CoreGroup Guide | Sent - Week One
Over the past four weeks we have been discussing Signs and Wonders. Pastor Matt encouraged us to pay attention to God, to create space for God, to be present, and curious and open, and to welcome God into all aspects of our lives. In this new sermon series, we turn our focus to what it means to be Sent out to invite others to join us in witnessing these signs and wonders from God. This can feel daunting, overwhelming, and maybe even scary! But as Pastor Matt reminded us last week, even our fear and trepidation can be God’s way of nudging us forward.
As we wrap-up talking about Signs and Wonders, what “God-sightings” did you have this past week? What lessons from that sermon series will you carry with you into this next series?
Dear God, thank you for all of the different ways you are working in our lives, big and small! Thank you for the ways that you continually show up for us, and the ways that you continually surprise us. Thank you for this opportunity to be here today and for the opportunity to continue learning and growing on this faith journey. Please give us the eyes to see and the ears to hear where you are leading us next. We pray all of this in your son’s name. Amen.
This sermon series is all about invitations. Think back to your days as a child and the birthday party invitations you received. Or perhaps think about the children in your life today and the parties they have been invited to. What is the coolest birthday party you or a child you know has ever been invited to? What made it so awesome?
After his resurrection (but shortly before he ascends to Heaven), Jesus appears to his followers and shares a final word of encouragement with them. This is from Acts 1:4-8 –
While they were eating together, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem but to wait for what the Father had promised. He said, "This is what you heard from me: John baptized with water, but in only a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
As a result, those who had gathered together asked Jesus, "Lord, are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel now?"
Jesus replied, "It isn't for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has set by his own authority. Rather, you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."
After Jesus said these things, as they were watching, he was lifted up and a cloud took him out of their sight.
Put yourself in the shoes (or sandals!) of these first followers of Jesus. What must this experience have been like for them? What questions would you ask Jesus if you were in the room with him?
What is the difference between being baptized with water and being baptized with the Holy Spirit? Why does Jesus make this distinction? And why does this distinction matter to the people hearing this from Jesus?
What does it mean to be “a witness” in the way that Jesus uses the word here? Why was this so significant to the followers who heard this message? Why is it significant to us today?
Sometimes we hear these words like “witnessing” and “inviting” in conjunction with a different word: Evangelism. What do you think of when you hear the word Evangelism? What images, people, or memories come to mind and how do those impact your feelings towards this topic?
How do your feelings shift if we use the word Witnessing instead? How about Inviting?
What prevents you from sharing your faith with more people? Insecurity? Embarrassment? Fear? Discomfort? Disconnection? Something else? What do you need from God to overcome these hurdles? From yourself? From your CoreGroup?
Over the next week, try to spend a few minutes each day contemplating these two questions:
- What is one way that Jesus has made a difference in my life?
- What is one way that the Church has made a difference in my life?
We will revisit these questions at the start of next week’s CoreGroup for anybody who feels comfortable sharing. Between now and then, feel free to share your responses with a trusted friend or family member, and maybe even ask them the same questions!
God, thank you again for this opportunity to be nudged towards challenging things. We know that in these challenges we find growth in our relationship with you and in our relationship with others. As we go forward today, please give us the wisdom to know what it looks like to be invitational and the courage to make those invitations. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Posted in CoreGroup Discussion Guides
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