quote: on dedication to God

Jesus says, ‘Be good soil.’ And that means hold onto the Word in stillness. Get rid of the hardness and callousness. Don’t squeeze God into a few cracks and crevices of your day’s business. But give him a space of daily quiet and don’t avoid repentance. Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For God cannot be had cheaply. You come to God only if you allow yourself to be mobilized, and and if you march. This is not easy, and it means saying good-bye to many things. But this is the only way to find his peace. No battle, no cross, no crown. He who does not toil and sweat, and does not daily fall in line for service to God is exposing his inner man to decay.

Helmut Thielicke

devoted

 

NOTE: Following is a copy of the discussion guide that will be used in MoSt Church’s LIFE groups tomorrow, Sept. 30. This guide will enable your follow-up of the morning’s worship gathering, as we add begin a new sermon series entitled “Devoted.” Look under the category title “LIFE group guides” and you’ll find an archive of previous discussion guides.

Aim

To introduce and explore what it means for each of us to be completely given over to God.

Word

The believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the community, to their shared meals, and to their prayers. 43 A sense of awe came over everyone. (Acts 2.42-43 CEB)

Open

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

1. Tell us about something, anything, you’re totally into doing.

2. I think it’s important for a person to be devoted to ____________. Why?

3. I find my devotion to a belief or person reinforced and strengthened by ____________.

Dig

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

1. What would you say is a component of, or a synonym of, the word “devoted?” Why?

2. Christians here are tagged as “believers” (vs. 42a). What does “belief” have to do with “devotion” and vice versa?

3. This passage says the new believers devoted themselves to God in four ways (vs. 42b). What are those four things? How do each of these matters express belief in Jesus as Lord?

4. How might the “sense of awe” (vs. 43) these believers experienced come to grow out of their expression and practice of devotion?

5. What other Scriptures come to mind when you think of a person being “devoted” to God?

Reflect

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

1. What sort of pain do you experience when a friend clearly demonstrates that their devotion to you is only lukewarm? What sort of joy is yours – and how do you express it – when you see that their devotion is obvious and strong?

2. What things most frequently challenge your living a life devoted to God and how are you doing battle with such?

3. When you sense your devotion waning, what is usually happening in your life? Similarly, what do you see going on when your devotion is clearly growing?

4. Is a person’s devotion to God solely a product of their own determination and effort or is it more like a co-partnering with God? Why?

5. What is God’s role in our devotion to him?

6. A new Christian asks your advice how they can consistently grow their devotion to God. How would you respond? Why?

7. Pray together as a group for enduring devotion to Christ on the part of each member of your group. Continue this prayer every day this week in your own life by daily praying for all of your group’s members by name.

i promise

 

NOTE: Following is a copy of the discussion guide that will be used in MoSt Church’s LIFE groups tomorrow, May, 27. This guide will enable your follow-up of that morning’s sermon from Acts 2. You’ll find LIFE group discussion guides categorized each week here on my site under the category title “LIFE group guides.”

Aim

To celebrate our promise-making and promise-keeping God, who calls us to do the same with him.

Word

When Pentecost Day arrived, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound from heaven like the howling of a fierce wind filled the entire house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be individual flames of fire alighting on each one of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as the Spirit enabled them to speak. …

Peter stood with the other eleven apostles. He raised his voice and declared, “Judeans and everyone living in Jerusalem! Know this! Listen carefully to my words! … this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel …

“Fellow Israelites, listen to these words! Jesus the Nazarene was a man whose credentials God proved to you through miracles, wonders, and signs, which God performed through him among you. You yourselves know this. In accordance with God’s established plan and foreknowledge, he was betrayed. You, with the help of wicked men, had Jesus killed by nailing him to a cross. God raised him up! God freed him from death’s dreadful grip, since it was impossible for death to hang on to him. …

“… Jesus, God raised up. We are all witnesses to that fact. He was exalted to God’s right side and received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit. He poured out this Spirit, and you are seeing and hearing the results of his having done so. …

“Therefore, let all Israel know beyond question that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

When the crowd heard this, they were deeply troubled. They said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?”

Peter replied, “Change your hearts and lives. Each of you must be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is for you, your children, and for all who are far away—as many as the Lord our God invites.” (Acts 2.1-4,14-16, 22-24,32-33,36-39 CEB)

Open

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

1. Tell us of some great day in your life that you had looked forward to for a very long time.

2. Tell us about some almost unbelievable event in your life that took you completely by surprise.

Dig

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

1. Read an OT account of the source of the annual feast known as Pentecost (Feast of Weeks) (cf. Deut. 16.9-12; Acts 2.1). In time, what did it come commemorate to the Jewish people?

2. Concerning the events of Christ’s passion, what did God do and what did people do (vs. 23-24)?

3. The Spirit is being poured out on people. Who is doing the pouring (vs. 32-33) and what does this say to you about the one doing the pouring (vs. 24,36)?

4. What are the commands in vs. 38? What are the promises in vs. 38? Who are they for (vs. 39)?

Reflect

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

1. What in this passage pierces, and bring conviction to, your heart? What encourages your heart?

2. How does making of promises in community, in others’ presence, affect your promise-keeping?

3. What sort of positive changes have you made in your life because you became a Christian?

4. How often does the fact that you’ve promised yourself to God, as a Christian, affect your actions?

5. Can you discern any pattern to what makes for your keeping or breaking promises? Explain.

6. How do you see the promises of this text affecting the way you’ll live before God this week?