This message was served up by Howard Moore, a long time friend of Ness Baptist and one of our supported missionaries. His title and the main point of his message was that you have been blessed in order to be a blessing. He said that we are undoubtedly blessed, but with that blessing comes a responsibility to share it and not keep it to ourselves.
So here are a few questions for you to discuss together on the topic of blessing.
So it is safe to say that Jesus is actually the blessing we’ve received! He is beyond material blessing (the presence or the absence of it), beyond emotional, physical, or any other type of blessing, because all those blessings are simply things which he uses to point our attention toward him.
What good news this is! Just one thing is left to figure out though….
How can you be a blessing this week? How can we support those who have dedicated their lives to this work in other parts of the world? Pick one of the stories from Greater Europe Mission and spend some time praying for the work that Howard and GEM are engaged in.
Do you have the Thanksgiving tradition, to converse around the dinner table and each say something you’re thankful for from the past year? Take some time to do this as a group. What is something you’re thankful for from the past year? How do you see that God was involved?
Our sign committee (Caroline Wiens, Gayle Frame, and Verna Guenther) put this message on the church sign last week… “Being thankful is not for a day, it’s a lifestyle.”
What do you think this means?
If it’s true that being thankful is not for a day but it’s a lifestyle… then the follow up question should be, “why”? Why should it be a lifestyle? On Thanksgiving Sunday, Pastor Jeremy talked about thanksgiving in the language of mission. Read Psalm 67 together, then get into answering the “why”.
Pastor Jeremy discussed 4 elements to this passage.
Walk through Psalm 67 with these in mind. How does the Psalm give body to each point? How do these together answer the question implied by our sign committee… WHY should thanksgiving not be just a day but a lifestyle for a Christian?
This week Pastor Matt opened God’s word to Deuteronomy 6:4-9 in order to turn our attention to the importance of intergenerational relationships in our church family. Read this together as you begin.
If you feel comfortable, share two brief stories with your group. First, what is something those older than you would say about you, or a story they would love to tell about you?
What is a story those younger than you would love to share about your life? These are better if they’re embarrassing!
In raising children who love the Lord, Pastor Matt called our attention to 4 things. He noted that these four things were listed as the major factors contributing to children continuing to walk with the Lord through their teen and young adult years.
These four elements were:
Take some time to talk through these four points from a different perspective though… not as parents of specific children, but as parents to those in God’s family who are children.
Pastor Matt suggested 7 ways to continue building intergenerational relationships. He called these “practical ideas for a sticky church”:
For each point, how could you pursue this better individually, and as a group?
Also, take some time to just list some of the intergenerational points of connection, service, and programing you are aware of at Ness. (Hint, Sundays count!)
What is the point of all this? A good passage to read to close your discussion is Psalm 145 in its entirety.
How does a healthy church community proclaim the good news of Jesus?
Hospitality - Inviting Because We Were InvitedHebrews 13:1-6
1. Go around the room and have each member share a positive memory of having a meal in someone’s home. It could be a meal with a family member or a friend.
2. What is it about sharing a meal together that creates conversation and a “closeness”?
3. Hebrews 12:28-29 speak of acceptable worship and Hebrews 13:1-2 speaks of brotherly love and hospitality to strangers. What is the connection between those two passages? (Remembering that chapter divisions didn’t come about until the 13th century.)
4. Hebrews 13:1-5a speaks of time, money and our sexuality as stewardship issues and matters of acceptable worship. How do we view each of these as gifts from God that he has given us stewardship of? Go through each of the three separately.
5. Viewing those gifts through the lens of stewardship, how do they encourage hospitality and fellowship?
6. How does verses 5b and 6 encourage or strengthen our ability to be hospitable and to increase our “brotherly love”?
7. In order to encourage the churches to be hospitable and generous, the writer of Hebrews uses a quote from Joshua 1:5 that God gave to Joshua. What does it do to your understanding of the Old Testament to see that the writers of the New Testament used Old Testament promises to encourage them in their day?
8. Read Deuteronomy 10:17-22. This passage shows how God has always loved the sojourner, the exile, the stranger. The Hebrews people were in this place when they went down to Egypt and we were in that place before we responded to God’s call on our lives. God has brought us in and asks us to bring others in through hospitality and fellowship - what are some ways you can do this in the weeks ahead?
We are called as Christians to live a baptized life. This is a state of relationship with God which begins at conversion, is confirmed in baptism, and continues unto our death. This week in your group, spend some time sharing with each other about what living the baptized life has meant for you.
Try to share a brief version of your story of justification and sanctification with someone who is not a believer this week. This could be as simple as saying, “God is has been so faithful in my life….” and let the Holy Spirit lead from there.
The second part of this is telling your group about what happened. If you have a group chat, or text, throw your story in there. Otherwise, lead off next week with some story telling.
This shorter message is an examination of what kind of father God is for us.
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