(Note for Group Leaders) To make things easier for you, we have combined the Leader and Participant Guides into one. Please remember that we have provided you with too much group content and that's on purpose! As the Group Leader, you are free to choose the elements that will help everyone to engage with the message, and leave the rest.
BEFORE YOU GATHER
Prepare for Your Group: (10-90 minutes)
- Familiarize yourself with this Group Discussion Guide
- If you missed it, CLICK HERE to watch the weekend sermon
- Read John 6:1-15
- 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)
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.
Pray that God would open our hearts and minds to His calling. Pray that God will speak to us during this time and reveal Himself to us. Pray that our technical calculations would make way to faith calculations and that we would always remember who is with us.
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)
(Note for Group Leaders) There are more questions than you will likely have time to get through. Choose the questions that resonate the most deeply with you and your Group.
This weekend's message came from John 6:1-15. If everyone has a Bible, let's go there together.
- Philip and Andrew represent two different approaches to an impossible situation. Philip used his reasoning, and concluded, "it's too hard, so why try?" Andrew tried to do everything by his own efforts, but found it is not nearly enough. Which of these two approaches do you gravitate towards? What examples of these approaches do you have from your own life?
- In order for our faith to be tested, we must first get in over our heads, way beyond what our own reasoning or efforts can achieve. In other words, we run out of wine, like in Cana. In America, our lives are very controlled, and we often have everything we need. At what times in your life did you find you were not "enough?" How did God come through for you? And how does that past experience of faith inform your present challenges?
- When God tests our faith, He often upends our expectations by coming through in a way we did not expect. He takes the meager things we bring to Him and then does amazing things with it. What loaves and fishes have you withheld? Why?
- What is God calling you to that scares you? How is He testing your faith? What opportunities do you see around you to exercise your faith?
- When is Jesus going to be "enough" for you? Why is it so hard to depend on Him, instead of ourselves?
- As a group, discuss what you are doing to help those who are hungering, and what you could do together as a group to meet these needs.
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 God would show us how He is testing our faith. Pray that God will take us past our own reasoning and efforts, and into uncharted territory, where our faith becomes our sight. Pray that God will show us the opportunities to exercise the faith that He is calling us to.
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 worship. Here are some examples of how to implement this spiritual habit of Jesus into our everyday lives.
Worship is simply defined as offering praise and adoration to God. But how do we offer this adoration, and what does it look like? In a church setting, we often associate this with singing songs of praise. Dallas Willard speaks of "practicing the presence of God", which is to "direct and redirect our minds constantly to Him." The Puritan Thomas Watson wrote of "the musing of the mind upon God," and compared worship to being in love, the Object of our love occupying our constant thought and attention. Dallas Willard reminds us that worship 'is not another job we have to do," but rather "the constant undertone of our lives."
Take some time this week to intentionally instill a mindset of worship. Try some of these things as you are able:
- Listen to praise music, singing along with all your heart.
- Write a poem to God, recounting what He means to you.
- Get up to watch the sunrise and marvel at God's creation.
- Take a hike in nature and talk to God while you move.
- Find a Psalm that speaks of Gods awesomeness, and meditate on it.
- Practice praying continuously, offering up your thoughts to God like an ongoing conversation with a close friend.
- Post scripture verses about God's greatness in the places you will see them often.
- Memorize scriptures that will take your mind back to God, especially when you are anxious.
- Read first-hand accounts of the saints and their encounters with God.
In all these things, keep it simple. The point is to keep your thoughts on the admiration of God, not on the activity itself.