Dr. E. Dale Locke and Rev. Trevor Johnston
Series: Bless this Mess
Week 2 – Address the Mess!
PDF file for printing: 06-16-18
- Describe your dad to your group, seeking to focus on your best memories of him from your childhood.
- Practice our memory verse for this series together as a group.
“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
- Read Acts 15:19: “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.”
What are some ways that Christians in our culture sometimes make it difficult for people to turn to God and become Christ-followers?
- Say the COH Mission together: We exist to interest disinterested people in Jesus Christ and grow together into fully devoted followers of him.
What are some things we can do to help unchurched people around us become more interested in Jesus Christ?
- Read I Peter 3:15: “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”
Why is it important to share our faith with “gentleness and respect”? Describe what “gentleness and respect” looks like, when it comes to sharing our faith.
- Read Nehemiah 1:1-11:
The words of Nehemiah son of Hakaliah:
In the month of Kislev in the twentieth year, while I was in the citadel of Susa, 2 Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that had survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem.
3 They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.”
When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. 5 Then I said:
“Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 6 let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you. 7 We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses.
8 “Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations, 9 but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.’
10 “They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand. 11 Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.”
What questions or comments come to your mind when you read this passage?
Addressing the Mess In and Around Me Always Involves:
- Becoming Aware
- Note in Nehemiah 1:2 – “and I questioned them.” Nehemiah took time to lean in and become more aware of the problem, even though he was in a privileged position far from the mess. Name some current messy problems – whether nearby or in far-away places – that you find challenging to become aware of and get involved in.
- Inviting God In
- Note in Nehemiah 1:4b – “for some days I mourned and fasted and prayed.” Do you take time to pray and fast about some of the problems in our world? What keeps us from doing that more often?
- Owning My Part
- Note in Nehemiah 1:6 the words – “including myself.” What do those words “including myself” communicate about Nehemiah and his character?
- Think back to some of the problems you mentioned in question 7. Is there any part for you to “own” in that problem?
- Partnering in the Work
- What did Pastor Dale mean by the expression “compassion fatigue”? How can we work against letting “compassion fatigue” cause us to do nothing about our world’s problems?
- Trusting in His Promise
- Is there a problem in our world or in your immediate surroundings that you feel God laying on your heart to get involved in in some way? What promises of God encourage you for that situation?