Connection Group Discussion Guide | Week 5 “The whole creation waits breathless with anticipation for the revelation of God’s sons and daughters.” Romans 8:19
Connect (5 to 10 minutes) Come together to 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 or did not connect with you? – What story or illustration made an impact on you? • Icebreaker: Share about one of your worst funny habits, something you would say “I’m only human!” about.
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 Connection Group DVD or online. • How would you describe “Christian perfection” in your own words? – What would a perfect disciple of Christ look and act like? • Do you tend to try and “work” at your faith, as Allison described? Why or why not? Optional follow up question – Why do you think we have a habit of doing this as Christians? • How do you respond to the idea that we can reach Christian perfection, as John Wesley describes it, right now? – Does this seem attainable to you? Why or why not?
“After this Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate if he could take away the body of Jesus. Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but a secret one because he feared the Jewish authorities. Pilate gave him permission, so he came and took the body away. Nicodemus, the one who at first had come to Jesus at night, was there too. He brought a mixture of myrrh and aloe, nearly seventy-five pounds in all.” John 19:38-39
• What is your reaction to Allison’s description of Nicodemus’ story? – How does this impact your understanding of faith and your relationship with creation?
Read Romans 8:18-25 • Where do you see brokenness in creation as a whole? – How do you respond to this brokenness? – How does this impact your relationship with God? • How do you respond to the idea that creation is waiting on Christians to take up the responsibility of caring for creation? – How does this impact your faith? • What do you feel is something creation is waiting for, groaning for as Paul says? Optional follow up questions – What is something that you are waiting for in your own life, your relationship with God? – How does this waiting impact your relationship with God? Pass out copies of the following prayer to group members, and ask someone to read it aloud. John Wesley’s Covenant Prayer (modern version) “I am no longer my own, but yours. Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will; put me to doing, put me to suffering; let me be employed for you, or laid aside for you, exalted for you, or brought low for you; let me be full, let me be empty, let me have all things, let me have nothing: I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things to your pleasure and disposal. And now, glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, you are mine and I am yours. So be it. And the covenant now made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.” • Ask group members to take time and underline or highlight parts of this prayer that stick out to them. Discuss why these statements mean more to them, and how this prayer interacts with the scripture we read from Romans. • What parts of this prayer are you nervous to pray? – What parts of this prayer help you to feel braver? – How does this prayer empower you to let God provide, instead of trying to work at your faith? • What does it mean to you to know that we promise to be faithful members of the church and representatives of Christ to all of creation? – When have you seen someone fulfilling this promise?
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. • How can you make sure to be present in God’s story, active in creation, right now? – How can you avoid ending up like Nicodemus, only showing up at the end of the story? • What is something important you have learned from this series as a whole? – How can this group hold you accountable as you continue to grow in this aspect of your faith?
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, you choose us to be your representatives, your caretakers of creation, despite our many flaws. We are humbled and sometimes overwhelmed by this responsibility, and we admit that many times we fall short in answering your call. Help us to feel empowered to let your glory be manifested in our lives, not for our own sake, but so that creation as a whole can move toward renewal and new life. Help us, as we go forth to seek healing in all the areas of our lives where we experience brokenness, so that we might be overcome by your grace and love for all. Amen.