Fellowship – Snacks or a Meal (10 minutes with snacks; longer, obviously, if there is a meal).
Gathering Time (5-10 minutes). In groups of two or three, have participants respond to the question, “How do you most often seek direction from God?”
Group Dialogue (Approximately 30 minutes). Read Genesis 12:1-4a, John 3:1-17, Psalm 121.
- How do you think Abram felt when God called him to a new land with so few specifics? How would you feel? How do you think he felt about the promises of being a great nation and others being blessed through him? How do you think his wife and others with him might have felt?
- Over the next few chapters, Abram and his wife seem to make some missteps. How does it make you feel knowing that God does not call those who are perfect to be used by God?
- What do you already know about the Nicodemus story?
- It can be helpful to read this passage in a few different translations to get out the difficulty in translation. For example, some will read “born from above” while others might read “born again.” What might it mean to be “born from above” or “born again”?
- How might verse 8 help us understand what it means to be “born again” or “born from above”? [There is a dependence upon the guidance of the Spirit.]
- Oftentimes, to believe connotes intellectual comprehension. To say it another way, “I believe that gravity exists or that this chair will hold my weight.” There is another connotation to belief that is at least as helpful. There is “belief” in the sense that Abram had—the belief that God is guiding or the Spirit is leading, even when we do not fully intellectually comprehend everything. How might this latter understanding help us to see what Jesus is calling us toward in John 3:16?
- Where might the Spirit be guiding you?
Prayer (10 minutes). Share prayer requests and respond appropriately.
Sending Forth (2 minutes). End by praying the following or a similar prayer:
God of reconciliation, you call us into an eternal and grace-filled relationship with you. Because of your great love, you sent the Son and have given us the gift of the Holy Spirit, which breathes your breath of life within us. Help us to be sustained by your grace; and by the power of the Holy Spirit, may sacrificial love come flowing out of us this week. Amen.