BEFORE YOU GATHER
Prepare for Your Group:
- Familiarize yourself with this Group Discussion Guide
- If you missed it,CLICK HEREto watch the weekend sermon
- Read John 14:21-15:17
- Get a feel for the Book of John as a whole byWATCHING THIS VIDEO
- 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.
Opening Prayer: (1-5 minutes)
God, please speak to us as we unpack what it means to do what Your Son Jesus taught us to do. Sometimes, obedience can be difficult. Sometimes, we read Your words and struggle because there areillustrations or metaphors that we may be unfamiliar with. Please bless our group right now with wisdom and discernment so that we can see how Your perfect and holy words speak the truth that we desperately need to hear. Amen.
Quick Connection: (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."
Video from Pastor Steve: (5 minutes)
As a group, watch the video on fb.com/cornerstonewebwhere Pastor Steve is reflecting on vineyards. Our understanding of John 15:1-8 should be informed by the idea that, even though God loves us, He also longs for us to bear fruit and must take us through difficult times of "pruning" in order to produce that fruit. Reflect and discuss how you've been "pruned" in the past, or even in this current season.
Large Group Discussion: (30 minutes)
- This weekend's message came fromJohn 14:21-15:8,let's all turn there in a Bible.
- This weekend, Pastor Steve taught that there are many things we won't discover about who Jesus is and what He taught us untilwe show a willingness to follow and obey.Have you experienced this as you've followed Jesus? What did God reveal to you once you followed and obeyed him? Is there anyone who is experiencing frustration in theirjourney of knowing Christ, and you're wondering if it's related to some areas whereyou have yet to follow and obey Jesus?
- There are times when Jesus will tell us to do the exact opposite of what we would be naturally inclined to do. Can you think ofa time in your life when you've experienced this? What makes obedience difficult when you are in these types of situations?
- This weekend, we imagined an electric car being charged as a metaphor for how our time with the Holy Spirit can lift, encourage and energize us as Christians. How does this image speak to you?When you set aside time to be with God, what does that look like?
- From Pastor Steve: "How many times in one week do we as believers go it alone forgetting to call upon God near us and God in us?" When it comes tocomplicated and difficult maneuvers, why do we attempt them on our own, without asking for help from the One who is called our Counselor and Advocate?
- We were encouraged to begin telling ourselves:I am going to stop fighting these battles alone. Is therean upcoming battle or difficulty where you are going to start seeking God's help and guidance?
- Spend some time as a group reading and memorizing John 14:27. What has been troubling your heart lately? What keeps bringing you fear? Whatdoes Jesus want to change about how you process and deal with things that scare you or stress you out?
CLOSING PRAYER (5-15 minutes):
God, we recognize that you love us, and that you desire for us to obey You. If we follow and obey you, we'll know You and draw closer to You so that we might bear fruit. This process can be so hard, but we're learning to trust You throughout it. Thank you for the fruit that you are bearing in our group.
PRACTICING THE WAY OF JESUS
A disciple of Jesus is a learner, a student, an apprentice, a practitioner even if they are only a beginner. As disciples, we don't just profess certain views about what we believe, but as we grow in our understanding of what it means to live as citizens of God's Kingdom, we find ways to practice the way of Jesus in every aspect of our lives here on earth.All month long, we are practicing the way of Jesus through fasting. Here are some examples of how to implement this spiritual habit of Jesus into our everyday lives.
Often times, we can look at fasting as nothing more than abstainingfrom something a removing of something from our lives. But what are we adding to our lives in place of what we've removed?
At times, we may resolve to fast from something from a specific meal or a specific activity but we aren'tintentional about how we fill that "hole" of time that was created by our fasting. It's in those moments that we may feel we've done half of what God's asked us to do by fasting. All that resulted from our fast was that we werehungry or tired, feeling like we merely skipped a meal or chose not to do something that we enjoy.
This week, if you're fasting from a meal or an activity, consider what you're doing with the margin that's been created, andask God to show you how He'd like you to spend that time. Perhaps a walkout in creation where you create space for God to speak to you?Maybe your time spent alone with Scripture wouldrestore your soul?Or you could beintentional aboutcaring or reaching out to someone who needs you. Whatever it is, ask God to show you what it is He would have you do with your time as you're fasting.