HABITS | Connection Group Discussion Guide | Week 5 Jesus replied, “Why were you looking for me? Didn’t you know that it was necessary for me to be in my Father’s house?” — Luke 2:49
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?
Who has been the most impactful teacher in your life, 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. •
Aaron shared about the difference between teaching a person how to play guitar and training musicians to lead worship. – What was the major difference between these two that you heard? – Share about a time you tried to teach a person something that was unfulfilling.
Have you ever had an opportunity to teach someone about a spiritual practice or discipline? – What was that experience like for you? – Why did you choose to spend time teaching this person?
When have you had a rewarding experience of seeing a person use something you taught or gave to them? – Why was it rewarding? – How was your faith impacted by witnessing this happen?
Aaron shared that if we are going to teach others, we are called to be “further down the road” in order to be effective teachers. – If we were to follow this idea, what would need to change about your own faith to become a teacher?
Read Galatians 2:15-21: Paul’s Thoughts on Justification •
In practicing your habit or spiritual discipline throughout this series, have you struggled with feeling like you are “earning” grace by practicing this habit? – When have you struggled with the idea of earning salvation with good works or faith practices?
How do you respond to the statement, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me”? – If you had to explain this statement to someone who was not familiar with the Christian faith, what would you say? – When have you experienced this in your own life? – How can you allow Christ to live through you more fully? If we truly believe that we are justified by God’s grace alone, and not by our works, why do you think we are also called to practice spiritual habits or disciplines? – If you were trying to explain the purpose of spiritual habits such as prayer, fasting, reading scripture or worship to someone who is new to the Christian faith, what would you say?
In this passage, Paul is discussing the experience of justification: being placed in right relationship with God. Rather than finding a way to earn this justification, Paul emphasizes that God is the only one who can truly set things right in the world.
Read Luke 2:41-52: Young Jesus in the Temple •
Share about someone you consider to be a great teacher who has impacted your faith. – What about them has most helped you to grow and develop in your faith? – Have you ever filled that same role of teacher? Why or why not? – Can you imagine yourself in that role in the future? Why or why not?
We see in this story Jesus is sitting among teachers, learning from rabbis in the temple. The rhythm of his life was shaped around his relationship with God and his faith community: Jesus had things to learn from those in his faith community, even as he showed them his own understanding.
Even though they were imperfect human beings, Jesus chose to ask questions and learn from these teachers in the temple. – When have you felt unworthy to teach someone about something, whether that was your faith, your work, or some other area of your life? – How do you wrestle with these feelings of inadequacy?
How do you think spiritual habits, practices or disciplines help us become more prepared to teach when we are given the opportunity? – Have you experienced this throughout this series with the habit you chose to practice? – How can the idea of teaching others help motivate you to become more faithful in your spiritual habits or practices?
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? – How has this practice impacted your desires, your idea of the “good life” throughout the series? – Will you be continuing this practice? Why or why not?
Who else can you share with about how spiritual disciplines impact your faith? – How are you being called to become a teacher and bring others along with you?
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 Loving God, you show us that even in our inadequacies and flaws, we can still teach others what it means to be a faithful disciple. We confess that we allow our insecurities to impact how we share our faith with others. Help us to realize the importance of spiritual disciplines and how they shape our desires and our daily lives. Let us be determined in practicing our faith, and open our eyes to see more opportunities to teach others what it means to live as you have called us to live. Amen.