monthly action guide
time of discussion
personal abiding practices
1. How has the Spirit been working as you abide in Jesus through your personal time in the Word recently?
2. How has the Spirit been working as you abide in Jesus by communing with him in prayer?
group abiding & Active practices
What truths do we need to know and believe?
START WITH PRAYER
Head - Confess your need for the Spirit to guide you into all truth. He is the Truth, and without His working on our cold hearts, no amount of eloquent teaching and intelligent logic will transform our beliefs and actions.
1 | MARK 3:31-35
31 And his mother and his brothers came, and standing outside they sent to him and called him. 32 And a crowd was sitting around him, and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, seeking you.” 33 And he answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” 34 And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.”
In this story, the message of the Kingdom that Jesus continues to preach is so counter-cultural that even His own biological family thinks He is crazy, and they seek Him out to put an end to His nonsense. Jesus makes it abundantly clear that he is not crazy, he is not evil, and that he most certainly is not a house divided, for he is perfectly obeying the will of his Father. And in a memorable real-life parable, he lets it be known that his true family are those who are joining him in this kingdom mission that has been given to him, as they too obey the will of their Father.
1. Who did Jesus say was His true family?
Those that do the will of God.
2. What is the "will of God”?
The primary work of God is to repent and believe the good news about Jesus as King and Savior. We can also understand the will of God as obedience to King Jesus and living as kingdom citizens.
3. Who is it that has perfectly obeyed the will of the Father?
Jesus has accomplished the will of the Father perfectly.
2 | MARK 4:10-12
10 And when he was alone, those around him with the twelve asked him about the parables. 11 And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables, 12 so that
“‘they may indeed see but not perceive,
and may indeed hear but not understand,
lest they should turn and be forgiven.’”
In this passage, Jesus was sharing with the crowds about the way people receive his Kingdom as it is scattered. And in the crowd Jesus was speaking to, there would have been religious leaders who thought they held the secrets of the Kingdom of God. They were the elite who viewed themselves essentially as religious gate keepers. This is significant because Jesus makes it clear to his disciples in verse 12 that those who are so arrogant to think they hold the keys to the Kingdom of God are the very ones who are looking right past it. They are the ones missing the point.
4. What secret did Jesus say He was giving to His disciples?
The secret of the Kingdom of God.
5. Who in the crowd would have thought they held the secrets to the Kingdom of God?
The religious leaders would have thought that they alone held the secret to the Kingdom of God.
6. Discuss why this would have mattered.
It is important for Jesus that He is clear about the fact His Kingdom is open to all, not just the elite and the self-proclaimed gate-keepers of religion.
HEART & HANDS
What affections should we guide our heart toward as a result of this truth?
Where do we need to follow in joyful obedience?
START WITH PRAYER
Heart - Confess your need for the Spirit to grant right affections, emotions, and desires. Our hearts are prone to chase false gods and ideologies of this age, and we cannot perform or force our way into godly affections and desires.
Hands - Confess your need as a group for the Spirit to guide you into right action. Confess your need for the Spirit to give perseverance and courage to obey what it is He is calling you to. Without Him, we will only think about obedience, but will not actually follow Him in what He is leading us to do.
1 | MARK 3:31-35
7. What affections rise up in you, knowing that God, in Christ Jesus, has made you a part of His family?
8. How would believing the truth about your family identity change the way you live? As an individual? As a Missional Community?
9. What are some practical ways you can more fully live out your family identity as a Missional Community?
2 | MARK 4:10-12
10. If you are truly a follower of Jesus, what emotions arise when you understand that you have been given the “secrets of the Kingdom of God”, even though you did not deserve it?
11. Discuss how this displays the glory and beauty of God.
The beauty of Jesus and His message is that it is open to all, not just those that are considered wise or wealthy by this age. *See also I Corinthians 1:18-21.
12. What should your response be once you begin to understand the Kingdom?
Our response should be to display and declare the Kingdom of God in all of life. We are not given this secret to hoard, but to share it with the world.
END WITH PRAYER
Spend time as a group thanking and praising God for what he has done.
time of planning
1. Regarding your family identity as a Missional Community, were there any ideas that came up during discussion that you would like to plan to do in the coming month? If not, discuss ideas now.
As a leader, encourage your group to make plans now for a family gathering sometime this month. Put the date on the calendar and make sure people are responsible and committed to organize this time.
2. What is one person/family you could invite to join you at this family gathering?
As a leader, encourage your group to think of neighbors/friends/co-workers that they could invite to join you all during this time of being family.
If anyone shares that they plan to ask, stop right now and pray for these people by name, asking God to give boldness to those people who will be inviting others, and favor with those people they plan to invite.
3. Regarding your servant and missionary identities as a Missional Community, were there any ideas that came up during discussion that you would like to plan to do in the coming month? If not, discuss ideas now.
As a leader, encourage your group to make plans now for an outward-focused gathering sometime this month. Put the date on the calendar and make sure people are responsible and committed to organize this time.
If you have a specific group of people or a place that you plan to go to, take time now to pray for that group of people.
4. As individuals, how do you plan to prepare your heart for this outward-focused gathering?
5. Where are you feeling the Spirit leading you in regards to your fourth time of gathering this month?
Ideas: time of Bible study or discussion, living out your family identity, living out your servant/missionary identity, taking time off to rest, getting together in smaller groups, etc.
*As you close, take time to pray and ask the Spirit to guide you during this upcoming month as you scatter on mission to the world around you in your various roles. Ask the Spirit to give you perseverance as a group to obey what he has called you to. And ask the Spirit for unity as a group and that he would help each of you to believe that he has made you family by the blood of the Son, Jesus Christ.
*Put your next monthly planning gathering on the calendar before you leave.