MODGNIK... what do we know about it? It's one of the great mysteries of historic Christianity. It's a completely upside-down way to understand God. It's confusing, yet beautifully simple. But don't worry, all will be revealed about this new series at Eastside!
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Not To Us
Jesus was kind, loving, honest and sacrificial. Most people were expecting someone who would show up and take over, kick out the Romans who were occupying Israel, and be more of a political messiah. But Jesus eventually put that to rest when He said, “My kingdom is not of this world.”
It’s different in His Kingdom because people like eloquent while God likes real.
Exactly what does it mean to be real? Real is defined as being exactly as appears or claimed. Real is also defined as the action of being true to one's self as well as being true to others. That is the kind of relationships we want to have with others and God,
Sometimes we feel the need to be eloquent, but God just wants our heart. He wants us to talk to him, just like we would talk to a friend. We can honestly share our burdens, our praises, and what keeps us up at night.
Public prayer is one of those things that makes many people go into utter panic. They immediately feel inadequate, paralyzed by fear. I’m sure we have all been in a group when the leader asked someone to pray, and everyone’s eyes shuffled back and forth avoiding the leader’s gaze.
God hears our simple prayers. Our cries for help in times of need and our shouts of praise when we have experienced His grace. All we have to do is share with Him, authentically.
What scares you most about praying out loud? If you aren’t scared, share how you overcame that fear.
Brainstorm ideas for how to make it less scary. Maybe split up into twos or go around and pray one-sentence prayers. The best thing you can do is just be courageous and pray.
Have someone read Luke 18:1-8.
The message from Jesus is pray continually and don’t lose heart. Prayer and persistence matter. It is easy to lose heart when things don’t seem (as far as we can tell) to be happening, and therefore it feels like He doesn’t hear us. The temptation is to question both Jesus and ourselves. Jesus shared the story about the woman and the judge to encourage us to keep persisting and to find hope in the waiting.
What is one thing that keeps you persisting in prayer? What are practical things you can do to fight against losing heart?
Have someone read Luke 18:9-14.
It’s different in His Kingdom because people want to look good, but God wants real. We work and live in places where there are unspoken or stated dress requirements. For instance, the Disney Company has a dress code manual with clear “Disney Look” instructions and even a position whose primary duty is to enforce the dress code. The term “maintaining appearances” is something we are very familiar with.
As followers of Jesus we sometimes pretty up our lives, afraid that we wouldn’t be accepted if people knew of our messy pasts or current struggles. Jesus sees through all of that. He is concerned about each of our hearts and the conditions of our souls. He couldn’t care less what other people think.
Share a time you showed up dressed differently than everyone else. How did that make you feel?
Have you had moments like the tax collector, when you cried out humbly to God? Share with the group.
Have someone read Luke 18:15-18.
People reward maturity. God rewards real.
No matter where you are in your spiritual journey, God loves you and He wants you to be part of this upside down and backward Kingdom, where desperate widows, tax collectors, prostitutes, sinners, kids and people who sometimes act like kids are all welcome.
All we have to do is read God’s Word to see that Jesus didn’t care about the things we so easily get hung up on. He tells us to come like a child.
What does it mean to you to approach God like a child?
Have you in the past or maybe still feel like you need to clean up something in your life before you can really be loved by God?
Spend time reflecting and journaling about ways to approach God like a child.
Practice conversation prayers where you talk to God like He is in the chair next to you. What do you want Him to know? What are you persisting for right now? Pray for hope in the waiting.
Write out a verse that will encourage you to persist in prayer and put it in your car to remind you throughout the day to pray.
Normally, we encourage you to pair up. This week try a new way of prayer. Go around the group and share one thing with the Lord that you are grateful for. Then go around and say a one-sentence prayer for someone in your group.