Week 10 - Celebrating
WEEK 10 - Celebrating
Celebrating and Giving Thanks
Written in an underground seminary in Germany and published in 1939, Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer is one of the most influential texts on Christian fellowship. In the book he points out;
"The first service one owes to others in the fellowship consists in listening to them. Just as love to God begins with listening to His Word, so the beginning of love for the brethren is learning to listen to them. It is God's love to us that He not only gives us His Word but also lends His ear… Christians so often think they must always contribute something when they are in the company of others, that this is the one service they have to render. They forget that listening can be a greater service than speaking."
The skill of listening that Bonhoeffer refers to is often minimized when compared with other Christian disciplines such as; Bible study, and prayer. However, the Emmaus Road account in Luke 24:13-35 helps to confirm that listening is, in fact, a Christlike practice. Another example is when Jesus stopped to listen to the blind man who cried out among the crowd in Mark 10:46-52. Within both examples, Jesus took the time to listen. He asked questions and heard their responses. It's a practice we have sought to grow in through this series.
For Bonhoeffer, his context was seeing this lived out among Christian brothers who suffered together in a Nazi concentration camp. This was a place where Christian platitudes and cliche remarks were not effective. The "greater service" of intentional conversations was what was valued most. Bonhoeffer continues his point even further:
"He who can no longer listen to his brother will soon be no longer listening to God either; he will be doing nothing but prattle in the presence of God, too"
He then concludes with;
"Christians have forgotten that the ministry of listening has been committed to them by Him who is Himself the great listener and whose work they should share. We should listen with the ears of God that we may speak the Word of God."
Leaders, these exhortative remarks by Bonhoeffer are, in part, the very reason why we developed the Wisdom for Relationships series. We believe God desires to grow our church in Christlike character, and more specifically, has been wanting us to focus on becoming more like Him in our relationships. Our God listens. Our God asks and our God speaks.
These truths are beautiful realities for those who are in Christ, and what greater endeavor do we have then to incarnated Jesus to each other and those outside his family? I hope this has been a blessing to you and those you lead. I look forward to sharing with you next week how this will relate to the upcoming series through the book of Acts which will begin in January and end in August. More to come on that.
Well, I love each of you and am so thankful for you. I look forward to celebrating all that God is doing in our family together on November 25th, during our special Thanksgiving service. As well, at our upcoming Members Meeting on December 9th.
MEDIA + LITURGY
Below is a guideline for your time together this week:
Scripture(s) from the sermon; Hebrews 10:19-25
Vision - This week a good topic to focus on would be legacy. We want to help people see the connection between disciple-making and multiplication. You could say something like, "Hey everyone I just want to remind you that as disciples we are also disciple-makers. And this means that we are always looking for people to love and invite into our gatherings. We want to help people experience the family of God and become followers of Jesus. So in the next few weeks as we serve our neighbors and gather together, consider who you could invite to join us for those events.
Also, I'd like to ask you to consider and pray about potentially planting a group like ours in the future. As we invite others in we also want to make sure they have access to a group like this as well. This doesn't have to happen right away, but please be in prayer about that. And let me know if you have any questions. I (we) would love to help you take that next step."
Then in closing, "So please consider who you can invite in and prayerfully consider how you can participate in making disciples."
We recently surveyed group participants and leaders from our ministry. These surveys will help us improve our groups and how we lead. If you have not yet taken the DG Leader Survey please do below. Then check out some of the responses that we have received from group participants.
DG Leader Survey (link)
DG Participant Survey - Results (link)