Community Group Leader’s Guide
For the week of October 14, 2018
- Separate men & women for the “Take It Home” section for confession and prayer time. Encourage members to pass out prayer requests and actively switch prayer partners so everyone is praying for someone
Historical background – Amos is a farmer and one of the most unlikely men to be called by God to prophesy. God tells Amos to tell the people of Israel that just because everything is seemingly prosperous, God’s condemnation will come for despising God’s law. Amos was sent by God to warn them that God’s judgment was coming because of their moral deterioration, willful defiance of the law, and social injustice. Amos warns them, “Seek good, not evil, that you may live…hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts…” (Amos 5:14-15) Interestingly, in the timeline of history, after Amos came to them, his prophetic words came to pass and 40 years later, they lost everything. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mGgWaPGpGz4
Looking back at your notes from this week’s teaching, was there anything you heard for the first time or that caught your attention, challenged or confused you?
1. What is your vocation? If you could change your vocation for a week, what would you try?
2. What three things give you a secure feeling? When was the last time you had everything going for you?
1. This week we were reminded that God calls His people to value equality, liberty, mercy and love. Social justice still matters to God as shown by the 300 verses on the topic in the Bible. What do you find in each of the following passages what God calls us to do and what benefits do we receive when we value what God values?
24 But let justice roll down like waters,
and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.
The poor are shunned even by their neighbors, but the rich have many friends.  He who despises his neighbor sins, but blessed is he who is kind to the needy. [NIV]
“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.  Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” [NIV]
 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne.  All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.  “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,  I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’  “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’[NIV]
2. In the book of Luke, we read that Jesus went to the synagogue and announced through reading a passage of Isaiah, that they were hearing a fulfillment of scripture. According to the following passage, circle Jesus’ five-fold mission and then answer the questions below.
 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed,  to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down.”[NIV]
If all five areas of Jesus’ mission are to be carried on by the church as a whole, which area of concern do you give priority and which do you tend to neglect?
- Preaching the gospel
- Helping people to be free to live for God
- Performing acts of mercy
- Working for fair and just social structures
- Explaining God’s grace to disheartened people
Is there any one thing out of the ordinary that God is calling you to do? What is it?
Follow up thoughts: For Amos the way we treat others is how we will be judged. Discuss what extent do you get involved in alleviating poverty, oppression, hypocrisy and sharing the good news in mercy and grace.
3. Amos was one of the most unpopular prophets in Israel’s history because he brought a message of warning during a time of national prosperity. A lesson from Amos is that we are blessed to be a blessing. Often it’s our perspective that determines if we use our resources to bless others, even more than our prosperity or need. How can the following verses help us keep a healthy perspective on our material possessions?
You can’t be right with God if not right with others. With great privilege comes great responsibility. Speaking to all of us – we are all better off than most. Keep two things in mind. 1. Don’t feel guilty about this 2. Don’t hog it, share it. You don’t have to feel guilty that you are successful but have a balance. The following verses relay that the reason we “have” is due all to Him and therefore we are meant to be wise financial managers of what He has entrusted with us to bring glory to Him.
You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.”  But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today. [NIV]
“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.  So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?  And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own? [NIV]
This is what the Lord says: “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches,  but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the Lord. [NIV]
TAKING IT HOME
- Amos reminded the people of the greatness of the God they thought they were worshipping. He is the God of creation, who can melt the earth with a touch and make the land rise and fall like that of a raging ocean. His great power delivered the Jews from the bondage of slavery yet they turned against Him and went their own way. But God is merciful and He will restore, repair, and rebuild His kingdom. Amos ends his prophecy with the wonderful promise that in spite of wickedness, God will bring blessing after judgment. In light of this truth, which area of your life needs a fresh touch of God’s spirit today?
Suggestion: Use their answers as prayer requests for the week.
2. The Lord says, “Seek me and live” (5:4). How will you do that this week? What spiritual discipline helps you feel more alive in the Lord? In silent review and prayer, ask God to use Amos to reveal any sin that needs to be addressed in your life.
To add more to this, you can do the following: Ask members to jot down the sin that Amos has revealed in their own life with note cards that you provide. Pair up and share Amos’ promise of renewal with each other found in Amos 9:11-15. (Share what’s on the paper, only as you wish.) As a group, destroy the slips of paper (i.e. tear up or burn), thus symbolizing that God forgives and remembers not our sin.
Fall Women’s Conference
October 26-27 is fast approaching! The conference will kick off Friday evening at 6:30 p.m. and conclude Saturday at 1:00 p.m.Tickets are $39 each. And if you find yourself in need of financial assistance or have any other questions regarding the conference, please contact Lauren Cordner at Lauren@stfchurch.com. Please be sure to purchase your ticket soon!
Trunk or Treat
Invite friends and neighbors to enjoy a fun & safe trick-or-treating experience October 31, 6-8pm at BP campus. You can register your vehicle by clicking the link: https://stfchurch.com/trunkortreat/
Operation Christmas Child is underway!
Pick up a box on Sunday to fill with simple gifts that for a child in need. Return the filled box by Nov 11.