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Sunday 12/10 - Saturday 12/16
Advent 2017   1366 x 427
Advent: “The King’s Herald: Announcing the King
by: Pastor Michael Eckelkamp

Warm-Ups
(15 min)
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.
  1. Share your high moment and low moment of the week.
  2. What is a time fire was hurtful or helpful to you?
  3. What do you love or dread about the Holidays?
  4. What is God teaching you in your life right now?

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.
  1. Pray for willingness to be transformed in times of difficulty.
  2. Pray for St. John’s as we call our St. John’s campus pastor.
  3. Prayer for those who are in prison.
  4. Pray for our community of faith and how we can best care for our city.

Study Questions (35 min)
About the Sermon
Watch the following Youtube video:  https://youtu.be/w9NgHAy-0yM
  1. Think for a minute about fire.
    1. Have you ever experienced a fire?
    2. What good things does fire do? What harmful things does it do?
The Gospel of Luke is set in the first century. The nation of Israel is living under the heavy hand of Rome and is rife with internal difficulties as well. A man appears on the scene whose life affects many people. He is a fiery man, and he speaks of fire in many different ways. This man is of such character and influence that some think he may be the Messiah. He is not. But he is a significant person in the history of Christianity. His name is John.
  1. Ask everyone to read Luke 3:1-20 for themselves, and then have the group members mention things that impress them about John’s ministry.
  2. As you look more closely at the first two verses, what do they contribute to the passage?
    1. Why do you think Luke includes this kind of information?
  3. History shows that Herod and some of the other people listed here were known to be morally and spiritually degenerate.
    1. What is the source of their authority as leaders?
    2. How does it compare with John’s?
A Deeper Look
  1. In verse 3 we are introduced to John’s work of calling people to repentance. Read the following definition of repentance.
    1. To repent means to be genuinely sorry for sin and to turn from it to obey God resolutely. Sin means living independently of God, failing to trust him. It is more than just bad morals. When people came to be baptized by John, they confessed their sin and made a “U-turn” toward God. John then baptized them.
      1. Therefore, what did John’s baptism mean?
      2. When John baptized people, this symbolized a radical cleansing of their lives and desire to change direction and turn towards God in faith and trust.
    2. What words above catch your attention?
  2. In verses 4-6, Luke quotes from the prophet Isaiah to help us understand more about John’s ministry. This is a picture of a middle-eastern king and his herald.
    1. How does this describe how we prepare for Jesus’ return?
  3. The next paragraph, verses 7-9, tells us that a great number of people are coming to John for baptism.
    1. How does the text explain why John is so stern with them?
    2. What would be a contemporary way of saying, “I’m okay. I have Abraham as my father”?
  4. According to verse 15, what is the atmosphere of the crowd and the situation?
    1. From verses 15-17, what do you learn about John?
  5. In verse 18 John’s preaching is called good news.
    1. How is this word of a coming judge who will baptize with fire good news?
    2. How did he respond to this and other things John said?
  6. According to John’s fiery witness, who is Jesus?
  7. What do you think of the Jesus presented here, and in Luke so far?

Life Application

  1. John the Baptist talked about making the crooked straight and rough places smooth.
    1. What might be some “crooked” or “rough” places in your life?
    2. What would repentance mean to you in light of this study?
    3. What would it mean for you to repent in this way?

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 separate spaces. If numbers necessitate flexibility, form groups of 2 instead.
  • Review the listener commitments 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?

  • 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 people who need God's grace in their lives. Pray for yourself to be a person who can share His grace.
  • Pray for non-believers in your lives by name: ___________________.
  • Pray for each other.

Optional Worship Song (+5 min)

  1. 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
    1. Advent/Christmas songs can be found at SJDenver.org/ChristmasSongs



Serve Our City

  1. Has your group planned an opportunity to serve our city for this semester? Click Here for a list of Service Ideas!



Feedback

  1. Was there a glitch in today's material? Want to request a song? Do you have a suggestion? Click Here!