BEFORE YOU GATHER
- Familiarize yourself with this Group Study Guide.
- If you missed it, CLICK HERE to watch the weekend sermon.
- Spend some time in prayer before your group gathers.
- To prepare for discussion, CLICK HERE for a few facilitation tips.
- As a leader you always have the option to use some or all the questions and/or write your own questions.
Opening Prayer: (1-5 minutes)
In light of what God is saying through this week’s message, here’s a suggestion of how your group can invite God into your time together.
Jesus, help us identify the power shame has over us. We pray that Your divine power destroys the power of shame & fear of intimacy in our lives. Thank you for your forgiveness. Free us up to forgive ourselves of our shortcomings. Help us to receive Your grace & mercy every morning & throughout every single day. Teach us to live a life of transparency with You & with others. Teach us to show grace & mercy to others; and to ourselves. Thank You for seeing us as we are and choosing not to reject us. You know our thoughts. You know everything we do. You know what we are going to say even before we say it. And still, You bless us. Your mercy astounds us. May we always trust You to eradicate our fears. In Jesus’ Name we pray, Amen.
Quick Connection: (5 minutes)
- Be brave & vulnerable. List 5 things you like about yourself.
- How does Jesus fill in the gap of the area(s) you do not feel “__________”? (Fill in your blank: not smart, beautiful, witty, wealthy, popular, etc.)
Group Discussion: (30 minutes)
This week we will explore the fear of intimacy, vulnerability, rejection, unworthiness and God’s strength, mercy and promises in our weakness.
Open your Bibles and together read Psalm 139:1-19, 2 Corinthians 12:1-10.
- Is there something you do to mask the fear of intimacy? (Working overtime, sabotaging potentially rewarding relationships, etc.)
- Pastor Steve shared this weekend that, “Perfect is the enemy of intimacy.” Do you struggle with perfectionism & the idea that you must be without any flaws to be worthy of deep relationship?
- Are you afraid for others to see the unfiltered you? Do you struggle with letting go of who you want people to think you are and revealing who you really are?
- The three principles of our “Fear Not” series we’ve learned so far are:
God sees us
God is with us
God loves us
What have you learned about these principles by being rejected/”unfriended” by someone you completely opened up to?
- Does your fear of intimacy prevent you from a relationship with God? (Example: Adam & Eve felt ashamed after their sin and hid from God) How does David’s reflection of God’s intimate knowledge of us draw you closer towards God?
- The Apostle Paul wanted us to know that he wasn’t perfect, In 2 Corinthians 12, Pauls says he was glad he had big flaws because “God’s power is perfected in our weakness.” How is this true in your life?
CLOSING PRAYER (5-15 minutes):
In light of what God is saying through this week’s message, here’s some suggestions of what your group could talk about with God in prayer.
- Ask God to continue to heal us from the fear of intimacy. As we begin to receive healing, may our transparency be an inspiration to others.
- Ask God to seal the truth that vulnerability is not a weakness but that it is pure courage in our hearts.
- Pray to be reminded of Jesus’ sacrifice and example He gives us to have hope in any rejection we may face. Jesus took everything we are ashamed of to the grave instead of judging us. Because of Jesus we have mercy & grace.
- Pray a "fear not" prayer. “Fear not”, Jesus says, “Fear not because I have done for you”
- Pray that we do not build a fence over the stench of fear. Pray that we allow God’s power to destroy our fears.
CHALLENGE FOR THE WEEK:
- Practice transparency/intimacy and receiving God’s mercy this week by praying like King David each day:
“Have mercy on me, O God…Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night. Against you, and you alone, have I sinned. I have done what is evil in your sight. I am a sinner, and you desire honesty from me. Psalm 51:1-4
- Daily confessing our weakness allows Christ to be shown strong in us.
- Practice letting go of perfection and valuing honesty over perfection. Allow yourself be seen for who you really are. Ask God to lead you to safe people you can share with and confessing your faults to. This powerful practice opens the door to real and lasting intimacy.
- Make a list of ways you may be allowing the fear of being known to keep you from becoming who God created you to be. Ask God to rescue you from fear. Take an inventory of your strengths and weaknesses and open up to God about these things. You are healed by HIS mercy.
- Allow the truth of God’s promises found in the Word saturate your mind. Reread Psalm 139:1-19. Choose a scripture(s) to memorize.
- Remember: You are NOT a mistake.
RESOURCES FOR FURTHER GROWTH & DISCIPLESHIP
- (Website) Fear Not series references
- Google “Promise found in the Bible” to get started convincing yourself that God knows you and doesn’t reject you.