Community Groups 11/24

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As thanksgiving fast approaches and with Christmas looming just on the other side of the horizon (when I say horizon I mean Black Friday), Pastor Greg started in a series of sermons centered on Christmas this last Sunday. However, this message was a prequel, setting the stage and gaining context for the series ahead. Pastor Greg titled his message: Christmas – The Story Before the Story.

There is so much mystery surrounding the Christmas narrative. Some outside the faith see this story as just another fable like all the rest. But for believers, this story captures the essence of God’s love in sending His Son into the world.

Group Discussion Questions:

1. Pastor Greg mentioned that John the Baptist was the bridge between the Old Testament and the New, and how some see the division in the Bible as two separate faiths. However this is not true. From Genesis to revelation we have one complete revelation of/from God. (This might be a bit deeper of a discussion, however) What ways do you see God fulfilling promises in the NT that he previously made in the OT? Can you think of specific promises given or verses that speak of the coming Messiah?

2. The response that Mary gave at the announcement from the angel Gabriel was one of both humility and worship. Pastor Greg quoted C.S. Lewis who said, “The real test of being in the presence of God is that you either forget about yourself altogether or you see yourself as a small, dirty object.” The holiness of God exposes our sinfulness and makes us painfully aware that we don’t deserve anything from God. What type of responses do you have when you know God is calling you to do something? Is it like Mary’s?

3. Zacharias was a faithful man doing what he was supposed to do when God made contact with him. Pastor Greg mentioned that this is most often the way God calls people is when they are busy serving versus waiting around for “something” to happen. Do you desire to be used by God to impact “your world?” What are you doing in the here-and-now that is stimulating faithfulness in the little things? Are you one of those people that is waiting around for something to happen (I think we all can be at times)?

4. Pastor Greg summed up the life of Zacharias and Elizabeth with three things: to keep praying and not give up; to believe what God tells you and act in faith; to not be under the power of anything but the Holy Spirit. Which of these three things ministers to you the most in the place you are currently at? In what ways can the group help to stimulate better attention to these areas?

Prayer requests:

Thanksgiving:

We have so much to be thankful for this season. We have received the greatest gift of all, the gift of salvation provided for us through Jesus Christ. Take a moment in your group time to thank God for all the things that he has blessed you with. Write them down and thank Him all throughout the week as well.

Supplication:

I also I understand that the holidays have a way of exposing great pains as well; loved ones that are no longer with us and family that live far or relationships that are not reconciled. Pray for those situations and ask god to give you a peace through this season and to restore situations that seem dire.

Repentance:

It is always a great time to reflect on the past and give thanks. But it might be good to look back and reflect on any areas in your life that need changed. Make a commitment to turn from those things, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.

**The following questions are used by Harvest Community Groups to facilitate discussion time in a small-group setting and to dig deeper into God’s Word. We encourage you to use them in your home or small group – or better yet, join one of our Community Groups! Information can be found at Communitygroups.harvest.org.**