devoted: the eyes have it

 

NOTE: Following is a copy of the discussion guide that will be used in MoSt Church’s LIFE groups tomorrow, Nov. 4. This guide will enable your follow-up of my sermon tomorrow morning entitled Devoted: The Eyes Have It. Look under the category title “LIFE group guides” and you’ll find an archive of previous discussion guides. All Scripture quotations below are from the Common English Bible (CEB)

Aim

To explore what it means to devote our eyes, our vision, to God.

Word

• The woman saw that the tree was beautiful with delicious food and that the tree would provide wisdom, so she took some of its fruit and ate it, and also gave some to her husband … (Gen. 3.6)

• Lot looked up and saw the entire Jordan Valley. (Gen. 13.10)

• Then he brought Abram outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars if you think you can count them. He continued, “This is how many children you will have.” (Gen. 15.5)

• Don’t take a bribe, because a bribe blinds the clear-sighted … (Exodus 23.8)

• How is it that I’ve found favor in your eyes, that you notice me? I’m an immigrant. (Ruth 2.10)

• I’ve made a covenant with my eyes; how could I look at a virgin? (Job 31.1)

• Those who look to God will shine; their faces are never ashamed. (Psalm 34.5)

• Turn my eyes away from looking at worthless things. Make me live by your way. (Psalm 119.37)

• There are six things that the Lord hates, seven things detestable to him: snobbish eyes … (Prov. 6.16-17a)

• The poor and their oppressors have a common bond—the LORD gives light to the eyes of both. (Prov. 29.13)

• An eye that mocks a father … may the ravens of the river valley peck it out … (Prov. 30.17)

• The eye is the lamp of the body. Therefore, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. (Matt. 6.22-23)

• No one who puts a hand on the plow and looks back is fit for God’s kingdom. (Luke 9.62)

• No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God. He has seen the Father. (John 6.46)

• … why do you look down on your brother or sister? We all will stand in front of the judgment seat of God. (Rom. 14.10)

• We always carry Jesus’ death around … so that Jesus’ life can also be seen in our bodies. (2 Cor. 4.10)

• I’m happy to see the discipline and stability of your faith in Christ. (Col. 2.5)

• Let’s … get rid of the sin that trips us up, and fix our eyes on Jesus, faith’s pioneer … (Heb. 12.1-2)

• Pursue the goal of peace along with everyone—and holiness as well, because no one will see the Lord without it. (Heb. 12.14)

• Everything that is in the world … the craving for whatever the eyes see … is of the world. (1 John 2.16)

• … if a person has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need and that person doesn’t care—how can the love of God remain in him? (1 John 3.17)

Open

Icebreaker questions are meant to help us all start talking. Choose one of the following to discuss as a group.

1. When you first meet someone and you’re trying to “get a read” of them, what visual clues do you look for?

2. What things do you have an eye for? That is, what things will cause you to give a double-take?

Dig

These questions are meant to help us grapple with Scripture related to this morning’s sermon. Choose some.

1. Job says he “made a covenant with his eyes” (Job 31.1)? Of what might such a covenant consist?

2. Luke 9.62. What happens to the crop row when you look back while plowing? What is Jesus’ point here?

3. What sort of things depict “discipline and stability” of “faith in Christ” in a church’s life (Col. 2.5)?

4. Heb. 12.1-2. What all might the author of Hebrews meant for the original audience by the phrase “Let us … fix our eyes on Jesus?” Consider similar statements the author makes (e.g. – Heb. 2.9,12-14; 4.13-16; etc.).

Reflect

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

1. What events do you recall in Christ’s life where the Gospels explicitly mention Jesus looking at someone?

2. What have others told you about your eyes (and/or how you use them) that has affected your use of them?

3. What do you see that consistently brings peace to you? What do you see often that disturbs you?

4. Our habits of prayer affect the way we talk with people. What habits of sight affect the way we see people?

5. We think about training our ears as to how, and to what, to listen. How can a person train their eyes?

6. Someone asks your advice on defeating a visually-activated sin (covetousness, porn, etc.). What do you say?

it’s time to be civil (16)

 

7. Don’t speak ill. … What are we to do when someone speaks ill of others in our presence? Depending on the situation, we can: * Leave. * Remain silent (especially if the disparaging is short-lived and mild in nature. * Say something positive about the absent victim and/or change the subject. * Openly communicate to the attacker that we are ill at ease and unwilling to play the game: ‘You know, I am really not comfortable discussing this”; I would prefer not to speculate about the details of his personal life”; It doesn’t seem fair to make these allegations in her absence, does it?” …

“I urge you to try … When people get used to hearing you speaking only neutrally or kindly of others they will not be afraid to open up and get close to you because they know you will not betray them. Thus you will be rewarded with meaningful relationships that otherwise would never have come into being.”

Choosing Civility: The Twenty-Five Rules of Considerate Conduct by P.M. Forni (St. Martin’s Press, 2002); pp. 67,68

this went thru my mind

 

Election, politics & reality: An Election for An Elect Nation by Mike Yeates

“Most Christians across the entire political spectrum readily admit that they will vote for their respective candidate in an effort to choose the lesser of two evils. Using such a philosophy is a tacit admission that they will indeed choose an evil. As in every one that has preceded it, this election viewed as more pivotal than all others. The truth is that it doesn’t matter who is elected in November. Next year, when January turns into February, and the President sits comfortably in the White House, nothing will have changed.”

Grace & sin: Christians Struggling with Sin and 4 Lies We Believe by Wayne Stiles

” … Christians struggling with sin tend to believe four lies.”

Hurricane Sandy disaster relief: Helping Hurricane Sandy Victims

“The Churches of Christ Disaster Relief Effort immediately responds to any major disaster in the continental United States by sending truckloads of emergency food, water, cleaning, and other supplies to disaster victims. … The best way to help Disaster Relief aid those in need is to donate money. Disaster Relief is able to purchase appropriate supplies in bulk at an extreme discount.”

Parenting: 60 Life Lessons I Learned from my Parents by Joshua Becker

“My mother and father have been wonderful parents to me. They have worked hard to provide a stable foundation for my life and future. They have taught me invaluable lessons about work, marriage, parenting, relationships, and life. … I thought I would use this public forum to give them the praise they deserve.”