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.
This week Jodi talked about the narrow road that leads to life, and the wide road that leads to destruction. Even though the narrow road isn’t very complicated, it’s all not very easy. But as hard as it can be, Jesus promises us it’s well worth it.
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…
Would you rather lose the ability to read or lose the ability to speak?
Would you rather spend the rest of your life with a sailboat as your home or an RV as your home?
Would you rather go back to age 5 with everything you know now or know now everything your future self will learn?
Wide or narrow gate?
In Matthew 7:13-14, Jesus says “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” This principle can actually be seen in many places in life - it’s where sayings like “if everyone jumps off a bridge, does that mean you should do it too?” come from.
What wide gates leading to destruction have you walked through personally in life?
CONNECT WITH THE MESSAGE
Stop, Look, and Ask
Jeremiah 6:16 says “This is what the Lord says: stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old godly way and walk in it. Travel its path and you will find rest for your souls.” Jodi said stopping at the crossroads in our lives is an important opportunity that we don’t normally take advantage of.
The first thing to do at a crossroads is STOP.
Ask yourself how you are REALLY doing. No more cruise control, no more doing the same old things day after day.
Do you often stop like this and take an inventory of your habits, biases, beliefs, etc?
Some thinking prompts…
What happens when you do stop like this?
Do you usually stop proactively or reactively? What “forces” you to stop and take inventory?
This sounds good in theory, but what would it look like practically for you? Journal? Conversation with a trusted friend? Solitude and prayer? Something else?
Stopping at the crossroads right now and thinking honestly… how are you (really) right now? In what area of your life do you need to pay special attention to right now?
Next we have to LOOK around.
How did I get here? What choices led me to where I currently am? Honestly owning our current situation help us then look forward to where we want to go and who we want to become. Thinking about your own life right now…
Who do you want to become? At the end of your life, what do you want to be able to say about the way you lived?
What in your life is propelling you toward that end? What is propelling you in an opposite direction?
One thing that halts our progress the most is the challenge of “owning” the path that lead to our current situation. When is that especially challenging? Why is it so necessary?
Last, we ASK for help.
What is God really like? What does God say about me? How do I actually change? What’s the healthy way to do faith, money, relationships, conflict, any everything else? When we don’t seek out the wisdom of God, we inevitably choose our way over his.
When you have a problem to address or you need direction, there are probably multiple places you turn - what are the big ones? Why do you turn there?
In 2 Corinthians 12:9 Paul says that God tells him “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” An author named Kent Dunnington even said that “the recognition and public acknowledgment of inadequacy is itself an irreplaceable spiritual achievement.”
When has the recognition of inadequacy and sin felt like a “spiritual achievement” to you?
Why is it so important to start here when asking for help and trying to search for the wisdom of God?
Grace + Truth + Time
Jodi said that it takes a lot of things to take the narrow road, but the most important things are grace, truth, and time.
GRACE is the accepting relationship that God invites us into where he knows everything about us and loves us unconditionally anyway. Grace doesn’t just save us once - it sustains us through every day, every fall, and every pain.
It’s harder to live in grace that we might think - we often live waiting for the other shoe to drop, for God to finally admit how disappointing we are. Do you fall into this way of relating to God? How can you avoid this view of God?
TRUTH is God’s direction, guardrails, and new way to live life. But it’s not just the information that we’re after - it’s the experience. God wants us to live out the truth, not just know it.
The narrow road is often thought of as “narrow-minded”, and the Bible is commonly seen as a killjoy rule book. Even when it’s not viewed negatively, it is still complex, challenging, and intimidating when we first wade in.
What’s your relationship with the Bible right now? (maybe on a scale from 2+2 to rocket science…)
Wherever you’re at now, what would you need to understand just a bit more? What help do you need to wade a little further?
Sometimes we call this re-wallpapering our minds - stripping away the old thoughts about ourselves and about God and about how the world should work, and filling in new ones instead. What old wallpaper do you come into contact with most often?
What ways of thinking about God, yourself, or the world have you realized are not in line with what God would say is true?
TIME is the final ingredient - a new life with God is a decision that is followed by a life-long process that looks nothing like a microwave. Too often we want the payoff without the process, the results without the requirements, and the end without the endurance.
In John 15 Jesus says “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”
Everything in our world seems to be all about instant gratification, which is the exact opposite of what Jesus is describing here. What does that patient “remaining” look like, or what do you want it to look like, in your own everyday life?
It’s hard to be patient with ourselves - but it can be even harder to be patient with others as they slowly change and grow. How has other people’s patience impacted you?
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!
Heads up… you can even do this alongside friends using the YouVersion Bible app!