FOR DISCUSSION IN SMALL GROUPS
How did it go last week practicing sabbath? What did you learn?
A definition of Simplicity:
“An inward reality of single-hearted focus upon God and God’s Kingdom which results in an outward lifestyle of modesty, openness, and unpretentiousness and which disciplines our hunger for status, glamour and luxury.”
“An inward reality of single-hearted focus upon God and God’s Kingdom…”
- Read John 15:1-8
- How do you practically “remain” in the true vine of Jesus throughout a typical day?
- What practices/approaches help you to stay centered with Jesus as your example, the Holy Spirit as your power source, and the Father’s will at the forefront of your thinking?
- What distracts you from having the single-hearted focus on God in your everyday life?
“...which results in an outward lifestyle of modesty, openness, and unpretentiousness and which disciplines our hunger for status, glamour and luxury.”
- Philippians 4:11-12 talks about being content with nothing or with plenty. The average ANNUAL salary WORLDWIDE is around $10,000 (in Bangladesh, for instance, it’s much lower: $1,740). Think about your ANNUAL salary compared to these figures. Discuss if you agree with this quote:
“Contrary to what we usually think, having plenty does not make us content. Instead, a taste of plenty makes us want a little more than what we’ve got."
Use these questions from the sermon for a group discussion:
- Am I longing for a sense of importance or significance? (Am I embarrassed if I’m not up to date with technology? Fashion?)
- Am I afraid I won’t have enough?
- Do I own this because I’m too guilty or afraid to get rid of it?
- If I limit future purchases and purge some of what I currently own, will those actions create more or less space for me to treasure God? Will I be able to bless/encourage/help more or less people?
Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear. (Ephesians 4:29)
Do you place restrictions on what comes out of your mouth or do you indulge and say whatever you feel in whatever manner you like? Your words have immense power (read the Proverbs and the book of James). Are your words a fountain of God’s grace or a means by which you express what you want to get what you want (i.e. appreciation, status, respect, etc…)?
Practice simplicity in your speech. Examine your motives.
- Impression Management
- Are you being straightforward or posturing? Are you trying too hard to make an impression on others? Do you find yourself being defensive to protect (or create) an image for yourself? Do you truly trust God with other people’s opinions of you or do you use words to manage people’s impression of you?
- Just yes or no
- Try to answer as many questions as possible with yes or no. Listen to what happens inside of you. Take those feelings and thoughts to God. (You may struggle with thoughts like, “How will they know how knowledgeable I am if I don’t say anything?! This practice will teach you to surrender outcomes to God.)
- Listen more during evangelistic moments/conversations
- All persuasion and no love is no good! Perhaps there are people that will respond more if you are slow to speak and quick to listen. Perhaps you will foster an atmosphere where they feel listened to, thereby helping them to listen to God.
- Don’t interrupt people!
- When you are tempted to interrupt, ask yourself: “what am I feeling right now?” Talk with God about that to see what is at the root of your desire to interrupt someone. Also, think about someone you are likely to interrupt in the future. How might you pray for that person NOW when he or she isn’t in front of you?
- Speak when spoken to
- For one week, do not give your opinion unless asked, give advice unless asked or have the last word in a discussion.
- These are all practices! It means you’ll have to try, fail, awkwardness, a step forward, a step back, fail again, etc...There is enough material in this document to last you a few months if you wanted to! Choose something that truly resonates with you and park there for a while to see what you learn.
- Go back over the sermons and figure out which practice(s) make sense to you and devote at least a month to learn/practice.