Without Walls: Redeeming Every Story (Matthew 18:21–35)

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ANNOUNCEMENTS — These are announcements specific to the Moscow Campus.

  • Summer Schedule Through August 21
    The Moscow Campus will continue the summer schedule of 8:30 and 10:00 services through August 14, and our 11:30 service will resume on August 21. Enjoy your summer, and whether you’re here or somewhere else, find ways to bring heaven crashing into earth.
  • Baptism Celebration
    July 24, 4:00 pm at Wawawai County Park
    Contact the church to meet with a pastor before your baptism.
  • CIY: Move 2016
    August 1–6 at Oregon State University
    Move is a 5-day, high-school-only event, designed to amplify Christ’s call on student’s lives to become kingdom workers.
    Cost $475 | Deadline: July 14
  • The Global Leadership Summit
    August 11–12 at Real Life, Moscow Campus
    The Global Leadership Summit is a world-class experience designed to help you improve your skills and embrace the reason God called you to lead.
    Register at liferotp.com/gls by July 12 using code PREMIER16 for a special $89 rate.

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 is the greatest financial debt you’ve been forgiven? What did that mean to you?

STORY PREPARATION — Introduce today’s story.

“Last Sunday was the first week in our series called Without Walls, a series that will see pastors and worship teams from four Real Life churches share how God desires us to extend the Church beyond the walls of our buildings. This week, Aaron talked about how God is in the business of redeeming every story; we, the Church, are invited into that work.”

TELL THE STORY — Story the passage from memory.

  • Matthew 18:21–35

REBUILD THE STORY — Have someone read the passages

  • Read the passage together.

SERMON IMPLICATIONS — Review these with the group.

  • No matter how far you have gone, God wants to redeem your story.
  • There is no story that is not worth redeeming. You have not gone so far that the love of God can’t give your story value.
  • The Church must be defined by the same passions God has.
  • We are in the business of changed lives. The testimony of God moving among His people is a story worth telling again and again.

DEBRIEF THE PASSAGE — Ask the questions.

  • Which of the implications from Sunday’s sermon meant the most to you? Why?
  • Which character in the story do you identify with today (Peter, the servant with the large debt, or the servant with the small debt)? Why?
  • What hinders your ability to forgive? How does this impact your ability to help in the redemption of others?
  • What is God asking you to do?

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.