Welcome to the first week of 2019. This week’s discussion is about how Jesus gives us a pattern to keep us focused on God’s purpose for our lives.
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
Did you make any resolutions or goals for 2019? What were they?
Looking at the new year, what is something you’d like to pray about this year?
Taking next steps toward Christ together.
What is something that distracts you?
Have someone read Mark 1:32-39 aloud. What are a couple of things you notice in this passage? What is something you find interesting or have a question about?
Jesus Got Up
After a long night of ministry, Jesus gets up early to spend time with the Father. How do you think Jesus might’ve felt after a long night? Do you think it was easy for him to get up?
Mark makes a point of including this story of Jesus early in his gospel account. What is Mark trying to show people by adding this story?
Jesus gets up early even before it is light. Why could it be a good practice to invite God into your day at the beginning of the day? Who do you know that regularly makes this choice and how do they go about it?
What are some of the things we are confronted with first thing in the morning? Do you feel like it is easy or hard to start every morning inviting God into your day? What can be some things that hinder you this time of day?
What might be the difference between inviting God into your day and what we call, “Chair Time”? What time of day seems to work best for each of those for you?
Jesus Limited Distractions
For Jesus to be fully present with God, he chose to practice silence and solitude. How easy do you think it was for Jesus to find silence and solitude? What are some of the things that might’ve gotten in the way?
What are some of the many things in our lives and culture that distract us? How can we be intentional about distancing ourselves from them?
Sometimes it can be a challenge to see the things that are distracting us; other times we have no control over disruptions. How can you make quiet space a priority while also acknowledging different seasons and situations in life? Where do you find your quiet space for Chair Time?
Sometimes we get up, limit distractions, and have every intention to pray but then do everything except pray. Why do you think that is a common struggle? Have you ever had an experience like that?
What are some ways you have found to stay focused in prayer? Share ideas around the group of times and methods that you have used to better focus on prayer.
Time with God should be something that we get to do rather than something we have to do. What’s the big difference between those two ideas? Why do you think people often feel like it is just another thing on their to-do list? How can we keep in mind that prayer is a privilege and an invitation?
Jesus Was Committed to God’s Agenda
Meeting with God can be like having a staff meeting with your boss and asking, “What is the agenda today, Boss”? What is the difference between starting your day asking God what’s on his agenda or asking him to get on your agenda?
How could it be helpful to ask God what’s on his agenda for the day? How might it change the way you approach the day?
God’s agenda for our lives is to live fully in our identity as his children and build his kingdom. What were some of the parts of Pastor Marvin Williams’ identity statement? What do you think about it?
Do you feel like most people realize they can have their own mission for God’s kingdom? What could that look like in your life?
How can your small group encourage each other to implement the spiritual disciplines of Chair Time, solitude, and prayer?
This week our conversations focus around Jesus’ choice to get away and limit his distractions to pray and commit to God’s agenda. Which of these things tends to be the most difficult for you? What’s one thing you want to do this week to take a step to grow in that area? Are you willing to make the seven-day commitment to invite God into your day and spend time with him? How can your group encourage and hold each other accountable in this area?
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 January, our Invest in Others section will focus on service. How can our group work together to serve some one or another family who may need us to step into their story and fill a need? Take some time to think about who your group could help. Who in your group will take the lead on making it happen?
Download a printable PDF here.