LIFE group discussion guide: serve!

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NOTE: Following is the discussion guide we’ll use tomorrow (Jan. 25) in our LIFE groups at MoSt Church. This guide will enable your follow-up of my sermon that morning. To find previous group discussion guides, look under the category title “LIFE group guides” and you’ll find an archive of previous issues.

Reason

Stated in a single sentence, this is the purpose of this morning’s sermon.

To declare our need to spend our lives actively serving God, and to urge us to do so.

Revelation

These Scriptures form some of the foundation of this sermon.

• … servants of the word … (Luke 1.2 CEB)

• … Mary said, “I am the Lord’s servant.” (Luke 1.38 CEB)

• He has granted that we would be rescued … so that we could serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness in God’s eyes, for as long as we live. (Luke 1.73-75 CEB)

• You will worship the Lord your God and serve only him. … You cannot serve God and wealth. (Luke 4.8; 16.13 CEB)

• … do good, and lend expecting nothing in return. If you do, you will have a great reward. You will be acting the way children of the Most High act … (Luke 6.35 CEB)

• That servant who knew his master’s will but didn’t prepare for it or act on it will be beaten severely. (Luke 12.47 CEB)

• … when you have done everything required of you, you should say, “We servants deserve no special praise. We have only done our duty.” (Luke 17.10 CEB)

• … the greatest among you must become like a person of lower status and the leader like a servant. (Luke 22.26 CEB)

Relation

Use one of the following icebreaker questions to prime the pump for group conversation.

1. Think employment and job roles. Which ones strike you as “servant-type” jobs?

2. What is the biggest hurdle to your seeing yourself as truly a “servant of God?”

Research

These exercises/questions are meant to help us grapple with the Scripture(s) related to this sermon.

1. Find and count every occurrence of some form of the word “serve” in Luke’s Gospel.

2. Read Luke 6.35 above. Reflect on it. Then read its context (vs.27-38). Thoughts?

Reflection

These questions help us discern and share what we sense God’s Spirit is doing as we encounter his word.

1. How does the word “servant” hit you? Positive or negative? Respectable or humble?

2. Would it truly be best to live tomorrow like it was literally your last day to live?

3. “The good is the enemy of the best.” Is this true? Does this sound like Jesus?

4. We’re saved by God’s mercy thru Christ on his cross. What role do our works play?

5. Which matters most in the long run in serving God: “big things” or “little” ones?”

Response

These ideas/suggestions are for use beyond the group meeting; to aid your living out today’s message.

1. Discipline and exercise yourself in a “I expect nothing in return” attitude and air.

2. Habitually give words and actions of appreciation to any you see “doing good.”

this went thru my mind

 

Complaining: * The Complaining Christian by K. Rex Butts; * Responding to the Complaining Christian by K. Rex Butts

* “… I do wonder how any Christian can contemplate the passion of Jesus and yet complain and manipulate.”

* “In some cases, some complaints are simply the frivolous wines of immaturity and are not worth responding to. So at first, it should be recognized that we need to exercise some discernment in knowing when and when not to respond as well as how to respond. When we do/must respond, here are a few suggestions I believe will greatly help both in the short and long term.”

Grief: What Good Grief Looks Like When a Daughter Dies by Ben Witherington

“The first point immediately confirmed in my heart was theological: God did not do this to my child.”

Leadership & ministry: Did You Know That Ministry Can Make You Feel as if You are Losing Your Mind? by Jim Martin

“Anxious leaders live in a constant state of reaction. For them, a good Sunday morning is when no one complains. Yet, is this the way God wants us to evaluate our assemblies? Somehow I can’t imagine Paul evaluating the church based on the reactions of people.”

Obedience, desire, & duty: C.S. Lewis on Why We Should Do (and read) the Things We Do

“A perfect man would never act from a sense of duty; he’d always want the right thing more than the wrong one. Duty is only a substitute for love (of God and of other people), like a crutch, which is a substitute for a leg. Most of us need the crutch at times; but of course it’s idiotic to use the crutch when our own legs (or own loves, tastes, habits etc) can do the journey on their own!”

Offensive & unoffensive: Offensive Jesus? by Michael Kimpan

“Jesus was not at all offensive to the disenfranchised, to the oppressed, to the despised and rejected. Jesus was not all that offensive to sinners. In fact, he was attractive to them. Sure, he was a stumbling block to many… and offended many as well. Namely, the religious.”

Reconciliation & forgiveness: David Lipscomb: Forgiveness and Unity After the Civil War by John Mark Hicks

“Forgiveness only takes one–I forgive my enemies. Reconcilation takes two–a mutual search for peace. But reconcilation cannot happen unless forgiveness comes first. That was true for Lipscomb postbellum and it is true for us post-September 11.”

Religiously unaffiliated: The Religiously Unaffiliated in America by Peter Berger

“At the core … the sharp rise in the number of Americans who declare themselves in surveys as being without religious affiliation. People who study religious statistics, and who also have a sense of humor (the two qualities are not necessarily contradictory), call this demographic ‘the nones’. … In the 1960s the “nones” comprised 5-7% of the population; by the mid-1990s they had grown to 12%; in 2011 the percentage was 19%. … the incidence of ‘nones’ is highest in the age group 30-49. … all ‘nones’ grew by about 18% between 2006 and 2011, but young ‘nones’ grew by about 90% …”

Teenagers: 5 Tips for a ‘First Contact’ With a Teenager by Doug Fields

“… that’s really where we want to be anyway… isn’t it? Getting them talking, so we can listen and learn more about them?”

The Sinner’s PrayerDavid Platt: The Sinner’s Prayer is Superstitious & Unbiblical by Matt Dabbs
[a 3 min. video excerpt of a sermon by David Platt]

“If you ask me what to do, let me point you to Peter, Jesus, and Paul rather than the opinions that are floating around today.”