Community Guide for October 16th
Let your group know what to expect during prayer time, something like: “As we start our group time, I will open with a word of prayer, there will be a minute or so of silent reflection, and then I will read the scripture from Sunday and then close in prayer, and we will enter into our discussion time.”
- Open with a brief word of prayer: “God, we thank you for this time together. We open our hearts to how you might want to meet with us. Allow us to hear your voice and experience your spirit at work. Come Holy Spirit.”
- Sit before the Lord in silent prayerful reflection for 1-2 minutes
- Read the scripture listed below aloud for the group to reflect on.
- Close in a word of prayer: “God, thank you for your word, come holy spirit and allow us to understand what it means for our lives, lead us in our time of discussion together. In Christ’s name, amen.”
Scripture from Sunday
Read this Overview Together
Consider this quote from Sunday taken from “Faith for Exiles” by David Kinnamen & Mark Matlock
“Today, an epidemic of loneliness sequesters tens of millions of people. Barna’s data shows that adults are twice as likely to say they are lonely compared to a decade ago; about one out of five Americans say they feel lonely. Regardless of the hundreds of millions of smartphones we’ve bought, apps we’ve loaded, posts we’ve written and read, and the likes and retweets we’ve given and received, we feel lonelier than ever… we’re spending more and more of our hours in digital bubbles, rarely interacting in a meaningful way with real human beings.”
“In exile, the church can provide answers to a relationally hurting society. The Christian community today has an amazing opportunity to address the epidemic of isolation and counteract the atomizing effects of Digital Babylon- and thereby diminish the mistrust and isolation we’re all experiencing.”
Why are we talking about friendships? We believe that spiritual formation happens best in the context of meaningful relationships and by God’s design we are meant to share in life together. Sacred friendship being united by the bond of God’s spirit is meant to encourage, inspire, help, flourish and so much more; Sacred friendships meant for the journey of life and faith.
After listening to the message and reading 1 Samuel 18:1-11, is there anything that initially sticks out for you about the life of David, Saul, or Jonathon or their relationships with one another at this point?
1. Forming The Bond of Friendship // Friendship is rare, but it is like finding a rare gift given at just the right time. It cannot be faked or forced but can certainly be found.
- Consider this quote from Sunday by C.S. Lewis from his book “Four Loves”: “Friendship arises out of mere Companionship when two or more of the companions discover that they have in common some insight or interest or even taste which the others do not share and which, till that moment, each believed to be his own unique treasure (or burden). The typical expression of opening Friendship would be something like, “What? You too? I thought I was the only one.” How does this quote land for you? Accurate? Relatable?
- Pastor Tim mentioned 3 different types of friendships:
– Spiritual Friendships // These are Friendships built on virtue, with a shared vision of life, and helping even championing each other to move forward in our own faith journey.
– Fun-ships // Friendships built on a combination of amusement or proximity and affinity- People who help us escape the pressures of life and help us to have a good time.
– Fair-weather friends // Friendships built on usefulness or utility- Will this person benefit my life?
Take a moment to think about your current relationships/friendships that you have. Do any of these resonate? Do you have more in one category or another? Are you sensing a longing or desire for Spiritual friendships in your life? Are there any hesitations you may have?
What might be some ways that you can help to create spiritual friendships in your life or foster that more intentionally?
2. The Danger of Envy // Saul realizes that David is a threat to his position, a threat to becoming greater than him, a threat to winning the heart and affections of others, and Saul allowed Envy to influence his attitude and actions.
- Reread 1 Samuel 18:9-11, 28-29 and consider this: “Spiritual Maturity is being able to read the scriptures and find yourself in the villains. We all want to relate to David and see ourselves and our lives in him. We all want to relate to Jonathan and find ourselves in his story. But we don’t want to look at Saul and find ourselves in him, he is the villain.” Let us consider for a moment how we may have shown up as Saul in relationships. Share as you feel comfortable.
- Pastor Tim gave 3 ways to deconstruct envy in our lives:
- Stay focused on your own journey // Don’t compare- Comparison is the thief of joy- You have been given grace for your journey, not someone else’s.
- Live under grace // Don’t expect Life to be Fair- You don’t want “fair”.
- Befriend God // Be overcome by a greater friendship than what this world offers.
Is there one of these encouragements that you are sensing an invitation to go deeper with God? Which one seems to be the most challenging for you? Which one of these feels like freedom you can walk in even today?
Lastly, consider these application points for each:
- Staying focused on the journey: When tempted to play the comparison game, the quickest way to re-focus is to count your own blessings and bring any lack or need for your journey to the one who provides. And consider even the trials as pure joy.
- Live under grace: Spend some time reviewing the grace that God has placed in your life. Or if you are having a hard time doing that or getting started, try meditating on these 2 prompts: “what does it mean for me to live in the unmerited favor of God?” Or spending some time asking yourself, “what would it look like if I spent mental/emotional energy on living into grace rather than expending that energy towards how unfair life is? What might that do to and for me internally?”
- Befriend God: Make the conscience choice to be a person who is filled with the Spirit, so your life produces the fruit of the Spirit. The Spirit is the personal bond of friendship we have in our relationship with God. Being filled with the spirit is simply allowing our hearts to be captured by the greatest friend of our souls, allowing God’s great friendship to capture and fill us anew, and allowing him to shape, form, lead and direct our thoughts, attitudes, actions, and lives.
Practice in Prayer
Weekly prayer practice: Follow up with someone in your group to encourage (not correct or give advice…unless asked for) them and consider having a moment of prayer together.