May 13-14, 2017 Searching

May 13-14, 2017 Searching

Welcome to the fifth week of Reason to Believe. Throughout this six-week series, we are exploring six encounters Jesus has with people in the book of John. This weekend, Senior Pastor Jeff Manion tells us the story of the blind man. In this story, the man receives his sight and believes. This story also includes a group of people with vehement, dogmatic disbelief.

Share Life
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.


A small group is not only a place to share life’s joys but also your struggles. Where are you struggling—whether physically, emotionally, financially or spiritually? How can your small group encourage and pray for you?

Share Part of Your Story.

Briefly share one way God has worked in your life in the past six months.

Pursue God
Taking next steps toward Christ together.

Have a few people read John 9.1-41 aloud. What do you notice in these verses? What stands out?

Born Blind.

There is real suffering in the world. This man was born blind. The disciples wonder why the man was born blind just as we often wonder why we or others suffer. In the midst of difficulty, the works of God can be on display in our life— not in spite of it but through, in and around it. When have you seen God work through, in or around suffering to accomplish something good in your life or in the lives of others?

“Why?” is typically the first question we ask in times of suffering. Often, the question remains unanswered. Why do you think we don’t always know why something difficult has happened? Tell of time when you struggled with the “why” question.

It is important to shift from “why” to “what now” question somewhere along the line. One way to do that is to look for the ways God is at work in the midst of suffering. Why can it often be difficult to shift from the “why” question? Why is it healthy to progress to the “what now” question?

Dogmatic Disbelief.

Some of the Pharisees appear to be gathering information. Some of them seem to have their mind made up. They are raising objections but don’t seem interested in hearing the answers to the objections. How were their objections a smokescreen? Why were the Pharisees uninterested in giving Jesus a fair shot? What was at stake for them?

Today, we sometimes see people doing the same thing as the Pharisees. They raise intellectual objections to belief in Jesus but often those objections merely serve to veil their real objection—they don’t want to submit their life to any kind of authority. They raise objections but refuse to accept evidence because they really want to be in charge. How have you experienced this in your own life or in the lives of those around you? How could this potentially shift the way you approach some objections?

Missing the Heart of God.

One of the reasons the Pharisees reject Jesus is because he broke one of their rules. While the rules were initially created to help people do everything “right,” they eventually became overly burdensome and lost their purpose. Their idea of God caused them to miss the heart of God. Jesus rejects the approach of the Pharisees. Why was Jesus so harsh with the Pharisees?

One common objection to belief is that Christians are hypocrites. Another is that Christianity is just a bunch of rules. Jesus rejects this brand of religion and it rejected him. Where are we prone to doing what the Pharisees did? What are some ways we can work to be more like Jesus and less like the Pharisees?


This week, we see the man born blind progress in his view of Jesus. He moved from someone healed by Jesus, to declaring him a prophet, to choosing to follow him, to seeing he was the Christ (Messiah). This belief happens as he encounters Jesus and trusts him. How have you seen your belief grow or progress as you encountered Jesus and began to trust him?

Belief often involves three components: intellectual, relational and personal.
• Intellectual belief concerns the objections we have about whether God is real or if Jesus is who the Bible says he is.
• Relational belief involves those around us. Sometimes the life of a friend helps us see Jesus or turns us away from Jesus.
• Personal belief is a point of decision—whether we are willing to recognize God as an authority figure in our life or whether we want to keep being our own boss.

How do people emphasize one of these components to keep from submitting to God? Are you wrestling with one of the three components? What would it take to move forward in your belief?

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.


One important element of conversations about Jesus is responding when people ask questions. What are some good ways to respond to questions about suffering, intellectual objections and people missing the heart of God?


Last week we asked you to spend some time talking about what a service project might look like for your group and how you can find service project opportunities through your current relationships. Take time this week to return to that conversation and see if you can get something on the calendar. Don’t worry if everyone can’t be there. Just try to find a day and time that works for most of you.