Small Group Study Guide 9-11-16

Intro:

In many ways we live our lives thinking everything should be nice and neat absolutely no problems.
But in reality, life is far from the way we think it should be; instead we find life being pretty messy.
So we look around at everyone else’s lives and think, man they’ve got it made, if only…

Question: Have you ever skimmed over Facebook and Instagram, walk down the street, or just look around the sanctuary and thought or believed…”Why can’t I just be happy and content like all these people are?”

What are some reasons that drive these thoughts and belief?

Have you ever had these kinds of feelings?

Does isolation seem to fuel these feelings? Why or why not?

What effect, if any, would living in an authentic community, having real relationships with real people, change these thoughts and feelings?

How does knowing that “We all experience physical pain, sadness, shame, anxiety, fear, loss; and that everyone has memories that are embarrassing, humiliating or shameful” ground us in reality?

 

Read / Understand:
Note: walk through the Psalm with your group members. The comments and questions are there to highlight points made in the sermon and intended to help you make personal application. You can use as little or as many as you want, remember you don’t have to use all of them, tailor it to fit your group.

In Psalm 25 David opens up to God, and to his community about his suffering and his hope.

25:1-2   To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul; 2 in you I trust, O my God. Do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me. 3 No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame, but they will be put to shame who are treacherous without excuse. 4 Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; 5 guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. 6 Remember, O LORD, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old. 7 Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you are good, O LORD. 8 Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in his ways. 9 He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way. 10 All the ways of the LORD are loving and faithful for those who keep the demands of his covenant. 11 For the sake of your name, O LORD, forgive my iniquity, though it is great. 12 Who, then, is the man that fears the LORD? He will instruct him in the way chosen for him. 13 He will spend his days in prosperity, and his descendants will inherit the land. 14 The LORD confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them. 15 My eyes are ever on the LORD, for only he will release my feet from the snare. 16 Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. 17 The troubles of my heart have multiplied; free me from my anguish. 18 Look upon my affliction and my distress and take away all my sins. 19 See how my enemies have increased and how fiercely they hate me! 20 Guard my life and rescue me; let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you. 21 May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope is in you. 22 Redeem Israel, O God, from all their troubles!

In verses 1-5 David said “I Lift up my soul”…turns his attention, affection…to God…he is choosing reorientation here…because his life circumstances are disorienting.

David Trust God; He starts with…the answer is ‘yes’ Lord…”I trust in you…not in me. “Then he goes to “Now, what is the question…what do you want, what is your way for me?”

Question:
When life circumstances are disorienting you, do you “lift up your soul” to the Lord? Do you trust him? Think in terms of “the answer is yes, now what do you want me to do?” Share what that looks like for you, how does it reorient you to God?

 

When discussing verse 6-7 Terry said, “Maybe the hardest thing for a human mind to wrap around is this equation “grace plus nothing equals relationship with God.”

Question:
Has this been difficult for you to wrap your mind around? Why? Why not?

How might proclaiming the Gospel to yourself and others play a role in orienting yourself to God? (see pages six and seven of the sermon notes).

 

In verses 16-21, David has made some powerful statements of faith and offered some reality based prayers. Remember that he is lonely and afflicted…his heart is exponentially troubled (they have multiplied); he is in anguish.

Question:
What are the “statements of faith” in verses 16-21?

Did you notice that David begs God to take away all of my sins?

What do you feel when your past sins come to mind?  

Contemplate the fact that, “The prayer of a believer for God to “take away all of my sins” has been answered on the cross…”It is already finished.” How does this reality encourage you? Share with the group why?

Apply:

This is very personal, honest stuff…David did not put it in a locked diary…he shared it with others…with us. He took his private and personal pain and shared it with the larger community of God’s people. We are not made to suffer, to struggle alone. Remember, people are challenged by your strengths, and they are encouraged by your weaknesses.

David models a healthy path for navigating through the mess of our lives rather than by the mess.
Below are three points of references we can take from this Psalm.

Reference point 1: Don’t deny the struggle exists

Question:

How do you help members of your group / community not to deny struggles?

Is that happening in your group? Are you being open and honest?

What’s keeping you from being honest with the other members of your group?

Reference Point 2: Don’t run to or from the struggle…run toward the will of God

Question:

What does running from a struggle look like for you?

How might including others help you to run towards God?

  1. Reference Point 3: Include both God and people in the struggle.

Question:

How do you make this statement a reality in your life?

How can our struggles move us towards God?

The struggle is going to continue…in this life we will always struggle…but Jesus not the struggle has the final word…therein is our hope.

Romans 5:1-5 parallels Ps 25 in core principles…see if you can locate them…

Rom. 5:1   Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

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