24 Feb Discussion Guide: The Story of the Bible Week 3
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: Electric Pulse
This game is all about unity and paying attention.
- A coin
How to Play:
- Form two teams using whatever method you prefer. Have the two teams form lines facing each other.
- Instruct the teams to hold hands forming two long human chains.
- A referee stands at the other end of the lines.
- Tell everyone in the lines to close their eyes and look downward.
- The referee then flips a coin and quietly shows it to the first players on each team.
- If the coin is heads, the two people at the front of the lines squeeze the hand of the next person in line as quickly as possible.
- Each person, whose hand is squeezed, squeezes the person’s hand next to him or her.
- The goal is to be the team with the “electric pulse” passing all away along the line first.
- When the last person’s hand is squeezed they yell out, “Heads.” The team that does so first wins a point.
- If the first person in line accidentally squeezes the next person’s hand when the coin lands on tails, he/she cannot say anything. If the “pulse” makes it way to the end and the last person yells out, “Heads” then that person loses a point. The first team to 10 points wins.
Community Groups Vision
If you have time and feel this would help the new people in your community group better understand what you are trying to accomplish as a group then take 2 minutes to show this video.
This week we continue our series The Story of the Bible. Many of us may know some Bible stories, but we may not actually know the story of the Bible. Over the next couple of months, we will be walking through the overarching story of Scripture by looking at the 9 main acts of the story: Creation, Catastrophe, Calling, Covenant, Crown, Corruption, Captivity, Christ, Cross, Church, and Consummation. Our goal is to come away with a better understanding what the Bible, and history, are really all about, and the impact that has on our lives as a people.
What is the greatest thing someone has ever done for you, and how did that make you feel?
“Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great so that you will be a blessing. 3I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you, all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” 4So Abram went, as the Lord had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.”
Put yourself in Abraham’s shoes. What thoughts would be going through your mind? What emotions would you be feeling? Why?
What kind of faith would you have to have to do what Abraham did?
And yet, we see Abraham do all sorts of stupid things over the next few chapters. What does that tell us about him? What does that tell us about God?
When we look at Abraham we can learn a lot about the kind of faith it takes to trust God. When called to step away from everything Abraham knew, all that was comfortable and familiar and predictable, the relationships he found his security in, Abraham made the choice to go. He had no idea what it was going to look like or where this Yahweh was going to take him, but something inside of him stared all of those circumstances in the face and said, “I trust God knows what he’s doing.” That is the kind of faith required to follow God into the unknown. It is not just a faith that believes God can make it all ok, but a faith that says even if God doesn’t make it all ok I trust He knows what He’s doing. And here’s the thing with that kind of faith, as we see in Abraham’s story following this call…that faith ebbs and flows sometimes. Abraham trusted God enough to walk away from his home, but then doubted God’s ability to protect him from Pharaoh. He trusted that God would give them a child, but then doubted God’s provision when he took Hagar into his tent.
I think we have to recognize that just because we have the faith to trust God in one area doesn’t mean we will not struggle to trust Him in another area. And, we have to recognize, as Abraham did, that even when our faith wavers God continues to keep His promises and do what He said He was going to do, not because of our ability to be good enough but because of His desire to bring glory to His name. God’s faithfulness has little to do with our faith, and yet it is our ability to trust God’s goodness despite our circumstances that enable us to truly appreciate how faithful He is.
Trust in the Lord, and do good;
dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
4 Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him, and he will act.
What does Scripture mean by, “delight yourself in the Lord?”
What does Scripture mean by, “He will give you the desires of our heart?”
What would you say is God’s ultimate goal in making and keeping His promises?
“All God’s giants have been weak men and women who have gotten hold of God’s faithfulness.”
How does Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection point us to God’s faithfulness even when it may feel like He’s forgotten His promises to us on a personal level?
Why is it easy to feel unseen or overlooked by God when we see Him answering other’s prayers but not ours?
What does it take for us to be able to rejoice with others when their prayers are answered even if ours have not been answered yet?
When we look at Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection and understand that it not only provides us with the forgiveness of our sins but simultaneously reconciles us back to the heart of God and into His unconditional love then we are reminded that when we were at our worst God gave us His best. As Paul says in Romans 5:8, “For God demonstrates His love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” This is Paul’s explanation as to why what he said in verses 1-5 make sense.
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Paul is telling us that because we have been justified by faith, because we have access to God’s grace, because we have peace with God, we can rejoice when things don’t go our way because we have the guarantee that whatever we are going through is not punishment handed down by a wrathful God, but must be loving correction or development from a loving Father. Our punishment was already handed down to Jesus, so then we have the promise that our suffering, or the fact that our prayers are not being answered the way we thought they would be, is not the result of an angry God but is the leading of a good and sovereign Father. For God demonstrates His love in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.
So, when we look to the Gospel we know that if God was faithful in our greatest need of reconciliation then we can know He will be faithful in everything else.
What is something you’ve been trusting God for that we can pray about tonight?