Joshua 2 reads like a Middle Bronze Age version of a James Bond set piece, complete with secret agents, sexual intrigue, blundering villains, and a daring escape. The only thing missing is some kind of advanced spy gadget, unless of course you’re willing to count the flax camouflage (see Josh. 2:6). At the center of it all is Rahab, a prostitute who is commended for her faith in God (Heb. 11:31, see also James 2:25 and Matt. 1:5).

And when we get to the bottom of what this story tells us about the wild wideness of God’s willingness to welcome the wayward, my hope is that our own faith will be stirred (and not shaken) into daring action.

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SEE IT // BE IT

(WEEKLY COMMUNITY GROUP DISCUSSION GUIDE)

Title: By Faith: Rahab / Spy Story // Scripture: Scripture: Hebrews 11:31, Joshua 2:1-24

ARRIVAL / SOCIAL TIME 15-20 minutes Spend the first 15 minutes or so of your time together catching up and socializing with one another. Also find time to catch up together on how the assignments from last week turned out.

SERMON REVIEW 5-10 minutes

Last week we continued the faith story of Israel circling the walls of Jericho as they entered the Promised Land. This week we look at the story of Jericho from a different perspective—through the life of Rahab (those inside Jericho). Looking at the faith story of Rahab engages our faith at the level of loving our enemies and welcoming the stranger into our midst. This message is incredibly important as we try to live by faith in our world today, one that seems marked by the currents of both deep polarization and indiscriminate acceptance. As Christians, how do we hold important deep convictions, while still living a life of vulnerable hospitality? While this story demands us to see that the Israelite conquest is also the Canaanite judgment, it also demonstrates God’s wild wideness to welcome the wayward. This week Jon invited us to move past polarization and indiscriminate acceptance by creating boundaries that open up the opportunity for radical hospitality in all we do.

THE MAIN THOUGHT keep this in mind as you facilitate discussion.
Living by faith requires us to pursue mercy over judgment.

SEE ITQuestions 10-15 minutes

Picture (What is the story saying?): How does this week’s story create a different perspective on the story of Jericho? How does Rahab stand out in the story? (smartest, seems to know the most about God in the story, she is a Canaanite, she is involved in an immoral vocation) What does Rahab’s name mean? (wide) How does this story demonstrate God’s wild wideness of God’s willingness to welcome the wayward? (mercy triumphs over judgment) How does God’s mercy reconcile Rahab’s past and recreate her future? (she is saved, she becomes part of the lineage of Jesus) How does Rahab’s story point to Jesus?

Mirror (Where am I in the story?): How does this story challenge or change the way you think about your past? (Our past messes with us but it doesn’t mess with God.) What parts of your past might need to welcome in God’s mercy? How does God’s reconciliation and restoration of your past create space for your future? How might you welcome God into your future?

Window (How does the story change how I see those around me?): How does this perspective challenge our tendency to live in the two streams Jon talked about: the stream of deep polarization and the stream of indiscriminate acceptance? How do boundaries create opportunity for hospitality? How can you practice this posture where you live, work and play?

BE IT – Practice 10-15 minutes (Which of these areas is God speaking to you about this week?)

Change UP // Jesus Jukes
Invite your group this week to think about the way Jesus lived out what Jon talked about this week—both setting boundaries and demonstrating hospitality. Divide your group in two. Have one group look through the gospels to see how Jesus created boundaries and extended judgment. Have the other group look through the gospels to see how Jesus welcomed the stranger and demonstrated radical hospitality with his group. Give the groups 10 minutes to discuss on their own and then bring the groups back together to share their findings with one another.

Change IN // Remnant Redemption
Jon challenged us this week to welcome in God’s wild wideness to welcome the wayward. So take some time this week to think about how your group can both create boundaries and welcome those who aren’t like you into your group. What boundaries or group rules might you need to create or emphasize, to create a safe place to share together? In what ways might your group need to embrace the danger of extending the invitation to join your group to those that might currently be hanging just outside the core?

Change OUT // Halloween Hospitality
WTake some time this week to shore up your plans for using Halloween as an opportunity to minister to your neighbors. Think about how your home could be used to be a place of hospitality to your neighbors. Consider how your group could engage your neighborhood or network in spiritual conversation through your Halloween activities.

CLOSING PRAYER 5 minutes
Take a few minutes to gather any prayer requests and pray for each other to SEE IT and BE IT this week.

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