Welcome to Week 4 of Session 2!
Mission could not function without the HUNDREDS of incredible volunteers that give of their time, energy, and gifts. And you all are prime examples of that! I am so thankful for each of you, and how you arrange your lives so that you can serve the people at Mission, helping them connect relationally and grow spiritually. So this celebration is for you!
RSVP by December 1 from your original invite email, or by logging into Church Community Builder (CCB) through the link below.
NEW SERIES: "HISTORY"
Here we are at the end of 2015. 2015 years from the birth of a person named Jesus. You can’t turn on your iphone, boot up a computer, open a newspaper or look at a calendar without being reminded of the significance of this man’s life. His very birth divided time. So, who was this man? Over the next couple of weeks at Mission, as we prepare to celebrate His birth, we are going to take a look at history. We will discover together how history truly is His story. The greatest story ever told about the greatest person who ever lived.
AS GROUP LEADERS, WE ARE UNIQUELY POSITIONED TO HELP CONNECT PEOPLE TO THEIR NEXT STEPS.
One way that we do that is by knowing our people well enough that we can encourage them toward their next step spiritually. Asking questions and sharing your story is how you will really get to know where people are spiritually.
Some people in your group may still be on the fence about following Christ, and some may have been walking with Him for their entire lives.
No matter where we are, we all have a next step.
Those steps may include things like...
- inviting friends and family
- giving generously (to Mission or to others)
- volunteering (at Mission or in the community)
- confessing old patterns of sin
- practicing spiritual disciplines
And it's not just doing these things - it's about moving toward them our whole lives. We are works in progress, and God graciously invites us deeper into life with Him in areas like these, and others. Help your people see the next steps that God might be moving them toward in their own lives!
DRAWING OUT PEOPLE WITH MORE UNDER THE SURFACE
For more reasons than we can count, our group members don't share everything. Much of the time, we have share everything, and that's okay! But when you know that someone has a lot more under the surface, you can try a few things that could help draw it out!
- MAKE A MENTAL NOTE
Usually the first step is to just notice and remember. Remember the context in which you notice that someone might have more to share, or might be struggling with something in particular. Remember, caring for people always starts with noticing them!
- TALK OUTSIDE OF GROUP
A great way to bring your relationship with someone out of the group circle is to ask in a quiet moment about what you saw in group. Ask if he/she wants to grab coffee, come over and sit by a fire pit, have lunch, or whatever it is that might create an even safer place to talk more or share what's on their mind.
- SMALLER GROUPS OR PAIRS
We call them small groups, but not everyone is always comfortable sharing everything with a group of more than 6-8 people. And that's okay! When you know that the subject matter or life experiences of the people in your group might call for it, try breaking into smaller groups or 3-4 for a question or two, or even pairs. Or, try breaking into guys and girls for a period of the night.
- BE INTENTIONAL ABOUT HOW YOU DO PRAYER REQUESTS
This is when the idea of topical prayer requests comes in handy! Feel out how your group is responding to the topic of the night, and think about using prayer requests as a way to help people express their struggles or obstacles. Sometimes that's easier because everyone is asking for prayer around the same thing!
Throughout this series we are taking a look at some of the people Jesus met with over a meal and some of the conversations that took place while they ate together.
Our final table of the series is at the house of a Jewish Pharisee, one of the religious "elite". Jesus is invited as a guest of honor, but uses the party to redefine the ideas of honor, humility, and even how to throw a great party. Jesus' view of a great party helps even us live lives that celebrate the overlooked, paint a better picture of God's kingdom on earth.
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.
Remember, the questions are a guide for a well-facilitated conversation! Don't feel the need to get through every one, go in perfect order, or mark off any checkboxes. Know the questions well enough beforehand so you can track with your group and the conversation you are having, and follow the path that best suits your people!
- In your opinion, what makes a party great? When you throw a party, a get-together, a dinner... what are you usually trying to accomplish?
This week's table story is recorded by Luke in his account of Jesus' life and ministry. Luke's gospel focuses on the idea that God's salvation is open to all people; Jew or gentile, man or woman, rich or poor, etc.
- What are the core human issues that Jesus is addressing with his story and instruction?
- How do you think Jesus' words here sit with the other guests, especially the host?
- Jesus says it will go well for us if we choose to humble ourselves and "take the lowest place" at the table; but, we don't always do that. In what circles, situations, or relationships do tend to exalt instead of humble yourself?
- What differences do you experience between the times you exalt yourself and the times you humble yourself?
- How does Jesus' direction on who we invite to our tables align with his instruction on humbling ourselves? What makes it hard for us to throw parties like Jesus talks about?
- Mike said that Jesus challenges us to...
- live lives that lead to “Why…?",
- be extravagantly generous,
- be completely secure, and
- paint a better picture by bringing “up there, down here”.
Which have you seen in your own life, and what impact has it had on the people around you?
- Of those challenges, which do you want to be more true of your life? What simple and concrete steps can you take to make that more of a reality?
- Mike finished his message by talking about A Night to Remember, a free prom organized by Mission honoring students with special needs. Have you ever been a part of something that honored the overlooked and under-appreciated in such an extravagant way? Sponsoring a guest or signing up for updates about volunteer registration are great steps toward being a part of a party that really does look a lot the one Jesus was talking about.
First Class VS Coach
“We naturally prefer those who possess what we esteem -
money, social status, power, talent, spirituality, intelligence, celebrity, style, or beauty -
and we devalue those who don’t.”
– Beth Moore
(1) One Sabbath, when Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee, he was being carefully watched. (2) There in front of him was a man suffering from abnormal swelling of his body. (3) Jesus asked the Pharisees and experts in the law, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?” (4) But they remained silent. So taking hold of the man, he healed him and sent him on his way.
(5) Then he asked them, “If one of you has a child or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately pull it out?” (6) And they had nothing to say.
(7) When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable: (8) “When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. (9) If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. (10) But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests. (11) For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
(12) Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. (13) But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, (14) and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
KINDS OF PARTIES WE THROW
- No Strings Attached
- Overlooked & Under-Appreciated
JESUS' CHALLENGE OF WHO WE INVITE TO OUR TABLES
- Live a life that leads to “Why…?”
- Is anyone asking?
- Be Extravagantly Generous
- Our church ought to be the most generous place on the planet.
- Extravagant generosity in a stingy world stands out!
- Be Completely Secure
- As long as I'm insecure and "me" focused, I can never see you or others!
- Confident security in Christ in an insecure world stands out!
- Paint a Better Picture by Bringing “Up There, Down Here”
- A better picture in a messy world stands out!