Community Group Week of September 27, 2015

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Hello again, Community Group Leaders!

Below you will find questions for both the SERMON BASED format and the MEANING OF MARRIAGE curriculum.

I hope you have a great time of discussion & fellowship.  Just an FYI... the last week of this community group season will be the week of November 15-20


Sermon Title: 

The PowerHOUSE Summit, Part 5

The Magnet Principle for Relationships

Main Text:

Ephesians 5:21

Announcements :

  •  Men's and Women's Ministry are back in business.   Guys meet in the Fuge every Monday night from 7 - 8:30 pm.   Ladies can meet either Wednesday morning at 10 am or at 7 pm in the Multi-Purpose room.

  • Fall Family Dedication Celebration  will be on Sunday, November 8th at both services. This is an opportunity for families to make a promise to God, with their church, to raise their children to love and honor God. Registration is required to participate, for more information or to register, please contact sandyhall@westpines.org.

Topics:  ( Not to be read in group.. this is for your review and recollection )

  • Paul commands the church to “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
  • The word “submit” is a strong word. It means obeying, surrendering. It is not deferring to someone when it fits for us. It is not helping someone when we have time. The word is strong. Think of a soldier learning to submit to his superiors at boot camp. Imagine a horse being broken in, feeling the first time what it’s like to bend it’s will to the reigns. This is truly a sacrifice. But who are we supposed to have this level of submission to?
  • One another. This idea of putting someone else over us is the foundation of all successful relationships. This is not mere politeness, kindness or friendliness. This is expelling selfishness and self-centeredness, from our hearts. It is truly putting someone else first. Scripture speaks of this all over the Bible: “do unto others as you would have them do for you;” and “the greatest among you is the servant of all;” and “in humility count others better than yourselves.”
  • Isn’t it true that this is what makes a successful relationship? Because when someone else is selfish, or prideful, or defensive, we respond in kind. But when someone is giving, listening, accepting, kind, humble, we respond the same way as well.
  • The Magnet Principle - selfishness is the pole that repels, selflessness is the pole that attracts
  • But the last phrase in Paul’s command is key too: “out of reverence for Christ.” We can appear self-sacrificing but really be one of these:
    • Manipulative - giving in order to get something out of it for me
    • Dependent - giving in order to keep the relationship for me
    • Infatuated - giving because it feels good for me
  • All of the above reasons that we appear selfless are really selfishness in disguise.
  • One could argue that it is only possible to truly be selfless out of reverence to Christ. It may only be possible to be truly giving in response to the Gospel. Why? Because the gospel unseats us as a god. The Gospel shows us that we are not holy, not almighty, cannot save ourselves. The Gospel humbles us reminding us that we need to be rescued. In order to be selfless we have to dethrone ourselves and put Jesus on the throne. Once we are truly submitted to him we can be truly sacrificing to each other.
  • But look at the next section. It immediately goes into a discussion about our homelife relationships. And the first one it talk about is marriage!
  • This is why marriage is so hard. This is why our culture misunderstands marriage. This is why many are rejecting marriage. They do not understand the purpose of it. It is not so that we can have our needs met. It is not so that we find someone that is compatible with who we already are.
  • Marriage is the commitment to become something new entirely. It is a new oneness, with someone else.

AND NOW.... THE QUESTIONS...

  • HIGH/LOW: What was the high point of your week and the low point?
  • ICEBREAKER: What is one tangible thing you do that you know will make your spouse (friend) happy? ie emptying dishwasher. etc
  • READ: Ephesians 5:21  "submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ."
  • What metaphor would you use to describe Paul’s word “submitting”?
  • What inside of us makes submitting so hard?
  • Luke 22:26-27 says "Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves."  
  • In what ways is self-centeredness so repelling?
  • In what ways is selflessness so attractive?
  • Why is it so hard to see our own self-centeredness?
  • How does self-centeredness play out in different relationships like friendship, church, community group, extended family, etc.?
  • Discuss, and give examples of the 3 Relational Double-Agents ..... when we can appear self-sacrificing but really be one of these:
    1. Manipulative - giving in order to get something out of it for me
    2. Dependent - giving in order to keep the relationship for me
    3. Infatuated - giving because it feels good for me
  • How is self-sacrificing the foundation of marriage?
  • In what ways is this the opposite of what our culture expects as the purpose for marriage?
  • How does the Gospel equip us to be self-sacrificing?
  • Discuss Tim Keller's quote : "If two spouses each say, “I’m going to treat my self-centeredness as the main problem in the marriage,” you have the prospect of a truly great marriage."
  • What is one area you can take ownership of improving this week relating to your self-centeredness?

Don't forget to post your attendance after group.

QUESTIONS FOR MARRIAGE GROUPS

Chapter Two: The Power for Marriage

Note: Encourage everyone to read the chapter each week, or they will be lost!   This is not one of those discussions that people will be able to "phone in."   You will see that many of the questions refer to specifics in the book.
  • ICEBREAKER -What is one tangible thing you do that you know will make your spouse (friend) happy? ie emptying dishwasher. etc
  • HIGH / LOW  
  • Why does the word “submit” in Ephesians 5:21 cause readers to “bristle”? [p 41]
  • Paul talks in numerous letters how we are to be servants to one another… A servant puts someone else’s needs ahead of his or her own. That is how all believers should live with each other.  If all believers are to serve each other in this way, let’s talk about how much more intentionally and intensely should husbands and wives have this attitude toward one another?
  • How is a Spirit filled life the fuel of a good marriage? What else do we try to substitute as fuel?  [p 44]
  • What do you think is the hardest yet single most important function of being a husband or a wife?
  • [p 46] Keller discussed three possibilities when planning  a day together?  Discuss a time or two where one of these scenarios played out (good or bad)

    1) Serve the other with joy 2) make the offer with coldness and resentment, or 3) Selfishly insist on your own way.

  • How should the gospel both humble and lift up the believer at the same time? [p 48]
  • Why is self-centeredness the havoc-wreaking problem in every marriage? [p 48]
  • Discuss Keller’s quote: [p 49] “Self-centeredness by its very character makes you blind to your own while being hypersensitive, offended, and angered by that of others.”  Why is it so hard to see our own self-centeredness? [p 52]
  • Discuss “love economics.” [p 49]
  • What’s the way to happiness in marriage? [p 50]
  • Discuss what possible “wounds” you may bring to marriage. [p 52]
  • Did the three things that often happen early in a marriage ring true for you?

    First, you begin to find out how selfish this wonderful person is. Second, you discover that the wonderful person has been going through a similar experience and he or she begins to tell you how selfish you are. Third, though you acknowledge it in part, you conclude that your spouse’s selfishness is more problematic than your own.

  • Discuss Keller’s statement: “Only you have complete access to your own selfishness, and only you have complete responsibility for it.” [p 56]
  • Discuss Keller’s statement: “The Christian principle that needs to be at work is Spirit-generated selflessness— not thinking less of yourself or more of yourself but thinking of yourself less.”
  • What is the “fear of the Lord”? [p 59] How should it impact your marriage? [p 64]
  • Based on this marriage discussion, what is one area you can take ownership of improving this week?

Don't forget to post your attendance after group.