Small Group Questions

Radical Relationships: No matter what stage of life you are in, you can have an amazing family life. 

Introduction:

When you and your family sit for a photograph, you hardly ever seem to come out looking like the ideal family in the finished print. There are always flaws. Dad’s tie doesn’t match his suit. Junior’s hair is messed up. Mom has her eyes closed. The baby was just starting to cry. That’s just the way families are. We fail to measure up to the ideal in many ways. So it’s important to look at your family from God’s perspective to discover the best He has in mind for you.

Something To Talk About:

The ordinary Christian family is simply ordinary Christian people, living in the ordinary circumstances of life, out of the extraordinary grace of the gospel. But there are things we need to keep in mind if we want to be a radical family for Jesus Christ: 

  1. Radical families have fun together: There is a common denominator in great families: radical families are playful. They know how to play. They know how to have fun. They enjoy life together. Often this is the key missing ingredient because we are too busy, too tired, too negative, too worn out, and too serious. Life is short and so the time for fun is short. Here is something to think about: people don’t remember what you say, but they will remember how you made them feel. That’s important advice for a boss, a boyfriend or girlfriend, a parent, or a husband or wife. Our kids won’t remember anything we said in the early years of their lives, but they do remember how their parents made them feel. They remember that they had a lot of fun. They will remember the laughter. Radical families are playful.
  2. Radical families encourage growth: In other words, they create an atmosphere of lifelong learning. They help each other develop, they support each other. Mom never stops growing. Everybody encourages Mom to grow. Dad never stops growing.  Everybody encourages Dad to grow. Brother, sister, everybody encourages everybody to keep growing. If you haven’t learned anything new, developed any new interest in a long time, your family is stuck in a rut. Look at how Jesus grew. The Bible tells us in Luke 2:52. This is when Jesus was twelve years old. It says, “Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people.”  You grow in wisdom.  You grow in stature. You grow in favor with God. And you grow in favor with man. Every person in your family needs to be growing physically, mentally, spiritually and socially.  How are you going to be different a year from today? Do you know any more than you knew a year ago?  Are you closer to God than you were a year ago? Are you more loving than you were a year ago? Are you literally growing?  Radical families encourage growth. Average families just stay the same. 
  3. Radical families protect each other: Radical families protect each other because in the storm you need support. Ecclesiastes 4:9 says this: “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.” In the storms of life, you need other people to help you get through that tough time. Sometimes a child is going through a storm. Sometimes Mom is going through a storm. Sometimes Dad is going through a storm. No matter which of our family members is going through a storm we have to help each other, we protect each other. Families stick together. There are three storms that families need to support each other when they occur: One is change, two is harmful ideas and three is rejection. Radical families protect each other in the storm.  
  4. Radical families serve God and others: Actually we serve God by serving others. The Bible says this. Hebrews 10:24, “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.”  That’s what radical families do. We teach each other to show love and we teach each other to do good deeds. Good deeds are called ministry. They are called service.  A good example of this is Cornelius found in Acts 10:2: “He was a devout, God-fearing man, as was everyone in his household. He gave generously to the poor and prayed regularly to God.” There is a legacy. Radical families model dedication, model service, model generosity, and model prayer. 

Discussion Questions: 

  1. What jumped out at you from this sermon? 
  2. What kind of family legacy do you want to leave? 
  3. What are the effects of fun on relationships in the family? How do you feel after a fun experience? How do your children experience fun?
  4. What commitments or distractions keep your family from having fun together?
  5. What will you do today to be more playful with your family? What plans will you make to ensure your family has fun together?
  6. Do you focus more on what you say to your children or how you make them feel? In what ways?
  7. How do you negotiate your responsibilities to your children and the Christian call to love and serve your neighbor?
  8. Family development occurs in an environment of lifelong learning in which everybody encourages growth in everybody else. What are some ways we can encourage physical, emotional, spiritual, or mental growth?
  9. What is the motivation for serving others? Am I aware of the needs in my community that God might have equipped me to help fulfill? Am I serving wholeheartedly when I serve others?
  10. What are the ways family members can protect each other in storms of life such as life changes, failure, or rejection?
  11. Is there a step you need to take based on today’s topic?

Take one thing home with you:

God cares about how we relate with one another which is why we talk about relationships all the time at Northstar. Talking about relationships makes sense to us because all of our life is about relationships. From beginning to end, we spend our lives relating to others. We want to know and be known, to understand and be understood, to care and be cared for. And we want to love and be loved. But our relationships are often marked by tension, misunderstanding, and distance rather than by the security, acceptance and the closeness we desire. Even our most intimate relationships are at times anything but what we want them to be. While it can sometimes seem like a stretch goal, intimacy in our relationships is the goal. 

From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible reveals that our relationship with God affects our other relationships. As Christians, we want to experience intimacy with God. Psalm 73:28 tells us, “for me, how good it is to be near God!” And we want to hear and act on what James tells us in Chapter 4 verse 8: “Come close to God, and God will come close to you….” (James 4:8). We serve a living God, the original Father who’s heart aches for His children to have intimacy with Him. God wants to draw near to us. Sometimes we have a hard time drawing near to God which is why we should be thankful He works in ways that draw us, even when we don’t draw near on our own. In the same vein, we can have intimacy in our relationships when we make it a point to draw near the other person even if they are not drawing near to us.