Community Group Study Guide
For the week of October 25, 2020
⇨ Man Event –The Men’s STF Softball Outreach is just a few weeks away from our re-gathering season game!
Opening game: Oct 30th 6-7pm at Gadsen Field, 6901 S MacDill Ave., Tampa 33611.
Cost: $50 covers city league registration fee, jersey, and equipment. The cost is $30 if you have a jersey already, or you can pay the full $50 to donate for a guest jersey.
⇨ Community Service Projects – We have some high needs projects. Email our missions pastor, Marc, for COVID-SAFE options to serve: email@example.com
⇨ DISCOVER STF – DiscoverSTF meets onsite at our Ballast Point Campus and virtually on Zoom. You can choose either option. Our desire is for everyone (especially if you are new) to join! If you are interested in becoming a member of our church, this class is required. Click the register button: Register
ABOUT POLITICS IN COMMUNITY GROUP – We believe it is important for Jesus followers to think through and process how they are going to vote and engage in politics. But due to the polarizing nature of our current political climate, we want to keep our Community Group meetings free of politics and focused on relationships with each other and God’s Word.
Presenting the Good News of Jesus’ saving grace to all, and the unity we have as believers is vitally important to us. In light of this, remember to keep politics completely out of your Community Group discussions. We exist to minister to everyone who wants to know Jesus. Every election cycle we have Christians who become divided over issues and can be deeply offended by comments, jokes, and even prayer requests. We do not want to send the message that people who vote a certain way or have differing political views are not welcome. If someone in your group starts to take things in a political direction (be it with humor, a rant or even a “prayer request” for a specific outcome), gently remind them that the body of Christ (and South Tampa Fellowship) is made up of followers of Jesus – some of whom are Republicans, Independents, Democrats, etc.
GETTING TO KNOW YOU
1. Can you think of anything you were sure at one time was a good thing to do, goal to set, item to buy, etc. only to realize later that you actually benefited from it not happening or taking much longer to happen than you planned? If so, explain.
2. If you created a spiritual growth timeline for your life, how would it look? Would it show steady growth or ups and downs? Did you grow a lot more at certain times than you do now? Are you wondering what’s happening now?
When you experienced times of noticeable growth, is there anything particular you would attribute it to?
Looking back over your sermon notes from this week’s sermon, which particular point or passage of Scripture most challenged, confused, or caught your attention?
1. After God establishes a covenant with Abraham, he and Sarah come up with their own solution to fulfill God’s promise of having an heir. Read Genesis 16:1-4. In your opinion, what thought process led to their decision?
Genesis 16:1-4 New International Version (NIV)
Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar; 2 so she said to Abram, “The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.” Abram agreed to what Sarai said. 3 So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian slave Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. 4 He slept with Hagar, and she conceived. When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress.
Have you ever tried to take a promise made by God into your own hands like Abraham and Sarah did when they had a child with their maid servant?
Did you learn anything from that experience?
How might someone know the difference between trusting God’s promises and taking the promise into their own hands?
If you had a friend, family member, co-worker or neighbor ask you for advice on trying to discern the difference between trusting God’s promise and taking it into their own hands, what advice would you give them?
2. This weekend we reflected on the life of Abraham and the covenant made between him and God (Genesis 12:1-3). Three chapters later we see Abraham, a man with no children, struggling with the idea of God fulfilling His promise of creating a nation through him. Read Genesis 15:1-6. Make note of God’s promise and Abraham’s response. How do you think you would have responded to God’s promise if you were in Abraham and Sarah’s position?
Genesis 15:1-6 New International Version (NIV)
15 After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.”2 But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3 And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.” 4 Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.” 5 He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”6 Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
What can we learn about faith, trust and/or God’s character from Abraham and from God’s response in Genesis 15:6?
What do you think it might look like to believe and trust God’s promises when your present or future situation might seem helpless or hopeless?
3. In Genesis we were able to see how God was at work by looking through the rear-view mirror into Sarah and Abraham’s seemingly helpless and hopeless situation. Similarly, when we look through the rear-view mirror in our own lives, it can help us see where and how God has been at work. Can you think of a helpless or hopeless situation you have experienced? If so, follow the steps to use the timeline below.
1. Underneath EVENT on the timeline below, name the helpless or hopeless season you experienced. Sometimes the season is caused by choices we make (i.e. job change, big move, ending of a relationship), and sometimes we have no control over entering the season (i.e. loss of a loved one, illness/sickness, job loss, deployment of a loved one).
2. In order to help us gain perspective on a helpless or hopeless season, sometimes looking through the rear-view mirror at things that happened before and/or after an event can be helpful.
- If it was a season that took place because of your choice(s), underneath BEFORE EVENT list what went into making the decision (i.e. a conversation with a friend or mentor, a prompting of the Holy Spirit, sermon or devotional, a change in your job/company, emotional mindset) *If it was out of your control, list how things in your life were going prior to when the season of helplessness/hopelessness arrived, or how your life was changed by the arrival of the season.
- Underneath AFTER EVENT describe a few key insights or lessons you gained after the helpless or hopeless season (i.e. receiving a positive medical diagnosis, the eulogy of a loved one, a faith conversation with a friend or co-worker, seeing God’s provision in your current situation).
|———————– BEFORE EVENT ——————- EVENT ——————- AFTER EVENT ————————-|
Is there anything you might be able to learn from this process that might help you in future helpless or hopeless seasons?
TAKING IT HOME
Which point from this weekend’s message or Community Group study is most important for you to remember?