Strong Families In A Broken World

Messy Grace - Part 5 - Kaleb Kaltenbach

TEXT: JOHN 8:1-11


This week we had the great privilege of hearing Caleb Kaltenbach and his message on "messy grace". He shared with us how his parents divorced when he was young, then both pursued same-sex relationships, and what is was Like growing  up in that environment. Caleb as a high schoolstudent, attended a Christian  bible study with the sole goalof disproving  Christianity and dismantling the faith of those in the study.  God had other plans and he became a Christian. After becoming a pastor and serving  in various churches, his parents started  attending  the church where he was a pastor. Over time they both became Christians. Caleb taught about how Love is the tension of grace and truth, especially  as it pertained  to his parents.

GROUP  CONNECTION

TARGET TIME: 5-10 MINUTES

Share about a time when you had wronged someone and they showed you incredible grace/ forgiveness. How did this situation impact your Life and your perspective on grace?

 

STUDY/DISCUSSION

TARGET TIME: 45-50  MINUTES

Read John 8:1-11 and discuss the questions below.

1.  Read Lev. 20:10 and Deut. 22:22. What do these verses say about the consequences of adultery  for the Israelites? What inconsistency  is there between the Old Testament instructions and what we see the Pharisees doing in John 8? What do you think this shows about the intentions of the Pharisees?

2.  Look at verse John 8:7 and discuss how Jesus not only escaped the trap the Pharisees tried to set, but caught them in their own sin.

a.   Jesus forces them into a situation where if they were to cast a stone at the women they would be claiming  that their Lives were without sin (which is equal to calling  oneself God). The Pharisees knew the law about false claims of being God, so they dropped their stones one-by-one and left.

3.  What did Jesus say to the woman? Why do you think  He says this?

4.   In the statement in John 8:10, Jesus demonstrates love toward the woman. Love is the tension between grace and truth. How have you experienced Jesus showing you love while speaking grace and truth in your  own life?

5.  Think  of a specific  person who needs you to show them  truth this week. Share about how you plan to communicate this to them. How willyou balance  that truth with grace?

6.  Think  of a specific  person who needs you to show them  grace this week. Share about how you plan to communicate this to them. How willyou balance  that grace with truth?

PRAYER TIME:

Consider splitting up into pairs or smaller groups. Read John 1:14 and pray for those people in your life who need to be shown grace and truth. Pray for God's wisdom and courage in your approach.

LIVE IT OUT:

Caleb shared about embracing the difference between acceptance and approval. Think about a person you could show acceptance to this week without having to give your approvalin areas that conflict with your Christian beliefs.

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Hope For Single Parents & Blended Families - Part 4

TEXT: RUTH 1-4

This week Chip taught very specifically to single-parent and blended families. He reminded  us that while all families have challenges for unity and peace in the family, these two groups have very specialchallenges. He called all of us as a church family to provide to them the kind of support  and wisdom that only a church family can.

GROUP  CONNECTION TARGET TIME: 5-10 MINUTES

Share about a time when you overcame a significant challenge  and it had really positive results. How did that accomplishment make you feel?

STUDY/DISCUSSION TARGET TIME: 45-50  MINUTES

Quickly review the story of Ruth. Discuss the highlights for a couple minutes.

1.  Think about Naomi's hardships and difficulties. How does she show wisdom throughout this story?

a.   Naomi lived in a time when one's husband (or sons) was the primary indicator of your stability and success. She and her husband left during a famine. While in Moab, her husband died, both of her sons got married and then died. She became a widow, a single parent and then a grieving mother with non-Jewish daughter's-in-law. She returned to Bethlehem without resources or hope.

b.  3 ways that Naomi responded wisely to the tragediesthat had befallen  her.

i.   She returned to God and his people.

ii.   She faced her pain and loss.

iii.   She (and Ruth) follow God's word (2:20), not the world (3:10).

 

2.  What was the result of her trust  and obedience to God's pathway for redemption?

a.     Ruth was married to her kinsman redeemer, and Naomiwas restored her life and her family.

Naomi received a grandchild, and Ruth became a part of the ancestral line of Jesus.

Read Ruth 2:1-11 and discuss the question below

3.   Ruth "happened" to find herself  in the field owned by Boaz, her kinsmen redeemer. God is sovereign and God is gracious to us.  Ruth responded with thankfulness to the kindness she was shown. Share an example of a time when God's sovereignty and grace impacted your life lor a situation you were in) in a profound  and unexpected way.

Single parents are a growing percentage  of all families. Chip shared seven actions steps for single parents. Whether you are a single  parent or not, these are a wise approach to life.

4.   Pick one of these seven that your family needs most right now. Share with the group why you picked that one.

•    Make your relationship with Christ your #1 priority.

•    Get connected with a strong, Godly, same-sex group for supportand accountability.

•    Accept "this  season" of your life and set realistic expectations.

•    Remember, God can "make up" for what you can't give your kids.

•    Refuse to become a victim, a martyr, or a super parent.

•    Don't compromise your spiritualand moralstandards to "provide a father/mother" for your children.

Chip also shared about how every family relationship is a system. When one relational component changes, there is a domino effect that changes the whole system.

5.  Think about your family lor friendships). How has your family lor friendship)  system been affected  by a change in a relationship? What sort of lasting  impact did that have on your system? Did it get resolved?

Read James 1:2-5 and discuss the question below

6.  There is a difference between trials and temptation. God does not tempt us to sin IJames 1:13-15), but he does bring us through  trials to test and strengthen our faith. Also remember that people's free will leads to choices that negatively affect others. Whatever your trial is right now, how do you see God working as you persevere  through it?

PRAYER TIME:

Pray as a group for the single parents and blended families around you. Pray for them to trust God and to persevere.

LIVE IT OUT:

Do you know a single parent of blended family that could use your support?  What step this week will you take to help them?

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Guest Speaker- Doug Fields - Part 3

TEXT: HEB. 13:4, ECCL. 9:7,9, GEN. 2:24


We had the great privilege of hearing from a guest speaker, Doug Fields, this weekend. He has over 30 years of youth ministry experience, has written over 60 books, and is passionate about helping  people build strong  marriages and impacting  the next generation.

GROUP  CONNECTION

TARGET TIME: 5-10 MINUTES

 

Share with the group one of your favorite memories from your marriage.

If you aren't  married, share with the group a great memory  about your parents'  marriage.

 

STUDY/DISCUSSION

TARGET TIME: 45-50  MINUTES

 

This week Doug Fields focused in on the importance of advocating for marriage. Whether you are single, married, or divorced it is important to esteem marriage as highly valuable. He reminded  us that marriage is a gift from God that impacts the community and the world. He focused on the example of a backup singer that supports  the main singer. We as a church are the backup singers that are called to support  marriage.

Read Hebrews 13:4a and discuss the question below.

1.   What does it mean to honor your spouse?

a.   Doug shared that the most consistent  and significant  predictor of happy marriages was whether  one's spouse expressed gratitude.

2.   How can you express gratitude to your spouse on a daily basis?

a.   1,440 minute  per day- 1 %of  that time is 15 minutes. Sitting knee to knee and eye-to­-eye honoring  your spouse and encouraging  each other

3. We, as people of faith, believe that change can always happen. Regardless of where you are in your marriage, it can be changed and improved  through  the power of the Holy Spirit.  Share with the group a time when you have seen positive change happen in your life or in the lives of those around you.

Read Ecclesiastes 9:7, 9a and discuss the question below.

4.   Meaningless in this passage can be translated as fleeting.

a.   Ex.- You need to enjoy [prioritize] your marriage because life is fleeting.

b.   Marriage is a gift God gives us. What is one way you can focus on enjoying your marriage this week.


5 benefits of dating your spouse are:

•    Lines of communication are kept open

•    Getting out of a rut in your relationship

•    Demonstrates commitment to your spouse and your children

•    Relieves stress

•    Rediscover passion and sexual intimacy.

 

5.  Share with your group which of these five benefits you think is most important for marriages in our cultures. Why?

 

Read Gen.2:24 and discuss the questions below.

Doug shared the importance of prioritizing marriage above parenting.

6.  What benefits do you think will come from prioritizing your marriage above your parenting?

7.  What steps are you taking now to make sure that you will have a strong marriage after your children grow up and leave home?

 

PRAYER TIME:

Pray as a group for those with marriages. Pray that your group will be of encouragement and support to the marriages they are connected with through family, work, and church.

LIVE IT OUT:

Doug shared that the quickest way to enjoy your marriage is to date each other. Plan a date with your spouse over this next week. Ask your group to keep you accountable  for making that date happen.

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How To Grow A Strong Family - Part 2

TEXT: DEUTERONOMY 6:1-12


As we continue our series "Strong  Families In A Broken World"  Chip focuses on the "how"  this week. He walks us through  four questions that changed his life and his family on objective, priorities, schedule, and discipline. If we want to grow a strong family, we will need to address each of these.

GROUP  CONNECTION

TARGET TIME: 5-10 MINUTES

If money and time were no object, what is a dream you've always had that you would check off of your bucket list? Share this with the group and why this is something  you've always wanted to accomplish.

STUDY/DISCUSSION

TARGET TIME: 45-50  MINUTES

This week Chip is focusing on the practical side of "how" the prescription that God gives for strong families works. There are five commands in the following six verses in Deuteronomy  that give us practical action steps to take.

 

Read Deut. 6:4 and discuss the question below.

1.  Why is this doctrinal truth so important? Share an example  of a time when doctrinal truth kept you on the right  path.

Read Deut. 6:5 and discuss the question below.

2.  Why does God require total personal devotion from us?

Leaders- Matthew  6:24 and Matthew 6:33 give great insight  into this question.

Read Deut. 6:6 and discuss the question below.

3.   Why is biblical knowledge so important to God's prescription for a Strong Family? What does it look like  for biblical knowledge to be in your head and in your heart?

Read Deut. 6:7-9 and discuss the question below.

4.   Systematic instruction and teachable moments  are two vital pathways for Christians  to grow and mature. Share with your group your personal experience with systematic  instruction and teachable moments. Why were they effective in shaping who you are today?


Chip shared with us four questions that radically impacted his life, marriage, and family. Take a moment  to record  your answers:

•    Objective- Who do you really  want to become?

•     Priority- How badly do you want it?

•    Schedule- Where does it show up on your calendar?

•    Discipline- Are you willing to pay the price?

5.   Share your objective with the group and what God has been doing in your life to prompt  you towards pursuing this objective in particular.

6.   Based on your objective, share 2-3 key changes that you need to make in your schedule. Who can help you stay on track with this?

PRAYER  TIME:

Pray for the objective that God has placed in the hearts of each person in your group. Encourage each other to rely solely on God as He brings about these changes in their lives.

LIVING IT OUT:

Chip shared his example of trying a 1-week experiment (specifically, spending time with God every morning and not watching TV in the evening) which resulted in a chain reaction of grace in his life, marriage, and family.  As he was sharing, what did you sense that God was prompting you to try this week with your family? Will you trust Him and take that step of faith?

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Read Instructions Carefully Before Attempting - Part 1

TEXT: DEUTERONOMY 6:1-15


We are starting a new series this week from Chip called Strong Families  in A Broken World. The theme of the sermon this week is to present  God's specific prescription to help you build a strong family. Chip wants you to know that whether  you are single, married, a single parent, a blended family, or recovering from the trauma of death or divorce, this series will help you discover and apply what we all long for so deeply in our hearts... a Strong Family.

GROUP  CONNECTION

TARGET TIME: 5-10 MINUTES

Think about some friendships, families and marriages that you would describe as really healthy or strong. What are some of the qualities or habits that they have that you think contribute to their health?

STUDY/DISCUSSION

TARGET TIME: 45-50  MINUTES

Chip reminds us that a doctor gives prescriptions for our benefit; to make us healthy. As we look to the Bible we see that God's prescription is a pathway for blessingand a strong family; but only if we take it.

Read Deut. 6:1-9 and discuss the questions below.

  • Who is talked about in this passage? (God, sons, grandsons, etc..)
  • What are the instructions (commandments) in this passage? Take some time as a group and try to find as many action words as you can [keep, love, etc..).
  • What are some of the reasons/blessings listed in this passage for the Israelites
    • God is the only God
    • God desires to bless us
    • That is will go well with you in the land
    • Your days will be prolonged
    • God's instruction and direction for our benefit.
  • As Christians  living in 2017 without  a specific "Promised Land" promised  to us, how do these truths connect with our lives today?
    • We see the principle and the truth that the pathway to a life  filled  with goodness and God's blessing  [even in hardship/pain) comes from having Him as the center, motivating our actions and thoughts, for ourselves and our families.

Chip shared with us six qualities that strong  families have:

•  Commitment to family as a group

•  Expresses great deal of appreciation

•  Have positive communication skills

•  Spend a lot of time together

•  High degree of spiritual well-being

•  Special ability to cope with stress and crisis

  • Which of these qualities resonates  with you most? Why?
  • Pick one of these six qualities and commit  to focusing on it over the coming weeks. Have your group share with each other the quality they picked and why.

PRAYER TIME:

I encourage you to break into groups of 2-4 people. Share with each other your biggest challenge or fear about building a strong family. Pray for these challenges/fears.

LIVE IT OUT THIS WEEK:

Take the next step and share the quality you are focusing on with someone outside of your small group.  Think about how this might encourage  them.

 

Pray daily with your spouse/family this week.

 

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