LIFE group guide: giving: when give? adding grit to your giving

 

NOTE: Following is the discussion guide we’ll use tomorrow (Feb. 16) in our LIFE groups at MoSt Church. This guide will enable your follow-up of my sermon that morning. This sermon is the third in a four-part series entitled Giving.

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 sermon series, or this particular sermon in a series.

To explore and emphasize the importance of our giving of our means.

Revelation

These Scriptures form some of the foundation of this morning’s sermon. Words underlined are stressed in the Greek.

• Now concerning the collection for the saints: you should follow the directions I gave to the churches of Galatia. On the first day of every week, each of you is to put aside and save whatever extra you earn, so that collections need not be taken when I come. And when I arrive, I will send any whom you approve with letters to take your gift to Jerusalem. (1 Corinthians 16.1-3 NRSV)

• Last year you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so. Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have. Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality, as it is written: “The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little.” [Ex. 16.18] (2 Corinthians 8.10b-15 NIV)

Relation

Use one of the following icebreaker questions to prime the pump, to help the conversation begin. Choose one to discuss.

1. Name something, big or small, that you saved up for a while to acquire or do.

2. On a scale of 0-100, score yourself as to how you are about finishing things you start.

Research

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

1. Read more regarding “the collection” spoken of here: Rom. 15.26-29 and Gal. 2.1-10.

2. Read 1 Cor. 16.1-3 closely. When are the funds saved? When is the money collected?

3. Read Ex. 16.1-18 (the context of the quotation of Ex. 16.15 in 2 Cor. 8.15).

Reflection

These questions assist our sharing what we sense God’s Spirit is doing with us in our encounter with God’s word.

1. What is the significance of saving funds specifically “on the first day of every week”?

2. Some say: “This text teaches we can only give to ‘the saints.’” How do you respond?

3. Nowhere is “God” or “Jesus” named in the texts above. Where is God in all of this?

4. “The goal is equality.” What would it look like if Christians achieved this goal?

Response

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

1. Over the next four months, “put aside and save” some money to give to a ministry in this church family you believe has some needs (i.e. – your own “special contribution”).

LIFE group guide: come together anyway

 

NOTE: Following is the discussion guide we’ll use in our LIFE groups at MoSt Church tomorrow (Jan. 12). This guide will enable your follow-up of my sermon that morning. This sermon is the second in a series entitled Gatherings. This series will run through the month of January.

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 sermon series, or this particular sermon in a series.

To explore and emphasize the importance of our gathering together as a church.

Revelation

These Scriptures form some of the foundation of this morning’s sermon.

• I have a serious concern to bring up with you … I’ll put it as urgently as I can: You must get along with each other. You must learn to be considerate of one another, cultivating a life in common. I bring this up because some … brought a most disturbing report to my attention—that you’re fighting among yourselves! I’ll tell you exactly what I was told: You’re all picking sides, going around saying, “I’m on Paul’s side,” or “I’m for Apollos,” or “Peter is my man,” or “I’m in the Messiah group.” (1 Corinthians 1.10-12)

• Brothers and sisters, I couldn’t talk to you like spiritual people but like unspiritual people, like babies in Christ. I gave you milk to drink instead of solid food, because you weren’t up to it yet. Now you are still not up to it because you are still unspiritual. When jealousy and fighting exist between you, aren’t you unspiritual and living by human standards? (1 Corinthians 3.1-3)

• … I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval. (1 Corinthians 11.17-19)

Relation

Use one of the following icebreaker questions to prime the pump, to help the conversation begin. Choose one to discuss.

1. What are the main excuses you hear folks offer for not “going to church?”

2. Name something you deeply love and appreciate about our church family.

Research

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

1. Scan 1 Corinthians. Make a list of the most obvious sins in the Corinthian church.

2. Scan 1 Cor. Make a list of the apostle Paul’s “prescriptions” for the Corinthians’ “sin sickness.”

Reflection

These questions assist our sharing what we sense God’s Spirit is doing with us in our encounter with God’s word.

1. Every sin we commit, private and public, always affects the whole church.” Discuss.

2. If it were not for the good I’ve experienced in the life of the church I would be __________.

3. A friend says “I quit church due to all the hypocrisy.” A constructive response?

4. What does truly “healthy talk” about sin in each other’s lives sound like?

Response

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

1. Work at developing a mind and way that is always aware of, and sensitive to, the unchurched.

2. Deliberately encourage two people this week: one who has “quit church” and one who has not.