Welcome to the fourth week of Dream Big, Think Small. In this series, we are exploring the tremendous value of being faithful and persistent over the long haul. Today we are discussing the importance of healthy relationships.
This week, we will read Days 16-20 in the book. Some of the questions will come from days you may not have read yet, but that is ok.
Building healthy and life-giving relationships.
What has been new or challenging in your life since last time the group met? What have been some highs and lows from last week? Spend 20-30 minutes checking in with each other.
Pastor Jeff Manion gives an assignment at the end of each chapter of Dream Big, Think Small. Quickly review your book and spend some time discussing what reflection activities you attempted to tackle in the past week and how it went.
Last week, Jeff encouraged us in three journaling practices—filling, gratitude, and identity. Did you give it a try? How did it go?
Share Part of Your Story
When you were 16 years old, who did you lean on the most when life got hard?
Taking next steps toward Christ together.
Why We Travel Together
Life was not meant to be traveled alone. Read Ecclesiastes 4.9-12 together. What imagery does Solomon use to encourage a life well lived with others?
Solomon describes a world that is neither safe nor sure. Trouble could be around any corner. Discuss this quote from Jeff Manion (DBTS pg 116):
The friendships we build when nothing is going wrong sustain us when everything is going wrong.
Have you found this to be true? How should this principle affect how your small group functions? Are we doing this, as a small group, by “showing up” in people’s lives?
Why is a rope a good analogy for healthy relationships? What does it practically look like to “band together”?
In 2003, outdoorsman Aron Ralston survived a climbing accident in a desolate region of Utah by amputating his right forearm with a pocketknife. Ralston had been trapped for 127 hours by a dislodged boulder that pinned him to a canyon wall. One of Ralston’s biggest issues in this situation was that he was climbing alone and no one knew where he was. Though this is an extraordinary story, people find themselves trapped alone all the time in life. Describe ways people choose to go at life alone. What dangers and traps await those who travel alone?
Life-giving relationships don’t just happen over time. They require time and mileage to develop. Discuss the four concepts below: how they work together and how they positively affect healthy relationships.
- Shared Experiences
Reasons We Travel Alone
Let’s get real and honest. Relationships are sticky and not always life-giving. People do stupid things that hurt. Trust gets broken. People can become unsafe. What vows are we tempted to make when we get hurt?
Read Psalm 55 Together
King David’s kingdom is being taken from him by his own son. He’s been betrayed by his own kid. What words or phrases describe David’s internal struggle with what’s going on? Where does David land in his struggle? How does he pursue healing?
Discuss this quote from CS Lewis in his book Four Loves.
To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.
You approach a fork in the road when you get hurt. Will you risk yourself again or not? We must recognize that relationships are inherently risky. Where is God asking you to re-engage a distant, sick or broken relationship? What fears do you have in re-engaging?
David says “evening, morning and noon I cry out . . . and he [God] hears.” He pleads in Psalm 55 that we cast our cares on the Lord. Before you address a strained relationship, spend some time alone in prayer, and as a group, praying for God’s strength, wisdom and healing.
Invest in Others
Valuing people outside the group and outside the faith.
When we, as God’s people, relate well with one another the outside world can be influenced. How does this work? What impact can we have on our world when we love each other well?