Community Group Homework
For the week of December 2, 2018
The last week of our community group semester is the week of Dec 9th. It is suggested that you use the Night of Worship (Friday, Dec 7) as part of your Social. We will reconvene the week of January 13th.
There is a required training event for ALL Leaders and Hosts Friday, January 4, 2019 beginning at 6pm-8:30pm. Childcare is provided. It will include dinner, time of worship, entertainment, and training. The theme of the Kick Off this year is 1980-Something. There will be a prize for the best dressed. So, come prepared with your neon, big hair and more!
Happy New Year!
Advent is the first season of the Christian liturgical year encompassing the four weeks leading up to Christmas. (2018: Dec 2, Dec 9, Dec 16, Dec 23). During Advent, we actually celebrate the beginning of the year for Christians! The term “Advent” stems from the latin word adventus, meaning “coming,” The season of Advent anticipates Christ from two perspectives: first, to recall the ancient longing & hope for the coming of the Messiah, and second, to be alert and hope for His return.
- Looking back at past Christmas seasons, what are some of your favorite parts of this time of the year?
- Looking back at this week’s teaching on “The Thrill of Hope” what caught your attention the most and what do you think is most important for you to remember?
- Most people understand hope as wishful thinking, as in “I hope something will happen.” This is not what the Bible means by hope. The biblical definition of hope is “confident expectation.” Hope is a firm assurance regarding things that are unclear and unknown. As you read Romans 8:18-39, write down all that can help give perspective through difficult times.
(It may help to highlight/underline as you go, as this is a lengthy passage)
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.  The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.  For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope  that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.  We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.  Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.  For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has?  But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.  And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.
 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.  And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
 What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all–how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?  Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.  Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died–more than that, who was raised to life–is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?  As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. [NIV]
(Encourage discussion of if/when this passage offered hope during a seemingly hopeless situation)
- Understanding how God works and what He’s done in the past can give us great hope, vision and endurance. Below are some verses that speak to how God works beyond our immediate circumstances. Write the main point in your own words.
(Because we know death is defeated and we have an eternal, resurrected destiny with Jesus Christ, we should stand firm and unshakable all the more for Him right now. We should work hard in everything now, working for the Lord, because right now counts forever!)
Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall. [NIV]
1 Corinthians 15:58
Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. [NIV]
being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. [NIV]
- As the events of that first Christmas unfolded,“Marytreasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19) In order to see God’s work in our life, we too need to take time to “ponder” God’s work in our life.
But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. [NIV]
Can you look back and identify a time in your life where God was at work even though at the time you didn’t recognize him? What did you learn about God through that time?
How has your faith and trust in him been affected as a result?
TAKING IT HOME
(Leaders are encouraged to play the link below from their device and allow a time of reflection for all members. This will take only 3 minutes. Follow up with a prayer of Thanksgiving for the thrill of this season)
Take some time to read and reflect on the Christmas story in Luke 2:1-20, focusing on being thankful for God’s gift to you. You can do this by yourself or with your Community Group for a time of praise, worship and thanksgiving. You could also play this song “O Holy Night” to reflect on what God has done for us: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hJw-ey1DPRA
Christmas Worship Night!
Make your CG Social extra special by attending Christmas Worship Night Dec 7 at 7 pm at the BP campus. We will be singing all of our favorite songs!
Parents Night Out: Saturday, December 15 from 5-9 p.m.
$5 per child* Your child can expect a fun night filled with games, a movie, and more! You must pre-register by December 13.
*This event is free for military, single parents and foster children. Use the code PNOFREE at checkout.
**Pizza will be provided for children three and older. Please bring a meal for children two and under.
We could also use some volunteer help that night, from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m.
UPCOMING SERVE DAYS
- FL Disaster Relief Trip: STF will partner with the FL Baptist Convention and Emmanuel Baptist Church in Panama City in the worst disaster zone of the FL panhandle. The focus of our trip will be cleanup, distribution and encouragement to those who were affected the worst by Hurricane Michael just a short while ago. Date: December 6th-9th, 2018, Team Leader: Marc Corradino, STF Missions Pastor