Welcome to week five of our winter series, Making Sense Out of Life. This week, Pastor Aaron Buer’s conversation about Ecclesiastes 7 centers around three pursuits that lead to a good name.
Building healthy and life-giving relationships.
What has been new or challenging in your life since last time the group met? Spend 20–30 minutes checking in with each other.
Share Part of Your Story
When you were a kid, what did you like to do on snow days?
What has been on your heart through this series? How can we pray for you to grow?
Taking next steps toward Christ together.
Have someone read Ecclesiastes 7:1-10 aloud. What stands out to you in this passage? What is your first impression?
Pastor Aaron Buer explained how Ecclesiastes is all about living backward. From that backward perspective, what matters most to you? What is one way you could make what will matter then matter now?
The author of Ecclesiastes writes in stark contrasts. Why do you think this style of writing can be so powerful? Think of the contrast between a party and a funeral. What kinds of things do we celebrate about people at a party versus what we celebrate about them at a funeral?
What are the types of things that make up someone having a good name? Who do you think of when you think of someone who is known for having a good name? How would you describe them to someone else?
Typically, we prefer to hear the positives about ourselves and shy away from criticism. Why do you think that is such a human reaction? Who do you know that is willing to listen productively to wise counsel and accept criticism?
How do you typically respond to criticism? Share about a time when you experienced criticism, and it proved valuable.
Think through the people in your life. Do you feel like you have surrounded yourself with wise counsel or with “singers?” What about you? Are you a “singer?”
A teachable heart is another valuable character trait we could strive to develop. Who do you know that is willing to listen openly and learn from others? Do you have a heart that is teachable? If not, what could be a way to cultivate that attitude?
Our culture of instant feedback and constant critique can be both exhausting and unhealthy. Talk about the effects of social media on both desiring approval and a willingness to be harshly judgmental. How is this different than offering wise counsel? What are some good social media habits you can implement in this area?
Ecclesiastes tells us that the end is better than the beginning, even though the beginning can be more exciting. What events in life ring true with that statement? When have you experienced a time that you followed through to the end of something challenging? What is one area of your life where you need endurance to finish faithfully now?
It can be more difficult to be patient and persevere when we keep looking back with nostalgia to the “good ole’ days.” Why do you think we all have a tendency to want to think things were always better “before?” How can we bring our attention to the present and how do we need to walk faithfully right now?
These character traits all seem like a nice idea, but what are some reasons a good name is really that important? How does our name relate to how people perceive Jesus?
How can this small group encourage each other to live in a way that gives Jesus a good name?
This week our conversations focused on three pursuits that lead to a good name. Which of these tends to be the most difficult for you? What’s one tangible step you can take to focus on that this week?
INVEST IN OTHERS
Valuing people outside the group and outside the faith.
Discuss how you and your group can better engage the people in your life outside your small group.
This February, our Invest in Others section is focusing on group growth. We started thinking through the question, “Who needs what our group has?” Has anyone come to mind who could benefit from being in your group? As a group, pray and ask God to reveal to you who he might have in mind for your group.
Download a printable PDF here.