Community Group Questions 7/8/12

Tip of the Week:
[vimeo http://vimeo.com/]
Our riveting video tips will resume after summer. A lot of groups are on break and we don't want anybody to miss all the incredible insight provided by these videos.
Announcements:
Please share whichever of the following announcements apply to your group
  • SSFFMN
    • How many of you heard how awesome SSFFMN was?
    • We had a great turnout last time - over 150 people (cheers)
    • This time, we want to see lots of new faces
    • Friday July 20th at 7pm
    • Free popcorn and beverages will be available for purchase
    • Bring your own chair, blanket, tent
  • WPWM
    • 8 week study on Malachi
    • Starting back up this week.
    • Wednesday nights from 7-9pm
    • Study guides will be available for purchase at group for $15
  • Kids 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 me at melissamashburn@westpines.org.

Sermon Title: Now, Part 1: God’s Urgency for Kids

Main Text:  Mark 10:13-16, Mark 9:33-37

Topics:

  • This message and this series are largely influenced by the fantastic book, Too Small to Ignore, by Compassion International President, Wes Stafford. Check it out!
  • During His ministry, people came to bring their children to be blessed by Him. A blessing in this time period was a more than well-wishing. It was a powerful pronunciation that was expected to happen. Speaking a blessing had a prayerful and even a prophetic element over it. Fathers blessed their children. Prophets, priests and kings all blessed people. So they wanted their children to be impacted by Jesus.
  • In this passage, as people brought their children to be blessed by Jesus, the disciples rebuked the people. They tried to guard the door. They were trying to protect Jesus from only the really important things.
  • Jesus was indignant at what the disciples were doing. He commanded them to no longer keep the children from coming to Him.
  • When He says, “to such belongs the Kingdom of God,” He is saying that they are not less important than adults. They are not half humans. In the Kingdom that Jesus is building, they are full citizens.
    • Children are not the church of tomorrow. They are the church right now.
    • When a child gets saved or baptized, it is not less valuable than when an adult gets baptized.
  • Then Jesus takes it a step further. He says we actually have be like a child to enter the Kingdom. Their innocent faith, is closer to what we need to be then our self-reliance.
  • In a couple places in the Bible, we are literally challenged to imitate the faith of a child.
  • We see that Jesus’ statement is literally true. Statistically more come to faith as children than as adults.  Here are some stats from the Barna Group:
    • ⅔ of those who give their lives to Christ do so before the age of 18
    • 61% of those who grew up in church go as an adult. 78% of those who did not grow up in church, still don’t
    • 63% who were churched as a child, take their kids to church. Only 33% of those who were not churche as a child, take their kids to church
  • But there is another reason that Jesus is so indignant with the  disciples. He had just recently taught them this lesson and they got distracted (9:33-37).
    • The disciples had been arguing as to which of them was the greatest. Jesus called them out on it, and they were embarrassed.
    • Jesus brought a child into their midst, and said “whoever receives a child in my name, receives me.”
  • This reveals Jesus’ heart. It is very similar to when He said, whoever ministered to one of the least of these in His name, we ministered to Him.
  • Children are the least of the least. They are the most helpless. They have no voice, and they easily get trampled on. Society’s evils always end up hurting children.
  • Jesus was indignant, because the disciples still did not get it. They did not understand greatness. Greatness is not investing in a platform but in people.  Investing in people does not mean networking but nurturing the needy. Nurturing the needy does not mean when a valuable person with a lot of potential goes through a hard time, make sure you reach out. It means help those who have nothing to give back. That is the Gospel... that is what Jesus did to us.
  • Children just receive, they don’t try to repay because they can’t. Adults try to repay, because simply receiving attacks our self-reliance.
  • After Jesus rebuked His disciples, He blessed the little children. But the original language says that He fervently blessed them. He took them into His arms and spoke into their lives. He stopped what He was doing and focused on them. He was not too busy for them. They deserved His full attention.
  • If we have the heart of Jesus, we will have a heart for children.
  • But what holds us back?  It is the same as the disciples. Our egos get in the way. We value people who can do something for us. We get distracted from the least of these. Pouring into children requires selflessness.

Key Questions:

  1. Who was a non-family member who had a positive influence on you when you were a child?
  2. Read Mark 10:13-16. Why do you think the disciples were keeping the children from Jesus?
  3. Read Mark 9:33-37. What do you think the disciples conversation sounded like?
  4. Why did Jesus use a child to make His point?
  5. What did the disciples still not understand from the former conversation, that made Jesus so indignant?
  6. Jesus says, “to such belongs the kingdom of God.” In what ways do we see children as the “church of tomorrow” rather than a legitimate part of the church today?
  7. How do we receive the kingdom of God like a child?
    1. [simple faith]
    2. [children just receive without trying to repay - that’s like faith without works]
    3. [children are able to trust others for protection and direction]
  8. Read Matthew 25:31-40. In what ways are children and youth the “least of these?”
  9. What do you think are some underappreciated volunteer roles and jobs that serve kids and youth?
  10. How can you appreciate and encourage those who are pouring into your kids?
  11. How are you challenged to get involved pouring into today’s children and youth?

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