Courage for the Cross
Before your small group gathering, complete the following and reflect on the discussion questions. These will be the basis for your small group time.
- Listen to the Sermon on Highrock’s YouTube channel.
- Read the Scripture passage.
- After listening to the sermon, read and respond to the reflection for courage.
Use these questions as a launching point for your small group conversation. Open with a check-in/getting-to-know-you question. Group opener options are available in the Appendix.
- What from the sermon or reading has brought up new questions? Spend some time as a group sharing and discussing.
- When you think of superhero movies, how does the main character typically overcome the world? Are there ways that trope informs what we expect of Jesus?
- Discuss the details of how Jesus overcame the world. What is unexpected?
- Who was Jesus saving the world for? What was at stake for him in this pursuit? What is at stake for us as we follow Jesus’ example?
- How might you pray courageously in light of the discussion this week? Is there a next step you could take in how you engage, act, or relate to others?
Pray about what came up in your conversation and for the week ahead.
Philippians 2 (NIV)
2 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. 17 But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. 18 So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.
19 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. 20 I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare. 21 For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. 22 But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel. 23 I hope, therefore, to send him as soon as I see how things go with me. 24 And I am confident in the Lord that I myself will come soon.
25 But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, co-worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs. 26 For he longs for all of you and is distressed because you heard he was ill. 27 Indeed he was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow. 28 Therefore I am all the more eager to send him, so that when you see him again you may be glad and I may have less anxiety. 29 So then, welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honor people like him, 30 because he almost died for the work of Christ. He risked his life to make up for the help you yourselves could not give me.
Reflection for Courage
“for friends who hold us up” by Kate Bowler
God, you called me to love
but people are inherently risky.
Telling my story, being known, asking for help,
complaining again about
the thing I worry might sound cliché by now.
Shouldn't I be over it already?
But something is happening when I am known.
I am becoming stronger somehow.
I am reminded of the pillars I've seen
holding up cathedrals.
Flying buttresses, engineered to provide support
for a fragile wall,
allowing them to be built taller, more stunning,
more covered with ornaments
or filled with stained glass,
letting all the colorful light dance in.
The walls would collapse without them there,
but strengthened, they create something beautiful.
God, when I am no longer quite so tall and strong,
give me those who hold me up
and remind me of who I am and that I'm loved.
Yes, I'll get back up again today.
Yes, I'll get those kids cereal
and help my parents with an errand.
Yes, I'll go to work or come up with something
better to do with retirement hours.
I will try again.
I know I will,
because someone else's absurd faith in me
So, blessed are our flying buttresses.
For they hold us up
when everything seems ready to come apart,
allowing us to face today-
not because we're doing it alone-
but precisely because we aren't.