Sunday 10/01 - Saturday 10/07
"Inside Out: Going Back in Order to Go Forward"
by Deacon Dennis Lawson Sr.
If your group has more than 7 people, you're encouraged to split into men's and women's groups for "Warm Ups". Also, it often works better to go around the circle three times instead of each person having to answer all three questions at once.
Warm-Ups (15 min)
Warm-Ups (15 min)
- Share your high moment and low moment of the week.
- How do you know when something has really dealt with?
- What is one small thing you are able to do today to show you are no longer living in the past?
- Do you have any God moments to share from this past week?
Large Group Prayer (10 min)
- Take turns praying (1) Thanksgivings, (2) for each other's needs, and (3) for our community.
- Click herefor creative ideas on how to pray as a group.
Study (35 min)
Give us the ability to not live in the past or to worry over the future. Give is the desire to live in the present that we may be present to serve You. Teach us Oh Lord, that we can not change the past and You hold the future. Give us this day our daily bread and give us a peace and contentment to be satisfied with it.
In the Name of Jesus Christ, The One Who Provides Our Needs! Amen
DAVID AND THE (OTHER) GIANT
BY NATHAN CARLSON
David eyed the giant carefully, studying his moves and his weaponry. His spear was larger than David had ever seen; he estimated the tip alone weighed eight pounds. The giant’s sword was new, shiny and unscathed and contrasted sharply with his battle-worn face and steely eyes. This experienced warrior was the champion of the Philistine army and David knew he could kill him. David knew giants. He was big, strong and well armored but David was nimble and fast, maybe not as fast as he once was but experience was on his side, or so he thought. They circled each other, feinted left then right, each testing the other’s quickness. Suddenly David realized he was no match for this enemy that was faster, stronger, quicker and better equipped. David could not keep pace. David had fought many battles, killed many men, but he was in trouble. He had overestimated his aging battle skills and under-estimated his enemy’s abilities. The giant knew it too. His eyes were confident, he felt a kill coming; his lips curled with an evil smirk. Then David heard a familiar battle shriek and the eyes of the giant, Ishbi-Benob, filled with fear. David knew he would be okay; his faithful warrior and friend, Abishai, was at his side.
Once again there was a battle between the Philistines and Israel. David went down with his men to fight against the Philistines, and he became exhausted. And Ishbi-Benob, one of the descendants of Rapha, whose bronze spearhead weighed three hundred shekels and who was armed with a new sword, said he would kill David. But Abishai son of Zeruiah came to David’s rescue; he struck the Philistine down and killed him. Then David’s men swore to him, saying, “Never again will you go out with us to battle, so that the lamp of Israel will not be extinguished.” I Samuel 21: 15-17
This battle, which was fought late in David’s life, contrasts sharply with his well-known battle with Goliath. Then, David was a young teenager; here, he fought Ishbi-Benob in his sixty’s. That battle launched his fighting days; this battle ended them. A whole chapter of 51 verses is devoted to telling the story of Goliath; this story is tucked away in three verses. He was at the right place, at the right time, well-prepared and killed Goliath; here he was at the wrong place at the wrong time and would have been killed were it not for Abishai coming to his rescue.
WHO WAS ABISHAI?
He was David’s nephew, the son of his sister, Zeruiah(1). His brothers were Joab, the commander of David’s army, and Asahel, a runner and one of David’s band of Thirty Mighty Men. But, Abishai was the leader of The Three—the greatest of David’s Mighty Men(2).
Forty years of fighting Israel’s enemies, camping out in the wilderness, hiding from King Saul, eating, drinking, worshiping and praying together had forged a deep friendship. Together they had fought many battles and killed many enemies. Abishai was perhaps one of the first to hear many of David’s newly-written Psalms. He joined in David’s victories, witnessed his integrity, mourned his failures, and celebrated his life. He was fiercely loyal.
While in his twenties, David, and his band of Mighty Men and Misfits, were being pursued by King Saul’s army through the remote, desert areas of Israel. King Saul and his military commander, Abner, thought they were hunting David but David was stalking them. David watched as Abner’s army of three thousand soldiers set up their evening camp. He examined their defensive perimeter and came up with a crazy, hare-brained idea. “In the middle of the night let’s sneak around the guards, past three thousand men, past King Saul’s personal security detail and General Abner himself, steal something belonging to King Saul and then sneak back out of his camp.”
“Who will go with me?” David asked. “I will,” said Abishai. So, the two of them did just that, took the King Saul’s spear and the jug of water at his head, and retreated a safe distance. From there they woke up Saul’s army and taunted Abner for his dereliction of duties. King Saul finally realized that David held no ill-will towards him and called off the search(3).
One time when David and his band of men were hiding out in the cave of Adullam, Abishai heard David utter a yearning thought, “Oh for a drink from the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate.” One problem--Bethlehem, David’s home town, was at that time enemy-occupied by a Philistines garrison. Yet, it was Abishai, along with two other mighty men, who risked their lives and broke through the enemy lines to bring back to David a cool drink from the well that had refreshed him in so many times in his youth(4).
“THE BEST TIME TO MAKE FRIENDS IS BEFORE YOU NEED THEM.” ETHEL BARRYMORE
Researchers have found that people with good social relationships are half less likely to die early than are more isolated people(5). Specifically, they found that "a lack of social relationships was equivalent to smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day. Having low levels of social interaction was equivalent to being an alcoholic, was more harmful than not exercising and was twice as harmful as obesity.” Yet, despite the importance of friendships, the number of people reporting having no one to discuss important matters has tripled in recent years(6).
The apostle John chose to end his gospel not with Jesus ascension, but with a story not found in any other gospel, breakfast on the beach(7). Jesus knew that he was soon leaving this earth but he did not spend this precious remaining time developing with his disciples a strategic evangelism plan with goals and objectives. Rather, he focused on relationships, friendships, the restoration of Peter, and serving his disciples a fresh, fish breakfast.
The essence of this spiritual walk is one of progressively deeper relationships with God and with each other and all this is done within the context of family. It starts by joining the family; God is our father, Jesus is our brother, and we immediately have many brothers and sisters in Christ. We spend the rest of our lives getting to know our new “kin” but at different levels. Some are acquaintances, some casual friends, some close friends, and some intimate friends—Abishais who you have shared your life with, who know your strengths, weaknesses, and faults, who you trust implicitly, who you look to for advice and he to you, who would defend you in a battle and then, if necessary, if this was not your battle to fight, if you were ill-prepared, confront you after the battle was won.
Abishais—fiercely loyal yet willing to give you the unvarnished truth. This sort of deep mutual friendship can take years to develop for it is forged through shared experiences, often in the heat of battles.
As business owners, close and deep friendships may be tough to come by for such friendships may be inappropriate within the business and not much time is left outside of the business to develop deep relationships. Are there Abishais in your life?
If yes, you are fortunate; if not, why not?
What steps should you take to develop or resurrect this sort of relationship?
(1) I Chron 2:16
(2) I Chron 11:20
(3) This story is told in I Samuel 26
(4) 2 Samuel 23: 13-17, David refused to drink the water and instead poured it out as a drink offering to God
(5) Research at Brigham Young University, let by Julianne Holt-Lunstad
(6) 2004 General Social Survey vs the same 1984 survey
(7) John 21
Discipleship Trios (25 min)
The goal is to have intentional time to share your journey with others. Break into same gender groups of three and move to seperate spaces. If numbers necessitate flexibility, form groups of 2 instead.
- Review the listener committments if you haven't done so in a while.
- The goal is not to pressure others into sharing more than they want to, or to give unsolicited advice, but to ask others how God is stretching them, be challenged by God's Word together, ask what others are planning to do about their growth areas, and ask how you can support them!
Share Your Journey: What have you heard from God through your Life Journal / Bible readings this week? What's an area of your life in which you know you need to repent and/or grow?
- If you need additional accountability questions, try pulling from this list or the accountability questions in this doc in order to spark reflection and discussion.
- When you hear a confession, you're encouraged to speak God's forgiveness!
- If you feel one of your group members is blind to something, (1) think about whether or not you're the right person to bring it up, (2) ask permission to share something, (3) phrase it as a question.
Discipleship Trio Prayer Time
- Share: Tell us what connections you're building and spiritual conversations you're having with non-believing friends.
- Pray for non-believers in your lives by name: ___________________.
- Pray for each other.
Optional Worship Song (+5 min)
- If you'd like, you can sing a worship song as a group. Don't have a musician? Sing along to a lyric video: SJDenver.org/Songs
- Advent/Christmas songs can be found at SJDenver.org/ChristmasSongs
Serve Our City
- Has your group planned an opportunity to serve our city for this semester? Click Here for a list of Service Ideas!
- Was there a glitch in today's material? Want to request a song? Do you have a suggestion? Click Here!