Messages

  • Two Pockets Part 2: Study Guide

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    Bottom Line

    There is no circumstance that can’t be transformed into something beautiful and epic in God’s hands.

    Study Verses

    John 10:10, James 1:2-4, Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, Genesis 39, Genesis 41:41

    Key Points

    • God doesn’t promise changed circumstances. He promises to use them for His purposes.
    • Being trapped is a position. It is not your fate.
    • Have you made a plan for your circumstances?
    • Are you standing on God’s shoulders?
    • Maybe God doesn’t want to change your circumstances…maybe God wants to use your circumstances.
    • If you have a clear WHY you can deal with any HOW.
    • There is a time for everything, including your trials.
    • When you see things the way that God sees them, you are more apt to do what God is asking you to do.
    • God wants to meet you in the midst of your circumstance.
    • Difficulty plays a part in you experiencing fullness.
    • Firmness – Warmth = Rebellion. Warmth – Firmness = Entitled, spoiled brat.
    • Parents are the primary spiritual influence in the life of their child.
    • You don’t have to be absent FROM home to be absent IN THE home.

    ENCOUNTER

    • Abundant. Ordinary. Dysfunctional. Tragic. Which of these words best describe your circumstances right now? Which word do you think best describes the circumstances of those closest to you?
    • Stuart framed “parenting life to the fullest “as being kind, but having the courage to be both firm and warm. He also talked about the difference between being nice and being kind. Which do you tend to be as a parent? What are your thoughts about his idea of “parenting life to the fullest?”

    ParentLine

    • As a parent, where do you tend to fall in the parenting quadrants? From what quadrant did your own parents tend to parent?

    FORMATION

    • Read John 10:10. How challenging is it for you to trust Jesus’ promise of a “full life” when you come face-to-face with difficulty?
    • Read James 1:2-4. For you, what is the most difficult part of allowing perseverance to finish its work?
    • Read Genesis 39 and Genesis 41:41. What was one huge point that stood out to you regarding Joseph’s journey through unbelievable circumstances? What comfort should the words “God was with Joseph” bring us, especially when we face difficulty?
    • Read Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. How would understanding “there is a time for everything, including your trials” alter your approach to times of difficulty and struggles for you personally and as a parent?

    EXPRESSION

    • “Maybe God doesn’t want to change our circumstances…maybe God wants to use our circumstances.” How does this statement effect you personally and as a parent (if applicable)?
    • Which would you rather God do: change your circumstances, allow you to change your children’s circumstances, or use your circumstances for His glory and your good? Why do you think so many prefer to simply change their circumstances?
    • “Being trapped is a position. It’s not your fate.” What are your thoughts about this? Are you feeling trapped? If so, where?
    • Have you ever seen God use someone’s circumstances in a way that they were glad God allowed the circumstances? How about you? Where has God used your circumstances to bring you closer to Him or glorify Himself?
    • What circumstance are you facing where you need to stand on God’s shoulders and gain some perspective?
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  • Two Pockets Part 1: Study Guide

    By in Messages, Resources on

    Bottom Line

    Fullness comes from being both strong and weak.

    Study Verses

    John 10:10, James 1:2-4

    Key Points

    • Most of us are trying to get God’s attention in ways that don’t even matter to Him.
    • The glory of God is a human being fully alive.
    • The grace of God is incredibly dangerous and incredibly inclusive.
    • We treat Jesus and church like a lucky charm.
    • We avoid weakness and vulnerability at all costs.
    • Always winning doesn’t bring the fullness you desire.
    • We are raising a culture of kids who are afraid to risk and terrified of failing.
    • Jesus is the ultimate expression of strength and weakness.
    • Religion is a thief of life.
    • God had a purpose for your life long before anyone else had an opinion about it.
    • Focusing on who you are not is getting in the way of who God wants you to be.
    • God doesn’t need your perfection.
    • We think in terms of “OR” (strong or weak) when God can make them “AND” (strong and weak).

    ENCOUNTER

    • twopockets.gridIn your opinion, what are we meant to be? Do you think we are far from what we’re intended to be? If so, why do think this is the case?
    • What do you think of the paradox of fullness resulting from being both strong and weak?
    • Why is the quadrant of withdrawing such a dangerous place for you as a human being?

    FORMATION

    • Read John 10:10. How would you define “life to the full”? How has this verse been misinterpreted over the years? What does “life to the full” look like for you?
    • How did Jesus, who was both incredibly strong yet intimidatingly vulnerable, exemplify fullness? Discuss an example that comes to mind.
    • Read James 1:2-4. How is the depth of our character only exposed when we encounter pressure and struggles? How would our mindset change in moments of weakness if we viewed trials through this lens?

    EXPRESSION

    • Of the four quadrants (pictured above), where are you residing right now? Why have you decided to take up residency there?
    • Where do you need to be strong enough to risk, even if it means coming face-to-face with failure? Where do you need to be vulnerable enough to display your weakness?
    • When one is feeling down, he should take out the note “for my sake was the world created.” When one is feeling smug and arrogant, he should take out the note “I am but dust and ashes.” In your life, which pocket do you reach in and take out a note the most? Why are you always digging this note out of your pocket?
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  • Church Shop Part 2: Study Guide

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    Bottom Line

    The local church is a visible movement of God’s people for God’s purposes.

    Study Verses

    1 Timothy 3:14-15, Ezekiel 34:16, Exodus 19:12-13, Hebrews 12:20-22 and Acts 14:27-28

    Key Points

    • The church is a living movement not a machine.
    • The church enlarges our view of God’s presence and power.
    • The church provides the launching point for leveraging our everyday impact for Christ.
    • A local church is a people called together for the purposes of being sent right back out.
    • The local church is where God’s Spirit does a healing work among us.
    • A healthy church is a warm, open, loving and healing community.
    • The church is part of something bigger than we can ever imagine.
    • A local church is not concerned with replicating people of sameness, but multiplying people around the unity of Christ who are unique expressions of His grace.
    • Is it your default to ask people to come to church or asking people to come to Jesus?
    • The only way to develop fully devoted Christ followers who live out stability, gratitude and generosity is to confront the places where a consumerist mindset has taken hold.
    • One knows they are catering to consumerism in the church, when their focus is centered on what they are receiving rather than what they are contributing.
    • The more entitled one feels over something leads to less gratitude when they receive it.

    ENCOUNTER

    • What happens when we see the church more as a machine than a living movement? How does this viewpoint impact the way we see our contribution to our community?
    • A local church is not concerned with replicating people of sameness, but multiplying people around the unity of Christ who are unique expressions of His grace. Do you agree with this statement? Why or why not? What makes you answer in the way that you do?

    FORMATION

    • Read 1 Timothy 3:14-15. Paul uses the imagery of the assembly of God and a pillar of truth to describe the purpose of the church. How should our encounter with Christ influence our engagement with the world around us?
    • Read Exodus 19:12-13 and Hebrews 12:20-22. How does the church enlarge our view of God’s power and presence? What are the implications of our access to God’s presence through what Christ did on our behalf?
    • Read Ezekiel 34:16. As you reflect on all the tragedy that has taken place in our world recently, in what ways does this verse bring you comfort and healing?

    EXPRESSION

    • Read Acts 14:27-28. The early church often gathered together to celebrate all that God had done through them. We should do the same. How has God been moving in your life and using you to make His name known?
    • What is your unique expression of His grace and how are you using that expression to glorify God?
    • Why is the church being an example of love, unity and compassion needed in today’s world?
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  • Church Shop Part 1: Study Guide

    By in Messages, Resources on

    Bottom Line

    Our ownership to the life of the church flows out of our understanding of His church.

    Study Verses

    1 Timothy 3:14-15, Romans 2:11, James 2:8-9, Ephesians 2:19-22

    Key Points

    • We treat shopping for a church like a Black Friday event.
    • We want the church to meet our needs, but at an acceptable cost.
    • Finding a local church to attend is not the final destination, but instead, only the starting point in God’s plan for your life.
    • The local church becomes a new and better family for you.
    • A local church is where God expects you to be living life together with those that are not like you.
    • The one thing that should be undeniable is our love for one another.
    • Renters are only in it for the short time. Owners are in it for the long haul and think about the future often.
    • When you are part of a church, there is no “US” and “THEM,” only “US.”
    • Every person has an inner thirst for his or her life to matter. God has given the local church as a place that will satisfy this longing.
    • The local church is God’s way of providing for us a new laboratory for learning to love in a new way.

    ENCOUNTER

    • How would you describe your history with “church shopping”? How did you come to the decision to attend PC3?
    • As it relates to involvement inside a church community, what is the difference between being a renter and an owner?
    • What are some signs that consumerism has invaded your mindset towards church?

    FORMATION

    “The Church is a family, not an orphanage. You see, the reality behind an orphanage is usually characterized by a couple of things. Usually you have one or two overworked staff trying to serve a bunch of underserved kids and we spend all of our time and all of our responsibility trying to depend on those individuals to take care of all of the work. There’s really no burden of responsibility for the orphans to maintain, but a family it’s all in. There’s this responsibility that each and every one of us have.” – Dahti Lewis, Lead Pastor at Blueprint Church in Atlanta, GA

    • Read 1 Timothy 3:14-15. What three images did Paul use in this passage to describe the church? How was Paul trying to combat our natural tendencies towards a consumerist approach to church shopping?
    • Read Ephesians 2:19-22 and the quote from Dahti Lewis. What implications does the church being viewed as a household have in terms of investment and ownership?
    • Read Romans 2:11 and James 2:8-9. How does learning to live and love together with people who are not like us help us fight the sin in our lives?

    EXPRESSION

    • How would you be described when it comes to your commitment to Christ and His church (owner/contributor or renter/critic)?
    • Fill in the blank: For me, being an investor in PC3 looks like _______________. In what ways are you contributing to the mission of reaching people and helping them walk with God?
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  • God Without Religion: Study Guide

    By in Messages, Resources on

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    Bottom Line

    Only when we accept grace, and grace alone, have we respected the impossible standard of the law.

    Study Verses

    Hebrews 7:18-19, Hebrews 8:7-13, Hebrews 9:16,22, Hebrews 10:11-14, 2 Corinthians 3:7-9, Galatians 3:10, James 2:10, Hebrews 6:13-19, Colossians 2:20-23

    Key Points

    • We’re exhausted because our focus is on what we can do for God rather than what God has done for us.
    • Without a death, there is no inheritance.
    • It’s the death of Jesus, not His birth, that serves as the dividing line of human history.
    • The law is not multiple choice. It is an all or nothing proposition.
    • Christians aren’t forgiven little-by-little. They are forgiven all at once.
    • The law kills, but Jesus Christ gives life.
    • The Gospel is ‘my sins are all gone’.
    • We will be saved as long as He lives.
    • The only way to read the Old Testament is through the lens of the New Testament.
    • The cross has changed everything.
    • God makes you perfectly cleansed, not perfectly behaved.
    • Jesus is enough for my morality.

    ENCOUNTER

    • Share a time when you found yourself saying in frustration, “God, I’m doing everything.” What is the danger in our focus being on what we can do for God rather than what He has done for us?
    • Jesus is enough for my morality. Do you agree with this statement? Why or why not? What makes you answer in the way that you do?

    FORMATION

    • Read Hebrews 7:18-19, Hebrews 8:7-13, Hebrews 10:11-14 and 2 Corinthians 3:7-9. What is the New Covenant and how is it different from the Old Covenant? What are the implications the New Covenant has on our lives?
    • Read Hebrews 9:16,22. Why is Jesus’ death, not His birth, the dividing line of history?
    • Read Galatians 3:10 and James 2:10. How is the law an impossible standard to keep? How does the law reveal our need for grace?
    • Read Hebrews 6:13-19. What security should God’s promise provide us? Why do we often live our lives as if this promise could be taken away?
    • Read Colossians 2:20-23. How do we often search for freedom in the rules when it is found in the relationship?

    EXPRESSION

    • How do you break free from the swivel chair relationship with God mindset (He turns aways when we “mess up” and He turns around when we do something “good.”) What makes you doubt that He is always facing you?
    • Are you obsessed with the size of your sins or the size of your Savior? Is your behavior motivated by getting more forgiveness or by the fact that you are a forgiven person?
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  • I Am Weak Part 2: Study Guide

    By in Messages, Resources on

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    Bottom Line

    To find God’s strength, we must stand in His grace.

    Study Verses

    Romans 5:1-11, Ephesians 2:8, Hebrews 4:16 and Romans 8:31-39

    Key Points

    • We don’t grow past the Gospel, we simply continue to grow in the Gospel.
    • If we all have weaknesses in life, then we are all in need of grace in life.
    • Grace: Love and acceptance that we did not deserve or could not earn.
    • God’s grace doesn’t just save us. It also gives us a safe place where God wants us to live, to grow, to become and to be shaped more and more into the image of His Son.
    • Grace is not something we get one time. It’s what we stand in for all time.
    • Justification is to be declared right legally, but reconciliation is to be made right relationally.
    • Grace saves us. Grace sustains us. Grace strengthens us.
    • In the middle of grace and in the middle our weakness is God.
    • We want to get out of our weakness, but God wants to get in our weakness.
    • The only way to experience His grace is to let go of our effort and pride.
    • The grace of God provides a secure place to stand in the midst of any circumstance we face.

    ENCOUNTER

    • As we start a conversation on grace, it is important to have a clear picture of the term. How would you define grace?
    • God’s grace is all we need in the midst of our weakness. Do you agree with this statement? Why or why not? What makes you answer in the way that you do?
    • What is the danger in losing sight of God’s grace after you’ve accepted it for the first time? In what ways should God’s grace sustain and strengthen us in our walk with God?

    FORMATION

    • Read Romans 5:1-11. What does Paul want the church in Rome to understand about the power grace should have in the lives of believers? Pinpoint places in this passage that highlight how grace saves, sustains and strengthens us.
    • Read Hebrews 4:16 and Romans 8:31-39. How does God’s grace meet us in the midst of our weakness? How are we able to have confidence and strength when facing struggles?
    • Read Ephesians 2:8 and Romans 3:23-24. Why should grace and humility be our response to the growth and transformation that takes place in our lives?

    EXPRESSION

    • Think of the places where weakness is present in your life. Do you truly believe that God’s grace is enough for you? What makes you doubt or resist that God has extended you grace right where you are at?
    • Trusting in God’s grace isn’t a one-time decision. We must rely on it on a daily basis. Where do you need to currently put your trust in God’s grace?
    • Fill in the blank: I am unable to _____________________, but I believe you (God) are able. What would it look like for you to stand on God’s grace in this situation?
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  • I Am Weak Part 1: Study Guide

    By in Messages, Resources on

    iamweak.banner

    Bottom Line

    God’s strength is found when we depend on Him in the midst of our weaknesses.

    Study Verses

    2 Cor. 12:8-10, 1 Cor. 1:25-31, Hebrews 4:15, 2 Cor. 13:4

    Key Points

    • Weakness: Any place in your life where your strength is not enough.
    • None of us are without weakness in life.
    • The world says ignore, cover up, or get around our weaknesses.
    • God longs to answer our prayers, but He doesn’t always answer them in the way we expect.
    • His power is made perfect in our weakness.
    • Weakness leads us to the point of desperate dependence on God.
    • Without weakness and difficulties we are prone to become prideful.
    • Faith is the act of turning away from our weaknesses to God’s perfect strength.
    • Admitting weakness is the first step to finding strength.
    • If we are going to be a community who finds strength in our weakness then we’re going to have to be honest about our weakness with God, ourselves and each other.
    • We must allow Him into the places in our lives where our strength is insufficient.

    ENCOUNTER

    • Complete the following. Weakness is _____________. What makes you answer in the way that you do? Why do you view weakness in this way?
    • Do you tend to only see your weaknesses or are you one who attempts to show strength to hide your weaknesses? Why do you gravitate in that direction?
    • What danger exists when we see our life only through our weaknesses or spend all our energy hiding from our weaknesses?

    FORMATION

    • Read 2 Corinthians 12:8-10. What does Paul mean when he says he will “boast in his weakness”? How is God’s power made perfect in our weakness?
    • Read Hebrews 4:15 and 2 Corinthians 13:4. What comfort should it bring us knowing that we worship a God who understands and empathizes with our weakness?
    • Read 1 Corinthians 1:25-31. Why did God decide to use the unwise and weak of this world to spread His message? How should this provide us perspective about our role and our position?

    EXPRESSION

    • In the past, how have you attempted to conceal, hide or get around your weaknesses? In what ways have you allowed your weaknesses to define and shape you?

    “Faith is the act of our soul that turns away from our own insufficiency to the free and all-sufficient resources of God.” -John Piper

    • Read the quote from John Piper. God’s strength is found when we depend on Him in the midst of our weakness. Where do you need to confront and admit your weakness before you can begin to depend on God? Where is your strength insufficient?
    • How can God use your weaknesses for His glory?
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  • Surrounded: Study Guide

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    Surrounded.banner

    Bottom Line

    Does what surrounds your life reflect that God’s mission is your mission?

    Study Verses

    Isaiah 55:8-9, James 1:2-5, Romans 12:2, Matthew 28:18-20, Hebrews 12:1-3

    Key Points

    • What if God doesn’t have a plan for your life, but has a plan for His life in you that will carry you through any future that may come your way?
    • God is calling us to be a people of action based on the relationship He has with us.
    • We can get so hung up on trying to find God’s purpose for our life that we miss what’s going on right in front us.
    • If we want to find God and His mission, share the gospel message with someone. That’s where He will be. He is on the battlefield pursuing the mission.
    • The most powerful tool God has given you for His mission is your story.
    • We don’t need another feast on doctrine. We need to do something with what we’ve already consumed.
    • You exist to make disciples. Your life exists to make disciples. Your story exists to make disciples.
    • There are opportunities all around us to advance the mission of God. Your next step is more than likely right in front of you.
    • We grasp for control when we face uncertain or uncomfortable situations.

    ENCOUNTER

    “Sometimes people are paralyzed by fear of failure. They are so afraid that they might do the wrong thing that they do nothing. We need to learn to err on the side of action, because we tend to default to negligence. So many won’t do anything unless they hear a voice from heaven telling them precisely what to do. Why not default to action until you hear a voice from heaven telling you to wait?” – Frances Chan

    • Read the quote from Frances Chan. How has the fear of failure or getting something wrong paralyzed you from moving forward or jumping into action?
    • When it comes to God’s will for your life, do you believe there is only one option or expression? How does your response to this question influence the pressure you feel on taking steps of faith?
    • How do you tend to process how God is moving in your life and what He is asking you to do?

    FORMATION

    “Sometimes people are paralyzed by fear of failure. They are so afraid that they might do the wrong thing that they do nothing. We need to learn to err on the side of action, because we tend to default to negligence. So many won’t do anything unless they hear a voice from heaven telling them precisely what to do. Why not default to action until you hear a voice from heaven telling you to wait?” – Frances Chan

    • Read Isaiah 55:8-9 and Romans 12:2. According to these passages, what is the danger in attempting to calculate God’s will for our life on our own? How should these verses provide perspective when we want to default to controlling an uncertain situation?
    • Read James 1:2-5. Why is perseverance a necessary trait for those who are walking with God and trying to keep in step with Him? How does being obedient in the midst of perseverance bring clarity to our walk?
    • Read Matthew 28:12-20 and Hebrews 12:1-3. Does what surrounds your life reflect that God’s mission is your mission? What would it look like to use God’s mission as a lens to view your circumstances?

    EXPRESSION

    “The real enemies of our life are the ‘oughts’ and the ‘ifs.’ They pull us backward into the unalterable past and forward into the unpredictable future. But real life takes place in the here and now.” – Henri Nouwen

    • Read the quote from Henri Nouwen. Where do you currently find yourself wrestling with the ‘oughts’ and the ‘ifs’?
    • Finding His leading in our life requires us to spend time in His presence. How would you describe your current connection level?
    • If you want to know where God’s mission starts for you, it starts in your surroundings. What areas is He drawing your attention to and why do you believe this to be the case?
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  • Handle With Care Part 5: Study Guide

    By in Messages, Resources on

    Bottom Line

    A clear path results in accountability. Authenticity is what creates the clear path.

    Study Verses

    Mark 10:17-22, Ephesians 4:14-15, Ephesians 4:25, Ephesians 4:29 and Hebrews 10:23-25

    Key Points

    • If the behavior doesn’t change, the relationship will.
    • Accountability is holding someone responsible for the responsibility of their story.
    • We focus on fixing our behaviors rather than the formation of our hearts.
    • You can only be held accountable FOR your behavior if you are accountable TO the relationship.
    • We must clear a path for a common purpose. Rightness isn’t behavioral….it’s relational.
    • Framing accountability requires us to (1) write for clarity (2) connect to the purpose and (3) drive to the heart.
    • It’s not about executing orders or meeting expectations, but building a relationship.
    • Instead of accountability, we often find ourselves in a chronic cycle of codependency.
    • Fixing our behavior is easier to manage, but it doesn’t form pathways into our heart.
    • We’ve created a way to live independently and disregard our need for others. But, we need each other more than we realize.

    ENCOUNTER

    • How would you define the term ‘accountability’? How have we misused and manipulated this term in our relationships?
    • Describe a time when holding someone accountability for their behavior caused you to walk on eggshells around them.
    • How do you know when you are in an accountability relationship or just stuck in a cycle of codependency?

    FORMATION

    • Read Mark 10:17-22. What insight on accountability should we gain from Jesus’ response to the Rich Young Ruler? How was Jesus able to drive to the heart of the situation? What was the Rich Young Ruler focused on and how was it different than what concerned Jesus?
    • Read Ephesians 4:14-15, Ephesians 4:25 and Ephesians 4:29. In order to speak the truth in love, we must do 5 things: (1) Be quick to hear (2) Put aside falsehood (3) speak truthfully (4) use well-fitting words and (5) give grace. Of these elements, which one do you struggle to exhibit in your challenging relationships?
    • Read Hebrews 10:23-25. How does being accountable to the relationship alter your approach, both as the one being held accountable and the one holding the other person accountable?

    EXPRESSION

    • Think about the person who you are walking on eggshells around. What would it look like to create a clear path for a common purpose and what role does your authenticity play in this part?
    • Think about a relationship where you need to hold someone else accountable and have a difficult conversation, how do you want the other person to feel after this conversation takes place?
    • Over the past five weeks, how has your perception of the places where you are walking on eggshells changed? In what way has this series influenced your approach in these relationships?
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  • Handle With Care Part 4: Study Guide

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    Bottom Line

    If we own someone else’s story, we rob them of the opportunity to surrender it.

    Study Verses

    Ephesians 4:11-16, Ephesians 4:25-26, Ephesians 4:29-32 and Hebrews 4:16

    Key Points

    • Purpose frames the context for you to care.
    • The conversations that build someone up are the ones that communicate grace.
    • In order to receive grace, we must acknowledge we are in need of it.
    • Every time you are talking to someone they are looking for connection.
    • When our conversations get crucial, we tend to act our worst.
    • We’ve created a narrative in our head that frames our relationships.
    • Many of us are drowning in our own story. We need a different narrative.
    • People will be able to listen to hard things if they feel their soul is safe with you.
    • We’ve fallen for the lie that we must decide between telling the truth or keeping a friend.
    • The erosion of trust leads to the erosion of safety.
    • When someone refuses to listen or participate, it is a revealer of the fact they don’t feel safe with you.

    ENCOUNTER

    “When we practice generating compassion, we can expect to experience our fear of pain. Compassion practice is daring. It involves learning to relax and allow ourselves to move gently toward what scares us. Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.” -Pema Chodron

    • Read the quote above. How is showing compassion to another human being an act of courage? What is courageous about compassion?
    • Read Hebrews 4:16. How is our ability and willingness to show compassion tied to our understanding of our own need for it?

    FORMATION

    • Read Ephesians 4:11-16. How does owning someone else’s story stunt their growth and transformation? Why do we have a tendency to own other people’s stories?
    • Read Ephesians 4:25-26. Why must we confront the stories we tell ourselves and examine their validity? How can our false stories influence our relationships and the conversations we have?
    • Read Ephesians 4:29-32. How does this passage highlight the internal struggles we feel when faced with a crucial conversation?

    EXPRESSION

    • 50% of our responses are dictated by the way we are wired. The other 50% is dictated by the stories we tell ourselves. Are you drowning in your own story? Are you projecting your story onto other people?
    • There are four corners of connection: (1) no connection (2) bad connection (3) pseudo connection (4) real connection. In the relationships that hold the most influence on your life, what corner are you residing in and how is your current connection level influencing your growth?
    • What relationships do you need to extend grace in before engaging in a crucial conversation? How will this influence the safety and trust the other person has in your intentions?
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