(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 HEREto watch the weekend sermon
Read John 7
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.
As you open with prayer, ask the Lord to be with you as you discuss Jesus' example of trusting God's timing, knowing Jesus as your Savior, and being thirsty for the living water of Jesus. Ask God to give everyone courage to be open to share and encourage each other.
Quick Connection: (5 minutes)
Haveeveryone 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 youwill 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 7. If everyone has a Bible, let's go there together.
Have you ever had someone in your life who doesn't "get you" or your life's mission, and they're also the person who is overly critical of you, or tries to give you advice? How does Jesus' life experience tell you that he can understand what that's like for you?
God does not always explain His ways, plans and purposes to us. How have you learned to trust God in confusing times when you do not see the full plan? Share a time when you were perhaps frustrated by God's plan, and also share the eventual outcome.
There is a difference between knowing about Christ and knowing Christ. Belief in Jesus requires a relationship with Jesus first, and then studying Him further (John 7:17). Has this been true in your experience with Jesus?
In John 7:37, Jesus says, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink." Pastor Steve talked about spiritual dehydration. How are you doing tonight? Are you feeling thirsty, or perhaps don't even realize how thirsty you are? How do you stay spiritually hydrated?
Jesus wants our community group to be a refreshing place, to make us into springs of water where everyone else can come drink. What practical actions can you as an individual, or as a group, take this week and, in future weeks, to be life-giving to each other and our neighbors?
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.
Is anyone struggling with understanding God's timing and plan? Is anyone feeling spiritually dehydrated? As we close in prayer, let's encourage each other to lean into Jesus and bring refreshment to each other.
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 a habit which shows love and devotion to Jesus and fills us up at the same time. While music is probably the most common form of worship, it is just one of the ways we can demonstrate love, devotion and adoration to Jesus as our Savior.
The setting of John 7 is the Feast of Tabernacles, where the Jews gathered in Jerusalem and in their villages each year to both remember how God provided for them in the past, and to live in hopeful anticipation for the future. This is a wonderful exercise to worship Jesus – to remember and hope. This week, try spending time recalling times in your life where God was present, trustworthy and a Provider. Writing these experiences down or reading through past journals aregreat ideas. As you recall, worship God by praising and thanking Him. And then allow those remembrances to build your faith and put hope into your present circumstances. You can say something like, "Jesus, You were faithful when You __________, and I know I can trust You to work with _____________."
This act of worship will bring honor to Jesus, and it will satisfy your soul. It will quench your thirst.
1 Chronicles 16:9-12
Sing to Him, sing praise to Him; tell of all His wonderful acts.
Glory in His holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always.
Remember the wonders He has done, His miracles, and the judgments He has pronounced.