Pray: To open your time together.
Read: Philippians 2:1-8
Consider: Some thoughts for your group
Although we use a lot of individual language when we talk about being a Christian, phrases such as “my personal faith” or having Jesus “in my heart”, the truth is that there is no context for a faith in Jesus outside of relationship with Him AND others. When we enter our faith journey, we join a family of God that will influence and shape our spiritual lives forever.
The relationships are a double-edged sword. On the one hand, most of us can point to a few key relationships that have been the source of growth and depth in our faith – mentors, family members, faithful friends. On the other hand, perhaps the deepest wounds come from the relationships in our faith community. There is no way around the complexity of relationships and yet God clearly calls us to lean into our love for one another, just as He has loved us.
There can be a temptation to react to broken relationships by engaging in fight or flight responses. When hurt we may want to run away or attack those that hurt us. But Jesus points us to a different way of being in relationship. The one that He modeled for us. As Pastor Bo reminded us on Sunday, the way of Jesus is Kindness, Wisdom, Sacrificial Love, Humility, and Forgiveness. We are fully loved by God and that is why we can love others fully as well.
- Up to this point we have discussed Spiritual Formation in strictly individual terms – mind, will, body, etc. How do you think about your Spiritual Formation as a community experience?
- What are some ways you have been spiritually formed by other people? Tell your group about one or two people who have really influenced your relationship with God.
- Who are the people you have shaped in their relationship with God? Have you ever prayed for God to show you one or two people to pour into for a season of life? If not, what would keep you from doing that now?
For reasons we will never understand, God uses broken people like you and me to shape the world around us. Community is God’s great strategy for spreading the good news of Jesus all over the world. Often, we can make a mess of this strategy, but God’s grace continues to move it forward. In the end, this is a work of faith. What might it look like to surrender more of your life to this work?
Spend some time praying for one another. For those who have been hurt by their relationship in the Church or by other Jesus-followers, pray for peace and forgiveness to be present to them. For those who have wrestled with how or when to enter into deeper relationships in the church, pray for God to speak clearly to them about what He is calling them to in this season.