LIFE group guide: come together, over me

 

NOTE: Following is the discussion guide we’ll use in our LIFE groups at MoSt Church tomorrow (Jan. 26). This guide will enable your follow-up of my sermon that morning. This sermon is the fourth (and final one) in a series entitled Gatherings.

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.

• He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” … Jesus answered “… on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.” (Matt. 16.15-18 NRSV)

• You are God’s building. … no one can lay any foundation other than … Jesus Christ. … Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you? God will destroy anyone who destroys this temple. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple. (1 Cor. 3.9b,11,16-17 NLT)

• … you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. (1 Cor. 12.27 NIV)

• When he [Christ] came, he announced the good news of peace to you who were far away from God and to those who were near. We both have access to the Father through Christ by the one Spirit. So now you are no longer strangers and aliens. Rather, you are fellow citizens with God’s people, and you belong to God’s household. As God’s household, you are built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. The whole building is joined together in him, and it grows up into a temple that is dedicated to the Lord. Christ is building you into a place where God lives through the Spirit. (Eph. 2.17-22 CEB)

Relation

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

1. Without reference to what you do for a living, how would you describe yourself?

2. Tell us of a person (or group of people) instrumental in forming your life’s foundation.

Research

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

1. In the texts above, what are God, Christ, and the Spirit specifically described as doing?

2. Utilizing the texts above, list what’s true of us by noting each use of the word “you.”

Reflection

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

1. When you think of “the church,” is your first thought of it as human or divine? Why?

2. What part do you play in the portion of Christ’s body that we know as MoSt Church?

3. “… all of you together are the temple of God.” How is the church’s togetherness reflective of God being in us?

4. How is the church to make it obvious that what good it does is of God, and for God?

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. Meditate on the incarnate quality of Christ’s church; how it is both human and divine.

2. Work hard to “keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” (Eph. 4.3)

links to the land

 

Aizanoi: Aizanoi (Turkey) — A Monumental Site — Visited by Paul?

“One of the best-preserved temples of the ancient world is located there as are the impressive remains of a stadium, theater, bathhouse, meat market, etc.”

Archaeology & children: An Unlikely Dig

“The archaeological site at Tel Esur, on the coast south of Haifa, allows students to discover ancient artifacts – as well as their own capabilities.”

Ephraim/Taybeh: Tour Taybeh – Not just for Oktoberfest Anymore

“‘Jesus therefore walked no more openly among the Jews; but went thence unto a country near the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim …’ (John 11.54).”

Herodium: * Herod’s Tomb at Herodium; * A Look into Loggia at Herodium

* “Haaretz newspaper carried an article today by Nir Hasson, reporting on the seventh annual conference, ‘Innovations in Archaeology in Jerusalem and the Surrounding Area.’ During that conference, two archaeologists, Joseph Patrich and Benny Arubas challenged Ehud Netzer’s identification of Herod’s Tomb that was found at Herodium near Bethlehem.”

* “At the Herod exhibit at the Israel museum there is a room that is a reconstruction of the loggia, the VIP box from the Herodium theater …”

Jerusalem: Walking Atop the Walls of Jerusalem

“I have seen the Old City of Jerusalem from every direction. … But the most unique way I’ve seen the city is from atop its walls. … A visitor can walk atop most of the Old City wall of Jerusalem … This quick tour travels atop the wall of Jerusalem from the Jaffa Gate to the Dung Gate.”

Shechem: Joseph’s Tomb at Shechem

“Eventually, Joseph’s bones were buried at Shechem.”

Solomon’s Temple: Searching for the Temple of King Solomon

“For centuries, scholars have searched in vain for any remnant of Solomon’s Temple. The fabled Jerusalem sanctuary, described in such exacting detail in 1 Kings 6, was no doubt one the most stunning achievements of King Solomon in the Bible, yet nothing of the building itself has been found because excavation on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, site of the Temple of King Solomon, is impossible.

“Fortunately, several Iron Age temples discovered throughout the Levant bear a striking resemblance to the Temple of King Solomon in the Bible. Through these remains, we gain extraordinary insight into the architectural grandeur of the building that stood atop Jerusalem’s Temple Mount nearly 3,000 years ago.”

Temple Mount: Underground Battle for the Temple Mount

“… the story of the underground excavations and the struggle that took place inside Warren’s Gate in 1981. Warren’s Gate is the northern-most of the four original Herodian gateways that gave access to the Temple Mount through the Western Wall.”

links to the land

 

Animal sacrifice, economics, Jerusalem & the templeAnimal Sacrifice at Temple Powered Ancient Jerusalem’s Economy

“An analysis of bones found in an ancient dump in the city dating back 2,000 years revealed that animals sacrificed at the temple came from far and wide.”

Assos: Paul at Assos — Final Part

“… the harbor that Paul left from for Mytilene was located a bit to the east of the modern harbor.”

Copper, mining, Solomon & Timna: King Solomon’s Mines, After All

“A new study by a team from Tel Aviv University concludes that the copper mines at Timna, near Eilat, were in operation during the reign of Solomon.”

Derbe: * Derbe Excavations Explore Pauline Site; * Excavations at Derbe Have Begun; * Remains of First Religious Structure Discovered in Central Anatolia

* “Excavations near Karaman in southern Turkey have begun to uncover remains from ancient Derbe, a site of Paul’s evangelizing in Acts 14-16.”

* “Derbe has been identified with the antiquity of site of Kerti Hüyük which is located 15 miles [24 km.] north northeast of Karaman. … Derbe was situated in the Lycaonian region (Acts 14:6) of the Roman province of Galatia.”

* “A structure that is believed to have served as a possible early Christian religious place has been discovered in archaeological excavations in the ancient city of Derbe, in the Central Anatolian province of Karaman.”

this went thru my mind

 

Church: 17 Signs Your Church Might Be Dying by Trey Morgan

“Just a few days ago I visited with a man that was very concerned about the church where he was attending. … He and I got to talking about some of the signs they were seeing that pointed to their church dying out. We made quite a list, and of course a few were tongue-in-cheek. I thought I might share a few with you today.”

Criticism: Handling the Unknown Critic by Patrick Mead

“Elders are not doing their job when they just listen or when they just disregard. They weren’t called to take it – they were called to lead, and that means you might need to have a stern, firm talk with someone who was convinced they were the only one right… and that they were right because their fathers and forefathers were right. Do not allow those who claim to defend the faith cause it to shipwreck. And, while you’re thinking of it, write your minister and elders a love letter. Pray for them daily and tell them you are doing so. Lift up their hands so that they do not become weary and the battle swing against us.”

Doubt: Real Christians Don’t Have Doubts … Do They? by Tim Keller

“A faith without some doubts is like a human body without any antibodies in it. People who blithely go through life too busy or indifferent to ask hard questions about why they believe as they do will find themselves defenseless against either the experience of tragedy or the probing questions of a smart skeptic. A person’s faith can collapse almost overnight if she has failed over the years to listen patiently to her own doubts, which should only be discarded after long reflection.”

Drugs: My Life With Drugs, Rock ‘n’ Roll and Addiction by Gary Stromberg

“My office, on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood, was set up like a huge living room with couches, overstuffed pillows on the floor, rock star posters lining the walls and a coffee table, the centerpiece of which was a large crystal bowl, filled at all times with a generous supply of cocaine. The house rules were ‘help yourself if you’re here on business — but no take-outs!’ We were regularly visited by our clients, including The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, The Doors and Steppenwolf. As you could imagine, my office was a very popular place.”

Gambling: A Christian Understanding of Gambling by Albert Mohler

“The nationwide explosion of legal gambling may well be the most underrated dimension of America’s moral crisis. … According to some estimates, as much as one-third of the nation’s money supply now moves through the gambling industry each year … The Bible is clear on this issue. The entire enterprise of gambling is opposed to the moral worldview revealed in God’s Word.”

Google: How to Remove Your Google Search History Before Google’s New Privacy Policy Takes Effect

“On March 1st, Google will implement its new, unified privacy policy, which will affect data Google has collected on you prior to March 1st as well as data it collects on you in the future. Until now, your Google Web History (your Google searches and sites visited) was cordoned off from Google’s other products.”

Humor: HTTP 404 Error: Wall Not Found

Leadership: 4 Ways to Become a Leader Want to Follow by Michael Hyatt

“… what separates the leaders we want to follow from the leaders we have to follow?”

Marriage: Keep Your Marriage Out of the Ditch by Jim Martin

“As I write this particular post, I am thinking about couples in their 20s. Perhaps you’ve been married for a few years. You may even have a small child or two (but not necessarily).”

Parenting: Why Take Your Children to Church? by Lori Hadorn-Disselkamp

“Nothing matters as much as the souls of our children. If we can help them know God, have faith and live a selfless life to help them to heaven is there truly anything that should hold us back from that goal?”

Photography: The Praying Otter

“This ‘once in a lifetime’ photograph taken by photographer Marac Andrev Kolodzinski, waited patently in freezing cold weather at the Whipsnade Zoo in England.”

Saturday night services: Should We Start a Saturday Night Service? by Brian Jones

“I surveyed pastors for one full year about Sat. night services and decided to launch one … We killed it … four months later.”

Shepherding: 2 Things to Avoid in Shepherding by Bev Hislop

“Active listening is not a physiological ability, it is a learned skill.”

Sleep deprivation: What Lack of Sleep Does to Your Spirit by Lynn Casteel Harper

“I am talking to the segment of society with a measure of privilege (which includes me) that has a choice — whether we admit it — between adequate and inadequate sleep.”

Solomon’s temple: What Did Solomon’s Temple Look Like? Answers from Ain Dara

“The exact design of the Solomonic Temple as described in 1 Kings 6 and 2 Chronicles 3 has been illuminated by an important excavation at Ain Dara in northwestern Syria.”

Syria: Syrian Christians Ask for Prayer

“Syrian Christians say their greatest need right now is prayer, according to Open Doors, an international ministry supporting persecuted Christians and religious freedom around the world.”

Thankfulness: I Begin Every Day Telling God About Him by Terry Rush

“Each day begins the same. As soon as I awaken, I begin telling Him thank you. There is so much for which I am naturally thankful. We are instructed to tell Him so. We are to live so.”

Thinking: Don’t Attempt Serious Thinking On the Run: How to Think Seriously by Dave Jacobs

“Certain things are necessary for serious thinking to occur, they are …”

Worship, leading: Multiple Intelligences in Worship by Anne Perry

“Many personalities and levels of spiritual experience comprise a worshiping audience. What inspires some may be dullsville for others. The fact is that multiple intelligences make up each congregation.”