Sun, Oct 05, 2014

Clearing the Way for Community

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43 mins 44 secs
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I. Understanding our situation

A. As a culture, we are losing the fabric of community.
B. We feel the need to be private.
C. Churches have struggled to deliver on community.
D. We are way too busy.
E. We medicate when our deepest needs are not being met.

II. Biblical response

A. God identifies our deepest needs.

1. Knowing and being known (I Corinthians 13:8-12)
2. Feeling like we matter – the search for significance
3. Feeling a part of something – belonging
4. Eating together – fellowship

B. God has made a way to provide for our needs.
C. We can't grow alone like we can together – the Johari window revisited.
(Psalm 19:12-13, Romans 7:15, Proverbs 32:3-4, I Corinthians 4:5b, Isaiah 29: 15, Proverbs 17:10,12,
Psalm 32:5, James 5:16)
D. Beware of self-deception.

II Timothy 3:13 — "But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived." (cf. Titus 3:3)

III. Application

A. Are you medicating rather than seeking God's provision?
B. Commit to growing in community.
C. Disarm sin by confessing it.
D. Make time for the things that matter most.

Discussion Questions:

1) How did you connect with others in your childhood? What brought people together in your childhood experience (church, sports, other community events)? What brings people together today? Has your experience been mostly in rural, urban or suburban settings? How is doing community different in urban or rural areas as compared with suburbs? What does it mean when your neighbors shut the garage door? Is it ok to drop by without a call? Is that rude or friendly?
2) Do you feel a right to privacy? Have the data leaks in recent months made you more likely to protect your privacy or less? Do you consider yourself a private person? Why or why not? Can a hospitable person be very private? Does putting a high value on privacy reduce one's ability to influence others? What implications does privacy have for knowing and being known?
3) On a scale of 1 to 10 (one being low and 10 being very connected) how would you rate community in the church in general? How would you rate your experience here at Calvary? How might your sense of community have changed? Did you have it at one time and then not?
4) What does it look like to "medicate" when your needs aren't being met? Have you seen people do this? What are the culturally accepted forms of medicating? Are there forms of medicating that are not culturally acceptable? Did you see people in your family of origin medicate in some form or another? Are there generational patterns to these things?
5) Is there a valid reason for breaking fellowship with believers? How often should a healthy Christian break fellowship? When do you know you should leave a church? How should you leave? Say something loudly, sneak away, or something in between?
6) Does the idea of being perfectly known sound exciting, scary, completely foreign, old hat, or something else? How much does sin reduce our ability to know oneself? How much does sin affect our ability to know others? Are knowing others and being known optional for the Christian?
7) What does confession and accountability look like? What kind of experience have you had, if any, with accountability? What happens when this goes wrong? What happens when it goes right? Who has been the biggest positive influence on you and why? Whom have you positively influenced?
8) How long can busyness be a valid excuse/reason for not entering into God's plan for community? If a Christian never has time for community, what does that say?
How should a Christian handle the disappointment of others treating relationships as disposable?
Are there seasons of life in which it is acceptable not to be in community?
What is the danger of waiting [to find community] until one is already in a crisis?
9) Does a Christian have a biblically grounded expectation of privacy? What passages of Scripture clearly teach that we should live private lives? What passages teach that we should live lives of meaningful connection and intentional engagement with others?
On balance, what is your assessment of the biblical focus: privacy first, or community/connectedness first? Is it ok to reject community if you don't feel you need it?
10) Given the biblical truths discussed and the cultural situation we are, in what is the first and biggest change you would like to make?

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