Every Sunday, we’ll update this section with a recap of the weekend’s message, as well as some discussion questions for groups to use. As always, use them as little as much as you want. They’re meant to be a helpful guide, not a rule book!
JESUS PART 5
PASTOR STEVE MURRAY | 04.11.2021
LIFE CHANGES, JESUS DOESN'T | 4.11.21
1”For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
2 A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
3 A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.”
Boy, the guy who penned these words sure knew what he was talking about.
President John F. Kennedy called change “the law”; it is an inevitable, immutable part of life. That would be fine, except that many of us—if not most—don’t like change. When change appears that is unbidden and unwelcome, we may have the thought, “Oh, shoot. I just got comfortable!” But, as Pastor Steve reminded us, change WILL happen.
The one and only constant in this world is the perfect, unchangeable character of God. Jesus promised us that He would never fail or forsake us, and the one truth we can take to the bank is found in Hebrews 13:8-9: 8 “JesusChrist is the same yesterday, today, and forever. 9 So do not be attracted by strange, new ideas. Your strength comes from God’s grace, not from rules about food, which don’t help those who follow them.” And, as PastorSteve said, rules distract us from change.
Years ago, I was angry with God about a lot of things. I was a believer and I loved the Lord, but I was holding some things against Him. During this period my friend Jahna lost her husband to cancer while she was pregnant with their first child. A young widow, she was living all alone in a tiny apartment in Michigan, 4,000 miles away from her nativeFinland and a few short miles from her in-laws. Jahna, her late husband and his family were all devout Christians; in fact, Jahna and Tom were missionaries serving in China when he fell ill.
Shortly after Tom died I flew out to Michigan to be with Jahna and help her through that difficult first week. Seven months pregnant, Jahna carried a peace and grace that mystified me. On the other hand,Tom’s mother was a wreck—to be expected, of course. On a muggy July night, we sat in Jahna’s stifling apartment as she, heavily pregnant, tried to get comfortable. I asked her the question that had been troubling me all day. She seemed so peaceful, while Tom’s parents were coming apart at the seams. What was the difference, I asked? This pregnant young widow’s reply changed my life, and I have never forgotten her words: “I know something Tom’s mom doesn’t know.” What, I asked? “God is good,” Jahna replied, “and that doesn’t change just because Tom died.”
Jahna knew in her deepest self that Jesus Christ does not change. Of course, she went through intense pain, grief and the struggles of being a new widow and a new mother all at the same time. But her terrible loss didn’t destroy her because she clung to the truth that God doesn’t just love us; He IS love. It is His nature, and His nature cannot be changed. When we keep Him as our chief cornerstone, it will cause us to keep the right spirit and heart with Christ-likeness in the forefront of our lives.That was Jahna’ secret, and it saw her through one of the most painful transitions a person can endure.
Let’s remember Pastor Steve’s keys to godly transition:
1. Don’t mistake discomfort in transition with “I’ve done the wrong thing.”
> Don’t be controlled by your comfort zone.
2. Don’t make your current situation “bad” in order to make your transition easier.
3. Lean into the transition; don’t resist it.
4. Remember that when you commit to the transition, things will start falling into place.
Keep coming back to Jesus, our one and only cornerstone. Live by faith rather than rules and allow His spirit lead and guide you. He never changes!
1. How have you reacted to transition in the past?
2. In light of Pastor Steve’s message, how will you handle it in the future?
3. What are your fears regarding transition?
4. How can keeping Jesus as the cornerstone of your life alleviate those fears?
We recognize that leading a LifeGroup in the midst of a pandemic is very challenging and we want to support you as best we can.
Isn’t it poetic, how when things start to find a rhythm, that everything changes? With the virus going around, and the government mandates along with it, we find ourselves in an odd position. But if we look at it how God does, we’ll see this as an opportunity rather than a source of discouragement! While things are changing, let’s pivot and continue to do what we do best: connecting people.
SO, HERE’S WHAT WE DO: WE KEEP MEETING, WE JUST SHIFT “HOW”
Many of your groups were stopped in their tracks - whether you’ve got material that relies on in-person gathering, or a large percentage of your group is older in age. So, we shift. Groups will be “launching” the week of March 16th, and will all be found here
Here’s what SPRING 2021 Groups “look like” (and some best practices)
1. HAVE A PLAN(ISH)
Ultimately, you’re in the driver’s seat for your group. Decide with your group what works best for staying connected and communicate. The best thing we can do is communicate clearly.
2. LEAN-IN TO ONE ANOTHER
Some of you are really feeling this. You’re discouraged, anxious and just unsure. That’s OKAY! Others of you are ready to go for it to help others.
Reach out to someone - whether here at the church or in your group. Take a moment to send a text, make a call, say a prayer. Let’s lean in with the extra time we have to make people feel seen and loved.
3. UTILIZE TECHNOLOGY
Here’s a few ideas for how to meet as a group digitally:
• ZOOM Meetings - This is a live video conferencing platform. Several groups have used this. Sign up for free here!
• Facebook Groups - This is a great way to stay connected throughout the day/week. Consider joining other groups and making a larger “online life group” to send encouragement, etc.
• Sunday Watch Parties - I explain this in the next point.
4. GATHER AROUND WHAT’S ALREADY HAPPENING
Sunday mornings will be more critical than ever, with Church Online @ 10AM! Consider hosting a “Virtual Watch Party” with your LifeGroup and any other friends(here’s a short “how to” video)! This is a great way to have a small group during church. It allows you to have your own private chat back-and-forth with comments and more!
5. KEEP US UP-TO-DATE WITH NEEDS
We don’t have the touch that you do. When you hear of all kinds of needs from people in or outside your group, first ask, “Can we meet this need within our circle?” If you can, great! If needs exceed what you’re able to to do within your sphere of influence, we may be able to help - just reach out!
Yes. We ask that you record attendance every time. It only takes a moment, and will help us to better know how our groups are doing and measure the health of our congregation. We recommend tracking attendance after you meet.*while in COVID, this is not necessary*
Once you’ve downloaded the LEAD App, open the “Groups” tab. Select your group (you can also search for it). Once you’ve selected your group, you’ll see several tabs (Attendance, Calendar, Members, etc).
Select the “Attendance” tab. Then you will see the “event” you’re trying to track attendance for.
Select those who were there (you can also add in the notes any people who attendance who may not have signed up).
Worried about forgetting? Don’t fret! You’ll get an email following each time you meet, reminding you to track your attendance, even giving you a direct link to do it right there from your phone!
*See the video above for step-by-step instructions.
Go to take attendance and select “Did not meet” - or just send us a note! If you’re simply moving to a different night in the same week, take attendance and leave a note that it was a different night.
When taking attendance, add their name & info in the notes.
From your phone’s app store, search “LEAD APP.” Or, download them below.