October 18, 2015

Small Group Weekly Discussion Guide
Based on October 18, 2015, Theme: “The Social Conquest of the Gospel”

Offer relevant announcements and take attendance. Share joys and concerns for prayer, or let everyone know that there will be time at the end of the session for sharing prayer requests.

I. Getting Started/7-10 minutes

o What signs and symbols do you have in your life?
o What do they mean or represent?

II. Read scripture and discuss/25-30 minutes
Read 1 Samuel 4:5-9

(KJV) And when the ark of the covenant of theLordcame into the camp, all Israel shouted with a great shout, so that the earth rang again. And when the Philistines heard the noise of the shout, they said, What meaneth the noise of this great shout in the camp of the Hebrews? And they understood that the ark of theLordwas come into the camp. And the Philistines were afraid, for they said, God is come into the camp. And they said, Woe unto us! for there hath not been such a thing heretofore. Woe unto us! who shall deliver us out of the hand of these mighty Gods? these are the Gods that smote the Egyptians with all the plagues in the wilderness. Be strong, and quit yourselves like men, O ye Philistines, that ye be not servants unto the Hebrews, as they have been to you: quit yourselves like men, and fight.

(CEB) When the chest containing theLord’s covenant entered the camp, all Israel let out such a loud shout that the ground shook. When the Philistines heard the sound of that shout, they asked, "What is that loud shouting in the Hebrew camp about?" When they learned that theLord’s chest had come into the camp, the Philistines were afraid and said, "A god has come into that camp! We’re doomed," they said, "because nothing like this has ever happened before. We’re doomed! Who will deliver us from the grip of these powerful deities? They are the same gods who struck the Egyptians in the desert with every kind of wound. Pull yourselves together and act like men, Philistines! Otherwise, you’ll serve the Hebrews like they’ve been serving you. Act like men and fight!"

1. What is your initial reaction to this verse?

2. Do the different translations affect your interpretation of the verse?

3. In the context of Dr. Regan’s sermon, the illumination of the importance of signs and symbols is significant in any community. The Philistines could hear the noise of the Israelites acknowledged the arrival of a significant cultural symbol. At times in our lives, signs and symbols may have an intentional or subliminal impact on the community.
· Can you name a time where a symbol or sign prompted you to yell out, stand up, or otherwise outwardly acknowledge its presence?
· Can you name a sign or symbol that elicits strong emotion, feeling of hope, thoughts of remembrance, or even anger?
· Signs and symbols are a strong influence, are you aware of all the signs and symbols that influence you? Can you name a sign or symbol that may be influencing you indirectly or subconsciously?

4. As we discuss the stewardship of the gift’s God has given us, the signs and symbols we surround ourselves with can remind us whose we are and where all our gifts come from. Below is a list of symbols that you will find around FCC, what emotions, thoughts, memories, and convictions do they bring to mind?

· Communion Table
· Preacher’s Pulpit
· Cross
· Offering Plate
· Steeple

5. “This is the Place” has been our focus for the last two weeks and is the theme of our annual stewardship campaign. What does the symbol of our church, First Christian, and its location at 2nd and Boulevard say to the community? Does our ministry align with the meaning of that symbol? How could we communicate the meaning of the symbol of this place to the community?

III. Close and Pray/7-10 minutes

o In light of today’s discussion or other spiritually formative experiences you have had this past week, what do you believe God is calling you to be and/or do for the upcoming week? What acts of service to others or care for others is God calling you to embrace this week?

o Close by offering prayers of thanksgiving, petition, and/or intercession for the world, the Church, for others, and/or for yourself.

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