Burnout: Week 4 Discussion Guide

CoreGroup Guide | Burnout - Week 4

This is the fourth week of our sermon series called Burnout: Rest and the Power of Going Dark. In today’s CoreGroup discussion we will continue to wrestle with what it means to rest for something, not just to rest from something. The truth is, God needs us to be revived, refreshed, and renewed for the meaningful work the rest of the week holds for us! God has created each of us for a purpose, but it’s hard to live into that purpose when we feel pulled too far and stretched too thin. Just when we feel like we’ve got nothing left to give, God calls us to step away, to be filled back up again. We’re glad you’re here! Let’s begin in prayer.

Opening Prayer:
God, thank you once again for bringing each of us to CoreGroup today. Thank you for helping us create space for these conversations and for the unique ideas and experiences you have given each of us. We confess that this is really hard! It’s hard to prioritize our relationships with you and with each other when we are constantly fighting the urge to be busy and productive with every minute of the day. God, we ask you to guide our discussion today; strengthen us, challenge us, and be present with us as we intentionally and purposefully choose Rest over Burnout. In your son’s name we pray, Amen. 

Ice Breaker:
In today’s scripture story we read that Jesus would sometimes slip away to a deserted place to escape the crowds. Where is your favorite place to go when you need a minute alone?

Circle Back:
At the end of last week’s CoreGroup discussion, we read Psalm 46:10 – “Be still, and know that I am God!” In order to really heed the advice of this verse, we were challenged to work on our breathing, to focus on the present, to be a witness, and to let the rest go. Did anybody have an opportunity to practice these things? If so, did this Bible verse take on any new significance as you set aside time for rest and Sabbath?  

The Head:
Today’s scripture is a long one, but an interesting glimpse into the start of Jesus’ public ministry. Word of Jesus had begun to spread around the Galilee region and people were coming from all over to hear him teach and to witness his miraculous healings. Can you imagine what a day in the life of Jesus might have looked like?

This is Luke 5:1-16 – 
“Once while Jesus was standing beside the Lake of Gennesaret and the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he saw two boats there at the shore of the lake; the fishermen had gotten out of them and were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, ‘Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.’ Simon answered, ‘Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets.’ When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to burst.

So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’s knees, saying, ‘Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!’ For he and all who were with him were astounded at the catch of fish that they had taken, and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. Then Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.’ When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.

Once when he was in one of the cities, a man covered with a skin disease was there. When he saw Jesus, he bowed with his face to the ground and begged him, ‘Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.’ Then Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, ‘I am willing. Be made clean.’ Immediately the skin disease left him. And he ordered him to tell no one. ‘But go, show yourself to the priest, and, as Moses commanded, make an offering for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.’ But now more than ever the word about Jesus spread abroad; many crowds were gathering to hear him and to be cured of their diseases. Meanwhile, he would slip away to deserted places and pray.”

The first part of this reading recounts how Jesus recruited his first disciples. The next section goes on to describe how Jesus healed a man with a skin disease. In between these events he was undoubtedly teaching crowds of people as he moved from town to town.

How would you describe the day-to-day life of Jesus during this time? If Jesus was alive today, what would his job description entail? What would his LinkedIn profile say?

The last sentence is easy to skip over, but why is it so significant? How do you think Jesus knew it was time to slip away to a deserted place? What was the purpose of this time away?

If time allows, take a look at the rest of Luke 5 (you can read the whole thing, or just skim the remaining sections). What does Jesus go on to do after his time of rest and restoration? How would you describe the rhythm of Jesus’s life and ministry?

The Heart:
In some ways, this time of prayer served as an anchor for Jesus as he did the work of leading, teaching, and healing. What are the key anchors of your life? How do you know when these anchors are pulling up a little too much? How do you nurture and protect these anchors? 
In the story above, we read that even Jesus had to maintain certain boundaries between himself, his disciples, and the crowds of people following him. What sorts of emotional and relational boundaries have you established in your life? How do these boundaries influence your sense of self, identity, and agency? How do they influence your relationship with God? 
Read Isaiah 40:28-31 – 

“Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
    his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint
    and strengthens the powerless.
Even youths will faint and be weary,
    and the young will fall exhausted,
but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
    they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
    they shall walk and not faint.”
What promises from God do you read in this scripture? Which of these promises give you the most hope? Which are the hardest for you to embrace? 

The Hands:

One way for us to replicate Jesus’ practice of slipping away to a deserted place is by going on a retreat. In the book Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practices That Transform Us, author Adele Ahlberg Calhoun offers this definition: “Retreats are specific and regular times apart for quietly listening to God and delighting in his company. Retreats remove us from the daily battle into times of refreshing, retooling, renewing and unwinding” (p. 66).

Have you ever been on a retreat? What was that experience like for you?

What are the challenges to going on a retreat in this current season of life?

Describe your ideal retreat? What does your soul long for in a retreat?
This week, consider taking one (or more!) of these steps towards planning a retreat:

  1. Find a retreat center near you and learn more about the retreats they offer.
  2. Look specifically at a local abbey or monastery; oftentimes these places offer retreats to the public regardless of faith background or denomination.
  3. Plan your own individual retreat, preferably somewhere away from home, and ideally somewhere with nature available.
  4. Pack a retreat bag including a Bible, a journal, water, hiking shoes, blankets, etc. (try to leave books, headphones, electronics, and other distractions at home).
  5. Actually put a retreat on the calendar and do the necessary legwork now to protect that time (e.g. childcare, meal prep, time off work, reschedule appointments, etc.).

Share your retreat plans with your CoreGroup so that they can support and encourage you!

Closing Prayer:

Lord, we read in the Isaiah passage above that you are the everlasting God; you are the creator of the ends of the earth. Even when we feel burned out and weary, you strengthen us in ways that we cannot even begin to understand. Thank you, God, for this group and for the opportunity to be renewed in body, mind, and spirit. In your name we pray, Amen.

Burnout discussion guide writers: Jenny Huffman & Chris Burford

No Comments