No Filter: See The Real You – Week 2

You are...immigrants and strangers

Week of May 1, 2022

Throughout this series we are exploring our true identity in Christ. But we know that outside influences can shape our identity in harmful ways, keeping us from discovering who we really are. As Matt mentioned in last week’s sermon, some of us have experienced deep pain or past trauma that causes us to struggle with feelings of anxiety, anger, depression, helplessness, guilt and isolation. This unresolved pain can impact our physical and mental wellness. At The Gathering we have a new ministry called “Grace Place” for people who feel burdened by past hurt. Grace Place is a safe space to connect with others and receive support. Beginning May 17, Grace Place will meet Tuesday nights at 7:00pm at our Clayton Site. You can register for Grace Place HERE.

  1. Follow up with each other regarding the Ennegram test. Have your group members share what number they are and one characteristic that describes their type.
  2. This week we are going to dive into being weird! Share one surprising fact about yourself that no one in your CoreGroup knows.

Opening Prayer 
Dear God, we are learning to embrace our truest selves through your word. Guide us as we explore how scripture empowers us to be the individuals you created us to be. In your name we pray, amen.

Peter, in his letter to new Christians, reminds them that they are “immigrants and strangers in this world”. That is an odd thing to tell people. They weren’t literally immigrants. Instead, Peter was reminding them of something that we often sum up by saying, “be in the world but not of the world.” A lot of us often feel as if we don’t quite fit in, we don’t quite see things like everyone else, maybe like we are a little weird. That is ok! More than ok, that is what Jesus expects. He expects us to be set apart, to see things a little differently, and to point beyond the way things are to the way God wants them to be.  

Scripture Reading
1 Peter 2:11-12
Dear friends, since you are immigrants and strangers in the world, I urge that you avoid worldly desires that wage war against your lives. Live honorably among the unbelievers. Today, they defame you, as if you were doing evil. But in the day when God visits to judge they will glorify him, because they have observed your honorable deeds.

Engaging Scripture
Let’s pause before we think about how these passages make us feel or how it applies to our context. This section can help ground your group in talking about what is written and consider its impact on the original audience.  

  1. In this verse, Peter uses the words "immigrants and strangers" to describe believers.  What is the general response of most people towards these two groups?

  2. Peter encourages us to live honorably among unbelievers.  Discuss what "honorable" behaviors look like in the context of this verse.

  3. Sometimes it's helpful to look for other verses in the Bible that reveal similar themes.  In John 15:18-19, Jesus said the following to His disciples:  “If the world hates you, know that it hated me first.  If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own. However, I have chosen you out of the world, and you don’t belong to the world. This is why the world hates you." Hate is a strong word, but it is on point for a war waged against believers, as Peter referenced.  Let that sit for a minute.  What feelings does that inspire?

Application Questions
  1. Have you had the experience of being an immigrant or a stranger? What were the circumstances? How did it feel?

  2. Talk about the benefits of living as a weirdo, as Pastor Matt puts it. Sometimes it can be uncomfortable, but what are the positives?

  3. Last week we explored the word ‘redeem’;  let's look at some words & traits describing the identity of a weirdo (in relation to this week's message) Talk about these words and how you respond to them emotionally or with personal memories.
    • Weird
    • New
    • Complicated
    • Different
    • Nonconforming
    • Questioner
    • Stranger
    • Right & good
    • Brave
    • Outsider
    • Controversial
    • Christian

Closing Prayer
Thank you God for bringing us together in this time and space as a group of weirdos. We know that you call us to be set apart. Be with us this week as we go forth in the community to make the choice to live our lives a little differently. Amen.

Taking it Further 
Now that you know your Enneagram type, take time to learn about it. The Enneagram is all about self-actualization - the realization and fulfillment of your giftedness and potential. It is a tool for re-discovering our true selves and living as healthy individuals. There are several good books on The Enneagram. A few we recommend are:

The Road Back to You by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile

The Wisdom of the Enneagram: The Complete Guide to Psychological and Spiritual Growth for the Nine Personality Types by Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson

Spiritual Rhythms for the Enneagram: A Handbook for Harmony and Transformation by Adele and Doug Calhoun, and Clare and Scott Loughrige

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