Community Group Questions 6/17/12

Tip of the Week:
[vimeo http://vimeo.com/40181400]
Announcements:
Please share whichever of the following announcements apply to your group
  • Kids Ministry Summer Serve
    • Our team of dedicated volunteers work hard week after week serving the kids at West Pines. This summer several of our volunteers are taking a much needed break, which means we have a few spots open on our team. We are simply asking for a few people to step in for a few months in the  Kids Ministry. Who knows, you might just find out that you absolutely love serving in Kids Ministry. For more information on Summer Serve write KIDS MINISTRY on your Connection Card or email Melissa Mashburn at melissamashburn@westpines.org.
  • WPWM
    • 8 week study on Malachi
    • Starting back up on  July 11th
    • Wednesday nights from 7-9pm
    • Study guides will be available for purchase at group for $15

Sermon Title: Soul Refresh, Part 1: Viewing God as a Father

Main Text:  Psalm 103:13-14, Psalm 139:13-16

Topics:

  • Imagine the natural and unparalleled compassion a parent has for their own child. Think about the first time a Father looks down on his helpless newborn?  He looks in awe at how tiny she is; overwhelmed with the incredible sense of ownership he feels for her; realizing her utter and complete need for his provision and protection. His heart bursts out as he feels her wiggling bundled body next to his heart, and everything in him says I will do whatever it takes to protect you.  Think about that moment when he is overwhelmed with the awe of responsibility and moved to an avalanche of compassion.
  • Maybe in that moment we as humans get the closest we can ever be to understanding God’s compassion for us.  Imagine in that most powerful human moment, it is puny in comparison to His compassion.  There is no human Father who has ever felt compassion for a child that is even remotely comparable to God's compassion for us.
  • God compares His compassion for us, as that of a Father. His compassion is instinctive and even reflexive. It is compelling.
  • It is not easy to view God as a Father because, no one has a perfect earthly father. Many have fathers that have been distant, hurtful, absent, abusive.
  • Yet God places this metaphor in scripture to help us get some idea of Who He is in relationship to us.
  • He says in the next verse that what drives His compassion is He remembers how we were formed and knows our substance. A parent has a permanent feeling of ownership and responsibility for a child, because they “changed their diapers.” So also God knows our helpless substance.
  • This is an incredibly beautiful benefit of God.
    • When I am helpless, His heart bursts with compassion.  He cannot sit by and watch, like a Father that sees His child in danger, He MUST rise to action.
    • And when it seems like we are not yet out of the fire, there is no way He has neglected us.  It is just not possible.  It is more possible for the most loving, committed father in history to neglect his beautiful child, the apple of his eye, then for God to neglect me.  It is not in His nature to neglect me.  It is not in His character to sit by and watch our pain and be calloused. When we are hurting, He is acting.  He is rescuing.
    • When we are still there in the pain, that does not contradict it.  When I don't feel lovable, He still feels so much joy at the thought of me.  He still feels a sense of ownership and belonging to me.  He looks down and smiles, enjoying my idiosyncrasies.  His heart is bent towards me and that cannot be changed.
    • Think of how it hurts a loving father’s heart to hear his daughter say, “I’m ugly.” Or to hear his son say, “I’m no good.” It is crushing to see someone that is your treasure, have such doubt as to their worth.
  • This thought should refresh us:
    • He knows what we can handle
    • He knows us better than anyone
    • He is our companion
    • He knows our situation better than anyone
    • He hurts when we are insecure

Key Questions:

  1. What is unique about a parent’s compassion for their child?
  2. Why do you think God selected this particular metaphor to describe Himself?
  3. Read Psalm 139:13-16. How does the fact that He remembers creating us, drive His compassion?
  4. When do we doubt God’s compassion?
  5. How would it affect our lives if we fully grasped this about God?
  6. As a compassionate Father, how do you think God feels when we are struggling with insecurity? What do you think He would want to communicate to us?
  7. When have you seen God’s fatherly protective side in action in your life?
  8. Is viewing God as a Father difficult or easy for you?
  9. What things (good and bad) about your father are affecting how you view God?
  10. With this concept in mind, what attributes do you want to have as a parent?

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