Community Group Questions 6/3/12

Tip of the Week:
[vimeo http://vimeo.com/40181395]
Announcements:
Please share whichever of the following announcements apply to your group
  • Window Cling Story
    • DG to fill in detail
    • DG to fill in detail
    • DG to fill in detail
    • DG to fill in detail
  • SSFFMN
    • 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
    • Don’t be bored at home this summer...Join us for endless shenanigans!
    • Kicking off the Summer this Friday June 8th for Ignite and this Sat June 9th for Elevate.
    • We are staying late until 10pm

Sermon Title: Soul Refresh, Part 1: Escape or Unwind

Main Text:  Psalm 103, Psalm 103:1-2

Topics:

  • This tends to be a really busy time of year. Graduations, awards ceremonies, parties, family gatherings, etc. Many of us have had a busy Spring for our businesses. And at this time of year we tend to want to look forward to vacation.
  • When we think of vacation we think of good food, resting our bodies, pampering ourselves, or doing the hobbies that we love. Maybe we think of fun, or adventure, or relaxation. Basically we think of how can we escape from the normal grind and indulge.
  • But is ESCAPE what we really need? Because often our problems are still haunting us, and are just waiting for us when we get back.  What we really need is to UNWIND. We need a deep sense of satisfying relief from how hectic life is.
  • Sometimes we hear people talk about how since they have God, that is all they need. They are so satisfied in God they are at rest deep in their soul.  But how do they get that??!
  • David in the famous Psalm 103, opens with an interesting statement. He commands his soul to bless the Lord.
  • We often think of praise or worship or joy in God as something spontaneous that just hits us. In fact we treat most emotions like that. We treat emotions as if they are things that just strike us. We don’t realize how fickle our emotions are. Such little things can affect them: sleep, food, caffeine, traffic, music, health. Yet we not only see them as concrete, we see them as a compass. We see them as something that can guide us.
  • That’s not just a bad idea for relationships with people, but also with God. Sometimes we have to make the decision to have joy in Him.
  • David then shares how he is going to do that. He commands himself to not forget all the many benefits of God.
  • This is a core way to stay refreshed with God. We have to remember all of the many things that he actively gives us right here right now in our lives. Not just ethereal, transcendent, spiritual things. But real, tangible, deeply satisfying benefits that all of our souls are crying out for.
  • David takes the rest of the Psalm to recount the deeply satisfying benefits of God. He is the only all-satisfying One
  • There is a major difference between ESCAPE and UNWIND. Escape is leaving problems behind, unaddressed. They get put on the shelf and we distract ourselves for a while. The problem is they are just waiting for us and possibly building in our absence. We may escape them but often they are lurking haunting us in the background.
  • But when we unwind, we disentangle our problems. It is not just the removal of pressure via distraction. It is the removal of pressure by eliminating the power of the problem. Only God can do this. When we reflect on God and His benefits it UNWINDS the pressures of:
    • ANXIETY: He has everything in His control, He is a good God that loves us, and is caring for us
    • LONELINESS: He is a constant companion that knows us better than anyone, and longs to spend time with us
    • DISCOURAGEMENT: The God of the universe has a powerful plan for us there is no reason we should be discouraged when we don’t meet our own expectations
    • GUILT and SHAME: He has removed those chains, He has forgiven us and removed our shame as far as the east is from the west.
  • In response to this, we are going to go on a 30 Day Soul Retreat as a church. It involves three parts:
    • 5 Sermons on Psalm 103
    • 30 Days of short thoughts on a blog to refresh you every morning
    • Memorizing Psalm 103

Key Questions:

  1. What is the most relaxing place on earth to you?
  2. Why do you think David words “bless the Lord” as a command to his soul?
  3. What causes us to forget all of the incredible benefits of God?
  4. What is the negative result of forgetting God’s incredible benefits?
  5. What is the positive result when we take time to remember all the benefits of God?
  6. How would you define the difference between ESCAPE and UNWIND?
  7. If God could help you UNWIND from any difficulty from the past several months, what would it be?
  8. When is the best time you can set aside everyday to spend with God and refresh your soul?
  9. What do you think is the benefit of memorizing a passage like Psalm 103?
  10. Does anyone have a strategy for memorizing Psalm 103 as an individual or a family, that they can share?
  11. [If you meet after Sunday] If you got a chance to check out the Soul Refresh blog, what was the most impacting thing you read this week?

Don't forget to post your attendance after group.