Session 2: Real Accountability
Hello Ladies!!! Welcome to Week 2! I hope you ladies had a wonderful week. We missed you last week, but so glad you made the time to catch up with us tonight.
Thank God for technology that we can still meet from the comfort of your home when life gets in the way and you just can't join us at the buiding we call church. But as the Father said, where any two or more meet, He will be there (Matthew 18:20 - "For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them".) That's called church too ladies! So grab a cup of tea or something nice, get your study guide, a notebook, a pen or highlighter and your bible. Ready? Let's get started!
Let's open in prayer. Please bow heads and join us
We thank you so much for this alternative way to meet and study your word with each other. We pray that we will feel your presence and hear your voice through the message in our study guide. We pray that you will guide our conversation as we share our thoughts with each other and strive to honor you as we grow in the Lord. In Jesus name, Amen.
Session 2 Description:
Our second session is about accountability, one of the priceless gifts of Christian community. (Better is open rebuke than love that is concealed. The wounds of a friend are trustworthy - Proverbs 27:5-6). This session takes the work of spiritual evaluation you did on your own last week and establishes guardrails to keep you on track for the new commitments you made.
We will first review the homework from last week (session 1), then we will review the introduction to session 2. Then, you will complete 3 days (only 3 days!) of homework from this session (session 2) on your own before we meet next week, at which time we will discuss the homework in our group. Sound good? Alright.
Session 1 Homework Review
Last week, we had homework on pages 13-19. Let's take some time to discuss.
In the "Engage" section on page 13, the scripture that's referenced is Revelation 3:14-22.
Activity: Take some time to read these verses now please.
Wow! Some very strong words here!
Activity: Please read all of page 13 and then we will open up the discussion.
Note the analogy made using hot, cold and lukewarm water. Both hot and cold water are opposites, but both have specific benefits and are both useful. Lukewarm water, on the other hand, is not only something to complain about, but can actually be harmful as it could contain harmful sediments when brought from distant sources back in the day. I don't know about you, but I never thought about verse 16 like this before!
Activity: Take a minute and look at verse 16 again, with this analogy in mind.
Q1: How did you feel when you re-read Jesus' words "I will spit you out of my mouth"?
Q2: How can we slowly become lukewarm with God when we drift from Him?
Q3: What evidences of lukewarm water do you see in believers' lives today? How about your own life?
Q4: According to verse 19, what was motivating Jesus to offer such a harsh rebuke and such stern discipline? (See also Hebrews 12:6).
Share your thoughts in the Comments Section below for any or all of these questions - remember to add the question # before each comment.(Reflection and sharing in bible study is an important part of our growth and helps to maximize the benefit of the study. However, we understand if you are not comfortable sharing at this point. If that's you, I encourage you to answer the questions anyway, in a notebook/journal or even on your PC in a word doc)
REMINDER: Keep in mind that this blog can be viewed by anyone who comes to this website, so if you would like privacy, just use your first name and last initial versus your full name when you add your comments in the Comments Section. If you are joining us during our meeting time, don't forget to hit the REFRESH button on your browser to be able to see comments by others. You will not need to do this if you review the session after our online meeting.
The 2 things Jesus said in verse 19, that we should do, is to be zealous and to repent. The guide defines "zealous" as "getting hot for God again" and then defines "repent" as changing our minds and hearts about something resulting in a "change of lifestyle".
When you did your self-assessment last week (page 11), you should have put some clarity around your own relationship with God. And you should have a pretty clear idea about how zealous and repentant you are. As Christians, we are always growing and maturing, which means we all have room to improve on the "zealous and repent" scale.
Nobody said it was easy, but Jesus in His usual way, is anything BUT lukewarm when He tells us HOW to get zealous and repentant. In a nutshell, He extends an invitation to let Him into our hearts for a more intimate relationship. You see, we cannot do this on our own. But when we sincerely ask Christ to come into our lives and have His way, He can do amazing things in our lives that draw us closer to Him and away from the ways of the world.
Activity: Take a moment to write in your guide the 3 things that are keeping you from being more on fire for God? (You may also share in the Comments if you would like).
Activity: Pray the prayer at the bottom of page 13. Better yet, write it out and post it where you will see it daily and remind you to pray it everyday.
DAY 1: Why Attend Church? (Page 14-15)
In the movie clip, Miss Clara is hilarious when she asks Elizabeth (Priscilla Shrier) why she only attends church occassionaly - and does that mean that her pastor only preaches occassionally. Simple humor that makes a point.
Why does it matter to attend church regularly? Today we will take a look at why this is important. Of course, merely attending church does not make one a Christian, and similarly, claiming to be a Christian doesn't necessarily mean one knows Christ personally.
2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us to test ourselves/examine if we are truly in the faith. 2 Corinthians 13:5 tells us that if we really know Christ, our hearts will have true transformation, resulting in a change in lifestyle in many ways. One of the changes will be that we have a love for other Christians, wanting to connect with other Christians and share our lives with each other. (The book of 1 John).
Activity: Acts 2:44-46 describes the connection between the believers of the early church.
Q5: How would you describe it in your own words?
Q6: How does this compare to the believers you know? Which similarities are most evident, and what is most lacking in believers you know?
Activity: Based on 1 Corinthians 12:24b-27 (on bottom of page 14)
Q7: Have you had a time of distress when other believers have reached out to you, or maybe you have had the opportunity to reach out to another believer who needed support during a difficult time. Are you willing to share an experience you have had?
Q8: Have you had a time of joy that you shared with the body of Christ - your small group or circle of Christian friends. How did they share in your joy to multiply it?
Activity: Based on Hebrews 10:23-25
Q9: What is the reason(s) given for believers to maintain faithful gatherings?
Wrap-Up Activity for Day 1: take a few minutes to 1) evaluate your connectedness to your church, and 2) prayerfully ask God how He wants you to be more deeply connected to your church. If you are willing to share your thoughts on this, please do so in the comments section.
Day 1 Key Principle: God commands His children to stay connected - to love, serve, forgive, encourage, comfort, and pray for one another on a consistent basis. Not only do we mutually benefit and find joy in the beauty of these relationships, but God is glorified!
DAY 2: What's the temperature of your Prayer Life? (Page 16-17)
Our prayer life is the heart of this study, and on Day 2, we are examining our individual prayer life on the spectrum of Hot to Cold. We are challenged to think about how we pray. Do we lean towards the 'Cold" end of the spectrum? In other words, do we pray only when we are in need? Is prayer just a laundry list of our hurts, needs, wants? Is it just an afterthought? Or do we lean towards the "Hot" end of the spectrum, where prayer is constant necessity in our daily lives? Do we see it as a weapon and not just a want ad? Do we see it as a beautiful way to fellowship with our precious Father?
Activity: For the exercise you completed on page 16, please share at least one thing you wrote about God's armor and it's purpose.
Q10: Have you ever thought of prayer as armor/ battle attire? Do you believe in spiritual warfare? If so, do you often identify it when it's active in your life? Are you willing to share an experience?
Based on the exercise you completed on page 17:
Q11: How does Ephesians 6:18 instruct us to pray? When, for whom and how should we pray? Was any of this an "Aha" moment for you?
Q12: For the phrases in verse 18 that you defined in this exercise, what resonated with you? Was anything a surprise to you?
Q13: At times, what might cause you to forget your need for Christ and the armor of God? And how can you overcome this?
Activity for Day 2 wrap-up: (Bottom of page 17)
1) Choosing a posture of submission (on your knees or lying face down), confess your great need for God. Ask Him to identify for you things you try to place before Him. Express your desire to remove those things and depend solely on Him.
2) Compose a statement indicating your desire for a richer prayer life. Express to God where you would like your prayer life to go in the days ahead. Ask Him to help you get there. Remember, you cannot do this in your own strength.
Day 2 Key Principle: Prayer is one of our best resources when it comes to spiritual growth. It's also a weapon we have for battle. It's a priviledge to approach God through Jesus. How much we pray reveals how much we depend on God. How little we pray reveals our self-sufficiency. A richer, more active prayer life results when we humbly admit our need for God and depend on Him daily for widsom and grace to do His will in each situation.
DAY 3: Learning from each other - mentoring and being mentored. (Page 18-19)
On Day 1, we discussed the importance of staying connected to other believers. One of the greatest benefits of this is that we can learn alot about our own journey in life from each other. We don't have to repeat one another's mistakes and we can learn about being stronger Christ followers by observing Christians more mature than we are. This is one of the Bible's prescribed methods of discipleship. (1 Corinthians 11:1, 1 Corinthians 4:16 and Hebrews 13:7).
Activity: Based on the exercises you completed on pages 18-19:
Q14: Do you have a Christian friend or family member who you consider a mentor? Someone you have learned from in terms of your spiritual growth? (Psalm 145:4)
Q15:Has this person helped you to avoid landmines in your life, based on their wise counsel or example? Are you willing to share at some level?
Q16: In the evaluation tool, did you uncover specific areas in your Christian walk that are lacking and require steps to improve? Write a commitment statement on what you want to improve on and how you plan to do so. Are you receptive to a mentor or trusted friend holding you accountable to your commitment? (Proverbs 27:17)
Day 3 Key Principle: As a maturing believer, remember the generation before us and the one after us. The previous generation has a responsibility to teach us/ mentor us / or lead by example. We also have a responsibility to pass on our faith to the next generation. Please ready Psalm 145:4 now.
Wrap-Up Activity for Day 3: Pray now for your present and future mentors and also those who will be under your care. List the names of the people in your life to whom you feel a personal responsibility to model a Christ-like example.
Session 2 Review
Let's consider the following questions:
Q17: What stood out most to you during last week's session?
Q18: What spiritual evaluations or commitments did God lead you to make this past week?
Activity: Please answer one or both questions in the comments section below. Remember to add the question # before you write your comments.
Activity: Read the prayer on page 21 (aloud). It is based on Psalm 141:3-5a.
Q19: Is this a prayer you would willingly (or normally) pray? Please answer in the comments section below. Remember to add the question # before you write your comments.
Take time to define the term "accountability".
Q20: What does it look like? How is it best utilized? How have you seen it abused?
Activity: Please answer one or all questions in the comments section below. Remember to add the question # before you write your comments.
Activity: Read a summary description of the clip on page 22 of your study guide.
Let's discuss the clip based on the questions in your study guide, page 22. Let's take some time to share as you feel led, answering the following questions:
Q21: Explain a moment when you have been in Michael's sneakers. How was it easy or difficult for you to speak challenging words to someone you care about.
Q22: Consider a moment when you have found yourself in Tony's place. Did you have someone in your life that stepped up and confronted your sin? If so, how did you receive it.
Q23: How important is accountability in the context of Christian relationships? Why do you think that?
Activity: Please answer one or all questions in the comments section below. Remember to add the question # before you write your comments.
Ok. If you are done entering your comments below, thank you for sharing ladies. It is always a blessing to share and encourage each other. Our growth would be almost non-existent without it.
Session 2 Homework Assignment:
For your homework, please complete the "Engage" section on page 23, as well as Days 1-3 on pages 24-29. Only 3 days - yeah!!
Have fun with it and remember, just do the best you can. God will always show up when his daughters are pursuing Him
Love you ladies. See you next week - at church (and where is that?) where 2 or more meet in His name! God BlessYou!
What a wonderful time you have given us tonight. We thank you for always meeting our needs when we seek you and trust you like these ladies did tonight in our online bible study. Even though they couldn't make it to our in-person class on Thursday night, they showed up tonight as you led them to! I pray that you will bless them and keep them and may your face shine upon them. We love you and praise you Jesus. In your name we pray, Amen.