PREPARING FOR YOUR GROUP
Homework: (10-90 minutes)
- Familiarize yourself with this Group Study Guide
- If you missed it,CLICK HEREto watch the weekend sermon
- If a certain quote from the sermon resonated with you, consider posting it to Twitter or Instagram. Here's a sample: When we pause for Advent this Christmas season, we turn down the volume on the culture and we turn up the volume on the Spirit of God, to remember the THRILL of HOPE that we have in Jesus. #cfchurch
- Read John 1:1-3
- Sit in prayerful silence with God for a while, and then ask the Holy Spirit if there is anything that He wants to do during your Group's time together.
BEGIN HERE WITH YOUR GROUP
Opening Prayer: (Say Aloud, 1 minute)
Pray the following prayer for your Group. Feel free to make the words your own.
(Pray Aloud)Jesus, we thank You for this precious time of year, where we wait in expectation for Your birth. Thank you for coming as a baby to teach us how to love, and to die and rise again for us so that we can be saved from our sins. We love You, Jesus, and we thank You for the hope we have in You. Be with us now as we gather in Your name, for it's in Your name we pray, Amen.
Quick Connection: (Say Aloud, 5 minutes)
Let's 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."
QUESTIONS FOR LARGE GROUP DISCUSSION (30 minutes):
(Note for Group Leaders)There are more questions than your Group will likely have time to get through. Choose the questions that connect to the aspects of the message that were resonating the most deeply with you.
Let's all have a Bible opened up to John 1:1-3 as we discuss what God was saying to us from this week's message.
- What are some things (a word, a feeling, a memory) that come to mind when you think of Christmas (positive or negative)?
- In John 1:1, John introduced Jesus by telling us that Jesus was "in the beginning", has always existed, and wasn't created. Why do you think John started his letter with this information? How does this change how you approach your relationship with God?
- (John 1:2) He was WITH God in the beginning. Jesus is WITH God and IS God. God IS a family, in essence. God loves relationships and community. How does this truth change how you look at community and relationships?
- Jesus didn't create humans because He was lonely or bored, but rather because He chose us. We have been intentionally placed at this place and at this time by our Creator. How does this truth affect how you see yourself and how you see the people around you?
- What are some ways we can pause for Advent during this noisy, busy season, to help us feel the "Thrill of Hope"? Discuss with your group some practical ways you might prepare your heart for Christmas. Below are three tips that Pastor Matt gave us in Livermore this past weekend:
- Take time to travel – (take time to remember, repent, and prepare your heart)
- Feel the rhythm – (create rhythm in the life of the body of Christ, gathering together, serving and giving to others)
- Turn down the noise (turn down the noise of the culture andfocus on the hope of our Deliverer coming)
CLOSING PRAYER (15 minutes):
If your Group is newly formed, it's probably best that you are the one who prays. If this time of prayer requires some vulnerability or transparency, be the first to pray so that you set a tone of honesty for everyone else.
Ask if there are any prayer requests (remind to keep the request brief and remind the others this is not a time for input/counseling from the rest of the group). Depending on time, you can have others pray for various requests or you can close in prayer.
PUTTING THIS INTO PRACTICE
Based on how God has spoken to us through this weekend's message, here are some thoughts and examples of how we can put God's word into everyday practice.
As we begin this season of Advent, amid the busy, noisy, often frantic month, we can lose the Thrill of Hope we have in Christ. We need to be intentional to make space to focus on the coming of Jesus. One practical way to commit to a daily reading of scriptures to help us anticipate the Christ's birth. Here are someresourcesthat can be used for individuals or as a family:
Waiting Here for You: An Advent Journey of Hope by Louis Giglio
In the Manger: 25 Inspirational Selections for Adventby Max Lucado
Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A Family Celebration of Christmasby Ann Voskamp
God With Us: A Love God Greatly Advent Study Journalby Love God Greatly
YouVersion Bible Advent reading plan (phone app): http://share.bible.com/2016-11-advent/get-ready-for-christmas-en.html