Community Group Questions 4/22/12

Tip of the Week:
[vimeo http://vimeo.com/40179392]
Announcements:
Please share whichever of the following announcements apply to your group:
  • Go Groups
    • Go Groups are part of our Mission Strategy
    • Groups of 2 or 3 people encouraging and praying for each other in the area of personal evangelism
    • Check “Go Groups” on back of connection card or talk to Roy Balta - our Go Groups Coordinator
  • Compassion Sunday/Letters
    • Today is Compassion Sunday all over the world
    • Many of you have sponsored children
    • We want to encourage you to take some time today to write them a letter
    • We have learned first hand how important those letter are to them
    • You can even do them online on the compassion website
  • Student Summer Camp/Fundraiser
    • June 18-22
    • Cost is $460
    • More details in the bulletin
    • Help our students raise the funds to go by buying coupon books
    • Books are $20 and can be ordered at the table in the back after the Gathering
    • Give 2 great coupon examples that will get money back right away

Sermon Title: Waiting for Figs, Part 2: Why is the Bad Guy Winning?

Main Text:  Hab 1:12-2:5

Topics:

  • When we go through difficult times we are tempted to ask, why does it seem like the bad guy is winning?  It seems to us that if God is a good God, He would always see to it that the good people win. Habakkuk asked these same questions of God.
  • God responded to Habakkuk by reminding Him that those who are arrogant and greedy are suffering.  Arrogance and greed do not bring happiness.
  • Arrogance brings a person into a drunken stupor. Similar to a intoxication, his vision is cloudy. He misinterprets things around him. His self-awareness plummets. And the more arrogant the less self-aware someone is.
  • Arrogance is a traitor and a thief.  It promises greatness, popularity, and success, and then steals it right out from under us.  It betrays us.
  • Arrogance brings suffering because someone is no longer aware of how they are hurting those around them. Then cannot hear their own faults, so they never grow past those obstacles. And because there is brokenness around them and they are blind to see why, they are frustrated and angry.
  • Greed is insatiable. It can never be satisfied. So the more someone ammasses to satisfy this greedy hunger, the more surprised and disappointed that they are still unsatisfied.  So instead of addressing the problem with the process, they try to continue filling the empty gap.  And all along they just contribute to the problem.
  • This will eventually make someone intensely self-centered and self-absorbed. This will lead them to put their wants over other people. It will numb their mercy and compassion. Desensitizing them and making them capable of administering great harm to those around them.
  • Often when we are victimized by someone, it is because they are greedy or arrogant. We look and wonder why they seem like they were able to get away with it, or are in a better position because of it.  But what God reminds us is they themselves are not happy but are suffering.
  • Whenever God’s law is broken it brings destruction. That is why God commands us to keep His law. It is against how He wired the universe.  His law is not just moral chores He wants us to do to test our commitment to Him. Sometimes we think that when we break God’s laws, He’s like a child that gets mad when we go against the rules of a game that he made up. Breaking God’s laws is like ignoring the Manual to the Universe. It is a breakdown of what was supposed to be normal.
  • Arrogance and Greed are a deadly mutation of what humans were supposed to be. They are a virus.  So the consequences of breaking God’s laws are not just abstract punishments that God makes up and delivers. The attitudes themselves are corrosive.
  • Anytime someone has hurt you, whatever it looks like on the surface, know that the breaking of God’s laws is detrimental and that they are not ultimately happy.
  • This is not to encourage bitterness in our hearts. We shouldn’t circle those who have hurt us like vultures waiting to see their destruction. We should forgive them and pray for them.  This should not encourage vengeance but should encourage us to hold fast to God’s law ourselves.
  • And as we learned last week, we know that God is working a plan that is far greater than we can imagine. We don’t know the good and love God is capable of towards us.
  • Who is it in your life, who is the bad guy that seems like they are winning?  It could be: a self-centered boss, a negligent professor, a self-promoting colleague, a backstabbing friend, a vengeful ex, a dishonest competitor...
  • What we can know is that if they are breaking God’s law, they will not ultimately get what they are looking for.  Not just down the road, even now. We know that God has a complex plan for good, that He is at work for us. And that if we are obedient to Him it will be life-giving.
  • We can’t be tempted to succomb to the tactics of those who are going against how God encourages us, just because it feels like they are getting the upper hand.  Trust Him.
  • God tells Habakkuk, that the righteous live by faith.  To have perspective described above requires faith. That is who we are as Christians.

Key Questions:

  1. What does it feel like to see a bad guy winning?
  2. When have you seen a hurting person hurt people? Why does that happen?
  3. How does unchecked pride hurt those around us?
  4. How does pride “inebriate” us?
  5. How does letting greed in our hearts eventually hurt those around us?
  6. How is greed insatiable?
  7. So in what ways is the bad guy already suffering?
  8. How can the reality of the suffering of those who have hurt us perpetuate unforgiveness?
  9. How can we make it initiate forgiveness and grace?
  10. How does this truth inspire a desire to follow God’s plan?
  11. What is a situation in your life now, you are tempted to give into the tactics of the bad guy because it seems like they have the upper hand? What can you do instead?

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