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.
This week we’re “Binge-watching” the life of David in 1 Samuel 16. He’s the underdog, the runt, and the unworthy son of Jesse when Samuel asked to see Jesse's sons. And he was chosen. But being chosen didn’t mean David was exempt from struggle or without blemish. God chose to love David despite his flaws. David's life may not have been without it's hills and valleys, but he had a constant faith and love for God. Even after it all, God still called David a man after His own heart (1 Samuel 13-14).
BREAKING THE ICE
We all love a good story. What’s your favorite show to binge watch on Netflix?
1 Samuel 16:11-13 says, "Then he asked Jesse, “Is this it? Are there no more sons?” “Well, yes, there’s the runt. But he’s out tending the sheep.” God said, “Up on your feet! Anoint him! This is the one.”12 Jesse sent for him. He was brought in, the very picture of health—bright-eyed, good-looking. Samuel ordered Jesse, “Go get him. We’re not moving from this spot until he’s here.” 13 Samuel took his flask of oil and anointed him, with his brothers standing around watching. The Spirit of God entered David like a rush of wind, God vitally empowering him for the rest of his life."
- If you remember back when you were in school, in gym class, there was usually a team picking moment. Why do you think God chose the son voted least likely to amount to anything?
- Entering into the Valley
We all end up in valleys at different times in our lives. Sometimes valley moments come out of nowhere, while other times we enter into a valley because of our own choices.
- What valley are you currently walking through? If you aren’t currently in a valley moment, what is the most recent valley you’ve had to walk through?
- The Lord is my shepherd
King David wrote Psalm 23, which says, "The Lord is my shepherd, I have all that I need. He makes me lie down in green pastures."
Does this change the way you relate to God? How? Do you trust you can rest? Do you believe that when you rest, God goes to work?
Follow-up Question: What do you need rest from?
When David found out that his son was terminally sick, he pleaded with God, fasted, tore his clothes, and was vulnerable with God about his grief.
- How do you handle grief? Do you share your grief with God? How?
David created a baby with Bathsheba, murdered her husband, and God still chose this son as the one to bless.
What do you think about this? Why do you think God chose this son to be the next king? What pattern do you notice in God's choices? What do you see God wanting from us based on these patterns?
God isn't looking for perfect
If we accept Jesus and what He did on the cross for us, we're already made perfect through Jesus.
What God is looking for is for us to be righteous, which means right with God. He wants our trust, faith, personal relationship, and love--basically for us to trust Him with our lives. Try to lead the group into finding these things by reminding them what parents want from their kids. Typically parents aren't looking for their kids to be perfect. They want relationships.
David knew in the valleys he not only had hope for today and tomorrow, but that he had hope for eternity. In Revelation 21, John describes how great that day will be by saying what their will be NO MORE of. He writes, “and there will be NO MORE death or NO MORE sorrow or NO MORE crying or NO MORE pain. All these things are gone forever.”
That means there will be no more calories. No more cancer. No more funerals. No more rebellious kids. No more neglectful dads. What are a few things you are excited for there to be NO MORE of in heaven?
The SYNC Challenge is an AMAZING opportunity for your group to connect outside of group and create great habits together. A big part of the challenge is sharing ONE thing with someone else after you read for the day. Don’t miss the chance to be that one person for someone in your group, or to start some great message threads about what you’re reading with everyone in the group.
READ. PRAY. DO.
During this series at Mission, we are all challenging each other to do the SYNC Bible Challenge! Head to missionventura.com/sync for more info!
- Pray this prayer on your own, or use it to kickstart your own personal prayer time.
God I thank you for being a good shepherd. For giving me rest and relief. For being with me in the good times and the bad. Help me to remember that even when I’m in the shadow of the valley of death, YOU ARE WITH ME. At all times. In all things. And thank you that one day I will get to experience full recovery, where there will be no more valleys. Give me the strength to get through this day, and help me to look forward to that day.
Write Psalm 23 down on an index card and read Psalm 23 at least once a day this week to remind yourself as you go throughout your day that “The Lord is MY Shepherd; I have all that I need.” (or write it down in your phone if an index card is too “old school”)
Bonus points for memorizing the whole thing!