The Bible teaches us that the things that come out of our mouth are a reflection of what is happening inside of us. We might think the things that we say don’t really matter, but if we’re honest, they point to what is going on inside.
So we thought it might be a good idea to focus on a few positive four letter words, words that—if they get inside of us—could change the way we react and relate to each other, even the way we see our lives.
What is one change in perspective that has made a big difference in your life?
Who are you in line for?
Nobody likes to be in line for anything. We pick the shortest line. We get frustrated if the line is too long.
There are two line options at Disney theme parks. One is the regular line that you stand in with your family. You wait in line—usually a long line—and then you get on the ride. The other line is the single rider line. If you’re willing to ride by yourself, they’ll fill you in to an empty seat, and you can get on quickly.
In the church we do the same thing. We want a single rider Christianity. We come to church for what I need. We listen to the message for what I want. We listen to the message for what benefits me. We attend the service if it benefits me. And we’ll get involved and contribute if there’s something useful for me, myself, and I.
But God has designed us not as single riders but as a family. He wants us as a body, as a family, to get in line together for one another.
What are some of the ways our small group can support one another?
When you’re a parent you will stand in line for things that have no benefit to you personally. You’ll stand in line so that your kids can meet a Disney princess or meet Santa Claus. God calls us to get in lines that may not benefit us primarily.
You might need to lead a new small group not for yourself but for the people who God is calling you to get in line for. You may not need another campus to open an hour from where you live, but you contribute because God is calling you to get in line for someone else who needs you to line up for them.
When you begin to realize that God has asked us to get in line for others, it begins to change the way you line up and it begins to change the attitude you have in line.
When you forget who you got in line for, your passion begins to ebb. Your attendance begins to slack off. The reason you first started to show up is the last thing you remember because it becomes inconvenient to remember.
Jesus came because God said, “I need you to get in line for them.” He came to get in line for our freedom, salvation, forgiveness, freedom, hope and healing.
When it was hard for him to stay in line, when staying in line meant hanging on the cross, He stayed for our sakes.
When we remember who we’re in line for and why we’re in line, we serve with passion, dedication, and joy.
How well are you remembering why you’re in line and who you’re in line for during this season? Is serving the people God has called you to serve a chore or is it life-giving and energizing? What can you do to help yourself remember who you’re in line for?
When you remember who you’re in line for, it clarifies and streamlines your life. It’s easy to know what to say yes to when you know who you’re in line for, and it’s easy to know what to say no to when you know who you’re not in line for.
What things in your life do you need to start saying yes to (or start saying no to) based on who God has called you to be in line for?
Everything changes when you begin to remind yourself what God has called you to stand in line for. Worship isn’t just casual singing when you remember that God has called you to stand in line, to pray diligently on behalf of a sick relative. Work isn’t just something that pays the bills when you remember that God has called you to stand in line on behalf of a co-worker who is being laid off. Your house or apartment isn’t just a mortgage payment or a rent check when you remember that God has called you to stand in line who have no place to call home.
What is one thing that is already a part of your every day life that you can leverage as an opportunity to stand in line for someone else?
Start a Line
As the church, we are called to start a line. God is looking for those who are brave enough to start a line for someone who no one is standing in line for. That’s what Jesus came to do. He started lines for “sinners,” not the religious people. He started a line for the prostitute, the down and out, the guy hiding up in a tree. He dared to start lines that freaked everyone out, that had never been started before.
God is waiting for his Church to start new lines, new small groups, new churches, new campuses, that’s the only way we get more people to know Jesus.
Have a volunteer read Matthew 15:22-28.
This woman wouldn’t give up. She wouldn’t give up when she was put off because she was standing in line for her daughter. When you’re truly standing in line for someone else, you won’t give up. When you begin to step up and step out in passion for someone else, God shows up and shows off.
What is it that God has put within you? What and who has he called you to start a line for?
Stay in Line
Sometimes we get tired of standing in line. We get weary, impatient when the baby doesn’t come, the person doesn’t change, the job doesn’t get better.
The only reason we begin to contemplate getting out of line because we forget who we got in line for in the first place. We want to get out of the marriage, and we need to remember why we got in the marriage, remember the stay in line words we said at the altar, the commitment we made.
Discouragement tells us to leave the line. You feel misunderstood; you want to leave the line.
What lines are you tempted to get out of that God might be calling you to stay in?
One thing that often makes us want to get out of line is something we all love to hate: line jumpers. (Of course, we would never jump the line personally… we would never drive down to the very end of the lane that’s ending before we merge.)
As annoying as line jumpers are in traffic, they’re even worse in real life: the person that gets the promotion ahead of us, the person that showed up five minutes ago and is now the favorite person at the company, the person that showed up late to the party and is now the center of attention, the line jumpers. We’re faithful, have been around forever, but no one applauds us, so we think, “I might as well get out of line.”
You begin to tell yourself that you aren’t important to the people there, that they don’t care, that you’ve been slighted, and so you begin to step out of line.
Have a volunteer read Luke 8:40-56.
Jairus went to get in line for his daughter, but suddenly this other woman cut in line. And someone tells Jairus, “It’s too late. Get out of line.” It seemed someone else had gotten his miracle.
Disappointment makes us want to get out of line.
But God sees things differently. From Jairus’ perspective that woman cut in line, but from God’s perspective, she had already been sick 12 years, as long as Jairus’ daughter had been alive. That’s why we need to stay in line, to allow the sovereignty of God rule over our impatience and frustration: because God sees things we don’t see.
Are there any line jumpers in your life right now? How might God be calling you to respond to those people?
Application – Cross the Line
Have a volunteer read John 5:1-14.
The sick man in this story said that he had no one to help him get into the pool, no one to help him cross the line. God calls us to help others cross the line, to help others come to know the life-giving power of Jesus.
Get a sheet of paper and have everyone in the group write down the first name of one person they care about who doesn’t have a relationship with Jesus. Designate one person in the group to email the list to the entire group.
This week commit to praying over that list of people each day, and ask God to give the people in your group an opportunity to share Jesus with their loved one.