Feb. 25-26, 2017 Refilling an Empty Tank

Welcome to the second week of Dream Big, Think Small. In this series, we are exploring the tremendous value of being faithful and persistent over the long haul. This week, we will read days 6-10 in the book. First, we must discuss how to refill an empty tank. Some of the questions below will come from days you may not have read yet but that is ok.

Share Life

Building healthy and life-giving relationships.

Updates. What has been new or challenging in your life since last time the group met? Spend 20-30 minutes checking in with each other.
Reflections. Jeff Manion gives an assignment at the end of each chapter of Dream Big, Think Small. Spend some time discussing what reflection activities you attempted to tackle in the past week and how it went.
Share Part of Your Story. We are talking this week about rest and recovery. Share with your group an important place or activity which helps you feel rested and restores your passion for life.

Pursue God

Taking next steps toward Christ together.

As we consider how thinking small can help us dream big, this week we look at the place of rest and recovery. Jeff says if we want to love and serve faithfully over a lengthy period of time (Ant Power), we must become specialists at refreshing our weary spirits. Ant power is exhausting. We become more effective at work when we become more effective at rest. Have you ever experienced faithful service to be physically and emotionally draining? How? Jesus provides a great example of how to handle times of physical and emotional exhaustion.

He said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest” (Mark 6.31).

Ant Power Drains Us.

To be excited about work when it is new and fresh is different than bringing our best selves to tasks we’ve been doing for years. What leads us to be so effective can often lead us to times of physical and emotional exhaustion. We give it everything and eventually we end up with an empty tank. Have you seen someone who was very effective at something just burn out? What happened?
Discouraged and disillusioned people don’t only burn out, often they phone it in. Jeff gave some examples where people tend to quit: marriage, parenting, and work. Where have you experienced the temptation to quit in one of these or other areas? There are ways to replenish life in these specific areas such as dates and vacations. What specific activities have helped replenish your marriage, parenting, or work?

The Gift of Sabbath Rest.

God instructs the Israelites about the Sabbath in Deuteronomy 5.13-14. He doesn’t just give us permission to take time off. It is a gift to refill our tank. Everyone gets a break. Discuss the following statement: We do our best through intense periods of work punctuated by periods of rest.

What obstacles come up in life that prevent you from taking a real break? How might you be able to better prepare for your breaks by reducing the potential obstacles?

Learning what refills our empty tank is important. Perhaps it is walking, painting, sailing or time with the grandkids. What energizes you?

The Gift of Refreshing People.

One way God refills our tank is through encouraging people. Who is one person in your life who provides refreshment?

In our seasons of weariness or discouragement, often we shut ourselves off from the very people God may be sending our way. Have you ever been refreshed by someone in a time of weariness? What did they do that was so refreshing?
The Gift of Himself. Often the gift that refreshes is not “something” but it is God himself. Jeff encourages us to seek out daily retreats. One of the three environments for spiritual growth is time alone with God in the “chair.” Give your group a quick update on what you are doing in your chair time and one thing God showed you this week.

Skim the first 31 verses of Mark 6. What are some of the circumstances Jesus and his disciples are encountering? How are these similar to the circumstances we might face? What do you think Jesus is trying to accomplish by pulling the disciples away?

A Caution.

In our culture, we have more leisure and less rest than possibly any other culture. Not every unproductive activity helps us rest and recover. One obstacle to rest and recovery is activities which do not refill our tank but instead just waste time. For many of us, two classic examples are ending our day watching hours of television or spending hours checking Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or Snapchat. Too often, these activities do not help us rest or recover. What are some activities in your life that are easy to do, but don’t necessarily restore you emotionally and physically?

In Day 8, Jeff will explain the importance of developing a rhythm of work and rest. We can’t wait until we are exhausted to establish a rhythm or it will be too late. What would a rhythm of work and rest look like for you? What are some of the daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly things you would like to establish in your rhythm?

Invest in Others
Valuing people outside the group and outside the faith.

Times of rest and recovery can help us engage others. Spend some time talking about how you and your group can better engage the people in your life outside your small group.

Service. God designed life for rhythms of rest and work. One of the obstacles to service is feeling burned out or overworked. How could developing a rhythm of rest help us be more consistent in our service? Now would also be a good time to check in on where each group member is serving. Brainstorm some good places of service for those who are considering serving.

Invite. Last week you were challenged to think of someone you could invite to church during the new sermon series. If you identified someone, did you follow through? How did it go?