As Thanksgiving slides into Christmas and New Years, we often slide straight through one year into the next (and the next and next).
We don’t pause nearly as often as we could (and maybe should). What could happen if we did? What if we took time to look back at our Group’s year–in light of the Gospel?
We might be surprised by how the Gospel brought transformation meeting by meeting, month by month. At the year’s end, try looking at your group in light of the Gospel to find evidence of the Gospel’s impact in four areas:
- In listening
“This same heart of love, grace, and compassion is on display as God listened to the
cries of His people” (Gospel Foundations, Volume 2)
We see our God listening. Listening to His people and being moved to act and speak. Looking back at your group this past year, how have your members reflected the character Christ through mirroring such listening? What struggles have surfaced, but people listened to each other and were moved to act and speak? What was celebrated, and people listened to each other’s stories of triumph and praised? The Gospel is seen through each long and short moment of listening as we care for each other just like Christ cares for each one of us. This is Gospel evidence in your group’s year-in-review.
- Through faithfulness
“The God who spoke the cosmos into existence is the faithful God who keeps His promises to His people. He is faithful despite His people’s unfaithfulness to Him” (Gospel Foundations, Volume 2)
Sometimes, we can look back at our group’s year and see difficult moments: when conflict arose, when jealousy surfaced, when tension was high. Yet, what about faithfulness? What about the moments when members disagreed but agreed to hear each other’s opinions? What about when sin emerged, but other sinners rallied together in prayer? What about when conflict began, but the Lord worked through it to bring reconciliation on even deeper levels than we knew were needed? Looking back at your group’s year, don’t neglect thankfulness for the evidences of Gospel-grace in your group’s faithfulness towards each other and, ultimately, towards the Lord.
- By light
“Jesus is God’s Word to us, breaking through our dark, silent prison and saying, ‘Let there be light!’”(Gospel Foundations, Volume 2)
Our God is a God who defeated sin and death. He is the Light of the world, and He brings light into our worlds (John 8:12). This past year, we must look back at our groups and celebrate the victories over sin. They may be daily surrenders of selfish ambition, complaint, or self-focus and daily choosing to be Christ-dependent. They may be breakthroughs in lifelong, destructive addictions to make room for life-giving habits. For these moments of light breaking into darkness in our groups, we can be thankful for this evidence of the Gospel at work.
- For worship
“But there’s one dominant theme: ‘You will know that I am the Lord’ (see Ex. 7:17;8:10,22; 9:14,16,29; 10:2). God let everyone know that He alone is God. We must not miss this overarching theme … God’s mission is to be known and worshiped.” (Gospel Foundations, Volume 2).
2018 may have been a year of deep pain even amid moments of incredible joy. Yet, how does the Gospel show itself in it all? We can see the Gospel at work throughout our year when we find the moments focused on mission: knowing Christ and making Him known. This results in and often comes from a heart of worship. For the moments that your group focused on worship through speech, song, and service, we can stop to give thanks. This is evidence of Gospel transformation.
The Gospel? It’s the foundation for our Group. And, we’re only beginning to explore this. Check back on the blog this week for more Gospel insights to guide you in finishing out this year as we head towards 2019.
And you don’t even have to wait till then. We have an entire Bible-study line that walks you through the storyline of Scripture to point you to the Gospel. It reveals how Jesus is the hero from beginning to end. Sound too good to be true? Try it. Find a free download of study PDF and video content here.