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.
Honor is not normal in our world - and it never has been. Jesus entered into our world of competition and dissension and up-ended the normal way of doing things. We take what we want - he gave what we needed. We prioritize ourselves - his laid himself down to put us first. We fight and push our way to significance and power - he leveraged all of his power so that could have the significance we desperately needed.
Because of Jesus, we have hope - but not just for ourselves. We have hope for a new way of life that loves others as much as Jesus loves us. To get there, we need to agree with God about who he says we are, and start attaching a higher price tag to everyone we meet.
split guys and girls?
It’s a powerful experience when you split into guys and girls conversations at the right time. When it comes to a message like this, that is so specifically applicable to either gender differently, you have much more potential for vulnerability and safety in a single-gender setting.
Consider splitting even just for half the time - when you create the safe space and choose to lead with vulnerability, people very often catch up quickly and open up in new ways!
Connect with each other
To what things in life do you attach a high price tag? How can you tell how highly someone values something or someone?
Connect with the Message
In Ephesians 5, Paul tells the men in the church to love their wives JUST AS Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. What Jesus started and Paul reinforced challenged everything that their culture said about the value of women at the time. He called men to leverage everything they had for the good of others, especially the women in their lives - because God has placed just as high a price tag on women as he has on men.
What mixed messages about manhood have you grown up with or seen in the world?
What outside voices and influences are sending these wrong messages and deadening men’s ability to honor women?
MEN: How can you silence those voices and replace them with messages that honor women?
Women: what messages in our world create dissension and competition between women? How do they affect you?
Lots of room for variation
This set of questions has a LOT of room to run! If you are in a mixed setting, it may not be the best choice to get really specific on the questions. It could be good to just introduce it with something general like “Mike talked very specifically to men this Sunday, what stood out to you? How did it speak to you personally?” Then follow where the group heads!
If you choose to split up, even halfway through, you can save this topic for that time!
No matter what, remember to aim for personal engagement - it’s easy to talk about the “culture” and what’s happening on a broad level. It’s harder to talk about the actual influences in our real lives that are misaligned with God’s heart for honoring women (and everyone, for that matter).
Danielle Strickland says that true humility is “agreeing with God about who you are”, and pride is simply NOT agreeing with God about who you are.
Do you resonate with these definitions of pride and humility?
How does what God says about you challenge or change your personal opinion of yourself?
the two sides of pride
Pride is NOT just an over-inflated sense of self-importance. That’s why this definition is important. Another quote to remember is from C.S. Lewis - “Humility is NOT thinking less of yourself. Humility is thinking of yourself less.” Pride is just as deadly when someone refuses to see him/herself as a much loved, highly valued child of God.
The good news there… is that everyone falls to one of these sides! That’s why following Jesus is a lifelong journey - because agreeing with God about who He says we are is not easy. There is always a pull away from our true identity as his children.
So don’t accept the easy answers! Push people toward the gaps between God’s opinion and their opinion.
The effects of pride
Mike said that pride makes me small, crowds others out, crowds God out, and makes me want to be known - and when we live with pride, it’s impossible to “be devoted to one another in love (and) honor one another above yourselves.” (Romans 12:10)
What does “honoring one another above yourselves” look like? How have you seen it played out practically in your own life or in someone else’s life?
How does pride affect you personally, and your ability to honor others above yourself?
Jesus’ power in self-sacrifice
In Philippians 2:3-7, Paul says to the church in the city of Philippi, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!” Jesus used his limitless power to practice ultimate humility by dying on a cross for our sake - and Paul says that we should strive to have the same mindset as Him.
What are the implications of that kind of humility for your relationships right now?
What would that mindset look like for you in your everyday life over the next week?
Areas of honor
Mike said that there are some specific areas that we need to practice honor: men, women, co-workers, family, friendship, and marriage.
Who in your life do you see truly honoring in one of these areas? What does it look like practically for them?
Which area needs the most attention for you this week? What’s a tangible goal you can set for practicing honor in that area?
Push everyone toward being AS SPECIFIC AS POSSIBLE!
This is really important! Remember the series from January… our direction determines our destination, not our intentions. And it’s our actions that determine our destination.
A very large part of group life is the accountability to live out our good intentions - and that starts with clear conviction around practical new ways of living.
READ. PRAY. DO.
Work your way through all of 1 Corinthians this month during this series! When Paul wrote them this letter, there was a huge host of problems the church was experiences - and his chapter on “love” is sort of the pinnacle of the letter! Many of their problems dealt with not being able to see their relationships of all kinds through the new lens that Jesus offers us. Check out this intro video and start reading!
Pray this prayer on your own, or use it to kickstart your own personal prayer time.
Father, I am so grateful for your unfailing, consistent, perfect love. Thank you for your constant reminders of how much you love me. Please speak into my life and teach me to walk in your way. Help me to see things the way you see things today. Thank you for laying down your life for me and teaching me what perfect love really is.
When Paul wrote to the church in Corinth (1 Corinthians 13), he called the Christ followers there to a whole different kind of love. He called the church to not wait for love, find love, or fall into it. He called them to become love - just as Jesus had become love for them.
So put your name in these blanks and starting asking God to help you become love in tangible ways. Try focusing on one a day or every few days, and watch how God starts shaping you into a person that embodies love for the world to see!