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«15 1 How to be in a small group � ...»

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NightChurch

2015

1

How to be in a small group

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nother year, another Bible study group. Time to sign

yourself receive from the discussion. More importantly, however,

up, turn up and get things rolling for another year.

it equips you to encourage others by what you say. Rather than

Time also perhaps to ask some questions about your throwing in whatever occurs to you at the time, you have actually small group. Do you feel as if you just go along because thought about the Bible passage and the issues that it raises. You that’s what you’re expected to do? Does the group have are much better prepared to say things that stimulate and encour- a clear purpose, or does it just exist because it has always existed?

age and teach others if you have bothered to give it some thought More to the point, what part are you going to play in this year’s beforehand.

group? What can you be doing to make the group a success? There are many books and guides and training materials for small group

3. The power of prayer leaders (like Growth Groups from Matthias Media), but what about the humble group member? What can each of us be doing to make Paul’s friend and fellow worker, Epaphras, would have made an the most of our small groups? ideal small group member. According to Paul, he was always “wres- ����������������������������������������������������������������������� Why go in the first place? the will of God”. Paul was able to vouch that in doing so, Epaphras was “working hard for you” (Col 4:12-13).

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The Greek word psalmos is a translation of the Hebrew word mizmor, meaning song, which is found in many of the Psalm titles. Yet the Psalms are made up of songs, prayers, cries for help, laments and poems. Some psalms were used privately, others corporately, and still others in specific situations such as on holy days or journeys or after a victory or the crowning of a king.

While king David is the most famous author of the Psalms (he wrote over 70 of them), many are written by others. The Sons of Korah were descendants of Kohath, the son of Levi, and they served in the temple as musicians (see 1st Chronicles 6.22 & 31). Because their job was probably passed down through the generations, and the psalms they wrote which are included in the Psalter may have been written as early as the time of David and Solomon (the 10 th century B.C.), as late as post-exile (5th century B.C.), or anywhere in between. While each psalm may have been written by an individual they were often used corporately, to express the voice of all of Israel.

As you read these psalms, let the poetry bring God's relationship with you into sharp focus. As with all Scripture, the psalms lead us to Christ. After keeping the original context in mind, ask whether each psalm make sense as either sung to Christ, or sung by Christ. This helps us see how the psalms can be our songs too, because we are united to Christ by faith.

The psalms are intensely relational. They explore the depths of our hearts and dark corners of our lives to show us who we are and what is in us—guilt, anger, salvation, praise—before the God who loves, judges, and saves us in Jesus Christ.1 1 The preparation questions in these studies are adapted from One-to-One Bible reading, by David Helm.

–  –  –

➢ Pray and read Psalm 42-43 (note: Psalm 42 & 43 are best read as one psalm) Remember that the psalms are intensely relational. Try hard to feel them as you read them.

Are there are repeated words, phrases, or ideas? If so, what point is being made?

Note the affective quality of the psalm—it's mood, emotion, energy, vibe, language. How do you think the author felt as he wrote this psalm? What feeling is he trying to convey?

What images or metaphors does the author use? What do they show us about God or people?

What does the passage teach us about God, his people, and life in his world?

Does this psalm point forward to Jesus? Is the gospel anticipated or foreshadowed or longed for in some way?

–  –  –

Do you ever go through periods of feeling unsatisfied with life? How do you describe that feeling?

Read Psalm 42.1-4 How does the psalmist use the metaphor of thirst?

Have you ever longed for God in the depths of your being in the way the psalmist does?

What are you tempted to turn to when God feels far away?

Read Psalm 42.6b-10 What does the psalmist remind himself of?

How does the water metaphor build and change?

Are there times is your life when it is bitter-sweet to remember God's promises? Why is it worth it anyway?

–  –  –

Read John 1.1-18. How does God meet the psalmist's longing?

Read Psalm 43.5 This 'chorus' has appeared three times now in this psalm. What is the psalmist's strategy when his soul is downcast?





What might this strategy look like for you practically?

When you feel dry – as if God is distant – do you slip away from God's Word and God's people, or do you realise that is when you need them more than ever?

Pray What would God want you to pray about after reading this psalm?

What can you pray for each other at Small Group?

What can you pray for our church?

What can you pray for all those outside our church?

5 Prepare 2; Psalm 44 ➢ Complete this page of preparation before you meet at Small Group.

Reading the passage before Small Group greatly increases the benefit you receive from the discussion. But it's also a powerful way to love the others in your group as you share what you have discovered.

➢ Pray and read Psalm 44 Remember that the psalms are intensely relational. Try hard to feel them as you read them.

Are there are repeated words, phrases, or ideas? If so, what point is being made?

Note the affective quality of the psalm—it's mood, emotion, energy, vibe, language. How do you think the author felt as he wrote this psalm? What feeling is he trying to convey?

What images or metaphors does the author use? What do they show us about God or people?

What does the passage teach us about God, his people, and life in his world?

Does this psalm point forward to Jesus? Is the gospel anticipated or foreshadowed or longed for in some way?

–  –  –

Have you ever been angry at God? Have you ever despaired at God's silence? Are there times you feel like God has let you down?

Read Psalm 44.1-8 What type of God has the psalmist (and all of Israel) been told about (1-3)?

How would you describe the psalmist's relationship with God (4-8)?

Up until verse 9, the relationship between the psalmist and God appears positively peachy!

But the reflections of the past are about to be shattered by the reality of the present...

Read Psalm 44.9-16 What charges does the psalmist bring against God (9-14, note how each verse starts with an accusatory 'You...')?

How do these charges compare with what the psalmist knows about God (in 1-8)? Where does this leave the psalmist (15-16)?

Do you ever feel like the God described in the bible (good, gracious, loving, powerful) is a very different God to the one you experience in life?

–  –  –

Read Psalm 44.23-26 The psalm ends with a plea, as Israel throw themselves on God, appealing to his unfailing love. What do they ask of God?

Paul quotes this psalm in Romans. Read Romans 8.31-39. In what ways does Paul draw the same conclusions as the psalmist?

How is our knowledge of God's goodness different to that of the psalmist (compare 1-8 with Romans 8.32)?

Think of a time when it seemed God was against you rather than for you. How did your experience compare with the experiences described in this psalm? How will what you've considered here change your relationship with God next time you feel this way?

Pray What would God want you to pray about after reading this psalm?

What can you pray for each other at Small Group?

What can you pray for our church?

What can you pray for all those outside our church?

8 Prepare 3; Psalm 45 ➢ Complete this page of preparation before you meet at Small Group.

Reading the passage before Small Group greatly increases the benefit you receive from the discussion. But it's also a powerful way to love the others in your group as you share what you have discovered.

➢ Pray and read Psalm 45 Remember that the psalms are intensely relational. Try hard to feel them as you read them.

Are there are repeated words, phrases, or ideas? If so, what point is being made?

Note the affective quality of the psalm—it's mood, emotion, energy, vibe, language. How do you think the author felt as he wrote this psalm? What feeling is he trying to convey?

What images or metaphors does the author use? What do they show us about God or people?

What does the passage teach us about God, his people, and life in his world?

Does this psalm point forward to Jesus? Is the gospel anticipated or foreshadowed or longed for in some way?

–  –  –

This psalm is a song for the wedding of a king (one of king David's descendants). Describe the excitement of a wedding day from the point of view of the groom, the bride, the best man, the maid of honour, and the guests.

The psalmist directly addresses the king in his introduction (1) and his conclusion (16-17).

What do his words reveal about what he thinks of this king and this wedding?

Read Psalm 45.1-9 What kind of king is this king of Israel (2-7)?

What kind of wedding is about to take place (8-9)?

The psalmist knows that as a descendent of David, this king has been anointed by God to shepherd his people. How do you think the psalmist's expectations colour this psalm? How does the psalmist encourage the king to live up to the expectations that come with his position?

Hebrews quotes this psalm. Read Hebrews 1.8-9. What does this tell us about Jesus?

–  –  –

What is the feeling that surrounds her as she 'walks down the aisle' on her wedding day?

The bible describes the church as Christ's bride (Ephesians 5.22-23). What are the benefits for us as we submit to Christ in marriage?

Does your heart 'overflow with a pleasing theme' (1, ESV) when you think about the marriage of Christ and his church?

Spend some time re-reading the description of the king/bridegroom (2-7). How do these words describe Jesus now?

Pray What would God want you to pray about after reading this psalm?

What can you pray for each other at Small Group?

What can you pray for our church?

What can you pray for all those outside our church?

11 Prepare 4; Psalm 46 ➢ Complete this page of preparation before you meet at Small Group.

Reading the passage before Small Group greatly increases the benefit you receive from the discussion. But it's also a powerful way to love the others in your group as you share what you have discovered.

➢ Pray and read Psalm 46 Remember that the psalms are intensely relational. Try hard to feel them as you read them.

Are there are repeated words, phrases, or ideas? If so, what point is being made?

Note the affective quality of the psalm—it's mood, emotion, energy, vibe, language. How do you think the author felt as he wrote this psalm? What feeling is he trying to convey?

What images or metaphors does the author use? What do they show us about God or people?

What does the passage teach us about God, his people, and life in his world?

Does this psalm point forward to Jesus? Is the gospel anticipated or foreshadowed or longed for in some way?

–  –  –

If you are prone to motion sickness you will know that fixing your eyes on the horizon can help, giving you a fixed point of reference while the vehicle you are in shudders and shakes and rolls (along with your stomach!). In Psalm 46 God calls us to fix our eyes on him, especially when life tosses us about and troubles and anxieties make us want to curl up in the foetal position...

Read Psalm 46.1-3 What images of a world falling apart are in these verses?

In what ways do these metaphors describe the instabilities and fears you face in life?

How is God contrasted with the world?

Read Psalm 46.4-7 Where is the river, and how is it different to the water in verses 2-3?

Describe the City of God. Why is this city solid, when all the rest of the earth melts?

–  –  –

Check out Mark 4.35-41. What is the answer to the disciples' question in verse 41?

Make a list of all the things that are making you anxious, making you fearful, threatening your security, or pulling you under at the moment.

List some of the practical things you can do to 'be still' and fix your eyes on the one unbreakable fortress (Jesus your king and saviour) in this life.

How will doing these things help us weather the storms of life?

Get in pairs. Share with each other one of the 'storms' in your life, and one way you can find stability in Jesus. Spend five minutes praying for each other.

Pray What would God want you to pray about after reading this psalm?

What can you pray for each other at Small Group?

What can you pray for our church?

What can you pray for all those outside our church?

14 Prepare 5; Psalm 47 ➢ Complete this page of preparation before you meet at Small Group.

Reading the passage before Small Group greatly increases the benefit you receive from the discussion. But it's also a powerful way to love the others in your group as you share what you have discovered.

➢ Pray and read Psalm 47 Remember that the psalms are intensely relational. Try hard to feel them as you read them.

Are there are repeated words, phrases, or ideas? If so, what point is being made?



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