Restore Week 3: Practicing Community

Listen: iTunes | Spotify | Download

Read: Acts 2:42-47, Romans 12:9-12

ENGAGINGTHESCRIPTURES

Read Acts 2:42-47, Romans 12:9-12

In Acts 2, what common practices do you see the early believers devoted to in this passage? Which practices would you want to see more in your own community?

Romans 12 tells us not simply to love, but to be devoted to another another in love. How would you picture this devotion to love worked out in the life of community?

As you read these passages, what are some tangible ways that you could show love and devotion to those in your own community?

PRACTICINGTOGETHER

Practicing Restoration: 9 Practices To Pursue Jesus Together

Over the next month, we’re unpacking 9 practices that will move us towards Jesus together as a Church. This week, we’re looking at the 2nd set of practices: Practices of Community. These practices help us continue to abide in the presence of God, who is already present and at work among us.

Gather regularly in a community group to share a meal, share my story, and grow in faith.  Find out more about community group opportunities at http://www.restorationlex.com/connect

Regularly connect with 1-2 friends to be vulnerable through confession, repentance, and encouragement. Find a few friends and go deeper together in following Jesus. Find a “3 am phone call” friend.

Serve the greater community through volunteering my gifts and talents to serve.  See the back of your connect card for serving opportunities at Restoration!

LEARN MORE AT WWW.RESTORATIONLEX.COM/CORE-PRACTICES

Restore Week 2: Practicing Communion

Listen: iTunes | Spotify | Download   ||   Read: John 15:1-9

ENGAGINGTHESCRIPTURES

Read John 15:1-9

1. Abide. Remain. This isn’t a passive act, but rather a proactive act of continual trust in Jesus. What doe you think it means to abide?

2. Bearing fruit is a natural product of abiding in Jesus. Where have you seen spiritual fruit through acts of rest and patience obedience?

3. The Vinedresser is always working to bear fruit in our lives. Where do you see God bearing fruit in your life right now?

PRACTICINGTOGETHER

Practicing Restoration: 9 Practices To Pursue Jesus Together

Over the next month, we’re unpacking 9 practices that will move us towards Jesus together as a Church. This week, we’re looking at the first three: Practices of Communion. These practices help us continue to abide in the presence of God, who is already present and at work among us.

1. Spend daily time abiding in the presence of God through Scripture and Prayer. Daily seek to abide with God through study and meditation on His Word and in the practices of prayer.

2. Spend weekly time in Sabbath rest celebrating and enjoying the abundance of God. Weekly slow down, rest, and cease producing in order to live into and trust the abundance of God in your life.

3. Regularly attend Sunday gatherings for worship, learning from the Scriptures, and Communion. Consistently gather with fellow believers for a time of celebrating and experiencing the presence of God together.

LEARN MORE AT WWW.RESTORATIONLEX.COM/CORE-PRACTICES

Spiritual Practice Assessment

Restore Week 1: Finding Center

Listen: iTunes | Spotify | Download  || Read: Luke 18:9-23

DEEPERCONVERSATION

Community is about relationship. Take time to listen to and engage in one another’s stories.

To repent literally means to turn – to change direction. As you look ahead at the new year, where do you long to see a change of direction in your own personal journey?

We’re all pulled away from our center from time to time. As you look at your life, what habits, distractions, or emotions knock you out of  spiritual alignment?

ENGAGINGTHESCRIPTURES

Read Luke 18:9-23

“God I thank you that I’m not like…”  is a posture we are all prone to from time to time. Be honest – who are you most tempted to look down on judgement at?

The rich young ruler was an upright, moral seeker of truth – and yet he walked away. What do you learn about what it means to follow Jesus from this story?

How might we, as a Church, call people to Jesus in light of these verses? What does it look like to draw both religious and irreligious people into Christ as center?

PRACTICINGTOGETHER

End Of The Year EXAMEN

Examen is a practice of prayer that assesses and reorients our hearts for the future. As you look back on 2019:

Replay: What happened? Good? Bad?

Rejoice: Looking back, what do you praise God for?

Repent: Looking back, what do you need to surrender to God?

Reboot: Looking ahead, how do you intend to grow?

(from Pete Greig – www.prayercourse.org/toolshed)

Little Wonder Week 4: A Present Wonder

Listen: iTunes | Spotify | Download     Read: Isaiah 7:14, John 1:14

Community is about relationship. Take time to listen to and engage in one another’s stories.

DEEPERCONVERSATIONWonder is a mix of surprise, excitement, and awe. When is the last time you truly felt a sense of wonder? What caused this experience of wonder?

Wonder is hard in our disenchanted world. As you look at your own life and the world around you, where do you long to see God’s presence more fully?

ENGAGINGTHESCRIPTURESRead Isaiah 7:14, John 1:14

Both of these verses speak to Jesus’ divinity and humanity. What does it mean to our faith that Jesus experienced the fullness of what it means to be human just like us?

The miracle of the incarnation is that God is now always present and at work in our lives. What would be different about your life and faith if you lived with this sense of his presence instead of his absence?

PRACTICINGTOGETHER

Slow down. Be Present.

The holidays are hectic, moving us at a pace far beyond what is healthy. Because God is always present and at work among us, we can trust that every moment is an opportunity to meet Him right where you are. Take time in the coming week to slow down and be truly present. Where have you seen God at work in the ordinary places of your life?

Little Wonder: The Way Of Herod, The Way Of Jesus

Listen: iTunes | Spotify | Download
Read: Luke 2:8-12, 22:24-27

Deeper Conversation

Community is about relationship. Take time to listen to and engage in one another’s stories.

As you think about our broader culture, what do you see as our posture towards those in power? What are the positives and negatives of this posture?

Jesus makes it clear that true power comes through service and sacrifice. What is an example of servant leadership that’s impacted your life? 

Engaging The Scriptures

Read Luke 2:8-12, 22:24-27

In Luke 2, shepherds were the messengers of the gospel, in spite of being the least in their society. What does God’s choice in messengers tell you about the kingdom he is bringing?

In Luke 22, the leaders Jesus criticized led through having domineering power over people. What are some examples you’ve seen of this type of leadership? powerless

In Luke 22, Jesus says he is among us as one who serves. How have your experienced the presence of God through serving others?

Practicing Together

Serve Like Jesus

If Jesus is “among us as one who serves,” then one of the clearest ways we both see and share Jesus is through sacrificial acts of serving others. This week,  ask God to show you opportunities where you can take the role of a servant instead of being served. When you see opportunities, step out and serve like Jesus!

Little Wonder Week 2: A Little Faith

Listen: iTunes | Spotify | Download
Read: Matthew 18:1-5, Luke 8:42-48

Deeper Conversation

Community is about relationship. Take time to listen to and engage in one another’s stories.

Real faith is embodied trust in the promises of God. How is this different from understanding faith as simply a set of beliefs we hold about God?

There is a difference between knowing about God and having faith in God. In what ways do you struggle to connect what you believe in your head with a lived, embodied act of trust? 

Engaging The Scriptures

Read Matthew 18:1-5, Luke 8:42-48

In Matthew 18, Jesus challenges his disciples to become like a child in order to enter the kingdom. What does he means by this?

In Matthew 18, Jesus connects humility to the expression of childlike faith. How does humility impact our expression of embodied trust? childlike

In Luke 8, the crowd is pressing into Jesus, but only the woman’s touch was an act of faith. What’s the difference between being a fan of Jesus and putting faith in Jesus?

Practicing Together

Stepping Out In Faith

Instead of simply being a set of beliefs, faith is an embodied act of trust. As you spend time in prayer this week, ask God to show you how to put what you believe in action. Maybe it’s a conversation you’ve been prompted to have, or sharing your faith story with a friend. Maybe it’s giving up something to better focus on God. Whatever it is, move from faith to action!

Little Wonder Week 1: Waiting On The Promise

Listen: iTunes | Spotify | Download
Read: Romans 8:22-25

Deeper Conversation

Community is about relationship. Take time to listen to and engage in one another’s stories.

We often live in the tension between the “already” and the “not yet.” Where are you currently experiencing tension between God’s promises and your reality?

The Bible constantly encourages us to remember the faithfulness of God when we face uncertainty. Where in your story have you seen God’s faithfulness – and how does this anchor you as you look to the future?

Engaging The Scriptures

Read Romans 8:22-25

Paul uses the experience of childbirth as a metaphor for the longing all of creation feels for God’s future. Why do you think this metaphor gives such a clear picture?

Hope is a future promise that sustains you in the present. How would you describe the difference between the hope we see in scripture and a feeling of optimism?promise 

Read 2 Corinthians 1:20. How is Jesus the fulfillment of every promise that God has made?

Practicing Together

Practicing Lament and Hope.

There’s a lot of waiting in the life of faith. When we trust God as the Promise Keeper, we wait for the promises of God, even in places of pain and longing. This week, bring your pains and longings to God in prayer – don’t hold back! Ask him to renew your hope for the future as you cling to His promises in every area of life.

Thanksgiving Gathering 2019

Listen: iTunes | Spotify | Download
Read: Luke 17:11-19

Deeper Conversations

Community is about relationship. Take time to listen to and engage in one another’s stories.

Can you think of a time in your life where an expression of gratitude impacted your relationship with someone for the better? Share this story.

Gratitude may not change our circumstances, but it can how we see our circumstances.  As you consider your life, where do you need to allow gratitude to shift your perspective?

Engaging The Scriptures

Read Luke 17:11-19

Jesus’ encounter with the lepers was a “sidetrack” moment from where he was already headed. How have you experiences God’s activity in your life in what otherwise would have been a distraction?

As the lepers went, they were healed. What does this act of faith from the lepers teach us about obedience and transformation? 

One leper turned back, and Jesus said his faith saved him. What did this leper experience that the others didn’t

Practicing Together

Say Thank You.

There’s power in expressing gratitude. When we open ourselves up to the gifts of God all around us, a grateful heart overflows with thanks – not just towards God, but towards other people. This week, make a point to express gratitude to someone who has been a blessing to you. Words have power, and grateful words can change hearts.

Patterns Week 6: Patterns Of Rest

LISTEN: iTunes | Spotify | Download
READ: Genesis 2:1-3, Exodus 20:8-11

Deeper Conversation

Community is about relationship. Take time to listen to and engage in one another’s stories.

One of our biggest struggles as humans is finding our identity in what – and how much – we produce. What part of your life do you struggle to meet the expectations of others – or even yourself?

There’s a big difference between escaping from reality and retreating for rest. How do we know the difference between things that distract us & things that restore us?

Engaging The Scriptures

Read Genesis 2:1-3, Exodus 20:8-11

In Genesis 2, we see God rest. What do we learn about God’s character in that, even in all his power, he chooses to rest? REST

In Exodus 20:8-11, rest isn’t just for you… it’s for everyone. What are the connections between our own rest and our right relationship to those around us? How might we help one another rest?

What is your next step in developing patterns of rest in your life?

Practicing Together

Finding Re-Creation

Sabbath rest is never simply doing nothing. It’s choosing to participate in the things that re-create us – restoring our bodies and spirits and putting us back together again. This week, mark out some time (24 hours if possible) and do things that restore you. Don’t just distract and numb yourself with entertainment. Be present, rest and be re-created.

Patterns Week 5: Patterns Of Less

LISTEN: iTunes | Spotify | Download
READ: ROMANS 7:14-20, 1 TIMOTHY 4:7-10

Deeper Conversation

John Ortberg has said that “Habits eat willpower for breakfast. “What is a desire or appetite that, despite your best efforts, you’ve struggled to overcome?

Dallas Willard says “Grace is not opposed to effort, it is opposed to earning.” How do we differentiate our efforts in growing spiritually from our attempts to earn God’s favor?

Engaging The Scriptures

Read Romans 7:14-20, 1 Timothy 4:7-10, 2 Peter 1:3

In Romans 7, Paul identifies sin, yet doesn’t identity with that sin. How can we acknowledge our sin without allowing shame to make it part of our identity?

In 1 Timothy 4, Paul uses the metaphor of physical fitness to speak of our spiritualWANTS growth. What similarities do you see between physical health and spiritual health?

In 2 Peter 1:3, we’re told we have everything we need for our spiritual lives. If this is true, how might this shift the way we go about walking with God each day?

Practicing Together

Practice Fasting And Sacrifice

This week, identify an appetite or desire that seems to plague you. Maybe it’s a food, time on social media, sweets, etc. First, name that desire before God. Second, in prayer, submit it to him. Third, choose an intentional period of time to go without this appetite in order to tune your heart towards God and strengthen your spiritual muscles.

Recommended Resources for Choosing Less

The Tech-Wise Family: Everyday Steps for Putting Technology in Its Proper Place – Andy Crouch

The Common Rule: Habits of Purpose for an Age of Distraction – Justin Whitmel Early

Fasting – Scot McKnight

You Are What You Love – James. K.A. Smith