Leviticus: Right with God (Matthew 9:9–13)

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ANNOUNCEMENTS — These are announcements specific to the Moscow Campus.

  • STILL: 12 Hours of Prayer and Worship
    Consider going praying as a group.
    October 29, 6:00 am — 7:30 pm
    Sign up for one-hour slots of prayer throughout the day. The event will culminate in a time of music and celebration at 6:00 pm.
    Sign up at liferotp.com/prayer
    Contact Kelli Couch for more information.
  • 101: “Partnership”
    October 30 & November 6, 1:00—3:00 pm at Real Life, Moscow Campus
    This class is designed to present you with a detailed explanation of the structure of the church, what we believe, and the vision and mission of our church. Questions and open dialogue are encouraged. Taught by Aaron Couch, our Lead Coach, this class is two parts and offered on consecutive Sundays. Lunch and childcare are provided.
  • Marriage Class
    God’s Holy Design for a Happy Marriage
    Class begins November 6, 10:00—11:15 am at Real Life, Moscow Campus
    Register at liferotp.com/marriagefamily.

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 one thing you can bless God for this week?

STORY PREPARATION — Introduce today’s story.

  • “Last Sunday Paule continued our Leviticus series with a look at how God’s mercy is evident in the sacrificial system. We will be looking at Matthew 9:9–13 as we consider our role in helping extend God’s mercy to others. For review, here are the roles of the priest:”

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.

  • Matthew 9:9–13
    • 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.

  • Matthew 9:9–13

DEBRIEF THE PASSAGE — Ask the questions.

  • In this story, Jesus eating with tax collectors and other sinners is practicing a reconciliation dinner called “sulhah.” It is still used today in Middle Eastern cultures; it demonstrated His desire to reconcile them to Himself. What does this story teach you about what God values? Why is this significant?
  • Who would you have a hard time having a reconciliation dinner with? What would that act mean to them?
  • What do you struggle with more—accepting God’s mercy for yourself or extending His mercy to others?
  • Who is God asking you to help understand His mercy this week? What steps can you take?

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 — Leviticus 10:1–7.