Community Group Questions 10/5/14

Weekly Training Tip:

This week's tip is about how to follow up with those who miss group.

Here’s the video:

[vimeo 108040141 width="640" height="360"]

Announcements:

  • Join a serving team! The insert from Sunday has a big list of serving opportunities. Join a team and start taking part in what God is doing at West Pines.

What Is Heaven Like, Part 2: The Universe Set Free

Main Text:  Romans 8:18-25, Colossians 1:16-20

Topics:

  • Suffering is hard by definition. As a Christian, it can also be confusing. What are we to think? How are we to act towards God? That added confusion can just make a difficult season even more overwhelming.

  • Paul teaches us one way to deal with suffering in Romans 8. It is a way of thinking that Christians for generations have clinged to. It is to remember that this life is temporary, and the eternal peace and joy of Heaven is waiting for us.

  • The chapter unpacks that idea. It says that all of creation is waiting in bondage for that day when all of creation is restored. All of creation is under a curse. It is mired in futility. Think about it: animals murderously attack each other, plants choke each other out, planets and stars collide and explode, and black holes devour. Traces of beauty and joy and pleasure remain but this world is groaning to be set free. What we accept as natural is suffocating and dying under a curse.

  • But it is not just nature. It is our bodies as well. Our bodies fail us. There are mutations and diseases. But even the “natural” course of things is that over time our bodies break down.

  • How did it get like that? When humanity rebelled against God, sin entered this world. Evil infected us and infected the cosmos. Everything is groaning for God to renew it.

  • But God is in the process of redeeming it. One day, everything will be different. God will remake the universe and return it to how he intended it.

  • Imagine what that means… That means the best in this world, is merely a cursed version. The sweetest mango, the most breathtaking sunrise, the bluest lagoon, the most pristine snow-blanketed forest, the best this planet has to offer - is a cursed version. What could that possibly mean about heaven?

  • What could that mean for this world? What could that mean for our bodies? What could that mean for our relationships?

  • And Paul tells us that clinging to that hope, helps us put our present sufferings in perspective.

  • This leads us to respond in two ways:

    1. We should follow what many of our Christian brothers and sisters have done through the generations and cling to the hope of heaven in suffering.

    2. Since God is in the process of redeeming this planet and the souls that dwell there, we should join Him in the process and actively relieve the suffering of those around us.

Key Questions:

  1. HIGH/LOW: What was the high point of your week and the low point?
  2. ICEBREAKER: In your opinion what are the most breathtaking aspects of nature?
  3. READ: Romans 8:18-25
  4. What are some examples of all parts of creation groaning under the curse of corruption?
  5. What are evidences of our bodies being subject to corruption?
  6. God is intending to redeem all of creation, which means Heaven will be a physical place. Describe some perspectives of Heaven that picture it as less physical and lively rather than more vibrant and real?
  7. Of all of God’s creation what would you be most interested in seeing a redeemed version of?
  8. How does this vivid view of an eternity in Heaven most impact how you view your own suffering?
  9. What are practical ways that we can stir up our hope for heaven?
  10. If God is in the process of redeeming souls and all of creation, what are some of the many ways we can join him in the process?
  11. What are specific ways in your life right now, that you can help alleviate someone’s suffering?
  12. Where is there suffering in your life right now that we can be praying for? 

Don't forget to post your attendance after group.