LIFE group guide – body language: lost in translation

 

NOTE: Following is a copy of the discussion guide that will be used in MoSt Church’s LIFE groups tomorrow night (April 7). This guide will enable your follow-up in our LIFE groups of my sermon tomorrow morning from 1 Corinthians 11.17-34 (Body Language: Lost in Translation). Look under the category title “LIFE group guides” and you’ll find an archive of previous discussion guides. All Scripture texts reproduced below are from the CEB.

Aim

To examine familiar Scripture more closely, so as to correct common misunderstandings.

Word

Now I don’t praise you as I give the following instruction because when you meet together, it does more harm than good. First of all, when you meet together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you, and I partly believe it. It’s necessary that there are groups among you, to make it clear who is genuine. So when you get together in one place, it isn’t to eat the Lord’s meal. Each of you goes ahead and eats a private meal. One person goes hungry while another is drunk. Don’t you have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you look down on God’s church and humiliate those who have nothing? What can I say to you? Will I praise you? No, I don’t praise you in this.

I received a tradition from the Lord, which I also handed on to you: on the night on which he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took bread. After giving thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this to remember me.” He did the same thing with the cup, after they had eaten, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Every time you drink it, do this to remember me.” Every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you broadcast the death of the Lord until he comes.

This is why those who eat the bread or drink the cup of the Lord inappropriately will be guilty of the Lord’s body and blood. Each individual should test himself or herself, and eat from the bread and drink from the cup in that way. Those who eat and drink without correctly understanding the body are eating and drinking their own judgment. Because of this, many of you are weak and sick, and quite a few have died. But if we had judged ourselves, we wouldn’t be judged. However, we are disciplined by the Lord when we are judged so that we won’t be judged and condemned along with the whole world. For these reasons, my brothers and sisters, when you get together to eat, wait for each other. If some of you are hungry, they should eat at home so that getting together doesn’t lead to judgment. I will give directions about the other things when I come. (1 Corinthians 11.17-34)

Open

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

1. What do you enjoy most about family meals or a meal shared with a close friend?

2. What emotions bubble up in you, and how do you act, when you think you’ve been snubbed?

3. What do you tend to think about during communion? Be specific and transparent.

Dig

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

1. While reading the text aloud, emphasize the underlined words (i.e. – what’s stressed in Greek).

2. Read vs. 21,27,29 & 33 aloud as one, unbroken thought. What’s the problem? The solution?

3. What sort of feelings does Paul have as he writes this (cf. the strong sarcasm in vs. 19-20)?

4. What body is to be in view as we’re to be about “correctly understanding the body” (vs. 29)?

Reflect

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

1. I most deeply sense my union with all other Christians, and am moved to demonstrate such without any favoritism whatsoever, whenever I _____.

2. What factors can contribute to the difficulty of practicing “the union of communion” today?

3. Name some beliefs/behaviors that turn the “the Lord’s meal” into just “our own meal.” (vs. 20)

4. How does typical, modern-day church building architecture affect the union of communion?

5. What attitudes/actions have you had during the meal of which you have repented (vs. 28)?

6. What can you practically do during communion to help promote the union of communion?

7. How can we make the way we practice communion a “healthier,” less “lethal,” action (vs. 30)?

this went thru my mind

 

Baptism, children & parenting: Baptism – When are Kids Ready? by Brandon Baker

“Every kid is different and I don’t believe there is a magic baptism age. But I think this is a good starting point for children in the church even if they aren’t asking about baptism.”

Bible interpretation: The Superman Verse – Phil. 4.13 and What It Does Not Mean by Ben Witherington [required reading]

“Here is a rendering of the verse in context. ‘I know a humbled state, and I know also surplus. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of how to be satisfied, even if hungry and being able also to do without. I am able/strong enough [to endure] all things in Him who empowers me.’ What Paul is saying is that no matter what his circumstances, God has given him the strength or ability to endure and be satisfied, even when he must do without, even when he must go hungry.”

Church & the Lord’s Supper: Picture of the Week: Pompeii, House of Sallust, Atrium by Seth M. Rodriquez [required reading]

“In 1 Corinthians 11:17-34, Paul describes an extremely dysfunctional church event. When the church gathered to observe the Lord’s Supper, there were divisions and factions (v. 18-19) due to the fact that people were not sharing food with those who were hungry and were eating before the others arrived (vv. 21, 33-34). What could have possessed them to act in such an unloving way during one of the holiest events in the life of their church?”

Facebook: Scary Facebook Setting You Have to Change Now! by Kim Komando

“All the person has to do is search for any mobile number using the site’s mobile search function. If you have your number on Facebook – or have the Facebook app on your phone – your name will pop up. … When the security researcher went public with this information, Facebook said it’s a feature, not a bug. That means it probably won’t be fixed.”

Humor: Fellowship Triage by Larry Carter

“I love this time when we roam around the auditorium looking for everyone we haven’t seen for a few days. We greet and grin, shake and howdy, and otherwise say ‘Hi’ to a whole bunch of people. There are some rules, though, some stages of the fellowship time. I call it triage. I determine, based on certain criteria, exactly how I’m going to approach each person during this sacred time [fellowship time].”

Money, personal finances & savings: The Conversation You’re Not Having, But Should Probably Start by Joshua Becker

“* 50% of Americans have less than one month of savings saved for emergencies. * One in four Americans has no savings at all. * More than 30% of households earning over $100K still live paycheck to paycheck. * Among indebted households, the average amount of credit card debt tops $15,000. * The average U.S. household debt is 136 percent of household income. * 57% of households do not have a budget. * Almost half of Americans die with less than $10,000 in assets. * In one survey, money more than sex, children or in-laws—was the most common conflict for American couples.”

Preaching: When You Preach a Lousy Sermon by Justin Buzzard

“… we must always remember that God doesn’t need a good sermon to do his work. I felt my sermon was terrible, not at all up to my standards, but I still preached the text/the gospel, I still got on base. And, God still used the sermon. That’s always amazing to me, to hear that people were still deeply helped by my lousy sermon.”

Work: “All-Consuming” Work, parts 1 & 2

“God says to us you don’t need more time to serve and worship me – you just need to realise that all time is for serving and worshipping me.”

this went thru my mind

 

Church welcome: I Wish Every Church Said What This Church Says in Their Bulletin by Jon Acuff [required reading]

“We extend a special welcome to those who are single, married, divorced, gay, filthy rich, dirt poor, yo no habla Ingles. We extend a special welcome to those who are crying new-borns, skinny as a rail or could afford to lose a few pounds.

“We welcome you if you can sing like Andrea Bocelli or like our pastor who can’t carry a note in a bucket. You’re welcome here if you’re “just browsing,” just woke up or just got out of jail. We don’t care if you’re more Catholic than the Pope, or haven’t been in church since little Joey’s Baptism.

“We extend a special welcome to those who are over 60 but not grown up yet, and to teenagers who are growing up too fast. We welcome soccer moms, NASCAR dads, starving artists, tree-huggers, latte-sippers, vegetarians, junk-food eaters. We welcome those who are in recovery or still addicted. We welcome you if you’re having problems or you’re down in the dumps or if you don’t like “organized religion,” we’ve been there too.

“If you blew all your offering money at the dog track, you’re welcome here. We offer a special welcome to those who think the earth is flat, work too hard, don’t work, can’t spell, or because grandma is in town and wanted to go to church.

“We welcome those who are inked, pierced or both. We offer a special welcome to those who could use a prayer right now, had religion shoved down your throat as a kid or got lost in traffic and wound up here by mistake. We welcome tourists, seekers and doubters, bleeding hearts … and you!”

Forgiveness: Forgiveness

“Here are two videos on forgiveness that I found helpful. Lewis Smedes and Miroslav Volf …”

Grace & legalism: * Max Lucado Goes Overboard on Grace an interview by Mark Galli [required reading]; * The Attraction to Legalism by Matthew Olson

* “… [let me speak regarding] this tendency we have to fall back into legalism though we have been saved by grace. There are a few reasons for this. First, everything else in the world is based on legalism. If I have to pay money to buy bread, then surely at some point I have to pay for my eternal bread with some type of work. Second, down deep within us, we believe grace is too good to be true, and we feel better if we make some kind of contribution. Third, teachers fear what people will do with grace: ‘If I really teach grace, is that couple in the fourth pew who are living together—are they really going to get out of that relationship and get married?'”

* “Why is legalism so attractive? It is attractive because it feeds the sinful flesh. … The problem is that we can’t see it. … What makes our own legalism hard to see is that on the surface we can be doing a lot of things right.”

Humility: 7 Ways To Put On Humility by Mark Altrogge

“We must put humility on. This doesn’t mean we fake it, but that we begin to do it, even though it takes effort. Putting on humility isn’t easy. After all, it’s not easy to be humble when we’re as great as we are.  But it can be done.”

Internet addiction: * Silicon Valley Says Step Away From the Device by Matt Richtel; * What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains by Michael Hyatt

* “Stuart Crabb, a director in the executive offices of Facebook, naturally likes to extol the extraordinary benefits of computers and smartphones. But like a growing number of technology leaders, he offers a warning: log off once in a while, and put them down.”

* “On average, Americans stare at some type of computer screen for eight hours a day.”

Lord’s Supper: A Lord’s Supper Home Meal — A Method by John Mark Hicks

“On many different occasions, and some recently, I have been asked about how I conceive or conduct the Lord’s supper as a home meal. … In my small group, several of my classes and other occasions I have led or participated in group meals as the ‘Lord’s supper.'”

Leadership: * 4 Words of Advice for a Newbie Leader by Ron Edmonson; * How I Coach People into True Missional Leadership by Hugh Halter

* “Learn the people first … Go slow to change … Think intentionally in all you do … Pace your leadership for the long-term.”

* “I am giving you four key aspects of a leaders life that must be coached for a true missionally incarnational leader must be:
Deep in Character, Clear in Calling, Culturally Savvy, and Able to Lead Inclusive Community.”

Parenting: If You Are Not Praying for Your Children by Jim Martin

“If you as a parent are not praying for your children, then who is?”

Skype & privacy: Can Skype ‘Wiretap’ Video Calls? by John Sutter

“The video calling service Skype recently made a change to how it routes calls. Yawn, right? But here’s where it get a little juicier … the changes, which push some of the video calling process onto Skype’s own computers instead of onto random machines on the Internet, could help the app spy on users’ calls, presumably at the request of a court or government.”

Texting while driving: Driving While Intexticated [infographic]

“In the 5 seconds you read a text at 55 mph, you travel the length of a football field.”

Violence: * The Myth of Redemptive Violence by Shane Claiborne [required reading]; * Gleanings in Pacifism by J. Daniel Kirk; * Gun Laws, None Dare Call it Time by Sandy Levinson; * Assault Deaths within the United States; * Mark 15:1-20 – The Crowd Chooses Violent Revolution Rather than Jesus by John Mark Hicks [required reading]

* “I had a veteran friend once tell me, ‘The biggest lie I have ever been told is that violence is evil, except in war.’ He went on, ‘My government told me that. My church told me that. My family told me that … I came back from war and told them the truth – ‘Violence is not evil, except in war… Violence is evil – period’.”

* “… Christians must actively work for peace: blessed are the peacemakers. That should typify kingdom people.”

* “The GOP is in bed with the NRA; the Dems learned from Al Gore’s opposition to gun laws, which many Dems supported, that they can’t win elections with that platform. So today no party is willing to re-examine our gun laws.”

* “… it’s well-known that there are strong regional differences in the assault death rate in the U.S. by state and region. Here’s what the patterns look like by state from 1999 to 2009. … As is well known, the South is more violent than the rest of the country, by some distance. … Despite their large differences, all of the U.S. regions have higher average rates of death from assault than any of the 24 OECD countries we looked at previously.”

* “The crowd chose violent revolution rather than the nonviolent revolution of Jesus. … What do we choose?”

word for the weak: week eighteen

 

Communion is the theme for this week’s reading in the Uncommon Truth for Common People project at MoSt Church. The schedule looks like this:

• Mon., Apr. 30 – Exodus 12.1-30
• Tues., May 1 – Jeremiah 31.31-34; Luke 22.7-23
• Wed., May 2 – John 6.26-59; 1 Corinthians 10.16-17
• Thur., May 3 – Hebrews 9.1-28; 10.19-22
• Fri., May 4 – 1 Corinthians 5.6-8; 11.17-34

This week’s memory verse is: “…we who are many are one body, because we all share the one loaf of bread.” (1 Corinthians 10.17 CEB)