Welcome to or Welcome back to Communities Under Development with North Harbor!
Background: The mission of North Harbor’s Community Development Ministries is to provide opportunities for people to grow in relationship with the people of Jesus’ Body, the Church. We hope that through growing in relationship with people of the Church, you might have a stronger sense of belonging to Christ, His Body, and our community in particular.
Communities Under Development (a.k.a. “CUD,” formerly "small groups") consist of 6-12 women and men that do life together and weekly meet in the MidCoast area for seasons of ~10 weeks at a time. Together they pray and talk, with a focus on sermon content, in order to learn how to be more like Christ (disciples).
Each week by Tuesday night, I’ll post a Sermon Prep guide to allow you to dig into the Biblical passage that the next Sunday’s sermon will be based in. Our CUD groups discuss the content you explore through these guides and the sermons. Our hope in this approach is to streamline the process of choosing group discussion content, unify your experience of learning to be more like Christ by coordinating group discussions with sermons, and unify our groups’ experiences by having them digging into the same material – thereby enabling more cross group dialogue and affinity.
Our mission at North Harbor is to lead people toward a growing relationship with Jesus. So it is our hope that through the tool of sermon prep, you would be invited into meeting directly with God, with the aid of His word, in order to de-emphasize and aid the preacher’s teaching, empowering your ownership on your spiritual journey, and dignifying the power of your personal time with God to have a significant impact in transforming your life and relationship with Christ.
Sermons at North Harbor this school year are going to work through the Fruit of the Spirit [Galatians 5:22]. Each month will focus on a different aspect of the Spirit’s fruit, September kicks things off with a focus on LOVE. To catch up on previous sermons visit: http://www.northharbor.org, choose the menu “What to expect” and select “Recent Sermons.” But let’s get into this week’s text!!
READ 1 Corinthians 13
[note: this is a familiar passage to many people. To keep yourself from glossing over the richness of this message, try reading it at least once in a translation that’s less familiar to you. Try https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Corinthians+13 to test out some new translations]
What strikes you? How might God need to speak to you with this passage today?
Read verses 4-7. Highlight the descriptions of love that stick out to you. If you highlighted more than one, underline the one that is most curious to you in this moment. Try to think of a story [personal or fictional or whatever] that illustrates love acting this way (the love-describer you were most curious about). How does this story contrast the lack of love described in verses 1-3? What do you learn about love through these contrasts?
Consider a relationship you’ve been in where you experienced love at work. Consider life before this love began. Read verse 12. How does your loving relationship shed light on the infinitude of God’s love? How does the infinitude of God’s love shed light on how you pursue knowing God more fully?
Apply yourself to this message:
As often as 1 Corinthians 13 is read as part of wedding ceremonies, and we may associate it as being a romantic passage of scripture, read in the greater context of the letter, it is a massage about how Christians should live together in community, how we should do Church, or religion. Try not to point fingers at some general group outside yourself, but rather look within and consider how verses 1-3 might have a refining effect on how you approach your own Christian practice. It can be easy in religious settings to strive after great spiritual accomplishments, and it can often feel fruitless, discouraging. If you consider where you’re spending your “spiritual efforts” lately, do they fall into any of the categories discussed in verses 1-3?
Apply your group to this message:
Community groups are just getting restarted, so there’s a decent chance you’re studying this passage with some new folks and figuring out how to form yourself as a group. Groups can have many focuses: speaking truth to one another, seeking knowledge together, gaining understanding of mysteries, having faith to bring about miracles in our lives, giving of ourselves through service or donations. While these can all be very good endeavors, how does this passage guide the focus of how we should do group life together? Don’t just give the obvious one word answer, but try to flesh out what this would really look like for your group in practice.