December 16th, 2020
Facilitator: Hello seekers and followers of Jesus. My name is ________. I am a disciple of Jesus. So glad to be with you all here.
Everyone is welcome here. The only requirement is a desire to seek or follow the way of Jesus. We ask that any political or other controversy that may distract or divide from our purpose be avoided. Our mission and purpose is essential, and many need it’s healing power whom we currently disagree with. Some things may be best to speak individually with others about. Please help us cultivate this culture and remind one another as needed.
We each know only a little, but God will constantly disclose more to us if our own soul is in order. We seek the only One who knows all and has all power.
Moment of Silence to Seek God
Facilitator: We will now take one minute in silence to open ourselves to God and become ready to listen to whatever He would like to reveal. I will first start us praying the bolded prayer below together in unison. We will then take the next minute in silence listening to God.
Come Lord Jesus Christ by Your Holy Spirit. Have mercy on us. Make Your powerful presence known and have your way. You are good. You are great. You are gracious. You are glorious. Open your hearts to us as we open our hearts to You, we pray oh God.” (Now spend 1 minute in silence)
Facilitator: Come back gently. Would someone please volunteer to read “Our Purpose”
Our purpose is to glorify God by following Jesus every day.
We live a life of daily disciplines and moment-by-moment listening and responding to His Spirit as he teaches us to love God and others. As we do this the goal is to be formed like Jesus one choice at a time and show others who He is.
We humans are in constant struggle, overwhelmed by sin and suffering, striving to find our purpose and identity, and (often without realizing it) lonely for our Creator.
Estranged from our Maker, we try to make purpose and meaning for ourselves. We strive to control our existence by defining right and wrong for ourselves, and struggle to have a satisfying life.
We try to fill a hole only God can fill, neglecting love, truth, and reality along the way. Addicted, diseased, suicidal, lonely, guilty, full of shame and anger, we struggle with a secret world of thoughts and emotions in our heads and hearts. Our insides often don’t match the outsides we see on others. We con ourselves into thinking just a little more of something will satisfy us, and it never does.
We strive for good things but fail to obtain them. We have turned good things into false gods that cannot fill us. We are hopeless and powerless following our own way.
Facilitator: Thank you. Would someone please volunteer to read “The Solution.”
God sent His Son, Jesus to save this world from the havoc sin and self has brought. He gave us truth through His life, and He showed us the way of love. He lived the life we should have lived, and died the death we should have died on our behalf. He showed us that real love is found in giving up your own way and serving God and others just as Jesus did. He sent his Spirit to convict and counsel and empower us along the way. Now we listen to Jesus’ invitation to give up our way and follow him and take actions of faith working in love every day as His followers. We believe, and that faith grows as it works. It works if we work it. He shows us a way of living that actually satisfies if we will simply empty our hands and surrender to Him.
Facilitator: Thank you. Would someone please volunteer to read “The Promises?” Feel free to omit reading references.
Let us rejoice in the hope we look to as we re-focus and remind each other of the wonderful promises in Scripture for those who follow Jesus.
Facilitator: Please join me in this prayer:
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us as we forgive those who sin against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for Yours is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.
Scripture: Listen, Share, Act Names and Check-In
Facilitator: Please share your name, what God showed you last week and how you have been acting on that.
Discovery Bible Study
Facilitator: If you have a Bible, feel free to get it out and open to Luke 15:11-32. Would someone like to volunteer to read the passage nice and loud?
Parable of the Lost Son
11 To illustrate the point further, Jesus told them this story: “A man had two sons. 12 The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die.’ So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons.
13 “A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living. 14 About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve. 15 He persuaded a local farmer to hire him, and the man sent him into his fields to feed the pigs. 16 The young man became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything.
17 “When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! 18 I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, 19 and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.” ’
20 “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. 21 His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.* ’
22 “But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. 23 And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, 24 for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.
25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the fields working. When he returned home, he heard music and dancing in the house, 26 and he asked one of the servants what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother is back,’ he was told, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf. We are celebrating because of his safe return.’
28 “The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in. His father came out and begged him, 29 but he replied, ‘All these years I’ve slaved for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. And in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends. 30 Yet when this son of yours comes back after squandering your money on prostitutes, you celebrate by killing the fattened calf!’
31 “His father said to him, ‘Look, dear son, you have always stayed by me, and everything I have is yours. 32 We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!’”
Contemplate and Incarnate
Facilitator: Let’s take 5 minutes to let what God is placing before us sink in as we prepare to practice it.
The first 2 minutes we will quiet ourselves, noticing resistance and yielding to what He is speaking.
(Do 2 minutes of silence)
For these next 2 minutes of silence with God let’s focus on incarnating. What might you now need to do with what you have heard? What is the tangible surrender?
(Do 2 minutes of silence.)
Share and Prayer:
Facilitator: We will now go into a time of sharing in a God-directed way with one another. I will read a section of this scripture and then give space for us to pray out what is in our hearts and what we might sense the Spirit in the scripture prompting:
1 Thessalonians 5:14–1514 Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone.
15 See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people.
1 Thessalonians 5:16–1816 Always be joyful. 17 Never stop praying. 18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:19–2219 Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. 20 Do not scoff at prophecies, 21 but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. 22 Stay away from every kind of evil.
Next Meeting and Closing:
Facilitator: We are all in this together. We learn in Scripture and society that things work best when we all are a part. All of us can play a part as the Body of Christ, the Church. If you are willing, we would love to have anyone who has been part of the fellowship here for at least a month help facilitate meetings. Is anyone here willing to facilitate the next gathering in a week? (Pause for volunteer.) Thank you!
Please join me in a closing prayer of Benediction by reading it together over one another.
Hebrews 13:20-2120 Now may the God of peace— who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, and ratified an eternal covenant with his blood— 21 may he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen.
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SouthSide Community Church