Dr. E. Dale Locke and Rev. Trevor Johnston
Series: Bless this Mess
Week 1 – Tightrope!
PDF for printing: 06-09-18
- Share with your group how you feel about heights and whether you would ever like to try walking on a tightrope.
- Practice our memory verse for this series together as a group. Write it on a card and put it where you can see it throughout the week to make it easy to review it often.
“Be very careful, then, how you live– not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:15-16
- There are a lot of things in our world that seem to be broken. Things don’t seem to be working right in areas such as government, politics, national and international relations, and even religion. Robert C. Roberts, a Christian psychologist, wrote in his book, A Psychology of Christian Virtues about three ways that people tend to respond to particularly challenging times like this:
This is when we come to the realization that our longings will go unfulfilled, so thoughts about the future become painful or challenging.
- What kinds of things cause people to despair?
This is when we ratchet down our desires and try to convince ourselves that what we originally longed for is actually not that great or not that big a deal.
- How is resignation different from despair?
The belief deep down in our souls that the future does hold good things, even if we have to wait a while for it. We delight in the future and see an opportunity to make a difference.
- Read I Peter 1:3:
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…”
What does Peter mean by this? How can a person experience a new birth into a living hope?
- Read Ephesians 5:1-20:
“Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. 4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. 5 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person– such a person is an idolater– has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7 Therefore do not be partners with them.
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible– and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. 14 This is why it is said:
“Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
15 Be very careful, then, how you live– not as unwise but as wise,16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
What comments or questions come to your mind out of this passage?
- Paul invested his entire life seeking to be a bridge between Gentiles and Jews in Jesus Christ. In this letter to the Ephesian Christians, Paul urged them to be united, because God wants his people to be bridge-builders. What are some areas where our culture currently needs bridge-builders?
Be very careful then how you live
- Ruth Graham requested that her gravestone would have these words on it: “Construction over. Thank you for your patience.” What was she trying to communicate with that statement?
- Pastor Dale said that when we get discouraged about how hard it is to change, it’s important that we remember that our spiritual life is a journey. How might that awareness help?
- What are some things you are currently doing to develop yourself more and more on your spiritual journey?
Not as unwise, but as wise
- Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain were two high-profile successful people who tragically took their own lives this past week. Suicide is currently the second highest cause of death in our country. Why do you think that is?
- Sometimes people live as if there were no spiritual world or as if the spiritual side of their own life didn’t matter. What are some potential results of neglecting our spiritual side?
Making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil
- Tell about an opportunity you’ve had recently to make a positive difference in the world – whether in a large or a small way.
- Why do we often miss opportunities to make a positive difference in our world?
- What might help us do better?