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.
- What are you looking forward to the most as the holidays approach?
1. How would you summarize Part 4: "Walking on Water?"
2. What passages of Part 4 stuck out to you the most? Why do you think they had an impact on you?
3. Read Matthew 14:22-34, the story of Jesus and Peter walking on water:
“Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
In the chapter “Walking on Water”, Shauna shares that she always read this section of scripture as God admonishing Peter for lacking faith, but has recently seen it as a great rescue story. God rescues Peter first and then basically asks, “Hey, what happened back there?” She notes, “Sometimes we read the same passages all our lives without realizing we’ve rewritten them in our own images. How much more beautiful is our God when we free him from our own wounds and tired narratives.” Have you ever found yourself creating God in your own image? If so, how?
4. In the chapter “Baptism” Shauna poses a few questions: “What do you need to burn down in your life, to make space for a new way of living? What commitment, expectations, roles and structures seem immovable until you start to move them, and find that when you do, everything changes?” How would you answer her questions here?
5. In the chapter “Must Be Nice” Shauna notes, “Envy can be an extremely useful tool to demonstrate our desires, especially the ones we haven’t yet allowed ourselves to feel, and so I committed to learning from my jealousy toward her. I circled it, picked it up, turned it in my hand like a prism. 'What are you?' I asked. 'What do you have to teach me?’” If you could be brave enough to learn from your jealousy, what longing might it lead you to? How could you rearrange your life to have more of the things that you see in other people's lives?
6. On page 162, “Good Fruit” Shauna notes, “I gave myself away indiscriminately. Be careful how much of yourself you give away, even with the best of intentions. There are things you cannot get back, things that God has not asked you to sacrifice. And at the end of your life, I believe you will account for what you gave yourself to.” Take a moment to think about what you’re currently giving yourself to and how much of yourself you’re giving to it. Does it align with how you want to account for your life at the end of it?
Scripture for Reflection:
"So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God." Romans 14:12
End this week's gathering by getting into groups of three and sharing your answers to the last question if you haven't already. Pray for each other's week; that what we pour ourselves into would be a direct reflection of the account we want to give at the end of our lives.