Community Group Questions 5/20/12

Tip of the Week:
Please share whichever of the following announcements apply to your group
  • Stay Connected/Live Streaming
    • How many of you have some travel planned this summer?
    • We want to make it easy to stay connected while you are away
    • We are beta testing our new live streaming site
    • Live streaming of both services in their entirety
    • You can even chat with others who are watching
    • Do you want to help us introduce families to West Pines this summer?
    • We are going to make that easy for you
    • We will be having SSFFMN several times this summer on Friday Nights
    • First one, Friday, June 8th at 7pm
    • Free popcorn and beverages will be available for purchase
    • Bring your own chair, blanket, tent
  • Student Summer Kickoff
    • Not sure what Pastor Steffen has been up to but there have been strange noises coming from his office. Stay tuned for some cool stuff happening this summer for students.

Sermon Title: The Fanatic

Main Text:  Psalm 84, Matthew 18:20, Hebrews 10:24-25


  • The Psalmist talks about how beautiful the dwelling place of the Lord was.  He was referring to the amazingly beautiful temple. Ultimately, where the Lord now lives is in us. So how the Christian will read this passage is when we gather together. So this is not talking about the church building, or organized religion.
  • The writer talks about what a fanatic he is of meeting in God’s house. It is so extreme it is almost comical. It seems hard to relate to, but through the rest of the passage he describes why it is so important to him.
  • He talks about how the birds have their nest, for them and their young. God’s house is homebase for him and His family.
    • Your church should be a place to find a support network
    • Where we find people to lean on, to help and to be helped
    • Where we find godly people to influence us and our children
  • He talks about how God’s house is like refreshing springs in the Valley of weeping. When we are struggling, our church strengthens us and refreshes us.
  • Refreshes by:
    • sometimes the only moment in the week we stop and quietly reflect and take inventory
    • when we see people we love and are loved by, it fills us back up
    • when we worship and feel others worshiping around us we are refreshed
  • It Strengthens by:
    • We learn and grow as a person, making us stronger, more effective and more durable as people
    • We learn from each other’s perspectives and experiences
  • The writer asks God to look down on His anointed. He is referring to himself, the king. When he says anointed, is shows that God has set him aside as special. But “anointed” is a loaded term and always makes us think of the One who was ultimately God’s Anointed, Jesus. The only reason we can even think that God would look at us favorably, is because we have been washed clean by Jesus’ sacrifice. We have been set aside as getting God’s special attention because of Jesus. The Church faithfully brings us back to the gospel. Which we need everyday. The church is not a place to be condemned but reminded of God’s incredible acceptance of us.
  • He finishes the Psalm by saying how much he longs to be in God’s house, and ultimately that is because God is there. The ultimate reason God has called us to gather together, is because He will be there with us working in us.  When we Gather, He works.
  • What makes church great? When God works.
  • What will make us crazy, camp-outside-the-door-the-night-before kind of fanatics?  It has nothing to do with the quality of the the building, the preaching, the music, etc.  It is when we are expectant, prayerful, and ready for God to move.  It is God that we can’t get enough of, not the product the church “produces.”
  • If we go looking for the product we will never be satisfied and we will either be what Kent Hughes calls the “Hitchhiker” or what C.S. Lewis calls the “Connoisseur.”
    • Hitchhiker: I’ll go along for the ride as long as it works for me, then I’ll find another ride
    • Connoisseur: I’m a critic where I should be a pupil
  • So here the “How To” of church:
    • Be regular, make it a priority for you and your family
    • Pray that God impacts you, pray for those who he is using
    • Prepare through the week, read the passage if you know it
    • Prepare the night before, get the family ready, get a good night sleep
    • Get to church early, what happens when we get to church late
    • Sing, participate, bring your Bible (so it’s not some strange book you never open), take notes
    • Serve, actually serve at one and attend the other
    • Talk about it on the way home. Specifically talked about what God showed you not how you rate it.
    • Take advantage of Kids Ministry
  • What to do over the summer: stay connected
    • Podcasts, Livestream
    • Help out and serve, help cover for those who are out of town
    • Online Giving
    • Community Group or West Pines Women’s Ministry
    • Hang out with church friends
  • Our next teaching series is going to give you an opportunity to do just that.
  • Let me release you from the obligation of church. It is not about getting God points. It is about being so hungry for God that you can’t wait to see what He is going to do.  So don’t just come occasionally. Make it a priority in your family.
  • So where would you rank yourself:
    • Hitchhiker
    • Connoisseur
    • Fanatic

Key Questions:

  1. What is something that you are fanatical about?
  2. Read verse 2, anyone ever seen someone this fanatical about something?
  3. The place that God dwells is not a temple, but it’s in each of us Christians. The word “church” is referring to the people, the Christians themselves. What are some other things people are mistakenly referring to when they say “the church”?
  4. In what ways are we refreshed when we meet together in the Gathering, Community Group, Men’s and Women’s Ministry, Student Ministry, etc.?
  5. In what ways are we strengthened?
  6. How have you been impacted by God moving through the Sunday morning Gathering?
  7. How have you been impacted by God moving through your Community Group?
  8. Of these two metaphors, which do you think is most prevalent:
    1. “Church attendance is infected with a malaise of conditional loyalty which has produced an army of ecclesiastical hitchhikers. The hitchhiker’s thumb says, ‘You buy the car, pay for repairs and upkeep and insurance, fill the car with gas - and I’ll ride with you. But if you have an accident, you are on your own! And I’ll probably sue.’ So it is with the credo of so many of today’s church attenders: ‘...I’ll come along for the ride. But if things do not suit me, I’ll criticise and complain and probably bail out - my thumb is always out for a better ride.’” -Kent Hughes, Disciplines of a Godly Man
    2. From the perspective of the devil: “Surely you know that if a man can’t be cured of churchgoing, the next best thing is to send him all over the neighbourhood looking for the church that ’suits’ him until he becomes a taster or connoisseur of churches… The search for a ’suitable’ church makes the man a critic where [God] wants him to be a pupil.” -C.S. Lewis, Screwtape Letters
  9. Which do you tend toward the most?
  10. What is one action step you can take to be better prepared for and expectant for God to impact you when the church comes together?

Don't forget to post your attendance after group.