The quotes from today's sermon will follow the questions..

1.     Read Lk. 6: 12-13.  Read this quote from Henri Nouwen and discuss how solitude prepares you for community.   “Why is it so important that solitude come before community? If we do not know we are the beloved sons and daughters of God, we're going to expect someone in the community to make us feel that way. They cannot. We'll expect someone to give us that perfect, unconditional love. But community is not loneliness grabbing onto loneliness: "I'm so lonely, and you're so lonely." It's solitude grabbing onto solitude: "I am the beloved; you are the beloved; together we can build a home." Sometimes you are close, and that's wonderful. Sometimes you don't feel much love, and that's hard. But we can be faithful. We can build a home together and create space for God and for the children of God.”

2.     Read Luke 9:23 and I John 3:16.  Pastor Stephen listed the loss of individual freedom, conflict, and vulnerability as three costs of community.  Which do you find to be the highest cost for you?  Why?

3.     How do you see the gospel in this discussion about the costs of community?

4.     Bonhoeffer says that “some of use love the dream of Christian community more than the Christian community itself” and that, as a result, “become destroyers of that Christian community even though their personal intentions may be ever so honest, earnest, and sacrificial.”  Discuss.

5.     Read Ps. 92:13.  What does it look like for you to be rooted in the house of God?

6.     Bonhoeffer says, “Sin demands to have a man by himself. It withdraws him from the community. The more isolated a person is, the more destructive will be the power of sin over him, and the more deeply he becomes involved in it, the more disastrous is his isolation. Sin wants to remain unknown. It shuns the light. In the darkness of the unexpressed it poisons the whole being of a person.”  Discuss.

“CrossFit is family, laughter, love and community,” Ms. Huberlie told the researchers. “I can’t imagine my life without the people I’ve met through it.”

New York Times, When Some Go to Church, Others Go to Cross-Fit

“Why is it so important that solitude come before community? If we do not know we are the beloved sons and daughters of God, we're going to expect someone in the community to make us feel that way. They cannot. We'll expect someone to give us that perfect, unconditional love. But community is not loneliness grabbing onto loneliness: "I'm so lonely, and you're so lonely." It's solitude grabbing onto solitude: "I am the beloved; you are the beloved; together we can build a home." Sometimes you are close, and that's wonderful. Sometimes you don't feel much love, and that's hard. But we can be faithful. We can build a home together and create space for God and for the children of God.”

Henri Nouwen

“Do you have a code you live by?  I read from the Bible every day…Put your slippers way under your bed so when you get up in the morning, you have to get on your knees to find them. And while you’re down there, start your day with prayer. Ask for wisdom. Ask for understanding.”

Denzel Washington, GQ

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”

C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

“Those who love their dream of a Christian community more than the Christian community itself become destroyers of that Christian community even though their personal intentions may be ever so honest, earnest, and sacrificial.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together

“Sin demands to have a man by himself. It withdraws him from the community. The more isolated a person is, the more destructive will be the power of sin over him, and the more deeply he becomes involved in it, the more disastrous is his isolation. Sin wants to remain unknown. It shuns the light. In the darkness of the unexpressed it poisons the whole being of a person.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together

“We are created for community, fashioned for fellowship, and formed for a family, and none of us can fulfill God’s purposes by ourselves. The Bible knows nothing of solitary saints or spiritual hermits isolated from other believers and deprived of fellowship.

“The Bible says we are put together, joined together, built together, members together, heirs together, fitted together, and held together and will be caught up together (1 Corinthians 12:12; Ephesians 2:21-22, 3:6, 4:16; Colossians 2:19; 1 Thessalonians 4:17).”

Rick Warren

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