CBR Discussion for 04.30.12

Exodus 36, 2 Kings 9, Jeremiah 20, Luke 15

Friendship: What are You Dreaming About?

It is great to dream big dreams about the things or relationships that can make your life easier and more fun. Big or small, this is the mother of innovation, invention, and success. The combination of dreams and the desperation of a situation. It’s a beautiful equation that causes people to break through and redeem God’s design.

Friendship Question: What is one of your favorite inventions? Finish these statements. If they would only invent a (fill in the blank)? If someone would only become more (fill in the blank)?

Repentance: The Grass is Greener on the Other Side

The motives of the characters that are dreaming about a different life in today’s CBR are the same. Different than inventors, they are recklessly chasing a different life. In Luke 15, The prodigal son is saying that his way of life is better than his father’s. The sheep is saying that the grass he wants to eat is better than where the shepherd is leading it. In 2 Kings 9, Joram is saying that Jezebel’s care and wisdom is better than God’s. When we hope for something other than what God is currently giving us and that cause us to turn from God and to other answers that provide what we want, we are saying that those solutions are better than God. It is the classic thinking that the grass is always greener on the other side. We think that people have it better than us and we are a special case.

Repentance Question: Think back to a time recently where you thought, “if I only could solve this problem” or “if i was only able to have what someone else had.” How are you convicted in that thinking and want to repent?

Faith: The Fertilizer for the Grass on Our Side

Contentment is a tricky thing to grasp. To live in the tension of God’s will is perfect and the brokenness of a circumstance that you are begging to be changed. How do we react? Submission. Faithfully do your chores. Exodus 36 and Jeremiah 21 are perfect examples. The people building the tabernacle knew their role and submitted to it. Everyone couldn’t be Moses. They showed up faithfully with the skills and talents God gave them and gratitude for the work. Jeremiah is learning contentment in persecution. It’s a difficult position but he believes God has him there for a reason and he submits to God in it.

Faith Question: Where are you grateful for God’s blessing in your life in light of difficulties or ordinary work?

Focus/Mission: How can You Garden on Your Side?

It could be surprising that the Pharisees would call Jesus, the shepherd, the women looking for the lost coin, and the father in the prodigal son story the reckless ones. They are expending all their resources and capital to save one small lost item; a soul, a sheep, a coin, and a son. God has done that for us in the Gospel. He killed his favorite person for us. That is amazing love. Some would say reckless love.

Focus/Mission Question: What is one thing you can do this week to show this kind of radical love for someone in your life?

Tuesday’s Readings: Exodus 37, 2 Kings 10, Jeremiah 21, Luke 16
Wednesday’s Readings: Exodus 38, 2 Kings 11, Jeremiah 22, Luke 17
Thursday’s Readings: Exodus 39, 2 Kings 12, Jeremiah 23, Luke 18
Friday’s Readings: Exodus 40, 2 Kings 13, Jeremiah 24, Luke 19
Saturday’s Readings: Psalm 52, Psalm 53, Psalm 54

CBR Discussion for 04.23.12

Exodus 31, 2 Kings 4, Jeremiah 15, Luke 10

Friendship: The Buddy System

In Luke 10, Jesus is officially beginning to multiply His mission. He chooses the seventy-two and sends them out two by two. It would have been an amazingly exciting time. Imagine being sent out by Jesus with a buddy to go invite others into God’s kingdom. The atmosphere must have been electric. On top of that, they were sent out with nothing, no money, no food, no transportation, no clothes. It was like a Christ centered amazing race.

Friendship Question: Imagine you are given this opportunity to go out and play a Christ centered amazing race. Would you be excited or nervous? Who would you want to be paired with? What creature comforts would you miss the most? What would you most look forward to in the adventure?

Repentance: Success and Failure

2 Kings 4 and Jeremiah 15 are a deeper window into what it looked like for the seventy-two out in the field. 2 Kings 4 shows Elisha in a time of impressive success, but Jeremiah 15 shows Jeremiah trying to figure out why he is failing and lamenting over it.

Repentance Question: We all succeed and fail at some point and time in our life. How do you react when you succeed: do you brag, boast, or give God the Glory? What about when you fail: do you have a pity party, blame shift, get angry, quit, or truly lament and seek God for guidance? What are you tendencies? Ask God to change your heart.

Faith: Seeing God Work

Continuing in Luke 10, The Seventy-two come back to Jesus buzzing with storiesof where God has worked through them and for others. They saw things that very few people in all of humanity see, the power of God in action. Even Jesus states the rarity of this in vs.24. Just like the seventy-two,God is working in and through you right now. Here is the problem. It isn’t as obvious. Sometimes it even looks like failure as we see in Jeremiah 15. To grow our faith we must grow the skill of seeing how God works and to do that we must learn how He works.

Faith Question: Take a moment to reflect on your past week, where did you see God work through you to encourage and love those around you? What does that do to you faith?

Focus/Mission: Who are you being sent out to serve?

It’s the million dollar question, where can I draw the line? When can I take a break and not love? In Luke 10, a lawyer asks that very question after Jesus confirms the goal of life as love of God and love of neighbor. The lawyer then asks, “who is really my neighbor?” You can almost read the lawyer’s motives likes book. The lawyer is obviously asking we’re do I draw the line? Jesus takes a grenade launcher and destroys the line with one story, the parable of the Good Samaritan. It is a masterful story. The Samaritans were the black listed of society: dirty and untrustworthy. He not only tells the lawyer that they are to be loved as a neighbor but that they are capable of loving as a neighbor better than a lawyer. It is a game changer. It blows through our self righteousness and judgement. Jesus literally equalizes the playing field.

Focus/Mission Question: Think about how you go out and love like those seventy-two. Who do you quickly disqualify as someone to love as a neighbor? Who do you quickly disqualify as someone that you never receive love and help from? It could be a specific person or a type of person. What is one thing you can do this week to allow Jesus to work through you to love or receive love from that person better?

 

Tuesday’s Readings: Exodus 32, 2 Kings 5, Jeremiah 16, Luke 11
Wednesday’s Readings: Exodus 33, 2 Kings 6, Jeremiah 17, Luke 12
Thursday’s Readings: Exodus 34, 2 Kings 7, Jeremiah 18, Luke 13
Friday’s Readings: Exodus 35, 2 Kings 8, Jeremiah 19, Luke 14
Saturday’s Readings: Psalm 49, Psalm 50, Psalm 51

CBR Discussion for 04.16.12

Exodus 26, 1 Kings 21, Jeremiah 10, Luke 5

Friendship: The Nesting Phase

In Exodus 26, God is actively building His nation. He has His people and now He is setting up how they will live. In this chapter, He is literally and  figuratively setting up His living room in the tabernacle.  In adulthood, we have all had this experience. Whether it was your first apartment, first house, or first kid, we have all “nested.”  We have all set up how we will live and what it will look like.

Friendship Question: Name a time recently where you, your spouse, your roommate, or a family member has hit a nesting phase. What was it like? What were you/they worried about creating? How intent were you/they to get it done?

Repentance: The Decorations of Life

Jeremiah 10 is another home and garden experience, but in a much different light. The House of Israel has been decorated by God’s people but God is not impressed with the motif. The Isrealites are following the fads of the nations around them. They have adorned their homes and the temple with the images of idols made with wood, metals, silver, and gold. God is calling them out on their foolishness. What’s worse is that they aren’t just using it as decoration, the ornaments are beginning to define what they do and how they live. What a mess!!

Repentance Question: What are the “ornaments” in your life that distract you from following and worshipping Jesus? Ex. Money, people, entertainment, success, pleasure, etc. Why is it so distracting and attractive and how is it a lie?

Faith: The Call of Discipleship

Luke 5 gives us great hope and faith. Jesus is calling us away from the world. In the disciples’ case, Jesus is calling them from the work of fishing to the work of the gospel. It seems like a scary calling: away for the security of a job and to the great frontier of Christ’s work. Jesus shows them a different expectation. Jesus show the disciples that He isn’t just the master of souls but fish and all other things too. The disciples failed at fishing that day and Jesus succeeded and won them a huge abundance of fish. We see the unknown and unseen of the Christian life as a scary consideration. In reality, we care being called to cling to the one that is the King of all and can meet our every need. He is calling us to follow Him not the “ornaments” of our life.

Faith Question: How does God deliver so much more at that the “ornaments” that we’re attracted to above? What is God calling you to instead?

Focus/Mission: A Case Study in “Ornament” Killing

1 Kings 21 is a perfect case study of this work. Ahab is going through this exact process. He is attracted to earthly ornaments, God convicts him through his friend, Elijah, and Ahab repents beautifully. Elijah causes Ahab to think about the future implications of his actions. What will happen to the idol? What will happen to Ahab and all those under Ahab’s care? It is a frightening scenario that makes Ahab so upset that he tears his clothes.

Focus/Mission Question: What does true repentance look like for you as you run from the ornaments of you life and to Jesus? Is God calling you to be Elijah to a friend? What can you do to lead that friend to repentance as Elijah did for Ahab?

Tuesday’s Readings: Exodus 27, 1 Kings 22, Jeremiah 11, Luke 6
Wednesday’s Readings: Exodus 28, 2 Kings 1, Jeremiah 12, Luke 7
Thursday’s Readings: Exodus 29, 2 Kings 2, Jeremiah 13, Luke 8
Friday’s Readings: Exodus 30, 2 Kings 3, Jeremiah 14, Luke 9
Saturday’s Readings: Psalm 46, Psalm 47, Psalm 48

CBR Discussion for 04.09.12

Exodus 21, 1 Kings 16, Jeremiah 5, 2 Peter 3

Friendship: House Rules

In Exodus 21, we are in the midst of God managing His children. Every parent tries to set up the rules of the house. This is how you will treat your sibling or this is what will happen when you break something. God has to set up these rules so that people will love each other well and not take advantage of each other. This is really the “x’s and o’s “of love.

Friendship Question: What were your house rules growing up and what has or will translate to how you set the rules in your house as a parent?

Repentance: Stubborn Hearts

Did you love the rules your parents gave you? How about your Heavenly Father? We all have parts of our heart that are hardened to what God wants for us. We need to continually soften them towards God. Jeremiah 5 is a stark warning about not following God’s rule and reign and the consequences that come.

Repentance Question: What areas of your life do you see a need to let God rule there more? Finances, Marriage, Parenting, Spiritual disciplines, Friendship, Work, etc.

Faith: There is still hope

In 2 Peter 3, there is hope for those who repent. He will come back and redeem us and give us new bodies. No more sin, no more pain, no more toil, no more struggle. We will be free to fully love and be with God and His people forever.

Faith Question: What are you looking forward to in heaven?

Focus/Mission: We are Kings

Even in light of all God does to command; he still leaves his people to lead each other. It’s amazing.  Look at 1 Kings 16. The King really defines the tone and culture of the people. What a scary thought. As an analogy, the ski boat drive really defines where the skiers go. Each king is a different driver and each has their own effects.

Focus/Mission Question: Where is one place that you are in authority? What can you do to be more intentional in those areas?

 

Tuesday’s Readings: Exodus 22, 1 Kings 17, Jeremiah 6, Luke 1
Wednesday’s Readings: Exodus 23, 1 Kings 18, Jeremiah 7, Luke 2
Thursday’s Readings: Exodus 24, 1 Kings 19, Jeremiah 8, Luke 3
Friday’s Readings: Exodus 25, 1 Kings 20, Jeremiah 9, Luke 4
Saturday’s Readings: Psalm 43, Psalm 44, Psalm 45

CBR Discussion for 04.02.12

Exodus 16, 1 Kings 11, Isaiah 66, 1 Peter 3

This week’s blog is going to focus on one chapter of CBR: Exodus 16. There are many ways to facilitate, so every once in a while I’m going to switch it up. Also, sorry for the late post; I’m traveling.

Friendship:  Creature Comforts

We all have creature comforts. We get sick and want to be at home in our own bed. We get hungry for our comfort foods. We want to be entertained by our favorite shows or movie stars. Basically, we all have preferences and when we start suffering we want to experience those things to satiate the pain. God’s people have left their homes in Egypt and times have gotten tough. They do what we all would do and think, “wouldn’t be nice if we had what we are used to.” It’s easier and more comfortable.

Friendship Question: What is your creature comfort? What do you yearn for when you have had a long day?

Repentance: Seeds of Grumbling

When we long for those comforts, we are sometimes doing more than just looking for our preference. We are in a state of low-level grumbling and complaining against God. There are many sayings that speak to this, like dreaming about the grass being greener on the other side. God’s people were not just reacting to a tough situation. They were really saying, “We don’t like what God has given us and we want to go back. We would rather be in slavery to Egypt and comfortable, than with God and suffer a little.” These seeds of grumbling are dangerous. They lead to worse thoughts and sins against those who are in authority over you including God. It can start subtly. My wife and I are in New Orleans this weekend and as you can imagine waking around can lead to some uncomfortable situations. There have been many times Jen has said, “Let’s turn back.” Some times wisely and other times irrationally. Seeds of grumbling in discomfort can lead to seeds of distrust in your earthy leaders and Heavenly Maker.

Repentance Question: Where have you been convicted recently when you go back to grumbling at or critiquing the person leading you because you began to feel discomfort?

Faith: God provides

I was recently on a road trip with friends and we were looking for food. It was a long day and people’s cynicism started to come out: “We will never find a place,” etc.  One friend keep saying, “Don’t worry, we will get a magic out.” I was curious so I asked what it was. He said, “There will always be a good option if we just keep driving.” This is a shallow example because God’s people weren’t just on a road trip. They left everything behind and were facing death. They were in a crisis of faith situation. God gave His people the very thing they needed to sustain them and help their unbelief.  They were tired and hungry. So God said, “Ok, here are two guaranteed meals.” God provided in their grumbling. God has such amazing character to give when people doubt.

Faith Question: What are your “magic out” stories? The times in life when it looked grim and you thought all was lost but God delivered the very thing you needed to sustain yourself and build your faith.

Focus/Mission: Tell the story

God told his people to save some of the manna so that you can share your faith experience with your kids.

Focus/Mission Question: Who is someone you should share your faith building stories with this week?

 

Tuesday’s Readings: Exodus 17, 1 Kings 12, Jeremiah 1, 1 Peter 4
Wednesday’s Readings: Exodus 18, 1 Kings 13, Jeremiah 2, 1 Peter 5
Thursday’s Readings: Exodus 19, 1 Kings 14, Jeremiah 3, 2 Peter 1
Friday’s Readings: Exodus 20, 1 Kings 15, Jeremiah 4, 2 Peter 2
Saturday’s Readings: Psalm 40, Psalm 41, Psalm 42