CG Questions: Jesus, Blasphemy, & God's Family

Mark 3:20-35  //

[20] Then he went home, and the crowd gathered again, so that they could not even eat. [21] And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, “He is out of his mind.”
[Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit]
[22] And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.” [23] And he called them to him and said to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? [24] If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. [25] And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. [26] And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end. [27] But no one can enter a strong man's house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. Then indeed he may plunder his house.
[28] “Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, [29] but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”—[30] for they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.”
[Jesus' Mother and Brothers]
[31] And his mother and his brothers came, and standing outside they sent to him and called him. [32] And a crowd was sitting around him, and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, seeking you.” [33] And he answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” [34] And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! [35] For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.”

Questions  // 

1.  Read the above passage out loud.
-  What are some things that stand out to you within the passage?
-  Is there any part of the passage that is confusing to you?  Which part?
-  What can we see about God in the passage?
-  What do you see about man in the passage?

2.  John talked about Jesus being the one who binds the strong man (Satan) to plunder his goods (people in the bondage of sin and legal possession of the Devil).  Read 1 Peter 2:9-10: "But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.  Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy."
-  Based on those verses, what is part of Jesus' mission on earth?  (Transfer us / rescue us / ransom us from the dominion of darkness and place us in His kindgom... ie: save us and set us free)
-  What are some things that Jesus has saved you and set you free from?

3,  John pointed out that Jesus is not in Heaven in a cosmic light-sabre battle against Satan and barely winning.  Jesus is the Risen and Reigning King.  He has overcome the power of the grave and has given us the Holy Spirit to live by faith in Him.  Take a 3 or 4 minutes for each person to read Romans 6:1-14 by themselves.
-  What stands out in those verses?  What does it say about Jesus?  about us?
-  What does that passage mean for us right now?  What are the implications of those verses for us today, in this moment?

4.  We intellectually know that Jesus is stronger than Satan and that Satan's grip and sin's power over us have ultimately been defeated in our lives through the death and resurrection of Jesus.  Yet, at times we allow lies to influence our thinking about God and ourselves that are contrary to the Truth.
Read 2 Corinthians 10:4-5: "For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.  We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ..."
-  What does Paul do about arguments, opinions, and lies that set themselves up against the Truth?
-  Remember, Jesus is stronger than our greed, lust, impurity, shame, bitterness, fear, unbelief, unforgiveness, anger, covetousness, and every other thing past or present that entangles us.
-  With that in mind, are there any prevailing lies that you keep believing about yourself or about God? 
-  (Take time to actually get silent and wait on the Lord)  If Jesus walked into the room tonight (which He does every time we meet via the Holy Spirit), what truth would He tell you?  What would He call you out of?  What healing words would He speak to you? 

Ministry  //

Be encouraged and find hope in the fact that we are in a life long process of sanctification (Romans 6:19-22).  God is the Author and Perfecter of your faith which is of more worth than gold.  He loves you and is covenentally committed to you (Romans 6:14). 
Break up in twos or threes and share or confess any lies that the Holy Spirit brings to mind and what they think or feel like Jesus would share with them.  Then pray for each other.

CG Questions: Sanctity of Life

Normandy,

Starting this week I'll begin to post the questions for Community Groups online.  I send these out each week following the sermon, along with weekly announcements, ministry time suggestions, and leadership advice.  We realize that not everyone of you can make it to your Community Group each week, so rather than not having an opportunity to process the sermon at all, we're posting them every Wednesday morning so that you can visit these throughout the week.  I pray that they serve as a means of grace to you, giving you a glimpse into the heart of Normandy, while helping you feel more unified with the rest of the church as we all seek to grow in the grace and knowledge of God together.

Privileged to walk with you all,

Preston

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Leaders,

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Well, the last two weeks have been  wonderful.  Way to go Bower.  And, more importantly, Hey God!  Tonight  I'm going to suggest covering the last two weeks.   First, giving some time for our people to process the Sanctity of Life  sermon.  It was heavy, real, humbling, stirring, heart breaking for me.   I was to give our folks some room to process.  I will provide a few  questions to appropriately discuss this.  Above all else concerning this  topic, we want to be gracious and to not assume that "no  one in our church would ever do something like that."  That is simply  not the case and I want us to avoid simply discussing the horrors of abortion,  but rather discuss how WE, Christians in Dallas, should feel, believe,  and live in light of what we know is true.

Lastly, I have posted 6 blog posts.  3 on Sanctity of Life.  3  on Fasting.  The last post is an outline on the practicals of fasting.   What is it?  What kinds of fasts are there?  And the practicals of  planning for and doing a fast.  I would encourage you to email out a  link to our blog so your people know that those resources are  available.  www.normandychurch.com/blog

Announcements //

-  Vision Sunday & One Year Anniversary!  This Sunday.

-  Mandatory Kids Training day at Antioch Dallas.  Feb 2nd.  9-12 for everyone.  12-4 for Lead Teachers.

-  Blog Resources are online for both Sanctity of Life and Fasting

Questions //

Fasting:  Go over the Practicals on  fasting blog.  Answer any questions.  The Plan is to start this Sunday  night at 6pm and fast until CG when we will all break fast together (on  chocolate!)  Make sure that everyone knows how they are going to fast  before moving on and to talk with you afterwards if they are still  uncertain / fearful / etc.

Next, process Sanctity of Life Sunday.

1.  This last week was a unique week as a church in that  we participated in Sanctity of Life Sunday along with 1000s of other  churches. 

-  What were some things that particularly  stuck out to you on Sunday?  (Take a minute and let them really think on  it)  Follow up on each person's response with "Why did it cause you to  think / feel that way?" or "What about that struck you personally?  Did  you continue to think about that throughout the day? Why?

2.  John clearly demonstrated a lot of humility  throughout his sermon by essentially confessing his own indifference and  hypocrisy regarding abortion's realities.

-  Could you relate to John when he talked about his own internal wrestling?  Why?

3.  Read Matthew 23:23. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees,  hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected  the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness.  These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. You blind  guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!

-  What is Jesus saying here to the Pharisees?  What is the context?

-  What do you see about God?  His Heart?  About man?  

-  What is God saying right now to Christians everywhere through this scripture?

4. When John said "I don't know how to respond yet. I don't know what  to do about abortion right now", how did that make YOU personally feel?   Did you immediately feel relieved because you now felt justified in  your own indifference?  Or perhaps there was a spark of courage that you  felt? 

-  What was God doing in your heart at service?  Was He  speaking to you through the sermon or through the adoption video?  What  was He doing in your heart?  Were you convicted?  How?  Was there a  longing in your heart to do something?  What was it? 

Ministry //

Break  up and ask God to give us His heart for unborn children and for their  parents.  Ask for forgiveness in any places that we have self-righteously condemned those  who "do not know what they do" and for our indifference toward  abortion. 

Grace and mercy come from God...  “And  I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a  spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on  him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for  an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a  firstborn. - Zechariah 12:10  We need the same spirit of  grace and pleas for mercy again.  Ask the Lord to pour out a spirit of  grace once again on our church.