The Ins and Outs of Becoming Christian
water cooler conversation:
What’s something you’ve perfected over the years? Your Nana’s chocolate chip cookies? The ultimate burger recipe? Your fake British accent? The perfect curveball?
Do the clothes you wear influence your mood or attitude? In what way?
did you know…
“Mystery religions” were secret cults that flourished in the Greco-Roman period. (332 BC -395 AD)
Each cult was unique, but each had a common motif of death and the afterlife. Each member was expected to participate in its rites and rituals but to keep it all secret, thus the reason they’re called “mystery religions.”
When Paul uses the term “mystery” (Colossians 1:25-27), he’s using language familiar to his audience. But instead of referring to cultic practices, Paul is teaching that the Old Testament prophecies – many of which seemed mysterious – are fulfilled in Jesus.
Paul didn’t want this truth to be kept secret in the way the cults hid their rituals and teachings. Believers are to spread the gospel teaching that the true path to rebirth and resurrection is through faith in Jesus Christ.
unpack the message:
The Beginning Colossians 3:12a “Since God chose you to be the holy people He loves,” What does it mean to be “His chosen people?” How did God demonstrate His love for us?
The Clothes You Wear Colossians 3:12b-14 We are told to clothe ourselves tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, but above all, with love. Why is love paramount in this list of traits we are to display?
Verse 13 tells us to forgive anyone who offends us. Think back to a time in your life when someone wronged you or wronged someone you love. How did you forgive them? Did it take a long time? Was it a “one and done” or did you struggle with letting go? Have you really forgiven them if you’re still struggling?
Verse 14 commands us to clothe ourselves in love. This is an internal act with external consequences. In what other ways do our internal actions (beliefs) translate to external acts (behaviors)?
“Disaster fatigue” is what happens when our minds are constantly bombarded with bad news. Because we have access to news and information on a global scale 24/7, it dulls our compassion, can make us quick to judge and slow to respond to the needs of those around us. Have you ever experienced disaster fatigue?
Tropical Storm Barry recently menaced Louisiana, flooding many areas still recovering from Hurricane Katrina. This prompted some to be critical of those who choose to live in such flood-prone areas. How would you respond to these critics? Do the residents of these areas deserve compassion or judgment? If you have/had family there, would that change your mind?
make a move:
Choose an action step based on what you’ve learned this week.
Since clothing ourselves in tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, and love results in loving broken people, who is someone in your circle of influence who needs you to show them these traits? How will you show them love this week?
God wants to use Expectation Church to do great things for the broken and spiritually needy people of Fairfax. What is something your eGroup can do to meet these needs?
Is there someone in your life you’re struggling to forgive? Ask God to soften your heart and start praying for that person. Don’t just pray for them to change, pray for God to bless them, to heal your hurt, and help you move forward.
Are you struggling with forgiving God for something or some way you feel He’s failed you or let you down? If so, be intentional about asking God to show you the truth. Dig into your Bible and study people who God allowed hard things to come into their lives – for example, David, Job, Ruth, John the Baptist, Elijah, Paul.
If you’re experiencing disaster fatigue, commit to taking a break from social media for a while. It doesn’t have to be long, even just a day. Instead of starting and ending your day looking at your screen, instead, take time to pray. Spend time thanking God for all the good in your life and ask for a heart of compassion.
Look for a charity or relief agency in your area that could use your help. Volunteer time, resources, or donate.
This week, ask God to soften your heart toward the hurting, especially those who we may deem unworthy of compassion. Ask God to let you see the broken through His eyes and help you to remember that someday it could be you suffering for the consequences of your actions.
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