇛ New Digital Feedback Forms Coming Next Week:
We tested this process with a number of groups at the end of the Winter Quarter and it worked great. Watch for an email at the end of next week to explain the process. We would like you to fill out the forms next week, and we’ll be sending you some reminders.  

QUICK REVIEW

Looking back at your notes from this week’s teaching, was there anything you heard for the first time or that caught your attention, challenged or confused you?

MY STORY

1. We’ve often heard that “faith is trusting God enough to do what he says.”  We all have had different experiences with trust and have certain levels of mistrust in different areas. Mark anything you would have trouble trusting below? 

We know this question is a little silly but remember a little levity can help balance the group and be a welcome break. We trust you as leaders to ask the questions that work and skip the questions that don’t.   

Parachute                Airplane                    Food truck food

Elevator                   Bungee cord             Cats/Dogs/Birds

Tap water                 Christmas treats from a neighbor

 

“Faith begins with understanding, which leads to conviction and completes itself in commitment.”- Tim Keller

 

2. Chris asked the question, “If this week you stopped acting out your faith, how would your life be different?” Was there anything that came to mind?

Beware! This question could spiral downward quickly. If the conversation seems to be glorifying or glamorizing unhealthy things (ex. I’d be partying so hard!), you may want to shift the conversation. 

Example Answers: Spend more money on things I want and no tithing. I’d watch different movies or TV shows. More me focused and less others focused. No thought towards forgiveness of others. Alcohol intake would go up.

Optional Deeper Question: Often times our ability to trust God can be influenced and impacted by our past experience trusting or mistrusting other people. Can you think of any past experiences with trust that have helped or hindered your ability to trust God?

Additional Question: The simple truth is our faith is either active or passive every single day. As you think through the ins and outs of a typical week, where do you see your faith most active in your life? Where is your faith the most passive?

How might the following verses help us daily to have a more active faith?

John 14:12, 15, 21, 23-24

12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.

15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”

23 Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father's who sent me.

DIGGING DEEPER

This week we heard our faith must be much more than just a belief or understanding of God, it must be an action. As we look at the life of Jesus and watch the calls he made to the crowds following him, we get a better understanding of what faith in action looks like. The next four passages give examples of Jesus calling his followers to action. Read through each and answer the questions below.

*Group Suggestion: For a different approach, try breaking into groups of three or four, each discussing a passage and then discussing that passage with the whole group.

Splitting up can be done at your discretion.

 

Matthew 16:24-25 Read verses 21-23 for more context.

21 From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 22 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” 23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

 

  • In one or two sentences, how would you sum this verse up in your own words?

Faith in action means I can’t make things about me. I must be willing to follow God no matter what the cost. Absolute surrender. In some cases, this could mean being willing to die for our faith.

“Cross bearing does not refer to some irritation in life. Rather, it involves the way of the cross. The picture is of a man, already condemned, required to carry his cross on the way to the place of execution, as Jesus was required to do.” (Wessel, commentary on Mark)

  • How might this verse play out in a person’s life?
    They make decisions based on obedience not preference. Complete surrender to God’s will and God’s word.
  • What keeps you from doing this?
    Selfishness, fear, pride.
  • Can you think of any times you’ve done this well?
    Not everyone may have an answer here.

Additional Verse: Luke 14:27 - 27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.

Additional Question: What does is look like for you to deny yourself? What things come to mind? 

 

Mark 9:35 For additional context read Mark 9:30-34.

30 They went on from there and passed through Galilee. And he did not want anyone to know, 31 for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him. And when he is killed, after three days he will rise.” 32 But they did not understand the saying, and were afraid to ask him.

33 And they came to Capernaum. And when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?” 34 But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. 35 And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”

 

  • In one or two sentences, how would you sum this verse up in your own words?

Faith in action means serving others first.

  • How might this verse play out in a person’s life?

A parent may wait until everyone else is eating before serving himself or herself. Putting a spouse’s needs before their own. It could be serving a meal at a homeless shelter. Giving away money even when things are tight.

  • What keeps you from doing this? 

We want and expect to be served. We tend to prioritize our needs over others.   

 

  • Can you think of any times you’ve done this well?

Additional Verse: Philippians 2:3-4 this is a must read! It really ties things together.

Philippians 2:3-4 - Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

 

Matthew 18:2-3

2 And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them 3 and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Children had very little value when this was written so to be compared to a child was a humbling thought. It challenged the very thing they wanted which was to be great in God’s kingdom.   

  • In one or two sentences, how would you sum this verse up in your own words
    Active faith means showing humility, which is seen as greatness in God’s kingdom.  

True humility is not thinking less of yourself it’s thinking of yourself less.”
 – Rick Warren

  • How might this verse play out in a person’s life?
    Giving others credit and not seeking our own credit. Platforming others. Intentionally affirming others. 
  • What keeps you from doing this?
    Wanting credit or glory.

Additional Verse: Philippians 2:8 - And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

  • Can you think of any times you’ve done this well?

Additional Questions: 
How would you define humility? 

How would you differentiate between a humble person and a not so humble person? 

 

Luke 18:9-14

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

 

  • In one or two sentences, how would you sum this verse up in your own words?

Don’t put down others to elevate yourself. Be humble.

  • How might this verse play out in a person’s life?
    Gossip/Slander of a coworker or a family member. Being critical of others.
  • What keeps you from doing this?
    It can feel good to make others small so we feel big.  
  • Can you think of any times you’ve done this well?

Additional Questions:

In what areas of your life are you most prone to put others down? 

Can you think of any times you were tempted to brag about your service, sacrifice, or submission?

TAKING IT HOME

In light of this week’s teaching and study on faith in action, is there anything Jesus is calling you to start, stop or keep doing?