Week 5 | Restoration
Take some time to discuss the previous week’s readings and/or Challenges. Here are some things to discuss:
- Celebrate a “win” that you had in Forgiving Challenge over the past week.
- Share a struggle.
- What did God reveal to you during the readings and/or Challenges this past week?
Describe your favorite item that you own that has been restored, either by you or someone else? What makes it your favorite?
- Do you believe that God thinks you are valuable? Why or why not?
Last week we looked at the two common definitions of the word forgive: 1) To cancel a debt. 2) To stop feeling angry or resentful toward someone for an offense, flaw, or mistake.
- Do you tend to wrestle more with the idea of God paying for your sins at the cross or the fact that God isn’t angry with you, that He loves you, and even enjoys you?
- What is the difference between absolution and restoration?
Read the conversation in Chapter 89 by the charcoal fire once more, from John 21:15-17:
“15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ he said, ‘you know that I love you.’ Jesus said, ‘Feed my lambs.’
16 Again Jesus said, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ He answered, ‘Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.’ Jesus said, ‘Take care of my sheep.’
17 The third time he said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ He said, ‘Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said, ‘Feed my sheep.'”
What were the 3 responses that Jesus had to Peter’s answers? In which direction does God point Peter? Backward or forward?
What do the references of “Feeding lambs and taking care of sheep” mean for Peter’s story?
Just like Jesus restored Peter back to his earthly position, do you feel like there is something God has laid on your heart to do in the past that He still wants you to do in the future? If so, explain.
Zach says on Day 33: “The freedom that God gives you is not only freedom from sin, but freedom to a life of purpose. Walking without Jesus leads to a lack of direction, confusion, purpose- lessness, and unfulfilled lives. Walking with Jesus leads to meaning, purpose, joy, and fulfillment.” Agree or disagree.
Part of being restored is knowing who we are. The One who has naming rights over you is the One who created you! Read through the following Bible verses and discover who God says you are.
Genesis 1:27, Isaiah 43:1, John 15:15, Romans 8:17, 1 Corinthians 3:9, 2 Corinthians 5:17,
Galatians 2:20, Ephesians 2:10, Ephesians 2:19, Colossians 3:12, 1 Peter 2:9, 1 John 3:1
After reading through the verses, share with the group which of those names means the most to you today, and why?
Say: Close your eyes and think about these words that Pastor Timothy Keller writes: “Jesus’ salvation is not only like receiving a pardon and release from death row and prison. Then we’d be free, but on our own, left to make our own way in the world, thrown back on our own efforts if we’re to make anything of ourselves. But in the Gospel, we discover that Jesus has taken us off death row and then has hung around our neck the Congressional Medal of Honor. We are received and welcomed as heroes, as if we had accomplished extraordinary deeds.”
Read Psalm 139:13-16 to the group.
Challenge for the Week
Talk to your accountability partner about what a fully restored version of you would look like 100 days from now, one year from now, and five years from now. What’s one step you could take today to help you accomplish this fully restored version of yourself. Take that step this week.
Spend time praying that each person in the group would truly experience God’s love for them. Ask the Holy Spirit to reignite old dreams that may have died and also to reveal new direction for each and every person in the group to faithfully follow Jesus.
*For a deeper, daily experience to go alongside of the weekly small group experience, read days 27-33 of Forgiving Challenge: A 40-Day Journey Leading to Freedom.