We all have a natural tendency to surround ourselves with people who like us. Whether we’re geeks, jocks, hipsters, Democrats, or Republicans, we surround ourselves with people who are like us. But what is the cost of isolating ourselves from those who are different?
Who was your crew growing up? Were you an athlete, in the band, part of the drama club, or some other group? How did being in that group in uence how you viewed yourself?
Talk about a time when you felt left out. How did you respond?
Read John 4:1–26 During the message, Pastor Rob said the way Jesus treated the woman at the well demonstrated how God feels about all people. Is that diffcult for you to believe? Why or why not?
What are some of the things that inform the boundaries of your table? How do you decide who you surround yourself with?
Is there a person or group of people you need to get curious about and begin to ask some questions? If so, what questions would you ask that person or group?
We like people who like us and who are like us. The problem is, Jesus didn’t do that and he wouldn’t like that. When you have compassion for those who aren’t in your bubble, you learn something about them and yourself. Your view of God gets bigger when you make room at your table.
Spend some time this week reading and reflecting on John 4.
When you read the Gospels, two things are abundantly clear. Being a sinner doesn’t disqualify you from following Jesus. And being an unbeliever doesn’t disqualify you from following Jesus. So, what does that mean for you?
Do you tend to be trusting or skeptical? How has that tendency positively or negatively affected your relationship with God?
During the message, Rob said, “Being a sinner doesn’t disqualify you from following Jesus. It’s a prerequisite.”
How does that idea challenge your assumptions about following Jesus?
Read Luke 5:1–7. Have you ever chosen to trust God even though doing so didn’t seem to make sense at the time? If so, what happened?
Read Luke 5:8–11. Are you currently afraid that God is separating himself from you because of your sin? How might your life and faith be different if you were able to put aside that fear and trust him?
Read 1 Peter 2:23–24. On a scale of 1 to 10, how well does your life reflect the truth that by Jesus’ wounds you have been healed?
In what area of your life do you need to dial up your trust in Jesus? What is your best next step?
What is your next step—coming back, confessing, reconciling, extending forgiveness, serving, giving?
Whatever your next step is, take it. You don’t know what hangs in the balance.
Spend some time this week reading and reflecting on Luke 5.
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WEEK 1: FOR THE WORLD
Jesus didn’t come to extend an old religion. He didn’t come to just clarify old truths. He didn’t come to just preach sermons and offer wise teachings. From the angel’s announcement to Mary that she would give birth to a son whose “kingdom would never end,” it was clear: Jesus would do something new for the world.
1. What influenced your first impressions of Jesus—church, movies, television, art? How accurate were those first impressions?
2. What, if anything, surprised you about the Jesus that Pastor Rob described during the message?
3. Read John 1:15–18. Do you tend to view religion as a collection of laws (rules) or as a relationship with God that is defined by grace and truth? What shaped your view?
4. Is it difficult for you to believe that Jesus came to do something new for you? Why or why not?
5. What is one thing you can do to make the most of the next 40 days and pursue a closer connection to Jesus?
Jesus didn’t enter the world in order to protect the status quo. He came to overturn it by changing our relationship with God. Jesus was the bridge between the Old and New Covenants. He was born under one to introduce the other. And he did it for the world.
The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. John 1:9–10