Dr. E. Dale Locke
Sermon Series: Circles – Relationships Matter
Week 2: Multiplication and Division
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” African Proverb
- Do you think this proverb is true? If so, how have you seen this truth play out in your own life?
Have someone in your group read Ecclesiastes 4:9-12:
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: 10 If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. 11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? 12 Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
- What do you think this passage means?
At Community of Hope, we believe that when it comes to the way we orient our lives, circles are better than rows.
- When do you find yourself in rows? When do you find yourself in circles?
We also believe that one day our lives will be measured not by the lines we’ve drawn to keep people out, but by the circles we’ve formed to invite others in.
- Why do you think it’s so tempting to draw lines to keep others out?
- Who has invited you into a circle?
To help people live life in circles, Community of Hope offers Community Groups, Explore Groups, and Empower Groups. Go to https://communityofhope.church/ministries/groups/ to check out all these groups, and to join a Community Group, register for GroupLink at https://communityofhope.church/ministries/grouplink/ !
- Which groups have you been a part of? How has each group helped in your faith?
The story of Mark 2:1-12 could be seen as the first Empower Group. Read this story together:
A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. 2 They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. 3 Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. 4 Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. 5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” 6 Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, 7 “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 8 Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things?
9 Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? 10 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man, 11 “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 12 He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”
In John Ortberg’s book, Everybody’s Normal Until You Get to Know Them, he examines each component of this story – the man, his friends, Jesus, and his mat.
The Man: The ancient world was particularly harsh towards people with physical challenges. Yet this man seems to have an amazing ability to make friends.
- How are you at making friends? Do you make relationships a priority in your life?
His Friends: These people took initiative to get their friend to Jesus.
- Who do you know that could really benefit from one of the Empower Groups our church offers?
- Are you willing to invite them, or even better, go with them?
Jesus: Scholars believe that this was probably Jesus’ house. Yet instead of being frustrated with the man and his friends, Jesus had compassion on him. As Pastor Dale said, “To watch Jesus is to be captivated by the way he loved people.”
- When can it be hard to love people?
- When this man came to Jesus, he received what only Jesus could have given him. What other things do people look toward to receive what only Jesus can give?
- Do you ever struggle to receive the forgiveness and love Jesus has to offer?
His Mat: As John Ortberg said, “We all have one.”
- If you feel comfortable sharing, what your “mat”? What is inhibiting you from coming to Jesus in this season of your life?
Pastor Dale’s closing challenge was, “Don’t miss your chance to be a receiver and to be an inviter.”
- What is one practical step you can take this week to either receive from Jesus or to invite someone else to receive from him?