Gaston Life Group:

Mondays @ 6:30 p.m. at the Morey’s (45910 SW South Road). Begins with a potluck.

Contact Mike M. at ffmike42@hotmail.com

 

Young Adult Life Group:

Tuesdays at 5:30 

at the George/Clark home (2751 Phillips Rd). Potluck-bring side.

Contact Janet G: 503-539-1518

 

Tuesday Home Fellowship:

Tuesdays @ 7 p.m. at the Gross's home.  Dessert only. No childcare.

Contact Viv W:  503-857-6755

Contact Carol G: 503-680-5542. 

 

SNL: Saturday Night Life:

Saturdays from 6-9 p.m. Begins with a potluck. Children’s activities available.

Contact Scott A: 503-550-1816

 

Saturday Southside Family Life Group:

Saturdays 4:30-6:30. Begins with a potluck. Children’s activities available.

Contact Joel M: 503-997-5307

 

House Church Resources:

 

The Practice of Fasting: A Community Guide — Week 1 (2/23/20)

 

Open with Prayer (5 minutes)

Gather together as a community in a comfortable setting (around a table, on the couch, the floor of a living room, etc.). Have somebody lead a prayer asking the Holy Spirit to lead and guide your time together.

 

Read: This Coming Week’s Practice as a Community (10 minutes)

  • Commit as a small group to learning the discipline of fasting together during the season of Lent. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday 2/26/20 and ends Easter Sunday 4/12/20. Fasting should be limited to 5-6 days of the week during Lent and should not be observed on Sundays or on the day you might observe a sabbath rest (traditionally from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday).
  • Specify which meal or meals you will be fasting during Lent. My recommendation is that you start your fast after your evening meal, skip breakfast, and then break your fast at lunch the next day. For those who are a little more practiced at fasting or are the type who jump right in with both feet, you might choose to fast all the way through from one evening meal to the next, skipping both breakfast and lunch.
  • As you fast, each time you think about food, feel a hunger pang, or take a food-less lunch break, use it as a prompt to pray. Turn your heart to God, asking him to starve your flesh and feed the Spirit. Your prayers can also be an opportunity to do battle against the enemy’s strongholds or to identify with plight of those who are suffering and in need.
  • To maximize the benefit of your fast, consider doing one or more of the following:
  1. Break a Habit: Identify a specify sin, habit, or pattern in your “flesh” that you want to break. Spend the day in prayer for freedom in that area. (Gal. 5:13-25)
  2. Create a Prayer Focus: Identify an area, issue, or person in need of focused and fervent prayer during the season of Lent (e.g., the lost in your town, a renewal/revival movement, the persecuted church, a brother/sister in need, etc.). (Isa. 58; Ps. 35:11-14; Eph. 6:10-20)
  3. Journal: Take a little time for self-reflection. Get your journal out or go for a walk and think about what this practice is revealing about you. Richard Foster said, “Fasting reveals the things that control us.” If you just feel “hangry” all day, or if you can’t make it more than a few hours, ask yourself, “Why do I feel this way?” Treat yourself compassionately, as God does, yet honestly as well. Remember: the point isn’t a guilt trip but freedom. 
  4. Read Scripture: “Feed” on the word of God, like Jesus did in the wilderness (Mt. 4; Lk. 4).
  • Come back together as a house church next week to talk about your experience and pray together. Note: If everyone’s fasts are “synched” within your community, you might consider meeting during a time when you are all particularly hungry so that your prayers and communion might be most effective. 

 

Discussion Questions (10-15 minutes) 

  1. How do you all feel about this new practice?
  1. What’s an area of your life you would love to get more freedom in?
  1. Do any of you fast on a regular basis? Do you have any encouraging stories of fasting and the role it’s played in your apprenticeship to Jesus?
  1. In what ways do the dangers of a spiritual discipline like fasting often keep us from the good that God has for us?

 

Close in Prayer

If you’re not eating this evening, you might have a lot more time to pray. Take as long as you want. Perhaps start by reading a Psalm together and then spend some time asking Jesus to turn your affections to him. Ask him to reveal the areas in your flesh that need to be starved and begin praying into those. One option is to split into same gender groups and, if people feel comfortable, share these areas that the Spirit is revealing and spend time praying together. 

 

* Link to PDF of week 1 here.

 

 

The Practice of Fasting: A Community Guide — Week 2 (3/1/20)

  

Open with Prayer (5 minutes)

Gather together as a community in a comfortable setting (around a table, on the couch, the floor of a living room, etc.). Have somebody lead a prayer asking the Holy Spirit to lead and guide your time together. 

 

Read Over This Coming Week’s Practice as a Community (15 minutes)

  • Specify which meal or meals you will be fasting during this coming week. Now that you’ve had a week or so of fasting under your belt (no pun intended), you might want to reassess which and how many meals you skip during your Lenten fast. What worked last week might not work this week.
  • Reflect upon your view of the body, especially as it relates to the purpose and practice of fasting. In two recent sermons, Josh shared four distorted body images commonly found in our culture. Ask yourself if you view your body as: 
  1. A monster to be conquered: Those who view their bodily impulses as inherently problematic or evil will treat fasting as a necessary discipline to achieve a more disembodied form of Christlikeness. This is primarily an adversarial relationship to the body.
  2. A celebrity to be glorified: If the body is obsessed over, fasting becomes merely a means to achieve a better body or to get our body in better condition. The transformative effect fasting is meant to have on one’s character is often lost to those preoccupied with their physical appearance, conditioning, or health.
  3. A cornucopia to be filled: Those who regularly indulge their bodily appetites will view fasting as an overly strict, legalistic practice that is completely unnecessary and unrelated to the apprenticeship process. If the body says yes, how dare we say no?
  4. A wallflower to be ignored: Perhaps most common in our society is to view the body as an odd and insignificant appendage to the spiritual life—which, after all, is what really matters. Those who view the body as a “space suit” will have little to no use for fasting, since the body essentially never factors into their worldview anyway.
  • As you fast, each time you think about food, feel a hunger pang, or take a food-less lunch break, use it as a prompt to pray. This is an opportunity to engage with God over how you view and relate to your own body. Ask the Father how your feelings about the body might be affecting your apprenticeship to Jesus.
  • Write down any significant thoughts you have while in prayer during Lent. Sometimes God speaks to us in the midst of our fast. Make sure that, whether you were certain it was God or not, you write down what you hear. Spend time reflecting on these things:
  1. Is what I heard something I find in the Bible? Does it contradict something in the Bible? (Note: God will never say something to you that contradicts what he has already spoken in the Bible.)
  2. Invite someone(s) from your community to pray with you about what you’ve heard and to help you discern its source.
  3. If I feel that God has or has not spoken, how will I respond? What are my next steps? Do I need to make fasting more of a habit in my life? Or is there another direction in which I’m being led to take action?
  • Come back together as a house church next week to talk about your experience and pray together. If someone in your Community heard God say something significant, spend time praying with them about what they’ve heard, thanking God for speaking and asking him what next steps she/he/you all should take. (Note: If everyone’s fasts are “synched” within your community, you might consider meeting during a time when you are all particularly hungry so that your prayers and communion might be most effective.)

 

Discussion Questions (20 minutes) 

  1. What has your fasting experience been like so far? Have you learned anything about yourself or had any breakthroughs in prayer?
  1. Has your view of fasting shifted since we began talking about it? If so, how?
  1. Which of the four categories of “body image” mentioned above do you think describes you most?
  1. How do you think your view of the body has affected your perception of fasting and its purpose?
  1. Does anyone have any encouraging story about fasting and discernment from their own life?

 

Close in Prayer

If you’re not eating this evening, you might have a lot more time to pray. Take as long as you want. Perhaps start by reading a Psalm together and then spend some time asking Jesus to turn your affections to him. Ask him to reveal the areas in your flesh that need to be starved and begin praying into those. One option is to split into same gender groups and, if people feel comfortable, share these areas that the Spirit is revealing and spend time praying together. 

 

* Link to PDF of week 2 here.