13 Dec Discussion Guide: Jesus God With Us Week 2
Before We Get Started
For our discussion today we will be using the sermon series discussion guides. If you would like to follow along you can access this discussion guide on the website at mosaicchurchaustin.com and then select “community group resources” in the menu options.
Because the main goal of our time together is to establish relationships and learn how to walk with one another in all that God has called us to be and do, we’d like to begin by praying for one another. So, does anyone have anything you’d like us to pray for, or anything to share regarding how you’ve seen God moving in your life that we can celebrate together.
This Week’s Topic
Over the next three weeks we will be taking a look at the Christmas story, the narrative of the birth of Christ, and discussing the implications of what Jesus’ coming in the flesh has on our lives. We will be looking at how Jesus is with us to reign, to suffer, and to heal. When rightly understood, the reality of Christmas should shake us to the core and move us to worship God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to give ourselves to others the way Jesus gave Himself for us. Let us begin, as we seek to celebrate Jesus, God with us.
With us to suffer.
What has been the most impactful change 2020 has brought into your life thsi year?
“Now there was a day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, and there came a messenger to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them, and the Sabeans fell upon them and took them and struck down the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, “The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, “The Chaldeans formed three groups and made a raid on the camels and took them and struck down the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, and behold, a great wind came across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young people, and they are dead, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord .””
How do you think Job was feeling at this point in his life?
How does that feeling compare to how you’ve been feeling about your own life this year?
“Then Job answered the Lord and said: “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. ‘Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you make it known to me.’ I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.””
Though Job’s complaining and despair weren’t necessarily sinful, why do you think he felt the need to repent of it?
How can this kind of repentance guard our hearts from growing bitter or resentful?
Ultimately, where did Job find the comfort and encouragement he needed?
Where do you tend to seek the answers and encouragement you feel you need? Is it in knowing who God is, or in someone or some place else?
People are turning to all kinds of places for the encouragement and comfort they feel they need right now. People are turning to their favorite news station both for up-to-date information, as well as trying to figure out who is to blame for all the pressure and discomfort they are feeling. People turn to social media to share their opinions about what should be done in response to all the mess 2020 has brought us, as well as to gather support and allies around that opinion. People are turning to alcohol or drugs in an attempt to numb the pain. Some are turning to unhealthy and even sinful relationships to escape the pain they are feeling at home. But, regardless of all the different places people are turning to for answers and encouragement, the one common denominator to all of them is that all of avenues lead to you and your comfort being at the center of life. They all tell you that the most important question you can ask yourself right now is, “What am I lacking, and how do I go about getting what I feel I need?” The problem there, of course, is that question, and all of those avenues, ultimately lead to selfishness, bitterness and resentment.
The question we should be asking is, “What is God wanting to accomplish in, and through, me in the midst of what I am experiencing?” Now, that presupposes we trust God is good and loving, and that He has a good and loving purpose behind the pain and suffering we are experiencing. And, that is why repenting of our self-seeking resentment and pressing into who He is is the only thing that can carry us through this moment. The more we press into who God is, the more we come to understand that the answer to our problems is not the understand why we suffer, but to understand Who is with us in our suffering. When we remember God’s faithfulness, His lovingkindness, His sacrificial love, then the suffering we experience is redeemed, and becomes a window through which we get to see the heart of God and grow in intimacy with Him.
“And it was the third hour when they crucified him. And the inscription of the charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.” And with him they crucified two robbers, one on his right and one on his left. And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself, and come down from the cross!” So also the chief priests with the scribes mocked him to one another, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also reviled him. And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?””
How does seeing God’s heart in Jesus’ suffering on our behalf help us navigate through our difficult moments and come out better than we were before?
How might it empower you to forgive those people who have wronged you, or offended you this year?
How might this discussion change something about the way you typically approach and/or celebrate Christmas this year?