Gathered and Scattered: Episode 4 – Discussion Guide
Episode 4 – Formed by Worship
INTRODUCTIONWe are all being formed by something. As followers of Jesus, we must continually reflect on whether we’re being formed by the world around us, or through our relationship with Jesus and our relationships with one another. If we’re being formed by anything else, our lives will become disordered and our relationships and faith will become deformed.
During your Discovery Community gatherings, take time to discuss what “worship” means to everyone. How is worship to God expressed? What do our lives (relationships, possessions, finances, time, etc.) say about the priorities of our hearts?
Take time to express gratitude toward God. What are people thankful for? Where is repentance required? Where and how do our lives need reordering? Take time to reflect on what God is saying to those present and ask each other what God might be prompting them to do. Plan to check in with each other next week and see how it went.
SCRIPTURES, QUOTES AND COMMENTS
John 4:23 NIV
Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.
Romans 1:21 NLT
Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. Like the Romans in the time of the early church, we live in a day and age when our lives and loves have become disordered.
Pastor Jon Tyson writes, “The Scriptures are all about getting the right things in the right order.” Jesus said the most important commandment is to: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”
Jesus also told his disciples not to run after the things others did (Matthew 6:32) but to “seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness…”
Worship is about the priorities of our hearts. (Tyson, Beautiful Resistance p. 26)
In Exodus 32, the people took the gold and wealth they had gotten from Egypt and Aaron turned it into a pagan statue and said, “These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.” (Exodus 32:4)
Idolatry is simply worship of an unworthy object. In our worship, we must resist idolatry. God, the Creator of heaven and earth and everything in it, is the only One truly worthy of worship.
“We think idols are bad things, but that is almost never the case. The greater the good, the more likely we are to expect that it can satisfy our deepest needs and hopes. Anything can serve as a counterfeit god, especially the very best things in life…[An idol] is anything more important to you than God.” (Keller, Counterfeit Gods)
“How can I tell if I’m worshipping the blessings that I desire of God?…If you’re willing to sin to obtain your goal or if you sin when you don’t get what you want, then your desire has taken God’s place and you’re functioning as an idolater.” (Fitzpatrick, Idols of the Heart)
We need to make sure that our longings and our loves and our affections are centered on Jesus. This is the heart of worship. This means we have to be fiercely loyal to Jesus in every area of our lives: our money, our sexuality, our careers, our time, our relationships. All of it.
“Church exists primarily not to provide entertainment…or to build self-esteem or to facilitate friendships but to worship God; if it fails at that, it fails. I have learned that…the ultimate goal [is] getting worshippers in touch with God.” (Yancey, Church? Why Bother?)
Psalm 139:23–24 NIV
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
It doesn’t matter how large or small the gathering, when we meet in Jesus name, we bear witness to the powers that be that we cannot be bought by anything but the blood of Jesus.
QUESTIONS for DISCUSSION & REFLECTIONWhat are the priorities of your heart right now? Based on what you heard today, what do you think God might be saying to you right now?
What do you think you might need to do about it?
TAKE ACTIONIf there are things you need to repent of, who will you talk to about it?
Take a moment in your community or call someone on the phone and share what you are grateful for and what you’re struggling with. Pray for one another and then check back in to see how each other are doing.