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The Jesus Who Provides 
Luke 18:15-43
Sermon Discussion


Picking up our Luke study this week after Easter, we look at the back half of Luke 18. A couple weeks ago we covered how Jesus taught about prayer through the parables of The Persistent Widow and The Pharisee and Tax Collector, this week we see Jesus teaching turn towards faith.

This is one of the passages in the Bible that suggests we should have "faith like a child" about God and His work.

What was something fun/silly you believed as a child that you wish was true?

Let's read the passage:

15 Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 17 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”

18 And a ruler asked him, "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" 19 And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 20 You know the commandments: 'Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.'" 21 And he said, "All these I have kept from my youth." 22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, "One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me." 23 But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. 24 Jesus, seeing that he had become sad, said, "How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! 25 For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God." 26 Those who heard it said, "Then who can be saved?" 27 But he said, "What is impossible with man is possible with God." 28 And Peter said, "See, we have left our homes and followed you." 29 And he said to them, "Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, 30 who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life."

31 And taking the twelve, he said to them, "See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. 32 For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. 33 And after flogging him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise." 34 But they understood none of these things. This saying was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said.

35 As he drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. 36 And hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what this meant. 37 They told him, "Jesus of Nazareth is passing by." 38 And he cried out, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" 39 And those who were in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!" 40 And Jesus stopped and commanded him to be brought to him. And when he came near, he asked him, 41 "What do you want me to do for you?" He said, "Lord, let me recover my sight." 42 And Jesus said to him, "Recover your sight; your faith has made you well." 43 And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.

Pastor Duane had 3 ideas that all sought to point out that God provides for what we long for and need.

Kid Faith
Rich Faith
Blind Faith

KID FAITH (v 15-17)

Jesus was becoming an important person, and his disciples didn't want Him to have to deal with unimportant things like kids. Like many things in life Jesus turns it upside down by explaining how important the kids are and the Disciples should be more like them.

What does Jesus mean here when he says "receive the Kingdom of God like a child?"
What are some things that glom onto our simple faith unnecessarily complicating it?


RICH FAITH (v 18-30)

Jesus then takes a question from the crowd, another trick question from a rich young man who asked Jesus what he needs to do to earn the inheritance of eternal life. Jesus tells him to sell all of his stuff to earn eternal life, bringing the young man to tears because he could not stand the though of losing his stuff.

Why do you think Jesus told him to sell all of his things? Does Jesus not want his followers to own anything?

What is something that you have a hard time leaving for God?

The disciples then look around so proud that they did leave all their physical goods for Jesus. They think they've completely checked the box to assure themselves eternal life.

What is something that we do now that gives us the self satisfaction that maybe we've checked that eternal life box?
How can we remind ourselves to look to God for eternal life, instead of continually trying to earn it?


BLIND FAITH

Jesus then tells His disciples exactly why He is here, and how He will die. They don't get it. At all. They can't see any other way for this to end, they have a blind faith that Jesus is going to overthrow the government, lead a revolution, and together they will rule the world. They faith is blindly placed into their own plan for Jesus work.

What was a time where you wanted to God to do something your way, and He didn't? Where was your faith?

They then move onto a literal blind man full of faith. After a chapter full of encounters with people trying to tell Jesus why they should be allowed in His kingdom, this man is different in his approach and as a result Jesus restores him.

Why do you think Jesus asked the blind man "What do you want me to do for you?"
What are some things about the blind man that were different from the disciples and the rich young man?

In Jesus time, this man was unimportant and expendable, even more so than the children from earlier. Yet Jesus engaged and later died for Him.

Who is unimportant in your life that you need to engage and show love towards?

PRAYER

Pray with your group for a child like faith, a faith that powered by a love for God that overshadows all earthly things and a faith that believes in God for our restoration.

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A Long Obedience In The Same Direction
by Eugene Peterson

Millions of people in our culture make decisions for Christ but there is a dreadful attrition rate. Many claim to have been born again, but the evidence for mature Christian disciples is slim. In our kind of culture anything, even news about God, can be sold if it is packaged freshly; but when it loses its novelty, it goes on the garbage heap; there is little enthusiasm for the patient acquisition of virtue, little inclination to sign up for a long apprenticeship in what earlier Christians called holiness.

Religion in our time has been captured by the tourist mindset. Religion is understood as a visit to an attractive site to be made when we have adequate leisure. For some it is a weekly jaunt to church; for other, occasional visits to special services.

‘The essential thing ‘in heaven and earth’ is … that there should be a long obedience in the same direction; there thereby results, and has always resulted in the long run, something which has made life worth living.’ It is this ‘long obedience in the same direction; which the mood of the world does so much to discourage.”

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Easter Clean Up

March 26-31 | 10am - 4pm

According to a national survey, clean facilitlies is the third most important reason a person considers when attending a church, right behind the preaching and worship music. We realize the importance of this, so we would love your help cleaning our facilities before Easter, our biggest Sunday of the year!

If you'd like to pitch in, come any day from Monday, March 26 through Saturday March 31 from 10am - 4pm and check something off the list below!

Bathrooms
• scrub walls, stall panels, and doors
• clean floors

Sanctuary
• clear out chairs to sweep and mop
• clean and paint walls as needed

R | Kids
• vacuum and clean carpets
• clean and paint walls as needed
• replace stained ceiling tiles

Patio
• stain east side pergolas
• finish picnic tables to match
• hose down parking lot
• wash and clean windows

Living Room + Halls
• clear out couches and table to sweep and mop
• replace burnt out flourecent lighting
• clean and paint walls as needed

Kitchen
• organize and clean as needed

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What Is The Kingdom of God?
by George Eldon Ladd

1. Some passages of Scripture refer to the Kingdom of God as God’s reign.
2. Some passages refer to God’s Kingdom as the realm into which we may now enter to experience the blessings of His reign.
3. Still other passages refer to a future realm which will come only with the return of our Lord Jesus Christ into which we shall then enter and experience.

Thus the Kingdom of God means three different things in different verses. One has to study all the references in the light of their context and then try to fit them together in an overall interpretation.

Fundamentally, as we have seen, the Kingdom of God is God's sovereign reign; but God's reign expresses itself in different stages through redemptive history. Therefore, men may enter into the realm of God's reign in its several stages of manifestation and experience the blessings of His reign in differing degrees. God's Kingdom is the realm of the Age to Come, popularly called heaven; then we shall realize the blessings of His Kingdom (reign) in the perfection of their fullness. But the Kingdom is here now. There is a realm of spiritual blessing into which we may enter today and enjoy in part but in reality the blessings of God's Kingdom (reign).

We pray, "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." The confidence that this prayer is to be answered when God brings human history to the divinely ordained consummation enables the Christian to retain his balance and sanity of mind in this mad world in which we live. Our hearts go out to those who have no such hope. Thank God, His Kingdom is coming, and it will fill all the earth.

But when we pray, "Thy Kingdom come," we also ask that God's will be done here and now, today. This is the primary concern of these expositions, that the reader might meet the Kingdom of God, or rather, that the Kingdom of God might meet him. We should also pray, "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done" in my church as it is in heaven. The life and fellowship of a Christian church ought to be a fellowship of people among whom God's will is done-a bit of heaven on earth. "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done" in my life, as it is in heaven. This is included in our prayer for the coming of the Kingdom.

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Growing As God's Children
Sermon Discussion
1 John 2:28 - 3:10

The week Pastor Ryan picked up our study of 1 John study of "Simple Faith" to discuss what it means to grow as God's children.

Growing up did you ever wish you were someone else's child? A friend's parents, a celebrity, a fictional character?
Who and why did you choose them?

Let's read through our text:

[1Jo 2:28- 3:1-10 ESV] 28 And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. 29 If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.

1 See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. 3 And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.

4 Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. 5 You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. 6 No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. 7 Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. 8 Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. 9 No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God.

10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.

Was there anything that stuck out from the text? a part you really liked? really struggled with? Or were confused by?

Pastor Ryan had 3 ideas he wanted to share from the passage.

Belonging
Becoming
Beloved

BELONGING (vs 28-29)
As believers we belong to a community, a church, and a family. Our understanding of who we are is rooted in where we belong.

What are some other groups or communities you belong to that have shaped you?

the Apostle John calls on us to "abide in him" in verse 28. Pastor Ryan explained that "abiding" is to be here, totally present.

What does that look like then to "abide in him"?

Pastor Ryan explained that we're meant to abide not just in him, but in the Family of God. Inside a family like this is safety tou be our true self, learn about ourselves and be excited to learn about others. That helps to create that belonging.

What is something someone in the Church family has done to make you feel like they were excited to see you? Or curious about you?

BELOVED vs 1-2

The Apostle John goes on to focus on the idea of God as a father and proclaims us as His beloved children now. He is our father who loves us. Pastor Rich Plass has said that " The first and primary movement of the Christian religion is the ability to receive love"

What about our experiences with human love can make it hard to accept God's love?
What makes God's love easier to accept?

We love to think of love as something we do and not something we feel. God is unique in that His feeling of love and his actions of love can be perfectly aligned. God's love is certain, constant, and celebratory. Pastor Ryan took us to the passage in 1 Corinthians 13:12 that explains that we see dimly but soon we shall see face to face. We have an idea od God's love but soon we'll know it perfectly.

What pictures have you seen in your life that dimly show you God's certain, constant, and celebratory love?

BECOMING v 3-10

The Apostle John gives us some things that prove we're in relationship with God.

What are some of those proofs?

We're told to practice righteousness

The "practice" here is different than our normal idea of "gradual perfection through repetition". instead it's more an idea of a shooting forth of something already there; as a bud springs from a plant.

The righteousness here isn't the legal righteousness from Romans 3, or holy purity, it's a love for other people resulting in movement towards them.

Why would practicing righteousness confirm that we're God's children?
What does it look like for you to practice righteousness this week?

PRAYER

Pray thanking God for allowing us to be in His family, that we'd have wisdom to show others the joy of belonging to that family, and patience as we grow to become more and more like Him.

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The Slippery Slope of Conflict
Ken Sande

There are three basic ways that people respond to conflict. These responses may be arranged on a curve that resembles a hill. On the left slope of the hill we find the escape responses to conflict. On the right side are the attack responses. And in the center we find the peacemaking responses. Imagine that this hill is covered with ice. If you go too far to the left or the right, you can lose your footing and slide down the slope. Similarly, when you experience conflict, it is easy to become defensive or antagonistic. Both responses make matters worse and can lead to more extreme reactions. If you want to stay on top of this slippery slope, you need to do two things. First, ask God to help you resist the natural inclination to escape or attack when faced with conflict. Second, ask him to help you develop the ability to live out the gospel by using the peacemaking response that is best suited to resolving a particular conflict. Let’s look at each of these responses in more detail.

Escape Responses

The three responses found on the left side of the slippery slope are called the escape responses. People tend to use these responses when they are more interested in avoiding a conflict than in resolving it. This attitude is common within the church, because many Christians believe that all conflict is wrong or dangerous. Thinking that Christians should always agree, or fearing that conflict will inevitably damage relationships, these people usually do one of three things to escape from conflict. Denial. One way to escape from a conflict is to pretend that it does not exist. Or, if we cannot deny that the problem exists, we simply refuse to do what should be done to resolve a conflict properly. These responses bring only temporary relief and usually make matters worse (see Gen. 16:1–6; 1 Sam. 2:22–25). Flight. Another way to escape from a conflict is to run away. This may include leaving the house, ending a friendship, quitting a job, filing for divorce, or changing churches. In most cases, running away only postpones a proper solution to a problem (see Gen.16:6–8), so flight is usually a harmful way to deal with conflict.Of course, there may be times when it is appropriate to respectfully withdraw from a confusing or emotional situation temporarily to calm down, organize your thoughts, and pray. Flight may also be a legitimate response in seriously threatening circumstances, such as cases of physical or sexual abuse (see 1 Sam. 19:9–10). If a family is involved in such a situation, however, every reasonable effort should still be made to find trustworthy assistance and come back to seek a lasting solution to the problem. (I will discuss this in more detail in chapter 9.) Suicide. When people lose all hope of resolving a conflict, they may seek to escape the situation (or make a desperate cry for help) by attempting to take their own lives (see 1 Sam. 31:4). Suicide is never the right way to deal with conflict. Tragically, however, suicide has become the third leading cause of death among adolescents in the United States, partly because so many children have never learned how to deal with conflict constructively.

Attack Responses

The three responses found on the right side of the slippery slope are called the attack responses. These responses are used by people who are more interested in winning a conflict than in preserving a relationship. This attitude is seen in people who view conflict as a contest or a chance to assert their rights, to control others, or to take advantage of their situation. Attack responses are typically used by people who are strong and self-confident. But they may also be used by those who feel weak, fearful, insecure, or vulnerable. Whatever the motive, these responses are directed at bringing as much pressure to bear on opponents as is necessary to eliminate their opposition. Assault. Some people try to overcome an opponent by using various forms of force or intimidation, such as verbal attacks (including gossip and slander), physical violence, or efforts to damage a person financially or professionally (see Acts 6:8–15). Such conduct always makes conflicts worse. Litigation. Another way to force people to bend to our will is to take them to court. Although some conflicts may legitimately be taken before a civil judge (see Acts 24:1–26:32; Rom. 13:1–5), lawsuits usually damage relationships and often fail to achieve complete justice. When Christians are involved on both sides, their witness can be severely damaged. This is why Christians are commanded to settle their differences within the church rather than in the civil courts (1 Cor. 6:1–8). Therefore, it is important to make every effort to settle a dispute out of court whenever possible (Matt. 5:25–26; see appendix D for further discussion). Murder. In extreme cases, people may be so desperate to win a dispute that they will try to kill those who oppose them (see Acts 7:54–58). While most Christians would not actually kill someone, we should never forget that we stand guilty of murder in God’s eyes when we harbor anger or contempt in our hearts toward others (see 1 John 3:15; Matt. 5:21–22). There are two ways that people move into the attack zone. Some resort to an attack response the minute they encounter a conflict.Others move into this zone after they have tried unsuccessfully to escape from a conflict. When they can no longer ignore, cover up, or run away from the problem, they go to the other extreme and attack those who oppose them.

Peacemaking Responses

The six responses found on the top portion of the slippery slope are called the peacemaking responses. These responses are commanded by God, empowered by the gospel, and directed toward finding just and mutually agreeable solutions to conflict. Each of these responses will be discussed in detail in the following chapters, but for now we will do a brief overview. The first three peacemaking responses may be referred to as “personal peacemaking,” because they may be carried out personally and privately, just between you and the other party. The vast majority of conflicts in life should and can be resolved in one of these ways. Overlook an offense. Many disputes are so insignificant that they should be resolved by quietly and deliberately overlooking an offense. “A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense” (Prov. 19:11; see also 12:16; 17:14; Col. 3:13; 1 Peter 4:8). Overlooking an offense is a form of forgiveness and involves a deliberate decision not to talk about it, dwell on it, or let it grow into pent-up bitterness or anger. Reconciliation. If an offense is too serious to overlook or has damaged the relationship, we need to resolve personal or relational issues through confession, loving correction, and forgiveness. “[If] your brother has something against you . . . go and be reconciled” (Matt. 5:23–24; see Prov. 28:13). “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently” (Gal. 6:1; see Matt. 18:15). “Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Col. 3:13). Negotiation. Even if we successfully resolve relational issues, we may still need to work through material issues related to money, property, or other rights. This should be done through a cooperative bargaining process in which you and the other person seek to reach a settlement that satisfies the legitimate needs of each side. “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Phil. 2:4). When a dispute cannot be resolved through one of the personal peacemaking responses, God calls us to use one of the next three peacemaking responses, referred to as “assisted peacemaking.” These responses require the involvement of other people from your church or Christian community. Mediation. If two people cannot reach an agreement in private, they should ask one or more objective outside people to meet with them to help them communicate more effectively and explore possible solutions. “If he will not listen [to you], take one or two others along” (Matt. 18:16). These mediators may ask questions and give advice, but they have no authority to force you to accept a particular solution. Arbitration. When you and an opponent cannot come to a voluntary agreement on a material issue, you may appoint one or more arbitrators to listen to your arguments and render a binding decision to settle the issue. In 1 Corinthians 6:1–8, Paul indicates that this is how Christians ought to resolve even their legal conflicts with one another: “If you have disputes about such matters, appoint as judges even men of little account in the church” (1 Cor. 6:4). Accountability. If a person who professes to be a Christian refuses to be reconciled and do what is right, Jesus commands church leaders to formally intervene to hold him or her accountable to Scripture and to promote repentance, justice, and forgiveness: “If he refuses to listen [to others], tell it to the church” (Matt. 18:17). Direct church involvement is often viewed negatively among Christians today, but when it is done as Jesus instructs—lovingly, redemptively, and restoratively—it can be the key to saving relationships and bringing about justice and peace.

Excerpt from Peacemaker by Ken Sande

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A Jesus Who Forgives
Sermon Discussion
Luke 17:1-19

What is something that you did in the past, but were never caught?
What is forgiveness? An absorption, a taking in without retaliating, a giving up of control.


Forgiveness hears [vs. 1-6]
How does Jesus view sin in relationships?
What is to be our posture toward one another regarding sin?
How does faith and forgiveness go together? [vs. 5]
If we find ourselves unable to forgive, what might this be telling us about ourselves? About our faith in God?

Forgiveness Hurts [vs. 7-10]
What happens when someone chooses not to forgive us? What about when we choose not to forgive someone else?
Why does forgiving others hurt sometimes?
How often should I forgive someone who is chronically hurting me?
Who do you find difficult to forgive in your life? Why?

Forgiveness Heals [vs. 11-19]
We see that of the ten lepers only one comes back to thank Jesus. How does forgiveness and thankfulness relate to one another? Do they?
Follow up from last week: What is the difference between forgiveness and mercy? How might the two relate to each other? Who do you have a hard time having mercy towards? Why?
How does forgiveness produce healing in our lives and in our relationships?
Pray for one another

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On Loving God
by Bernard of Vlairvaux

Men are driven by an insatiable ambition to clutch at still greater prizes.  And nowhere is there any final satisfaction, because nothing there can be defined as absolutely the best or highest.  No matter how many such things one has, he is always lusting after what he has not; never at peace, he sighs for new possessions.  

Discontented, the spends himself in fruitless toil, and finds only weariness in the evanescent and unreal pleasures of the world.  In his greediness, he counts all that he has clutched as nothing in comparison to what is beyond his grasp, and loses all pleasure by longing after what he has not, yet covets.

It is so that these ones wander in a circle, longing after something to gratify their yearnings, yet madly rejecting that which alone can bring them to their desired end…the love of God.  God has no gift better than Himself.  He gives Himself as prize and reward.  And therein the soul says God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

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All of Life is Worship
Sermon Discussion

This week Ryan Leech, our Director of Worship here at the Resolved took us through a passage in Acts 2 to discuss how the Christian life is a life full or worship.

One of the first things Ryan discussed was that habits can often point to things you value, love and even worship.

What was the last habit you tried to break, or successfully broke?

Let's read the passage:

Act 2:36-42 ESV
36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified."
37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?" 38 And Peter said to them, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself." 40 And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, "Save yourselves from this crooked generation." 41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.
42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

Was there anything in that passage that you really liked? Any ideas that were odd or confusing?

WE ARE FORMED BY SUNDAY

We see here in Acts that the first large group of believers created some habits. In vs 42 we see that they "devoted themselves to the apostles' teach ad the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and that prayers." These are some of the things we use as models for our modern Sunday "habits".

Why do you think it was important for that 1st group of believers to "devote" themselves to these things?

Why do you think it's important for us to continue these "habits" even today?

Ryan explained that the Sunday service is unlike anything else you'll do the rest of the week.

What are some things that make Sunday service different than other gatherings and habit's throughout the week?

It's a special time a of remembering and reminding each other about God and celebrating Him and our relationship with Him. The fellowship together, singing, preaching, communion all point in that same direction.

How does keeping this habit form you?

How have you seen yourself change over time through coming to Sunday service?


WE ARE SHAPED IN COMMUNITY

Ryan went on to explain that if you're just coming on Sundays you're probably just "going to church", but by taking this worship of God with friends out to the rest of your week your are "being the church."

we read further on in Acts 2 in vs 46-47: And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

How do you "be the church" throughout the week?

What are some things we as a community group can do to better shape each other throughout the week?

We see in vs 47 of the passage and all throughout Jesus ministry during our ongoing study of Luke that adding to the number of saved is a key form of worship to God. We can only do that by extending our communities out to those that don't yet know God.

What was the last community that reached out to you? And how did they do it?

How do you find people outside our church community to pour into?

GOD WANTS US TO DWELL IN HIM

These habits we practice on Sunday and throughout the week in community are there primarily to create a deeper relationship with God. Ryan pointed out though that between Church on Sunday and CG throughout the week that's probably only 4 hours out of 168 week. That's like 2% of our week set aside for what we say is the most important thing in our life!
Ryan then pointed out that the remaining time can absolutely be used to be continually acknowledging God throughout the day, and spending quiet time alone with Him dwelling, listening, and getting to know Him.

What are some other daily habits you use to assist in your acknowledgement of God throughout the day?

Why do you think it's important for us to get to know God more and more each day?

PRAYER

Pray for your group to bring worship into our entire week. That Sundays would continue to be a time of sweet refreshment for us all, that community would help us remember and remind each other throughout the week and that we would all ache to dwell with God each day.

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Stop Dating The Church
Joshua Harris

We see in Genesis that God takes a day a week for renewal very seriously. He made Sabbath-keeping one of the Ten Commandments. But if you're worried that I'm going to try to convince you that Sunday is the new Sabbath for Christians, you're wrong. I don't believe that Christians are called to observe the Old Testament laws about Sabbath-keeping.

Still I think we're missing out on enormous personal and spiritual blessings when we treat Sunday like any other day. Because it isn't. The early church called it "the Lord's day." It's a day to "receive and embrace," as Matthew Henry said, "as a privilege and a benefit, not as a task and a drudgery."

I think you'll discover that God has something for you that will radically change your church experience because Sundays have come to us as on of His sweetest gifts. 

We first need to see Sunday with new eyes. Of course, in one sense it's just an ordinary day-- twenty-four hours during which the sun rises and sets. But when your heart begins to beat for God's glory and God's people and you begin to glimpse His longing to visit you, Sunday changes. Actually, it becomes something extraordinary. Something sacred. Something essential.

Every day belongs to God. But Sunday is the Lord's day in a special way. Jesus has owned it uniquely ever since that first Easter when He stepped out of the empty tomb. Think of it. On that morning, for the first time, He had conquered death. He had atoned for our sin. He had made a way for us to come boldly into the presence of the Father. And every Sunday since has been an anniversary of that amazing morning. The Savior has risen and everything has changed. 

This crucified and risen Jesus has promised to be present in a special way when His people gather to worship Him. Wherever Christ's followers gather for church -- whether in a cathedral or under a tree -- we glorify God, grow in our faith, and encourage each other. And through every minute of it, Jesus is with us. 

"We must never therefore," writes J. I. Packer, "let our Sundays become mere routine engagements; in that attitude of mind, we shall trifle them away by a humdrum formality. Every Sunday is meant to be a great day, and we should approach it expectantly, in full awareness of this."

Excerpt from Stop Dating the Church by Joshua Harris