- Has there ever been a time in your life that a group of people you’re a part of has been completely in sync? i.e. family
We are a group of imperfect people pursuing a perfect God. We exist to help each other find and follow Christ. 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.
Jodi continued the Deep and Wide series by talking about the many reasons that the Church outlasted the Roman Empire (the ruling empire when the church began). The church has always been rooted in sending! As hard as it is to do, God invites us to lay down our own comforts to make a way for others to know the grace that has saved us.
We are coming up to the end of the first stretch of new groups meeting! Starting in April, it’s up to you and your group to create your group’s schedule. Discussion Guides are available every week, so have a conversation together! Most likely, people will want to continue meeting as you have, even if it means a week off here and there based on people’s schedules.
The biggest questions we should all be asking are simple ones:
- What do your people need?
- How can your group meet those needs?
- What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever had to let go of for a more important purpose?
Colossians 3:11-12 says, “In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.”
In the ancient world, the church’s unity was very clearly different than anything else in the world, and these leaders clearly disregarded the old ways of division and chose to be united in their love for Christ.
- What challenges do you think they had to navigate to humbly submit to God and each other?
- Why would God call people like Saul and Barnabas, with such different views and life experiences, to be on a mission together? What message does this type of unity for the sake of the greater mission of God send to the watching world?
Fighting for Unity
Remember what Jodi said about just how challenging these relationships would have been! To make this work, there would have been massive amounts of forgiveness, cultural differences, and national allegiances to work through! This was no small miracle! It took humility and submission to the mission of God above all else to make it happen!
If someone has had the opposite experience with a church and they choose to talk about it, listen well! The church isn’t infallible, so it’s very possible that someone has experienced exclusivity instead of radical inclusivity and unity. If that’s the case, try asking them a different question: what would have changed about that experience if you were met with unity and inclusivity? What would it have meant to you?
Acts 13:2 says, “While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”
- Prayer is meant to be a conversation with God, but can often feel like a one-sided conversation. Have you felt like you’ve received clear direction from God before? How did you respond?
HEARING GOD’S VOICE
God’s voice can be heard in many ways. It can be audible, like Moses’s burning bush, it can be a wisdom or knowledge that comes from within, but you know aren’t your own words, it can also be a dream or revelation. Most people have heard the Holy Spirit speak before, but don’t recognize it because they expect God’s voice to create sound--sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t. We can always hear His voice through reading his “word” - the bible. God always uses the body of Christ, His people, to speak and connect us together.
(1 Samuel 3:8, John 10:27, John 6:63, John 14:26. Acts 2:17, Joel 2:28)
Acts 13:3 says, “So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.”
- Submitting to God often means laying aside our own comfort so that the world might know the hope, grace and forgiveness of Jesus. Who has done that for you or someone you care about? What examples of this have you seen and what has been the effect?
JASON AND ERIN’S STORY
Show Jason and Erin’s video story to talk about the next questions!
- What stood out to you most from Jason and Erin’s story?
- Giving financially toward making a kingdom impact is a very personal journey for all of us. What has your journey been like in this area of your life?
- No matter where we are at, we all have a next step. What might be God asking you to do next; to move forward in both trust and sacrifice in this area of your life?
FELLOWSHIP OF THE UNASHAMED
Read this together before answering the following question.
I am part of the "Fellowship of the Unashamed”. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I won't look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still. My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is secure. I am finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, chintzy giving, and dwarfed goals.
I no longer need pre-eminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I now live by presence, lean by faith, love by patience, lift by prayer, and labor by power. My pace is set, my gait is fast, my goal is Heaven, my road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions few, my Guide reliable, my mission clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, deterred, lured away, turned back, diluted, or delayed.
I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.
I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I must go until Heaven returns, give until I drop, preach until all know, and work until He comes. And when He comes to get His own, He will have no problem recognizing me.
- What about this resonates with you most? What do you want to be true of your own life?
If you don’t necessarily resonate with this, what would have to change for this to be a reality? What stands in the way of you feeling this way about your faith?
- Next week is Commitment Sunday at Mission, where we’ll have an opportunity to turn in our commitment cards together. How are you feeling about Commitment Sunday? What do you need to pray about, think about, or ask questions about before next Sunday so you can be a part of the goal of 100% participation?
This will be an important moment for each of us individually, and also collectively as a church. As leaders, we lead the way for our people. That means spending some time this week honestly asking God how He wants you to participate in the Rooted Journey, and asking any questions that you have. Make that a priority this week!
READ. PRAY. DO.
- 2 Corinthians 5:11-21 using SOAP, an easy tool for engaging with the Bible!
(S)cripture: Read the passage highlight, underline and write down the phrases or sentences that stand out to you.
(O)bserve: Write down your observations or share them with someone else! It’d have to be life-changing or especially insightful.
(A)pply: How does the Scripture (or your observation) impact your everyday life?
(P)ray: Pray about what God might want to teach you through this Scripture, and ask for help applying it to your life.
- Jesus, Thank you for your church. Help me learn to link arms with the church family you’ve given me, through the good and the bad, and help me be more aware of the people you’ve placed in my life. Please give me eyes to see the next steps you are guiding me to, so I can be in unity with you and on mission alongside you.
- Look over your commitment card! The primary goal of the Rooted Journey is 100% participation, so make sure to spend some time this week intentionally looking at the commitment card and asking God how He is asking you to be a part of it.