Community Group Questions 12/30/12

Announcements:
Please share whichever of the following announcements apply to your group
  • WPWM New Study
    • Starting a new 7-week study on 1/23
    • 10am and 7pm - same study, just two different times to jump in
    • Childcare - Day time study only (10am)
    • Study Guides will be available at the study for  $15 each
  • WPMM New Study
    • Starting back up after the holidays
    • Stay tuned for exciting details in the coming weeks
  • WP1.0
  • If you haven’t been to West Pines 1.0 before, this is for you
  • An event we do every couple of months to let you get to know West Pines better
  • After the 2nd Service on 1/13, Lunch & Childcare provided
  • Write 1.0 on the back of your Connection Card to let us know you’re interested in coming.

Sermon Title: Catalyst Now

Main Text:  Lamentations 3:21-24, Rev 3:20

Topics:

  • New Years wouldn’t be New Years without our traditions.
  • Whether we are eating grapes or watching a giant ball drop most of us have this in mind “how will this year be different?”
  • No one wants to sit around on New Years Eve and discuss their failures.  Instead let’s eat some grapes, jump off some chairs, maybe even kiss a stranger and watch a glittery ball drop….and essentially for the night it washes our past away.
  • Now we know in our right mind these things don’t really change anything but nonetheless there is still a sincere hope.  A hope that when we wake up things might be different.  That maybe the grapes will have worked and somehow we will find ourselves being assisted, even catapulted, into a changed year and a better you
  • We all know what a “better you” looks like too.  A more determined student, a less selfish me, a more committed Christian, a better husband.
  • And the reason we know  a “better you” is because we all know that one person that the grapes seem to really work for.  Like the person who seems to get launched into lasting growth not only on Jan 1st but every other day after.  Like somehow God has injected their lives with more favor & opportunity for growth.   Their encounters with God seem more grandiose and sturdy.
  • We think to ourselves of how we wish some kind of catalyst like that would happen in our life.  There must be something they have that we don’t.  Or even worse it forces us to think of all the wasted times we could have changed.
  • As we stack our lives up to theirs a lamenting wonder sets in...
    • “Will I ever change”
    • “Have all my opportunities to change expired?”
    • “Is it too late to change?”
    • “God has given me the chance to change already and I haven’t.  I don’t think there is anymore chances left nor do I deserve them.”
  • We find in the book of Lamentations the author weeping over the unfaithfulness of Israel.  Due to their unfaithfulness God has allowed them to be overrun by Babylon as a means of discipline.
  • You could liken all of the author’s lamenting to a another disappointing new year.
  • When all seems most bleak the author introduces Lam 3:21-25 and directs our attention to a catalyst that never expires.  A catalyst that you and I have access to everyday.
  • God’s grace is new every morning.  When we realize that we have grace new every morning, we realize the catalyst already happened 2000 years ago.  There is no need to search out another catalyst because God already accomplished it.
  • It is not to say that God couldn’t do something mountainous or epic to kick off change in your life...but he doesn’t always.  Either way these moments don’t detach from God’s original act of grace but only amplify it.
  • There is no greater catalyst to change than the resurrection.  There is no story big enough, no promise sincere enough, no conference powerful enough.
  • Grace has nothing to do with you or your promises or whether or not you do your devotions.  It is new despite you.
  • After Jesus died the disciples spent much time lamenting over crushed dreams, disappointments, doubt and struggle.
  • Sitting in a heap of seemingly an unthinkable amount of mistake and failure the resurrection changes it all.
  • For those who are hoping in Christ new years eve is everyday.
  • This all seems overly simplistic.  How can it really all be just grace concerning struggles I’ve been working through for years.
    • The relationship I mishandled
    • Our children are wayward and I feel at fault
    • The addiction I am still struggling with after all these years
    • The habit I can’t shake.  I’ve always struggled with lust, I’ve always been discontent, I’ve always wrestled with selfishness.
    • And not to mention I thought for sure things would change after that conference I went to, that Bible study, after I made those vows to my bride, after I had my firstborn… and yet here I am…still struggling.
  • The author says the Lord is his portion.
  • When you allow grace to gut every last attempt you’ve ever made to do it on your own…to be your only portion...it becomes the catalyst every day.
  • God desires to be our portion.  He invites us to dine with Him and he with us (Rev 3:20).  What is for breakfast, lunch, dinner…new mercies!
  • We have successfully as a culture made food a stopping point to give thanks.  And given that we are a culture that eats a lot we give thanks alot.  How can you infuse into your schedule of meals a time to concentrate on the resurrection through the month of February?

Key Questions:

  • What are some of your New Year’s Eve traditions?  What is the underlying hope behind each one?
  • Why do we automatically start to think about “resolve” and “change” at the beginning of a new year?
  • What would you say is the most difficult or dreadful aspect of change?
  • What does “new mercies every day” mean to you?
  • How does “the resurrection” change the way we change?
  • Why is it difficult to see “grace” on a daily basis?
  • Even one step further why do we tend not to see every hour as an opportunity to change?
  • What does this say about our view & understanding of the grace of God?
  • How is your past disappointments shaping your view of God’s grace?
  • How can we accomplish experiencing grace every morning as the Bible says?

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