Small Group Questions

How to Get the Most Out of Your Life When It’s “Buffering”

Introduction:

“Buffering,” in the most simple terms, is when your device pauses mid-task. Your system will put your task on hold until enough data is downloaded to allow the music or video stream to play without lag. The universal symbols for buffering are the infinite loop or the hourglass. Church’s are not immune from the buffering phenomenon as we experienced last week. It is our desire to fulfill the Lord’s commission of spreading the gospel in our community and beyond, but we also understand that technology is ever-changing and complex. Our goal is to provide you with consistent and reliable service broadcasts and we appreciate your patience, grace, and prayers when buffering happens: 

Something To Talk About:

  1. Mental Control: In other words, prepare your mind for action. Whatever I set my mind on will determine the action I will be prepared to take. If I set my mind on power and prestige and position then I will be preparing myself to do whatever it takes to get ahead. But is such a pursuit worthy of setting your mind on? Are you going to allow yourself to be defined by such things? So what do you want to set your mind on? Set your mind on God. “… letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace” (Romans 8:6) We want our mind to be prepared for whatever action God asks us to take. I want to know and do His will. I want to wholeheartedly live the life that He called me to live. I want my life to conform to His purposes and plan. My goal is to set my mind on Him and we do that by meditating on God’s Word. “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! ” (Isaiah 26:3)
  2. Intelligent Choices: Information is necessary to make intelligent choices. God has given us information about Himself, including His holiness, man’s sinfulness, God’s provision for that sin which is Jesus Christ, and scores of promises. Lessons about making choices are demonstrated throughout the Bible as they are throughout our lives. God commands us to make choices, but only after providing us with sufficient information so that our choices will be informed ones. It’s a question of taking ownership of our decisions. If we frame our decisions in terms of what we already value, or desire, or feel, then we’re letting go of the opportunity to choose what we value, desire, and feel. It’s as if our values, desires, or feelings happen to us, rather than being things that we choose (or things that we do). Gathering all information necessary to make a wise decision is essential. We need the kind of wisdom that comes from above and that wisdom begins with studying the scriptures. 
  3. New Hope: What is “living hope”? 1 Peter 1:13 says, “…Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world..” “Put all your hope” is a command that has the full, strong hope that when Jesus comes again we will experience grace. In other words, Peter wants us to feel profoundly confident in the final outcome of our lives That’s why we are to hope fully, not mildly, but fully. Yet we know that in a matter of minutes life can be turned upside down and inside out, and it can feel like our hopes are dashed. Psalm 33:20-22 says, “We put our hope in the Lord. He is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord, for our hope is in you alone.” The beautiful image is that of the God whose eyes are locked on us, whose love never fails, hope. When our hope and trust are firmly connected to our unchangeable God, we know deep in our souls that God’s love will sustain us through this life and into eternity. This means that even if our struggles remain, our hope in God remains. This kind of hope is contagious.  
  4. Desired Life: 1 Peter 1:14-15 says, “So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy.”  Don’t slip back into your old ways: When troubles come, it is tempting to revert to ungodly habits or take up new ones. In these difficult times, Satan will encourage us to pursue any path that leads away from the Lord. We need to remember that our lifestyles are to reflect our position as God’s children: Being “holy,” or “set apart,” begins with giving up control over our life and yielding to the Holy Spirit’s rightful authority. As we submit to Him, He will begin to express the life of Christ through us. When we choose to make the pursuit of holiness a priority in our lives, we will have a sense of urgency about it, and we will become committed to making the intelligent choices that come with it. Making those intelligent choices can sometimes cause us to feel like we have been set aside, but if we decide to live the desired life, it is then that we see we are actually set apart. Not set aside. And set apart is a great place to be because God is there.

Discussion Questions: 

  1. What can you do to be more aware of what goes into your mind? Do you agree or disagree with the “garbage in, garbage out” philosophy? Why?
  2. How do you act when you’re aware and alert versus when you’re not? How can this help you in the battle of the mind?
  3. What do you think it means to “have the mind of Christ”? Do you think it’s possible to think of things as God does? How can you practice managing your mind?
  4. What do you think is the difference between doing things “for God” and doing things “through God”? 
  5. Do you ever wish you could see what was “around the next corner” in life? Do you think God wants you to know what’s coming up next in life? Why or why not? 
  6. Romans 12:2 talks about our minds and our way of thinking is transformed. What do you think that means? How is God’s way of thinking different from the world’s way?
  7. What are some of the decisions you have to make in your life? How do you know if you are making the right choices? 
  8. Read Galatians 6:7-9: What do you hear Paul saying as it relates to the choices that we make? 
  9. What is the source of biblical hope? What Scriptures about hope give you confidence? 
  10. How focused would you say you are when it comes to seeking God in every area of your life? Take some time to reflect and decide. What are the things you can do to be more consistent and faithful?
  11. What’s one change you could make this week to secure your mind more?
  12. How can we apply this message to our lives this week? 

Take one thing home with you:

Circumstances are not good now. It would be great if God would take away all of the problems, pain, sorrow, suffering, sickness, and sadness. But God is interested in you first and foremost. He wants to transform your life. But the transformation won’t happen in your life until you renew your mind until your thoughts begin to change. We need to manage our minds because our thoughts control our lives. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts.” (GNT) Your thoughts have a tremendous ability to shape your life for good or for bad.  

First Corinthians 2:12 says, “And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us.” The end of verse 16 adds, “But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ.” We have to let His Spirit rule and lead us, and we have to get our fleshly “mind” to agree with His mind. Set your mind on the Word and listen to that “inner voice” that longs to obey the Lord and desires to please Him.