Sunday, 17 March 2013

Extraordinary Life Week 8 - Blessed are those who are persecuted

Small Groups – Week of March 17, 2013

1. Read Matthew 5:1-12. Is there anyone in the group who can say this passage from memory? Try to recite it.

2. Pastor Bill said that persecution will come. When it does we should rejoice. Why might a Christian be persecuted? Why should we rejoice in the midst of persecution? How do the words of Christ in verses 10-12 strike you? Is there any type of persecution that we should not rejoice because of?

3. Pastor Bill shared four reasons why we should rejoice in persecution. Try and recall them and share some of the things Pastor Bill said about them:
[i. It is an indication that we are maturing in Christ [we are known by how we react to things; God uses suffering to shape us; we must change – bitterness is not an option, not forgiving not an option, etc.]; 

ii. People see Christ in us [we are persecuted because of righteousness; righteousness is being right with God at its most basic level, it is also a longing to be free from the control of sin and the desire to sin – it is to be pure with and like Christ; it is a path that puts us at odds with the world and we feel the loss if we don’t line up with the world; will the Christian participate in the unrighteousness or choose righteousness?]; 

iii. Because there is reward in heaven [any loss we have is compensated for greatly in heaven; whose reward are we living for? – earth’s or heaven’s? if we live for earth’s it will mean denying Christ; we all will stand before the judgment seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10); issue of rewards will be at stake for us (1 Corinthians 3:10-15);] iv. Because we don’t belong to the world [we feel the disconnect with the world; we belong to God]]

4. Share a time when you stood up for righteousness and you were persecuted for it in some way. Was it worth it? Why or why not?

5. Spend some time reflecting on the sermon series. What is one thing God shared with you that you need to put into practice? Share this with the group.

6. Spend time in closing by praying for the members of your group and for TAC. Pray that the beatitudes would be evident in our lives.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Extraordinary Life Week 7 - Blessed are the peacemakers

Small Groups – Week of March 10, 2013

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.

1. How would you define peace? [Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Evangelical Theology explains: In English, the word "peace" conjures up a passive picture, one showing an absence of civil disturbance or hostilities, or a personality free from internal and external strife. The biblical concept of peace is larger than that and rests heavily on the Hebrew root slm (salom), which means "to be complete" or "to be sound." The verb conveys both a dynamic and a static meaning "to be complete or whole" or "to live well."]

2. God is the original peacemaker. Through Christ we now have access to God and He took the cost of peace upon Himself. Read Romans 5:1 and 5:8. How does this knowledge impact you personally?

3. Peace making can be very costly. Why does God bother with making peace with us?

4. Pastor Bill said that it is hard to be a peace maker when we don’t have peace in our own hearts. Read John 14:27. How has the peace of Christ helped you be a peacemaker?

5. How can we be peacemakers? Pastor Bill suggests four ways: 

i. Be peacemakers in our whole lives, not just at work or in the public eye. We must extend grace in our homes to our parents, siblings, spouses and children. 

ii. Be peacemakers in the church. Purse the path of love and unity there, and not division. Forgive when offended and apologize when you offend. Welcome those who are different from you. 

iii. If there is oneness, there must be grace. Step into broken lives and refrain from being
afraid of the darkness and hurt that is there. Notice those on the fringes, pull back from
the crowd personally and minister into their lives. 

iv. Lead people to Christ. There is no greater peace than the peace God offers. This is both an objective peace (we are no longer God’s enemies) and a subjective peace (we feel internal peace).

Spend some time talking about each of these four categories. Have people in your group share experiences of when they witnessed or participated in peacemaking in any of these categories. What difference di d the peacemaking make in people’s lives? Are there any specific relationships that God is asking you to be a peacemaker in? Share some of the details.

6. Pray for each other, that we would both know the peace of God and spread peace in our many relationships.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Extraordinary Life Week 6 - Blessed are the pure in heart

Matthew 5:8

Extraordinary Life Week 6 - Blessed are the pure in heart by Tacblogs on Mixcloud

Small Groups – Week of March 3, 2013

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

1. Spend a few minutes reviewing the beatitudes we have examined so far (Challenge: can you memorize them together?). How have these beatitudes manifested themselves in your lives over the past two months? Have two or three people share.

2. Read Matthew 5:8 Mark 7:1-20.

3. What does it mean to be pure in heart? (Reflect on the nature of God. God is pure. How does your knowledge of God inform your understanding of being pure in heart? How does the impurity of humanity inform your understanding of being pure in heart? Reflect on the idea of an undivided heart.)

4. How can you tell if you are pure in heart? Can you tell if you are pure in heart? Can others tell if you are pure in heart?

5. Have a piece of paper and a pen available for everyone. Spend fifteen minutes (or more) privately journaling. Think of a ministry that you are regularly involved in. Is your heart pure as you participate in this ministry? Describe what it is that you do. Reflect on the last time you participated in this ministry. Why did you participate? What thoughts and feelings went through your mind as you were ministering? Can you honestly say that you were ministering out of love for God and love for neighbour? Were you ministering primarily to meet one of your own personal needs? Generally speaking, in which areas of life do you struggle with purity? Record these areas. Privately repent of these things.

6. In small groups of two or three (of the same sex) share one thing you learned about yourself as you were journaling. Pray for each other – that God would create in you a clean heart and give you victory over impurity.

7. Close by reading Psalm 27 to the group.