I’m going to be posting my notes from LTC’s Young Adult Group. These are the notes I use to lead the group, and are unedited so there are some things in here to skip over.
Jesus Is _______ Lesson One
Greet everyone and make them feel welcomed. Let them know you’re excited to start down this path with them.
I wanted to start this CPR group for a number of reasons. The most important one for me is that I want there to be a community of young believers who feel like they have other believers they can go to with their struggles.
Let’s stop for a moment and honestly look at how our Christian life looks. I know this might not be where everyone is right now, and if this isn’t you then great, but I know this is how I feel most of the time.
I show up to church on Sundays, I fellowship with fellow Christians, I hear a really good sermon, and I see the areas of my life that would be greatly improved if I were to listen to the truth that is being spoken. Then I grab lunch, and by the time I’m biting into that meatball sub I’ve pretty much pushed what I’ve learned out of my head. I’m pretty sure I could remember it if I wanted, but none of the fire I felt is there.
Then my work week happens, and I’m bogged down with lesson plans, and papers, and the other stuff that fills up the space in our lives. If I’m on a good week I’ll find time to do my bible study. Hopefully it lasts 25 minutes, and not more cause there is other stuff to do.
I visit with friends, and I see there problems, and I offer support, but a lot of the times I don’t offer truth. I struggle with sin, and I don’t seek help from them either. Then the opportunity to bring Jesus into a conversation happens, and I think about it for a few brief moments, and then I convince myself that the time is not right.
Then the week ends and it is Sunday again.
I know that we’ve heard this kind of stuff before. “Don’t be a Christian only on Sundays!! How are you living the other 6 days of the week?!?!” We’ve all heard it and at first it was a concept that penetrated our hearts and made us feel convicted, but the devil eventually grabs a hold of our minds and convinces us that real life doesn’t follow the script that the Bible tells us we should be on. It’s great that people like Norm, Judah smith, and worship leaders can live their lives based around the Gospel, but for me I’ve got to work and pay bills in a place that doesn’t offer a lot of Christian interaction, or I’ve got to much studying to do. We think that we just have to settle for a lesser version of Christianity that fits to where we are at right now, and we hope that if we are suppose to experience something more God will just make it happen.
This is the kind of thinking that gets into our heads when we are at the age we are now. Between High School and the end of early adulthood is when we start to convince ourselves that there is a lesser involved form of Christianity that is meant for most of the world, and that the higher Christianity is reserved for the pastors and leaders of the church.
So we get into this mindset and we struggle with things, and we feel like there is no one to go to about it. If we take an honest look at ourselves I think we all will find on some level we feel ashamed of Jesus Christ. Maybe not a level that you would deny him if someone asked what you believed, but answer me this: how many of you find times in your interactions with friends where you say something or they say something and you know that the conversation could really benefit from a Christian perspective, but you deny that thought. Or when you’re dealing with a sin and you desperately want to talk about it with someone, but you’re afraid of talking to people about Jesus. AND I’M NOT TALKING ABOUT STRANGERS GUYS. You’re closest friends! People that you know are fellow Christians, and yet you still deny bringing Jesus into a conversion because you’re scared of killing the mood of the hangout.
That’s where I am. I am tired of living life with you guys, and yet feeling like I have no one to lean on when my walk stumbles. No one to hold me accountable. No one to study his word with or to talk about him with because Jesus doesn’t fit into our hangouts or friend groups.
Do you know that 70% of young adult Christians leave the faith? Why does that happen? I think it has to do with this. I think it has to be a feeling that they can’t do Christianity for real, because no one else is. Then one day they wake up a realize they’re a phony and wonder why they say they believe anyways.
I don’t want that. I don’t want to try to cram Jesus into my life, and then realize he doesn’t fit into my friend groups, especially when my friend groups say they are believers too.
And that is the goal of this group. We are simply young believers who are trying to be real. We know the Christian lingo, and we’ve heard the same sermons, and we’ve become callus. I’m hoping to break through that with you guys. I’m hoping to radically transform the way I spend time with you, and you spend time with others. So if you’re sick of feeling like your faith is dying I’m hoping this group will help you.
Introduction of Book
So we are going to be doing study of the book Jesus Is by Judah Smith. I think you guys will like it. I picked it because it is a lighter read, but one that has a punch. I think it will help a lot of us remember who Jesus is to us, or maybe come to realize who he is for the first time. And Judah is a pretty funny guy so some of the reading should be at least mildly entertaining.
I recommend note taking and highlighting. Otherwise what is the point? There are 6 segments in the book, and they are broken up into chapters of 2 or 3. I think you’ll find as you read it that it doesn’t take up as much time as you might think. We are going to do one segment a week for 6 weeks, and then after that address where we are as a group and see if it is still working, and if the Holy Spirit is pleased with we can move onto another book. I’ve got plenty I would love to do with you guys.
SO ALL THAT BEING SAID LET’S JUMP IN.
PART ONE – SUPERBAD OR SUPERGOOD
I need someone to read Luke 19: 1 – 10
So how do we compare ourselves to other sinners? Do we see a problem with it?
I think we really get some comfort out of looking on other people’s misery. I know I feel better about failing a test when I know the rest of the class failed a test. So I think we put that into sin sometimes. I have a guy in my life, and every time I start to feel bad about what I’m doing I say “I’m not as bad as ____”.
Instead of feeling relief in our sins because Jesus paid for them, I think we try to take relief knowing we could be worse.
“To him all sin is equally evil, and all sinners are equally lovable.” – This is profound for me because it means that the murdering child molester in prison is as lovable to Jesus as I am.
What is the importance of God knowing Zacchaeus’s name and his status?
Jesus knew who Zacchaeus was and more importantly he knew what his sin was. This guy was the worst of the worst and probably didn’t mind being that way. Jesus is always aware of where we are.
Why do you think Jesus chose to eat with Zacchaeus?
I think the most important answer is that Jesus ate with Zacchaeus because he loved him and knew that he needed him. We can also learn from his choice that Jesus isn’t afraid to come to us at the heart of our sinful lives. He ate at Zacchaeus’s house which was paid for with his sin. He will come to ANYONE. It had nothing to do with Zacchaeus’s power or his abilities, likewise there is nothing that we do that draws Jesus to us.
What do you believe brought about Zacchaeus’s transformation?
In a time without flashy light shows and mega church programs one of the most evil tax collectors in the world was redeemed simply because he spent time with Jesus.
In what ways do you think your life can be transformed with some time with Jesus?
Allow for responses.
PART 2 DARK SIDE
Ask someone to read Matthew 9:9-13
Okay so for anyone not aware the Pharisees are basically the religious elite. They made up all kinds of rules to prove that they were holy, and that other people were not being holy. The whole point of their existence is the opposite of Jesus’s ministry.
How many of us would generally label ourselves as a good person?
Many of us have it in our heads that we are good people because we are not killing people and shooting drugs. In reality we are al messed up, even the best of us.
Why do you think we make a distinction between other people’s sins and our own?
We like to pass the buck with sin. A lot of think “Oh man I am feeling really convicted about this certain sin right now – BUT so and so is also dealing with this sin AND they abuse alcohol.” In reality someone else is thinking the same thing about us right now.
How does this way of thinking hinder our relationship with fellow sinners?
When we try to distance ourselves from other’s because of their sin, we are denying them the help that they desperately need. Jesus came to heal the broken and not the whole. We are no better than the Pharisees when we behave this way?
After you have a victory over a sin, what is your first reaction to other people struggling with it?
Often we look down on others who are struggling with a sin that we share with them, instead of offering them support and strategies. We think that that part of our lives is so far behind us, and that the fellow sinner just has to learn the same we did.
Can you think of ways that you can try to be a friend to sinners the same way Jesus was?
PART 3 – Friend of Sinners
Is God intimidated by sin?
No. God answered the sin problem 2000 years ago. All he sees when he looks at us are jacked up people that he loves and desperately wants to spend time with.
Are there certain sinners who are un-savable?
Let’s look at the four stages of dealing with our sin and other’s sin.
I’m a good person and I can criticize others
I’m a good person but I should show compassion to bad people
I’m a sinner who needs just as much help as the next guy
I am loved by Jesus just as I am and so is every one else