You know your group best, and we want you to feel empowered to worry less about getting to the deep discussion and focusing more on making sure each of your members has the chance to breathe, smile, share, and feel supported. Check out our sermon series resource page for additional information. If you need help with conducting your group meetings online, take a look at this guide.
In this section, your group will spend time fellowshipping and catching up since your last meeting together.
We all have experiences reaching out to and connecting with people. Consider how you best connect with your friends and loved ones.
- What do you like to do with friends?
- What kind of experiences have forged the deepest friendships?
- What do you like to talk about with your friends?
We’ve all heard how important it is to take time to “seek God” and “be in His presence.” Take a minute to identify the thoughts, feelings, connotations, images, expectations that arise when you hear the phrase “Seek God” or “Being in God’s presence.” Some of the things that come to mind may be positive and some may be negative. Take a minute to reflect on ALL the things that come to mind, positive or negative.
- What kinds of images come to mind when you think about “Seeking after God?”
- What kinds of feelings are evoked when you think about “spending time with God?”
- What happens to your body nonverbally when you hear the phrase like, “Be in God’s presence?”
- What expectations do you have on what it means to “find” God or “experience” God?
- What do you think makes a “good experience” with God?
- What ways have you tried to connect with God? What ways have you found work well for you? What ways do not work well for you?
- There is no one “right” way to connect with God. Reflect back on how you best connect with the people you love. Can you apply any of those activities or practices to how you connect with God?
In this section, your group will dive into the themes and Scripture passages from this week’s sermon and learn more about their meanings and relevance for us today.
Sometimes it feels like our list of obligations is endless and we feel as if we can barely meet them. Then, when the church talks about spending time with God, some of us may feel guilty and frustrated that there is another spiritual to-do list that we can barely get to.
Read John 15:1-7 together. The theme of this week's sermon was seeking God's presence and this New Testament passage uses the metaphor of a vine with branches to help us understand how to seek God. In this metaphor, the vine doesn’t move in and out of the vineyard... nor should we think of seeking God as moving in between our “real lives” and our “spiritual lives.”
Consider this: “God knows where we are and the burdens we carry. He sees us, and if we open our eyes and our hearts we will see Him, even in the most ordinary places and in the most ordinary things.” - Heather Farrell
Like many of the Psalms, John 15 gives us a vivid word picture to help us understand what it means to seek God's presence.
- How can you practice being in God’s presence as your day unfolds naturally?
- Pastor Becky talked about our brains being wired to solve problems. What “problems” are you focused on throughout the day? How can you invite God into those situations?
- What are the daily rhythms of your life that God could become a part of?
Intervarsity Commentary says regarding John 15, “Remaining is not simply believing in Him, though that is crucial, but includes being in union with Him, sharing His thoughts, emotions, intentions, and power.” (You can read more about this from the commentary here.)
If you are like many people, you have to intentionally tell yourself to relax and unwind. The same is true about intentionality giving space to meet with God to “share his thoughts, emotions, intentions, and power.” Although, this process doesn’t HAVE to look or feel a certain way.
Read Psalm 139:1-12 together.
- The Psalm we just read says that God knows absolutely everything about us and everything we think — even before we do! How does knowing this about God help you seek His presence? How does it help you relax and trust more?
- What kinds of things or activities rejuvenate you? What kinds of things or activities bring you life?
- Psalm 139 also assures that God is with us no matter where we go and what we do. Are you a writer, an artist, a craftsperson, a builder, a thinker, an athlete, an orator, a poet, an engineer? Ask God to show you how He wants to intentionally meet with you in the places that bring you joy and fulfillment.
Be sure to check out Daily Steps, Cornerstone's companion devotional guide, as a resource to help you intentionally connect with God throughout the week using daily readings from the Psalms.
In this section, your group will discuss how to apply what you’ve learned from the Scripture passages to real life.
This week, let's focus on finding a Psalm that speaks to you the most and captures how you are feeling right now.
As a group, choose at least one Psalm from each of the following four categories to read out loud together.
Alternately, ask if anyone in your group already has a favorite Psalm and choose to read those together.
Following the reading of each selected Psalm, pause and discuss:
- What makes that Psalm especially relevant for today's situation or to a particular member of your group?
- How does the Psalm validate your feelings, encourage you, or provide you fresh insight into God's character?
- What ideas does the Psalm give you for communicating with God or abiding in His presence?
TAKE THE NEXT STEP
Grow closer to Jesus each day and explore the Psalms.
Have you checked out Daily Steps?
It's a weekly devotional message designed as a companion to this sermon study guide. Daily Steps guides you through spending time with God through personal reflection, Scripture readings, and prayer prompts.
DAILY STEPS - PSALMS - WEEK 1
CF Beyond Sunday is GOING LIVE!
Starting NEXT Monday night, April 20, at 7:30 pm, we would love for you to join in for Beyond Sunday...via YouTube LIVE! After each weekend sermon, our pastors and various church leaders, will sit down and have a 15-20 minute discussion around the weekend's sermon.
So mark your calendar, set your alarm, and join us on YouTube.
And don’t forget to subscribe!
What Can I Do About Anxiety? — If you are struggling with anxiety especially during this season, you may find this three-part essay especially helpful. It was written by someone who is prone to anxiety herself, our own Community Team Study Guide Writer, Sara Goetz.
READ PART 3 OF THE ESSAY