02 Dec Discussion Guide: The Arrival Week 1
One of the things we value within community is fun. In the midst of all the pressures life throws at us, it is our ability to laugh, play and celebrate together that reminds us we serve a good, loving, and resurrected Lord who stands above it all. So, we want to take the first few minutes of our time together to play, have fun, and celebrate the fact that we belong to Jesus.
Today’s Ice Breaker: Name That Christmas Tune
To play Name That Christmas Tune you will divide the group into two teams. Have the teams sit together on opposite sides of the room so you can tell the teams apart. You will do 8 rounds and the team with the most points at the end is the winner. If the game is tied after 8 rounds you can have a sudden death round to determine the winner.
During each round you will play a Christmas song from your phone, tablet or computer (links below). It can be a well known Christmas song, or a not so well known Christmas song. Whichever team recognizes the song first will indicate they are ready to make a guess by raising a hand. That team has 5 seconds to give the correct title of the song. If they are unable to give the correct title then the other team gets to continue listening to the song until they are ready to make their guess. Whichever team gets it correct first gains a point. If neither team guesses correctly then no point will be rewarded.
You can use these YouTube links for the songs you want to use, or if you have a Spotify, Pandora, or other music streaming service you are free to choose your own songs.
What You Will Need:
- Phone, tablet, or computer
- Speaker (or just use the built in speaker on your device)
- Paper to keep track of score
For centuries, Christians have referred to the Christmas season as Advent, a word that means the coming of, or the arrival. It is the Christian belief that what we celebrate during this time of year isn’t just a thought or a feeling, or even just the exchanging of gifts, but that we celebrate the news that something has arrived, something new has come into our world. And, that new thing is in fact a Person who, having arrived, changes everything. Today we will begin to walk through the implications of Christ coming in the flesh to transform our lives and our world.
What does Christmas mean to you? Why?
1 John 1:1-4
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— 2the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— 3that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.
What is John saying is the basis for his faith in Jesus as God come in the flesh?
What “proof” would you offer someone of your faith and the power of the gospel of Christ to redeem and transform our world? (Not what you have “read” or seen “written” but what has “happened” to you).
How might faith in Jesus based on a personal encounter with Him provide a more “complete joy” than faith simply based on tradition or say-so?
1 Juan 1:1-4
Lo que existía desde el principio, lo que hemos oído, lo que hemos visto con nuestros propios ojos, lo que hemos contemplado y lo que han tocado nuestras manos, esto escribimos acerca del Verbo de vida. 2Y la Vida (Cristo) se manifestó. Nosotros la hemos visto, y damos testimonio y les anunciamos a ustedes la vida eterna que estaba con el Padre y se manifestó a nosotros. 3Lo que hemos visto y oído les proclamamos también a ustedes, para que también ustedes tengan comunión con nosotros. En verdad nuestra comunión es con el Padre y con Su Hijo Jesucristo. 4Les escribimos estas cosas para que nuestro gozo sea completo.
And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. 11 And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.
How did personal encounters with Christ impact the original Apostles and the early church?
Why is our testimony regarding the gospel at work in our own lives so incredibly powerful?
Is it possible for people to do ‘Christian’ stuff without truly knowing/experiencing Christ Himself?
How can we keep from being that kind of “Christian” ourselves?
Entonces oí una gran voz en el cielo, que decía: “Ahora ha venido la salvación, el poder y el reino de nuestro Dios y la autoridad de Su Cristo (el Mesías), porque el acusador de nuestros hermanos, el que los acusa delante de nuestro Dios día y noche, ha sido arrojado. 11Ellos lo vencieron por medio de la sangre del Cordero y por la palabra del testimonio de ellos, y no amaron sus vidas, llegando hasta sufrir la muerte.
Here are some additional quotes and thoughts from Oswald Chambers that might help as well:
“Today we have substituted doctrinal belief for personal belief, and that is why so many people are devoted to causes and so few are devoted to Jesus Christ. People do not really want to be devoted to Jesus, but only to the cause He started. Jesus Christ is deeply offensive to the educated minds of today, to those who only want Him to be their Friend, and who are unwilling to accept Him in any other way. Our Lord’s primary obedience was to the will of His Father, not to the needs of people— the saving of people was the natural outcome of His obedience to the Father. If I am devoted solely to the cause of humanity, I will soon be exhausted and come to the point where my love will waver and stumble. But if I love Jesus Christ personally and passionately, I can serve humanity, even though people may treat me like a “doormat.” The secret of a disciple’s life is devotion to Jesus Christ, and the characteristic of that life is its seeming insignificance and its meekness. Yet it is like a grain of wheat that “falls into the ground and dies”— it will spring up and change the entire landscape (John 12:24).” Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest
“Our calling is not primarily to be holy men and women, but to be proclaimers of the Gospel of God. The one thing that is all important is that the Gospel of God should be realized as the abiding Reality. Reality is not human goodness, nor holiness, nor heaven, nor hell, but Redemption; and the need to perceive this is the most vital need of the Christian worker to-day. As workers we have to get used to the revelation that Redemption is the only Reality. Personal holiness is an effect, not a cause, and if we place our faith in human goodness, in the effect of Redemption, we shall go under when the test comes.
Paul did not say he separated himself, but — “when it pleased God who separated me….” Paul had not a hypersensitive interest in his own character. As long as our eyes are upon our own personal whiteness we shall never get near the reality of Redemption. Workers break down because their desire is for their own whiteness, and not for God. “Don’t ask me to come into contact with the rugged reality of Redemption on behalf of the filth of human life as it is; what I want is anything God can do for me to make me more desirable in my own eyes.” To talk in that way is a sign that the reality of the Gospel of God has not begun to touch me; there is no reckless abandon to God. God cannot deliver me while my interest is merely in my own character. Paul is unconscious of himself, he is recklessly abandoned, separated by God for one purpose — to proclaim the Gospel of God (cf. Romans 9:3).” Oswald Chamber, My Utmost for His Highest.
If experiencing Jesus first-hand is what transforms people’s lives, then what can we do as a group to help others have that experience?