Family is our first place to experience community, and it is also a place where we have a collective experience that pulls us together. It is easy to identify this collective experience within our nuclear family, but God always intended for us to be connected as an extended family as well. Jesus constantly and intentionally reached out to people around Him and included them in His life. We also see this reality in the lives of Paul and Timothy. As disciples of Jesus, we need to understand the importance of extended family as the vehicle for the mission of God.
Read Mark 3:31-35
- In the passage, Jesus intentionally reorients what it means to be family by broadening the definition of a collective experience. What makes your nuclear family a family? What would it look like for your family to expand your collective experience and become an extended family?
- What are the traits we need to become an extended family? Why? What might be the challenges?
- Read 2 Timothy 1:3-8. Looking at the way Paul writes to Timothy, how would you describe their relationship? What do you think happened behind the scenes that gave rise to their deep trust for one another? Can you think of other characters in the Bible with a similar relationship?
- As a family we spur each other to do the will of the Father. Is there anyone in your life that has been investing in you in this way? To whom have you been investing in this kind of relationship?
- We also spur each other to follow the voice of Jesus. What does it look like for you to do this? How can you identify the voice of Jesus? What might hinder us from listening to His voice and from spurring each other?
- Take a minute of quiet time and think about the people in your life today. Who is God placing around you that could potentially be your extended family? What is God saying to you right now?
To be an extended family requires closeness to Jesus and an openness to others. We need relationships where we can encourage and pray for one another, as well as be willing to show our vulnerability and weakness. Who is one person that God wants you to be an extended family for? How can this Life Group hold each other accountable in this matter?
God’s vehicle for mission has always been through extended family. We find ourselves at a time in history where we observe the world gripped by a pandemic that is continually changing the parameters of how we do our normal daily life. Yet we see that God has gone before us, and has prepared the way for us to again lean into inter-dependence upon our broader intentional extended family to truly do life, and to share God’s love with our wider community. While others around us may be seeking to suppress their fear through the need to gather and hoard household supplies, we have an opportunity to be counter cultural to our community and show Gods love, to be generous and support others in a time of uncertainty.
- Read Luke 3:21-22. Jesus modelled living in inter dependent upon each other through the trinity. How can we make this into a lifestyle? What could be the challenges?
- When we look at the life of Jesus we see he was also intentional in building relationships with his disciples and extended family. How did he do it? How can we implement His ways of building relationships into our world today?
- At a time of challenge where are you seeing the beauty of community shine at present? Share your stories.
- Read Luke 4:14- 21. How did Jesus seek to address the brokenness in the world? What part do we have in this?
- Read Ecclesiastes 4:12. When we face battles in life how can this verse give context to the power of community? What can we do as a Life Group to embody the essence of this verse?
Throughout history God has used times of uncertainty as a platform for his disciples to show God’s love and beauty to a broken world. In these times where we are needing to reduce large gatherings, we have a wonderful opportunity to reach out to the isolated and vulnerable around us. We as a community can also provide for people in tough places by contributing to the LifeCare pantry that is dangerously low on supplies at present. As a group commit to providing some supplies for this wonderful ministry for our marginalised in our community. Who is one person that you can invite into community or connect with this week? Commit to connecting with them.
Jesus was always intentional in His ministry. Regardless of the circumstances, He demonstrated genuine love to those whom He encountered day to day.
In the gospel of Luke, we read the story of Jesus surrounded by crowds, within which was a woman who had suffered from bleeding for the past twelve years. As soon as she touches his robe, Jesus intentionally stops and heals her. He then intentionally goes to Jairus’ house, showing love to Jairus’ family.
While we are isolating ourselves this week, there are still ways for us to be intentional in showing love and care to others.
Read Luke 8.40-56
- Read Luke 8:43-44. What could be some of the social challenges this woman had to deal with daily to this point in her life? We can say that she touched Jesus’ robe out of faith (v.48), but why did she fall to her knees in front of Him?
- In your current reality, what is one challenge that God wants you to surrender and bring to His feet right now? What has hindered you from doing so?
- Read Luke 8:51. Why did Jesus only allow Peter, John and James along with the little girl’s parents? Who are the people around you that you consider to be your ‘Peter, John and James’? Why? How did you get to that level of relationship with them? Share your story.
- Read Luke 8:55-56. Jesus told them to give Jairus’ daughter something to eat and for them to not tell anyone. Why? What do see about extended family in this part of the passage? What does ‘extended family’ mean to you in your context?
- Jesus didn’t help the woman and Jairus’ family with financial care. We all have much to offer to others in need besides money. What is something practical that you can do to help people around you this week? What help might you need? How can your Life Group help each other and our broader community in times like these?
Time and time again we see that Jesus performs miracles, such as casting demons, stopping a woman from bleeding and even raising the dead back to life. What Jesus did stems from His love for us. As disciples of Jesus, we are all called to show genuine love and care toward others. This week, let’s be ‘promptable’. Who is one person or family that God wants you to reach out to? Get in touch with them, see how they are doing. Pick up the phone and call them. Show care and love, because in such a time as this, you may just be the only person in their life to do so..
As we look at the life of Jesus, we see that every day He faced a vast number of new challenges in life and ministry. We can see that in times of challenge, Jesus pushed in closer to God the Father and spent even more time alone with Him. As we are all currently facing a ‘once in a lifetime’ disruption to our normal lives and routines, this is the time when we most need to lean into and develop our relationship with God. We need to allow Him to guide us, calm us and to give us hope and direction for each day – more now than ever.
Read Mark 1:35-38
- What is something that you enjoy doing that ‘fills your tank’? What things drain your tank? How can you do more ‘tank filler’ activities during your times of challenge?
- Read Mark 1:35. Why did Jesus use this time of the day to connect with His Heavenly Father? When is your best time of day to spend time with God?
- Where else in the Scriptures do you see Jesus go off alone to be with God?
- Why is time alone with God so important? What are the consequences in your life when this time is squeezed out of your schedule? What is the difference that you see when you make this a priority?
- What is helpful about having a set place to go to be with God? Everyone is different; what surroundings best help you to connect with God?
- How can you reduce distractions during your time with God? What helps or hinders this for you?
While our regular life rhythms may be disrupted at present, we also have a precious opportunity to re-set our lives and life rhythms. This is a wonderful opportunity to grow and develop our relationship with God, setting aside time to spend with Him. It is also a great time to put in place some patterns and practices that refill our tank and replenish our soul, and work towards including them regularly in our lives. Commit to finding a regular rhythm this week of spending time alone with God each day.