Part 4: It's a Small, Small World
Discussion following the sermon from 1/30/22
"Meanwhile, the believers who had been scattered during the persecution after Stephen’s death traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch of Syria. They preached the word of God, but only to Jews. However, some of the believers who went to Antioch from Cyprus and Cyrene began preaching to the Gentiles about the Lord Jesus. The power of the Lord was with them, and a large number of these Gentiles believed and turned to the Lord. When the church at Jerusalem heard what had happened, they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he arrived and saw this evidence of God’s blessing, he was filled with joy, and he encouraged the believers to stay true to the Lord. Barnabas was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and strong in faith. And many people were brought to the Lord. Then Barnabas went on to Tarsus to look for Saul. When he found him, he brought him back to Antioch. Both of them stayed there with the church for a full year, teaching large crowds of people. (It was at Antioch that the believers were first called Christians.)" Acts 11:19-26
- Appreciate the uniquenesses of the people of our world.
"Meanwhile, the believers who had been scattered during the persecution after Stephen’s death traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch of Syria. They preached the word of God, but only to Jews. However, some of the believers who went to Antioch from Cyprus and Cyrene began preaching to the Gentiles about the Lord Jesus." Acts 11:19-21
How do the differences in our small groups add value to our small groups?
Decide how to encourage the people of our world.
"When the church at Jerusalem heard what had happened, they sent Barnabas to Antioch." Acts 11:22
In what ways can your group reach out to the world?
Experience the joy that comes from partnering with the people of our world.
"When he arrived and saw this evidence of God’s blessing, he was filled with joy, and he encouraged the believers to stay true to the Lord. Barnabas was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and strong in faith. And many people were brought to the Lord. Then Barnabas went on to Tarsus to look for Saul. When he found him, he brought him back to Antioch. Both of them stayed there with the church for a full year, teaching large crowds of people. (It was at Antioch that the believers were first called Christians.)" Acts 11:23-26
Have you experienced the joy of seeing people from other cultures come to Christ?
Part 3: Won't You Be My Neighbor?
Discussion following the sermon from 1/23/22
Luke 10:30–37 "Jesus replied with a story: 'A Jewish man was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road. By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side. Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’ Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?' Jesus asked. The man replied, 'The one who showed him mercy.' Then Jesus said, 'Yes, now go and do the same.'"
FOUR QUESTIONS TO MOVE ME TO LOVE MY NEIGHBOR
- WHO is my neighbor?
Luke 6:27 “But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you.
- WHY should I love my neighbor?
John 13:34a So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other.
- HOW can I love my neighbor?
John 13:34b Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.
- WHAT If I love my neighbor?
John 13:35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
Part 2: Happy Home
Discussion following the sermon from 1/16/22
Matthew 5:1–4 "When Jesus saw the vast crowds he went up the hill-side and after he had sat down his disciples came to him. Then he began his teaching by saying to them, 'How happy are the humble-minded, for the kingdom of Heaven is theirs! How happy are those who know what sorrow means, for they will be given courage and comfort!'"
Essentials for a happy home:
- I must hurt for my home.
Matthew 5:3–4 (The Message) "You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule. You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you."
Signs that I truly hurt for my home:
- I am willing to admit there is a problem.
- I am willing to accept responsibility for my part.
- I am willing to abandon my pride.
Are you ready to look to God for the healing your family needs?
I must have a heart for my home.
Ephesians 3:16–17 "I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong."
Ephesians 5:25 "For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her."
Ephesians 6:4 "Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord."
What are some things I appreciate about my family? What are some struggles my family is going through?
I must have hope for my home.
Malachi 4:5–6 "Look, I am sending you the prophet Elijah before the great and dreadful day of the Lord arrives. His preaching will turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers. Otherwise I will come and strike the land with a curse."
Jeremiah 29:11–13 "'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.'"
Discussion Question: What are some things I can do to turn my children’s hearts back to God?
Part 1: Lovin' The Skin I'm In
Discussion following the sermon from 1/9/22
Matthew 22:35–40 "One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap him with this question: 'Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?' Jesus replied, 'You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself. The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.'”
Learning to love the skin I’m in requires that I…
- Discover the great love God has for me.
1 John 4:18–19 "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us."
John 15:9 “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love."
Song of Solomon 4:7 "You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you."
Discussion Question: What challenges have you faced that sometimes make it difficult for you to fully receive God’s great love for you?
- Distance myself from the comparison trap.
John 21:20–22 "Peter turned around and saw behind them the disciple Jesus loved—the one who had leaned over to Jesus during supper and asked, 'Lord, who will betray you?' Peter asked Jesus, 'What about him, Lord?' Jesus replied, 'If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? As for you, follow me.'”
Psalm 139:14 (NKJV) "I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well."
Discussion Question: How can we avoid the comparison trap?
- Direct my focus to loving and serving others.
Ephesians 2:10 "For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago."
Discussion Question: Take some time and share your gifts, talents, passions and hobbies with your group. How can you use these gifts to share God’s great love with others?