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.
Faith is described as being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we cannot see. It's not always easy to live by faith. Many of us would rather have control, know the outcomes, stay in our comfort zone, wait for guarantees or need to see it to believe it. Living by faith requires stepping out into the unknown, the unseen; trusting that God knows and sees the bigger picture. It's risky business, but it's also the great adventure that God invites us all into.
Rusty George told Noah's story, one that is full of two things that are hard for all of us: obedience and waiting. Noah lived in limbo for decades, waiting for God to fulfill the promises he made. But Noah, in faith, patiently obeyed day after day, always moving steadily toward the future that God promised him. Rusty said that Noah's story teaches us that "WHEN we trust God… THEN God proves he’s trustworthy."
- When you put gas in the car, then it runs; when you're kind to others, then they're kind to you; when you leave your parents' home... then you get replaced. Rusty said that we learn all throughout our lives that we live in a "when, then" kind of world. What's your funniest "when, then" principle you've learned the funny or hard way?
- Throughout your life, when have you been in limbo? When have you been stuck between the "now" and the "not yet"?
- Rusty said that we have to believe God, but sometimes it's hard enough to just believe IN God in the first place. Throughout your life or right now, where have you had hang ups or challenges believing in God?
- Rusty said that the two main types of faith can be boiled down to a childlike big leap faith (like David and Goliath, attacking a giant with a slingshot) and a steady, day after day faith (like Noah, building an ark for decades). What's harder for you?
- One thing we learned from Noah is that we must ignore detractors and distractions - people, ideas, and things that draw you away from what is right, and what God wants you to do. What detractors in your life are the hardest to ignore? What have detractors stopped you from in the past?
- Rusty said that Noah taught us to maximize opportunities when they come, because they don't always last.
- What opportunities have you missed?
- What opportunities are around you right now?
- What's the cost of missing opportunities that are around right now? What will you miss if they go away?
- Where are you waiting for God to be trustworthy, or to show up in a profound way in your life? Rusty said that WHEN we trust God, THEN God proves himself trustworthy. Where steps of trust or action might you need to take so that God can prove himself trustworthy in the midst of your faith?
EXPERIENCE (FOR THE REST OF THE WEEK)
- As Rusty prayed at the end of his message, he helped lead us through a few different prayers that might be exactly what we need to ask God right now. Pick one of these, or one like it, and focus on it throughout the week. At least once a day, pray that prayer and see how God responds with opportunities!
- God, I'm ready to trust you as my leader and forgiver.
- God, I'm ready to serve you instead of myself.
- God, I'm ready to honor you with my finances.
- God, I'm ready to trust you with my marriage.
- God, I'm ready to surrender to you in this stage of life.
- God, I'm ready to trust you with _____________.
- Don’t miss the boat.
- Plan ahead.
- Stay fit.
- For safety’s sake always travel in pairs.
- When you’re stressed out, go on a cruise.
- Remember the ark was built by amateurs, the Titanic by professionals.
“Now the Lord observed the extent of the people’s wickedness, and he saw that all their thoughts were consistently and totally evil. So the Lord was sorry he had ever made them. It broke his heart. And the Lord said, ‘I will completely wipe out this human race that I have created...I am sorry I ever made them.’”
“But Noah found favor with the Lord.”
1) I MUST BELIEVE GOD
Hebrews 11:7 (NLT)
“It was by faith that Noah built an ark to save his family from the flood. He obeyed God, who warned him about something that had never happened before.”
Genesis 6:22 (NLT)
“So Noah did everything exactly as God had commanded him.” Genesis 6:22 (NLT)
2) I MUST IGNORE DETRACTORS
3) I MUST MAXIMIZE OPPORTUNITIES
“When the Son of Man returns, the world will be like the people were in Noah’s day. In those days before the flood, the people enjoyed banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat and the flood came to destroy them all.”