My father-in-law has a helpful rule of thumb when it comes to estimating how long it will take to finish a DIY project around the house.

Step 1: Estimate how much time you think it will take.
Step 2: Double that amount of time and take it up a level.

So, for example, if you think it’ll take two hours to install that new ceiling fan, it’ll probably take four days to finish. A one-day paint project? Two weeks. That she-shed you’d like to build for your wife outback over June and July? You’re looking at four years.

The first time he told me his equation, I laughed because I thought he was joking. Now I laugh (ruefully) because it’s (frighteningly) true.

Have you ever bitten off more than you can chew? Or have you ever overestimated your own capabilities and underestimated the challenges you face?

If so, you know the frustration that comes with realizing you cannot manage something you thought was entirely manageable. We find this same kind of realization at the end of Romans 7, where the Apostle Paul gives voice to the person who believes godly, joy-filled life should be manageable in his/her own strength but discovers it is, in fact, unmanageable. Trying to live by the Law leads to a crisis of despair.

But then, in Romans 8, Paul unveils the beautiful alternative to frustration and despair—life in God’s Spirit. And then, in some the Bible’s most soaring scriptures, Paul goes on to say that even in a groaning, unmanageable world, the power of God’s Spirit enables us not merely to manage, but to be more than conquerors (8:37).

And even if the process might take more time than we initially expect, God’s good outcome is certain.

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SEE IT // BE IT

(WEEKLY COMMUNITY GROUP DISCUSSION GUIDE)

Title: Together For Good: The Glory Beyond the Groan // Scripture: Romans 8

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
In Romans 7, the Apostle Paul gave voice to the one who believes godly, joy-filled life should be manageable in his/her own strength but discovers it is, in fact, unmanageable. We sensed the frustration that comes with the realization that we cannot manage the entirely unmanageable. We were left considering that living by the Law alone leads to a crisis of despair.

In Romans 8, Paul unveils the beautiful alternative to frustration and despair— a better life in God’s Spirit. Paul shows us that even in a groaning, unmanageable world, the power of God’s Spirit enables us not merely to manage, but to be more than conquerors through Christ. Even if the process takes more time than we anticipate, God’s good outcome is certain.

Life in God’s Spirit means we have God’s promise to give guidance through his Spirit: the power to overcome, direction for decisions, and security in our identity. Our response to the Spirit is to learn practically from God’s Word, to listen patiently for the guidance of the Spirit, and to walk daily in the presence of the Spirit as we put wickedness to death in our lives.

Life in the Spirit not only means that we have access to God’s guidance, but it also gives us a deeper awareness of the groans of creation around us—for what could have been, what should have been, and for what is yet to come. It brings the groans from our own souls for those around us who are among the lost and the least that have not yet put their faith in Jesus.

But life in God’s Spirit does not leave us overwhelmed in defeat or overwrought with despair, because in our weakness and groaning the Spirit is present and powerfully at work interceding for us with groanings too deep for words. Our confident hope is that God will turn all of the groanings to His glory for our good—giving us real and better life in His Spirit.

THE MAIN THOUGHT keep this in mind as you facilitate discussion.
In an unmanageable world, we are more than conquerors through life in God’s Spirit.

SEE ITQuestions 10-15 minutes
Picture (What is the story saying?): What is the role of the Spirit according to Paul? What does our response to the Spirit look like? In a world full of good and bad things, what is God’s promise and how does it bring God’s goodness and glory?

Mirror (Where am I in the story?): Where have you seen God’s Spirit giving you life, leading and confirmation? How did setting your mind to learning, listening and obeying turn out for you? What is going on in and around you right now that is causing you to groan the most?

Window (How does the story change how I see those around me?): Where are the groans of creation, community, creativity, etc. occurring around you this week? How does Paul equip you to respond to those circumstances? In what ways does knowing God’s indomitable goodness inform your response to the unmanageable circumstances you will encounter during the coming week?

BE IT – Practice Which of these areas is God speaking to you about this week?
Change UP – Exercise
Consider the real and better life that we gain access to through life in God’s Spirit. Speak out phrases of truth that compare life with and without the guidance of God’s Spirit (e.g. from hopelessness to hopefulness, etc.)

Change IN – Group Activity
Jesus is never in a hurry and is always secure in every circumstance. Tell a short personal story about a time when you were overwhelmed but set your mind to obey the guidance of God’s Spirit. What happened? How did that make your life better?

Change OUT – Life Application Assignment
As you consider the groans of creation, community, creativity, etc. occurring around you this week, what is one specific and measurable way that God is inviting you to love deeply, serve generously, walk peaceably, and/or forgive graciously?

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.

Jon Stallsmith

Jon Stallsmith

Jon Stallsmith

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