Letters To The Next Generation -
Overcoming 8000 meters!
Last week we started a series entitled, “Letters to the Next Generation”. The series is based on the book of Deuteronomy, where Moses is reminding the next generation of the laws of God and challenging them to write a better story than the first generation. While God did many great things through that first generation (namely the big exodus from Egypt), they were predominantly remembered for wandering in the wilderness (The Plains of Moab) for four decades. Imagine that, for forty years, they wandered and probably many wondered about all that went wrong. God called them to possess the Promised Land but instead they ended up falling short and in the wilderness, the Plains of Moab for forty years. I want to encourage you to use this Touching Base in your small groups, and in your mentoring relationships to discuss what we talked about on Sunday. The following is a guide to help you go deeper based on Sunday’s (Oct 25th) message.
Big Idea: Life can take us to an altitude where we can forget God
Forgetting God - Deut. 4:9, 23; 6:12;8:11; 25:19
Slipping – Deut. 4:9
On Sunday we talked about how “8000 meters” is a place where we can forget God. It’s a place where we set aside what we know to be true for what is expedient - forgetting previous morality markers and forging ahead with a new set of rules, a brand new compass. As a group do a quick Scripture search and list examples of individuals or groups experiencing “8000 meters”. (Some clues - Adam and Eve, Jacob, David, nation of Israel, Peter, ...) Know of any great biblical examples of people winning at “8000 meters”? (Check out Matt 4:1-11)
Develop with your group these two key ideas, forgetting God and “let them slip” (Deut 4:9).
The word forget can mean to become lame, lose the use of a limb, crippled!
It can also mean to cease to care, ignore thus resulting in being put into a position of disadvantage. “8000 meters” is a point where I can ignore God, His truth and find myself in a position of serious disadvantage, crippled!
Discuss the anatomy of forgetting, how does this happen, what goes on in our mind, what does this feel like? Did the ball illustration on Sunday make sense in illustrating how we can’t engage with our environment (God)because we are busy catching the ball? ( Don’t trash the ball illustration I am overly sensitive to criticism.)
• “let them slip”
The word slip refers to something changing direction. Like when you are walking or driving and you end up off the path. It’s the idea of taking something off. The removing of clothes and or accessories. Notice that for the Israelites the removing of “clothes”(walking away from God) did not mean they were naked. Read Deuteronomy 18:9-13 to see what this new “wardrobe” might look like. How does this concept of slipping overlap with the idea of forgetting? What added insights does it bring to the discussion?
Comment on this quote that reflects on “8000 meters”:
“In his play ‘Long Day’s Journey into Night,’ Eugene O’Neill has one of his characters utter a powerful statement toward the end of her life: ‘None of us can help the things life has done to us. They are done before you realize it and once they are done, they make you do other things, (forget, slip) until at last everything comes between you and what you’d like to be, and you’ve lost your true self forever.” Ravi Zacharias in The Grand Weaver (p.11)
Talk about your own journey and places along that journey that may represent “8000 meters”. Have you grown stronger? What did you learn about yourself? What did you learn about the importance of the body of Christ?
Talk about these pictures below. (If not displayed, I am referring to five pictures, each displaying the word JESUS. The first has JESUS displayed in the middle, the second has JESUS displaced slightly to the left, etc. until JESUS is completely missing from the fifth picture.) What one may represent where you are now? Who is God asking you to come alongside to encourage while they are working through their “8000 meters?”
To sum up the dialogue from your meeting, what would you tell the next generation in light of the reality of “8000 meters?”