When we gather as a group, these are some ways we ensure the best group discussion:
We make the circle safe by staying honest and transparent - leave the masks at the door.
We keep it inside the circle. Each person’s story is theirs alone to share.
We look to the Bible for wisdom and truth, and work together to let it shape how we see the world.
We don’t try to fix each other in front of each other or give unsolicited advice. We lovingly save hard conversations for private moments.
We respect each others’ time by starting and ending when we say we will.
We believe that in Jesus Christ, there is hope for everyone.
Jesus came not only to rescue us, but also to point us to the best way to live. And he often did that with questions sounded suspiciously like a “would you rather”…
Jesus’ “would you rather” questions are different though, because they’re actually commands - they’re not about what we should “believe” or “know”. They’re all about what we do. As people rescued by and committed to following Jesus, we are called to not just know the best way to live, but to actually live that way.
Mike wrapped the series with a conversation about foundations. Jesus’ story about houses on the rock or sand speaks to all of us, because we’ve all built on sand. We struggle to find a foundation that can support our lives and withstand the storms, but Jesus says we need look no further than Him.
Remember, the questions are not a checklist to be completed, or in the perfect order! They’re simply guardrails to help you have a natural discussion about what we learned on Sunday.
CONNECT WITH EACH OTHER
Would you rather…
…have a dog with a cat’s personality or a cat with a dog’s personality?
…have unlimited money or unlimited knowledge?
…be able to reverse one decision you make every day or be able to stop time for 10 seconds once a day?
In Matthew 7, at the end of his sermon on the mount, Jesus says “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
We’ve all built on the sand. What way of life or foundation have you trusted that has let you down?
CONNECT WITH THE MESSAGE
We have a choice
We have been rescued, and we have nothing to prove to God - but He didn’t make us robots. As rescued people, God gives us a choice about what we want to build our lives on.
Mike said that the choices really come down to two things: building on who God is and how he says to live, or building on who I am, and how I want to live. Think about your own life - how have your own choices come back to one of these two choices?
When you hear Jesus say something like “these words of mine,” or you hear something about living “God’s way”, do you have a clear picture of what that means? How has that understanding changed over time?
Obedience > knowledge
Knowing what the Bible says or even knowing how God wants us to live is important and faith-building, but it has never been the goal: obedience is. Jesus says it’s the one who “hears these words of mine and puts them into practice” that is building on the rock.
Knowledge without obedience is not just missing the goal - it can actually be harmful. Can you think of any examples in your own life? Why do you think it so often leads to hurt?
Do you ever feel like you don’t know enough about God, the Bible, or how God wants us to live? What do you do when you feel that way?
Mike said that when we feel that way, we should “do what we know, and we’ll probably grow.” Looking back at what you’ve learned from Jesus, is there anything you have avoided actually putting into practice?
Or, is there an area of life that you find it especially hard to trust that God’s way could actually be best?
Jesus makes it very clear that storms come to both houses - not just the one on the sand.
Storms are out of our control and don’t reflect on anything we have or haven’t done. But there are plenty of bad things that happen that are actually partially or fully our fault. Why is it so important to know the difference when navigating a hard time?
Mike said there are a few common ways we think wrongly about the storms of life. That I should just toughen up to get through them, that I shouldn’t have any storms if I’m living God’s way, that they probably won’t happen to me, or that God owes me something better. Can you relate to any of these feelings from your own hard times?
How did those ways of thinking affect your relationship with God or others?
Rock living VS sand living
Mike said that we know we are built on the rock when we go in this order…
1. Anchored in God’s word (the Bible) - what am I supposed to obey next?
2. Praying consistently to be close with God - not just asking for help
3. Receiving guidance from wise friends - they fight for me to stay in the right direction
4. My feelings come from a healthy and peaceful place
5. I respond well to my circumstances
But when we’re built on the sand, that order flips…
1. All I can see is my bad circumstances
2. Feeling anxious, depressed, stressed, etc.
3. Friends that tell me only what I want to hear
4. Praying to ask God to bless the thing I already decided on
5. I pick up the Bible, maybe, to justify my decision
Is there anyone in your life that has modeled the first order well for you? What are they like in the middle of a storm?
Looking at the first order, which of the first 3 are you strongest in right now? Which needs the most attention and help?
The whole Bible is full of wisdom that teaches us how to live life the way God designed it, but few books of the Bible are as practical and tangible as Proverbs! In just 3-5 minutes a day, you can read one chapter of Proverbs each day and be done in a month! The wisdom you’ll find is tried and true and has survived for thousands of years - you’ll be shocked at how applicable it is to your everyday life!
Do That proverbs plan… with friends!!!
One of the coolest parts of doing reading plans on the YouVersion Bible app is that you can do it with friends!
When you start the plan, select “with friends” and then invite others via the app or with the link that it gives you.
Not only do you have the mutual accountability to actually stay on track, but there is a “Talk it Over” section each day that gives you a space to share thoughts, ask questions, and encourage each other!
Speaking from personal experience, this is a HUGE asset to our time in the Bible and the actual application of what we learn.
This Proverbs plan is a GREAT way to start, for any type of person. Take the risk, do it yourself, and invite someone to do it with you on the app - you won’t regret it!