a people of service

NOTE: Following is a copy of the discussion guide that will be used in MoSt Church‘s LIFE groups tomorrow night. This discussion guide works the same subjects and primary texts as the Sunday morning sermon. You’ll find these guides categorized each week under the category title LIFE group guides.

Aim

To raise our awareness and increase our sensitivity to the fact that the church that truly belongs to Christ is so sold out to God and infused with hope in him that it is given over to serving others in his name.

Scripture

“Before the Festival of Passover, Jesus knew that his time had come to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them fully.

Jesus and his disciples were sharing the evening meal. The devil had already provoked Judas, Simon Iscariot’s son, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew the Father had given everything into his hands and that he had come from God and was returning to God. So he got up from the table and took off his robes. Picking up a linen towel, he tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a washbasin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he was wearing. When Jesus came to Simon Peter, Peter said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”

Jesus replied, “You don’t understand what I’m doing now, but you will understand later.”

“No!” Peter said. “You will never wash my feet!”

Jesus replied, “Unless I wash you, you won’t have a place with me.”

Simon Peter said, “Lord, not only my feet but also my hands and my head!”

Jesus responded, “Those who have bathed need only to have their feet washed, because they are completely clean. You disciples are clean, but not every one of you.” He knew who would betray him. That’s why he said, “Not every one of you is clean.”

After he washed the disciples’ feet, he put on his robes and returned to his place at the table. He said to them, “Do you know what I’ve done for you? You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you speak correctly, because I am. If I, your Lord and teacher, have washed your feet, you too must wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example: just as I have done, you also must do. I assure you, servants aren’t greater than their master, nor are those who are sent greater than the one who sent them. Since you know these things, you will be happy if you do them.” (John 13:1-17 CEB)

Open

Icebreaker questions are intended to get all of us talking. Choose one of the following to discuss as a group.

1. Describe the last time someone, from their own choosing, did something for you. How did it make you feel?

2. What is something you have done for someone that in the moment seemed laborious, costly, or tedious, but now, looking back, you’re really glad you did it?

Dig

These questions are meant to help us grapple directly with the sermon’s primary Scripture text.

1. In light of this story (John 13:1-17) and this example, what does it mean, to “wash each other’s feet?”

2. How does vs.1 of this account, especially the last phrase of vs.1, color the way you hear this story?

3. At first, Peter resists Jesus washing his feet. What is Peter concerned he, or Jesus, would lose by foot-washing?

Reflect

These questions facilitate our sharing what we sense God’s Spirit is doing with us through his word.

1. Engage this statement: “To not live in service to others is to live selfishly, to live without our Savior in mind.”

2. What does a church become if it has no abiding, pervasive sense of service among its general membership?

3. The world’s false narrative is “Look out for #1.” The gospel says: “Lay down your life for others.” What are the biggest barriers within you to becoming more of a servant in your walk with the Lord?

4. Can you recall from memory the heart of the gospel as expressed in Mark 10:45? Quote it … or discover it.

5. What’s the difference between being a servant of others and being a doormat of others?

6. What are some other passages in Scripture which speak powerfully to you of the church being a servant people?

7. As a group, brainstorm very specific, practical ways a Christian can live less for self and more for others in a variety of scenarios (home, work, church, daily life, etc.). That is, how you can you develop a vision for a “ministry of small things?” For example: “I could park further away when I go somewhere, deliberately leaving the closer parking spots for others.”

this went thru my mind

Archaeology: I dig Ben Witherington’s two part series entitled The Oldest Temple in the World. Here are links to part one and part two.

Church: Joe McKeever’s 6 Things We Have To Get Right in Church or It’s All Over is spot-on.

Communion: I really like Matt Dabbs’ Sharing the Lord’s Supper Around Tables.

Dumbness: In droves, apparently. Scroll down here and read the item at 5:14 p.m. and weep. Good grief, this is almost enough to make me adopt the NIV 2011, the successor to the TNIV.

Fathers: Tomorrow is Father’s Day. Let me tell you, when it comes to being blessed with a good Dad, I am so blessed. Thank you, Heavenly Father, for Ray Paul Smith of Duncan, OK! And while we’re thinking about all things father-related, take a look at the PewResearch Center’s post entitled A Tale of Two Fathers: More are Active, But More are Absent. May all of our fathers comes to worship our Father.

Giving: Our Governor Rick Perry’s monetary religious giving has been in the news of late. Seems as how Perry gave a grand total of (wait for it) … goose egg to his church or any other religious organization in 2009. Actually, that almost sounds better than owning up that he only gave a total of $90 in 2007. In fact, according to his tax returns, he’s given of 0.5% of the $2.68 million he’s earned as governor since 2000. Given how he’s been banging the drum lately about prayer, etc., that’s got to be a wee bit embarrassing. Especially when the average American Christian gives a whopping … 1.2%. (sigh) The Gov, and many of us, can do better.

Immigration / racism / scapegoating: Roger Olson’s post entitled Scapegoating: an old human habit still around in attitudes and actions towards illegal immigrants? should give us all some pause.

Just for fun: Stormtroopers 365 is very creative photography of Star Wars stormtroopers in “real life” situations.

Research: ATLASerials® is an online, full-text collection of 177 major religion and theology journals (327,700+ articles). But did you know that if you’re a graduate of Abilene Christian University that you have free online access to ATLASerials®? ‘Tis true! Claudia Greer’s post entitled For Those Who Preach will tell you what you need to do. If you’re an ACU graduate, contact Craig Churchill, ACU’s Theological Librarian, for information as to how you can gain access. If you’re not an ACU graduate, check the listing of other participating institutions that offer such access to their graduates.