The Community Guide below is based on Sunday’s teaching for our current series on the Gospel according to Matthew. As your whole Community gathers (online or socially distanced), use the Community Guide below to give shape to your night together.
Begin by Practicing the Lord’s Supper Together (5 minutes)
Begin your night by partaking of the bread and the cup together. Have each person bring their own Communion elements. To facilitate your time, you can either ask a member of your Community to come ready with a short prayer, liturgy, or scripture reading, or assign someone to read the scripture we’ve provided below and spend a moment in silence before continuing.
For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
1 Corinthians 11v23–26
Emotional Health Check-in (10 Minutes)
As we focus in on this series, we want to continue to create space for checking in on each other, but doing so in a shorter amount of time. Take a few minutes to do an emotional health check-in with your Community, creating space for each person to answer the question below:
- What were your highlight and low point this week?
If the need arises, spend a few minutes praying for one another, asking God to meet needs and help each person carry what feels heavy right now.
Read this Overview (5 Mins)
Consistently, as we read the ancient biographies about Jesus called the Gospels, we find Jesus misunderstood by those who follow him. Time and again, especially in Matthew, he shares with them that he is going to Jerusalem to die; and yet, time and again, they don’t get it. Whether they’re not listening, or they think it’s just a metaphor, something gets in the way of them really seeing what Jesus is up to and what the Kingdom of God is like. Jesus’ teachings are full of invitations to lay down one’s life for people and carrying your cross and to die to yourself; but those following closest to him had a hard time seeing that he meant it literally.
And, if we’re honest, we are not much different. How often in our lives do we feel disappointed that God’s not done what we think he should have? How common it is to feel frustrated with him for not doing our will or fulfilling our hearts’ desires? The understandable temptation is to stop asking things of God, because we assume he either can’t answer our prayer, doesn’t want to, or has other things on his agenda.
The invitation from Jesus, though, is to press into God even in the midst of our disappointment, to stay until we sense his presence and hear him say something. Rather than to run away, the call for the follower of Jesus is to press in closer—to bring our disappointment, frustration, and anxiety into his presence so that we can get to know who he actually is, and not just the image of who we think he should be.
This week, we want to talk about having an honest conversation with God and staying long enough to know him better.
Debrief this Sunday’s Teaching (20 Minutes)
With that in mind, work through the following discussion questions as a Community:
- Have you ever felt disappointed with God? What was that like for you? (Leader’s Note: Please make sure your Community knows that this is a space to simply hear and hold people as they share. This is not a time for group advice or counseling.)
- Have you ever had an experience in which God revealed himself to be different and better than you thought he was? Share about it! What was that like? What did you think he was like and how did he change that view?
- What might it look like for our Community to “become like a child” in our believing that God is better than we think? How do we enter God’s presence with open expectation after experiencing the disappointment of unmet expectations?
Practice For The Week Ahead: Silence & Solitude
This week, we want to take some time in silence and solitude to honestly bring before God the places in our lives where we feel disappointed in him.
Intentionally schedule some time this week—in the morning, before bed, or at some other point of the day—to sit before God. Invite the Spirit to make you aware of his presence. Abide in silence for a few moments.
When you’re ready, ask the Spirit to reveal to you where you feel disappointed with or let down by God. There are likely some areas that you can name pretty clearly, but there may be others that God wants to show you.
As you name these disappointments honestly, sit with them. Let him speak to you about them, remembering that he will not offer excuses or ignore them—he wants and welcomes your honesty and can hold whatever emotions arise.
After you feel like you’ve spent time sitting with them, ask the Spirit if he has anything else he’d like to say to you about them. Spend some time listening for God’s voice.
Whenever you’re ready, thank him for your time and invite him to carry these things for you and to help you walk in step with his Spirit.
Prayer (10 Minutes)
Spend a few minutes praying for God’s grace over each other, that we might become a people who process our disappointment and who press into God’s presence. Pray for whatever else comes to mind and heart.