Sermon Prep Guides this season will be simplified. I will simply ask you to meditate during the week on a given passage of scripture and spend time in prayer with God. Consider giving the passage a read at least once in the week, perhaps once each day, and spending the time you would usually spend studying sitting quietly, listening, watching, waiting for God’s leading, word, presence, and consolation in your life. We encourage community gropus to consider giving something up during this season – either choose something in common to give up, or simply support one another in pursuing this discipline. Just remember, Lent, and all spiritual disciplines, need to be about God and your relationship with Him – not your need for a slimmer waist [through giving up chocolate for selfish reasons, for example].
If you would like to learn more about Lent or work with additional resources, you might find this website and its accompanying videos/apps/links/resources helpful:http://www.thelentexperience.com/
As you repent, my prayer for our church is that you would relinquish your sin so that you can receive God’s grace.
Passage for meditation: 2 Corinthians 5; Jeremiah 29.4-14
I Give Up . . . My Plans ( Adam and Kim Forney )
For Further Group Discussion if needed:
Through His Incarnation [God becoming Man], Jesus Christ gave up EVERYTHING out of the desire to be with us, to eliminate the barrier of sin that stands between us [us and God, us and each other]. Pick any of the four Gospels [Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John], and read for awhile, as if you were digging into a memoir or biography. Begin a list of all the things you see that Jesus gave up in coming to Earth, add to it as more realizations come to you.
In the season of lent, and through this sermon series, we have an opportunity to consider, what should/could/would I give up for the sake of drawing closer to Christ, God, my spouse, my family, my neighbor, all that God might be glorified?
Discuss with your groups what you are working on giving up, or what you know you need to give up.
If you were one of the people who was getting up on stage during this series, what would you share about having given up? Have you needed to give up your pride [like John Andrade], People Pleasing [like Ruth Perry], your Perspective [like John Schanck], your plans [like the Forneys]? If you missed any of these Sundays, and your answer to any part of that question was yes, consider going back and listening to the online audio on our website.
How does all this thought on giving things up make you look forward to Easter in a different way? How does it change your expectation, anticipation, longing for the celebration of the risen Lord?
Start discussing with your group how you might celebrate Christ rising from the dead as a conclusion to this series. Perhaps you might throw a party, have a time of celebratory music/dancing, share a festive meal. As the season of "giving up" comes to a close, what will you take hold of anew that will bring renewed life to your relationship with Jesus and His people?