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.
Church signs run the gambit. Some are hilarious. Some are offensive. Some are both... No matter what they say, church signs say a surprising amount about what the church holds most dear. And it takes everyone inside to not just say those, but live them out.
Breaking the Ice
What’s the funniest church sign you’ve ever seen?
In his video story, Chris talked about the roller coaster of being stuck in the “prison of his mind as a slave to sin”, even though his life looked good on the outside. How could you relate to Chris’ video story?
ANYONE IS WELCOME
From the beginning of time, people have tried to keep others out. And unfortunately, the church isn’t always different. But Jesus compels us to find a new way, where anyone is welcome - really, anyone. But the reality is, there is a cost for those inside when anyone is welcome.
- Jesus lets us belong before we behave, and even before we believe.
“Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.”
- It’s different for everyone, but every person knows the difference between pretending to love and really loving. What’s the difference for you?
Love serves others and costs us. In fact, Romans 12:13 tells us that because of the love we’ve been given so freely, we should share with anyone as they have need.
- When has love cost you something real? Was it worth it?
Romans 12:18 says “Live at peace with everyone as far as it depends on you.“
Mike said that as Christians, we should be the most difficult people to offend in the entire world.
- Why is it so hard for us to NOT be offended?
- What has to change about you so you can be harder to offend?
NO ONE IS PERFECT
None of us is better than the others, but none of us is worse than the others.
- God doesn’t grade on a curve - and we aren’t bad people made good, we are dead people made alive. How does this change how you relate to God when you screw up? What about when you are doing really well?
CHANGE IS POSSIBLE
Jesus once asked a man who had been an invalid for 38 years, “do you want to get well?” God doesn’t make us get well - he invites us to.
- In the areas that you are weakest, how would you answer that same question if Jesus asked you?
“And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”
Mike said that we all have to get away from the….
Me I think I should be
Me I pretend to be
Me others want me to be
Me I think God wants me to be
Me I think God wants me to be
Which ME stands in between you and God most often?
How do you feed that ME that stands between you and God? What do you do (or what DON’T you do) to keep it around and strong?
HOPE FOR EVERYONE
Because all those other things are true, there is hope for everyone. Literally everyone. Even you and me. And even that guy that you don’t like.
-Who do you have trouble believing there is hope for? Is it you? Is it someone you love? Is it someone difficult around you?
Biblical hope is the confident expectation that God is willing and able to do everything he promised to do.
- When do you find yourself with wishful thinking hope instead of real deal biblical hope?
- What did God promise us? Where are you sometimes unclear about what he has actually promised us and what that means for you?
The question “Where are you sometimes unclear...?” Is teeing up something exciting! Questions, and even doubts, are a catalyst for growth and deeper community. It’s not an opportunity for you as a leader to answer your group members’ questions - it’s an opportunity to go on a journey together. Their journey to the answer is always more important than your answer. So ask more questions. Go into the Bible together. Whatever they’re asking, use it as an opportunity to encourage personal (and communal) investigation and study!
READ. PRAY. DO.
God, make these signs.