HABITS | Connection Group Discussion Guide | Week 2 “I pray they will be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. I pray that they also will be in us, so that the world will believe that you sent me.” — John 17:21
Connect (5 to 10 minutes) Build relationships through fellowship and sharing about this week’s worship. •
Take a few minutes to share your thoughts about worship this week. – What aspects of worship did you most enjoy and why? – What story or illustration from the sermon made an impact on you?
What is your favorite kind of music to listen to and why?
Context (30 to 40 minutes) Dig deeper into the videos and scripture for this week through questions and discussion. Watch the video for this session on your DVD or online. •
Jonathan shared about finding assurance of his faith in worship, singing and playing music. – When have you felt completely assured in your faith through an act of worship? – What was so special about this experience for you? – How did you grow in your faith because of it?
As post-modern human beings, we like to emphasize that we think: we stress learning and thinking through things and ignore the importance of doing. This week we are learning the importance of practicing and experiencing our faith, not just learning about our faith.
Jonathan talks about how learning music theory provides the tools that make the art possible; both learning and practice are essential and help enable a musician to perform. – How does this relationship between learning and doing relate to our faith? – Do you feel you have a balance between learning and practicing your faith? Why or why not? – What learning or “practicing” would be important for you to do in order to “perform” in your faith?
If we think of participating in worship each weekend as attending “class,” as Jonathan discussed, what do you think the “homework” from our weekend worship experiences would be? – Do you feel that doing your Christian “homework” is a challenge for you? Why or why not?
– How can we apply Jonathan’s comments about doing a little “practicing” every day to our Christian
“homework”? Read Matthew 6:5-13: Jesus Teaching •
In this passage, Jesus is acting as a teacher. How does seeing Jesus as a teacher as well as the Messiah impact your faith? – What is your favorite way to learn about your faith: Classes? Personal study? Connection Groups? Why is it your favorite? – Share about an experience where you feel you learned something powerful about Christianity, Jesus, Scripture, or theology. How did this impact your life?
Share one thing that struck you from Jesus’ teaching about prayer in this passage. – Why did this catch your attention? – What does the Lord’s prayer mean to you in your faith?
How does prayer impact your life on a regular basis? – Is prayer a spiritual practice that you struggle with? Why or why not? – When have you experienced the effects of prayer in your life? How did this impact you?
Read the Following Scriptures: Jesus Praying • • • •
Luke 3:21-22 Matthew 14:22-23 Luke 6:12 Mark 1:35
In these passages, Jesus is living out his own teaching about prayer. How is your faith impacted by the idea that Jesus is the living example we are called to follow? – How is this different than the idea that Jesus is simply a teacher? – Share about a time when you truly experienced your faith (this could be in a worship service, on a retreat or a vacation, in a surprising encounter). How did this impact your life?
Jesus acts as a teacher and as an example of what the human life should be. He gives us knowledge about how we are to live, and then shows us what it means to live out his teachings.
Share something that struck you about Jesus’ actions in these different scriptures. – Why did this catch your attention? – How does this impact your understanding of practicing your faith?
Call (10 minutes) We believe that God not only shows us who God is but invites us to participate in God’s ministry by answering unique calls in our own lives. Join together in discovering how we can actively respond to scripture and God’s presence. • •
Share with the group how your spiritual habit or practice is going. How has it impacted your week? Do you think you typically enjoy learning about your faith or practicing and experiencing your faith more? Why? – Which of these two do you think God is calling you to pay more attention to this week?
Closing (5 minutes) God calls us into community by sharing our joys and concerns together in prayer and supporting one another in our walks with Christ. As we share testimony and stories of our lives, let us listen to where God is working within our community and how we can build each other up in Christian love. • •
Share joys and concerns with one another. Close in prayer, either by inviting a group member to pray or by using the prayer provided below.
Closing Prayer Lord God, we confess that sometimes we forget our faith is a two-sided coin: you call us to learn and use our gifts of knowledge and reason to help us believe in you, but we know that we are also called to practice that knowledge by doing. Help us to find a balance between these two so that we can learn and ultimately live out the things you teach and show us in the life of Jesus. Thank you for sending us a savior who shows us what it truly means to be human. Amen.