Week 4: Abide in Me

May 2, 2021
Primary Text: John 15:1-8
Big Idea of the Message: When we allow Christ to abide within, His spirit is made known without.
If our commitment to the way of Christ is going to have an enduring impact on our lives and the life of the world, it must be rooted in regular encounters with the Divine.  We must know God, not as an abstract reality, but the very ground of being and source of our lives, the source from which the unconditional love we hope to manifest in the world originates.  Jesus promises that those who root themselves deeply in the “the vine” of the Spirit will “bear much fruit,” meaning that they will be personally nourished and able to be effective incarnations of Christ in the world.

This week, we are being called to turn inward, to establish our own personal connection to God as the prerequisite to being channels of renewal and healing in the world.  We need to discern what it looks like for us to experience the resurrection in our own souls, and determine which practices and postures help us to feel most connected to God and to our true inner selves.  Unless we begin our work as followers of Christ here, it is unlikely that our faith will remain vibrant and active; we will be unable to bear good fruit in the world.
Inner peace begets outer peace, inner wholeness begets outer wholeness.  This is the rhythm of authentic discipleship.

Discussion Questions:
  • What are some ways to help root your life in “regular encounters with the Divine”?
  • What practices have you found to be most helpful in connecting to God?
  • Do you notice a difference in yourself when you are or are not taking the time to nurture that relationship?
  • Jesus often “went away to a quiet place” before or after big events in His ministry.  This tells us that Jesus valued the inner relationship with God & the role that this relationship played in His outer expression of God’s spirit in the world.  What do these instances tell us about the importance of prayer & meditation in our own lives?
  • When we are rooted in our relationship with Christ, we allow His teachings to influence our daily actions.  In this way, we cannot help but “bear much fruit.”  It’s simultaneously the easiest & hardest way of life—easy because staying rooted automatically leads to fruit; hard because being rooted in the vine means we are just the branches (some days this is harder to acknowledge than others).  Talk in your group about the difference between understanding a concept & implementing it.  Where does the breakdown most often occur?  How can we mitigate this?
  • What are some actions that you can take this week to practice abiding in Christ?
  • Close your time together in prayer.