Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Touching Base! Part 146

Lest We Forget

(This article can also we found on our website
at http://www.bethelkingston.com under the tab called "Blog")

This Touching Base is a useful tool for small group discussion, personal reflection or in a one-on-one conversation. We believe that if the Sunday teaching is discussed outside of the morning services, it will be an opportunity to go deeper and build healthy community because God's Word needs to be discussed in community.

In this TB we are taking some time to remember and to give thanks for the blood spilled for our freedom. We all may share different views on the role of the military, but we have all benefited from their sacrifice over the years.

Canadian Deaths
Boer War : 267
WW I : >65 000
WW II : >45 000
Korea : 516
Afghanistan : 162
Peace-keeping : 114
TOTAL – Approx. 111 059 (+ wounded - approx 188 052)

Have you had any family members or close friends in the military? Do you know their stories?
Have you heard the stories of military personnel adjusting to civilian life once returning from the field? What are the challenges?

The Text: Luke 17:11-19

On Sunday we checked out the story of Jesus and the ten lepers. As a group use the following questions to revisit this story:

- v. 11 - What is the ethnic tension represented by the border Jesus is walking along? On Sunday I asked the question - What is uglier than leprosy? Based on what you know about Jewish and Samaritan relations how might each group answer that question? Remember John 4:9 “’You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?’ (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)”

- v. 12-13 – From what we know about leprosy in Jesus’ day, it resulted in isolation and rejection. Imagine how this group of ten would feel living with this physical curse covering their body. Who might they say is the ugliest person in this story up to this point?

- v. 14 - Notice when they were cleansed. What Jesus tells them to do was in keeping with the Law. He would have offended no priest with His counsel here. What might be some words that would describe these ten as they experienced physical restoration?
But what happens next takes us to “real ugly”!

- v. 15,16 - What is wrong with this picture? Note two things: 10% said thanks, and the hero is... a zero, a Samaritan. Want to speculate at this point? Why only 10%? What was it about the Samaritan that prompted him to come to Jesus and say thanks? Got any ideas why the 90% failed to say thanks? In your experience do you find people grateful or ungrateful? What do you think are the essentials in character and experience that makes a person a grateful person?

- v. 17-19 – What is the expectation of Jesus in asking these questions? Notice what Jesus most aggressively reacts to in this story. Clue- it is not the lepers.
What is uglier than leprosy in this story? Put it in your own words as a group.

Here is a funny story about ingratitude:

“A South African man surprised nine men robbing his home. Eight of the robbers ran away, but the homeowner managed to shove one into his backyard pool. After realizing the robber couldn't swim, the homeowner jumped in to save him. The Cape Times reports that once out of the pool, the wet thief called to his friends to come back. Then he pulled a knife and threatened the man who had just rescued him.

The homeowner said ‘We were still standing near the pool and when I saw the knife I just threw him back in. But he was gasping for air and was drowning. So I rescued him again. I thought he had a cheek trying to stab me after I had just saved his life.’“
I think Luke 17:11-19 gets at a much bigger issue in the original context, the ingratitude of Jews towards Christ. Acts 2:36 tells us that instead of saying thanks, they crucified this Christ along with the Romans.

However, I also think Jesus is putting his finger on an issue that characterizes much of our North American culture. We can be lavished with much, and be grateful for little. We can live a relatively blessed life, but barely or rarely say thanks. We can be so preoccupied with what we need that we can barely see what we have. We can find ourselves amongst the 9 and when we do it is uglier than leprosy - Terminal Ingratitude.

Ever been bothered by ingratitude - in others in your own life?
Ever felt like throwing someone back in the pool?
Ever been troubled by the sense of entitlement our culture demonstrates?
Ever been guilty of just not saying thanks?
Is there anyone that you can think of that you owe a thanks to?

Take some time to reflect on what Chris talked about this morning and then spend some time in prayer thanking God for our military and praying for our military. Take some time to thank God for the ultimate sacrifice that was paid for our ultimate freedom. Before you do this, scan the story and see where you can see parallels or contrasts to the Gospel.

Some starters....
  • Like leprosy, sin will isolate us from a holy God
  • Jesus does not send us off to a priest for healing. He is the priest who heals.
  • Just like in this story we need to cry out to God for healing
  • The Gospel addresses the deeper problem of mankind - internal not external. The story illustrates the bigger issues are of the heart!
  • ... got others?
May we be a people who often say thanks!

If interested in joining or starting a small group contact us at bethelcommunitygroups@gmail.com

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