DISCOVER MORE : TOGETHER

Our weekly devotional content ties back to the worship themes and scriptures from the previous Sunday. Dig deeper into what the Word and the message mean to you, and explore how you can deepen your walk with Christ through these resources.

In addition to the devotional resources, the "5 Minutes with God" sections are like spiritual snacks; small, quick, easy connections you can make as you go about your busy life. 

  • PRINT

    Discover Scripture and Life


    Introduction: 

    Bible


    Romans 8:12-17

    12Brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh—13for if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 15For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.


    John 3:1-17

    1Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. 2He came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.” 3Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” 4Nicodemus said to him, “How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?” 5Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. 6What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’ 8The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” 9Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” 10Jesus answered him, “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?

    11“Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. 12If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? 13No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 14And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

    16“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.

    17“Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”


          

    Questions for Reflection


    1. How do you stay in touch with friends or family who live a great distance from you?


    2. Jesus presents some contrasts for Nicodemus.

    + Born from Above/Born from Below

    + Born of Spirit/Born of Flesh

    + Born of Water-Spirit/Born not of Water-Spirit

    Jesus is saying human existence is of 2 aspects

    1) Natural existence: natural birth, birth of flesh, life without faith in Jesus

    2) Faith existence: spiritual birth, God given by the spirit, life with faith in Jesus.


    3. Notice that the NRSV says “born from above” not “born again.” The phrase can be translated both ways. What does above or again contribute to the meaning?


    4. Why do you think these distinctions are so hard for Nicodemus to understand? What is behind his confusion? He even seems uncomfortable. Why do you think that is so?


    5. Romans 8 has been described as a chapter about life in the Spirit during times of trial. Here, the very appeal of prayer, the use of “Abba” (as in the Lord’s prayer) is more than a sign of personal faith, it is a sign of God with us, giving us the very words to say. How do you experience prayer? As only talking to God? Or a sense of God with you as you pray?


    6. Luther said John 3:16 is a summary of the Gospel in 1 verse. How is that for you?


    7. John 3:16 is meant to comfort, but how have angry street preachers somehow made John 3:16 into a verse of

    judgment? (unless you believe)? How do you react?


    8. How does John 3:17 change 3:16?


    9. The image of the wind points to the experience of faith as out of our control, something given by God, and you can feel it when it happens. Have you experience the wind of the Spirit as a gentle breeze? A stiff wind that carries you along? A derecho that rearranged your world?


    10. Imagine God without the Spirit. What would be missing for faith? Or God without Jesus. What would be mission? Why need all three?



               

    Discover More about the Message

    Reflect on the message you heard in person or on-line. You can listen to the message online here.

    https://firstlutherancr.org/resources/sermons

    1. What is something you heard that was interesting or engaging?
    2. Is there anything that raised a question or needed more explanation?
    3. What is one thing you take with you? It may be something to do, something to trust, or a wisdom of insight to have.

    Together with God in Prayer


    OPTION 1: ONE WORD. Take time to reflect about your day, your concerns, and how God may be speaking to you. As you reflect about your day, what is one word that summarizes how you are feeling? What might God be saying to you in this word?


    OPTION 2: Reflect on the past 24 hours

    • Step 1: Ask God to calm your self and help you see your life from God’s perspective.
    • Step 2: Review the last 24 hours. What happened? What stands out? What captures your attention? What is a High and Low of this time? When did you experience God’s presence? When did you feel apart or distant from God?
    • Step 3: Give your day to God your day. Ask for forgiveness where needed. Give thanks.
    • Step 4: Look forward. How might you be more loving this day? What is God calling you to do?

    Prayer

    Who or What can you pray for today?


    Close in the Lord’s Prayer

    Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.


    Five Minutes with God



    INTRODUCTION: Fear can be sneaky. Sometimes fear is a very obvious feeling for a very obvious reason, like when a car veers into your lane of traffic. Sometimes, though, fear shows up disguised in other ways, such as anger, jealousy, hatred, criticism, and other feelings we might not recognize as fear. Paul reminds us that we are God’s children, adopted into a way of life led by the Spirit. When we forget who we are, our fears become a form of slavery. Our fears, especially our sneaky fears, have a way of owning and dominating us.  


    SPIRITUAL PRACTICE: What are you afraid of? What are your sneaky fears? This week when you suspect that fear has hold of you, practice being SASSY!


    SASSY stands for:

    Stop: and remember.

    Adoption: into God’s family is your truth.

    Seek: God who cares for you as a loving parent.

    Spirit: will lead you in the scary situation.

    You: have been set free from fear.


    Probably you can create your own version of SASSY that works better for you. The important thing is to remember who you are, because of Whose you are, and so Who leads you through times of fear.


  • PRINT

    Together in Community

    Check in with one another. 

    If there are 6 or more in the group, then share high’s and low’s in small groups of 2 or 3.

    • If there is a new person, welcome them and introduce group members.
    • (High) Share something good or eventful that you give thanks and praise for?

    Open in Prayer

    We thank you God for bringing us together. We give thanks and praise for the good gifts you have given us. For the concerns and challenges we experience, help us to give them to you in the confidence of your loving care for us. In our sharing and listening, open us to your presence. Amen. 


    5 Minutes with God—Spiritual Practice

    (Optional)



    INTRODUCTION: Fear can be sneaky. Sometimes fear is a very obvious feeling for a very obvious reason, like when a car veers into your lane of traffic. Sometimes, though, fear shows up disguised in other ways, such as anger, jealousy, hatred, criticism, and other feelings we might not recognize as fear. Paul reminds us that we are God’s children, adopted into a way of life led by the Spirit. When we forget who we are, our fears become a form of slavery. Our fears, especially our sneaky fears, have a way of owning and dominating us.  


    SPIRITUAL PRACTICE: SPIRITUAL PRACTICE: What are you afraid of? What are your sneaky fears? This week when you suspect that fear has hold of you, practice being SASSY!


    SASSY stands for:


    Stop: and remember.

    Adoption: into God’s family is your truth.

    Seek: God who cares for you as a loving parent.

    Spirit: will lead you in the scary situation.

    You: have been set free from fear.


    Probably you can create your own version of SASSY that works better for you. The important thing is to remember who you are, because of Whose you are, and so Who leads you through times of fear.

    Discover Scripture and Life


    Introduction: 


    Bible


    Romans 8:12-17

    12Brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh—13for if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 15For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.



    John 3:1-17

    1Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. 2He came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.” 3Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” 4Nicodemus said to him, “How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?” 5Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. 6What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’ 8The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” 9Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” 10Jesus answered him, “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?

     11“Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. 12If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? 13No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 14And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

     16“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.

     17“Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”

        

                     

    Questions:

    Opening Discovery


    1. How do you stay in touch with friends or family who live a great distance from you? 


    More about the scripture


    Jesus presents some contrasts for Nicodemus.

    + Born from Above/Born from Below

    + Born of Spirit/Born of Flesh

    + Born of Water-Spirit/Born not of Water-Spirit

    Jesus is saying human existence is of 2 aspects

    1) Natural existence: natural birth, birth of flesh, life without faith in Jesus

    2) Faith existence: spiritual birth, God given by the spirit, life with faith in Jesus.

    2. Notice that the NRSV says “born from above” not “born again.” The phrase can be translated both ways. What does above or again contribute to the meaning?


    3. Why do you think these distinctions are so hard for Nicodemus to understand? What is behind his confusion? He even seems uncomfortable. Why do you think that is so?


    4. Romans 8 has been described as a chapter about life in the Spirit during times of trial. Here, the very appeal of prayer, the use of “Abba” (as in the Lord’s prayer) is more than a sign of personal faith, it is a sign of God with us, giving us the very words to say. How do you experience prayer? As only talking to God? Or a sense of God with you as you pray?


    5. Luther said John 3:16 is a summary of the Gospel in 1 verse. How is that for you?


    6. John 3:16 is meant to comfort, but how have angry street preachers somehow made John 3:16 into a verse of judgment? (unless you believe)? How do you react?


    7. How does John 3:17 change 3:16?



    More about Life


    1. The image of the wind points to the experience of faith as out of our control, something given by God, and you can feel it when it happens. Have you experience the wind of the Spirit as a gentle breeze? A stiff wind that carries you along? A derecho that rearranged your world?


    2. Imagine God without the Spirit. What would be missing for faith? Or God without Jesus. What would be mission? Why need all three?



    Together in Prayer


    1. As you look to the coming week, what is one word that summarizes how you are feeling.


    2. Do you have any prayer concern that you would like to share? What is it?


    Closing Prayer

    Pray for the concerns shared in the group. Close in the Lord’s Prayer.


    You may also use this prayer.

    O God, we thank you for this time we have shared. We bring before you the joys and concerns of our heart. We pray especially for….. Grant us your healing and peace, in Jesus name. Amen.


    Lord’s Prayer

    Lord remember us in your kingdom and teach us to pray: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.


  • PRINT

    Together in Community

    • If there is a new person, welcome them and introduce group members.

    Discover Scripture and Life

    Open in Prayer

    We thank you God for bringing us together. We give thanks and praise for the good gifts you have given us. For the concerns and challenges we experience, help us to give them to you in the confidence of your loving care for us. In our sharing and listening, open us to your presence.


    Introduction: 


    Bible

    Romans 8:12-17

    12Brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh—13for if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 15For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.


    John 3:1-17

    1Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. 2He came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.” 3Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” 4Nicodemus said to him, “How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?” 5Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. 6What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’ 8The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” 9Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” 10Jesus answered him, “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?

     11“Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. 12If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? 13No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 14And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

     16“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.

     17“Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”



            

    Question—Choose 1 (If there are 6 or more in the group, breakout in groups of 2 or 3.)


    1. How do you stay in touch with friends or family who live a great distance from you?


    2. Jesus presents some contrasts for Nicodemus.

    + Born from Above/Born from Below

    + Born of Spirit/Born of Flesh

    + Born of Water-Spirit/Born not of Water-Spirit

    Jesus is saying human existence is of 2 aspects

    1) Natural existence: natural birth, birth of flesh, life without faith in Jesus

    2) Faith existence: spiritual birth, God given by the spirit, life with faith in Jesus.


    3. Notice that the NRSV says “born from above” not “born again.” The phrase can be translated both ways. What does above or again contribute to the meaning?


    4. Why do you think these distinctions are so hard for Nicodemus to understand? What is behind his confusion? He even seems uncomfortable. Why do you think that is so?


    5. Romans 8 has been described as a chapter about life in the Spirit during times of trial. Here, the very appeal of prayer, the use of “Abba” (as in the Lord’s prayer) is more than a sign of personal faith, it is a sign of God with us, giving us the very words to say. How do you experience prayer? As only talking to God? Or a sense of God with you as you pray?


    6. Luther said John 3:16 is a summary of the Gospel in 1 verse. How is that for you?


    7. John 3:16 is meant to comfort, but how have angry street preachers somehow made John 3:16 into a verse of judgment? (unless you believe)? How do you react?


    8. How does John 3:17 change 3:16?


    9. The image of the wind points to the experience of faith as out of our control, something given by God, and you can feel it when it happens. Have you experience the wind of the Spirit as a gentle breeze? A stiff wind that carries you along? A derecho that rearranged your world?


    10. Imagine God without the Spirit. What would be missing for faith? Or God without Jesus. What would be mission? Why need all three?


     

    Together in Prayer

    Connect with one another before prayer. Choose one of these options.


    Option 1: One word—As you reflect about your day, what is one word that summarizes how you are feeling.


    Option 2—Share High’s and Low’s

    (If there are 6 or more in the group, then share high’s and low’s in small groups of 2 or 3.)


    Prayer—We thank you God for bringing us together. We give thanks and praise for the good gifts you have given us. For the concerns and challenges we experience, help us to give them to you in the confidence of your loving care for us. In our sharing and listening, open us to your presence. Amen.


    Lord’s Prayer—Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.


  • May 26.docxPrint

    FIVE MINUTES WITH GOD



    INTRODUCTION:  Fear can be sneaky. Sometimes fear is a very obvious feeling for a very obvious reason, like when a car veers into your lane of traffic. Sometimes, though, fear shows up disguised in other ways, such as anger, jealousy, hatred, criticism, and other feelings we might not recognize as fear. Paul reminds us that we are God’s children, adopted into a way of life led by the Spirit. When we forget who we are, our fears become a form of slavery. Our fears, especially our sneaky fears, have a way of owning and dominating us.  


    SPIRITUAL PRACTICE: What are you afraid of? What are your sneaky fears? This week when you suspect that fear has hold of you, practice being SASSY!


    SASSY stands for:

    Stop: and remember.

    Adoption: into God’s family is your truth.

    Seek: God who cares for you as a loving parent.

    Spirit: will lead you in the scary situation.

    You: have been set free from fear.


    Probably you can create your own version of SASSY that works better for you. The important thing is to remember who you are, because of Whose you are, and so Who leads you through times of fear.


  • print


    Discover Scripture and Life


    Introduction: 


    Bible

    Acts 2:1-4, 14-20, 37-42

    1When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. 4All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

    14But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, "Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. 15Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o'clock in the morning. 16No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:

    17'In the last days it will be, God declares,

    that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,

    and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,

    and your young men shall see visions,

    and your old men shall dream dreams.

    18Even upon my slaves, both men and women,

    in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.

    19And I will show portents in the heaven above

    and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist.

    20The sun shall be turned to darkness

    and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord's great and glorious day.

    37Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, "Brothers, what should we do?" 38Peter said to them, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him." 40And he testified with many other arguments and exhorted them, saying, "Save yourselves from this corrupt generation." 41So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added. 42They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.


    John 15:26-27, 16:12-15

    26When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf. 27You also are to testify because you have been with me from the beginning.

    12I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.


    Chapter 8 Highlights

    • Any church can change to grow young. Nearly 1 in 3 research participants noted their church had undergone significant shifts to become more effective with young people.

    • Churches do not change to grow young by pursuing a silver bullet, relying on their size or large budget, or hiring staff to solve their problems.

    • A crucial early step in a congregation’s journey toward growing young is to understand its unique context through careful and systematic listening to all generations.

    • By sharing stories of future hope, congregations can both develop and communicate their vision for growing young.

    • Changes toward growing young are made easier by beginning where you have the most influence, constructing a holding environment, experimenting on the margins and maintaining disciplined attention.



    Questions for Reflection


    1. Have you ever been surprised by God? God showing up or doing something you were not expecting?


    2. The story of Acts and talk about the spirit is really a story of organizational change and development. God makes this happen. Just look at the story of Acts again. What changes happened because of the Spirit?

    a. What happened to the disciples?

    b. What happened to the message and its effect?

    c. What happened for new member recruitment?


    3. How was the church changed from the beginning of Acts 1 to the end of Acts 2? Acts 1:6, the disciples are thinking in old terms: "Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?" What happened instead?


    4. In Acts 1, the disciples take administrative action and elect Mathias to replace Judas. Nothing is ever heard of Mathias again. Then God acts in chapter 2. What is that saying about how change happens to a church?


    5. The disciples do certain things to be ready for God’s action…other than choosing Mathias.

    Acts 1:14 -- 12Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day's journey away. 13When they had entered the city, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying,14All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers…AND When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place

    How would you summarize what kinds of things the disciples did in these verses?


    6. What would it mean for FLC to do the same things? How does a church today devote to prayer, to scripture, to being together?


    7. Underline key actions or phrases from the chapter 8 highlights. What stands out to you?


    8. What are the key insights from the worship series on Growing Young for you?


    9. What would you like to see happen? What 1 or 2 key actions steps or shifts in thinking/ imagination should we consider?


    10. If you were to ask the Holy Spirit to do something here, what would you ask for?


     

    Together with God in Prayer


    OPTION 1: ONE WORD. Take time to reflect about your day, your concerns, and how God may be speaking to you. As you reflect about your day, what is one word that summarizes how you are feeling? What might God be saying to you in this word?


    OPTION 2: Reflect on the past 24 hours

    • Step 1: Ask God to calm your self and help you see your life from God’s perspective.
    • Step 2: Review the last 24 hours. What happened? What stands out? What captures your attention? What is a High and Low of this time? When did you experience God’s presence? When did you feel apart or distant from God?
    • Step 3: Give your day to God your day. Ask for forgiveness where needed. Give thanks.
    • Step 4: Look forward. How might you be more loving this day? What is God calling you to do?

    Prayer

    Who or What can you pray for today?


    Close in the Lord’s Prayer

    Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.


    Five Minutes with God


    INTRODUCTION: Our Pentecost readings remind us that the Spirit blows through and enlightens our lives. Peter tells us that the Spirit comes to all of us: young and old, men and women from all walks of life. Jesus comforts us with a description of the Spirit’s purpose and work. The Spirit keeps the presence of Jesus alive in us by confirming and guiding us to truth. There’s nothing flashy about the Spirit’s work. Perhaps that’s why we don’t often notice the Spirit’s wind and flame in our everyday, ordinary lives. When we look for Holy Spirit Moments, however, we realize that the Spirit’s confirming, guiding, joyous flame is a constant presence with and within us.


    SPIRITUAL PRACTICE: This week be attentive to the Holy Spirit Moments. What is a Holy Spirit Moment? These are unique to each of us but here are some possibilities: an unexpected insight; knowing something is the right thing to do; life comes together in an unexpected way; hearing or reading something that feels personal; a great conversation; noticing something beautiful or true. These are just examples! No flash or boom! Just ways to know the Spirit is your companion in your everyday life.

  • Print


    Together in Community

    Check in with one another. 

    If there are 6 or more in the group, then share high’s and low’s in small groups of 2 or 3.

    • If there is a new person, welcome them and introduce group members.
    • (High) Share something good or eventful that you give thanks and praise for?
    Open in Prayer
    We thank you God for bringing us together. We give thanks and praise for the good gifts you have given us. For the concerns and challenges we experience, help us to give them to you in the confidence of your loving care for us. In our sharing and listening, open us to your presence. Amen. 

    5 Minutes with God—Spiritual Practice

    (Optional)

    INTRODUCTION: Our Pentecost readings remind us that the Spirit blows through and enlightens our lives. Peter tells us that the Spirit comes to all of us: young and old, men and women from all walks of life. Jesus comforts us with a description of the Spirit’s purpose and work. The Spirit keeps the presence of Jesus alive in us by confirming and guiding us to truth. There’s nothing flashy about the Spirit’s work. Perhaps that’s why we don’t often notice the Spirit’s wind and flame in our everyday, ordinary lives. When we look for Holy Spirit Moments, however, we realize that the Spirit’s confirming, guiding, joyous flame is a constant presence with and within us.


    SPIRITUAL PRACTICE: This week be attentive to the Holy Spirit Moments. What is a Holy Spirit Moment? These are unique to each of us but here are some possibilities: an unexpected insight; knowing something is the right thing to do; life comes together in an unexpected way; hearing or reading something that feels personal; a great conversation; noticing something beautiful or true. These are just examples! No flash or boom! Just ways to know the Spirit is your companion in your everyday life.


    Discover Scripture and Life


    Introduction: 


    Bible


    Acts 2:1-4, 14-20, 37-42

    1When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. 4All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

    14But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, "Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. 15Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o'clock in the morning. 16No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:

    17'In the last days it will be, God declares,

    that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,

    and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,

    and your young men shall see visions,

    and your old men shall dream dreams.

    18Even upon my slaves, both men and women,

    in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.

    19And I will show portents in the heaven above

    and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist.

    20The sun shall be turned to darkness

    and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord's great and glorious day.

    37Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, "Brothers, what should we do?" 38Peter said to them, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him." 40And he testified with many other arguments and exhorted them, saying, "Save yourselves from this corrupt generation." 41So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added. 42They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.


    John 15:26-27, 16:12-15

    26When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf. 27You also are to testify because you have been with me from the beginning.

    12I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.


    Chapter 8 Highlights

    • Any church can change to grow young. Nearly 1 in 3 research participants noted their church had undergone significant shifts to become more effective with young people.

    • Churches do not change to grow young by pursuing a silver bullet, relying on their size or large budget, or hiring staff to solve their problems.

    • A crucial early step in a congregation’s journey toward growing young is to understand its unique context through careful and systematic listening to all generations.

    • By sharing stories of future hope, congregations can both develop and communicate their vision for growing young.

    • Changes toward growing young are made easier by beginning where you have the most influence, constructing a holding environment, experimenting on the margins and maintaining disciplined attention.


    Opening Discovery

    1. Have you ever been surprised by God? God showing up or doing something you were not expecting? 


    More about the Scripture


    1. The story of Acts and talk about the spirit is really a story of organizational change and development. God makes this happen. Just look at the story of Acts again. What changes happened because of the Spirit?

    a. What happened to the disciples?

    b. What happened to the message and its effect?

    c. What happened for new member recruitment?


    2. How was the church changed from the beginning of Acts 1 to the end of Acts 2? Acts 1:6, the disciples are thinking in old terms: "Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?" What happened instead?


    3. In Acts 1, the disciples take administrative action and elect Mathias to replace Judas. Nothing is ever heard of Mathias again. Then God acts in chapter 2. What is that saying about how change happens to a church?


    4. The disciples do certain things to be ready for God’s action…other than choosing Mathias.


    5. Acts 1:14 -- 12Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day's journey away. 13When they had entered the city, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying,14All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers…AND When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place--How would you summarize what kinds of things the disciples did in these verses?



    More about Life


    1. How does FLC actively prioritize young people across the collective life and ministries of the church?


    2. Where and How do you see this taking place?


    3. When you had young children, how did the church support you in raising children in the faith and nurturing their spiritual growth?


    4. Why does the book talk about prioritizing young people everywhere? What is at stake?


    5. What does prioritizing young people everywhere mean to you?


    Together in Prayer


    1. What would it mean for FLC to do the same things? How does a church today devote to prayer, to scripture, to being together?


    2. Underline key actions or phrases from the chapter 8 highlights. What stands out to you?


    3. What are the key insights from the worship series on Growing Young for you?


    4. What would you like to see happen? What 1 or 2 key actions steps or shifts in thinking/ imagination should we consider?


    5. If you were to ask the Holy Spirit to do something here, what would you ask for?



    Closing Prayer

    Pray for the concerns shared in the group. Close in the Lord’s Prayer.


    You may also use this prayer.

    O God, we thank you for this time we have shared. We bring before you the joys and concerns of our heart. We pray especially for….. Grant us your healing and peace, in Jesus name. Amen.


    Lord’s Prayer

    Lord remember us in your kingdom and teach us to pray: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.


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    Together in Community

    • If there is a new person, welcome them and introduce group members.

    Discover Scripture and Life


    Introduction: 


    Bible

    Acts 2:1-4, 14-20, 37-42

    1When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. 4All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

    14But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, "Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. 15Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o'clock in the morning. 16No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:

    17'In the last days it will be, God declares,

    that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,

    and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,

    and your young men shall see visions,

    and your old men shall dream dreams.

    18Even upon my slaves, both men and women,

    in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.

    19And I will show portents in the heaven above

    and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist.

    20The sun shall be turned to darkness

    and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord's great and glorious day.

    37Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, "Brothers, what should we do?" 38Peter said to them, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him." 40And he testified with many other arguments and exhorted them, saying, "Save yourselves from this corrupt generation." 41So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added. 42They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.


    John 15:26-27, 16:12-15

    26When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf. 27You also are to testify because you have been with me from the beginning.

    12I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.


    Chapter 8 Highlights

    • Any church can change to grow young. Nearly 1 in 3 research participants noted their church had undergone significant shifts to become more effective with young people.

    • Churches do not change to grow young by pursuing a silver bullet, relying on their size or large budget, or hiring staff to solve their problems.

    • A crucial early step in a congregation’s journey toward growing young is to understand its unique context through careful and systematic listening to all generations.

    • By sharing stories of future hope, congregations can both develop and communicate their vision for growing young.

    • Changes toward growing young are made easier by beginning where you have the most influence, constructing a holding environment, experimenting on the margins and maintaining disciplined attention.


      

    Questions—Choose 1 (If there are 6 or more in the group, breakout in groups of 2 or 3.)


    1. Have you ever been surprised by God? God showing up or doing something you were not expecting?


    2. The story of Acts and talk about the spirit is really a story of organizational change and development. God makes this happen. Just look at the story of Acts again. What changes happened because of the Spirit?

    a. What happened to the disciples?

    b. What happened to the message and its effect?

    c. What happened for new member recruitment?


    3. How was the church changed from the beginning of Acts 1 to the end of Acts 2? Acts 1:6, the disciples are thinking in old terms: "Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?" What happened instead?


    4. In Acts 1, the disciples take administrative action and elect Mathias to replace Judas. Nothing is ever heard of Mathias again. Then God acts in chapter 2. What is that saying about how change happens to a church?


    5. The disciples do certain things to be ready for God’s action…other than choosing Mathias.

    Acts 1:14 -- 12Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day's journey away. 13When they had entered the city, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying,14All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers…AND When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place

    How would you summarize what kinds of things the disciples did in these verses?


    6. What would it mean for FLC to do the same things? How does a church today devote to prayer, to scripture, to being together?


    7. Underline key actions or phrases from the chapter 8 highlights. What stands out to you?


    8. What are the key insights from the worship series on Growing Young for you?


    9. What would you like to see happen? What 1 or 2 key actions steps or shifts in thinking/ imagination should we consider?


    10. If you were to ask the Holy Spirit to do something here, what would you ask for?


             

    Option 1: One word—As you reflect about your day, what is one word that summarizes how you are feeling.


    Option 2—Share High’s and Low’s

    (If there are 6 or more in the group, then share high’s and low’s in small groups of 2 or 3.)


    Prayer—We thank you God for bringing us together. We give thanks and praise for the good gifts you have given us. For the concerns and challenges we experience, help us to give them to you in the confidence of your loving care for us. In our sharing and listening, open us to your presence. Amen.


    Lord’s Prayer—Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.


  • Print

    FIVE MINUTES WITH GOD

    INTRODUCTION: Our Pentecost readings remind us that the Spirit blows through and enlightens our lives. Peter tells us that the Spirit comes to all of us: young and old, men and women from all walks of life. Jesus comforts us with a description of the Spirit’s purpose and work. The Spirit keeps the presence of Jesus alive in us by confirming and guiding us to truth. There’s nothing flashy about the Spirit’s work. Perhaps that’s why we don’t often notice the Spirit’s wind and flame in our everyday, ordinary lives. When we look for Holy Spirit Moments, however, we realize that the Spirit’s confirming, guiding, joyous flame is a constant presence with and within us.

     

    SPIRITUAL PRACTICEThis week be attentive to the Holy Spirit Moments. What is a Holy Spirit Moment? These are unique to each of us but here are some possibilities: an unexpected insight; knowing something is the right thing to do; life comes together in an unexpected way; hearing or reading something that feels personal; a great conversation; noticing something beautiful or true. These are just examples! No flash or boom! Just ways to know the Spirit is your companion in your everyday life.