Living Word: Hope (Matthew 2:1–13)

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ANNOUNCEMENTS — These are announcements specific to the Moscow Campus.

  • Curriculum Note: Curriculum will not be published the weeks of December 18 and 25.
  • Foster Family Christmas
    We will be collecting gifts and gift baskets until December 1.
  • 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 for more information.
  • Holiday Services
    December 24
    1:30, 3:00, 4:30, and 6:00 pm in Moscow.
    December 25
    No services.
    January 1
    Regular services in Moscow.

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 was your favorite part of your Thanksgiving experience this year?

STORY PREPARATION — Introduce today’s story.

  • “Last Sunday Aaron started our Advent series with a message about how Jesus, the Light of the World, gives hope. Our CARE Group curriculum will look at the birth narrative in three parts (Matthew 2:1–13, Luke 2:1–20, and Luke 2:21–40). Today we will be looking at Matthew 2:1–13 to consider how God’s story brings us hope.”

TELL THE STORY — Story the passage from memory.

  • Matthew 2:1–13
    • 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 2:1–13

SERMON IMPLICATIONS — Summarize these for the group.

  • God sees us.
  • God joins us.
  • God shows us.
  • God leads us.

DEBRIEF THE PASSAGE — Ask the questions.

  • How does this story relate to your own story? (Possible answers: My life is a mixture of blessings and challenges, I have seen blessings come from places I did not expect, it feels at times like everything is working against me, I can’t relate to this story at all, etc.)
  • Why was Herod disturbed about the news of the coming Messiah? Where did Herod’s hope lie? How do you identify with Herod?
  • How do you find hope in this story?
  • How do you see that God sees us, joins us, shows us, and leads us in this story?
  • How can you use this story to bring hope to others?

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 2:1–20