This week's Small Group Guide is composed of questions from this week's GPS Guide. The questions relate to the Scripture for that particular day. You can download the full week's GPS as a printable document for the context of each question below (in the printable version, the recommended small group questions are marked with a special bullet point.)
Jesus, in Luke 4, said Isaiah 61 defined his mission—and, by extension, his followers’ mission. Isaiah 61:3 promised that God would give those who have been broken-hearted, poor, or captives “a crown in place of ashes, oil of joy in place of mourning, a mantle of praise in place of discouragement.” That was beautifully poetic—but our world’s all-too-real losses are not beautiful. In what ways will you accept Jesus' “job offer” and actively join in bringing beauty where sadness has left ashes?
Seeing Jesus walking on the lake terrified the disciples. Their own lack of power was frightening, but the idea of a power beyond their imagining was more so. Do you ever find the idea of God actually “showing up” a bit scary? In what ways does Jesus’ divine power reach beyond our usual human ideas? What gives you confidence that he always uses his power in ways that are good for you?
Paul spoke of focusing on unseen and eternal things, not on visible things that don’t last. To another group he wrote, “Think about the things above and not things on earth. You died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:2-3). He honestly saw his life as held safely in God’s hands, untouched by any earthly loss. How much do you focus only on the “here and now”? What helps you grow toward seeing your true life as eternally safe, hidden with Christ in God?
Suppose someone put all the promises in this psalm into an “infomercial” for God. Would you believe them? Would you want to have a God watch over you so faithfully and patiently? Which parts of your life, of yourself, do you keep the most hidden? God knows all about them—and sees you with compassion and love anyway. Jesus began the Lord’s Prayer (which we say each week in worship) with “Our Father who is in heaven.” “Heaven” translates the Greek word ouranōs, which meant, not a place far away, but “air,” “sky,” “heavens.” Jesus was not saying God is far away, but around us, above us, even within us, wherever we go—the same idea as verses 7-12 in today’s reading. What helps you experience God’s presence? What spiritual difference does that make for you?
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