Opening Question: 

How did I get here?

Genesis 1:1 (ESV); John 21:25 (NIV); Genesis 1:2-5 (ESV); Genesis 1:26–27 (ESV)

זָכָר “zakar” = male 

נְקֵבָה “neqebah” = female

Creation Account Tells Us…

Who made us – Genesis 1:26 (ESV)
We were made with purpose – Genesis 1:28 (ESV)
What God thinks of us – Genesis 1:31 (ESV)

⇒ Your is based on who you are, not what you do.

Genesis 2:1-3 (ESV)

⇒ Our is tested in rest.

⇒ Our choice depends on our in God’s goodness.

Genesis 2:16-17 (ESV); 1 John 4:10 (NLT); Romans 5:8 (ESV)

Closing Question:

How did I get here?

This Week’s Spiritual Practice:

Stop, trust, and rest.

 


 

Theme: You Count in Creation

Reflect Together:

What impacted you the most from last week’s reading that you expressed in your Genesis Growth Guide also well as learned from last Sunday’s gathering?

Share Together:

What do you find as the most interesting animal God created and why?

Read Together:

Genesis 1:1-2:3 (divide reading within your group)

Discuss Together:
  • After reading afresh the creation account, what is one aspect that stood out for you? How is it written more like a poem than a lab report?
  • What two foundational truths does verse 1 announce?
  • What is it that makes humanity distinct from the rest of creation?
  • What does it mean for us as people to bear the image of God? What responsibilities come with being made in God’s image?
  • What does Genesis 1 teach us about God? About how we matter?
  • What is the goal of creation? How does the way Genesis 1 is written point to this goal?
  • How does the creation account empower you to be “fruitful and multiply” in your life this week? How can you use prayer to fulfill your calling in this?
Pray Together:

Share how any progress God has answered prayer as well as requests.

Next Week’s Reminder:

In preparation for next week’s gathering and Group, remember to read Genesis 3-4 and write your responses in your growth guide.

Before the words of prayer come to the lips, the mind must believe in God’s willingness to draw near to us…”
– Abraham Joshua Heschel, Prayer

Main Idea: 

Our prayers are the grandest expression of our faith in Him who is on His way.

Luke 18:1-8 (NIV)

⇒ The story is less of a comparison between God and the unjust judge and more of a between them.

⇒ Prayer becomes less about a transaction and more about a .

⇒ The story is less about prayer and more about .

Main Idea:

Keep on praying and don’t give up, because our prayers are the grandest expression of our faith in Him who is on His way.

This Week’s Spiritual Practice:

Pray daily diligently and expectantly.

 


 

Theme: Prayer Matters

Reflect Together:

What impacted you the most from Sunday’s message?

Share Together:

When do you turn to prayer? What circumstances or instances compel you to pray? Talk about a recent instance when you were compelled to pray.

Read Together:

Luke 18:1-8

Discuss Together:
  • In what ways is the unjust judge contrasted or different from God, both in the story and in your experience?
  • Discuss the difference between prayer as a transaction between you and God, and prayer as a relationship between you and God.
  • How does Jesus connect prayer and faith in this passage?
  • What role does faith play in your prayer life?
  • What is something right now that you need to be praying about? How will your prayer life look/sound different from here?
Pray Together:

Share how God has been answering prayer and any needs to be prayed over.

Expressions of Communion

The Lord’s Table

1 Corinthians 10:21 (NIV)

  • Our response to the Lord’s Table is .
The Last Supper    

1 Corinthians 11:23-26 (NIV)

  • Our response to the Last Supper is  .

1 Corinthians 11:24b (NIV)

The Breaking of the Bread    

1 Corinthians 10:16 (NIV)

Koinonia = fellowship; joint participation; the share which one has in anything; a gift jointly contributed; a collection; a contribution 

Matthew 5:23–24 (NIV)

  • Our response to Breaking of Bread is .
The Eucharist

Eucharistēsas = to thank; to give thanks; to render gratitude 

Luke 22:19 (NIV)

  • Our response to the Eucharist is thankfulness for Jesus’ proclamation of of His return. 

1 Corinthians 11:26 (NIV)

The Love Feast

John 13:34–35 (NIV); 1 Corinthians 11:17–22 (NIV); 1 Corinthians 11:27-28 (NIV); Psalms 139:23-24 (MSG) ; 1 John 1:9 (NIV)

  • Our response to the Love Feast is to one another.

This Week’s Spiritual Practice

Have Communion in community.

 


 

Theme: Communion as a Community

Preparation Prior to Gathering:

Have ready for all in the group, communion elements: bread/cracker and juice/wine.

Share Together:

What is a memorable or spiritually meaning experience you had with a group of people?

Reflect Together:

What impacted you the most from Sunday’s message and what did you learn of the deeper meaning of practicing communion. 

Read Together:

Acts 11: 17-29

Discuss Together:
  • What do you discern about The Apostle Paul’s strong concerns of unhealthy culture regarding early church gathering together, specifically around commemorating the Lord’s Table? What might you find relatable to the modern church today?
  • What do you make of the consequences for partaking in Communion in an unworthy manner? How does that apply to us today? 
  • How shall we approach remembering Jesus’ sacrifice in a worthy manner? 
Partake Together:

Re-read Paul’s Instructions: 1 Corinthians 11:23-26

The Bread:
Say, “This is Christ’s body that was broken for us.” Eat.

The Cup:
Say, “This is Christ’s blood shed for us.” Drink.

Share together about specific reasons you are grateful for Jesus and what He has done, and also your hope for His return one day.

Pray Together:

Share how God has been answering prayer and any needs to be prayed over.

Today’s Truth: Celebrating the goodness of God fosters a culture of gratefulness.

Psalm 81:13-16 (NIV)

Luke 4:43 (NIV)

Luke 15:1-2 (NIV)

Luke 14:23-24 (NIV)

Philippians 4:4 (NIV)

Reasons to Rejoice

⇒ The are found.

Luke 15:9-10 (NIV)

Your has ultimate purpose.

James 1:2-4 (NIV)

⇒ You’re not .

Romans 12:15 (NIV)

Romans 12:15-16 (MSG)

This Week’s Spiritual Practice: Throw a party!

⇒ Your is on the invitation list.

Luke 10:20 (NIV)

Question: Do you have a reason to celebrate this morning?

 


 

Theme: Party Like Jesus!

Share Together:

What is your favorite party theme or your favorite party experience?

Reflect Together:

What impacted you the most from Sunday’s message?

Do Together:

Party or Party Plan

Write some ideas below:

Pray Together:

What are some burdens you are carrying that you can give over to Jesus to help bring rest to your soul? Pray for these burdens and other needs in the group.

Genesis 2:2-3, 4:10-12 (NIV)

Hurry is the great enemy of spiritual life in our day. Hurry can destroy our souls. Hurry can keep us from living well.” – John Ortberg

Luke 12:25-26 (NIV); Psalm 62:1 (NIV)

Today’s Truth: You are at your best when your soul finds rest.

Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)

Our significance is found outside our .

Matthew 11:27 (NIV)

Solitude and silence are before we start another noisy day.

Mark 1:35-37 (MSG)

Sabbath is the and the freedom to find true rest.

This Week’s Spiritual Practice: Set aside space for sabbath rest.

Sabbath Practice:
Relinquish · Reflect · Recreate · Restore

Question: Have you found rest for your soul?

Matthew 11:28-30 (MSG)


 

Theme: Rest in God’s Best

Share Together:

What’s the most relaxing vacation you’ve ever had? What made your vacation so relaxing?

Reflect Together:

What impacted you the most from Sunday’s message, and how were you able to apply this week’s Spiritual Practice and be a part of the Season of Prayer?

Read Together:

Genesis 4:11-12

  • How is the curse of Cain reflected in our world today?
  • What do you think causes people to be restless?
  • From Sunday’s message, what are the warning signs of having a restless soul, and which one can you personally relate to or would you add to the list?

Read Together:

Isaiah 40:28–31

  • What encourages you about what God provides in this promise? How does hope help us not to become weary?

Read Together:

Matthew 11:28-30

  • What do you think Jesus meant when he said that we should take on his yoke when we are weary? How can we learn from him in carrying our load when we do?
  • What do you think Jesus meant when he referred to himself as “gentle and humble in heart”? 

Re-Read together:

Matthew 11:28-30 (from The Message translation)

  • What is a best practice for you, from Jesus’ “unforced rhythms of grace,” that will allow you to find true soul rest on a regular basis and that you can commit to this week? 

Pray Together:

What are some burdens you are carrying that you can give over to Jesus to help bring rest to your soul? Pray for these burdens and other needs in the group.


2 Timothy 3:16 (NIV); Psalm 119:105 (NIV); 2 Timothy 3:17 (NIV)

The problem is that the digital age is changing our aptitude and appetite for…deliberate and concentrated reading. The more we read in abbreviated forms, the more we long for that sort of reading and the less we are able to read slowly.”
– Jay Kim, Analog Church: Why We Need Real People, Places, and Things in the Digital Age

Matthew 7:24–25 (NIV); James 1:21–25 (NIV)

Today’s Core Truth: To know His Will is by knowing His Word.

This Week’s Spiritual Practice: LECTIO DIVINA (Lectio Divina means “Diving Reading”)

⇒ FIRST READING: – What am I thinking about?
⇒ SECOND READING: – What am I feeling?
⇒ THIRD READING: – What is God inviting me into?

Psalms 1:1-3 (NIV 84); John 1:1 (NIV)

The word for “word”: Logos = living, breathing, continuing speaking

John 1:4 (NIV); John 1:14 (NIV)

Question: Are you missing the Master and His Masterpiece?

 


 

Theme: Diving Reading

Reflect Together:

What impacted you the most from last Sunday’s Message?

Share Together:

What is your favorite place and space where you spend time with Jesus?

Group Activity: LECTIO DIVINA

Purpose: Lectio Divina is an ancient spiritual practice focused on prayerfully engaging the biblical text and encountering Jesus, the Living Word, through it. The term is derived from Latin words meaning reading (Lectio) and divine (divine). This is simply a tool to be in relationship with the Lord through His Word. 

Instructions: Read a Bible passage and reflect three times. Suggested Reading: Psalms 1:1-3 or pick any passage you like. 

First Reading: Head – What am I thinking about? 

Slowly read the passage of Scripture that you have selected. As you do so, pay attention to any word, phrase, or idea that catches your attention. Then ask if there is a moment, keyword, phrase, or idea that sparked an interest to explore? 

Second Reading: Heart – What am feeling? 

Read the passage again, slowly, and then pause to sit with the word, phrase, or idea that captured your attention. What thoughts come to mind as you meditate on the word, phrase, or idea? What are you reminded of in your life? What does it make you hope for? What might God be inviting you into through that word, phrase, or idea? 

Third Reading: Hands – What is God inviting me into? 

Read the passage once more. Listen for how God might be using the word, phrase, or idea to bless and transform you. Share with others what is God speaking to you personally to act or as a community?

      Discuss Together:

      Overall, how do you see the practice of Lectio Divina will be helpful for you in your development as a Christ follower?

      Pray Together:

      Tell God what you have been thinking and feeling as you’ve listened and meditated. As well as share how He has answered prayer and life requests to Him.

      This new normal of hurried digital distraction is robbing us of the ability to be present” -John Mark Comer

      We can’t flourish while we are .

      Sermon in a Sentence: Silence and solitude is what our heart is actually looking for.

      1 Kings 19:1-13 (NIV)

      God knows that when faced with exhaustion, fear, or the unknown, what we need most of all is his .

      Mark 1:35 (NIV); Mark 6:30-32 (NIV)

      We might only be able to practice silence and solitude for 10 minutes at a time, but if we do it regularly, we will experience the of it.

      Question: What do you need to give up to try?

       


       

      Theme: In The Quiet Place

      Reflect Together:

      What impacted you the most from last Sunday’s Message of our Summer Flourish series?

      Share Together:

      What is the loudest place you have been to? Did you enjoy it or not?

      Read Together:

      Mark 6:30-32

      Discuss Together:

      • Do you think the disciples would have pursued taking time away if Jesus hadn’t encouraged them to? Why or why not?
      • What do you think their time away included?
      • How often do you pursue silence or solitude?
      • What would you hope your time would include?
      • Is there something keeping you from either of these practices?
      • How can we help support you to take a bit of time to practice this week?

          Pray Together:

          Pray over areas of your life where you need strength, patience, etc. to remain faithful. Share how God is answering prayer and any prayer requests you have. Take time to pray for each other.

          Titus 3:6

          If we believe in the , then we must also believe that obedience to God’s Word has a effect.

          2 Corinthians 3:17–18; John 15:5

          Question: How does Generosity help us flourish in life and in our relationship with God?

          2 Corinthians 9:6–15

          It creates a posture before our King.

          2 Corinthians 9:7; Philippians 2:3; 2 Corinthians 9:8; Galatians 2:20; John 15:11–12; 2 Corinthians 9:13; 1 Thessalonians 4:7

          Generosity starts with .

          2 Corinthians 9:10

          Ways to be Generous

          Money ⬩ Service ⬩ Time ⬩ Skills ⬩ Knowledge
          Compassion ⬩ Possessions ⬩ Listening ⬩ Kindness

           


           

          Theme: Ways You Can Be Generous

          Reflect Together:

          What impacted you the most from last Sunday’s Message of our Summer Flourish series?

          Share Together:

          What is something unexpected you’ve received in life that you are thankful for?

          Read Together:

          2 Corinthians 9:6-15

          Discuss Together:

          • What are ways that Jesus showed generosity to others?
          • What are ways that others have shown you generosity?
          • How does your generosity point yourself and others to God?
          • How has God blessed you to be generous to others?
          • What posture of generosity might you need to pray for help from God with? (i.e. cheerfulness, humility, willingness, open handedness etc.)
          • What ways of being generous do you feel called to pray about, or have recently decided in your heart to give?

              Pray Together:

              Pray acknowledging God as the provider of all good things, and that He would direct your hearts in exemplifying His character in you through generosity. Ask that He would show you the ways and areas in which He wants to lead you to give.

              Hebrews 6:1 (MSG); Psalm 26:2-3 (NIV)

              Today’s Core Truth:Confession is not only good for the soul, but it is a pathway toward healing and wholeness.

              Confession happens in two ways: Vertical and Horizontal.

              Jeremiah 17:9; 1 John 1:8; 1 John 1:10; 1 John 2:1-2; 1 John 1:9 (NIV)

              Comin’ Clean through Prayer of Confession

              it.
              Psalm 51:2-4a (NIV)

               it.
              Psalm 51:7-9 (NIV)

               it.
              Psalm 51:10 (NIV); Psalm 51:13 (NIV)

              Vertical Action Step: Write out your confession, then rip it up.

              James 5:16 (NIV); James 5:16a (MSG)

              Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.” Brene Brown 

              Horizontal Action Step: Find a friend and build trust.


                Theme: Walking in the Light

                Reflect Together:

                What impacted you the most from last Sunday’s Message of our Summer Flourish series?

                Share Together:

                When have you been caught red-handed growing up? How did you react, or did others react?

                Vertical | Read Together:

                1 John 1:5-2:2

                Discuss Together:

                • If a true connection with Jesus and one another is not living hidden lives, then why do we struggle so much to hide our sin or short shortcomings?
                • When we are in denial of our sin, how are we deceiving ourselves? 
                • What does it mean that we make God out to be a liar? 
                • What does John say we are to do with our sin? What does God do when we confess?
                • How can we know we are totally cleansed?

                  Horizontal | Read Together:

                  James 5:15-16

                  Discuss Together:

                  • How does the confession of sin or struggles help a person find healing?
                  • How many of you experienced the power of accountability in your life? 
                  • How does prayer and relationship help us grow past the hurts, habits, and hang-ups of life?

                  Pray Together:

                  What struggles or needs do you need prayer for? Where have you seen God answer prayer?

                  Flourish Definition: to grow or develop in a healthy or vigorous way, especially as the result of a particularly favorable environment.

                  God has given us the disciplines of the spiritual life as a means of receiving his grace. The disciplines allow us to place ourselves before God so that he can transform us.” –Richard Foster

                  John 15:1-5 (NIV)

                  Today’s Core Truth: When we choose to remain, we will flourish, and fruit will follow.

                  ⇒ Pruning is a painful loss but has purpose.

                  John 15:2a (NIV)

                  Question: What is dying or dead in your life?

                  Colossians 3:5-8 (The Message); Hebrews 12:6 (NIV); John 15:2b-3 (NIV)

                  ⇒ The is just as important for maturity as the results.

                  John 15:4 (NIV); John 15:13-15 (NIV); James 1:2-4 (The Message); Galatians 6:9 (The Message)

                  ⇒ The real fruit comes from in His ultimate outcome, not ours.

                  John 15:5 (NIV)

                  Question: How will my faith flourish in a season of remaining faithful?


                    Theme: Fruit Follows

                    Reflect Together:

                    What impacted you the most from Sunday’s message?

                    Share Together:

                    What is your favorite fruit, and why?

                    Read Together:

                    John 15:1-15

                    Discuss Together:

                    • Why would Jesus use the vineyard as a metaphor?
                    • When does pruning take place? How have you felt personally pruned in your life?
                    • What does Jesus mean by “remain?” In what ways have you been challenged to do so in your life?
                    • What does Jesus mean, “apart from me you can do nothing?” When have you had to remain close to Jesus to see what only He can do?
                    • How are we to love according to Jesus? 
                    • In what ways have you experienced the friendship of Jesus?  How is the greatest result more than any other outcome?

                      Pray Together:

                      Pray over areas of your life where you need strength, patience, etc. to remain faithful. Share how God is answering prayer and any prayer requests you have. Take time to pray for each other.