Sunday, January 13, 2019

Airplane Mode: You're Too Connected

Matthew 17:14-21, Luke 18:1


Intro:

What things in your life get in the way of you having a consistent prayer life?

Why do you think prayer is oftentimes a "last resort" instead of a first priority for us?

Does anyone have a routine that has helped them in their prayer life? (Specific place, time, resource, practice?)


Scripture Discussion & Application:

Read Luke 18:1

Jesus tells the parable of the persistent widow to help illustrate a few things on prayer. What are some things (big and small) that you need to bring to God in prayer that you haven't yet?

Read Matthew 17:14-21

What does being "connected to God" mean to you? What does that look like?

What are ways that have worked for you that help you to connect with God?

What are other big things in your life that you are connected to (outside of God)? Are those things hurting your relationship with God?

Worship is really about the call and response for connection. How do you see yourself worshiping who/what you're connected to?


Next Steps:

If you haven't already, lay out these things in your life to help you gain some traction with your connection with God:

1. Determine a time of day. Set a literal "meeting" with God on your schedule so that your time won't get taken up by something else.

2. Determine a setting of where you will pray. (At the kitchen table while kids are getting ready to go to school probably isn't good. At your desk while employees/boos are calling and stopping by to ask you questions probably isn't good.)

3. Pick a resource to help your prayer time be productive. (21 days of prayer guide, praying through Scripture, using a devotional guide, etc.)

4. Consider fasting from something to help you connect better with God. (What are you doing/eating/participating in that takes too much energy and focus from God?)


How to Pray This Week:

Ask God to bring to light the things that are blocking your connection with Him. Confess these things, and ask God to guide you in how you handle reprioritizing them.

Use the Next Steps we discussed to improve your connection with God this week.

21 Days of Prayer - Be sure to participate in our church's 21 days of prayer. Use the guide from the cards you received on Sunday, or follow along on Facebook.


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Happenings

21 Days of Prayer - Be sure to participate in our church's 21 days of prayer. Use the guide from the cards you received on Sunday, or follow along on Facebook.

Night of Prayer - January 27th at 5pm

What: This is the church-wide culmination of our annual 21 days of prayer. After uniting in prayer as individuals/families/rGroups for 21 dis, we'll set the tone for the rest of the year by gathering everyone together for worship in song and prayer. We'll praise God in song, and then small groups will break out and pray through the topics on our prayer guides. Childcare will be provided for children 0-3 years old; children 4 and up are invited to attend with their families.

Where: Each campus will hold a simultaneous, one-hour night of prayer.

Why: We know prayer is a lifestyle, not just a one-off event. The night of prayer will help us envision what it looks like to continue to faithfully pray through the topics in our prayer guides throughout the year, whether individually or in our families or rGroups. This Night of Prayer is both an end and a beginning, as we commission out the entire church to Confess, Change and Act all year long.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Airplane Mode: Do This First

1 Samuel 1:1-20


Intro:

Have you ever been in a situation in which you knew you should pray, but for whatever reason you didn't?


Scripture Discussion & Application:

1 Sam. 1:1-2

Peninnah constantly reminded Hannah that she was blessed while Hannah wasn't. Have you ever been there – feeling so unblessed? How do you respond?

Have you ever been in a place where some troubling circumstances has taken your thoughts and separates you from the joy you have in the Lord?

1 Sam. 1:3-8

Interesting fact: Every time God introduced a woman in the Bible and said she was barren, He introduces a miraculous birth. What's this tell you about God?

When God's people begin with nothing but God, it is then He works. God's tendency is to take our total inability and make it His starting point? What's something that you need God to start?

1 Sam. 1:9-20

This story isn't about having children or not having children. What's it really about?
(It's about seeing a sovereign God and coming to Him with empty hands and a broken heart.)

Have you ever been in a place where the only person you could turn to was God?

Prayer doesn't get us things, it shows us things. Hannah was comforted because she realized that God was in control. How can you relate to this?

After Hannah's prayer, her heart was focused. What's it like when your heart is focused on God?

How can we continue to move forward as we wait for the Lord to answer our prayers? What's the key or secret to waiting?


Next Steps:

Are you in a situation that has you in despair? Spend some quality time with God this week and allow His presence in your life to set things back in prospective.

God will answer prayer... sometimes He answers immediately and sometimes He answers "in due time." What action steps should you take during your season of waiting?


How to Pray This Week:

Try this - In every scenario you encounter, pray first!

When you pray this week, pray from your heart (feelings) instead of your mind (thoughts). Don't get caught up in figuring out the right words, but approach the Lord with the right heart.

Pray along with our church for the 21 days of prayer.


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Happenings

21 Days of Prayer - Be sure to participate in our church's 21 days of prayer. Use the guide from the cards you received on Sunday, or follow along on Facebook.

Monday, December 31, 2018

Called to Testify (South Fork Campus)

Mark 5:1-20


Intro:

From biographical books to reality TV, many people are fascinated by stories about others' lives. What makes us so captivated by learning about other people? What makes for the most interesting stories?


Scripture Discussion & Application:

Read Mark 5:1-5

What stands out to you about this man's condition?

In this story, demons have seized control of this man in his sinful condition and are pushing him to self-destruction. What's an example of a way that sin has proved destructive in your life?

Read Mark 5:6-13

Jesus had the power to free this man from hurting himself and others when no one else could. What's an example of a time in your life when Jesus has freed you from something that was hurting you or others?

The demons beg Jesus not to torment them. Why do you think they say that?
(For leaders: Jesus saves people by breaking the power of evil – sin, Satan and the world – over them. Only when evil is removed and punished are God's people truly free. For followers of Jesus, our evil has been punished on Jesus on the cross. The demons know that Jesus is right to punish them with eternal hell, so they try to buy time by asking that he not do it immediately.)

Read Mark 5:14-17

After being freed by Jesus, this man is radically changed. What are one or two big changes in your life since you've begun a personal relationship with Jesus?

Read Mark 5:18-20

Rather than letting the Gerasene man come with him in the boat, Jesus sends him back to tell people in his country about what Jesus did for him. Why would that have been hard for the man? Why would Jesus tell him to do it?

Why do you think Jesus has decided to spread his message of salvation through witnesses like the Geresene man, you and me instead of through some other means?


Next Steps:

Although we know that as followers of Jesus we should live bold and share our faith and our stories of life change, sometimes we're resistant to do so. What are some things that keep us from living bold?

Sometimes practice helps. Think through your stories of life change though Jesus and practice telling them to friends or family that you're comfortable with. Make a goal to tell one new person one story involving Jesus every week.


How to Pray This Week:

Reflect on how much grace you've received from Jesus. Then spend time in prayer thanking Jesus for the ways that he's found, freed, changed and sent you.

Ask God to embolden you to share Jesus' story through your story regularly. Ask him to help you look for good opportunities and to confidently take them when they occur.


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Happenings

21 Days of Prayer (Launch Service)
January 6th, 5pm at South Fork Campus

This is the kickoff to our yearly 21 days of prayer as a church. What better way to start off our year than by gathering to focus our hearts and minds on prayer as 2019 is beginning. We will worship through singing, corporate prayer, and hearing stories of answered prayers from 2018. This service is designed to help you see how God works through prayer and how you can apply prayer to your life and relationship with God this year. Prayer guides for 21 Days of Prayer will be in seats at the AM and PM services so we can aim or prayers to the same focus each day.

The Change Formula (North Campus)

Mark 10:46-52



Intro:

What were some of the goals you achieved in 2018?

What were some of the resolutions you did not keep?

Do you typically love or hate change?


Scripture Discussion & Application:

The formula for change is: (Dissatisfaction x Vision) + Next Steps > Resistance


Read Mark 10:46-48

Dissatisfaction:

Can you relate (metaphorically) to Bartimaeus' situation in life? How so?

Is there anything going on in your life that makes you cry out to Jesus?

What areas of sin do you need to become really dissatisfied with in order to change?

What will happen if you don't understand how dissatisfying sin is?


Read Mark 10:49-52a

Vision:

Bartimaeus knew exactly what his vision was – to see. Do you have a vision for your life? What is it?

Is there anything you know the Lord has called you to do?

What's been on your 'radar' for quite some time, and you just can't wait any longer to pursue?

We see in verse 52 that Jesus blessed Bartimaeus' request/vision. How can you be sure that God will bless yours?


Read Mark 10:52

Next Steps:

Bartimaeus immediately followed Jesus after receiving his sight. Is there an area in your life where you received a blessing but have stopped pursuing God with?

Why is taking next steps of most importance to your vision?

What do you think your next step in following Jesus is?


Read Mark 10:48

Resistance:

What's keeping you from taking your next steps?

Which one of the following Resistance Factors is prohibiting you the most?
Procrastination, Perfectionism, Other People, Distractions, No Time, Fear, or Environment

What can you do to overcome the resistance keeping you from what God desires for you?


Which part of the Change Formula do you need to focus on most?
Dissatisfaction, Vision, Next Steps, or Resistance?

What change do you believe God wants you to make in 2019?


How to Pray This Week:

Spend some time in prayer, asking God to help everyone overcome the resistance to the change God desires of them.

Pray for anything specific that a group member has mentioned in your discussion.


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Happenings
21 Days of Prayer (Launch Service)
January 6th, 5pm at South Fork Campus
This is the kickoff to our yearly 21 days of prayer as a church. What better way to start off our year than by gathering to focus our hearts and minds on prayer as 2019 is beginning. We will worship through singing, corporate prayer, and hearing stories of answered prayers from 2018. This service is designed to help you see how God works through prayer and how you can apply prayer to your life and relationship with God this year. Prayer guides for 21 Days of Prayer will be in seats at the AM and PM services so we can aim or prayers to the same focus each day.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

A Thrill of Hope: Baby Soft Skin

2 Kings 5:1–14



Intro:

When you were a kid, what was one of the things on your Christmas list that you hoped for the most? Did you ever get it?


Scripture Discussion & Application:

Read 2 Kings 5:1–7

Put yourself in Naaman's place. How would you feel knowing that you held a position of power and authority and yet suffered a skin disease you could do nothing about?

Have you ever felt hopeless like that? Frustrated that there was something in your life you could not control or fix? How can those times be beneficial in our relationship with God?

Why are we sometimes disappointed with the way God or other people respond to our requests?

What might out disappointment reveal about our hearts? (See Romans 12:3)

Compare and contrast Naaman and the servant girl.

What do you think this girl must have believed to be true about God in order to tell Naaman how he could be helped?

How do her actions remind you of what Jesus did for us in the gospel?

Let's not forget the fact that this girl was a slave, taken from her home. She could have been bitter about her circumstances, but instead she chose the path of hope. How have you let your current circumstances steal your hope in Jesus?

Read 2 Kings 5:8–14

What does Naaman's response to Elisha (vv. 11–12) reveal about his opinion of himself? How might such an opinion produce disappointment – instead of hope – in our relationship with God?

Why do you think God required Naaman to receive healing by dipping in the Jordan River? What was God trying to teach Naaman?


Next Steps:

What are the biggest sources of disappointment in your life right now? More importantly, how can you place your hope in Jesus?

Who do you know that you wish you could share the message of hope with? What keeps you from doing it? What steps can you take towards having the conversation?


How to Pray This Week:

Spend some time in prayer, asking God to help you find hope and satisfaction in Him alone.

Pray that God would humble us so that we would both seek Him and help those around us seek Him.


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Happenings

Christmas Eve Eve Service
Sunday, December 23rd at 5pm at both campuses.
There is no rWorld for the evening service.
(Sunday morning services are still happening that day as well. Normal schedule for those.)

21 Days of Prayer (Launch Service)
January 6th, 5pm at South Fork Campus
This is the kickoff to our yearly 21 days of prayer as a church. What better way to start off our year than by gathering to focus our hearts and minds on prayer as 2019 is beginning. We will worship through singing, corporate prayer, and hearing stories of answered prayers from 2018. This service is designed to help you see how God works through prayer and how you can apply prayer to your life and relationship with God this year. Prayer guides for 21 Days of Prayer will be in seats at the AM and PM services so we can aim or prayers to the same focus each day.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Flip the Switch: Idol Worshippers

Intro:

Have you ever had this thought: If I don't have ______, I won't be happy? If you're willing to share, what was or is that for you? Or what might you fill the blank with if you asked yourself this question?

Imagine yourself literally bowing down to worship a golden idol. What stands out to you about the emptiness of idols and idol worship?


Scripture Discussion & Application:

1 John 5:18

How does knowing that you're a child of God actually keep you from sinning (placing anything above Him)?

What's the danger in trying to find identity and belonging in anything apart from God? How does that actually hurt us?

1 John 5:19

Why does it seem so natural to seek things of this world for our security and comfort?

What does it look like for a child of God to love life but not to rely on things of this world for security and comfort?

1 John 5:20

When we have a relationship with Jesus, our perspective and understanding of life and our purpose begins to be directed by Him. What happens when we find ourselves looking elsewhere for perspective, understanding and purpose?

1 John 5:21

An idol is anything that take's God's place in our hearts. Have you identified any idols in your life? Grab a piece of paper and a pen, and quickly write out your answers to these questions:

1. What do you value the most?
2. What do you think about the most?
3. What are you seeking the most in life?
4. What do you always have time and money for?
5. What would you sacrifice for?
6. What do you trust in?
7. What are you terrified to lose?
8. What do you desire and dream about?

You may have noticed that some of your answers were actually good things. So how can you turn your focus towards God's heart without abandoning important responsibilities?

Can anyone in the group share of a time that Christ set them free from an idol in their lives? How did Jesus help you? What were you like before and after?


Next Steps:

What needs to change in order to remove idols in your life?

How do you need help to make sure idols don't sneak back into first place?

What's one thing you can start doing this week in order to "guard" or "keep away" from anything that might take God's place in your heart?


How to Pray This Week:

Confess to God that your sinful heart draws you away from Him to other things.

Ask God to give you clear sight and remove the "blinders" that keep you on guard against.

Ask God to forgive you for your spiritual adultery.

Pray for help from worshipping the many good gifts God's given you instead of thanking and worshiping Him for them.


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Happenings

Christmas Eve Eve Service
Sunday, December 23rd at 5pm at both campuses.
There is no rWorld for the evening service.
(Sunday morning services are still happening that day as well. Normal schedule for those.)



Sunday, November 18, 2018

Flip the Switch: Overcome the World

1 John 5:1–5


Scripture Discussion & Application

1 John 5:1–2

John says if we love God and believe in Him, then we will love others. Our belief should dictate our behavior. How have you seen your love for God enable you to begin to love those who are 'hard' to love?

In light of that view and God's calling, how will your actions toward people change?

1 John 5:2

Loving God's children is a way to love God and obey Him. Here are some Biblical examples of how to love others. Which ones are easy for you? Which ones are hard?

1. Put them first. (Phil. 2:3)
2. Seek their good. (1 Thess. 5:15)
3. Ask for their forgiveness / forgive them. (Col. 3:13)
4. Listen to them. (James 1:19)
5. Include them. (1 Peter 4:9)
6. Be generous to them. (2 Cor. 9:11)
7. Sacrifice for them. (Jn. 15:13)
8. Encourage them with the gospel. (1 Thess. 5:11)
9. Pray for them. (James 5:16)

1 John 5:3

God has rules and tells us to do things/not do things, but His rules aren't meant to be a hassle for us to follow and obey. Why is it that we see God's commandments as burdensome instead of helpful?

What was it like when you obeyed God in spite of what you wanted and saw it turn out to be for the best?

1 John 5:4–5

If faith is what ensures our victory over the world, what can you do to "feed your faith"?

When/how/where is your faith the strongest?

Where in your day-to-day life do you feel defeated by the world? How can the application of faith help you overcome your battle(s)?

How do you see the connection between faith, love and obedience?


Next Steps

Love God and others. Pick a few of the ways to love others (discussed above) and commit to love others this week by doing those things. Which ones will you do?

Obey God. Identify the area(s) in your life where you know you're disobeying God. Confess your sins to God, turn back towards Him, and ask Him and others to help you obey what He's called you to do. What's one way you will obey this week?

Feed your faith. Choose one of the following ways to feed your faith:
- Gratitude by looking back at all God has done
- Taking another step of faith to keep moving forward
- Give it all to God and depend on Him completely
Which one(s) do you choose to build your faith?


How To Pray This Week

Pray that your group will understand the connection between our faith, love and obedience to God. Ask God to shine a light on areas in which we need to grow towards Him more, and that we will be obedient to what He's called us to do.


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Happenings

Communion
Sunday, November 25th
Use this week as a chance to serve together, host a party and invite new people, or hang out together outside of your usual meeting place. As we church people say, "do life" together.

Christmas Eve Eve Service
Sunday, December 23rd at 5pm at both campuses.
There is no rWorld for the evening service.
(Sunday morning services are still happening that day as well. Normal schedule for those.)