The Title of the sermons for this week is ‘Rip Currents’.
Rip currents are powerful, channeled currents of water flowing away from shore. They typically extend from the shoreline, through the surf zone, and past the line of breaking waves. Rip currents can occur at any surf beach with breaking waves. However, they are often not readily or easily identifiable to the average beachgoer. Rip currents are the leading surf hazard for all beachgoers, because a swimmer caught in a rip current can drown from exhaustion trying to get out of the rip current. The United States Lifesaving association lists as its first safety precaution against rip currents is this: Never swim alone!
1. Do you have any personal experience with rip currents? If so, share your story.
Pastor Dale and Pastor Trevor shared the story that occurred in Panama City Beach, FL about a family that was caught in a rip current, and how 80 beachgoers formed a human chain to bring the family back to the safety of the shore.
2. What kinds of things do you notice about that story? About the random nature of rip currents? About the willingness of the beachgoers to lend help? Share your thoughts regarding the analogy of rip currents with other life experiences where a person can get swept away into a dangerous situation before they realize it.
Read Romans 12:9-18:
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.[a] Do not be conceited.17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
3. Verse 10 states: Be devoted to one another in love. What does this kind of love refer to?
a. Storge – familial love; developed by common bonds
b. Eros – physical attraction
c. Agape – the love of God for man and man for God; completely selfless and unconditional
d. Phileo – friendship or brotherly love; companionable and relational
Explain your answer.
4. Pastor Dale referred to this scripture as the ‘Christian Manifesto’ – a description of how the Christian faith is to be lived out in our lives. Do you agree with this? Why or why not?
5. Can any one verse in this scripture be performed alone? Go through each verse together and decide.
6. Now go through each verse and take note or circle the verbs. Talk about what you notice.
Community of Hope’s Core Value #4 states that ‘Big Faith is Grown in Small Groups’. Small groups are an intentional means to keep us from ever ‘swimming alone’ as we navigate the rip currents in our lives.
7. Can you share a time when your small group (current or past) has been your ‘human chain’ as the story in Panama City Beach describes?
8. What are some of the risks involved in living out the ‘Christian Manifesto’ of Romans 12:9-18 – of being part of the human chain? Is it safer to remain in isolation or to do life together in a small group? Why or why not?
9. What is the next step you are willing to take that will help you step out of a row and get into a circle?
10. What hurt, wrong idea, or bad church experience are you willing to set aside so you can start over?
11. Who are you willing to tell you need this, and who are you willing to invite to join you?