Welcome to the last week of our first session! It's been an incredible kickoff to our year of Mission Groups! Here's a quick look at what's coming up on our schedule:
Week of October 25: break!
November 1: GROUPLINK!
Week of November 1: break!
Week of November 8: 5-week session begins!
MISSION WELCOME LUNCH
:: Sunday, October 25 at 12:45 PM
This is an important first or next step for anyone at Mission who hasn't attended before! It would be a great idea to make an official invite to your group and even offer to attend with them if you can! We'd be glad to have leaders there to help make people feel comfortable and welcomed (even if you've been before!). Lunch and child care are provided.
6:00 PM SUNDAY SERVICE
:: Starting Sunday, October 25
Mission's first ever Sunday night service begins next week. Invite your friends as we make more seats for more people to find and follow Christ. Full Mission Kids experience is provided, and Mission Students will continue to meet at 6pm.
SPARK: IGNITING SOMETHING REAL
:: Monday, November 2 from 7:00-8:30 PM
Don't miss this women-only event at Mission, filled with worship, community, and inspiration! This would be a great way to spend a night together with the women in your group. And a great chance for the guys to do something else together!
:: Sunday, November 8 at Every Service
Child dedication is a chance for parents to express their desire and dedication to raise their child in such a way that he or she would grow up in a relationship with God. It is an opportunity for the family to commit to teaching and showing the child the love of God, and it’s a chance for our church to commit to supporting the family throughout the journey of raising their child!
Creating safe places is a huge part of our role as group leaders. But where does that lead? What's the payout? What happens next?
Leading with grace creates safety.
And safety starts a chain reaction all the way around back to grace. The Grace Wheel shows us a framework of the way that God often uses our circles to move people toward Him, and toward life change.
Keep on the watch for where your circle might be on The Grace Wheel. Knowing where you are means you know where you are headed next!
CLARIFY THE NEXT FEW WEEKS
Clarity leads to confidence and comfort! Take a minute to go over exactly how the next few weeks will work. It may go something like this...
- Yes, we are taking a break! No, we are not breaking up...
- Yes, we start again the week of November 8! No, we aren't banned from seeing each other until then...
- Yes, you can check out grouplink if you need or want to check out a new group! No, you are not getting kicked out of group or traded to another team...
We are a group of imperfect people pursuing a perfect God. We exist to help each other find and follow Christ. We passionately love Jesus, ruthlessly eliminate ego, courageously live in grace and truth, confidently know who we are in Christ, unconditionally trust God, intentionally live better stories, and selflessly extend compassion.
These are some things we want to be true of our group:
- We create a safe and honest environment, staying transparent and authentic.
- We keep it inside the circle. Confidentiality is necessary for a healthy group.
- We look together to the Bible for help and guidance, and keep out our own politics, sales, or agendas.
- We do not try to fix each other, preach sermons, or give unsolicited advice. We instead encourage, listen to, and celebrate each other.
- We handle conflict between us quickly and honestly by going to the person, owning our part, and practicing forgiveness.
- We respect each others’ time by starting and ending when we say we will.
- We trust that it is God’s role to change people, not ours.
- We believe that in Jesus Christ, there is hope for everyone.
Even when our boundaries are great, and we start learning how to stay away from bites, one things is certain: there is no such thing as a bite-proof life. But, we can have bite-proof souls.
Mike walked through the “How-To” of a bite-proof soul, and helped us see that it isn’t about changing the vampires around us: it’s about changing us. To love the people who suck the life out of us, bite-proof souls are a necessity. They give us the power to bless those who persecute us, live in harmony with each other, and repay evil with good. A bite-proof soul may not be easy to come by, but it’s worth the work.
*** Remember, the questions are guidelines! There is almost always going to be "too much" here to talk about... be comfortable with the questions beforehand to know how to use the questions to help guide where your group is going!
Mike said that we can’t live bite-proof lives - has that been true of your life? Have you ever tried to make your life bite-proof?
How often do you think about your soul. How would you describe what your soul is? What would a "bite-proof soul" look like in your life?
About 25 years after Jesus’ death and resurrection, the Apostle Paul wrote this letter to the church in Rome. The letter spends a long time explaining Jesus’ gospel of grace, and then shifts toward addressing the growing conflict between Jewish and non-Jewish Christians in the Roman church. At the time, Rome was very hostile toward the Jewish people, and following Christ offered a completely new and strange way of life for the Romans in the church.
Read Romans 12:14-21 together.
(14) Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. (15) Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. (16) Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
(17) Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. (18) If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. (19) Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. (20) On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
(21) Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Knowing the tense and challenging situation at hand, what do you think the churches in Rome thought of Paul’s direction about living in peace with everyone?
Some helpful notes about the times...
Empire-wide anti-semitism had just ended (legally at least...) several years before this, and the Jews were originally brought to Rome as slaves. The church was not immune to those feelings.
Some of the Jewish people were trying to impose Jewish law and tradition on the Roman Christians.
Culturally speaking, the Jewish Christians and Roman Christians were trying to live in harmony and meld two completely different cultural backgrounds.
Paul seems to explain the same idea in this passage in many different ways. Why do you think he felt it necessary to talk so thoroughly about what it means to live at peace with everyone?
Paul sets a pretty lofty goal with his words here; why would he set up a goal that was so hard (even impossible…) to live up to?
Mike talked through the different ways that we can have a bite-proof soul: drop the mask, know who has the control, know what fills me, and know who I am in Christ. Which one stood out the most to you?
Encourage more participation on this one by asking things like...
Which one do you need to work on?
Which have you never thought of before?
Which one have you experienced in a great way?
What would change about your everyday life (especially life with vampires…) right now if one of those four things started to truly change?
What about your mindset, attitude, or daily life needs to change so that your soul can be bite-proof?
You can pull this out of specific people by taking the one that stood out to them, and ask really simply: how can you move around your life, thoughts, or something to make that a reality?
One of the things Mike said would help our souls be bite-proof was “knowing what fills us”. Take some time this week to think through the things or experiences that make you feel alive, most connected to God, and/or most at peace. Write them down and start arranging your life around them! You can even share them with those closest to you, so they can know what keeps your soul bite-proof.
“You must arrange your days so that you are experiencing deep contentment, joy and confidence in your everyday life with God.” (John Ortberg)
I can’t have a bite-free life, but I can have a bite-free soul.
How to have a bite-proof soul...
DROP THE MASK
- John 5:6
When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”
KNOW WHO HAS THE CONTROL
- Steven Furtick
“If you will have a funeral for the expectations that others can never meet, God will give you a resurrection that will exceed every expectation you ever had”
- The peace I experience in my heart has very little to do with the inputs of others, and everything to do with the intimacy I experience with God.
- John 10:17-18, Jesus speaking
“The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”
KNOW WHAT FILLS ME
- We have to have enough people that irrigate that our life to offset the people that irritate our life.
KNOW WHO I AM IN CHRIST
- 1 John 3:1
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!
- Colossians 3:12
Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
- John 15:15, Jesus speaking
"I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you."
- Ephesians 2:10
For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
- 1 Peter 2:9
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.