Thursday, April 30, 2009

Click here for printerfriendly outline for 5/3/09

Lifegroup map 5/3/09  “Will work for food”  John 6:1-15


Please choose any One of the following Ice breakers:

(Everyone doesn’t have to answer the same one… pick the one you like!)

·        What would you like to give away, that belongs to someone else?

·        How important is spending time with your family, to you?

·        Finish this sentence: “The problem with pirates is… ___________”


Life exploration time:  Read out-loud John 6:16-34


~ In Jn 6:16-21 John records where Jesus walks on the water.   How would you have responded to seeing Jesus, if you were one of the people in the boat?


~ In Jn 6:26, Jesus seems somewhat disappointed when He points out the real reason the people are seeking Him is because He recently fed them.  In reality, from time-to-time we all have similar self-centered, shallow motivations that push us toward Jesus… 

-Why is it hard for us to see/admit this self-centeredness in ourselves??


~ How do we “use” food to influence people today (Example: Pharmacy reps brining lunch into the doctor’s office to promote their product, business lunches to win favor with clients, church members inviting visitors/guests out for lunch after a worship service)?


~ In what ways do you see our contemporary “use” of food being inappropriate, and, in what ways is this appropriate to you?


~ What is the point Jesus is making in Jn 6:27 when He says not to labor for that which is perishable?


~ Why do people overly-focus on the here-and-now and disregard/ignore the reality of the afterlife?



Personal reflection:

Lifegroups are taking a break soon….  What will I miss about lifegroups over the summer?

Friday, April 24, 2009

Click here for the 4/26/09 printerfriendly outline

Lifegroup map 4/26/09

If you feed them they will come, really?” John 6:1-15

Please choose any One of the following Ice breakers:

(Everyone doesn’t have to answer the same one… pick the one you like!)

  • If you were to write a book, what would you title it?

  • Who was your best-friend growing up?

  • Which is better: Fed Ex, or UPS?

Life exploration time: Read out-loud John 6:1-15

~ How do you feel about Jesus “testing” Philip (see Jn 6:5-6)?

~ How do you like it when you feel like God is testing you?

~ Where can we apply this story of feeding people in our life?

~ Since we today as followers of Jesus aren’t too surprised by this miracle (were kind of use to it…) What does surprise you in this passage?

~ What do you suppose Jesus did once He withdrew by Himself (JN 6:15)?

Personal reflection:

Jesus refused to be conformed into their image of an earthly King. Am I pressing Jesus into my image more than I’m being formed into His image????

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Who's the real winner?

Perez Hilton (who I never even heard of before this week) was one of the judges of this year’s Miss USA pageant.  The event was narrowed down to five finalists when he asked Miss California a question about her views on States authorizing same-sex marriage.  Legalizing that type of union has polarized Americans along political parties for years; so the question wasn’t all that profound.  Hilton, inspired by Vermont’s recent legislative blunder, obviously asked the question to sabotage Miss California (Carrie Prejean), based on his lambasting her afterward on his blog...  By the way, Miss NC Kristen Dalton won the title, but so far no one on the news seems to remember her. 


The news industry has interviewed Miss Cal multiple times this week, at length, on her choice to not compromise her values and the subsequent cost she has paid.  I personally didn’t see the pageant, but I have seen a few of her news interviews.  Miss Cal has consistently made impressive remarks such as: she felt God leading her, God testing her, and she needed to represent the majority of people in America by being Biblically accurate.


The truth is, you and I can’t buy that much time on cable-news to share our faith!  Miss Cal has lost the Miss USA title, more than likely, for not compromising her values.  Who’s the real winner?  God is.  There are millions of people, now, who have heard the convictions of a beauty queen, that otherwise wouldn’t have reflected on God’s perspective.


The late Keith Green wrote an incredible song “Make my life a prayer” that begins with these words: “Make my life a prayer to You, I wanna do what You want me to.  No empty words and no white lies.  No token prayers no compromise…”  Whether or not Miss Cal is familiar with that song, she knows the point.


The publicity stunt Mr. Hilton tried to pull off by asking his loaded question reminds of the end of the book of Genesis.  Joseph, sold into slavery by his brothers as a youth, eventually becomes 2nd in command of the nation of Egypt.  Decades later Joseph is reunited with his family because the sever famine in the land drives them to Egypt to purchase food...  After their father Jacob died, Joseph’s brothers feel the need to conspire together once more.  They think Joseph will be vindictive and seek retribution.  So, they lie.  They tell Joseph that Jacob left them with instructions for Joseph, namely don’t hold anything from the past against them…. 


Joseph weeps.  He is visibly hurt by their underhanded deceit.  He then reveals that their evil, malicious, selfish intent, was actually used by God.  15 When Joseph's brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil that we did to him.” 16 So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, “Your father gave this command before he died, 17 ‘Say to Joseph, Please forgive the transgression of your brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you.’ And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke to him. 18 His brothers also came and fell down before him and said, “Behold, we are your servants.” 19 But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? 20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. 21 So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.” Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.” (Gen 50:15-21, ESV)


So, Mr. Hilton, your plan actually… it worked.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

click here for printer-friendly version of 4/19/09 outline

Lifegroup map 4/19/09 “What are you looking for, really?” John 5:30-46

Please choose any One of the following Ice breakers:

(Everyone doesn’t have to answer the same one… pick the one you like!)

  • What PC/internet game are you most addicted to???

  • Share the last time you tried something new in your faith.

  • Do you “twitter” online?

Life exploration time: Read out-loud John 5:30-46

~ What seems to be the major disagreement/contention, in this passage, that Jesus has with His audience?

~ It’s not always the easiest thing to do, to consistently apply the Bible accurately today as we weigh-out the meaning of God’s commands: Which instructions were temporary, or what ones are eternal...

i.e., grasping what was written only for them back then/what is always Biblically true for us today.

  • How do you avoid “picking & choosing” when you read the Bible?

~ Read JN 5:38-40.

  • What is Jesus pointing out by bringing up their absence of having the Word abiding/dwelling in them?

  • Why did their method of study/search of the Scriptures fall short?

  • How could they have read the Bible so thoroughly, systematically, and meticulously, and yet rejected Jesus?

~ How could these people have been such strict students of the Word, sincerely attempting to be faithful to interpreting the Word of God, but not have God’s love (see JN 5:42)?

Personal Reflection time:

What steps am I personally taking to avoid the mistake of habitual vain/futile/inept Bible Study habits?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

No lifegroup outline for this week... but

This week most of our Lifegroups are not going to meet.  Some people will be out of town visiting with their extended families, dozens of NE folks will be too groggy after the Lads to Leaders convention... and then some people will simply be home quietly celebrating with their family.

I guess this a long way of saying there's no plan to prepare an outline for group this week.
Well, what if our group decides to meet anyway?  What can we talk about?
Here's a few topics that might generate some discussion (after you read the Resurrection account, in one of the Gospels, together):
1. What is the attraction to an Easter service for people that typically avoid "church"?
2. How has the Resurrection of Jesus shaped my view of reality?
3. The Resurrection was revealed within a community setting, and to be shared publicly.  Why would anyone attempt to celebrate the Resurrection apart from a community of believers?
4.  Finish this sentence, "Since there is future Resurrection of all people __________...." 

Wherever you find yourself this Sunday I hope that the deeper meaning of the Easter story brightens your day, and God's live giving love shines through whatever darkness this world throws your way!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Click here for a printer-friendly version of the 4/5/09 outline

Lifegroup map 4/5/09  “House of Mercy”  John 5:1-18


Please choose any One of the following Ice breakers:

(Everyone doesn’t have to answer the same one… pick the one you like!)

·        Explain how you’d come up with better Icebreakers than Craig’s…

·        Which is the most important ministry a Church can provide?

·        Did anyone pull-off a good “April fool’s” joke on you this past week?


Life exploration time:  Read out-loud John 5:1-18


Summary of JN 5:1-18

Jesus is traveling to Jerusalem for an unnamed Jewish religious feast (there were three main festivals all Jewish males were required to attend annually in the OT).  Jesus appears near the sheep gate where the pool of Bethesda is.  There’s an ancient, near-mythological, story of an angel healing the 1st person to enter the water whenever the angel stirs up the water.  Jesus miraculously heals a completely helpless man who has been immobilized for 38 years… on the Sabbath, and incurs the ire of the Jews because of their extra-biblical regard for Sabbath regulations.  BTW: Bethesda literally means “House of Mercy.”  Jesus equates Himself with God as He identifies Himself as God’s Son; this is then considered grounds for killing Jesus by the Jews. 


~ What would it feel like to YOU to be completely helpless for 38 years, and, how would that affect a person?


~ Why do you suppose Jesus asked him if he wanted to be healed?


~ Explain why Jesus instructs this particular man in JN 5:14 not to sin?


~ From 5:7 & 5:13 the man (#1.) wasn’t expecting Jesus to heal him, and (#2.) he didn’t know who Jesus was.  Jesus still takes a risk and heals him on (#3.) the Sabbath day.  Why do you think Jesus heals this man despite these three particular circumstances?


~ How can we as followers of God avoid such attitudes and the type of mistakes the Jews in this story made?  (Mistakes such as prioritizing rules over people, misunderstanding God, and being contrarian towards God.)  After all—these Jews were well-intentioned & thought they were honoring God!


Personal reflection:

Am I really introducing people to God… more than I’m potentially interfering with their connecting with God?