devoted: put your shoulder into it

 

NOTE: Following is a copy of the discussion guide that will be used in MoSt Church’s LIFE groups tomorrow, Nov. 11. This guide will enable your follow-up of my sermon tomorrow morning entitled Devoted: Put Your Shoulder Into 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 shoulders to God.

Word

• I lifted the burden off your shoulders; your hands are free of the brick basket! In distress you cried out, so I rescued you. (Psalm 81.6-7)

• Isn’t this the fast I choose: releasing wicked restraints, untying the ropes of a yoke, setting free the mistreated, and breaking every yoke? (Isaiah 58.6)

• It’s good to wait in silence for the Lord’s deliverance. It’s good for a man to carry a yoke in his youth. He should sit alone and be silent when God lays it on him. (Lamentations 3.26-28)

• Come to me, all you who are struggling hard and carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Put on my yoke, and learn from me. I’m gentle and humble. And you will find rest for yourselves. My yoke is easy to bear, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11.28-30)

• … they tie together heavy packs that are impossible to carry. They put them on the shoulders of others, but are unwilling to lift a finger to move them. (Matthew 23.4)

• Suppose someone among you had one hundred sheep and lost one of them. Wouldn’t he … search for the lost one until he finds it? And when he finds it, he is thrilled and places it on his shoulders. (Luke 15.4-5)

• Why then are you now challenging God by placing a burden on the shoulders of these disciples that neither we nor our ancestors could bear? (Acts 15.10)

• Carry each other’s burdens and so you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are important when they aren’t, they’re fooling themselves. Each person should test their own work and be happy with doing a good job and not compare themselves with others. Each person will have to carry their own load. (Galatians 6.2-5)

Open

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

1. Being silly or serious, finish this sentence: “It seems as though I’m never able to _________.”

2. Tell us of a time you were shocked to be able to carry or lift some unwieldy something.

Dig

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

1. What does Lam. 3.26-28 mean? Answer with its original context in view.

2. What sort of “bad burdens” do Matt. 23.4 and Acts 15.10 have in mind?

3. Gal. 6.2-5 says “carry each other’s burdens” and each “will have to carry their own.” Huh?

Reflect

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

1. Are all burdens blessings or only some? How can we tell what burdens are from God?

2. Does God ever give a person a load too heavy for them to manage? Explain.

3. What is a heavy load you sense the Lord has laid on you that he has enabled you to carry?

4. Burdens become unmanageable to carry whenever we try to carry them without ________?

5. What can we each do to help another carry their burdens while not dropping our own?

6. Make a list of “blessed burdens” you sense group members carry these days and pray.

it’s time to be civil (23)

 

# 14. Respect other people’s time. “Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time; for that’s the stuff life is made of.” (Benjamin Franklin) We respect other people’s time when we learn to value it as much as our own. Even better, we can get to a point where we won’t distinguish between our time and the time of others. We then respect time as such – as the precious commodity it is – and act upon this respect in every situation. This does not mean having a constant preoccupation with time. It is possible to make an automatic appreciation of time part of who we are and still go through life at an unhurried pace.

Punctuality is nonnegotiable. Arriving on time is a basic rule of considerate behavior. …

A telephone call is a demand for attention and time that can occur at inconvenient times. Consider opening your calls by asking, “Am I disturbing you?” …

Whether you are in a store or an office, demanding immediate attention is uncivil and ineffective. By waiting your turn you don’t waste the time and energies of those whose job it is to help you. The quality of their work will be better and so will the quality of life of all involved.

Choosing Civility: The Twenty-Five Rules of Considerate Conduct by P.M. Forni (St. Martin’s Press, 2002); pp. 98,99,100

this went thru my mind

 

Abortion: Does Life Begin at Creation? by James McGrath

“My point in this post is this: The issues related to embryology and abortion are complex and difficult. They are important, and there are good reasons why these topics provoke strong feelings. … When would you consider the point to be reached that a developing fertilized ovum, or embryo, or fetus, or baby, becomes a full-fledged human being? How do you explain and justify your view to others who disagree with you? How, if at all, can we improve the nature of the discussion?”

Computing & security: How to Devise Passwords That Drive Hackers Away

“It is absurdly easy to get hacked. All it takes is clicking on one malicious link or attachment.”

Politics: * How the Faithful Voted: 2012 Preliminary Analysis; * Politics, Pollsters, and Fox News: Don’t Create a “Conservative” Set of Facts by Ed Stetzer

* “Vote choice by religion and race … vote choice by religious attendance … religious composition of the 2012 electorate.”

* “… the reality is that we WANT to believe the polls that agree with our own positions–and in a similar way, we tend to think that all others are biased, have the wrong sample, or are driven by an agenda.”

Millenials: The Millennial Consumer Debunking Stereotypes by Christine Barton, Jeff Fromm, and Chris Egan [required reading]

“Move aside, U.S. baby boomers. The Millennial generation is bigger than you and growing in influence.”

Prayer: * Prayer Continues With Worship by Bill Mounce; * Reconciling Pain and Prayer with God’s Love by Wayne Stiles

* “It is not clear from most translations, but the Lord’s Prayer is a series of imperatives. Remember those critters from English grammar classes? A verb in the imperative is a command. Do this! Don’t do that! Now, we don’t command God to do things, so we call them “entreaties.” But grammatically, the verbs in the Lord’s Prayer are imperatives; we are calling on God to act. And notice that we are not asking God to act primarily for us. We start prayer by calling on God, entreating him, to act in ways that will glorify him, not us, that he will be praised, not us. Prayer is radically God-centered.”

* “Because God can stop our pain, we think He should. So we pray. And pray. But nothing happens.”