We read this statement together before every group discussion! It helps transition the group to discussion time, it reaffirms our highest values, and sets a tone of trust, consistency, and safety for everyone in the group.
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.
Spend some time sharing about your week and how you're doing! Connecting relationally sets the stage for a great discussion.
Jesus said and did lots of things that seem backwards... More is Less, Others First, Dying is Living, Giving is Gaining, Not about Me, Inclusive Love, King on a Cross. Do any of these take you by surprise?
- Not many backwards things are good... buffering on Netflix, parents chaperoning your school dance, weak coffee... but Jesus loves making bad things into good things. What has God flipped backwards for you? What bad things has He made good in your life?
- On the cross, Jesus screamed, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?!" Jen said that if you don't have faith, you wouldn't need faith. What does Jesus' expression of doubt on the cross tell us about what God is like?
- What doubts have you either wrestled with or are still working through? Do you move away from God when you have doubts? How can you actually move toward God with your doubts like Jesus did?
- On the cross, when Jesus said "It is finished", he declared that our sin and shame was paid for because of His death in our place. Jen said that we often try to hold onto what God says is done - whether it's a habit, guilt, an image of ourselves... What do you hold onto? How does it affect your view of yourself or God?
- In Luke 23:46, the last thing Jesus says on the cross is, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” In the middle of his worst moment, Jesus moves toward God with complete trust. What parts of your life or spirit do you have trouble committing to God?
- Write down some of those things that you hold onto, or the things in your past that still threaten to control you. Take Jesus' words, "It is finished", seriously... and get rid of that paper! Burn it, throw it in the trash, bury it... whatever it takes to signify that it really is done!
- Read through the crucifixion story in its entirety in preparation for Easter Sunday!
- The book of Matthew, chapters 26 and 27
- The book of Mark, chapters 14 and 15
- The book of Luke, chapters 22 and 23
- The book of John, chapters 18 and 19
The upside-down things Jesus said:
M = More is Less
O = Others First
D = Dying is Living
G = Giving is Gaining
N = Not about Me
I = Inclusive Love
K = King on a Cross
MODGNIK = backwards KINGDOM of God
John Howard Yoder
“Here at the cross is the man who loves his enemies, the man whose righteousness is greater than that of the Pharisees, who being rich became poor, who gives his robe to those who took his cloak, who prays for those who despitefully use him. The cross is not a detour or a hurdle in the way to the kingdom, nor is it even the way to the kingdom; it IS the kingdom come.”
Matthew 27:25 NIV
“Let his blood be on us and on our children!”
Matthew 27:27-31 NLT
Some of the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into their headquarters and called out the entire regiment. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him. They wove thorn branches into a crown and put it on his head, and they placed a reed stick in his right hand as a scepter. Then they knelt before him in mockery and taunted, “Hail! King of the Jews!” And they spit on him and grabbed the stick and struck him on the head with it. When they were finally tired of mocking him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him again. Then they led him away to be crucified.
Luke 23:34 NIV
Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
Luke 23:43 NIV
Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
John 19:26 NIV
“Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.”
Mark 15:34 NIV
Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).
John 19:30 NIV
When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.”
Mark 15:37-38 NIV
With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last. The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.
Why is Good Friday Good?
Because it means there is...
Hope (for everyone!)
Luke 23:46 NIV
“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.