BEFORE YOU GATHER
- Familiarize yourself with this Group Study Guide.
- If you missed it, CLICK HERE to watch the weekend sermon. Read Luke 2:22-32; 41-45
- CLICK HERE to watch a fantastic Bible Project video about Jesus’ birth from the Gospel of Luke.
- Sit in prayerful silence with God for a while, and ask the Holy Spirit if there is anything that he wants you to share during your group’s time together.
ADVENT RESOURCES FOR FURTHER GROWTH & DISCIPLESHIP
- (Family Resource) The Wonder of the Greatest Gift, by Ann Voskamp
- (Family Resource) The Tale of Three Trees, by Angela Elwell Hunt
- (Advent Bible Reader) Waiting Here For You, by Louie Giglio
- (Advent Bible Reader) Watch for the Light, by Multiple Authors
- (Gaining Christmas Context) Hidden Christmas, by Tim Keller
- (Video Resource) The True Christmas Story, by Ran Vander Laan
PRACTICES TO PREPARE ROOM FOR JESUS
- (Personal) As you go about doing the all the Christmas chores and to-dos, pray. Pray for the people who are getting cards from you, pray for the person whose gift you are wrapping, pray for the people who will eat the goods you are baking, etc.
- (Couples) Challenge yourself to share one thing with your partner that God is teaching you during this Advent season.
- (Families) Consider someone in your neighborhood who might need a hand. Maybe they a meal, yard work, a Safeway gift card, etc. Talk together about how you can meet the need.
- (Community Groups) Consider going on the Compassion website, agree on a certain amount of money, and buying a gift as a small group for someone in need who lives in another country.
Opening Prayer: (1-5 minutes)
In light of what God is saying through this week’s message, here’s some suggestions of how your group can invite God into your time together.
This week, as you begin your discussion, pray for God’s Spirit to give you wisdom and discernment into how you can prepare room for God in these last few days of Advent.
Quick Connection: (5 minutes)
Have everyone take 30 seconds each to share a phrase or a moment from this weekend’s message that is still resonating with them. You also have the option to say “Pass.”
Large Group Discussion: (30 minutes)
This weekend’s message came Luke 2:22-32; 41-45. If everyone has a Bible, let's go there together.
- (Read Luke 2:22-24) From the description of Mary and Joseph's offering that they presented at the Jewish Temple, we know that they were on the lower end of the economic spectrum. But they were more concerned with what they did have than what they didn't have. Preparing room for God often means evaluating how we spend in our time, our talents, and our resources. It’s very easy to identify the things that we don’t It takes only a few minutes on social media or Amazon.com to find things that would be nice to have. God has given each of us just what we need – not only to live but also to serve him. Take a minute to identify what you DO have.
- TIME: Do you have time in the car? Do you have time making dinner? How can you use that time to connect with God?
- TALENTS: Do you have a talent/interest that takes a lot of time and resources? Could you shift the focus so that it becomes an act of worship or ministry?
- ROUTINES: Do you have daily routines that provide moments to pray for others?
- RESOURCES: Do you have resources – conventional or unconventional – that you could dedicate to God to use in his Kingdom?
- (Read Luke 2:25-32) Mary and Joseph's obedience impacted the destiny of Simeon. Preparing room for God means also preparing our hearts for obedience. It can be hard to see the ways that our lives intersect and impact the lives of those around us, and it’s easy to think that what we do doesn’t matter - so it's a good idea to ask God to speak into this area of our lives.
- Pray for VISION: that God would show you what you can do or who you can reach.
- Do you know people in your life who rely on your obedience to God?
- Do you have a story or experience when someone else’s obedience to God had a direct impact on your life?
- (Read Luke 2:41-45) It's clear that Jesus was on a different bandwidth from his parents, with different priorities and awareness. Preparing room for God means that we should take a moment to reflect on if we are living with God in each moment, or just going through the motions. How could the different moments of this Advent season be redirected to connect with God, and to work with God for his purposes 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.
Pray that these last days of Advent be spent preparing room for God – in our hearts, schedules, priorities, resources, and obedience. Pray that we could be present to each moment, allowing the Holy Spirit to help us to live with God and for His purposes.