Welcome to the fifth week of Dream Big, Think Small. In this series, we are exploring the tremendous value of being faithful and persistent over the long haul. Marriage is one of those very important places in life where our faithfulness is required and often tested. This weekend, Pastor Jeff Manion shared how to “affair proof” a marriage.
This week, we will read Days 21-25 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? Spend 20-30 minutes checking in with each other.
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.
Share Part of Your Story
The reading for this week discusses finishing well. Share about someone you admire for sticking with something to the end and finishing well.
Taking next steps toward Christ together.
My son, pay attention to my wisdom, turn your ear to my words of insight, that you may maintain discretion and your lips may preserve knowledge. For the lips of the adulterous woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil…Now then, my sons, listen to me; do not turn aside from what I say. Keep to a path far from her, do not go near the door of her house. (Proverbs 5.1-3, 7-8).
If we want to finish strong in our marriages, we must guard our hearts against pursuing others. Discuss the following quote from Jeff Manion on page 157 of Dream Big, Think Small.
You and I are naïve to believe we are immune to moral failure, to think ourselves somehow incapable of devastating those we love and serve.
When Solomon sits down to pen advice to the next generation, he includes a warning against the seduction of someone outside your marriage. His advice is not merely to not do it, but to stay far away from the places where we will be most tempted. What are some places or situations where people find it difficult to follow Solomon’s warning? What subtle lines do people cross in this area? Where have you found this type of temptation to be the most difficult?
For Solomon to see the damage adultery delivers to a family, he only had to look at his own parents. The affair between his mother and father, David and Bathsheba, was widely known and it had devastating consequences. Have someone retell the main points of the story (see 2 Samuel 11).
An Evening Stroll
Perhaps David pursued Bathsheba because he was bored. What other emotions or reasons might cause people to start looking outside their marriage?
It is within the nature of all stable relationships to norm out over time. Life will begin to fit within a predictable routine. Why is it so important to “master the mundane”?
David didn’t necessarily wake up and decide to throw his life into a tragic tailspin. But that is what happened! David chose his behavior, but God and others chose his consequences.
Discuss this statement: We can choose our behavior but don’t get to choose the consequences of our behavior.
What were some of the consequences of David’s actions? What are some of the consequences families attached to an affair experience today?
The Road Home
“Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.’ And you forgave the guilt of my sin” (Psalm. 32.5). This is a beautiful song of restoration. When confronted with his sin, David confessed. It didn’t mean the consequences went away but God forgave him. A restored relationship with God helped him deal with the terrible consequences. Where have you seen confession lead to restoration or a refusal to confess lead to worse consequences?
Taking Solomon’s Advice
Hearing Solomon’s advice and taking his advice are two different things. Three simple steps help: having healthy relationships, not running on empty and creating distance. How can healthy relationships help us take Solomon’s advice?
How can making sure we are not running on empty help us take Solomon’s advice?
How can creating distance help us take Solomon’s advice? What are some important boundaries to establish with people of the opposite sex? Have some members of your group share how they practice boundaries in their lives.
As you think about finishing strong in marriage (whether you are married, divorced, widowed, single or engaged) what is one takeaway for you in your stage of life from this weekend’s message?
Invest in Others
Valuing people outside the group and outside the faith.
Spend some time talking about how you and your group can better engage the people in your life outside your small group.
What friend(s) could really benefit from hearing this weekend’s message? How can you graciously reach out to them to encourage them to listen?
Sometimes a frank message like the one this week can be a good springboard to a conversation about church. How might you use this week’s topic to invite others to church?