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Why We Gather Week 03 (Leader Guide)

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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 moment or quote from the sermon resonated with you, consider posting it to Twitter or Instagram. Here's a sample: I'm now commemorating what God has done in my life with a new family tradition. Ask me about it. #WhyWeGather #cfchurch
Read Exodus 13:3,9-14
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.

KEY REMINDERS
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.

BEGIN HERE WITH YOUR GROUP
Next Steps for Group Leaders

Throughout this series, this section will have some leadership next steps to implement in the life of your Group.

(Week 3)The time will come when others in your Group are called to launch out and create a Group. When that happens, be sure to plan a "Launch Party," where you'll eat good food, hear the hopes and prayers of the leaders who are stepping up, and commission/pray for them as they are sent out.

Setting the Tone: (Say Aloud, 1 minute)
Every time we gather, we'll practice a ground rule, goal, or value as a group.This week, let's work together to ensure that our Group is a safe place for others to openly share about what God has done in theirlives. More often than not, ourfaith is wrongly described as a private matter, and so, we don't share how God has shown Himself in our lives, even among our fellow Christians. When someone opens up and recounts God's presence in their life, let's give them our full attention and thank them for sharing afterwards. Let's doeverything wecan to protect and encourage this behavior, including modeling it ourselvesby openly sharing with the group.

Focus of this Week's Message: (Say Aloud, 1 minute)
God commands us to actively and specifically commemorate what He has done in our lives, as this helps us to collectively trust in Him and draws us closer to each other as a community of faith.

Opening Prayer: (1 minute)
Pray the following prayer for your Group. Make the words your own.

(Pray Aloud) Dear God, allow us to see how your hand is active in our lives. Help us to remember what you have done for us, enable us to trust in your faithfulness, and give us the courage to share these experiences with others. May our words and actions bring glory to your name, and give others the encouragement to trust you more deeply. Reveal yourself to us, even in the busyness of our lives, and help us to be intentional about openly remembering You. 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: (Say Aloud, 5 minutes)
In the Bible, God's providence was sometimes commemorated with a song (Exodus 15:1-21), or a physical monument (Genesis 28:16-19), or an annual festival (Exodus 13:9-10). This week, let's practice some "Show & Tell" inregards to some of the tangible things that remind us of how God is at work.

  • Cananyone describefor the group some physical objectsthat remind you of something that God did in your life? Are any of those memoriesattached to anything that you wear, or something in your pocket or purse or phone?
  • Do you have traditions, places, songs, jewelry, post-it notes, or other tangible things which trigger memories of what God has done?
  • Has anyone in the group come from a different Christian tradition (for example Catholicism or Eastern Orthodoxy) which emphasize visual representations of God? How did including this in your worship help you encounter and remember God?

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.

Questions for Basic Understanding:
This part of the group discussion is about gaining a big picture, "lay of the land" view of what's happening in Scripture.

  • What had the Israelites seen God do on their behalf to deliver them from Egypt? (If needed, skimthrough the earlier chapters of Exodus for some examples.)
  • What are the Israelites specifically commanded to do in Exodus 13:3-13? What verbs jump out at you in this text? What would you think of observing these practices today?
  • In Exodus 13, God is commanding His people to commemorate how He delivered them from Egypt, specifically with the Passover. The ways in which they are instructed to commemorate the event also mirror specific elements of how God saved them. They are even instructed to not use yeast and have unleavened bread, as they did when leaving Egypt. Can you think of anyexamples ofChristian rituals, symbols, or traditions thatare connected to memories of whatGod has done?

Questions for Listening to Scripture:
This part of the group discussion is about wrestling with the meaning of what Scripture is saying.

  • A key element of most family gatherings is a telling of stories from our common history together. These stories (for example: "Remember the time Uncle Bob fell and broke his leg") serve to draw us together as a community. In Exodus 13, as well as other places in Scripture, God commands his people to come together for communal remembrances. Yet, today'sculture has lost its sense of cohesion and identity. How can we as a church visibly model what it means to remember a shared family history?
  • In Exodus 13, we see God commanding the Israelites to commemorate the day that Hedelivered them from Egypt. However, in Exodus 14, we see the job is not done yet, for Pharaoh is pursuing them and God will need to save them yet again. In Exodus 13:14 it even foreshadows that hard times are coming "in the days to come". How does remembering and commemorating what God has done in the past help us to trust Him in the present and future?

Questions for Being Examined by Scripture:
This part of the group discussion is when we ask God how He wants to take these words from the pages of the Story of Scripture, apply them to our hearts and lives, and call us to move on what He is saying to us.

  • Describe a time when God came through for you. Take some time to openly share your personal testimonies or a recent time when God came through for you. (Keep in mind that not everyone will be ready to share in this way. In addition, these stories can take some time to share, so you may want to spread them out over several gatherings.)
  • What situation do you need to trust God with right now?
  • How can the group pray for you?
  • How has hearing the group speak about God's faithfulness impacted your thinking about your situation?

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.

Spend some time individually in prayer, thanking God for the times he has come through for you. Be specific and detailed in your dialogue with God.

Then, comeback together and pray for each other, especially any situations or concerns that were raised previously. Use words of confidence in God's faithfulness in your prayers, and pray boldly and specifically for His providence in that situation.

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