SMART IDEAS FOR SMALL GROUPS

As we seek to grow and develop in our relationship with God, each other and our communities – it might be helpful to ask ourselves some questions. Hopefully they will confirm we are on the right path and inspire us to go further and faster, both as leaders and  as LIFE GROUPS. Please feel free to use the questions for your reflection, prayer and maybe even discussion in your group.

  • Are there any hindrances in people using their gifts in the LIFE GROUP? Is it me? Is it us? Is it them? What can we change?
  • What are the tools that foster a greater sense of mutual accountability towards spiritual transformation in our LIFE GROUP?
  • How can we, as leaders, enthuse the people in our LIFE GROUP to become more missionall?
  • How can we model a seamless connectivity between the Church – community – our LIFE GROUP? Can we encourage/support a ministry in CFMC as a LIFE GROUP?
  • What can fuel a better prayer ministry in our LIFE GROUP?
  • If you had to ‘step down’ as a leader – who could lead instead? How can you/me (LIFE GROUPS coordinator) encourage and develop that person?
  • Are there ‘part-timers’ (not using this term judgmentally at all) that need to be encouraged and re-enfolded back in the LIFE GROUP? What about inviting someone you connect well in the Church who isn’t involved in a LIFE GROUP yet (if your group is not too big – i.e. 12+)?

HONEST PRAYER

I just read this fantastic prayer from Scotty Smith – he writes prayers down in a beautiful, intelligent and inspiring way – http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/scottysmith/2011/04/25/a-prayer-for-the-slow-of-heart-like-me/

A Prayer for the Slow of Heart, Like Me

     “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
Luke 24:25-27

Gracious Jesus, of all your post-resurrection appearances (1 Cor. 15:3-7), I treasure the visit you paid disheartened friends on the road to Emmaus the most (Luke 24:13-35). Your meeting with a shattered and shamed Peter was incredibly loving and healing. And the Apostle Paul was marked forever by the visit you paid him—a man who felt so unworthy of even being called an apostle. All of us have enjoyed the fruit of thatvisitation, through Paul’s life and writings.

But I especially love how you came along side of the Emmaus-bound men, for I am so much like them. I, too, am foolish and slow of heart. I constantly need you to preach the gospel to my heart by the Holy Spirit. I praise you for your tender forbearance and unlimited patience.

Lord Jesus, as you dealt with my Emmaus brothers, so deal with me. Continue to reveal yourself as the main character and hero in all the Scriptures. Don’t let me read the writings of Moses without thinking about you—especially the law. May the law of Moses alwaysdrive me to you, Jesus. For you have completely fulfilled the demands of the law for usand now you are fulfilling the beauty of the law in us, by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:4) Don’t let me forget this good news, even for a nano-second, lest I lapse into grace-less guilt or performance-based pride.

And, Lord Jesus, continue to show me how you are fulfilling everything the prophets have spoken—not just the promises about your sufferings on the cross and your resurrection from the dead, but also everything promised about your present work in the world as a redeemer and restorer. All the promises of God find their Yes in you (2 Cor. 1:20).

May a vision of your present reign and coming kingdom give me an incurable case of “redemptive heartburn,” like the fire you ignited in the hearts of my Emmaus brothers. Continue to open the Scriptures to me, Jesus, until the Day you return to finish making all things new. So very Amen, I pray, in your holy and transforming name.

I love Scotty’s raw sincerity and I underscore the same sentiments. I have been more convinced than ever during these last few weeks of my need to be both disturbed and amazed (or as Mike P from Soul Survivor puts it, the ‘woe’ and the ‘wow’) by the immensity of my sinfulness and the unthinkable marvelous undeserved grace of the Cross.

I need the Gospel to pierce my heart afresh and move my emotions. I need the Gospel to transform my mind and rule my will. I need the Gospel to leave its mark – under the daily activity of the Holy Spirit’s influence – on my actions and words.

May Holy Week, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday not be ‘one-offs’ but constant life-shaping events that remind us of the Gospel.

HOLY WEEK – WEDNESDAY

via Justin Taylor’s blog – http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/

With help from the ESV Study Bible, here’s an attempted harmony/chronology of the words and actions of Jesus in the final week of his pre-resurrection life.

Luke 21:37-38

And every day he was teaching in the temple, but at night he went out and lodged on the mount called Olivet.

And early in the morning all the people came to him in the temple to hear him.

Matthew 26:3-5

Then the chief priests and the elders of the people gathered in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and plotted together in order to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him. But they said,

“Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar among the people.”

Mark 14:1-2

It was now two days before the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to arrest him by stealth and kill him, for they said,

“Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar from the people.”

Luke 22:1-2

Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called the Passover.

And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to put him to death, for they feared the people.

Matthew 26:14-16

Then one of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said,

“What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?”

And they paid him thirty pieces of silver.

And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him.

Mark 14:10-11

Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went to the chief priests in order to betray him to them.

And when they heard it, they were glad and promised to give him money.

And he sought an opportunity to betray him.

Luke 22:3-6

Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was of the number of the twelve.

He went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers how he might betray him to them.

And they were glad, and agreed to give him money.

So he consented and sought an opportunity to betray him to them in the absence of a crowd.