Dr. E. Dale Locke and Rev. Trevor Johnston
Lent – The Problem with Overfamiliarity

PDF File for printing:  03-18-2018

  1. Take some time as a group to talk about “Momentum” and read the letter from Pastor Dale.  Pray together about whether your group should break from what you’re doing to do Momentum as a group right after Easter.  If your group decides not to do it, check out the 6 options of large-group classes, which will be available at our two campuses at communityofhope.church/momentum.
  2. Dr. Ellsworth Kalas, professor at Asbury Seminary said, “Easter is too grand an occasion to be experienced adequately in one single day.  Our ancestors in the faith realized this and over a period of time developed a season of preparation, and we call that season Lent.”  Talk with your group about how you personally are seeking to prepare yourself for Easter this year.
  3. The memory verses for this sermon series are Philippians 3:10-11: “I want to know Christ– yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.”  Repeat these verses several times together as a group, and begin to commit them to memory.
  4. Read Mark 6:1-6a:  “Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples. When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. “Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing?  Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith. Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village.”


What do you notice in this passage?  What ideas or questions come to your mind as you read it?

5. Nazareth was Jesus’ home town where He was very familiar.  People there had seen Jesus grow up and were cynical about His wisdom, power and identity.  Why do you think they were so skeptical about Jesus?  Have you ever experienced something similar with people who’ve known you all your life?  Tell your group about it.

6. Pastor Trevor described two concepts:

  1. “Crowd Psychology”:  A branch of social psychology with theories to explain ways that the psychology of a crowd differs from that of the individuals within it.
  2. “Deindividuation”:  A loss of self-awareness within a crowd.

Talk about why these two concepts are important for Christians to be aware of.  How do they impact us and those around us?


7. What does it mean to be a “post-Christian” society?  Why is America becoming increasingly “post-Christian”?


Three ways to avoid over-familiarity with Jesus:


  1. In our wisdom: Sometimes we think we already know everything Jesus would say to us, so we don’t seriously pursue His wisdom for our life questions and decisions.


How can we keep from getting over-familiar with Jesus in our wisdom?


  1. In our circumstances: What happens when we become overly familiar with the miracles of Jesus?


  1. Regarding His Lordship: Some of us treat Jesus very casually as a good guy, but forget that He is actually God – the Lord of the Universe.


What results when we get over-familiar about Jesus as our Lord?


8. How is our memory passage in Philippians 3:10-11 connected to this idea of avoiding over-familiarity?


9. Name one thing you could change in your life this week to help combat overfamiliarity in your walk with Jesus Christ.


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