Leviticus: Living as a Priest (Luke 1:5–23)

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ANNOUNCEMENTS — These are announcements specific to the Moscow Campus.

  • Baptism Celebration
    November 15, 6:00 pm at Real Life, Moscow Campus
    Sign up in the lobby or contact the church office at 208.882.2484 to meet with a pastor before your baptism.
  • Winter Jam 2016
    November 20, 2:00—11:59 pm
    All CRUX (high school) students are invited to join us for a road trip to Spokane to experience ten awesome artists, including Crowder, Red, Tedashii, and more. $25 includes ticket, transportation, and dinner.
  • Night to Shine
    February 10, 6:00—9:00 pm at Real Life, Moscow Campus
    Night to Shine is an unforgettable prom night experience, centered on God’s love, for people with special needs, ages 14 and older. The event will take place at more than 350 churches around the world.
    Visit liferotp.com/nts for more information.
  • LIFER Kids Recruiting for Seasonal Volunteers
    Giving our dedicated volunteers a break this Christmas season is easy. Use one or two hours of your time and serve in LIFER Kids for one or two Sundays.

WELCOME — Don’t read through the list; this is something that you model.

  • Help new believers, visitors, and members feel valued and welcomed.
  • Start at the moment someone arrives and don’t end until everyone is gone.
  • Establish a foundation for relationships.

OPENING PRAYER — Don’t read through the list; this is something that you model.

  • Invite God’s Holy Spirit into our presence.
  • Prepare our hearts for what God has for us.
  • Shift our attention from individual fellowship to the group.

PURPOSE/VISION CASTING — Don’t read through the list; say them in your own words.

“The purpose of this group is…”

  • to mature in our relationship with God.
  • to have the people we need around us to disciple and encourage us.
  • to be here for others in the group; to encourage and disciple others.
  • to live life together; we are here for each other in the joyful and difficult moments of our lives.
  • to invite other people into a relational environment, which means our group will branch at some point; when that point comes, if you would like to lead or host a group, please let me know.

GROUND RULES — Cover all the ground rules.

  • Confidentiality: What’s said in the group stays in the group.
  • Listen: Let’s value one another during the discussions by really listening to what is being shared. Try to avoid thinking about how you are going to respond or what you are going to say next.
  • Pause: Allow a pause in conversation after someone shares to give the person sharing a chance to finish and give the group an opportunity to consider what was shared before responding.
  • Silence: It is important to allow silence in the group as it provides an opportunity for someone to share and for members in the group to process the topic or question being considered.
  • No Cross Talk: Be considerate of others as they are sharing. No side conversations.
  • No Fixing: We are not here to fix each other. Jesus does that. Give encouragement, speak truth, and point to Jesus. Don’t try to fix each other.
  • No Rescuing: When people are sharing something deeply personal, there can be a tendency to make them feel better about themselves or the situation by providing immediate condolences. This will often cause them to stop sharing. Resist the temptation to rescue people.
  • Sharing: Be sensitive about the amount of time you share.
  • Use “I” statements: It’s easy to talk about the issues of others, but for our purposes, we want you to put yourself on the table. Try to use “I” statements rather than “they,” “the church,” “us,” “we,” etc.
  • Household Rules: We appreciate those who open their home up to CARE Groups and out of respect to them we need to… (e.g., take shoes off, clean up toys afterward, put chairs back, leave by 8:00 pm, etc.)

OPENING CONNECTION — Use the following icebreaker.

  • What has CARE Group meant to you so far this fall? Leaders, please email Rob at robcroyle@liferotp.com with some stories or include them in your group report.

STORY PREPARATION — Introduce today’s story.

  • “Last Sunday Aaron continued our Leviticus series with a look at the tension we live with as priests to grow in personal holiness while simultaneously extending grace to the community around us. We will be looking at Luke 1:5–23 to consider ways which the foretelling of John the Baptist’s birth relates to our own stories as we look to put God on display.”

1) They help the people navigate their atonement. You come to the temple and the priest shows you how to complete the sacrifice God requires. They also explain to you what you are supposed to see in the ritual. We have the same call to the world. How do we help them see who they are before God?

2) They put God on display. To be frank, they look funny. They dress differently, they eat differently, they marry differently. They are a physical reminder of your God. When you look at them, you think, “Boy, he’s kind of different.” Yes, because our God is different. Why is our God different? Because our God loves — no other God does that. As Israelites/Christians, we are called to “look different” so the world says, “You’re kind of different.” Yes, because our God…

3) They distribute resources to the marginalized and oppressed (the alien, the orphan, and the widow). People bring their tithes to the temple. Some of it goes to the Levites, but the rest goes to those in need. People bring sacrifices to the temple. Part of it goes on the altar, part can be eaten by the priests, and the rest goes to those in need. The priests distribute the resources to those in need. Our call is the same.

4) They intercede on behalf of others. The priest stands in the gap between God and the people and tells them what God requires; when the people fall short, the priest pleads the case of the people and asks for God’s grace. We should be people pleading for God’s grace and mercy on those who don’t believe — not asking for them to burn in hell!

TELL THE STORY — Story the passage from memory.

  • Luke 1:5–23
    • Tell the story as accurately and convincingly (passionately) as you can from memory.
    • Relax and have fun—you do not have to do this perfectly.
    • Make eye contact with the group and use positive body language.
    • Avoid making personal comments during the story.

REBUILD THE STORY — Have someone read the passage.

  • Luke 1:5–23

SERMON IMPLICATIONS — Summarize these for the group.

  • The true fruit of living out the mission well is the result of a right heart before God. Merely keeping the rules does not produce the fruit God wants for His people.
  • Being priestly is about having the heart of God. The actions take care of themselves. You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving.
  • The cost of failure is not about making you pay for your mistakes. It is about reminding you of and calling you back to the truth of who God really is and how we should be living.

DEBRIEF THE PASSAGE — Ask the questions.

  • Which sermon implication meant the most to you? Why?
  • What does this story tell us about God? (Possible answers: He answers prayer, He cares for barren women, He desires to draw people back to Himself, He has special requirements for some, etc.)
  • Jesus drank wine while John the Baptist was commanded from birth to avoid it. What have you given up for the Lord as a personal or religious conviction? How has God used this in positive ways?
  • If you were Zacharias, would your response to the angel be the same or different? Why? How have you struggled to trust God’s story for your life?
  • What do you sense God challenging you to change based on today’s discussion?
  • Who best represents what it means to you to live with both grace (loving others where they are) and truth (living as God designed)? How have they challenged you to grow?

CLOSE IN PRAYER — Don’t read through the list; choose a way to close in prayer.

  • Take prayer requests.
  • Pray about the conversation that you just had.
  • Break up in smaller groups to pray as an option.

NEXT WEEK’S STORY — Luke 14:1–11.