Dr. E. Dale Locke
Sermon Series: Circles – Relationships Matter
Week 3: Addition
GroupLink is tonight from 5:30-7:30pm! Join us for fun memories, free dinner, and most importantly new friendships!
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.
Pastor Dale said that “Every hope, dream, and aspiration of our lives and for our faith is tethered to our ability to navigate human relationships.”
- Have you ever had someone who encouraged your hope, dream or aspiration? Describe that experience.
Read Hebrews 10:19-25:
Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
- The book of Hebrews was written to a group of people whose faith was being challenged by the society around them. In what ways does our society challenge our faith?
Four Practices of Life-Changing Groups
- Get Close!
Read Hebrews 10:19-22 again, paying close attention to the words confidence, draw near, and the full assurance.
- Imagine growing up in a religious tradition where you were repeatedly told you could not have access to God. What would that be like? How would you feel?
- Now imagine that by the action of God Himself you were given full access. What would this mean to you?
- Do you ever take access to God for granted?
- Hold On!
Look back at Hebrews 10:23. Take a moment to wander in the beauty of this truth.
- How can you hold onto hope even when the circumstances of life press you?
- What does it mean that God is faithful? How have you seen evidence of this in your life?
- Reach Out!
Read Hebrews 10:23-24.
Pastor Dale shared a powerful story from the book The Power of the Other by Henry Cloud. In this story, a navy seal encouraged his friend to keep swimming when he was on the verge of drowning. Because he knew his name and called out to him, his friend pushed through.
- Do you believe that your encouragement might be the difference between someone “sinking or swimming”?
- Who might need you to reach out to them right now?
- Lift Up!
Go back and read Hebrews 10:25.
In Rick Warren’s devotional “Hearing the Voice of God,” he says, “A lot of times we hear God’s Word and get excited about it, but we don’t allow it to change us. We act superficially. We react emotionally. We’re moved impulsively. But we don’t take the time to let it sink in. Do you really want to be that way? No! You want to be a deep person, not a shallow person. You want to be a person with deep spiritual roots so that when recession comes and lasts several years, you’re able to keep bearing fruit. When the rough winds come and somebody in your family gets sick or somebody dies, the trial doesn’t blow you away, because you’ve got roots.
How do you develop spiritual roots? There are two ways: a daily time with God and a weekly small group time with other believers.”
- Have you experienced this frustration in your faith?
- What if the difference between you living out your faith or you floundering in your faith lies in the people around you? How could grasping that realization change your actions?
- What can you do to connect with other believers this week?