Community Guide for September 25th
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
We have started a new teaching series through portions of 1 Samuel. We will look at the rise and fall of the first two kings of Israel: Saul + David. These stories take place about 1000 years before the coming of Christ. These are ancient stories three millennia old and have stood the test of time, and we believe they are worth our attention.
In 1 Samuel 15 which we will be looking at today, talks about Saul’s fall from grace as King of Israel at least in the eyes of Samuel who was the priest and previous judge over Israel. Saul is chosen as the first king by Samuel, is anointed and appointed to this important position of power. In previous chapters 8-14 we read of the rise and fall of Saul as the first king of Israel. He makes some great leadership moves and some not so great ones. He seems to struggle with listening to and following instructions.
1. “Are we saving what should be sacrificed?” Saul had spared Agag’s life and the best of the animals (everything that was good). But this was not the direction God had given him. (re-read vs. 12-13)
- What might we be holding onto that God wants us to let go of?
2. “Self honor leads us to selfishness.” 1 Samuel 15:12-13 talks about Saul setting up a monument for himself. From the message, Pastor Tim shared, “When we take too much credit, we rob God of the glory due to his name. What if we take compliments graciously but don’t take success or compliments to heart? If we take success or compliments to heart, then we will also take criticism and critique to heart and overly react.”
- We are not likely to set up literal monuments for ourselves like Saul. What are some more subtle and not-so-subtle ways we live into this way of self-honor that leads to selfishness?
- Read Proverbs 27:2 What are some ways that we can cling more closely to our identity in Christ rather than being so dependent upon the approval of others?
3. “Are we full of self deception or self-awareness?” How did Saul Fail? In 1 Samuel 8, we read about Saul’s anointing. How did Saul move from a shy, modest man to a power monger? The answer is self-deception and insecurity (fear of others held a greater influence on Saul than his fear of the Lord). Saul listened but didn’t follow the “word of the Lord”.
- Tim Keller said, “Self-deception is not the worst thing we can do, but it is the reason we do the worst things.” What do you think about this statement? Or how has this maybe shown up in your life?
- What are some ways that we can grow in our self-awareness and awareness of God in our life?
Practice in Prayer
Prayer practice for the week: Establish a day and time to participate in lectio divina. Any passage of scripture can work. Consider maybe one of these: Psalm 23 or Matthew 7:1-6.
Read – Read the passage slowly, taking your time. As you move through the scripture, pay close attention to what words or phrases that stick out to you the most.
Reflect – When you finish reading, return to the beginning and read again one more time. On this second read, try to connect from your head to your heart. Which words or phrases assume a particular resonance in your heart and/or your season of life in this moment. Asking God to reveal what this might mean for you?
Respond – Bring this word, phrase, experience to God. Whatever may surface, let that be transparent in prayer to God. Frustration, confusion, joy, hopefulness, all of these things and more God can hold and carry with you. Let that fuel your prayer and bring it all before a loving God.
Rest – Before quickly moving on with your day, linger for a few minutes resting in God’s presence. You might find yourself wanting to express gratitude, worship, hope, a deepening of love. Let this settle deep in your heart.