>>> LEADER TIP: Grace + truth + Time
This week’s reading hits on what can be a touchy subject, sin. While God is love and His love is not contingent on anything we do, he also vehemently hates sin. This may come as a shock to those who are new to our groups or have just began their journey with God. So far we’ve read about how much God loves us.
The author starts and ends the chapter with a story of a young woman who lives with her boyfriend. There may be women in your group living in a similar situation. As leaders our role is to give the women we’re leading grace + truth + time as they take in new information about God, and his plans for our lives, and apply it. Once we know we are loved unconditionally, we can address the issue of sin in our lives WITH God - not as a means to earning His love.
>>> LEADER TIP: begin with silence
(even if you haven't yet)
Begin with 1-5 minutes of silence followed by a brief prayer to center ourselves towards God and to prepare us to listen to Him. We’re hearing great reports from groups who have began their time in silence, everything from more pointed answers to the questions posed, to group members taking this practice and applying it to other areas in their lives, like beginning every day with a few moments of centering silence. Try it!
We read this statement together before every group discussion. It helps transition the group to discussion time, it reaffirms our highest values, and sets a tone of trust, consistency, and safety for everyone in the group.
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.
What’s one word that would describe your week and why did you choose that word?
For homework last week we read chapter six titled “God is Holy.” We learned that the wrath of God is actually a beautiful part of the majesty and love of God. God is both kind and severe and that is very good news. On page 121 the author notes, “God is fiercly and forcefully opposed to the things that destroy his precious people… it is a sign of God’s love.”
The soul training exercise was creating margin to restore balance in our lives and peace in our souls.
From page 131, were you able to practice any of the suggestions for creating margin this week? If so, describe what you did and how you felt about it.
What, if anything, did you learn about God or yourself through the exercise?
As you tried to develop margin in your life, what was most difficult? What was most rewarding?
Pose as many questions of the following questions as you have time for, don’t feel like you have to get to them all.
What stuck out to you the most about chapter six on God’s holiness?
On page 115, Has the wrath of God been hard for you to understand? Explain.
Page 116, What examples of the teddy-bear understanding of God have you experienced?
From page 118, Why do we often skip over Jesus’ words of judgement to dwell on his words about love?
Page 121, Give an example of the difference between passion and pathos.
Turn to page 123, Why is the truth that God’s wrath is an action and not an attribute so important? What does the difference mean to you?
On page 124, If God’s love were to “burn” something out of you life that is holding you back, what would it be?
From page 126, “If God were unconcerned about sin, how might that harm us?
- Chapter 3: "God is Self-Sacrificing."
Soul Training: read the gospel of john
- Read the entire Gospel of John to discover Jesus’ relationship with his heavenly Father. Break up the Gospel into four sections and read five to seven chapters at a single sitting. Simply read the Gospel as if you were reading a story with a beginning, middle and end.
What can we be praying for you this week? What are some things for which we can thank our holy God?