Before the Session

Facilitator: In advance of the session

  • Have the Bible Background Video ready to view.
  • Review today’s scripture text and the session activities to help better facilitate the discussion.
  • Encourage your group to listen to the Faithelement podcast ahead of the next session (Share the link via email or social media)

Context (From the Current Session Page)

Ask the group to think about a place where their personal space is invaded. Remind them that in this season of busy, bustling holiday places, sometimes our personal space can be taken for granted. Sometimes even visiting relatives can invade our sense of what is “personal.”

Share this video of a dress designed to protect personal space and ask:

  • How do you react when someone gets too close, perhaps too fast?
  • The proximity sensors are designed to monitor what is entering your personal space. In your life, how do you know when something is entering a space that you usually keep protected?
  • What sensors let you know that something is crossing into “too close” territory?
  • What things in your spiritual life do you keep protected?
  • What spiritual things do you wish your Bible, your faith community or your times of worship would leave untouched?
  • In what ways does the word “repent” bring discomfort or feel “too close” into your personal space?
  • Why do we include something as invasive as “repentance” in our life of discipleship?

Content (From the Mind Session Page)

Read Matthew 3:1-12, then watch the Bible Background Video.

Ask questions like these:

  • In ancient times a royal herald went a few hours or days ahead of a king to announce his arrival – sometimes this was the only warning people had that someone important was coming to town! How is John’s work like that of the royal heralds?
  • Why do you think Matthew points out that John was a fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy?
  • In what ways might this connection make Jesus’ arrival even more momentous?
  • We’re probably already familiar with John’s peculiar way of life from verse 4. What does this tell us about John’s attitude, and approach to his ministry?
  • What are the religious people missing, according to John?
  • Why, according to verse 9, do they feel secure in their religious practices… and how does John answer that feeling of security in verses 9-10?
  • Given that Jesus is introduced in verses 11-12, as not as some kind and gentle ruler, but as a powerful and angry king bringing judgment, what kind of peace is Jesus bringing and how will it come?
  • In what way does this compare to the kind of “peace” we think about around Advent and Christmas and what does this say about our ideas of “peace?”
  • As we prepare for Jesus’ arrival this Advent, how could we prepare for this kind of peace?

Closure (from the Media Session page)

Show the clip from The War and ask:

  • What do you think of the father’s actions in this clip and why?
  • How would you feel if your parents treated someone who had beaten you up with this level of respect?
  • In what ways could the father have made this situation worse?
  • What impact did his decisions likely have on his son?
  • In what ways did the father embody the way we are supposed to live out our relationship with Christ?
  • How do we prepare for the coming of a Christ who demands this kind of commitment to peace?
  • What kinds of things can we do that might further the cause of peace for our society?

Close in prayer.

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