Thrill of Hope
PREPARING FOR YOUR GROUP
Homework: (10-90 minutes)
- Familiarize yourself with this Group Study Guide
- If you missed it, CLICK HERE to watch the weekend sermon
- If a certain quote from the sermon grabbed you, consider posting it to Twitter or Instagram. For instance: "Jesus is the only true Light for us when all other lights go out." #cfchurch
- Read John 1:1-9
- 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.
- We have intentionally provided you with way too much content so that you have plenty of material to work with choose the elements that are best suited for your group dynamic, and leave the rest.
- Whatever content you choose, follow the order of elements as they appear in this Study Guide there is an intentional progression that is meant to help your group draw near to God.
NEXT STEPS FOR GROUP LEADERS
Throughout this series, this section will have some leadership next steps to implement in the life of your Group.
BEGIN HERE WITH YOUR GROUP
Focus of this Week's Message: (Say Aloud, 1 minute)
John reminds us that real Hope is found in the true Light. We find hope not by trying harder to fix the world ourselves, but by living each day with Jesus–who is the true Light of the World, and the only bringer of real hope.
Opening Prayer: (Say Aloud, 1 minute)
Pray the following prayer for your Group. Make the words your own.
Lord Jesus, thank you for being our light in the darkness, our hope in the hopelessness, our life in valley of the shadow of death. Please teach us what it means that You are the Light, and what it means to live in the light. Bring us Your hope today. We love you, Lord. 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."
Creative Engagement with This Week's Message: (5 minutes)
This season, consider finding an image that contrasts the light and darkness and using it as the background on your phone, computer or other device so that you will be constantly reminded of Jesus' role on earth. Below is an image by British artist Elizabeth Wang of her idea of what it means to walk with Jesus in the midst of the darkness. What image might help you meditate on Jesus-as-Light this week?
Questions for Large Group Discussion (30 minutes):
(Prompt the group) Let's all have a Bible open and in front of us as we discuss what God was saying to us from this week's message.
- John focuses on the contrast between light and darkness. What do we usually associate with those two ideas?
- In what way does Jesus "give light to every man" (John 1:9)?
- John 1:3 teaches that through Christ all things were made. When we hear "all things were made" we may focus on physical creation, but John's first example (life) and second example (light) are not what we usually think of as "things." What is specifically powerful about these "things"?
- John 1:5 says that the darkness has not understood the light. "To understand" is something only humans (and, to a limited extent, certain animals) can do. What does John mean by the darkness not understanding the light?
- Pastor Becky mentioned that John's inclusion of John the Baptist at this point in the story highlights our role as light-sharers in the world. What is our role in Jesus bringing Light to the world?
- In what areas of my life do I need Christ's light to shine in the midst of the darkness?
- Have I been seeking to find hope in places other than Jesus?
- How well do I reflect the Light of Christ? Do a self-assessment. When other people encounter me do they see the hope that is found in the Light?
- Do I need to ask God to reignite my hope again?
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.
Lord, You are our Light. You are the lifter of our heads. Please guide us in Your light. Please give us eyes to see Your light. Please give us a hunger to be in Your light. As we walk in Your light, please give us clear opportunities to shine Your light on others. May we never get confused as to whose light it is. May we always keep our eyes on You, and may we always direct others' eyes to You as well. Thank you, Lord. We love you. Amen.
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.
- What is one specific way I can reflect the Light of Christ and spark hope for someone else today?
- Who is God calling me to be a light to in this Christmas season? Write that person's name down and how you might be able to reach out to them. Make it a goal to reach out this week.